So I finished this on Thursday and have been sitting on my feelings about it for a few days. First there a few things that I want to get out of way: One, I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I am going to spoil some things that happen in the first two episodes. Two, here’s my background with Star Trek: I don’t have a lot of clear memories of when I wasn’t a fan. I can’t speak any Klingon, but I can explain in detail how a Warp Drive actually functions.
In a nutshell, Star Trek Picard is like seeing your adult son after a long absence and now he has a face tattoo. You still love him, but boy that face tattoo sure is big!
Spoilers below here.
Face tattoos in this instance are the Federation of Planets being xenophobic, quick to anger, and willing to own slaves. These things can certainly be fodder for good story telling and conflict – I don’t think there were in this instance – but it mars the hopeful view of the future Star Trek was famous for.
That’s my biggest problem with this series. Now people might argue that getting rid of the hopefulness allows the show to be a better mirror of our “darker” times. Which it does and makes Star Trek a little more generic sci fi and hurting its ability to differentiate its self in a crowded market place. Also, while Star Trek has always commented on current or historical politics, it never did so directly in its series premises. Those were always in contrast to our current political leanings. Specifically, the 1960’s uncertainly with race relations and the cold war, and the 1980’s cynicism and callous money grabbing.
There also seems to be a lot of thought given to the fact that this move needed to be made because modern audiences don’t want to see that kind of hopefulness anymore. Seeing as this show was, on some level, cashing in on nostalgia, I’m going to call bullshit on that. Also, there’s an emerging genera called HopePunk, so there’s clearly a market for this kind of contrast.
Instead of leading that charge, it’s become a lot like every other sci fi property on the market, and I’m not sure who exactly this show is for, and I’m not sure what it does that everyone else isn’t doing better.