The original Star Trek set the stage, the Trek films showed it could be box office and this paved the wave for a fully funded syndicated series not dependent on networks for financing or site to show all the episodes. Star Trek: Next Generation broke a lot of rules in 1987. It would go to run 178 episodes over seven seasons with rising ratings throughout that period. From it would spawn additional series set on the same time line and even one going back before the Original Series.
When the original series began, I only recognized two names. One was Levar Burton from Roots fame and the other was Patrick Stewart who I knew best from Dune. It was a large cast and the promotional material made it seem like it would be an ensemble work and it was. The glue that held it together was that character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Patrick Stewart, after the last movie, said that he would not reprise the role of Captain again. However, streaming TV, the money and the chance to tell a different type of story drew him back. The Shakespearean veteran did have a few demands. The series would not be him in uniform presumably captaining the Enterprise. It would be in the Star Trek world but one reflective of his age.
Hollywood routinely has a problem portraying age on the screen. They either make the characters play the role as if they were 30 or 90. There is hardly an in between. For women it is often worse. The new Trek series struggles with this mightily. Two new characters, Dahj and Elnor in their 20s, play the young, naive but amazingly skilled members of the ensemble.
The Next Generation series was poor at portraying young people. For example, the Wesley Crusher character or Worf's son never rang true as growing, fully realized characters. The closest the Trek universe ever did present a family was on Deep Space Nine but even that was a bit of a reach for the series. As far as older people went, there was never any room for them in the cast except as guest stars.
So...the Picard Trek was something out of the ordinary for a televised series in that it featured as its lead an almost 80 year old man. Since Next Generation had a more cerebral captain than the Original Series with an action packed, cavorting captain this is not a huge change. Still in a limited series, a story arc should have something that drives it forward. To that end, this Trek does.
However, Star Trek fans can be a prickly bunch. And in recent years fan boys and fan girls have been pretty vocal about what they want to the point of attacking the actors as if they were one the ones that produced the scripts that cast too many girls or denied a relationship some wanted to see on screen. Woe is the showrunner who ignores this or gives too big a nod to to those who only have single mindedness for what a character should be.
So...for the purposes of this review I am going to judge the show on this criteria of it being faithful, unfaithful or innovative to the Trek story. Not every story has to be canon. The animated series was great Trek fun not connected to story canon on Trek. Likewise, the latest Star Trek movie series is a re-imagining of the series while Discovery and Picard are canon. It can be confusing for casual fans.
The plot for Picard is that the great man has been in retirement for years at vineyard in France after resigning his commission. Since the captain has always been a man of principle, this could be regarded as a faithful version of Trek. He is drawn into an adventure to save lives along with the Federation but finds he must do it as a civilian with a new crew and a new mission.