Imagination Connoisseur known as, Klimt Eastwood, really wants to like STAR TREK: PICARD, but with so many unanswered questions and dangling plot threads, it’s really hard.
I’m a fan of Star Trek, although nowhere near as knowledgeable as you or some others in the PGS, and I’ve been trying to make sense of the criticisms of STAR TREK: PICARD (ST:PICARD).
I should say, I *want* to love new Trek. I really, *really* want to love it: both for personal reasons (my favourite show ever!) and for, I guess you could say, ‘political’ reasons. I want hope. I want badly for someone to come along and without patronising us (the audience) or dumbing it down to the ground and telling us a story about what sort of society we *could* be, what we *could* look forward to if we just got ourselves together and dragged ourselves out of this kindergarten of humanity we live in.
Unfortunately, the ST:PICARD isn’t doing this – just as STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (ST:DISC) didn’t, but could have!
The first level of ST:PICARD’s failings is the plethora of questions it keeps posing, directly or indirectly, adding more every week. There are so many that even a cursory summary of the major ones is dizzying:
– What happened to the Romulan Empire? (Also, what’s with the mysticism?!)
– What happened to the Starfleet and the Federation?
– What happened to/why do we not see the rest of the TNG or Voyager crews?
– What did they make of/what happened to Starfleet/Federation & Romulans?
– How did the Romulans, having just been through a nova which supposedly destroyed their empire, come to possess such a valuable thing as the Borg cube?
– Wouldn’t the Klingons, Cardassians, Federation etc. have run roughshod over a people unable to even rescue themselves?
Oh, and that corridor-skating scene … **shudders!**
And as others have said, each episode that passes adds yet more of these questions, large and small. The result is that at the season’s mid-point (Episode 5 out of 10), we have a lot more questions than answers or even the beginnings of an answer. This might be delicious to the cunning Romulan mind, but it’s making this particular Terran’s head hurt!
But above and beyond all these issues, I feel there is a problem with the narrative arc of the series. The fact that the post-nova galaxy and the Federation are in a much darker, less stable place I *could* ‘buy’, *if* there were a narrative arc in which that ‘fall’ is explained and the forces of good – which aim to return to some sort of ‘RoddeberryTopia’ – are introduced.
After all, there is a fair amount of precedent for Starfleet’s and/or the Federation’s ideals being hijacked and distorted into authoritarianism. This would be a great way of adapting Star Trek to our times: having lost our moral compass, having lost social cohesion and stability, and indeed the very notion that there would be progress in the future, that tomorrow will be better than today – a notion which still resisted into the 1990s – how might we as individuals and as societies attempt to regain those lost heights?
Do we question our past utopia and imagine a different ‘good’ for the future? If we do, what does that different future look like? What new challenges must we face and what choices must we make to get there? If that were the basic structure of the series, then I would be willing to accept the problems you’ve flagged in the past such as the apparent disdain for life or Picard’s rudderlessness: in fact, we *need* to see to what depths abandoning those original ideas plunges us into both as a cautionary story and in order to understand what mighty effort will be demanded of our heroes to right this rudderless ship.
A new Federation can be forged from such a fire. But we the audience need to be shown this, we need not to have this spelled this out.
Stay sweaty, and may the Verisimilitude be with you!