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'Star Trek: Picard' was terrible. It was a mind-numbing slog that became more incomprehensible the longer it went on. Here's why.

Here are all the reasons why ‘Star Trek: Picard’ is just bad

You might as well call us Armus, the bog monster that killed Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) on CBS’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, because we too are disgusting piles of goo filled to the brim with hate.

Only we have chosen to channel that hatred to CBS’s Star Trek: Picard, rather than the world in general and/or innocent security officers.

It was so bad. 

It was terrible. It was a mind-numbing slog that became more incomprehensible the longer it went on.

What would have been forgivable offenses in a new program with new content and characters felt unforgivable in an established property with our favorite Star Trek captain of all time. 

So many interesting questions were posed over the first few episodes, only for them to be ignored/steamrolled in favor of more questions, which were sloppily answered to make way for even more questions. The final result was as if your high school math teacher took a cocktail of meth and PCP and started screaming very loudly about the quadratic formula, inches from your face.

Let’s go through all of the ways we could not stand the series, because there’s going to be a second season of this garbage and we’re not ready to think about that yet.

These relationships mean nothing

The relationships forged on Picard are similar to those in a Sims family: ultimately meaningless and a waste of time that could have been spent doing something, anything more productive.

The initial episodes of the first season were interesting, because it stacked the deck with a catalogue of different archetypes from different genres: you have Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) as the old man on his final mission, Soji (Isa Briones) as the Joss Whedon-style ingenue with murder powers, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) as the jaded cowboy failed by the world around her, Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) as the calculated scientist with a dark secret, Elnor (Evan Evagora) as a space samurai, and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) as the badass/bad boy with an unending supply of cigars.

It should have worked! The cast is super talented, the premise is interesting, if only the writing had not been accomplished by banging the skulls of Star Trek nerds against a computer to see what comes out.

Every character on this show was introduced, given anywhere between 45 seconds to three minutes of backstory, and then thrust into an action scene that did not deliver on any real action.

This is not Star Wars; these relationships should mean something.

The one thing Star Trek has always done remarkably well is introducing a large ensemble cast of different backgrounds and showing how everyone gets along. With Picard, the trajectory of each character moves at light speed. 

Take Jurati: she started out as the mild-mannered scientist interested in Soji based on her background in synthetics, then it turns out she helped build her, she was in a secret relationship with Bruce Maddox (John Ales) (who she ended up murdering), she successfully hid the murder from others on the ship, had cry-sex with Rios, attempted to commit suicide, and admitted her complicity before the entire crew. 

 The first season only had 10 episodes. Can you even imagine what Jurati will be up to in season 2? She’ll probably start a band.

At this point, the only relationship we’re even mildly excited about is the potential one hinted at between Raffi and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) in the season finale. But that might just be because the writers haven’t had a chance to beat us over the head with it yet. Any well-plotted character growth will probably be destroyed by the time the second season premieres.

Bingewatching is ruining good TV

This has been our biggest issue with new Star Trek properties; these adventures don’t need to be serialized.

Showrunner Michael Chabon described the narrative approach of Picard as “novelistic,” but the speed with which Picard moved through events in the first season felt more like a pulp comic than an actual novel. The plot did not unfold, it punched you in the face as it moved from one setting to the next.

What makes TNG so rewatchable is that each episode dealt with a new problem for the crew to puzzle over. Sometimes it was serious, sometimes it was silly, but the crew (for the most part) remained consistent in their characterization.

It makes sense for Picard to be more serious than the eternal optimism of TNG (especially in this current climate), but while the world may be darker, the characters should not be. 

We love Star Trek because it idealizes humanity, and what we can do if we set aside prejudice and judgment to work towards a better world.  Picard needs to remember that the heroics of TNG were frequently quiet moments of bravery, rather than mindless explosions. They might not be as loud, but they mean more in the long-term.

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Comments
  • Thank you for writing what needed to be said.

    May 25, 2020
  • lol nostalgia for episodic plots is amusing

    just get ready to be let down over and over again, cause this is the format they’re gonna use going forward

    or you can embrace the good, and accept that the episodic format is mostly dead for the moment

    July 6, 2020
  • Everything about felt like bad fan fiction. Picard himself didn’t feel like Picard, it felt like Patrick Stewart using Picard’s name. And so much wasted potential.
    “Oh my God, Seven just woke up 10,000 Borg drones to wipe out the- oh, all the Romulans openned an air lock and they all got sucked out? The Borg that we’ve seen can operate in space?And who built that ship with massive doors for some reason that they have no security overrides on? And not a single Borg, I don’t know, held on to a railing?

    Then there was Picard’s doing that absurd fake french accent in their ‘undercover’ operation that lasted all of twelve minutes. Picard is French. Why was his accent so over the top? Why did he need one? Why would anyone still have a non-English accent when French is supposed to be a mostly dead language by the 25th century?

    Did bringing back Hugh have any real purpose? Did killing him?

    Why set up the former Tal Shiar agents (and only real characters) living with Picard only to leave them behind? With the dog. Even Arc her took his dog with him.

    Why bother killing Soji to set up the whole Twin thing when they could have just stuck with her through the series?

    Why have the Soji like android be the villain spotted from ten miles away?

    Why write a line as bad as Narissa saying “Did you REALLY think we wouldn’t… insert generic bad guy boast.”

    How did Rafi manage to be the only poor person in a Galaxy where money wasn’t a thing anymore?

    Why did Picard take a TAXI to see Rafi when A) transporters B) Taxis are already on the decline thanks to Lyft and Uber? Just to show a TNG shuttle so we can say “Hey! That’s a TNG shuttle!”?

    Why have an elf warrior- sorry, Romulan warrior, with a sword an toted as the best of the best warriors in the galaxy, basically do nothing but stare wide eyed and get left behind?

    Bad story, poorly handled characters, poorly handled established universe and the hackiest writing on tv in a long long time.

    Do better, Season Two.

    July 8, 2020
  • Thanks for a truthful review. This violent, badly-written showneeds to go away forever.

    July 26, 2020
  • I agree with you. Was so excited for this, and was so disappointing. But what I feel makes it worse was Michelle Hurd’s acting. She is over the top and unbelievable. Needs to go back to acting classes and play Raffi a better way.

    August 19, 2020
  • Picard is awful. It is not Star Trek. Great article, thank you.

    August 28, 2020
  • Episode 3 was some of the worst editting in a professionally done series I’ve ever seen. Around the 28 minute mark, the fight scene was…comical. The editting made no sense. Spec ops entering 3-4 guys through same door, one after another getting laid out. Major part of the fight that stood out was the woman romulan (who looks like an average white person with elf ears rather than a romulan), gets rifle butt in the face by the next guy coming through the door. Cut. His rifle disappears and he pulls out a knife after knocking her to the floor. She goes from on the floor in one cut to standing upright in the next cut and lays him out with no explanation of how she got up. Terrible editting, too much emphasis on action and exposition in Star Trek and just overall a horrible series. Star Trek Picard is the death of the franchise for me.

    September 17, 2020
  • I could not get past the first 20 minutes of Discovery, it was that bad. Truly awful. I endured through all the episodes of Picard. I will not be watching season 2. Horrible, horrible show. Meaningless murders every 20 seconds it seemed. Why bring back Ichep and Hugh, only to kill them off? And I absolutely hated the captain, rafi, and that blonde scientist chick. Shame on everyone who was a part of writing this ilk.

    December 24, 2020
  • I agree with you. Star Trek Picard is rather disappointing. I was in the middle of reading this but then a bunch of ads just filled up my screen. Not even that much to read here anyway. A picture is worth a thousand words. Making the picture bigger doesn’t make it worth more words. The quality of this article matches the quality of the show it is criticizing.

    December 31, 2020
  • Star Trek Picard is so unfathomably awful because of the writers and whoever had creative control.

    Everything that made Star Trek special was thrown away for whatever it is the writer’s think they’re creating here. It isn’t Star Trek. It isn’t a novelization of Star Trek. It isn’t good storytelling. It is junk TV.

    Who allowed this and Discovery to be done to the Star Trek franchise? Was it a room full of fraternity-bro assh**les in suits with big egos and undeserving confidence? Feels like it.

    March 14, 2021
  • I have a sneaking feeling the writers of the show did not watch Voyager before starting on this project. If they had, they would not have found a need to rehash in 4 measly episodes was handled brilliantly in 4 seasons, namely the the whole Borg-to-human storyline. And why revisit Picard’s PTSD? Didn’t we resolve that with I, Borg and First Contact? Furthermore, cortical regulators are located above the right eyebrow, not behind the left eyeball. The Borg transwarp conduits were destroyed by Captain Janeway in Endgame, and it certainly does not take 15 minutes to travel 25 light-years in one. Finally, why are all the former drones maimed and handicapped? Wasn’t the Doctor in Voyager able to give Seven an ocular implant? Is that the best they can do with all their 24th-century medical technology? Most egregious of all: they completely ruined Seven. I understand that 20 years have passed since Voyager, but this Seven is a completely different character. A scotch-drinking, vengeful bountyhunter? Really?

    Now, on to another problem: the characters. I like that they didn’t simply recycle the old crew, but the character exposition was just terrible. We get a flash-back, and then meet a new character. Another flash-back, and a new character. There was no emotional connection. It also didn’t help that everyone was getting killed off. Dajh had a whole 20 minutes of screentime. Dead. That villain lady. Dead. Maddox. Dead. Hugh. Dead. We meet Dajh’s sister on the planet, the next scene she becomes a murderess, and then is deactivated. And the worst of all: poor Icheb. They take a wonderful character of the older series developed over many episodes only to give him an undignified and pointless death. And for what? To justify Seven vaporizing that woman? It’s lazy writing and disrespectful to the fans.

    Next, the tone of the show. As others have said, Star Trek is about optimism. I don’t mind a darker show, but this is just depressing. Ripping out eyeballs, gore, smoking, and pointless cussing is not Star Trek. It’s juvenile.

    Lastly, I never sympathized with the android girls. Lal had more depth in one episode than they achieved in 10. They just naively wander about asking “Am I real”, pulling fits, and seem to know things that they cannot possibly know (“Data loved you”).

    July 9, 2021

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