JEAN LUC RELOADED — Its official — Patrick Stewart is returning to the Star Trek franchise. The acclaimed Shakespearean actor is set to headline a new Star Trek series for CBS All Access, reprising his iconic Next Generationcharacter, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The project, which has been rumored since the June announcement of a Trek universe expansion with new series, was just unveiled by Stewart himself in a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention last week.
The new series, which is not a Star Trek: Next Generation reboot, will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. It will be shepherded by Star Trek: Discovery co-creator/executive producer Alex Kurtzman who was tapped to oversee development of new Star Trek content under a big new overall deal with CBS TV Studios.
“With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold,” Kurtzman said. “For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”
“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”
“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” Stewart continued. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”
Stewart is one of the most popular stars of the Star Trek franchise. He headlined the Star Trek: Next Generation series for its seven-season run and also portrayed Picard in the movies Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) as well as in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s pilot “Emissary.”
This is the third Star Trek series to be officially announced, joining Star Trek: Discovery, which is heading into its second season, and the upcoming Star Trek: Short Treks four-part limited series.
As I’ve mentioned before, I became a fan when William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy helmed the original series. In fact, I even got to talk to Shatner, while he was in a car en-route to Kennedy Airport once and to tell you the truth, to this day, I don’t even know how that even happened, because this was well before the advent of mobile phones. Go figure.
I loved Patrick Stewart and since this announcement, the media has bent over backwards with additional stories on this. Entertainment Weekly even ran a piece on the ten best episodes with Stewart/Picard-era. For me, and EW, it was “The Best Of Both Worlds” (1990), where Picard was assimilatedby the Borg, into Locutus. It was a fantastically well-written episode that ended with Picard, now returned to his human form, gazing out into space. Awesome episode. From the original series, it was “City on the Edge of Forever,” (1967) with Joan Collins. Written by Harlan Ellison, it was just a brilliant exercise all around. And, it didn’t even take place on the Enterprise.
I love Stewart … and wonder if with all the new CBS Star Trek shows, Shatner could return. Love him or not … he was Kirk.
NICKS NICKED — Series creator Ryan Murphy has confirmed that Stevie Nicks will return for American Horror Story: Apocalypse. She made an earlier appearance as the White Witch during the show’s 2014 series, titled Coven.
Set to debut Sept. 12 on FX, this new season of American Horror Storyrepresents a crossover between Coven and season one, called Murder House. Series actors Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe and others are also back. “So thrilled that the family is together again!” Murphy wrote via Twitter.
Nicks’ mystical fashion sense and on-stage persona were a direct inspiration for Rabe’s character, a Louisiana-based witch named Misty Day. The Fleetwood Mac star guest starred in “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks,” the 10th episode of the third season.
Her appearance on the show was no accident. “When I was growing up, I was always obsessed with those Stevie Nicks songs like “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy,” Murphy once told Entertainment Weekly.
That led directly to a special episode of Murphy’s musical comedy-drama series Glee featuring Fleetwood Mac’s music, and then to Nicks herself. “I have a good relationship with Stevie because of Glee,” Murphy added. “She is one of the few artists that have come to hang out. She’s just a wonderful, wonderful person.”
Two of her songs were featured in “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks,” including “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?” from 1985’s Rock a Little and “Rhiannon,” a No. 11 hit in 1976 for Fleetwood Mac.
SHORT TAKES — Donnie Kehr is all set for his Greatest Piano Men show, at The Capital Theatre in Port Chester August 16. We got a look at the set list yesterday and saw it filled with rock ‘n roll gold … Seen last night at the Rod Stewart/Cyndi Lauper show at MSG, Good ‘n Screwed’s Joanna Bonaro … Sad to see Pulse Magazine, from Long Island fold after a 13-year run. It was a great, glossy, tome that provided a real service to the Island. Their editor Nada Marjanovich (a close confidant Jimmy Dolan) did a terrific job. Steve Matteo’s monthly music-column there was a huge plus. Good luck … Whatever happened to Annamaria Fazio? Last summer we pegged her as the next teen-femme singer with several great tracks. Here she is with Micky Dolenz last year at the much missed B. B. King’s. Sad, great voice … PR-pasha David Salidor at downtown haunt The Odeon …CBS’ Salvation is getting its groove on. After a slow-start, it’s amped up the action. Am loving it … and, Alan Cumming’sInstinct, not renewed, seems to be getting back into action as we saw the crew shooting yesterday in Chelsea. This is definitely good news and the show was terrific!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & LIsa Cuddy; Zach Martin; Scott Shannon; Markos Papdatos; Matt Diamond; M.A. Cassata; Keith Girard; John Casale; John Fazio; Joel Diamond; Brad Balfour; James Edstrom; Mark Bego; Rory McEvoy; and, David Salidor.