Star Trek: Picard, a review, I guess



This article has no connection to motorcycles. Please skip unless you have some interest in Star Trek.

I enjoy Star Trek a lot, especially Voyager and TNG. TOS was a bit too low-fi for me, and Discovery too hi-fi. Absolutely hated Enterprise, and am yet to check out DS9.

So naturally, when Picard came out, I was happy. Watched the whole 1st season yesterday in one go, as you do.

Since I’m not a cinema critic, I will not say that Picard is bad. However, in my opinion, it is not really a part of the Star Trek universe.

As a piece of creative work it’s clearly quite good, Patrick Stewart alone carries it to the top, and there are plenty of other good actors to help him along, but that’s not enough.

What I mean when I say it’s not a part of the Trek universe, is that everything that defines a Star Trek series is missing from Picard. Also, everything that defines an Avengers style sci-fi garbage of today is present in Picard.

What makes a Star Trek series? The first thing would be asking Intelligent questions.

Much of the reason why I liked Voyager and TNG is that they both asked difficult, important, intelligent questions, and then tried to suggest an answer. “Random Thoughts” from Voyager Season 4, or “The Outcast” from TNG Season 5, the themes explored there actually have some value towards ethics or philosophy.

Then there’s the simplicity and the charm that brings. I don’t remember a single slow-motion sequence from Voyager or TNG, very little juxtaposition using mirrors etc., and rare attempts to confuse the story line with non-linear time sequences. Each episode was largely self contained, it of course helped if you had some background knowledge, but watching any random episode wouldn’t feel entirely incoherent.

Picard has none of those things.

This strategy of using the entire season to tell 1 main story started with Discovery I think, but I didn’t make it past the 2nd episode there to really care. With Picard, the problem with this approach is that the story has no relation to our existence right now. There’s no allegorical reference to the current state of things, no rhetoric that tries to make sense of the human experiences. There’s no intelligence anymore, no philosophical musings, it’s just pure entertainment.

Picard is to Star Trek what Endgame is to Marvel, a way to milk more money out of the franchise with the following tricks:

a. Bringing old characters back to life
b. Trying to cram as many of the old characters together as possible
c. Adding a pinch of unnecessary humor
d. Threat of all-powerful aliens from another dimension
e. Very fancy CGI and sound effects
f. Obviously evil but very hot villains

There’s little or no emphasis on the story, the entire point of an episode seems to be to watch Picard say “Engage”, or for Troi to show her face. It’s the same shallow, shiny hole of bastardized nostalgia that the entire sci-fi genre seems to be heading into.

You should watch it yourself and make your own opinion, I haven’t liked any sci-fi movie since The Watchmen, my choices may be rather weird. The whole reason I managed to finish Picard was so I could say something against it with some authority at least.

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  1. Vignesh

    Star Trek started going downhill ever since the movies got rebooted. Sure, the action is fun but we already have Star Wars for that. Star Trek to me was always about the ideal state that mankind could reach while grappling with problems that exist today, just projected on an alien species. So it doesn’t come off as too preachy while making one think.

    While Picard meandered around in nostalgia for quite a bit, Discovery threw everything about Star Trek out of the window and forged its own path…which would be ok but then don’t use the Star Trek name. The twists are quite nice and unexpected, even if the focus on strong yet emotionally aware female characters (with plenty of slo-mo, drama and crying) is pretty irritating.

    You should definitely watch DS9, it’s probably my favourite after TNG. While the exploration part of Star Trek is quite low in it, there is plenty of importance given to the morality, ethics and philosophy aspects, you know, things that make Star Trek, Star Trek!

    1. AK

      Thanks, will do 🙂

  2. Vignesh

    P.S. you should check out The Orville. I know it’s billed as Star Trek spoof and yes, it has its silly moments, but there are quite a lot of good episodes. And it seems more Star Trek than Discovery or Picard.

    1. AK

      Dude I tried, but it’s just so fucking stupid! McFarlane is funny with Family Guy and American Dad, but not here.

      1. Vignesh

        Haha I don’t deny it’s really stupid in the initial episodes. But give it time, it becomes better as the series progresses.