"Lately when people ask me what they should be watching, my first response is Star Trek: Picard," says Melanie McFarland. "This is true even and especially if said question is couched in a few qualifiers, as in: 'Give me something smart and optimistic, thoughtful, and not too heavy.' For my money, Picard ticks all of those boxes, an opinion that might seem odd to those watching its 10-episode first season. Understandable, given the context of Jean-Luc Picard's return to series television (and Sir Patrick Stewart's resumption of the role). Season 1's prime adventure is steeped in themes of corruption, xenophobia, conspiracy, and ethnic cleansing. How on Earth could a story like that be thought of as optimistic? My husband asked me this the other day, and had he posed that question a few weeks and episodes ago, I would have given him a different answer. But my response was, 'Because it's in the future. Because it posits that humanity has a future." To the housebound person witnessing the escalation of a pandemic, this should be comforting. Gene Roddenberry's vision is predicated on the notion that humanity will survive, and not only that, we'll evolve."
Star Trek: Picard struggled to live up to Patrick Stewart’s tenderhearted, fully realized performance: Stewart "imbues Picard — typically a stalwart captain modeling the kind of grace, intelligence, and empathetic leadership absent in the world today — with the weight of grief and failure in a universe that now lacks the order he typically clings to," says Angelica Jade Bastién. "The struggle to hold on to hope in the face of chaos is ripe for exploration, especially now as the world feels destabilized and confusing. But while Picard has shown sparks of interest in this struggle, it’s largely traded such somber reflections for a bombastic story line concerning Romulan cabals intent on wiping out the galaxy’s synthetic lifeforms, which Picard feels an obligation to stop due to connections to The Next Generation’s Data that are too laboriously complicated to lay out here."
Star Trek: Picard's season finale was underwhelming: "I’m disappointed and frustrated by all this, by the show’s ability to take considerable goodwill and a decade or more of material and consistently and repeatedly squander all of it," says Zack Handlen, noting that "there was potential here."