No Man’s Land audio drama delivers fun, action and romance –

Star Trek: Picard: No Man’s Land
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio (February 22, 2022)
Duration: 1h39

As Star Trek: PicardWith the first season of Trek coming to an end, a fleeting shot in the final scene caused a stir among Trek fans. As the camera swept through La Sirena showing the newly assembled crew settling into life after the Synth Crisis was resolved, we saw Raffi Musiker and Seven of Nine seated at a table in the ship’s hold, and hand de Raffi reached out to Seven in a gesture of affection. Then the camera passed, and it was over, but the suggestion of a possible romance between the two characters set the Trek verse on fire. Would they become a couple? What kind of relationship would that be, knowing what we know of who they are as people – Raffi coming back from a drug addiction that cost her a Starfleet career, a husband and son, and Seven shaken by the death of ‘Icheb and Hugh, his relationship with the Borg Queen and his long time as a member of the Fenris Rangers. Could Raffi overcome her addiction and Seven her intense anger and isolation long enough to truly form an intimate bond?

Enter Star Trek: Picard: No Man’s Land, an immersive full-cast audio drama from Simon & Schuster, written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson and featuring the voices of Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine. Not an audiobook, rather it is a fully immersive audio experience, a play or TV episode without visuals but with full sound effects, voices and a musical score. Beyer, a longtime Trek novelist specializing in Star Trek: Voyager books, personal writer on Star Trek: Discoveryand co-creator and author of Star Trek: Picard has the depth of experience with the characters to make this story a treat, and Johnson, longtime writer of Star Trek comics for IDW and frequent collaborator with Beyer on some of that company’s tie-in comics is partnered with ideal writing for her. The result is a unique Star Trek experience so far, the first of what I hope will be many audio drama episodes to come.

Having listened to audio dramas in the past, namely a sprawling 13-disc dramatization of The Lord of the Rings trilogy produced by Brian Sibley in 1999 and the Time Warner AudioBooks production in 1993 of Superman lives!—I knew the challenges of the medium. Since the audience cannot see what is happening and there is no narrator, all descriptions must be spoken by the characters or conveyed in some way through sound effects and music. This can lead to awkward lines, things that don’t sound like natural dialogue, like Raffi describing six Romulans standing next to a shuttle at one point in this drama. But Beyer and Johnson usually handle these situations with skill, and very few moments are enough to drag you out of the story.

What the format does well is invite you into the characters’ lives at a pace and intimacy that a typical TV episode doesn’t, with the deep bonus of the skills of the actors we know and love in their roles for help us hear what is going on in the hearts of the characters. Simply put, Hurd and Ryan are fantastic in this piece, expressing only with their voices what they are used to doing with their bodies, faces, costumes and makeup. The story takes us through an adventure that begins shortly after the end of season 1 of Star Trek: Picard and provides the context that will surely complement and enrich what we will learn in season 2 of the series. Kind of like Una McCormack’s tie-in novel Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hopethis audio drama will make the on-screen experience better and richer.

But this is not the only joy of this drama. Beyer and Johnson take us into the world of the Fenris Rangers and introduce a number of great new characters, especially Rangers’ Hyro and Deet, two aliens whose weirdness is so well conveyed through dialogue and audio performances that it’s easy to visualize them in your head. They made me laugh several times during the 1 hour and 40 minutes of the drama. Voiced by Jack Cutmore-Scott and John Kassir, these two characters are joined by John Kassir doing double duty as Professor Gillin and Lower decks‘ Fred Tatasciore as the one-and-a-half-note villain, the Romulan Rynin.

The story is fun and gives us a good look at the Seven/Raffi relationship, but a basic villain and a fairly pedestrian plot are two weaknesses of the play. All in all a fun and interesting production. My only caveat is the price – I didn’t think $15 was the right price. Considering that a month of Paramount+ is $7 and a month of Disney+ is $8, paying $15 for an audio drama that’s less than two hours doesn’t seem like enough bang for my buck. From my perspective, I would say $10 would be a fair price for what I got; however, if my $15 helps create a market for more (reasonably priced) audio drama in the future, it’s probably money well spent.

To verify All Star Trek AccessInterview with authors Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson.

No Man’s Land clip

In this clip, Raffi and Seven land on the planet Ebla expecting a bloodbath with Romulan warlord Rynin, but instead realize the Romulans are really out to kidnap someone Seven knows. .

On sale now

Ordered Star Trek: Picard: No Man’s Land at Amazon/Audible for $14.95.

No Man’s Land is written by picard co-creator and writer Kirsten Beyer with veteran Star Trek comic book writer Mike Johnson. In addition to Raffi and Seven, the audio drama features a full cast playing all-new characters, including Romulan warlord Rynin, a Fenris Ranger, various exotic aliens, and more. The voice cast includes Fred Tatasciore (Shaxs on Star Trek: Lower Decks), John Kassir (Cryptkeeper on HBO’s Tales from the Crypt), and John Cutmore-Scott (a featured character in the ABC series Deception). In addition, it will feature real Star Trek: Picard sound effects such as transporters, weapons, explosions, etc.

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