We watched it so you don’t have to: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ is simply terrible
Why are we doing this?
Why is it necessary?
Why must we suffer. . .in such a specific way?
These are all questions we know the answer to, if logic is applied.
1) We are not doing this. CBS is doing this. CBS is doing this, because money.
2) It is not necessary, but there is a chance that money will be made from it.
3) We must suffer, because money is involved.
CBS has recognized that it will never win in the streaming wars unless it lugs out the long-dead carcass of various Star Trek properties and brings them back, Frankenstein-style, in an attempt to increase its viewing figures, which is how we ended up with Star Trek: Picard.
CBS All Access reported the month of January surpassed its prior record in February 2019 for subscriber sign-ups, largely due to the hype for Picard.
According to TechCrunch, Picard’s premiere set a new record for total streams and led to the highest volume of subscribers to stream a CBS All Access original series to date. Picard also led to an increase in views by more than 180%, compared with CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery’s previous record for subscribers streaming a CBS All Access original.
We could recap the show, but watching a trailer gives a clear enough understanding of what the story is. Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) comes out of retirement, and there are explosions.
The Alex Kurtzman-created show follows Picard after he left Starfleet for a quiet life on the vineyard, but since this is Star Trek, the quiet life does not stay quiet for very long. The pilot features callbacks to Star Trek: Nemesis, and the series will feature all of our favorite Star Trek actors, such as Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan Marina Sirtis, and Jonathan Frakes.
The show creators also made the decision to link it to the 2009 Star Trek reboot, because #synergy, so Picard is also handling the fallout of displaced Romulans after the destruction of their home planet.
So why aren’t we happy about it?
Star Trek: The Next Generation had arguably one of the best finales in television history. There was no happy ending or final battle, characters weren’t getting murdered every 12 seconds, and there was no sense of finality to it.
It did not end with a bang or a whimper, but rather a game of poker. A continuation of the game they had played for years before and would likely play for years to come. Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) joined them in its final moments, a first for the series, and the screen faded to black.
That finale was a promise they would continue the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. There would be more stories, adventures, and visits to the Holodeck for the Starfleet crew, even if the viewer was not there to see them. It was a sweet, sad ending for a sweet, optimistic show, and it was a fitting conclusion after seven seasons.
Picard is back, but not because he needs to be.
ABC has an entire backlog of Disney content and promotional tie-ins to draw from, while NBC is launching a streaming platform that will feature gems like ER, Parks and Rec, and Cheers. CBS needs an edge, which means there will be a new Star Trek show premiering every year until World War III breaks out, humanity crumbles, and Zefram Cochrane finally gets around to inventing warp drive.
We have reached the transitive property of entertainment. Did you love Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series? Great, here’s the story of his unnamed adopted sister. Were you a fan of Data from STTNG? Well he has a daughter now! Just kidding, she died. But look over there! He has another daughter, conveniently alive and ready to advance the plot!
It’s so convenient that everyone in these different families decided to pursue a career in Starfleet. Nobody in the Spock family ever thought to take up dentistry? Or copywriting? Or improv? In two years, if Picard doesn’t take off like it’s supposed to, CBS will trot out the untold Starfleet story of Jean Luc Picard’s distant nephew. He’s probably Belgian, and speaks with a Canadian accent, which makes as much sense as Picard’s dialect.
We understand that creating media in this day and age is almost impossible: the amount of funding it takes to get something off the ground requires it to be a success almost overnight, which means that show creators are looking for an easy sell, which means drawing from previous (successful) properties.
It is getting exhausting to try and keep up.
Star Wars is just the Skywalker family ruining the rest of the galaxy, while Marvel is little more than a factory of perfectly chiseled actors recreating the plot of lesser-known Stan Lee comics. Jurassic Park will keep on creating CGI monstrosities in what feels like a blatant violation of the Geneva convention, and we’re forecasting that Harry Potter will get the reboot in less than seven years.
Sometimes, a show creator gets it right. Westworld and Watchmen on HBO both come to mind as both a reboot and sequel (respectively) handled perfectly. Each program respected the original material while pushing the story in a completely different direction, but those stories are few and far between.
Until then, we have Picard. A program filled with amazing actors playing classic characters we love, at the expense of anything new.