the story: The daughters of separate Starfleet engineers at the Utopia Planetia shipyards are rivals until forced to discover common ground under the worst circumstances.
review: I think Short Treks is becoming the most reliable source of great franchise material we've ever seen. "Children of Mars" continues its emerging tradition of bucking traditional Star Trek storytelling forms, and in the process gives us another transcendent experience, and could actually be the best of them yet.
A mostly wordless experience (much like "Ephraim and Dot"), we follow the arc of two girls who engage in fairly typical school behavior. The whole thing becomes an object lesson not only in how these things happen, but reaches far beyond the franchise to speak at truly universal levels. Again, Short Treks achieves something that can be viewed by someone who has never seen and never imagined liking Star Trek, and can easily be appreciated for its remarkable accomplishments.
The Star Trek ideal has always been at the heart of its appeal among fans, its idealistic vision of a future where humanity has reached, at last, a state of peace with itself. But even in Kirk's day Spock still felt the sting of racism. The integration of aliens into the culture was something Enterprise explored, with particularly compelling results in its final season. By the time we see the image of Picard, and realize this is part of the Star Trek: Picard landscape, we realize that humanity still has a way to go. This isn't Star Trek rejecting its own message, but continually affirming it.
We won't know the particular relevance of "Children" to Picard until Picard itself But that hardly stands in the way.
- franchise - Speaks directly to the heart of Star Trek's message.
- series - Begins to emphasize that Short Treks itself has become a viable representative of the franchise.
- character - In this instance, Starfleet itself.
- essential - A breathtaking artistic achievement.