Tag Archives: Star Trek

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.

Star Trek via South Park

So earlier today I saw something posted about the second Star Trek movie’s title being Star Trek: Into Darkness. I don’t know if this is true, or official, or whatever. But what I thought at the time was, Isn’t space dark anyway? Mostly? In fact, that’s almost exactly what I posted on Twitter, too, and Scott answered: “Mostly . . .”

If you don’t get it, you probably don’t watch South Park, or at least not the older episodes. My rejoinder was from a different South Park episode, the [in]famous Towlie one about the Okama GameSphere. I added: “If only the Star Trek movie were going to be about THAT!” And Scott pointed out that it might at least make a good ST:TNG Season 8 synopsis. (If you haven’t read these on Twitter, you should absolutely go look up @TNG-S8; they are fucking hilarious.) “Wesley trying to retrieve his gaming console from aliens,” tweeted Scott.

But I decided to go a bit further. Here are some of my Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 8 plot loglines, as filtered through “video gaming” as the device.

Troi attempts to empathize with a group of teenagers devoted to video games; the replicators become jammed while overproducing towels.

Tempers flare when the Enterprise’s gaming network goes down for maintenance; Picard teaches Wesley to parallel park the ship.

Q thrusts the crew into a video game they must win to escape; the Orion asks to borrow some tools then refuses to return them.

Wesley & Barclay go head-to-head in a video game tourney; Geordie can’t find his towel because people keep sitting on it.

And my personal favorite:

Wesley teaches Worf to play Okama GameSphere but creates a monster; Data’s cat Spot gets stuck under the ship’s gas pedal.

Anyone want to chime in?