Star Trek Picard

Poster for Star Trek Picard, showing Picard standing with his dogJust watched the first episode of Star Trek Picard.  What follows has spoilers, but only from the early parts of the episode.

It takes place about 15 years after the events of the last Next Generation movie.  Picard appears to be living in retirement in his family vineyard, apparently with a couple of Romulans, presumably refugees from the supernova that destroyed Romulus, an event referenced pretty heavily in the first Star Trek reboot movie.

Picard led an effort to evacuate Romulus, but it seems things went very badly, somehow involving synths (androids) setting fire to Mars and killing large numbers of people, and leading the Federation to enact a general ban on synths.  And Starfleet’s overall response to the Romulus situation apparently was not a good one, leading Picard to resign.

The story gets going when a young woman finds herself on the run, with sudden and unique powers allowing her to escape from danger, and visions of Picard’s face leading her to his vineyard, and shaking him out of his retirement.

While things appear to be as utopian on Earth as always, there’s a sense that the Federation isn’t the idealistic setting it once was.  Many long time Trek fans may dislike this, but I can’t blame the writers too much.  Stories in utopias tend to be boring, which is why most classic Trek takes place outside or on the edges of the Federation.  Making the universe edgier is probably inevitable, but it does deviate from Roddenberry’s optimistic vision.

My initial reaction is, not bad.  Some of you know that I’m a long time Star Trek fan, but was disappointed by Star Trek Discovery.  At first blush, Picard looks much more promising.  They’ve definitely got me for at least one more episode.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think?

20 thoughts on “Star Trek Picard

  1. I dunno, man… For one, I’m kinda over Trek. For another, not big on reboots and remakes. And then, “a young woman finds herself on the run, with sudden and unique powers allowing her to escape from danger, and visions of Picard’s face leading her to his vineyard,…” Sound a bit too fan-fiction-y for me. (And a bit mystical for Trek.)

    I’ll see what you have to say about the second episode, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna pass. I just have no interest in an “edgier” Federation or Star Trek. Every damn thing is edgy these days. Screw that. I’m tired of it. The whole point of Trek was optimism. (Which we could use these days.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Sound a bit too fan-fiction-y for me. (And a bit mystical for Trek.)”

      Don’t rest too much on that description. I initially made it much longer, but decided I was discussing too much of the storyline. The vision thing does get a non-mystical explanation. Of course, being Star Trek, we shouldn’t hope that it will be rigorously scientific, but it will at least have the trappings of science.

      Some of the edginess, I think, will be to set up metaphors for some of our own controversies, such as how we treat refugees. The show goes out of its way to show the humanity of the Romulans. (And of course, like classic Trek, we have to ignore how the silliness of the exobiology.) So it’ll be social commentary, which is also classic Trek.

      But given your exasperation with all things Trek, you probably should wait for overall assessments as the season progresses, particularly if you don’t already subscribe to CBS All Access.


      1. “Some of the edginess, I think, will be to set up metaphors for some of our own controversies,”

        No doubt. As you say, social commentary is totally Trek. I’d just argue that the usual Trek mode is to cast some other society as having those problems and contrasting our better way against that. It isn’t that the Federation is too good to be true, but that it represents a positive attitude about solving the problem.

        But that mode ended when Berman dragged the Vulcans down to our level. Ever since, Trek presents as more like life as we know it.

        Which is, if anything, over-represented in storytelling. I liked that it presented an optimistic view — a target to shoot for.

        “But given your exasperation with all things Trek,”

        Not exasperation. Part is that fifty years was enough Trek; part was the loss of what I see as the fundamental Trek mode. What’s left is a marketing franchise, and those rarely interest me much.


        1. I can see that. And it is a vision of the future from c. 1965, with the only major vision update happening with TNG. It feels like Trek needs a TNG:TNG, but probably it would be better to just focus creative energies on something new. They definitely don’t need anymore prequels or whatever.


          1. Agree. That well is pretty dry.

            I don’t think the idea that humanity can work things out is outdated. We may have a dismal view of our future right now, but it doesn’t have to be our only view. I just don’t think everything has to be edgy.

            But then I’m not one of those people who find Superman boring. [shrug]

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t say it goes that far. But it does imply that Federation society has gotten more inward looking, more discriminatory (toward certain aliens), and that its policies are being affected. (And if that sounds familiar, I’m sure it’s not a coincidence 🙂 )


      1. God, so right. I used to admire the US but perhaps my admiration was misplaced. I was taken in by the kindly global policeman act, whereas the depressing truth seems to be the usual human curse if self interested greed.


        1. I think the US is a human institution, and like all human institutions, has its good days and bad. Of course I am an American and so not a purely objective observer.

          But the commentary on the show so far seems just as aimed at the European attitudes toward middle eastern refugees as the American ones toward hispanics. (Although I’m sure the latter is more on the mind of the scriptwriters.)


  2. I’ll reserve judgment until I see where the series takes us. I thought it was a good beginning, though. In the wake of the Dominion War, the destruction of Romulus, and now a major terrorist attack on Mars, people in the Star Trek universe must be pretty scared and maybe a little war-weary. It makes sense to me that the Federation might be struggling to uphold its values under these circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s largely my take as well. We’ll see how it turns out.

      Good points about the Star Trek universe. In truth, Roddenberry’s Federation was almost certainly too good to be true. I think DS9 actually started the trend of having the Federation leadership make mistakes. Having the society be affected by everything that’s happened to them makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There were a few episodes of the Original Series and the Next Generation where we say Federation officials being corrupt. In those stories, justice prevailed in the end, and Kirk or Picard got to give a speech about how we must always remain vigilant against those who’d take our freedoms away. I imagine this new series will follow a similar story arch. It’ll just take a few episodes to get there.

        Liked by 1 person

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