Beyond Jean-Luc: Everything ‘ST:D’ we hope *not* to see in ‘Star Trek: Picard’
Everyone knows Star Trek is beyond compare. Obviously, we do not mean this in a “quality” kind of way.
Any show that features a Scottish ghost having sex with a Starfleet officer is not exactly an untouchable masterpiece. But it would be madness to try and compare one Star Trek show to another. Each iteration is a completely new beast and must be appreciated as its own entity. Star Trek fans know better than to judge a show based on its first season. Or the second season. Or sometimes it’s third.
It can take a while for the actors or plot or overarching message of the show to really click. Star Trek: The Original Series spent so, so many episodes on god-beings, in between truly outstanding episodes about Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a utopian, science-based future.
Star Trek: The Next Generation arguably did not get good until that vision changed, and the crew was able to face off against adversaries like the Borg, while Star Trek: Deep Space Nine tested Rodenberry’s vision of a utopian future even more by adding nuance to the Star Trek universe with the Dominion War.
However, the news that the reprisal of Patrick Stewart as ST:TNG’s indomitable Jean-Luc Picard makes us nervous. This is a newer Picard, one who lost faith in the moral code of Starfleet.
CBS remains committed to expanding the Star Trek universe more than the Big Bang, with writer/producer Alex Kurtzman at the helm. Here are some things we witnessed in CBS’s other Star Trek property; Star Trek: Discovery, we hope is not dragged into Picard.
Let it be boring
There are so many great things to love about Star Trek: Discovery. For starters, its initials are STD.
We also appreciate this is the one show in the Star Trek universe with a crew willing to set phasers to kill. It has great jumpsuits, fun aliens, a mirror universe – toss in an episode where the crew time travels to Earth, forcing cast members to dress in dated Victorian costumes, and you have the perfect formula for a Star Trek show!
But…this show has a fundamental misunderstanding of Starfleet and it is starting to grate. There is more than one military figure on the show. There are multiple plotlines related to the weaponization of science. No one has mentioned doing something “by the book” yet, but by God, we can tell they’re thinking it. This is antithetical to everything we learned from watching STOS, STTNG, DS9, Voyager—even Enterprise!
What was so great about STTNG was the ability of its characters to move slowly and consider all of their options before acting, while STD has more of a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach.
That kind of attitude would not fly with Starfleet, and it should not fly with Picard.
Stop shoehorning in family members from the rest of the series
We all love Spock. Spock is great.
You know who else is great? Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) from Star Trek: Discovery.
You know what isn’t great? Shoving in plotlines about the secret, adopted sisters in an attempt to trade on the goodwill of an iconic television show for a newer iteration.
While Picard will see the return of some iconic characters from The Next Generation, we don’t need all of the supporting characters to be unmentioned siblings or spouses from previous shows, like Benjamin Sisko’s (Avery Brooks) third cousin or Captain Kathryn Janeway’s (Kate Mulgrew) manicurist.
Otherwise, the program runs the risk of turning into ABC’s Once Upon a Time, where over the seasons the family connection became less of a family tree and more like Yggdrasil: a never-ending loop that messed with the continuity of everything we know and hold dear.
Either remove the MacGuffin, or make the MacGuffin more interesting
Nobody is expecting reality in a show about spaceships, but the Spore drive from Star Trek: Discovery makes no logical sense. Spock would be insulted.
The Spore drive completely eliminates the rules established in every other iteration of Star Trek before it, and it forces the viewer to be interested in a MacGuffin with no logical rules or purpose.
While that would make sense in a setting like Hogwarts, it does not fit within the world of Star Trek.
It’s like J.J. Abrams and the dumbass red ball of goo in the Star Trek movies. Who cares about the goo? Why do we need the goo? Has the goo been seen before or after in the Star Trek universe?
It has not!
The goo was a critical plot point of 2009’s Star Trek, but there was no real explanation for it. It was just bright-red bomb goo that disappeared as soon as the credits started rolling.
Based on trailers for Picard, the MacGuffin seems to be the young woman Dahj (Isa Briones), but please, for the love of the holodeck, just let her be a normal woman rather than a mysterious magic object that makes absolutely no sense.
Don’t learn the wrong lessons from Star Wars.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is the softest Star Trek. It dealt with issues surrounding grief and trauma, what love looks like in every form and the value of communication.
It had a mental health counselor on board, and she was treated as one of the highest-ranking members of the crew.
It also preached the necessity of listening to others, as most conflict could be addressed by respecting the input of others to understand their point of view.
This is the biggest concern we have about Picard. It is helmed by the same people managing Star Trek: Discovery, placing an emphasis on terse dialogue and laser-heavy action scenes, rather than actual conflict management. ST:D is focused on mostly new characters, but Picard is recycling our favorites and showing us what happened during the time we’ve been away.
Please don’t let these aliens be completely alien to what we once knew.
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