About Blu-rays: First Looks at ‘Star Trek: Picard’ and ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’

(C) 2022 CBS Studios, CBS Blu-ray & Paramount Home Media Distribution

Last night I finished my three-night “binge watch” of Star Trek: Picard’s second season, which was released on Blu-ray by Paramount on Tuesday. The series, which was created as a three-season-long story for the streaming service Paramount+, is a sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) and the four feature films that followed it. Told in serialized form, Picard delves into the final adventures of Admiral Jean-Luc Picard in the early 25th century.

Patrick Stewart, who has played Picard since Star Trek: The Next Generation was in syndication, and a few cast members from TNG and Star Trek: Voyager (1994) reprise their roles as a now-elderly Admiral Picard must confront the consequences of his actions as captain of the Enterprise, as well as his own traumatic childhood in La Barre, France. In Season Two, especially, Picard must lead a motley crew on a mission that involves restoring an altered timeline and dealing with an old and dangerous adversary – the Borg Queen.

The box set for Star Trek: Picard – Season Two comes with three Blu-ray discs (BDs) that contain all 10 parts of the serialized streaming series. Along with a grab-bag of special features, usually deleted/expanded scenes from the individual episodes, Picard presents:

  • The Star Gazer
  • Penance
  • Assimilation
  • Watcher
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • Two of One
  • Monsters
  • Mercy
  • Hide and Seek
  • Farewell
(C) 2022 CBS Studios, CBS Blu-ray & Paramount Home Media Distribution

Since I watch less TV than I used to before my mother got sick in her final years, I did not binge all 10 episodes in one day, a feat I might have attempted in more carefree days. I liked the story and its inclusion of several iconic recurring characters from TNG, including Q (John DeLancie) and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg and Ito Aghayere, who play the enigmatic bartender at two stages of her long life).

I also loved the callbacks not just to TNG but also to two other time-travel stories told by Star Trek: The Original Series, Assignment: Earth and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. There are, of course, nods to Star Trek: First Contact – the second TNG-based feature film – and Star Trek: Voyager.

Keep in mind that this is not my official review of Star Trek: Picard – Season Two; it’s just the writeup of my first impressions, and since I won’t expand on my “I like X, Y, and Z” thoughts, I don’t consider it to be an insightful or informative review. I’ll write one of those at some point; I don’t have the energy – or wherewithal – to do a proper critique of the show or BD set today.

(C) PBS & Florentine Films

I have also tried to watch the first episode of The U.S. and the Holocaust, but I foolishly insist on doing so late at night, and I always find myself falling asleep early into the first episode.

I did, however, learn several interesting – if rather sobering – facts about U.S. immigration policy:

  • It wasn’t until the late 1800s that “nativist” Americans began pushing for “closed borders” and limits on who could immigrate to the U.S.
  • That Otto Frank and his family, including his daughters Margot and Anne, might have escaped from the Nazis in the 1930s were it not for anti-Semitism and immigration quotas

Now that I’ve watched Star Trek: Picard (always between 8 and 10 PM) I will endeavor to watch The U.S. and the Holocaust at an earlier time than I’ve done since I got my Blu-ray set on Tuesday.

From what I’ve managed to see before I get so sleepy that I have to turn off the TV/Blu-ray player, The U.S. and the Holocaust is everything you’d expect from a Ken Burns documentary. A gripping narrative, eyewitness accounts, vivid cinematography, a great script (by Geoffrey Ward), and a less mythological account of U.S. history, which tends to unsettle many right-wing Americans that like their whitewashed version of history more than the real one.

Well, I’m tired and not feeling my best, so I’ll close this post here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

8 thoughts on “About Blu-rays: First Looks at ‘Star Trek: Picard’ and ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’

      1. Yes, indeed. When Stewart was asked to audition for the part of Picard back in 1986, he was worried that Gene Roddenberry did not want a bald Englishman as captain of the new Enterprise and had George flown from the UK to LA in case the show wanted him to not be bald onscreen. Fortunately, Stewart impressed Roddenberry with his audition, and the toupee was not needed.

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    1. Yep. I just watched Star Trek fan Steve Shives’ review of the show, and he hated the second season. He’s good at explaining why he didn’t like Season Two, and it wasn’t a bad analysis. I just didn’t have the same negative reaction that he did.

      Just goes to show that art criticism is highly subjective. One person’s garbage might be another’s treasured gem. after all.

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