• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Star Trek: Picard |OT| The Next, Next, Next Generation

Finally had a chance to watch the whole episode last night.

It’s hard to express a reaction to this one. It wasn’t nearly as bad (in general, non-Trek TV terms) as episode 4’s fantasy ninja nun / elf village and its badly shoehorned, terribly scripted & acted Picard-abandoned-me daddy theme. That may well remain the low point of the whole franchise for years to come.

But “Freecloud” was very un-Trek in design, copied from space adventure franchises, and surprisingly cheap. I mean cheap as in—they clearly spend a lot on some of the production / effects of this series, so why are their sets always so terrible? We have basically one set for their ship—a cargo bay with a couple of light fixtures—and then all the planning scenes happen in Picard’s vineyard holodeck that filled up the pilot episodes, because I guess they can only have like 3 sets and have to keep reusing anything built. Having Picard continue to hang out and hold *all* his meetings in there makes him seem a bit senile, confused. Starfleet was a conference center with weird CGI ships in the background and people transporting in / out through gates. And now Freecloud—a fantasy trope of a lawless outpost—was basically one small bar room with a few weird aliens in the background. Seemed tiny, insignificant. It looks like they spent more on exterior CGI shots of the Borg cube than on all these physical sets combined.

That aside, the writing of on-screen brutality and revenge is boring and out of place. Especially the sexy-cruel woman villain, which is a trope they keep shoving on us, just like the sexy Romulan sister who tempts her brother in weird whispery incest hints and choke play. Violence in service of a story is one thing, but I’m seeing violence on this show as a sexualized fantasy element used very cheaply. It doesn’t belong in Trek and looks like someone desperately hunting to be cool like they think G.oThrones is.

I’ve also noticed that they have a new parallel to the old rule “you can make fun of a female character, if the guy making the joke is punched right after” (Futurama writers discussed this in context of Amazon Women episode). Here, the rule is: “you can have revenge, brutality, fantasy violence that wouldn’t fit into Trek, so long as Picard has a couple seconds to yell about it afterward.” In other words, Picard’s impotent “this isn’t our way” lines after all the killing and beheadings are just a cheap way to allow the show to be immoral fantasy garbage, while tricking the viewer into thinking it’s on the side of Picard’s old ideals, because he got to punch back for maybe 5 seconds.

But Picard spends every scene as a mere senile accessory to the action, confused and lost. I’m particularly irritated with the eyepatch disguise bit. He camped it up like an idiot, and it didn’t fit. He just feels like a joke now; he had zero impact on anything that happened in the bar. This show is basically "senile, grandfather Picard stands around while your favorite fan-fiction ideas (like 7of9 kicking ass and killing!) play out around him."
 

The thing is, Season 1 of TNG was a total mess, and they had major shakeups of the writing staff between 1/2 and 2/3 before the show (and characters) found an identity. Most fans rightly think that if TNG continued to look like Season 1, it would have been canceled and forgotten within another season. It was the first attempt at a new Trek universe since the TOS crew and early movies, so they had to think from the ground up. Star Trek: Picard inherits that entire universe and all its work--the characters, themes, races, lore, ships, all accumulated over that decade of writing--and yet still acts like it doesn't know what kind of franchise it's working with.
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
I hated that they took Icheb - a character that had a pretty solid role in the last two seasons of Voyager - and just killed him right away as a plot device to set up 7 of 9's revenge. I also hated how jaded 7 of 9 is. I hated how Picard was trying to lecture her on the nature of revenge, but there is literally an entire motion picture (First Contact) dedicated to Picard taking vengeance on the Borg. I hated how this episode didn't move the plot along at all outside of Picard learning that Dahj's sister has a name and she's on The Artifact - he could have got that in a text message or something. 7 of 9's involvement amounted to absolutely jack shit.

I've been really enjoying this show so far but I have to say I hated this episode. I'll watch next week for Riker and Troi and unless it gets significantly better I think I'm out.
 

#Phonepunk#

Banned
Turns out that what Star Trek has been missing all these years is a graphic scene where a sympathetic character gets his eye drilled out while he's still awake and not anesthetized, covered in blood from previous dismemberment, and is finally killed in an act of mercy by the woman who raised him and helped him rediscover his individuality. Thanks, Chabon and Kurtzman! Turns out gratuitous cruelty isn't immature, it's great writing!

Seriously, eff this. I haven't particularly liked the show up until now, but haven't completely dismissed it either. That opening scene was horrific on every level, though. It's not even that it's tonally anathematic to Star Trek: any show should be excoriated for being so pointlessly nasty. Good writing justifies brutality by making it a key part of the story or theme (David Fincher's Se7en being the prime example). Icheb's torture served no purpose other than to force an emotional reaction with minimal effort, consideration or respect. Guess what? It worked. I am indeed angry at having watched the scene - except I'm angry at the writers for bastardising something I care about, not at anyone or anything in the story. It was no better (worse, in fact, as it was more graphic) than Zach Snyder having Jimmy Olsen shot at the beginning of Batman v Superman - except at least Snyder had the good sense to cut everything from the theatrical cut which made it clear who the character was.
yes i heard about this scene. fucking disgusting.

already in episode 1 this looked like Trek was shoved into a gritty prestigue tv mold. hearing about this horrific image, no, i don't want to see that. for fuck's sake, what the hell is wrong with these people? gross.

yall enjoy the rest of the series.
 
I hated how this episode didn't move the plot along at all outside of Picard learning that Dahj's sister has a name and she's on The Artifact - he could have got that in a text message or something. 7 of 9's involvement amounted to absolutely jack shit.

True, they took one of the more interesting subplots to me--what is Bruce Maddox up to, all these years later?--and just trashed it for a pointless little space revenge plot. Maddox didn't even end up mattering, or saying anything at all; he just whimpered at the hands of some goons he'd gotten involved in (for funding reasons? this is all idiotic, Maddox was a clean careerist guy, not a rogue scientist with black market connections) and then died. I was genuinely looking forward to seeing him again, particularly given his overall arc from the original episode and through his apparent continued correspondence with Data... and all they gave us was a waste, it wasn't even the same actor. Just a useless guy who gets tossed around in the plot like everyone else.
 

Fuz

Member
Dunno what to think about this episode. Decent, I guess? I had the Rick & Morty heist episode circling in my head the whole duration.
Doesn't really feel like Star Trek at all, but I guess my unbridled love for Patrick Stewart and Picard clouds my judgment.
Good plot twists at the end (both Seven and the doc), hope the mysterious mistery won't be bullshit.

Oh, and Raffi's son is unsufferable. I can't get over the weird way he moves his mouth.
I also had a tiny sliver of hope we would've get rid of her, but oh well...
just like the sexy Romulan sister who tempts her brother in weird whispery incest hints and choke play
At least Peyton List is hot AF.
 
Last edited:

eot

Banned
I see the points being made that Ep. 5 was a bit better than the last two, and yeah it was a bit more focused, something actually happened and pilot guy (don't remember his name) got to be a bit more interesting, dressing up as a pimp. For me the bad outweighs the good though. They start with one (unnecessarily gruesome) flashback, then cut to yet another flashback. Can these writers create any moments or characters that aren't set-up by explicit references to the past? Every damn episode has a flashback, dream, old recording or something similar; it's bad storytelling. This is Star Trek, they're re-using established characters and still they feel the need to invent what's effectively a different backstory for those characters.

Seven of Nine's first scene with Picard was utterly unconvincing. The moment when she turns back to join up was laughable. During the negotiation scene they did this cute back and forth cutting between different times / locations, for the what, the 3rd time? It's a heist movie thing and works when done well, but here I found it distracting.

Why does Seven dual-wield phaser rifles? Who dual-wields rifles? It's dumb.
Why does the EMH just stand there and let the patient die?
Why are there these stupid fucking holo ads you have to punch? This episode felt like a bad Star Wars prequel show.

And bringing back Icheb just to kill him, so Seven can have a motivation for killing some random piece of shit we don't care about is enough to make me dislike the writers. Again, this is a major character, maybe the most well developed one in Voyager, and you need to create a new backstory to give her a motivation in your episode? They fully resolve that sub-plot in the span of a single episode, there was no time for us to care about it.

It's not just that none of the things I like about Star Trek aren't in this show, there's nothing that I like about other shows in this show either. For example, witty dialogue, good pacing, characters whose names I remember five episodes in or plot threads that make me want to keep watching.

edit: oh I forgot, the mom / son meeting too. This show is obsessed with its fictional past, and it's terrible at introducing it. It's so heavy handed.
 
Last edited:
I'll be honest, If I wanted grim-dark sci-fi I'll stick to 40K or The Expanse.

The mild cynicism of DS9 added some entertaining spice to the Star Trek universe, but this show is like main-lining ghost pepper extract directly into your eyeball.
 

Durask

Member
But Picard spends every scene as a mere senile accessory to the action, confused and lost. I’m particularly irritated with the eyepatch disguise bit. He camped it up like an idiot, and it didn’t fit. He just feels like a joke now; he had zero impact on anything that happened in the bar. This show is basically "senile, grandfather Picard stands around while your favorite fan-fiction ideas (like 7of9 kicking ass and killing!) play out around him."

Yup, the show does a great job at showing Picard as a useless weak old man.
 
Can these writers create any moments or characters that aren't set-up by explicit references to the past? Every damn episode has a flashback, dream, old recording or something similar; it's bad storytelling. This is Star Trek, they're re-using established characters and still they feel the need to invent what's effectively a different backstory for those characters.

Good point. That has been irritating me more than I realized.

It completely skips over the task of writing layered dialogue, where characters reveal their different connections and attitudes to each other. On this show, every scene of dialogue clearly has one direct plot purpose ("this guy doesn't like Picard", "she wants revenge", etc) and nothing more going on in it. So to add character color and attributes, instead of writing them it the flow of the character they put in pointed cutscene memories like a video game, which again contain only one thought ("she has an estranged son", "these two were once friends").

Scenes in well-written shows can carry the plot forward while also writing in several sub-layers of interaction that reveal things about the characters and their relations, motivations, etc. I don't enjoy any of the dialogue here because it never has any layers--it just immediately serve an obvious point they want you to know or emotion you need to feel, then moves onto another scene.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: eot

Stouffers

Banned
Good point. That has been irritating me more than I realized.

It completely skips over the task of writing layered dialogue, where characters reveal their different connections and attitudes to each other. On this show, every scene of dialogue clearly has one direct plot purpose ("this guy doesn't like Picard", "she wants revenge", etc) and nothing more going on in it. So to add character color and attributes, instead of writing them it the flow of the character they put in pointed cutscene memories like a video game, which again contain only one thought ("she has an estranged son", "these two were once friends").

Scenes in well-written shows can carry the plot forward while also writing in several sub-layers of interaction that reveal things about the characters and their relations, motivations, etc. I don't enjoy any of the dialogue here because it never has any layers--it just immediately serve an obvious point they want you to know or emotion you need to feel, then moves onto another scene.
The lady that calls Picard “JL” reminds me of the alien parasites in Rick and Morty that place false memories in their hosts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fuz
I'm just gonna say it. I'm lovin the ride. I enjoy Picard a lot. That being said, it's flaws are easily seen and are significant in number. I have dialed back this being a Star Trek show with a TNG era lead actor and fan service appearances by the rest of the Enterprise D+E main crew.

While I like the show and am enjoying it a lot, it hurts so fucking bad that I have to resort to seeing it as a near generic run of the mill Sci-Fi tv show instead of an epic series staring Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

AND WHERE IS MY ENTERPRISE E GODDAMMIT! I want Sovereign Class front and center. I want my "prepare phasers on zero elevation, all banks, on my mark. "Ready Captain." "Fire" Enterprise goes full fuckin rapid fire phaser beams in all directions. I want that again.
 

Ma-Yuan

Member

Not as draconian as in China ><

Edit: wrong thread oops.

For episode 5 well 7 of 9 is still hot the plot a hot mess and I wish they had some more talented writers that are not just good at trek references and Easter eggs.
 
Last edited:

Makariel

Member
Episode 5. So...

In relation to the rest of the Abramsverse this episode was half decent. The part I enjoyed the most was the dialogue of Seven and Picard near the end. I also found the bit with Raffi and her estranged son quite effective, albeit I'm not certain why they were on freecloud of all places (The European Cloud Service for you and your friends ). I can't imagine that there are no other fertility clinics in the Federation?

In terms of tone this one was all over the place. First they go all grimdank with the torture doctor, then flimsy and silly with eyepatch and all for the Oceans 11 part, before we go back into "death wish" territory. Oh and the plot twists... were they really a surprise to anyone here?
That Seven goes down to murderize that bitch was clear as soon as she borrowed those two phaser rifles. What the fuck else would she want to do with those?

And science woman (I forgot her name) turning bad wasn't a surprise either tbh. Maybe to Picard in universe but not to any viewer, she met with sunglasses wearing evil romulan, then just happens to show up when the romulans try to raid Picards vineyard and just happens to murder one of them. Right... but I have to say she is a psychopath just murderizing a guy she presumably loved/liked/had at least sex with? Or maybe it turns out in Episode 6 that Maddox was a serial rapist and this was all justified, who can tell at this stage.

Now that Maddox is dead, the series is pretty much back to square one. So now their quest brings J-L, Raffi, Legolas, Han Solo and Hannibal Lecter to the Borg cube next I guess. Or maybe they squeeze in a chat with Rikers on the way. Or any other callbacks to the old series.

In the Transporter Room 3 podcast Jonathan Frakes confirmed that:
a) Rikers was originally not supposed to be in Picard
b) the first 3 episodes were supposed to be just the first two, that was changed in post
c) most of the scenes were shot out of sequence to cut down cost. The reason Picard sits in the holodeck-variant of his vineyard is because they had shooting days at the location and might as well use it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eot

Stouffers

Banned
I think Picard is trying to “Logan” Star Trek. The eye scene was fine. It gave Seven motivation to help. It’s not like Icheb was Janeway or Chakotay. He was a fairly minor character with just enough weight to make sense.
 

Ballthyrm

Member
I keep hoping that's all a Holo recording and we'll all leave that nightmare soon like a classic star trek episode.
 

Makariel

Member
I keep hoping that's all a Holo recording and we'll all leave that nightmare soon like a classic star trek episode.
I've heard some contemplating if this is just the Mirror Universe leaking into our reality again, but I doubt they would go there again so quick after Discovery.

Also, what's with the theory floating around that the Romulans were the ones originally creating the Borg. I don't think that would hold up or would it?
 
Raffi: "I'm clean now!" a starfleet officer with an addiction that most likely got her kicked out, oh wait that was Picard.. so edgy.
 

Stouffers

Banned
I’ve liked the last 2-3 episodes. I’m surprised RLM are so hung up on Picard having an affection for children now. Throughout the show and movies, they showed Picard loosening up to both adults and children. After FATHERING children in The Inner Light, being stranded with Wesley, having to escape a turbo-lift with a few kids AND having his cherished nephew WHO IDOLIZED HIS UNCLE DIE, I can totally see him act the way he does with Elenor. This obsession with this one aspect of Picards evolved character completely puts a dent in the validity of the rest of their criticisms. It’s hard to take them seriously.
 
I caught upon the latest episode (spoilers, but I'm not marking them... for the 1/100,000 people who care about the plot, just skip over me).

- I truly hate the Raffi negotiation scene, and the horribly forced applause at the end. What the hell... I mean, using various negotiation tactics across a viewscreen to gain entry etc happens in a ton of TNG episodes, but it's never such a big & emotional swelling of cheer and support. It felt rather ridiculous. Another damn forced emotion that doesn't have enough backing to work as they planned.

- Captain Rogue being fatherly with helping Raffi was also just a forced and pointless scene, with characters that make no sense to me.

- They permit Picard to beam down to the cube--which is evidently a very big deal, specify the allowed coordinates carefully--and then just leave him dropped in an isolated area with no one there to receive him, and a giant pit nearby? That was bizarre, and clearly shoved in just to give him an isolated scene for Locutus PTSD.

- Probably the one thing I actually enjoyed was the dream sequence of the android girl, as she came closer to the facing the truth, as well as her shock at realizing her photos etc were faked. That could have been extended into a major episode plot and I wouldn't mind. It's main drawback here was rushing for time, and then the corniness of the Romulan walking garden thing where she traced the path on the floor.

- Picard still feels so wrong in every scene. In his conversations with Hugh, I just didn't see Jean Luc there. He's so weak and off-kilter.

- Did we really need a damn Romulan Rubix Cube? That's so lazy and ridiculous. One of the worst tropes in bad TV / film writing is "he's smart, so have him casually fidgeting with a rubix cube"

- what's the point in Picard's personal-ninja sacrificing himself in some way by staying behind? It felt like a video game yet again... the super transport portal only opens at this time, gotta cover the room for that time, etc.

Overall, certainly not as bas as the prior two episodes, but still filled with so much stupidity.

I’ve liked the last 2-3 episodes. I’m surprised RLM are so hung up on Picard having an affection for children now. Throughout the show and movies, they showed Picard loosening up to both adults and children. After FATHERING children in The Inner Light, being stranded with Wesley, having to escape a turbo-lift with a few kids AND having his cherished nephew WHO IDOLIZED HIS UNCLE DIE, I can totally see him act the way he does with Elenor. This obsession with this one aspect of Picards evolved character completely puts a dent in the validity of the rest of their criticisms. It’s hard to take them seriously.

It's not that he has changed here that bothers me--it's how off the change feels, how forced and non-integrated with his character. In Generations, we got to watch his fondest dream of actually having a family gathered around him at Christmas, and it was wonderfully endearing--so I'm okay with exploring that angle. He certainly doesn't hate kids, he just doesn't know how to relate to them as a rule. But the scenes in that episode just showed him jumping right into some weird affectionate closeness to the Romulan kid that never felt like it was written for Picard. Changing over time doesn't mean you simply throw it all out and write whatever personality you want.. it still needs to feel like the character's natural evolution, and I didn't see anything that worked in that way. It would have operated a bit better with an older kid, and having Picard deal with him in the somewhat cautious way that he tried to take his fake son (faked by the Ferengi in that TNG episode) under his wing.
 
Last edited:

StormCell

Member
I'm not going to pretend like I'm the most knowledgeable when it comes to Trek (on a scale of 1-10, I'd say I'm a 5 in Trek knowledge), but since when did Picard refer to Data as his "dearest friend"? That line really threw me for a loop in the latest episode... Data was cool and all but he was a synthetic first and foremost, so this humanization and adoration of him is kinda rubbing me the wrong way.

I didn't see anyone ever give you a proper response. I'm actually in season 4 of TNG -- I've watched the series a couple of times, as best I could. It's interesting that you bring this up, because something I've noticed as a bit of a transition in this season is actually a growing friendship between the two. Multiple episodes have started with Data on the holodeck learning to act, and Picard is there providing him critical feedback and encouragement. These scenes represent significant time that Picard is spending with Data. Picard as a charcter has actually shown considerable relationship development with many characters at this point. It's very well done. I mean, seasons 3 and 4 are where we really get to see Worf and O'Brien bloom into actual, real characters on the show! You can see where they lay the foundation for DS9 even.

So no, it doesn't seem out of place at all to me at this point. Haven't watched any of Picard yet. Will wait for full season binge.
 
I didn't see anyone ever give you a proper response. I'm actually in season 4 of TNG -- I've watched the series a couple of times, as best I could. It's interesting that you bring this up, because something I've noticed as a bit of a transition in this season is actually a growing friendship between the two. Multiple episodes have started with Data on the holodeck learning to act, and Picard is there providing him critical feedback and encouragement. These scenes represent significant time that Picard is spending with Data. Picard as a charcter has actually shown considerable relationship development with many characters at this point. It's very well done. I mean, seasons 3 and 4 are where we really get to see Worf and O'Brien bloom into actual, real characters on the show! You can see where they lay the foundation for DS9 even.

So no, it doesn't seem out of place at all to me at this point. Haven't watched any of Picard yet. Will wait for full season binge.

I think there's some truth to this, and RedLetterMedia is a little harsh on this particular point. But at the same time, it's not the depth of relationship and respect that bothers me--it's the tone and style. Picard does have a depth of respect, admiration, and even loyalty towards Data by the end of the series / films, but it isn't awash in this kind of sentimentality that he expresses in ST: Picard.

It's just not his style, and isn't even a plausible transition in his old age. Picard had a very particular way of forming his friendships, and I would expect elderly Picard to speak of Data as: a true example for humanity; a person I am richer for having known; a challenge to our ideals; my greatest regret; etc. But I would not expect him to speak about him like it's an old, sentimental family friend who he let down.

And I'd certainly expect his language around Daj / Soji to about Data's legacy as an android, Soong's legacy, the ideals of artificial life that they both stood for, and so on--but it's jarring to hear him keep talking about them as "daughters" that he has to protect.
 
Last edited:

jdforge

Member
Episode 6 was a slight improvement on 5 but it’s still way below my expectations.

Maybe they’ll sort things out for Season 2 and bring in some decent writers. Maybe.
 

eot

Banned
Two episodes in a row ending with them cutting away from someone making a stand against an army of guards lol
 

Stouffers

Banned
Besides the “JL” introduction of Rafaela, cringe Borg-cube romance, and some of the docs dialogue, I’ve liked it just fine.

I’m pretty well versed in Trek and feel this has the potential to be a great continuation.
 

Shouta

Member
Episode 6 was okay. My biggest complaint still is still Soji and the Romulan pretty boy's interactions and there's so much of it this episode but at least the show is out of the find the girl phase of the episode.

The series thus far is definitely not TV Trek, it's more Movie Trek with the same blah writing overall. This show at least has paid attention to the lore for the most part though so there's that.
 

Shouta

Member

It's been pretty solid on that front. The lore it has been using has been on target if one looks at the totality of the canon.

Stuff like Picard's thoughts on Children and friendship with Data got talked about a number of posts just before this. Other stuff like the capitalistic nature of individuals and the overall stance towards Romulans from various people is very consistent with what came before.

If there's anything wrong with the show, it's that it totally misses the tone and style of TV Trek. The show being written like any generic modern sci-fi and the use of some silly new ideas definitely does not help but the basis seems solid.

For example, the warrior nuns are mad stupid but the idea that they have a rule that requires them to be upfront about their emotions is interesting. Romulans are portrayed as generally deceptive and more emotional relative to their Vulcan cousins so that rule jives well as a way of showing how different that niche of people are compared to the Romulan population.

I haven't really seen many things that are grievously wrong. There's been a lot of stuff that i don't agree with, particularly the direction they're taking, but they've been pretty mindful of Trek as a whole rather than one point in time.
 
Top Bottom