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Star Trek Picard is Out and...

...unfortunately it’s almost all a total letdown. I wouldn’t deem it a miserable failure just yet as there are still some episodes left in the season but we are now 6 in and each time it’s just gotten worse and worse.

I honestly expected a lot from this show and I definitely expected better, but I have to say that so far a lot of it has been even worse than Discovery season 1. Kurtzman and Stewart have taken the bright, hopeful, inspirational world of Star Trek and turned it into a dark, depressing dystopian murder-filled nightmare-world. I remember back in the day when DS9 first premiered that some Trek fans complained its overall tone was “too dark” for Trek. Those people must be having strokes after witnessing an episode of Picard.

I had been avoiding talking about this issue because I really didn’t want to kick the hornet’s nest and get something started and all but after Icheb and then Hugh, I had to type something out. I just couldn’t hold my rage and sadness in any longer. I suppose I could just do a YouTube podcast like everyone else but this felt better to me. Also, I think I’m more likely to get rational discussion of all the material rather than blanket condemnation or congratulating.

I’ve noticed than some have posited that there’s a socio-political agenda at work within STP but honestly I can’t say I’ve really noticed anything overt like that. To me, it’s just been overly dark and a lot of bad writing and mischaracterizations. Older crew, like Riker, aren’t on the screen long enough to make me nostalgic and happy and the new crew just doesn’t have any real depth to them. I mean, I have no real empathy for these characters because they don’t seem real to me, just actors playing parts rather than actual characters talking.

Then there’s the lighting. Oh God, the friggin’ lighting. I don’t know the reason why but apparently ships in this time period are now automatically set to “night mode”. It’s like they have one rail of dim track lighting and a couple of desk lamps and that’s it. Sooner or later I expect we’ll see characters creeping about the ship with a candle, going to stoke the logs in the fireplace.

There are just so MANY little and big things that I simply have not liked at all about this show. I seriously am finding myself looking forward to season 3 of Discovery more than I am the rest of this season of STP. So, what are your thoughts? Am I wrong? How wrong? In what way? Am I right? How so?
Weirdly enough, I’m also Vulcan Housewife. Also, RNGesus hates me, like really, REALLY hates me.

Comments

  • I enjoy Picard very much, except for a couple of strange things I'll come back to later. Probably because my favourite show is DS9, I don't mind the darker overtones, which I find are rooted in reality. Evolution of society has always had its ups and downs. E.g. From the highs of the Roman Empire (the Pax Augusta) to the descent into the Middle Ages. Inevitably, progress is halted or even thwarted by some major crisis and it takes a paradigm shift to move forward again. One could argue that humanity is facing another such crisis with climate change. Obviously, Picard is set in such a period of a major crisis and resolution of this crisis is needed to move humanity forward again. And aversity always allows for more interesting stories than prosperity.

    As for the characters, I really like Rios and his various holograms. It allows for some comic relief. But I don't buy his flirtation with Dr. Jurati; I didn't see any chemistry between them previously. Narek is a similar complex character that I like; he appears to be genuinely torn by his genuine feelings for Soji and his duty. But I don't understand the incestuous flirtation with Narissa, which seems totally unnecessary. The concept of Dahj and Soji being Data's daughters I find to be intriguing.

    The Romulan infiltration subplot is a bit annoying; it reflects the sign of our times after 9/11, just as the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, which I couldn't stomach any more after a couple of episodes because you simply cannot trust anyone anymore. The occasional spy/subvert is nice and interesting, if everyone can become a spy, you'll get McCarthyism all over again. (Homeland is another example of a series I couldn't stomach for this reason). Raffi seems more related to this subplot, and that is probably why I'm not really connecting to her (yet). I could have done without the reconnect with her son. And because Dr. Jurati also seems related to this plot, I don't have a connection with her. I am also not certain about the Romulan aversion towards synths.

    Elnor (I haven't seen ep 7, btw) is an interesting addition except for the Elves in Space connection. Why anyone would want to bring a sword to a gunfight is beyond me. The fact that he emerges victorious is ridiculous; with these techniques he should be long dead before the start of the series . Still, the concept of a Romulan assassin in the team is interesting.

    If I compare Picard to Discovery (and I do enjoy Discovery to a certain extent), it compares favorably for me. I have serious doubts about season 3 of Discovery. How could a crew with a 22nd century star ship be able to hold their own 800 years later? It's Voyager again with a vengeance. Remember VOY's limited cache of photon torpedoes, which was depleted multiple times over? Or the multiple casualties that somehow never had an impact on VOY's operations? And Disco's season 2 had its problems as well. If you buy the Red Angel as Burnham's mother in a time travel suit being able to go to any time or place, it still does not explain how she could have moved humans to another planet entirely. Discovery requires some serious suspense of disbelief, but it can be very enjoyable if you manage to achieve that. I am looking forward to a series with Anson Mount as Pike, if they decide to make that show.

    But every Trek show has its problems. TNG with Troi stating the obvious (Aliens with phasers on kill, "Captain, I sense anger", no kidding), except when she can't for story telling purposes. Also her counseling is often cringeworthy, e.g. the dialogue with Picard in the excellent episode Family, aftermath of BOBW. Also its scientific gaffes, like the finale where all 3 Enterprises fire their beam and suddenly they start to see something that was supposed to only grow backwards in time. Also some very cringeworthy episodes where some real-life issue needed to be addressed (e.g. The Cost of Living, or The Outcast).
    Most anticipated character not in the game: Mr. Homn
  • Data1001Data1001 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Elnor (I haven't seen ep 7, btw) is an interesting addition except for the Elves in Space connection. Why anyone would want to bring a sword to a gunfight is beyond me.

    Hey, it works time and time again for the Jedi. :p


    Could you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing.
    ~ Data, ST:TNG "Haven"
  • I enjoy Picard very much, except for a couple of strange things I'll come back to later. Probably because my favourite show is DS9, I don't mind the darker overtones, which I find are rooted in reality. Evolution of society has always had its ups and downs. E.g. From the highs of the Roman Empire (the Pax Augusta) to the descent into the Middle Ages. Inevitably, progress is halted or even thwarted by some major crisis and it takes a paradigm shift to move forward again. One could argue that humanity is facing another such crisis with climate change. Obviously, Picard is set in such a period of a major crisis and resolution of this crisis is needed to move humanity forward again. And aversity always allows for more interesting stories than prosperity.

    As for the characters, I really like Rios and his various holograms. It allows for some comic relief. But I don't buy his flirtation with Dr. Jurati; I didn't see any chemistry between them previously. Narek is a similar complex character that I like; he appears to be genuinely torn by his genuine feelings for Soji and his duty. But I don't understand the incestuous flirtation with Narissa, which seems totally unnecessary. The concept of Dahj and Soji being Data's daughters I find to be intriguing.

    The Romulan infiltration subplot is a bit annoying; it reflects the sign of our times after 9/11, just as the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, which I couldn't stomach any more after a couple of episodes because you simply cannot trust anyone anymore. The occasional spy/subvert is nice and interesting, if everyone can become a spy, you'll get McCarthyism all over again. (Homeland is another example of a series I couldn't stomach for this reason). Raffi seems more related to this subplot, and that is probably why I'm not really connecting to her (yet). I could have done without the reconnect with her son. And because Dr. Jurati also seems related to this plot, I don't have a connection with her. I am also not certain about the Romulan aversion towards synths.

    Elnor (I haven't seen ep 7, btw) is an interesting addition except for the Elves in Space connection. Why anyone would want to bring a sword to a gunfight is beyond me. The fact that he emerges victorious is ridiculous; with these techniques he should be long dead before the start of the series . Still, the concept of a Romulan assassin in the team is interesting.

    If I compare Picard to Discovery (and I do enjoy Discovery to a certain extent), it compares favorably for me. I have serious doubts about season 3 of Discovery. How could a crew with a 22nd century star ship be able to hold their own 800 years later? It's Voyager again with a vengeance. Remember VOY's limited cache of photon torpedoes, which was depleted multiple times over? Or the multiple casualties that somehow never had an impact on VOY's operations? And Disco's season 2 had its problems as well. If you buy the Red Angel as Burnham's mother in a time travel suit being able to go to any time or place, it still does not explain how she could have moved humans to another planet entirely. Discovery requires some serious suspense of disbelief, but it can be very enjoyable if you manage to achieve that. I am looking forward to a series with Anson Mount as Pike, if they decide to make that show.

    But every Trek show has its problems. TNG with Troi stating the obvious (Aliens with phasers on kill, "Captain, I sense anger", no kidding), except when she can't for story telling purposes. Also her counseling is often cringeworthy, e.g. the dialogue with Picard in the excellent episode Family, aftermath of BOBW. Also its scientific gaffes, like the finale where all 3 Enterprises fire their beam and suddenly they start to see something that was supposed to only grow backwards in time. Also some very cringeworthy episodes where some real-life issue needed to be addressed (e.g. The Cost of Living, or The Outcast).

    Overall I agree with you that Picard and Discovery are, in fact, sometimes entertaining and a bit amusing, for what they are, but I simply wouldn’t call either of them Star Trek. At best, they’re more science fantasy than science fiction. As far as I can tell, neither show has a single scientific consultant in the permanent crew, though I do know Discovery had ONE for a few episodes back in season one. Every other Star Trek show has at least one science consultant in the crew. Real world scientists, helping to craft believable fictional stories. Discovery especially often seems more like magic than any kind of advanced science.

    Oh, and Voyager made have had its problems but it often tried to address those details you speak of. Voyager’s tech was mostly more advanced than a lot of the other tech in the area they landed in, in the delta quadrant. Remember that Neelix and the Kazon had never seen or even heard of replicators before, much less transporters. Voyager had a limited cache of photons which they later get replacements for from weapons dealers in later episodes; and they mention doing this multiple times. As for the crew, they actually did an excellent job of accounting for the deaths and such. When people truly died, they subtracted them from and overall tally, which changes throughout the seasons as they lose people. Overall, they only truly lose around 20 to 30 people, counting both crews.

    As for darker tones, I LOVE DS9. The thing is, I never viewed it as having a darker tone. It always just seemed like a Trek with a more continuous storyline and, in many ways, more complex characters with greater shades of grey, but I never thought of it as “darker”. I believe this is primarily because it was still at the heart of it all, Trek. It still had hope for a brighter future, still inspired, still encouraged human curiosity, and still created interest in real science. All things that the new shows generally fail at doing.

    This isn’t to say, as I hinted at earlier, that I don’t LIKE the shows. I do. I just don’t think they’re actual Star Trek. And admittedly, sometimes events in Picard anger me (looking at you Icheb). I have a ton of frustration with the new material, because it often feels like they are purposefully trying to spite the fans of the former Trek shows, just for the sake of being “edgy” or “pushing new boundaries” or whatnot.
    Weirdly enough, I’m also Vulcan Housewife. Also, RNGesus hates me, like really, REALLY hates me.
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