‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3 Heading to Disc Sept. 5; ‘Legacy Collection’ Due Nov. 7

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: Picard — The Final Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 5. Also available will be a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook.

The set includes all 10 episodes from the third season of the Paramount+ original series, in which Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is reunited with his former Enterprise crewmates from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in order to confront a new threat to the Federation from some old enemies.

“Star Trek: Picard” Season 3 Steelbook

In addition to Stewart, the cast LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge, Michael Dorn as Worf, Jonathan Frakes as Will Riker, Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, Brent Spiner as Commander Data, Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher, Todd Stashwick as Capt. Shaw, and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine.

The set also offers more than two-and-a-half hours of bonus materials, including a Q&A panel with the cast and production team, and the “Rebuilding the Enterprise-D” and “Villainous Vadic” featurettes. Exclusive to the disc release will be audio commentary on select episodes; the featurettes “The Gang’s All Here” and “The Making of the Last Generation”; deleted scenes; and a gag reel.

Also available Sept. 5 on Blu-ray and DVD will be Star Trek: Picard — The Complete Series, which includes all 30 episodes from the show’s three seasons and more than seven hours of special features.

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In addition, Paramount Nov. 7 will release Star Trek: The Picard Legacy Collection, a comprehensive individually numbered 54-disc Blu-ray boxed set touted to contain every series and film featuring the character of Jean-Luc Picard, spanning 208 episodes and four movies. Included are all seven seasons of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94); the “TNG” movies Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002); all three seasons of “Star Trek: Picard” (2020-2023); more than 35 hours of special features; and exclusive collectibles such as magnetic Capt. Picard badges, four custom Chateau Picard drink coasters, and a custom deck of playing cards. Rounding out the set is an exclusive version of the 2020 book The Wisdom of Picard, called The Wisdom of Picard: The Legacy Collection Edition, which features new cover art and includes quotes from the latest seasons of “Star Trek: Picard.” The press announcement didn’t mention whether the Picard Legacy Collection would also include the character’s appearance on the 1993 pilot episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Emissary.”

Update (9/26/23): Legacy Collection street date changed from Oct. 17 to Nov. 7

‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Mandalorian,’ ‘Picard’ Take Top Three Spots on Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart

Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings the week ended Feb. 24. The series had a 4.7% rise in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, giving it 59.4 times the demand of an average series. “Stranger Things” was No. 4 on Parrot’s list of overall TV shows.

Up a spot to No. 2 on the digital originals chart was the Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” which had a 0.67% rise in demand expressions to give it 47.5 times average demand as marketing ramps up in advance of the premiere of the show’s third season March 1.

The No. 3 digital original was “Star Trek: Picard,” which had its third-season premiere on Paramount+ Feb. 16, driving up demand expressions 25.4% to give it 45 times average demand and a bump of four spots on the chart.

Down two spots to No. 4 was Netflix’s “You,” which had an 18.4% drop in demand expressions and 38.7 times average demand.

Remaining No. 5 on the digital originals chart was the Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso,” which was announced to be returning for its third and potentially final season March 15. It had an 11.1% dip in demand expressions to give it 31.5 times average demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “South Park” with 113.2 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.


‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 Arriving on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 4

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: Picard — Season Two on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Oct. 4. The Blu-ray will also be available in limited-edition Steelbook packaging.

The 10 episodes of the second season of the Paramount+ original series find Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew waking up in an alternate 25th century reality in which humanity has formed an evil empire bent on galactic domination, prompting them to go back in time to 2024 to set things right. However, seemingly standing in their way is Picard’s old nemesis Q (John de Lancie), a trickster with the power over time and space.

The cast also includes Jeri Ryan, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Orla Brady, Santiago Cabrera, Brent Spiner, Annie Wersching, Ito Aghayere and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and several featurettes:

  • “The USS Stargazer” — a look at the series’ newest starship;
  • “The Chateau” — how production designers transformed Picard’s French manor;
  • “The Trial Is Over” — a profile of Q;
  • “Rebuilding the Borg Queen” — showcasing the return of another classic “Star Trek” enemy;
  • “Picard Props” — property master Jeff Lombardi presents some of the props created for the season;
  • “Picard Passages” — follow the characters through time and space to encounter old and new friends, as well as challenges, in the latest season.

‘Picard’ Up to No. 2 on Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart, Though ‘Mandalorian’ Remains No. 1

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 1 for a sixth week on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings the week ended March 11. The series hasn’t aired a new episode in more than a year, but still had 37.5 times the demand of an average series after a 3.7% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity.

Rising to No. 2 on the digital originals chart for the week, up nine spots from No. 11 a week earlier, was the Paramount+ original series “Star Trek: Picard.” It had 33.5 times average demand and a 35.7% jump in demand expressions following the premiere of its second season March 3. The new season features longtime “Star Trek” nemesis Q and a time travel scenario involving the characters existing in an evil version of the Federation.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” slipped to No. 3 on the digital originals chart. It had 33 times average demand after an 13.3% dip in demand expressions.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Book of Boba Fett” dropped a spot to No. 4 on the digital originals chart. It had 30.4 times the demand of an average series following a 12.3% drop in demand expressions. 

Netflix’s video-game inspired fantasy series “The Witcher” remained No. 5 with 28.6 times average demand after a 1.8% dip in demand expressions.

The Hulu limited series “Pam & Tommy” climbed two spots to No. 10 with 24.9 times average demand and a 3.4% rise in demand expressions. The series, which tells the story of the brief 1990s courtship and marriage of Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson, and the sex tape it spawned, had its finale released March 9.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 68.1 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

‘Hocus Pocus’ Remains Country’s Top-Selling Disc for Second Week

Disney’s perennial Halloween best-seller Hocus Pocus spent a second-consecutive week atop the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Oct. 10.

The 1993 film about three Salem witches transported to modern times frequently finishes in the top five during October.

Coming in at No. 2 on the overall disc sales chart, and No. 5 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, was Warner’s Beetlejuice. The creepy 1988 comedy from director Tim Burton is another catalog title getting a boost from the Halloween season. Likewise, Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas held onto the No. 4 spot, and jumped to No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart. And Warner’s It: Chapter One rose a spot to No. 5 on the overall disc chart.

The week’s top new release, at No. 3 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart, was Paramount’s Star Trek: Picard — Season One. The sci-fi series, a sequel to “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was initially released on the CBS All Access streaming service in January before making its way to disc Oct. 6.

Another newcomer, RLJE Films’ The Tax Collector, debuted at No. 6 overall and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart. The latest film from director David Ayer is a gritty drama about a pair of street thugs who collect protection money getting caught in the middle of a turf war.

Coming in at No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart (and No. 12 overall) was the newly released anime movie Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna from Shout! Factory.

Universal’s remake of The Secret Garden debuted at No. 7 on both charts.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 56% of first-week Picard disc sales, compared with 52% for Tax Collector, 49% for Secret Garden, and 95% for Digimon.

A Best Buy-exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook of Tax Collector accounted for 11% of the title’s total sales. The special 4K edition will be widely available Dec. 15.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 11, the Redbox-exclusive Ava remained No. 1 for a second week. Tax Collector debuted at No. 2, pushing Lionsgate’s The Silencing to No. 3.

Debuting as the No. 4 rental was Universal’s The 2nd, an actioner about an agent protecting the daughter of a Supreme Court justice from kidnappers.

Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream dropped to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-10-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-11-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-10-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-10-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 10-10-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 10-12-20

Halloween Movies Race Up ‘Watched at Home’ Chart as Holiday Nears

With catalog titles enjoying a resurgence of interest due to the lack of new theatrical films, the weekly “Watched at Home” chart shows several Halloween classics gaining home viewership as the holiday approaches.

Walt Disney’s Hocus Pocus, a perennial favorite this time of year, continues to climb up the chart, moving up two notches to No. 2 during the week ended Oct. 10. Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, from Warner, rose to No. 8 from No. 11 the prior week. And the 2018 remake of Halloween, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, debuted at No. 19 on the chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Aside from Halloween, there are four other new titles on the chart. Season one of “Star Trek: Picard,” from Paramount Home Entertainment, debuted at No. 7; the documentary The Phenomenon checked in at No. 9; the romantic comedy Then Came You bowed at No. 12; and the sci-fi drama 2067 debuted at No. 18.

“Star Trek: Picard,” the eighth series in the “Star Trek” franchise, premiered in January on the streaming service CBS All Access. Two more seasons are on the way. Patrick Stewart stars as Picard, reprising his role from the “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The cast also includes Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, and Santiago Cabrera. Season one became available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Oct. 6.

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The Phenomenon, from 1091, is director James Fox’s controversial documentary about unidentified flying objects, or “unidentified aerial phenomenon.” Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film includes interviews with high-ranking government and military officials, NASA astronauts, and other sources. The Phenomenon is only available through digital retailers for rental or purchase.

Then Came You, a Vertical Entertainment release, is a rom-com written by and starring Kathie Lee Gifford. She plays a lonely widow who travels around the world with her husband’s ashes, until she meets a Scottish innkeeper who forever changes her life. The film, too, is available through digital retailers only.

2067 stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men Apocalypse, Let Me In) and Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood,” “Sacred Lies”). In the film, by the year 2067, Earth has been ravaged by climate change and humanity is forced to live on artificial oxygen. An illness caused by the synthetic O2 is killing the worlds’ population and the only hope for a cure comes in the form of a message from the future: “Send Ethan Whyte.” Ethan, an underground tunnel worker, is suddenly thrust into a terrifying new world full of unknown danger as he must fight to save the human race.

2067 will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 17 from RLJE Films. Bonus features includes director commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette, including an in-depth look at the story, cast, director, the look of the film, costumes and makeup, the time machine, editing and VFX, and music.

Elsewhere on the chart, the No. 1 title for the third consecutive week was Ava, a thriller from Vertical Entertainment that stars Jessica Chastain as an assassin. The movie is also available to rent on disc exclusively from Redbox. However, the Watched at Home chart does not account for rental data.

The rest of the top 20 wasn’t much different from the previous week, with Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream and all three available season sets of Paramount’s “Yellowstone” remaining in the top six.

  1. Ava (Vertical)
  2. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  5. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  6. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  7. Star Trek: Picard: Season 1 (Paramount)
  8. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  9. The Phenomenon (1091)
  10. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  11. Alone (Magnolia)
  12. Then Came You (Vertical)
  13. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  14. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney)
  15. Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Warner)
  16. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  17. The Secret Garden (Universal)
  18. 2067 (RLJ Entertainment)
  19. Halloween (Universal, 2018)
  20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)


Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Oct. 10.

Star Trek: Picard — Season One


Street Date 10/6/20;
$39.99 DVD, $47.99 Blu-ray;
Not Rated;
Stars Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadway, Peyton List, Tamlyn Tomita, Jonathan Del Arco, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner.

Fans of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” eagerly anticipated this sequel series featuring Patrick Stewart’s return to the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard nearly two decades after the last time we saw him in action.

That would have been the disappointing 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, which ended with the android Data (Brent Spiner) sacrificing himself to save Picard from a deadly superweapon.

The new series picks up 20 years later, in the year 2399, with Picard settling into retirement at age 94 running his family’s winery in France. However, he remains haunted by Data’s death, as well as the Federation’s abandonment of a mission to ferry Romulan refugees to safety when their planet’s home star exploded 10 years prior (an event alluded to in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 movie).

His ennui is interrupted by a request for help from a young girl (Isa Briones) who turns out to be an android made of flesh and blood, fashioned by remnants of Data’s old programming. She’s being hunted by Romulan agents who consider her the portent of an invasion of artificial life forms that will lead to a galactic apocalypse.

For answers, Picard must find the girl’s twin sister, who happens to be working with a task force studying a ship abandoned by the Federation’s deadly enemy, the Borg, in Romulan space. So he assembles a crew of mercenaries to take him there.

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The creators of the show stress that this is very much not a retread of “TNG.” But that doesn’t rule out the occasional reunion here and there. The best episode of the first season’s batch of 10, for instance, involves Picard seeking temporary sanctuary with his old crewmates Riker and Troi (Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis), who now live on a distant planet with their daughter (Lulu Wilson).

In fact, the show is filled with references to the “TNG” era of “Star Trek” in the 1990s, and the Borg subplot provides a nice excuse to bring in Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), the former Borg from “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Less fortunate are characters who were just guest stars on previous “Trek” shows, as this new series has a nasty habit of having them gruesomely murdered to move the story along.

In addition to the gore, longtime fans might also be surprised by the frequent use of foul language, with Starfleet admirals dropping “F” bombs to a degree never seen on a “Star Trek” show. Remember when “Star Trek” was a family show?

The A.I. storyline ends up going off the rails by the end of the season, which turns out to be a convoluted excuse for eliminating a hanging plot point from “TNG” that didn’t even need to be addressed.

The kinds of fans that “Star Trek” usually attracts will likely fine the show ends up inadvertently raising two questions for every one it thinks it’s answering. The nostalgia is fun for a while, but a few clever references will hardly compensate for other aspects of the franchise the show glaringly ignores. (For specific deviations from established Trek lore, check out the Major Grin YouTube channel.)

The show isn’t covering much new ground in its treatment of androids and A.I., as many of the ideas relating to the nature of artificial existence were previously and better explored in Blade Runner and “Battlestar Galactica.”

In fact, given how the season ends, it almost feels as if the producers were trying to set up a “Star Trek” version of “Firefly.”

Still, the cast is great, and the season manages to squeeze some poignant moments from the legacy characters that fans won’t want to miss.

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The Blu-ray edition of the series offers a nice suite of extras to differentiate it from its streaming presentation on CBS All Access.

Every episode includes a brief behind-the-scenes featurette that runs three to seven minutes. A few episodes also include deleted scenes, though most of these are pretty inconsequential.

The first of three discs includes the “Children of Mars” short that serves as something of a prologue to the series. The disc also includes a 10-minute “Make It So” featurette about the creation of the show.

In addition, the first episode includes a quarantine-recorded picture-in-picture Zoom commentary with producers Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer and Hanelle M. Culpepper (who also directed the episode).

The third disc includes more making-of featurettes, including the 12-and-a-half-minute “Aliens Alive: The xBs,” about putting the actors into Borg makeup, with a particular focus on Jeri Ryan’s return to her famous role.

“Picard Props” is a 13-minute featurette about the creation of various knick-knacks and weapons used on the show.

“Set Me Up” is a 14-and-a-half-minute featurette about the production design of some of the starship interiors and Picard’s home, showing off a lot of great details.

“The Motley Crew” is a 19-minute featurette about the cast, including some of Briones’ audition footage.

Finally, there’s an eight-minute gag reel, which is pretty great if only for the amount of playful bickering we get to see between longtime friends Stewart and Frakes, who directed a number of the episodes.

Playing in the Fanboy Sandbox

The home video availability of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker  is sure to rekindle discussions over the legacy of the “Star Wars” franchise and the latest film’s contribution to it.

Star Wars fans mostly agree that Rise of Skywalker is a disappointing final chapter of the saga, but are embroiled in an online debate over which filmmaker is most responsible for “messing up” what has been termed “Disney’s trilogy.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Fans of J.J. Abrams will say that Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi deviated from the storylines set up in The Force Awakens, and that Abrams was merely doing the best he could with Rise of Skywalker. Johnson’s defenders will point out that Force Awakens was a superficial copy of better “Star Wars” movies, and Last Jedi at least tried to offer some depth to the new trilogy while simply extrapolating what was set up in Force Awakens. Last Jedi haters complain the film veers too much toward political messaging, and so forth. But it’s generally agreed upon that the trilogy as a whole suffers from a lack of planning a three-film storyline from the beginning of the production process. And this lack of planning has had a spillover effect on tie-in materials such as novels, comic books and reference books that suffer in quality for having to both explain the story gaps apparent in the new films, and exist with the new canon established therein.

Even the divisive qualities of the prequel trilogy haven’t sparked such animosity among the fanbase. So how did it come to this?

Certainly, the way the Internet tends to present some users with the false perception of expertise in any field of study has been a major contributing factor. But that’s true with just about any disagreement on anything these days. When it comes to the consideration of pop culture and fiction, there is definitely something deeper at play.

The reason that “Star Wars” endeared so many among the ranks of Generation X in the 1980s was the way it sparked our imaginations. Whether it was younger kids carrying on the battles between the Rebellion and the Empire on the playground, or older viewers pursuing careers in filmmaking and art, the franchise had an undeniable, tangible impact on the storytelling impulse of a generation.

There, in the backyard, we could swing our toy lightsabers to re-create epic moments of sacrifice; at the playground, we could chase each other with light-up blasters in pursuit of glory; in the sandbox, we could use our “Star Wars” action figures to continue the adventures of the characters we idolized on screen.

The unifying force through it all was the understanding that it was George Lucas’ story that was being told. He was the storyteller, and we were buying those action figures to play in his world. Even as some fans were disappointed by the prequels, there was still a grudging tolerance of them because Lucas had made them. Fans were willing to let him tell his story, absorb the lessons as they came, and react appropriately. And with many fans, they began to see the franchise in the new light of older eyes.

But the films of the Disney era are the first to be made by the generation influenced by the storyteller, not the storyteller himself.

As far as the fans were concerned, they had just as much a stake in the ongoing story as the likes of J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, who for all intents and purposes were just playing in the sandbox too. If they didn’t create the thing, then why should their interpretation of the stories be any more valid than any fan who had spent decades analyzing the franchise?

This potential perception of legitimacy makes it a smart move for any franchise to carry over creative forces from one regime to the next. So it’s not just J.J. Abrams working on The Force Awakens, but Lawrence Kasdan, one of the primary screenwriters Lucas worked with in creating the original trilogy. Or why the name of Dave Filoni, who worked with Lucas on the “Clone Wars” animated series, carries a lot of clout with fans.

Without the air of legitimacy in the fans’ eyes, subsequent adventures might seem like shallow re-creations of what came before.

Disney’s sequel trilogy itself offers a fitting metaphor for this phenomenon. Its villains, the First Order, come across as posers in their efforts to re-create the Galactic Empire, a generation of children seeking to emulate what their parents did, not unlike the way Abrams was just the templates of the earlier films without much regard to the lessons of them.

Johnson’s The Last Jedi, to its credit, pushes back on this a bit, allowing the characters to ruminate about the struggles of carrying on the legacy of the previous generation while recognizing the role their stories have in inspiring those who would come after them (symbolized quite literally at the end with a scene of kids on an alien planet playing with their own makeshift ‘Star Wars’ figures).

It’s Filoni, and even Jon Favreau to an extent, who are hailed by fans as the true heir to the “Star Wars” storytelling legacy, rather than the likes of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy or Abrams or Johnson, who are more prone to complaints of appropriating the saga for their own purposes. Hence, “The Mandalorian” served as something of a calming salve fans could unite behind.

Even such a respite, however, has done little to stop the kind of playground bickering we’ve seen from fans online when considering the movies, as if reduced to 10-year-olds arguing over their action figures by shouting “you’re doing it wrong!” Only the Internet lets them shout this at the studio itself.

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But the Internet and the wide dissemination of information even down to the flimsiest of rumor has added a new wrinkle to the fans’ relationships with their favorite franchises. Instead of just going to see the new movie every few years, they now can follow nearly all aspects of the production, from casting news, to leaked photos from shooting locations, to potential in-fighting between producers and directors. The race to post spoilers is so intense that it seems some fans aren’t even going to the movies anymore to enjoy the films, but just to confirm that what they didn’t like in the production rumors they heard actually came to pass. And when the story being told doesn’t meet their approval, they will complain until the studio caves in, or they denounce the franchise as having lost its way, putting so much stock into fictional characters as if they don’t have anything else to fixate on.

And thus, we are left with a caricature of the modern fan who wants both to have the story told to them while also dictating the direction of that story.

It’s not unlike the phenomenon that impacted professional wrestling in the 1990s, when the Internet let fans in on all the behind-the-scenes details that flew in the face of the in-ring storylines, and rather than be turned off by the idea that wrestling was “fake” only became more enamored with it. As promotions began blurring the lines between their backstage and storyline realities, the fans who had been known in the industry as “marks” because they were meant to believe the in-ring story (generally referred to as “kayfabe,” a term that encompasses the fiction of the wrestlers’ characters), thus took on a new title, the “smart mark,” or “smark” — the fan who appreciates the in-ring performance as an exhibition representing the more complex realities of locker-room politics.

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Another venerable franchise continuation being torn apart by the fan base lately is the CBS All Access revival of “Star Trek.”

Thus far, the new shows include “Star Trek: Discovery,” a prequel to the original 1960s series, and “Star Trek: Picard,” a sequel to “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” There are also a series of tie-in short films called “Short Treks” that expand upon the canon of the new Trek era.

While the shows exhibit high production values and dazzling visual effects, response from longtime “Trek” fans to these new shows has been overwhelmingly negative. “Discovery introduced so many bizarre plot elements right off the bat that it was hard to reconcile the show existing in the same timeline as the other “Trek” shows. It then spent its second season walking back all its high-concept ideas in an attempt to better conform to established canon — but the show’s attempt at self-negation makes it seem largely pointless. About the only aspect of the two seasons fans reacted positively to was the addition of Anson Mount as Capt. Pike, reintroducing the character from the 1960s show’s original unused pilot episode.

“Star Trek: Picard”

“Picard” at least started with some sense of hope, anchored by the assured presence of Patrick Stewart returning to the title role. Yet the story-arc of the 10-episode first season quickly began to spiral out of control with slow pacing, poor character development, disparate story threads and a muddled attempt to add to established “Trek” mythology.

Despite the high budgets and production values, these shows just aren’t that good on their own, never mind how they’re supposed to fit in the franchise (though on this latter point, most fans agree they don’t fit very well).

Tonally, these shows stem from Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot movie, an ill-conceived attempt to turn “Star Trek” into “Star Wars” simply to match Abrams’ own proclivities toward science-fiction. Much like Abrams’ “Star Wars” efforts, the reboot films were a shallow re-creation of established “Trek” lore and fizzled out once they squandered the audiences’ nostalgia for the property.

The new stewards of the brand who emerged from the Abrams films, such as Alex Kurtzman, aren’t even copying what “Star Trek” has done before as much as they are borrowing from other sci-fi franchises. The “Discovery” A.I. gone rogue plot smacks of “The Terminator.” And “Picard” bears similarities to the likes of “Blade Runner,” “Battlestar Galactica.” “Mass Effect” and even “Game of Thrones.” These connections are well documented on YouTube.

It is just another prime example of the gulf between audience expectation for a favored franchise, and the ability for new producers to deliver when they aren’t tied to the creative teams that gave life to the franchise to begin with.

The “TNG”-era shows of the 1990s, themselves viewed skeptically at first by fans of the original series, at least had executive producer Rick Berman, who worked with “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry on formulating the philosophies of the new shows, and worked to maintain them after Roddenberry died in 1991.

At the very least, in the absence of a connective creative presence, fans at least want to think the new shepherds of their favorite franchises are just as much fans as they are. Part of the problem with response to Johnson’s Last Jedi is that it exposed a rift in the fanbase about the interpretation of the “Star Wars” mythology (and Rise of Skywalker’s attempt to placate once set of fans over the other didn’t do anyone any favors).

“Star Trek,” it seems, has had the opposite problem, with new writers and producers coming in claiming to be fans and yet demonstrating a serious ignorance of the sandbox in which they’re supposed to be playing, not so much from an interpretative point of view, but just details of the canon that should have some impact on the new stories.

Unlike the kind of pass-the-baton storytelling fans didn’t like about the new “Star Wars,” the new “Star Trek” seems to have too many runners. The abundance of creative minds, very few of which having actually worked on “Star Trek” before, and some of which have hardly worked on anything good before, just leads to muddled story arcs, resulting in several attempts to retooling the show to respond to poor feedback and backlash.

“Star Trek: Picard”

“Picard” comes off as a bizarre appropriation of canon, excising what would be appropriate and fan-appreciated references to specific, relevant story points, in exchange for vague generalities about how established characters progressed from where we last saw them to where they are on this show.

Nostalgia, it seems, is the only thing keeping “Picard” afloat, but it’s hard to say how long that will last.

Without a course correction to deliver the type of “Star Trek” fans can enjoy again on a consistent basis, these new shows might end up tipping the scales the other way, enticing fans to tune in simply out of sheer morbid curiosity to see how bad it can get, almost to the point of wanting something to complain about if only to appreciate the earlier shows more (not unlike how the “Star Wars” prequels have earned a bit more appreciation from fans disenchanted by Disney’s sequels).

The ironic twist in all this, of course, is how the long (and overstated) rivalry between “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fans would find itself defused by J.J. Abrams, uniting them over a shared distaste for his efforts to restart both their beloved franchises.

‘Stranger Things’ Takes Top Spot on Parrot’s Originals Chart for Seventh Week; ‘Mandalorian’ No. 2

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended March 28, its seventh-consecutive week back in the top spot.

A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

“Stranger Things” registered 69.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 0.3% compared with the previous week.

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The Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” rose to No. 2 with 57.5 million expressions, up 6.3% from the previous week. The show received some publicity in the past week over reports that Rosario Dawson had been cast to play the live-action version of fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano in season two.

Speaking of Ahsoka Tano, the animated Disney+ series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which is in the midst of showing an Ahsoka Tano story arc, slid to No. 3, dropping 0.2% in expressions to 55.3 million.

The CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Picard” climbed to No. 4 with a 15.2% jump in expressions to 47.6 million. The finale of the show’s first season debuted March 26.

Netflix’s “The Witcher” rose a spot to No. 5, with expressions down 4.3% to 42.7 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Picard’ Star Announces Free Month of CBS All Access

Actor Patrick Stewart, star of the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Picard” took to Twitter March 24 to announce that fans can enjoy a free month of the SVOD service as they shelter in place at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBS All Access is offering a month-long subscription to anyone in the United States through April 23. To activate the offer, use the code GIFT while signing up for the service.

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The free month covers either the $5.99 plan with limited commercials or the $9.99 commercial-free option. Presumably the service will begin charging new users at the chosen plan rate following sunset of the month-long trial period unless they cancel before then.

“Star Trek: Picard,” which debuts the finale of its 10-episode first season Thursday, March 26, is the most-watched series on the service to date, according to CBS. The series is a sequel to the 1987-94 series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” taking the retired Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) on a new adventure decades after audiences last saw him.

Curious “Star Trek” fans can also check out two seasons of “Star Trek: Discovery,” as well as all previous “Star Trek” television series.

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The public announcement of the free month is an extension of efforts CBS All Access had been quietly implementing to maintain viewership; in recent months the service had been offering to extend its free seven-day trial period to a month for users who decided to cancel before triggering the first payment.