TIME FOR SPOILERS!
“It’s just a ripoff of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home!”
I’ve read versions of that complaint in the comments from multiple STAR TREK: PICARD detractors on Facebook this week. And believe it or not, they’re not entirely wrong…but not for the reason they think!
Y’see, nearly ALL Star Trek time-travel episodes and movies where someone goes back to old Earth of the 19th, 20th, or 21st century tell almost the EXACT SAME story! Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the following list…
- “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (TOS)
- “The City on the Edge of Forever” (TOS)
- “Assignment: Earth” (TOS)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- “Time’s Arrow, Part II” (TNG)
- Star Trek: First Contact
- “Past Tense” (DS9)
- “Little Green Men” (DS9)
- “Future’s End” (Voyager)
- “Carpenter Street” (Enterprise)
Now think back to all of those stories and tell me if they each share most if not all of the following plot elements…
- Something gets “broken” in the past and needs to be fixed before the time traveler(s) can come home.
- The method of time-travel is explained and often (but not always) shown…usually in a dramatic fashion.
- The time-travelers will split up into smaller teams, each with its own mission. This allows for cutting between an A-story and a B-story and possibly a C-story.
- Often, one of those teams remains back on the ship (assuming there is a ship), either in the past or still in the future.
- There’s at least some comedy relief where our heroes from the future don’t quite understand something from the past (but we do, and it’s funny).
- There’s usually a scene involving technology from the future that is either observed being used, or else it is lost and/or stolen. Often, this piece of equipment needs to be retrieved and/or destroyed lest it change the past in some way.
- At least one person gets separated from their team. Frequently, this person is either injured and/or is captured and must be rescued.
- The time-traveler(s) connect(s) with at least one special person from the past who can help them in some way. This character(s) becomes very well developed in the story, ultimately becoming someone we care about and can relate to/root for.
Not every time-travel story will contain every trope, but you’ll be amazed when you think about it just how many of these beloved episodes and movies share most of the same plot elements. And indeed, think about other sci-fi like the Back to the Future trilogy and see how many of those tropes you remember seeing there, too.
And speaking of Back to the Future, this third episode of the season, “Assimilation,” along with next week’s fourth episode, were both directed by LEA THOMPSON, the actress (and Trekkie!) who played Marty McFly’s mother in the first two Back to the Future movies and his great-great grandmother in the third. So she’s no stranger to time-travel stories!
Let’s take a look at how this latest episode of Picard follows the tropes of these Star Trek “back to Earth’s past” episodes and movies…Continue reading “SURPRISE! Nearly all TIME-TRAVEL episodes of STAR TREK to Earth’s past actually have the SAME general plot… (PICARD editorial review)”