Jean-Luc Picard is the one 'Star Trek' captain who rightly deserves his own television series
The character played by Patrick Stewart is the perfect embodiement of the ideals that the franchise was created around
There have been a lot of ‘Star Trek’ Captains throughout the franchise’s long history, but only one of them gets to return to star in his very own series. On January 23, the series premiere of ‘Star Trek: Picard’ will see Patrick Stewart return to his most iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard. Before the show debuts, we take a look at what makes Jean-Luc Picard the best ‘Star Trek’ Captain that the franchise has ever seen.
There are many aspects of Jean-Luc Picard that set him apart, but his humanity is perhaps what stands out most of all. Picard takes an almost poetic approach to humanity - he sees the beautiful ideal of it, and fights to defend it in everything he does. His greatest personal battle is perhaps his assimilation into the Borg - a struggle for any Captain, but a special nightmare for Picard as the experience stripped him of the very humanity he valued the most.
The very first episode of ‘The Next Generation’ makes this clear, in fact, as Picard defends humanity from the seemingly all-powerful Q (John de Lancie) who would see it wiped out. Picard is a champion for all of humanity, and every episode seeks to bring the best of its ideals to the farthest corners of the galaxy. The United Federation of Planets was conceived by Gene Roddenberry as a society whose morals were to be aspired to, and nobody embodies that morality with as much passion as Jean-Luc Picard.
He is a strong leader, as well. His strict adherence to Starfleet policy, and the hierarchy of the ship may distance him somewhat from his crew despite how dearly he clearly loves them, but it has served his crew well in times of emergency. Space has proven to provide enough wonders, strangeness, and horrors for the structure that Picard enforces to have saved his team’s lives more times than can be counted.
He is the voice of authority, on issues of practicality, morality, and principle, all the while not being above questioning himself if the situation calls for it. Picard embodies everything that Starfleet ought to stand for, and is the perfect representation of its ideals.
It’s those ideals that cause him to leave Starfleet, as it’s implied that it has lost its way. Now that he’s no longer a Captain - or, indeed, an Admiral - it will be fascinating to see what kind of life Picard builds for himself when his principles remain, but the structure provided by his role as a Captain are gone.
‘Star Trek: Picard’ releases January 23, on CBS All Access.