Television

Star Trek Sunday: Picard

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So, at long last, we all get to find out what I think about Star Trek: Picard.

Let’s see, how to be gentle about things.

It was boring, filled with interesting concepts but unrealized potential.

The action mostly wasn’t. There were moments, but they seemed almost obligatory rather than adding to the story in any significant way.

The plot is a series of sucker punches and cameos, a jumbled mess.

Don’t mince words, Lance. Tell us what you really think.

Okay. The characters, filled out by great actors, didn’t get a fair shake at backstory or a chance to grow beyond the limited dimensions they were given. And the single-story aspect of the season, the serialized story telling, doesn’t give any of the characters the possibility of growing.

There were a lot of cool things introduced, but most of them as throwaway moments or lines. The biggest of which is that I want to know a hell of a lot more about Picard’s household staff or bodyguards or whatever title might be appropriate.

And then there were the things that made my eyes hurt from rolling back so hard. Space Vegas. The climactic starship stand-off where the whole fleet was the same ship copy-pasted over and over. Borg parts are so valuable that they’re yanked out of XBs (eX-Borgs) without the benefit of anesthetic or carry about the host afterward. Fractal duplication. Not just secret police but secret secret police. The spce portal being opened to the dimension of the mechanical old ones.

Serialized storytelling has become the default and it’s not always necessary. Or very good. The serialized nature of Picard was neither necessary nor good. DS9 did most of the themes of Picard—compromised principles and dealing with failures—and did it better, twenty-plus years ago.

Much like season one of Discovery, in the drive to be darker, grittier, and more realistic, season one of Picard has lost the thing that makes Star Trek: the striving to be better than we are and pushing forward to explore a hopeful future. There’s no curiosity, there’s not much hope, and the future sucks just with better toys.

Blah, blah, blah, reflection of its time.

No, it isn’t. At least, it’s not supposed to be. Star Trek is a reflection of who we could be if we work for it.

And Star Trek: Picard certainly isn’t that. It’s a reflection of who we might become if we turn away from trying to be better and stop giving a shit about the world and the people around us. Is that really the Star Trek we need? The Star Trek we deserve?

I’m honestly pretty much completely disappointed with the show and the only thing that’s going to bring me back to season two is to find out what happens with Seven of Nine’s character. Jeri Ryan absolutely owned the screen for every second she was on it, seizing control from whoever she happened to be acting with and giving more emotion per frame to the viewer than any of us had any right to expect.

To finish this post, though, I’ll reiterate the message from the end of my post about Discovery (Or was it the reboot movies? Maybe both?): if it brings more people to Star Trek then I’m cool with it. I just may not watch it.

In fact, I think I have higher hopes for Lower Decks than for the next season of Picard.

Live long and prosper.

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