Television: Picard

Finally sat down and watched the first season of this show. Just so you know where I’m coming from, Star Trek: The Next Generation was a big deal for me when I was in middle and high school. It meant more, perhaps, because it began the year I moved and ended the year I graduated from high school and went off to college. So it neatly bookended a very specific time in my life. Also, my classmates at my private school nicknamed me “Data.” I like to think they meant it in a good way?

Data is kind of present in this show, which picks up many years later and hauls Picard out of retirement. (I’m going to write this under the assumption you know who Picard, Data, and the other old characters are, otherwise I’m not sure why you’d watch the show… I’m not sure the show would make sense to people who don’t have that fundamental knowledge?) Basically, Data died to save Picard, but it turns out he has “daughters” in the form of other synthetic beings—women who don’t know they’re not real. And there are some Romulans out to kill these women because Romulans hate “synths” (as they’re called) for… religious or superstitious or some kind of reason?

Okay, so I loved ST:TNG. I only intermittently watched Voyager or Deep Space 9. I gave up on Enterprise pretty early and haven’t watched Discovery. So I can only talk about this show in the sense of not feeling connected to much other Star Trek stuff since TNG. Like, nothing else that’s been produced has really grabbed me since then. So, relatively, I liked Picard a lot. Like, the most since TNG. But is that really saying much?

There’s a lot to wonder about. The character of Picard now seems a lot more feeble than before but, well, he’s older now, too. The new characters are more in the vein of Firefly than traditional Trek. Just an odd conglomeration of personalities and backgrounds. Plus, they threw in some LotR for fun? Like, one character is just a version of Legolas, really. Meanwhile, the chief villain chews scenery like she’s starving for the attention. It comes very close to parody. And there’s one episode in which everyone more or less cosplays and it’s just silly. It’s practically their version of a Holodeck episode. Another episode feels a bit like Little House on the Prairie

Instead of being episodic, this is a 10-part arc. Instead of the Federation being the shining beacon, it’s a kind of villain in its own right. I feel like Roddenberry wouldn’t have liked that. And the final resolution to everything is… Uh… I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just call it “rushed.”

All that said, I still somehow enjoyed it. Despite the flaws and weirdness. I’d have done some things differently, but overall it was entertaining. And though it came close to beating viewers over the head with its messages, it was nowhere near as obvious and preachy about it as TNG used to be. Maybe because it didn’t feel like it had to make the point in just under an hour; it had 10 episodes to make itself clear.

I’ll watch another season. Might even go try Discovery.

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