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.