I’ve written before about the Star Trek franchise reboot on CBS. I wrote about Star Trek: Discovery and all the problems with season 1. With Discovery, I hoped that the writers would fix their mistakes and felt that they did that by season 2. Sadly, I’m not sure they can do the same with the tepid Star Trek: Picard.
Like most Star Trek fans, when I first heard that CBS was making a series about the great Jean Luc Picard, arguably the most beloved Star Trek character next to Captain Kirk, I was absolutely thrilled. I should have known better.
The problem is that producer Alex Kurtzman is still in charge of all things Star Trek over at CBS and Kurtzman is not a Star Trek fan. If he was, he would understand what fans expect of any Star Trek franchise, let alone one about Picard.
Does Kurtzman care what the lowly fans think? I’m afraid not. If he did, he would stop pushing this vision of a dystopian Star Trek future on us.
Now, that vision alone is enough to upset many a Star Trek fan. People love Star Trek because it is not dystopian.
Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek always embodied a vision of hope for the future. One where we have fixed most of our problems and generally get along with each other. Throw in a lot of awe and wonder and you have a winning combination. Star Trek has always been a fantastic escape from reality and should stay that way.
That said, I have been willing to give Picard a chance, just like I did with Discovery. The real problem is we are five episodes into Season 1 and I just don’t care. I really want to care about this show, but I don’t, and that is Kurtzman’s fault.
I don’t care about this new, cynical Federation, and so far, I don’t care about any of these new characters. They could all become red shirts and I would barely shrug. That’s a big problem.
The writers try to compensate with a few Star Trek cameos, but when Seven of Nine shows up I am merely left scratching my head wondering what they’ve done to her character. This new Seven of Nine bears no resemblance to the one we cared about in Star Trek: Voyager and that is not an improvement. I simply do not believe that this is Seven of Nine and worse still, I do not care.
More importantly, this new Jean Luc Picard is a disappointment. Gone is the brilliant captain and diplomat. In his place we have an older shadow of his former self. A man filled with regret and sorrow desperately in need of a purpose. But it is that purpose that is the final nail in the coffin.
The biggest failure of this series is the story itself. I will try not to spoil too much of the story, but Picard is on a mission to save a girl who is involved with sinister Romulans and rescued Borg. Despite all the reasons they’ve given for Picard to care about this girl, I have not been convinced. The mission elicits little more than a meh from me, and that is inexcusable.
Even if I don’t like the direction they’ve taken Star Trek into, I should at least like the story. I should look at it and say, okay, maybe it’s not the Star Trek I like, but it is still great sci-fi. Sadly, other than a few special effects, it is nothing special.
Despite all this, I will continue watching and will continue hoping they turn this floundering show around. They fixed a lot of the problems with Discovery in Season 2, maybe they can do the same with Picard. We’ll see.
G.P. Hudson is the author of The Pike Chronicles and Fall of The Terran Empire