One phrase you’ll see a lot of throughout this review is the idea of Star Trek being presented as a stage play more than anything. Details as to why that’s said in this article will be looked at later on down the road. If you chose to do a stripped-down, authentic story that doesn’t rely too heavily on special effects or set pieces, you have to rely specifically on writing and acting.
Needless to say, the acting in a Star Trek series has to be the best possible. Most Star Trek lead actors have formal training, were Shakespearian trained or were world-renowned for their incredible talent. Which makes sense, when you have a minimal budget per episode, and you’re dealing with penny-pinching networks or in the case of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, you’re in syndication, you have to rely on the simplest option; acting.
Acting can carry a series when nothing else is working. It’s the most pivotal and the most relied upon when making anything in the world of film, television or theater. It’s the cheapest of all the other things on this list and the one that is easily most replaceable if needed. For instance, Community fired comedy icon Chevy Chase and a season or so later brought on Paget Brewster. Both nailed their roles and brought so much fun to the series.
So is Picard’s acting up to the standards of prior series? In short, yes. It’s hard to see Patrick Stewart strut with an obvious disruption in his gate and the scene in the premiere where he can’t even ascend stairs was heartbreaking, the fact is that those things were supposed to elicit that type of reaction. This show is supposed to be more akin to Marvel’s Logan than say a typical Disney film. The acting reflects this. There’s a dower tone in much of Patrick Stewart’s tone and mannerisms.
While there are much younger or lesser-known actors in the series as well, the series still put a focus on acting by bringing in acclaimed character actress Allison Pill to play a roll in the series. Bringing back Brent Spiner and Jeri Ryan also shows that the series is focusing heavily on character work and ensuring that the acting talent is there despite also having the largest budget in the televised-franchise history.
Acting Grade: 5/5