ONE LAST TIME…INTO THE SPOILER ZONE!
It leaves me scratching my head that people are still complaining about STAR TREK:PICARD…even after an extremely satisfying conclusion. Did the season have some shortcomings? A few here and there. But on the whole, this was a solid piece of television entertainment aimed squarely at longtime fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
My friend ADAM “MOJO” LEBOWITZ (who worked on DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise…along with Babylon 5 and the Battlestar Galactica reboot)), summed up his feelings about Picard’s final season in this way…
My point is the overall story and plot were just not that great. After ep 9, pretty much everything that happened prior was meaningless. If the show didn’t feature the TNG cast and had every easter egg you can think of, no one would be raving about the show. In fact, the ONLY thing anyone talks about is seeing the old cast, the old ship, and all the easter eggs.
That doesn’t make a it a good show.
I told Mojo that I thought he was totally missing the point. The whole reason for doing this final season was to celebrate the seven seasons and four feature films of Star Trek‘s longest-running television series (in terms of number of episodes produced)…and to honor the actors and actresses who portrayed the seven main characters (as well as a few unexpected guest appearances) with one final, heroic adventure together.
Mojo and I went back-and-forth, as people on Facebook do (I wish I could provide a link to the discussion, but it’s not accessible publicly), but it got me thinking enough that I decided to dedicate my final review to this question:
ARE SOME FANS SETTING THE BAR TOO HIGH FOR STAR TREK: PICARD ?
I mean, what were people’s expectations for this final season? I think those who found things to complain about were coming in already primed for disappointment. In Mojo’s case, he went on to say this…
From my point of view, the writing just wasn’t that good. If the words had been spoken by a different cast, no one would care. NO ONE is talking about the story or amazing new characters – just the nostalgia factor. That’s not a sign of a great show.
Personally, I’ve seen people talking about the story and new characters. Heck, I was lobbying for STAR TREK: SHAW until they killed TODD STASHWICK’s incredible character. I loved AMANDA PLUMMER’s portrayal of Vadic. And I certainly had a lot of things to say about the story (more than 30,000 words as of this blog!).
But putting all of that aside, in my opinion, this finale season was written specifically to be about the nostalgia factor! Picard never needed to be Hamlet (SIR PATRICK has done that to death anyway, as has Star Trek) nor even “the best Star Trek ever.” It needed to tell a decent story that allowed our seven characters to be the heroes and have an uplifting send-off, saving the Federation/Galaxy/Universe one last time. It needed to be Star Trek…pure and simple. And gosh darn it, it was!
Was the writing stellar or even interstellar? Far from it. The mystery of Jack Crusher dragged on too long, the Borg Queen was a one-note villain designed to be “pure evil,” distance didn’t matter at all (dozens or hundreds of light-years were covered in hours, sometimes minutes), and scenes like Picard talking Borg-Jack back to humanity were as predictable as seeing the “Star Trek: Picard” logo at the beginning of the episode.
But just because you already know what you’ll see at the Grand Canyon doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the trip!
The writing wasn’t “bad,” despite the few nits I picked above. In terms of TNG episodes, the episodes in this final season were, on average, probably in the 70th percentile or more…and definitely better than nearly the entire first two seasons of Next Gen. Remember, we had to endure “Code of Honor,” “The Royale,” and “Sub Rosa.” So if you’re holding up “The Best of Both Worlds,” “Darmok,” “Tapestry,” and “The Inner Light” as typical Next Gen episodes, you’re setting the bar unrealistically high.
And by the way, I don’t think anyone is complaining about the acting (are they?), the quality of the sets, costumes, make-up, visual FX, music, sound quality, or editing. And I will certainly acknowledge that the choice to make the lighting as subdued (dark) as it was turned out to be a questionable decision at best, and that not everyone appreciates a good (or bad) swear word here and there. But I think the main complaint from Mojo and folks like him focuses mainly on the writing (and possibly the directing when that intersects the telling of the story).
Of course, as I stated, I disagree about the writing being “bad” (and actually believe it was pretty darn good!). But rather than just saying it, let me PROVE it…
THE OVERALL STORY STRUCTURE – EPISODES 1 TO 4
As I mentioned in previous blogs, the ten season three were episodes were broken down into two “four-parters” followed by the two-part grand finale. Mojo (and others) claimed the following…
10 episodes of Picard had about 2 hours of actual plot. You could cut it down to 2 hours and not miss anything. 4 episodes of cat and mouse in the nebula amounted to nothing.
I feel that what Mojo is complaining about is more of a feature than a bug. And what I mean by this is that the first four-parter had a number of goals that it needed to accomplish:
- Introduce the main characters (both old and new)…not all at once, of course.
- Establish the two settings—the U.S.S. Titan and M’Talas Prime—and the situations on both.
- Establish the villain, Vadic, and her ship and crew.
- Introduce the character conflicts and dynamics (Picard/Beverly/Jack, Shaw/Seven, Shaw/Picard/Riker, Vadic/Goo-Headed Borg Queen, Raffi/Worf).
- Create exciting moments of danger like the attack on the Starfleet recruitment building and the first and second Shrike attacks.
- Establish the presence of Changelings as bad guys, explain who they are, and provide a little info about their new abilities.
- Start working up the mysteries like why the portal weapon was really stolen (to mask stealing something bigger) and why Vadic is so desperate to get ahold of Jack.
- Move certain character arcs forward, like Picard and Jack, Shaw and Seven, and Raffi and Worf.
- Create peril for both the A-story (Titan) and B-story (M’Talas Prime).
- Get in a few fights and space battles but also show our heroes thinking their way through their challenges.
So obviously, three episodes in the nebula (not four, as the first episode was all about getting there) didn’t “amount to nothing.” But one needs to understand that the nebula was just a setting that allowed the story to unfold. Now, because there was so much story to tell, those three episodes probably felt a bit slow in places. But again, the bricks of the story were being carefully laid.
That said, those four episodes were each unique in terms of mood, pacing, and style. Let’s briefly look at each:
- “The Next Generation” – Buddy movie. A tense opening leads into some comfortable scenes with light humor. Picard and Riker together make this feel a little like a “buddy comedy.” Fans get a very satisfying leaving-Spacedock launch sequence to introduce us to the U.S.S. Titan-A. Raffi is introduced, as is her mysterious “handler.” We meet the “new” Seven and the “curmudgeonly” Captain Shaw. The episode ends with a terrorist attack while Picard and Riker steal a shuttle to help Beverly…as the Shrike arrives.
- “Disengage” – Tense. The pace picks up a little in places, but we’re still moving the chess pieces into place. Excitement as Picard, Riker, Jack, and the wounded Beverly escape back tot he Titan by the skin of their teeth…plus Vadic tossing Beverly’s vessel at our heroes’ starship. The episode also has some talking scenes as Picard tries to figure out if Jack is who Jean-Luc thinks he is and Raffi’s ex forces her to make an impossible choice. But things end fast again as Worf steps in to save Raffi (samurai style!) and Jack is revealed to be Picard’s son, so they can’t hand him over to Vadic.
- “Seventeen Seconds” – Space battle. This episode was much faster than the first two. It’s not non-stop action, of course, because there’s still many pieces needing to be moved into place. But the dynamics change in unexpected ways as Shaw is wounded and transfers command to Riker…and Picard slowly discovers that Will is now risk-averse. Meanwhile, Raffi and Worf are now a ninja team as they go after what turns out to be a Changeling. In sickbay, Shaw suspects they have a mole on board. Jack and Seven discover yet another Changeling saboteur while Picard confronts Captain Riker on the bridge, who finally gives in to his former commanding officer, only to discover that Picard’s maneuver has doomed them all.
- “No Win Scenario” – Slow sinking of the submarine story. When Mojo complained about the slowness of the nebula episodes, this is what he was probably thinking about. And yeah, it seemed to move at a glacial pace until the final 18 minutes. Lots of deep exploring of characters, their backgrounds, motivations, fears and resentments, and conflicts. And there was no Worf/Raffi to break away from the claustrophobic intensity. But once our heroes began to trust each other again, the action restarted and those final minutes escaping from the nebula and Vadic’s ship (and severely damaging it) were a wild ride.
Certainly a lot more than “nothing,” Mojo!
THE OVERALL STORY STRUCTURE – EPISODES 5 TO 8
With everything resolved—at least temporarily—it was time to move on to the next four-parter, which had a completely different set of goals to accomplish:
- Bring in the remaining three “missing” TNG main characters: Geordi, Data, and Deanna…and unite the A-story on the Titan with the B-story of Worf and Raffi.
- Expand upon the “bigger” threat (bigger than the Shrike) that there were now many, many rogue Changelings infiltrating Starfleet.
- Introduce and develop the mystery of Jack, his hallucinations, and his emerging superpowers.
- Find out that the Changelings also stole Picard’s human remains…but why?
- Bring back Lore and use him to create a “new” Data 2.0.
- Turn the Titan and her crew into Starfleet renegades.
- Reveal Vadic’s backstory and create an “epic” confrontation with her where she appears to win only to be defeated at the last moment.
These next four episodes were, like the previous four, completely unique from each other. Again, let’s take a trip down Recent Memory Lane:
5. “Imposters” – Dramatic and intense confrontation. Ro Laren had betrayed Picard in the penultimate episode of TNG, and the palpable tension between the two brilliant actors made the A-story of this episode immersive and captivating. It also firmly defined the depth of the Changeling threat and established the Titan‘s new status as a “rogue” crew. Less captivating was the B-story with Worf and Raffi taking on a Vulcan mob boss on M’Talas Prime, but since they weren’t in the previous episode, their plot needed some time to move forward. And the C-story, what there was of it, introduced us to Jack’s, um, issues with the red door and suddenly becoming Batman.
6. “The Bounty” – Total fan service and totally awesome episode…perhaps the best of the series. After uniting all the old characters featured so far—Picard, Riker, Beverly, and Worf (along with new characters)—this episode completes the set by bringing in Geordi, Data, and Deanna at the end…all in very unique ways. Geordi takes up most of the episode, and we’re given a chance to reacquaint with him and meet his other daughter, Alana. Data is not himself (or more precisely, himselves). And Deanna is being held hostage. But the fan service was the most satisfying: the Daystrom Institute of Easter Egg Horrors, the Starfleet Museum sequence that brought a tear to me eye, plus Moriarty and flashbacks to the pilot episode of TNG. Vadic only appears twice, briefly, but is set up to be the big threat for the rest of this four-episode arc.
7. “Dominion” – The set-up for the next episode. I found this episode the weakest of the season, as the pieces were being maneuvered into place for episode 8. That said, there were strong scenes with alt-Tuvok, Lore’s emergence, and the battle for the Titan. But the main box this episode needed to check was giving Vadic a chance to tell her origin story.
8. “Surrender” – Action, suspense, heroics, triumph. Things start out bad with a capital BAD, which is good television, as the ultimate victory feels most satisfying when there is a very tall mountain to climb. Jack now shares the secret of his powers with his parents, Worf and Raffi rescue Will and Deanna, and Vadic does really mean things while gloating. Data faces off and eventually defeats/absorbs Lore, Jack confronts Vadic, Raffi and Worf somehow convince the Changelings to switch from phasers to swords, and the good guys win while the bad guys lose. The end features the reuniting of the entire TNG cast for the first time, and we’re ready for the big finish!
That was a LOT of story, character, and action presented in those four episodes. Did some of it drag? Maybe a little. Was some of it contrived? Of course…Star Trek does that often. How many times was the Enterprise the only starship available?
Anyway, I can’t imagine squeezing those eight episodes down to two. That would have cheated the fans of some amazing and very satisfying moments. And we haven’t even gotten to the finale yet!
THE OVERALL STORY STRUCTURE – EPISODES 9 and 10
Prepare for maximum warp because the final two episodes needed to be fast-paced, intense, and grand! This was, after all, the final appearance of the original TNG crew. Here was the final “to do” list…
- Switch quickly from Vadic to the reveal of the big boss villain and make them ultra-sinister.
- Explain all of the remaining mysteries: Jack’s powers, why the bad guys wanted him, and what’s this nefarious plan for Frontier day?
- Set up a huge threat to Earth/Starfleet/the Federation because…well…this is the way. (This is the way.)
- Separate the seven main TNG characters from the rest of the cast and give them each a way to shine individually in the ultimate victory.
- Have LOTS of action and weapons and explosions that completely blow what’s left of the VFX budget.
- Include a few surprises that no one saw coming.
- Make sure someone important and beloved dies (the requisite “noble, heroic sacrifice” that must accompany any victory to make certain it feels “earned”).
- Throw in a few humorous moments to break the tension, but keep them brief to maintain focus on the danger.
- End part one with a real “oh, crap!” cliffhanger.
- Include some moments of hope during the fight, but have part two continue the inevitable slide from bad to worse until the last-minute win.
- That win should include as many of the cast (old and new) participating as possible.
- Make sure the villain sees the defeat coming.
- Complete any character arcs that have not already been resolved.
- Wrap everything up with a happy and optimistic ending, and most important of all…
- Set up a potential sequel series because finding and keeping a job in Hollywood is HARD!
Are most of these items total tropes? Totally! But honestly, most fans are okay with that because—after half a decade of CBS Studios-produced Star Trek that tries to be “new” and “fresh” and “different,” all we really wanted was some familiar comfort food…just to nourish our fannish souls. Sure, this might not be storytelling on the highest plane of intellectuality and critical composition. But sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned basics. This was scriptwriting at it’s most basic level…done well! Let the next series be erudite and require deep thought. Right now, long live tropes, and pass the popcorn!
I would like to acknowledge the two best-kept secrets of the entire series. After being totally surprised by the appearances of MICHELE FORBES reprising her role of Ro Laren and then ELIZABETH DENNEHY as Admiral Elizabeth Shelby, when I heard the voice of WALTER KOENIG as Federation President Anton Chekov (son of Pavel?), I got chills. And of course, that final mid-credits sequence with JOHN de LANCIE reprising his role of Q completely knocked me for a loop. We’d thought Q died at the end of season two, and perhaps he did. But we had so many other important people (and beings) from Picard’s life during this season…how could there not be a cameo from Q (setting up the sequel series, no less)?
And finally, just a few quick notes about character arcs. Good writing takes the characters on a journey, not just spatially but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We care about these characters because they grow…and most of them did in some way…
- Riker got past his resentment of Deanna and began to process his grief at the loss of their son Thaddeus. The couple reconnected and might even go visit Orlando!
- Beverly returned to the fold, no longer living a life separated from her friends and hiding a dark secret from them.
- Geordi reconnected with his daughter Sidney, finally letting go and allowing her to live the adventures as he had done…even though there would be danger.
- Data evolved into DataLore and finally, after wanting to be human for so long, finally reached that oh-so-elusive goal.
- Worf did most of his character arc journey before his appearance this season. But it was still fun to see an “enlightened” Klingon warrior being his own straight-man for countless comedic lines.
- Seven came into her own, moving from being a resentful first officer to Starfleet’s newest captain, comfortable and confident with her new command.
- Raffi needed to find her lost self-respect, and she came a long way. Granted, we didn’t see her doing much more than fighting (with phasers and swords), sneaking around seedy locations, trying to be a detective, and palling around with Worf, but by the end, she was able to reconnect with her family, gain some respect from others, and get a decent gig being first officer to her ex. (Um, let’s see what happens there.)
- Jack got past his feelings of isolation and fear of being seen for who he truly was. He formed a bond with his father, and even cleaned up his act to get a commission in Starfleet and a really speedy posting.
- Picard managed to exorcise the last of his demons—in the case of the Borg Queen, quite literally. But also, in finally connecting with Jack, Picard finally realized that the family he always avoided was already there and waiting for him. No longer sitting alone on a Vineyard waiting to die (well, sitting with Laris), Picard was now connecting with others.
Have you noticed the common theme? This season is all about connecting and reconnecting with others, be they related by blood or simply “family.” Don’t tell me that’s bad writing!
- Oh, and the U.S.S. Titan-A had a character arc, too! In the first episode, we watched her launch on her maiden voyage, get battered, protect her crew, lose almost all power, come back to life, receive a cloaking device, and take on the entire rest of Starfleet all by herself. And now she’s been rechristened as the Enterprise-G. Sure, it might feel weird to see such a “little” ship be given that name, but maybe it’s time for that. After all, size matters not, and history tends not to forget the name…Enterprise.
In the end, folks like Mojo will find inevitably others to complain to along with those who share their disappointments. But I’ve spent years now watching Trekkies bitch about almost everything that CBS has produced. This time, though, the vast majority are not. The one slightly negative blog review I wrote this season was raked over the coals by dozens of fans. They loved this season.
Does that mean they have bad taste or low standards or simply want nostalgia and nothing more? I doubt it. I mean, the nostalgia WAS nice for us long-time fans. But I also think we were given a quality viewing experience…certainly better than the first two seasons and extremely satisfying.
We were finally given real Star Trek.
24 thoughts on “A look back at the final season of PICARD…and proof that it was WELL-WRITTEN! (editorial review)”
As a rabbit Treker, he was wrong. No need to say anything further. I was close to tears by the end of the episode. I found myself thinking aloud, “Farewell old friends!” I would give the season 10 stars. Detractors be damned.
Thanks Jonathan! I think folks like Mojo are victims of the algorithm. If he’s constantly negative, then, that’s what he’ll get back. But, what I saw on Twitter, was overwhelming positivity. And because that’s the content I interacted with, I got more of throughout the season. Heck, I got likes from Matalas, Stashwick, and one or more writers for the show. Naturally, my comments were complimentary. But, even some of Trek’s harshest critic’s, were way more positive on Picard’s #3, than anything over the last several years. Heck, I took some youngster to task for complaining about us “boomers” getting what we liked, or wanted, telling him, if it weren’t for us having made trek such a huge success as a franchise over the last 50 years, there’d be no new Trek these days, and had lots of likes on that too. Picard season 3 was like a love letter to all Trek fans. It’s a crying shame that some totally missed it! In a word, it was “Satisfying”
I said to one of the detractors I was chatting with: “Sure, this was fan service. We’ve been waiting for service since 2017!”
I, mostly, agree with your assessment.
As I’ve mentioned in comments here before I’d say that the issue I find most “irksome” is the fact that the story–great story–seems compacted when told in 10 episodes.
The final episode is an example. The rate at which the crew, especially Picard of course, overcome the Borg queen. It seemed a “cheat” to me. The Borg were the major threat that nearly dominated the later portion of TNG, and then again was a focus in the movies (not the only baddy, but the BIG baddy). And yet, to have it appear so easy, so quick to overcome (when did Star Trek become Star Wars for eliminating the baddy’s ship?) seemed a rather large let down. I also found the rescue of Picard & Jack “silly”. Yes, put them in peril until the last, but the exact method of saving them–parking the Enterprise right over their heads (and it didn’t seem to be too far above them making the ship suddenly appear small in comparison to two people).
Yet, overall, I did enjoy this season. It indeed was a “comfortable walk” with characters you cared about before Picard, the series, even was thought of. Nostalgia can be a wonderful “healer” when the most recent–save SNW, IMHO–have been “less” than what fans deserve.
All-in-all a well done “fair-the-well” to the characters many grew up with (myself, I was truly “grown” by the time TNG appeared) them, and I definitely recommend it as “must see” for TNG fans, and for Star Trek fans in general I’d say they’ll enjoy this outing of Picard.
I find it interesting that you wanted more episode while Mojo felt there were too many episodes for the story being told.
I tend to agree that the Borg threat was really “squeezed” into two short episodes and suffered for it. We got to know Vadic REALLY well, and yet the Borg Queen had, frankly, just one episode to develop as a character…and really didn’t. But the fact is that she was just a tool to move the character arcs of Jean-Luc and Jack forward. Could she have been more? So much more, yes! But that wasn’t necessary to tell this particular story.
I was really satisfied with the ending not to mention the 10 episodes. I don’t watch with my intellect usually but with my emotions (just like new Data). So I don’t analyze in real time but rather sit back, turn off my mind and engage. Clunkers throw me out of my ride and there were very few. One was the Vadic hand controller never being explained (unless I missed that). But that was a tiny exception.
As far as the cube showing up near Earth, the technobabble ‘trans warp conduit’ is canon so that was not an issue for me.
One thing of note – Data flying in the Borg cube seemed like a nod to Star Wars blowing up a death star flying through the superstruture. And rather than Luke saving his father, Picard saved his son. Given my age, 78 in a few days, I loved having the wise elder helping the misguided youngster VERY much!
And really calling some of it “fan service” diminishes it in my mind. Yes there is a Shakespeare thread in various Trek shows but is it “fan service” or dramatic continuity when Picard recites Shakespeare ? If Sherlock Holmes character stays the same for many books, is that “fan service”? Hardly. I think of it as the latter.
And Q showing up in the cameo was something 100% totally unbelievably surprisingly cool. Yes you have to be a Trek fan to know Q but WOW.
I take exception to the comparison of the Enterprise flying through the Borg Cube to the Millennium Flacon flying through the second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi.” Before starting their attack run in Star Wars, Lando Calrissian said, “Here goes nothing!” But in the finale of “Picard,” Data said…
Oh wait, never mind. 🙂
A tip o’ the hat between franchises doesn’t bother me at all.
Besides, the Death Star was a sphere, and this was a cube. Totally different!!
This season was the epitome of fan service and you know what. I ate up every minute. It felt like finding those old comfortable pair of boots that felt perfect in almost every way.
I loved everything about it. Although being the Changeling conspiracy was IMHO better left for a possible DS9 show it still worked perfectly.
The whole born story line confused me because we all know Janeway handed the Borg their butts with the virus and the Queen blamed Picard for their current state. And yes I would have loved to see Janeway pop up with a phaser rifle and say “you are mistaken your majesty it was I who f’ed you up” and then just annihilate the Queen.
But IMHO the best part of the last episode was seeing Enterprise D do her fast and furious imitation when zipping through the cube while Troi sensed Joyfulness. Beverly flaying waste to the cube like John Wick with the torpedos and phasers and the looks on the faces of Geordi, Data and Troi. That was hilarious.
But all in all it was a SOLID season. I just want to know what Worf did to the Enterprise E
Always leave a few unsolved mysteries, right?
One of the biggest mysteries, of course, is who builds a space ship with interiors big enough to fly a large starship through? 🙂
All I know is that was the biggest Borg Cube I have ever seen. If you compare it to the previous sizes when compared to the Defiant, Voyager and most of the fleet it wasn’t that big.
This one however could have given the Death Star a run for its money.
And yes whoever came up with the enterprise flying through a Borg Cube MUST have been a Starwars fan.
Here goes nothing…
The same people who design ridiculously high platforms with no safety enclosures so that our characters can perform hand-to-hand combat on the top one, that’s who.
I think the Cube looked like giant swiss cheese, because of decades of being cannibalized to keep going. Also, to build the giant transmission array to broadcast from Jupiter. Could have picked Jupiter as a fuel source too, but, lacking raw building materials, the repurposed large portions of the existing ship, as that’s all that was available.
As they used to sing on Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Just repeat to yourself, ‘It’s just a show; I should really just relax.'” 🙂
First and foremost: Thanks Jonathan for a brilliant overview! Great blog post!!!!
Yeah, I could complain, but I think that this was not only the best season of Picard, it was the best TV season of post-2000 Trek period.
Sure, it may not have been perfect, but it just hit the right vibe. It’s analogous to Andor in Disney’s attempt to serialize Star Wars. Some of their other attempts were okay or even, well, fine, but for whatever reason Andor just got the balance right and hit the ball out of the park.
Picard, season 3, at least for me, just got the balance right. We got colossal, impending danger without the idea that Starfleet was evil and corrupt to the core and our heroes still got to save the universe. Even the ‘predictable’ ending with Picard uploading to the ether to ‘talk down’ Jack–and I’m not a fan of these kinds of meta-fantasy virtual meetings in the mind–has a healthy Star Trek tradition, for example, when Kirk talked down down Landru or M5. (Sci-Fi Fact Check: Okay. Not sure how this actually would work, as Picard is no longer his old carbon-based self, since he was uploaded to his new Soonian body. Maybe Borg tech also works equally well with humanoids as with androids? Yeah. I know. Don’t overthink this.)
I admit that I wasn’t thrilled that most of what we learned in the first four episodes was basically made irrelevant after the Borgian plot twist. I’m still not sure who Vadic’s shape-shifting boss really was or why they would off a great super-villain so quickly. I was not happy about bringing the Borg back into it either–hell, we covered this ground now it seems like a zillion times, within the earlier Picard series itself. Well. At least they didn’t bring back Kahn again…).
Characters, though, were true to form (with, I think, the exception of Riker’s very brief you’ve-killed-us outburst/defection from Picard.) And the characters all faced challenges to their humanity at different points in the episode (very Star Trek). I was impressed at how they reunited most of the STNG cast in a way that seemed far less contrived than when this is usually done, I won’t lie that I was ecstatic as hell when they brought back the Enterprise D, and, more importantly, the old and new cast worked seamlessly with natural and meaningful interactions among them all. And they didn’t just reunite the old cast: they gelled together perfectly. If they didn’t seem so genuinely happy to work together again, they might as well have stepped off the set of STNG yesterday. (And man. If all we got was the poker game at the end of this reunion series, that alone would have been worth the wait!)
I hope I’m posting enough among friends to admit that I was TOTALLY taken in by the shameless tease of a spinoff series in the last scenes, and I do hope they make it. (Please, please, please, make it!) Even the after-credits, unnecessary, and nearly wacko scene with Q–although I think John De Lancie is brilliant in the role, I have always hated the whole omnipotent/capricious Q-consortium thing–the writers did so well with the Q concept in Picard season 2, I’ve almost warmed up to the concept….
So. Maybe not perfect, but proof of concept that modern Trek can be vintage Trek. I hope the writers carry over the experience of Picard Season 3 to Strange New Worlds (where they are already doing a bang up job) and Discovery (where the writing has improved but is still not up to snuff).
My only regret? That there is no Picard Season 4!
A Picard season 4 would have made season 3 just a little less special, methinks. 🙂
That was a phorens- firens-, frensi- uh… good bit of analysis of the writing to my mind! 🙂
It’s a well known saying that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. For me, an upside of the streaming market is that film makers now have the license to make things that some people will really love, rather than trying to make some thing that a wide range of people will like just enough to tune in again. I’m not saying the Picard did not pull in the viewers, I believe it’s done extremely well. But its makers had a goal of producing a specific bit of fan service/nostalgia and good on them for delivering (i.e. it’s a fan film, but not as we know it Captain). However, if it’s not the bit of nostaligia that speaks to you then you’re not going to enjoy it as much. I think that’s why some people proceed to pick holes in the show.
In fact, I think it’s great that we have so much trek to choose from. I enjoy pretty much all of it and really love some of it (as per my original point). Yes, I wish Discovery had started better and improved faster but, overall, I think we should count our blessings.
Incidentally, you may remember that I’d finally got around to watching DS9. I’m happy to report I’ve finished it and enjoyed it. A stand out for me was In The Pale Moonlight, which is a very non-Trek episode by all standard definitions, kind of ironic given some of the comments about Trek/not Trek that have been making the rounds in the last couple of years. However, did I like it as much as Babylon 5? Afraid not. Why? If I’m honest, it’s nostaligia again. For reasons that escape me (my memory’s not as good as I remember [joke]) I could follow B5 when it came out but didn’t have time (or access) to DS9 i.e. with B5 I was properly along for the ride and counting the days between episodes in Seasons 3 and 4. Everytime I watch it, it takes me back. I think, on balance, I found the character development better in B5 and the long term story felt more solid. However, had I been watching DS9 weekly, perhaps I’d be saying the same about that show instead. In any case, it was still good and, ultimately, it’s all a personal point of view.
Interestingly, DS9 inspired me to rewatch Voyager (haven’t seen it since it was originally screened). Now I know you’re not so fond of that one but, for me, it’s right up my alley. Again, there’s a nostalgia element (by that stage I could follow weekly Trek on telly reliably), but I personally am a fan of problem solving episodes, which it is so far delivering in spades. For me, in many ways, it’s the ideals of Star Trek in their purest form. But I know people will disagree, that’s fine.
Apologies for the mini essay (it’s a damp Sunday afternoon as I write this). As a closing aside I’ve been smiling at the much discussed set lighting (or lack of it). It’s another irony for me that of all the interiors, the Enterprise D is the one I would want to be in if I was serving on a starship for years at a time. It’s just plain easy on the eye, uplifting and exactly what you need in the great dark. TOS was 60’s and whacky, DS9 was a Kardassian station (it had to look alien), Voyager is (very) grey, Enterprise is basic (a warp drive civilisation, even a new one, can’t do better than that?) and pretty much everything since is way too shiny. But someone thought all those sets a good idea.
I guess they’d say there really is no pleasing everyone.
Sorry for the delay in posting this comment and approving it, Alastair. I was away for a while and didn’t have time for the blog. However, I didn’t want your comment to languish for too long. My only comment is to agree that “In the Pale Moonlight” is widely considered to be one of the best DS9 episodes, and indeed, one of the best of all Star Trek series. You have excellent taste!
Lololol, funny Jonathan! But, while I’m at it, I’ll just remind everyone about the turbilift on Discovery, which seemed like it was from another dimension. Heck, you could have flown a shuttle through that cavernous space! Or, perhaps the turbolift WAS a shuttle in disguise?
Do NOT talk of the Discovery turbolift! It offendeth me! 🙂
Wow! Just WOW! 🙂 I will admit that my Wife and I took our time, but we finally decided to watch just Episodes 9 and 10… and I am glad we did! Minimal obscenities, minimal gore. (Altho the zombified Borg Queen was… disturbing!) I followed your blogs, and a handful of Youtube blogs, also, which featured some of the key moments from those first 8 episodes. (With the worst parts omitted… my main reason for NOT watching the show, itself.) Johnathan, I appreciate your blogs, and have enjoyed the spoiler-rich reviews you have written for all of these recent Trek live-action shows. 🙂 I definitely got tears in my eyes watching the Data/Lore clip… which I watched more than once. My Wife also choked-up. Then there was the moment when Data said “TRUST ME!” we were like… this is DATA! You HAVE to trust him! 🙂 Then when Deanna said, “Why am I sensing enjoyment?!” with Data smiling… DELICIOUS!!! There actually was a LOT to LOVE about these last two episodes, but especially Ep 10. For one thing, WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE CHARACTERS!! Every one of them feels like a beloved friend, almost like family, because we’ve watched them in so many episodes, and many of those much more than once! (We can almost recite the lines in some TNG episodes, and get a kick out of doing that.) So, seeing this BELOVED crew back together again, was DELICIOUS! (Especially in light of Sir Patrick’s original rejection of Picard being a “reunion show”!) Somehow… WE THE FANS were heard, and we got a lot of good things in Season 3, but especially those last two episodes. If Terry Matalas ever reads this, I really hope he reconsiders the “Academy” show… drop it, and pick up “Legacy” with Seven and her new Enterprise-G!! But … please (with sugar on top) make it “Plain PG” like the TV shows were? Pretty Please? Thanks! Live LONG and Prosper! (By pleasing the fans! Yes, PROSPER!) BTW, yes I know that my Wife and I are in the minority in our sincere disdain for the unnecessary use of foul language… but I also know we are NOT ALONE. 🙂
Sorry for the delay in getting this posted, Willie. I was away in Dallas for a week and had very little time to do anything blog-related. I’m now playing catch-up!
I’m glad you enjoyed episodes 9 and 10, but if you liked these characters so much, why not watch the other 8 episodes? Just wondering.
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