Okay, We're Ready For The Seven Of Nine And Captain Shaw Spin-Off After Star Trek: Picard Season 3

Back in 2020, prior to the debut of "Star Trek: Picard," lead actor Patrick Stewart explained to several reporters that he would only return to the show if he wasn't required to wear a Starfleet uniform. He didn't want to simply go back to the same schtick seen on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" some 30 years earlier, preferring to revisit Picard as a retired civilian. While this is a reasonable demand, a "Star Trek" series that wasn't about Starfleet, or that didn't take place on a starship that was actively trekking, proved difficult for the writers. The first two seasons of "Picard" centered on outsized, byzantine mysteries that involved interdimensional robots (in season 1) and causality loops (in season 2). There was no formal chain of command and no central technological haven for the characters to reconnoiter. 

These missing elements were restored for the third season of "Picard," and it seems they were key to making the series "feel" like "Star Trek" again. This season so far is a marked improvement over the first two, feeling like one of the more action-forward "Star Trek" feature films than a strange, loose adventure story. It helps that much of the action takes place on board the U.S.S. Titan-A, a retrofitted starship that was once commanded by Capt. Riker (Jonathan Frakes). The Titan-A is now commanded by the curt, self-professed a-hole Capt. Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick), the kind of character one loves to hate. His first officer is Cmdr. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), having re-entered Starfleet after a long career as a bounty hunter. 

This season of "Picard" may be focused on, well, Picard, but once his adventure is done and the season has ended, could Trekkies humbly request a spinoff series about Shaw and Seven on the Titan?

Star Trek: Titan

The makers of "Star Trek: Picard" have included a surprising amount of background detail on the U.S.S. Titan to assure hard-gazing Trekkies that, yes, this is indeed a proper starship with a full crew and its own technological foibles. Mike Okuda, one of the main designers of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" returned to design the computer panels, making Trek computers look like they had indeed advanced in the last several decades. Also, one can see a full crew on board, including the Vulcan Lt. T'Veen (Stephanie Czajkowski), the Bajoran Lt. Matthew Arliss Mura (Joseph Lee), the Haliian Ens. Kova Rin Esmar (Jin Maley), and the snippy Trill chief medical officer Dr. Ohk (Tiffany Shepis). Already, a unique ensemble is being formed under our noses. 

Importantly, a command dynamic is already being explored between Shaw and Seven. Shaw, formerly an engineer, is a commander who plays by the rules and is always very careful to do things by the book. He is aggressively closed to making exceptions for his crew, and has no interest in creating a warm work environment for those in his command. Previous "Star Trek" captains could sometimes be firm or assertive, expecting their crew to behave professionally, but they always fostered a team that would work well together and knew when it was appropriate to be social or candid. Shaw clearly has no such compunctions, making him a bad boss ... but not a terrible starship captain. 

Meanwhile Seven, coming from the U.S.S. Voyager, once worked under a captain (Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew) who considered her crew her family. She prefers a chain of command that allows for warmth, for intuition, for coloring outside the lines. 

Coloring inside the lines

A Titan TV series would allow Trekkies to see the working relationship between Shaw and Seven play itself out on a weekly basis, with each keeping the other in check. Shaw has a tendency to be flip, and Seven could reign him in. Seven has a tendency to break rules, and Shaw could reign her in. They may not like each other, but over the course of "Picard," they learn to respect each other, and that's exciting drama. The two characters' working dynamic could carry a whole series.

"Star Trek" has long been expressly about the chain of command, about formalism, and about military propriety. A character like Shaw, while indeed kind of an a-hole, fits perfectly into "Star Trek." Comparisons to the brusque Capt. Jellico (Ronny Cox) from the two-part "Next Generation" episode, "Chain of Command" (December 14, 1992), are not inappropriate. His crew doesn't like him, but he gets the job done. Equally, however, "Star Trek" has also been about unpacking the messier contradictions in human nature. Are we driven by structure, or is there an emotional element that drives us? The original "Star Trek" was largely about a passionate human (Dr. McCoy), a logical Vulcan (Spock), and the leader that balances them (Capt. Kirk). 

A similar fundamental balance seems to be playing itself out with the "Picard" characters. And the balance is so appealing, Trekkies are already imagining what it might look like when serialized. 

Although one might need a title other than "Star Trek: Titan." It seems that was already a series of tie-in novels. Maybe one can call it "Titan A.E." for "After Enterprise." That one's available, right?