Essential Star Trek Stories To Watch Before Picard

With Star Trek: Picard hitting our screens in 17 days time, we will finally get to see what Jean Luc Picard has been up to in the decades since we last saw him. But the Picard we will see in the new series is going to be a far cry from the man we left at the end of Nemesis, with his retirement, his former Enterprise family all moved onto other postings, the loss of Data and a “event” that has forever changed our beloved Captain, just who will be the Picard we see in this new series?

We know that the new series will not be Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part Two and the tone and direction of the show will differ from what we are accustomed to and all the trailers and TV spots that have been released thus far have given us a small glimpse of what to expect, with, The Romulans, The Borg, a New Crew, and the return of familiar faces with Riker, Troi, Hugh and Seven of Nine all set to reprise their Star trek roles, we are left wondering what brings Picard out of retirement to save the galaxy once more and what was the “event” in Picard’s past that has triggered him to be so different from the man we once knew.

(CBS) Data – Final Picard Version

However, while we are left to ponder what exactly forces Picard out of retirement and what happened to him to make him a changed man, now would be a perfect time to prepare yourself for what is shaping up to be one hell of a ride.

To give you a helping hand as 17 days is not long enough to binge-watch all 178 episodes of TNG, 4 feature-length movies and several episodes of DS9 & Voyager, we have compiled a list of “must watch” episodes through out the entire Star Trek catalogue to help bring you up to speed on what we think will be a needed refresh on certain characters and history from the world of Trek…

TNG Seasons 1 – 7

(CBS) “Encounter At Farpoint” – TNG S1

Season 1

Episode 1 – “Encounter at Farpoint – Start the journey of Picard and meet the man who became a legend.

Synopsis – On the maiden mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), an omnipotent being known as Q challenges the crew to discover the secret of a mysterious base in an advanced and civilized fashion.

Episode 9 – “The Battle – With Picard putting a new crew together, in this episode, we learn about Picard’s past command the U.S.S. Stargazer, and see the “Picard manoeuvre,” in action.

Synopsis – Beware Ferengi bearing gifts. Capt. Picard receives the Stargazer, a ship considered lost that he once commanded.

Episode 13 – “DataLore – In this episode, we get to visit the home planet of Data and meet Datas brother, Lore. With Data and other androids being a plot point in the upcoming series this episode is a must.

Synopsis – The Enterprise visits the planet where Data was created and discovers another android like him, but when he’s assembled, he’s not EXACTLY like him.

Episode 24 – “We’ll Always Have Paris – We get to see Picard second guess himself and the choices he has made a theme that will potentially play a part in the new show.

Synopsis – A scientist’s experiment in time goes awry, reuniting Picard with an old flame, now married to the scientist.

(CBS) “Measure os a Man” – TNG S2

Season 2

Episode 9 – “The Measure of a Man – Openly recognised as one of the shows best episodes, For the first time, we get to see just how close Picard and Data are and to what lengths Picard will go to in protecting one of his crew, not only that but with the image of what appears to be a newly constructed android in the trailer, but this episode also sets the stage for the question of “will these androids have sentient rights

Synopsis – When Data resigns his commission rather than be dismantled for examination by an inadequately skilled scientist, a formal hearing is convened to determine whether Data is considered property without rights or is a sentient being.

Episode 16 – “Q-Who – Simply this episode serves as an introduction to the Borg the foe who will later assimilate Picard and is a MUST watch.

Synopsis – Q tries to prove that Picard needs him as part of their crew by hurling the Enterprise 7,000 light-years away where they encounter the Borg for the first time.

(CBS) “Who Watches the Watchers” – TNG S3

Season 3

Episode 4 – “Who Watches the Watchers – Furthering our understanding of Picard and how he cherishes everything Starfleet holds dear, his encounter with the Proto Vulcan race the “Mintakans” shows us that Picard will do what is necessary to protect a sentient race from harm.

Synopsis – A proto-Vulcan culture worships Captain Picard and prepares to offer Counselor Troi as a sacrifice.

Episode 10 – “The Defector – The Romulans are going to be a big, big part of Picard, This episode examines a defecting Romulan who brings Picard word of a potential invasion of the Federation by the Star Empire. This episode showcases the stresses between the two factions but it shows another side to the almost-always-duplicitous portrayal of the Romulans.

Synopsis – When a Romulan officer defects to the Federation with a warning of an impending invasion, Capt. Picard struggles to decide if he is to be believed.

Episode 16 – “The Offspring – Data creates his own “child,” much to the chagrin of his captain, and without regard to the ramifications with Starfleet. will Starfleet still have these reservations with newly built androids as seen in the Picard trailers?

Synopsis – After returning from a cybernetics conference to the Enterprise, Data creates his own “child,” much to the chagrin of his captain, and without regards to the ramifications with Starfleet.

Episode 19 – “Captain’s Holiday – Although this episode has no direct relevance to the new series, it is a must watch as we learn a lot about Picard in this episode.

Synopsis – After mediating a difficult trade agreement, Captain Picard is encouraged to take a much-needed rest on a vacationing planet, where he’s visited by a strange race from the future, in search of a dangerous weapon.

Episode 26 – “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1 – Widely regarded as the best episode of TNG, this episode is the start of a hugely important arc for Picard and the start of a legacy that will haunt Picard personally for the rest of his life, and will no doubt be significant to the new show.

Synopsis – Responding to a distress call on one of the Federation’s outer-most colonies, the Enterprise arrives…only to find a big hole in the ground where the town used to be, and discovers the Borg are behind the attack.

(CBS) “The Best Of Both Worlds” – TNG S3/S4

Season 4

Episode 1 – “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2See Above!

Synopsis – Having assimilated Captain Picard and his knowledge, the Borg head for Earth, leaving Riker and the Enterprise desperate for an unanticipated way to defeat them.

Episode 2 – “Family – Dealing with the aftermath of his assimilation and the ensuing trauma it caused, in this episode, we get to not only meet his family, but we also get to see Chateaux Picard, one of the main settings to the new series.

Synopsis After defeating the Borg, the crew of the Enterprise experiences shore leave in various ways. Captain Picard’s return to his family’s vineyard in France has some extraordinary repercussions.

(CBS) “Unification Parts 1 & 2” – TNG S5

Season 5

Episodes 7 & 8 – “Unification Parts 1 & 2” – This two-part episode serves to show us a previously undepicted side to the Romulan Empire in the form of the “Underground Peace Movement” and how this movement might play a role in the new show.

Synopsis Picard and Data follow Spock into Romulan space on a dangerous mission. Once there Picard finds Spock, as well as an underground peace movement, a double agent, a bold ulterior motive against the Federation, and a familiar foe.

Episode 19 – “The First Duty” – This episode showcases Picard’s strong sense of justice and his strong sense of trust in his family, friends and his crew.

Synopsis – Wesley Crusher’s team has an accident at Starfleet Academy. Picard offers to help a Starfleet investigation as to what happened, and begins to suspect they are hiding something.

Episode 23 – “I Borg” – Meet Hugh, “Third of Five“, along with furthering Picards Borg experiences and showing how even years later his encounter still haunts him, we get to meet Hugh who will play a pivotal role in the new series.

Synopsis – The Enterprise finds a lone Borg drone, separated from the collective, and brings him aboard. The drone begins to reassert his individuality, but his presence causes differing levels of fear and sympathy from various crew members.

Episode 25 – “The Inner Light” – Picard lives a lifetime in only several minutes. This episode has a long-lasting impact on Picard and helps shape the man he becomes from now on and shows Picard’s capacity for empathy and compassion.

Synopsis – Picard awakes to find himself living in a small village where he is a well-known member of the community who is suffering from a delusion of being a starship captain.

(CBS) “Chain Of Command Parts 1 & 2” – TNG S6

Season 6

Episodes 10 & 11 – “Chain Of Command Pts 1 & 2” – Taken prisoner, tortured and subjected to humiliation by the Cardassians, this two-parter highlights Picard will do anything to survive while upholding his morals and values. This trauma stays with Picard but does not break him.

Synopsis – Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise so he, Lt. Worf and Dr Crusher go on a top-secret mission into Cardassian space. Meanwhile, his replacement, Captain Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew. With the Enterprise under Jellico’s Command, he leads the effort to prevent a Cardassian invasion, Picard is captured and tortured by a ruthless interrogator in an attempt to break him.

Episode 15 – “Tapestry” – With Picard retired, and returning to his family’s vineyard, this is a far cry from the Picard we have grown to know deeply over the last few decades, so what made him choose this “safer” path? Tapestry, show what Picards could have been like had he not chosen the riskier path he did earlier in life.

Synopsis – In this episode, Q allows a supposedly deceased Captain Jean-Luc Picard to re-visit a pivotal event in his youth that he since regrets.

Episode 26 – “Descent Pt 1” – Furthering the Story of Hugh, we get to see exactly what happened to him after his encounter with Picard and crew in “I Borg”.

Synopsis – After an encounter with the Borg, Data feels his first emotion when he gets angry with the Borg. Data then tries to find ways to recreate the situation in order to feel emotions again, whilst the Enterprise investigates the Borg activity, and are bewildered as to why they feel emotions too.

(CBS) Hugh in “Decent” – TNG S6/S7

Season 7

Episode 1 – “Decent Pt 2” – Continuing the Story of Hugh, we leave him as an Individual, what will become of him? No doubt we will find out in Picard

Synopsis – Before Lore can run risky experiments on Geordi, Troi and Picard, the three seek a way to re-boot Data’s ethical program that Lore switched off to pull Data to his side.

Other Next Gen Episodes worth mentioning and will further your prep if you have time…
  • The Enemy – Season 3, Ep 7
  • Sarek – Season 3, Ep23
  • Brothers – Season 4, Ep 3
  • Datas Day – Season 4, Ep 11
  • The Drumhead – Season 4, Ep 21
  • The Perfect Mate – Season 5, Ep 21
  • Gambit Pts 1 & 2 – Season 7 Ep 4 & 5
  • Inheritance – Season 7, Ep 10
  • All Good Things – Season 7, Ep 25
(VicaomCBS) “Star Trek: First Contact”

TNG Movies

First Contact – The Borg return, explore just to what extent the Borg affected Picard and what lengths he is willing to go to seek revenge for what they did to him.

Insurrection – Picards values are what we all love about this iconic Captain, but as we have seen in this film he will even rebel against Starfleet when it means upholding what he holds dear. will he have to rebel again in the new series to keep the galaxy safe?

Nemesis – Not only do we get to see a lot more about the Romulan Empire, but we also meet another Soong Android “B4”. and we also have to say goodbye to a much-loved character, one that is set to return in Picard but not as we have seen him before.

(CBS) 7 of 9 – Picard


Seasons 3 – Episode 26 – “Scorpion Part 1” – Go back to the beginning where we meet 7 of 9 for the first time.

Season 4 – Episode 1 – “Scorpion Part 2” – Now-former Borg drone Seven of Nine starts her journey to reclaim her individuality

Season 4 – Episode 6 – “The Raven” – this episode highlights sevens nuance and complexity. It also highlights the tragic nature of her young life and her Assimilation, this episode is one of a handful that focuses on her and her journey to become human again.

Season 5 Episodes 15 & 16 – “Dark Frontier, Pts 1& 2” – Following on from “The Raven” we get to find out more about Seven’s back story from when she was a child and her time in the collective, and her newfound desire to reclaim what was taken from her!

Season 6 – Episode 16 – “Collective” – With Seven set to be the one who helps those who can not help themselves, this episode sets up her “maternal instinct” and what is sure to have led to the reason why she is now so set on helping others.

Season 7 – Episode 25 – “Endgame” – With the Borg featuring in Picard, see where we leave the collective in 2378, 20 years prior to Picard, are the Borg no more or have they returned in some way?

Other Voyager episodes worth mentioning and will further Seven’s journey from Borg to Individual

  • One – Season 4, Ep 25
  • Drone – Season 5, Ep 2
  • The Voyager Conspiracy – Season 6, Ep 9
  • Childs Play – Season 6, Ep 19
  • Unimatrix Zero – Seasons 6, Ep 26 & Season 7, Ep 1
  • Imperfection – Season 7, Ep 2
  • Human Error – Season 7, Ep 18
(ViacomCBS) The Hobus Supernova – “Star Trek 2009”


We know that the Hobus incident will play a part in the new show so we highly recommend you watch Star Trek 2009 which explains exactly what happens to Romulus and the forced relocation of the Romulan people and how it changed everything for the Romulan people.

Watch the trailer below

Star Trek: Picard will air on January 23rd 2020 on CBS All Access in the USA, CTV SCi-Fi/Crave TV in Canada and will be released the next day January 24th 2020 on Amazon Prime Video Internationally.