Star Trek: Picard

"Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2"

3 stars

Air date: 3/26/2020
Teleplay by Michael Chabon
Story by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Akiva Goldsman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

So, now that I see the full picture, I realize what season one of Star Trek: Picard is actually about.

It's not about the Romulan refugee crisis. It's not about the reclamation project going on in the derelict Borg cube. It's not about the Zhat Vash or the Tal Shiar or undercover Romulan commodores, or the attack on Mars or the synth ban. It's not about catching up with Hugh or Riker or Troi or Seven, or about Soji learning her true identity, or Raffi drinking and vaping all the time, or Rios and his holograms, or everyone trying to track down Bruce Maddox only so that Agnes could kill him, or about the robot apocalypse.

Oh, sure, it was sometimes very much about all those things. But, ultimately, it wasn't about them. Thematically, emotionally, spiritually — nah. I see now that all those things were basically very elaborate and prolonged MacGuffins. The means to an end. They don't matter, except to fill 10 episodes of screen time, to distract us, to misdirect us, and hopefully entertain us along the way (with variable degrees of success).

No, what this season of Star Trek: Picard is actually about is Picard saying goodbye to Data.

I've gotta say, the fact we came all this way to learn this is what it's actually about is, to me, nothing short of a total writer's coup. This is audacious. It's heartfelt and sincere. It turns the plot on its head and makes everything about this one personal moment. It reveals something about this show's writers that my cynicism just last week would not have thought was possible, given how mechanical everything was shaping up to be. Credit where credit is due. I did not see this coming in quite this way.

There is plot, and then there is story. I think Roger Ebert once said something along the lines of: Plots are about things that happen; stories are about people who behave. This season had a lot of plot. The story essentially provides the bookends, where Picard gets, and provides, closure for Data.

In retrospect, it was all there in full display from the very first scene of the very first episode, where Picard plays poker with Data in Ten-Forward. We've come full circle. The season begins with a dream, and ends with … well, a "simulation." It's fascinating stuff. Because in addition to being about Picard saying goodbye to Data, it's about death (both Picard's and Data's) and what that might mean when advanced artificial intelligence provides a very significant twist.

The final scenes of "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" are very, very good. They are so good, in fact, they almost make me want to wave away all the ham-fisted silliness of the many scenes that precede those final scenes. Because as much as the story ends up paying off here, the plot is frequently a disjointed mess with no shortage of idiocy. It fortunately has the benefit of also being entertaining, even exciting at times. But the whole race against the clock to stop a would-be robot apocalypse is as dumb as a box of rocks. Fortunately we have those final scenes to provide the insight and wisdom.

I will discuss but not belabor the plot, seeing as it's the placeholder wind-up toy to the final scenes' actual character insights. Narek joins the crew of La Sirena in their attempt to storm the synth compound and stop the broadcast of a beacon that also opens a portal to an advanced unknown AI society that lives in some other dimension. (This AI "society" is represented not by any kind of intriguing advanced machine intelligence, but by a collection of threatening metallic monster tentacles that are even dumber than I'd feared.)

Meanwhile, Narissa attempts to take control of the Borg cube, presumably so she can join the fight alongside Oh and her already-excessive Romulan fleet, but mostly so she can get into an Epic Girlfight with Seven of Nine. Having these two on the ship at the same time made this fight all but inevitable, but I was surprised at how lacking it was in cleverness and basic action competence. Seven has a phaser drawn on Narissa and could just stun her, but no. She stupidly gets close enough to have the gun knocked out of her hand so we can go through the motions. (What if, instead of this obligatory half-assed fight, we just had Seven stunning Narissa immediately and uttering some witty line — sort of an homage to Indiana Jones shooting the swordfighter?)

What was perhaps unexpected was that Sutra would be so easily dealt with (Soong disables her when he realizes she murdered her synth sister), and that this would be about convincing Soji to surrender. While I appreciate that this comes down to Picard making a personal plea using his connection to Soji (and the approach overall of seeing these synths as "children" who have limited understanding of human nature), I do feel like Soji is depicted as too blind to the consequences of her actions (and far too willing to uncork a robot apocalypse that would unleash untold death) considering she used to identify as human herself just days ago.

Faring better as cinema, there's a big, busy battle between space orchids and Romulan warbirds, which even manages to incorporate the Picard Maneuver into the proceedings. And I very much enjoyed the arrival of the Federation fleet, with an unretired Captain Riker in command, who awesomely stares Oh down and gives her the non-choice to surrender.

Meanwhile, Picard's terminal illness ticks down to zero just as all the plot is wrapping up. (The timing of Picard's illness — how it has virtually no symptoms until the very moment it's about to kill him, which is coincidentally right when the story resolves itself — is one of the most conveniently timed negative illness outcomes of all time.) Picard dies right there in front of his new makeshift crew. And everyone is very sad, and it's all laid on very thick with everyone crying, and my thought was: "Really? This is how they kill off a legendary character?"

But then we get the coda.

Picard finds himself sitting in a room. It's a dark, stark, metallic gray living room with bookshelves and a stone fireplace. It somehow feels like purgatory itself. Data is there, wearing the uniform he died in. He informs Picard that, yes, you have in fact died, and that this is a "very complex quantum simulation." And in this room, Picard and Data talk about what's happening, what has happened, how they both died, and what that means to them. This scene runs the gamut of moods and meanings, both intellectual and emotional. It's fascinating, eerie, serene, wondrous, haunting, heartbreaking, and special.

This scene deals with the big ideas the franchise has striven for in its best moments, pondering the nature of the human experience, and life and death. The dialogue unfolds in a straightforward, forthcoming, and yet not dumbed-down way that's rooted in the TNG analytical style and so perfectly represented by these two specific characters. It's a true work of art that's the stuff of Star Trek greatness, and I would put it up there with some of the best scenes in the history of the franchise. In this place, Picard is finally able to make peace with Data's death. It ironically happens after Picard himself has died.

Similarly, the scene where Picard learns his memories have been transferred into Soong's "golem" — a synthetic yet organic body which looks and feels exactly like his own, with a human life expectancy — is also allowed to unfold with great interest and discussion. (On a show that has had a tendency to skip over details, these closing scenes don't.) This transformation has implications large and small; Picard has essentially survived the death of his body by having his mind transferred to a second body. (This happens in a way I'd say is more like cloning than robotics.) This sci-fi idea is not a new one, but by applying it to an iconic character, it's given more weight and reality. I just hope the second season follows up on the implications and what the man actually thinks about this. (Are you still "you" with your own "soul," or a facsimile with that person's memories who merely thinks so? Is there a difference?)

And then we get the scene where Picard keeps his promise to Data, allowing Data's memories in the "simulation" to be terminated, effectively allowing a forever-suspended virtual Data to finally die, providing Data the meaning of mortality. This is also a lovely scene, using "Blue Skies" to wonderful effect in a way that bookends the season (and ties back to Nemesis), and just really hits the right emotional notes as we see a virtual Data aging into an old man and dying. Great stuff.

And then we get the final scene on the bridge of La Sirena, which hits the classic "and the adventure continues" notes. Picard wryly notes that it's a good thing the synth ban has been lifted, since now he is one. The motley crew looks more like a family, with everyone taking their spot on the bridge. It's a nice, light note to cap off all the substantive stuff preceding it.

That this season can end on so many of these notes gives me great hope. That we had to first sit through 40 minutes of watchable B-movie mediocrity is, I guess, the price of doing business — but a price I will gladly pay, granted with a score that must land on three stars rather than four. But if you're going to send your audience out for the year, this is the way to do it. This season of Picard took a while to get going, faced some major stumbles, then a fairly strong run leading up to a middling climax. But it's redeemed with its amazing final scenes, which are smart enough to know what Star Trek is about while committing to being about them, gracefully, artfully, and with real feeling.

Some closing thoughts:

  • Seeing how well the episode closes things out, amid a lot of other things that are, in retrospect, way less important, it got me thinking that maybe this would've been better and tighter with fewer episodes (or even as a movie) rather than a 10-episode season. The economics of it probably made that impossible, however.
  • I said this about the premiere and will say it again here: This gives so much more weight and meaning to Data's death in Nemesis, which felt like a pointless trick at the time but is now made retroactively worthwhile.
  • Maybe Picard didn't have Irumodic Syndrome after all. It's never mentioned by name, and he suffers no dementia-type symptoms before it abruptly kills him.
  • I don't like the visual arrangement of the fleets during the big standoff. The way the ships warp in and stop on a dime, and the way the ships are crammed comically close to each other, makes this feel like an over-the-top CGI cartoon. There's no weight or dimension to starships anymore. They have unfortunately become video game avatars that look like they were cloned with copy and paste.
  • The synth ban is quickly reversed here. Considering it was put in place as a result of the Mars androids being hacked by a foreign power, the Federation policymakers should be declared incompetent, since they apparently can't mount a useful investigation.
  • It seems unfathomable to me that the same people who wrote the Picard/Data scenes also wrote the alien synths as metallic tentacles trying to evilly claw their way through a portal. It's like they didn't even care and put in the lamest, most perfunctory effort possible. Maybe their eye was on the real ball of Picard/Data.
  • I guess Jurati just goes free for Maddox's murder? Just kind of handling it as an internal La Sirena matter, never to be spoken of again? Chalked up to Romulan/Vulcan brainwashing?
  • Seven and Raffi are totally gonna hook up.
  • The third season of Discovery still doesn't have a premiere date beyond "soon." I intend to be back for that (though I myself hope for a break of at least a couple of months, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen), but as always, we'll see what's going on at that time.
  • As I close out this season, I wanted to properly observe the 25th anniversary of Jammer's Reviews with this post. It turned out a little more serious than I probably had originally imagined, but we are living in some serious times. Be safe out there. I hope to see you here again soon. Thanks for reading.

Previous episode: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1
Next episode: The Star Gazer

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1131 comments on this post

Larry Allan
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:33am (UTC -5)
While the ending of this overall good series may seem to cheapen Picard’s sacrifice by extending the reprieve of death, I think this episode showed Picard at his best and I look forward to his continuing adventures with a great crew.

Also the Admonition was totally a trap set by Control to get back into our timeline, those robot arm things were exactly what infected Airiam.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:59am (UTC -5)
The space battle itself was luckily a red herring and this ended in the most TNG-like way possible with the sharing of ideas. I was worried a battle would eliminate time for explaining things, but thankfully they took the smart route and well...actually explained things.

It’s curious this ends with Data’s life being terminated and, while interesting conceptually, I think there could have been more weight given to that story thread.

Finally, Seven and Raffi were rather intimately holding hands in that last scene, were they not? It looks like they’re trying to explore same gender relationships through Seven (and Raffi) after all.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:01am (UTC -5)
"Life is both a responsibility and a right," is one heck of an accidentally timely quote.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:15am (UTC -5)
Held it together until Elnor started crying...
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Glad the Admonition synthetics stuff ended where it did--I loved the episode, but it was starting to veer into Avengers - Chitauri territory (especially since the Chitauri are cybernetic organisms).

Only real niggle--I know that the uniform Data was wearing was probably one of those recreations, since they sold off the original uniforms at that massive Christie's auction, but couldn't they tuck away the zipper pull for the dickie? Echoes of Commodore Oh's mis-aligned Starfleet pips.

Liked the theme song reprise at the end credits. I read somewhere that the original variant of the main title was of that sort and the composer was asked to re-arrange it to the version we hear at the opening credits. I wonder if this was the original version of the theme.

Well, Picard has a new body, but I'm really hoping Sir Patrick stays safe and healthy--this human malware thing will definitely delay production for a long while.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:42am (UTC -5)
Also, Captain Riker, fuck yeah!
Tim C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:24am (UTC -5)
As far as endings go, this was better than either of Disco's thus far. I still have a ton of issues with it, especially with Commodore Oh's painfully tedious cliched villain nonsense and the by-now boring-as-hell visual trope of a blue beam shooting into the sky opening a Portal Of Doom. And after promising hell, the most creative thing we get are some... metal tentacles? Yawn.

But! The rest of it was decent, and better than part one... to an extent. I always figured that this season would end with some variation of Picard convincing Soji about a good vs. evil decision; I just didn't know how it would get there, or if the writers would try to pull the rug out from under us with a "shock" betrayal. I am glad that Picard stuck with what he's been doing this entire season: leading by example, regardless of whether he knows others will follow him.

I have bullet point thoughts in no particular order:

* What happened to Narek? Did they just let him go?

* Good riddance to Rizzo.

* When Seven talks about not having a home, it would have been really nice to hear why she seems to be estranged from her Voyager crewmates.

* Why the hell is everybody so sad for dead Picard while they're busily whipping him up a new body and they've already saved him to a flash drive? Did Agnes and Soji decide it would be a fun surprise to let everyone grieve for a bit before the reveal?

* The can of worms that this opens up is gigantic. The synths now have the key to eternal life, "Altered Carbon" style, for anyone who wants it. It wouldn't be the first time Star Trek has instantly forgotten about universe-shattering technology, but gee it would still be annoying if they did.

* I guess Agnes is *not* going to turn herself in for murder now, and everyone's decided to forgive her? Uh...

3 stars for "Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 2" and 3 stars for season 1 of Picard. I feel it's come out of the gate as a more focussed show than Discovery and is the better for it, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
Tim C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:33am (UTC -5)
And one more...

* They're just gonna leave that Borg cube down there, huh? I take it the synths are gonna look after the XB's now? Seven just figured "nah, too much commitment, cya!" ??
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Well, they saved the best for last.

I figured that this positronic blah, blah technology would save Picard, but I didn't know I would be so satisfied with how they accomplished it.

Some loose threads? Sure...

But I don't care right now.

Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -5)
@Tim C

I think the Borg XBs are actually in the best place they could be--out of the jurisdiction of the Romulans, and within walking distance to a community of synths aspiring to be Human, and a genius, if not a little strange, cyberneticist providing technical guidance. At least in this era/timeline, Seven wasn't much for nurturing--she's a little too hardened for that, and it was Hugh's job when he was alive.

"But what could a Soong do with Borg tech?"
[To be explored in the season 3 finale cliffhanger - 'Best of Many Worlds']
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:56am (UTC -5)
[Deleted Scenes / Back on Earth]

Picard goes in for a medical consult with Dr. Benayoun.

Not because he needed to; more as a prank. As one would do to an old friend, if he had a few decades left to live.
Tim C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 6:05am (UTC -5)
Sure Daniel, it does seem like a great place for a Borg rehab facility. But the way the script just blasts straight past it feels a little strange, especially after it was seeming to be presented to us as "Seven is going to take up Hugh's mantle and finds new purpose" as recently as one episode ago...

Still a good episode, but the amount of loose ends makes it look positively ragged. Fortunately, the primary story of the season as set up by the pilot managed to come through intact, and rather nicely: Picard did right by Data's sacrifice and saved his "children", and reclaimed his own title as champion of new life. This is a far cry from Disco's original Klingon War story which wrapped up so fast and so easily I got whiplash just sitting in my chair, and then the "seven signals/evil AI" story which just turned out to be complete and utter nonsense in the end.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 6:29am (UTC -5)
The seven signals thing--I could never even get past the basic science fact that they ignored such inconvenient things as the speed of light and frame of references let alone the other stuff. This the result of not having an on-staff science advisor, like they did on every other Trek series. (They finally brought one on for Picard S2 and Discovery moving forward.)

With Picard, I think part of it was that they were hamstrung by the fact that they needed to keep filling in backstory of eighteen years of history (hence all of the exposition and flashbacks), and that they originally intended to do a nine episode season--course corrected and expanded the first act to three episodes and added the Riker and Troi encounter. The other part was they wanted to give themselves some runway to fill-in what happens later down the line. Jeri Ryan has a contract option for a second season--if either party chose not to exercise that option, they could explain her absence by saying she went back to help out the XBs. Not the cleanest way, but a window to explain if necessary. I'd also probably add that a good chunk of the episode was changed in the edit (last minute post-production had to be done remotely from homes).

Moving forward, they don't need to bend backward as much to fill in the post-Nemesis history, nor do they need to spend episodes introducing main characters, so narratively it's got to be more freeing.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 6:33am (UTC -5)
What also gives me hope about the second season is that while Michael Chabon is stepping down from showrunner duties, he's still an EP, he helped break the season storyline and committed to writing two of the episodes. Discovery (like early TNG) suffered from a revolving door of showrunners and writers--explains some (but not all) of the disjointedness of the show.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:03am (UTC -5)
I did not like the epilogue. I really hate the trope about immortality being a bad thing.

But I thought the main part of the episode was well done in a middling classic Trek kind of way, and in fact all of it — good and bad — was very representative of the sort of median level of Trek over the years. Even if it didn’t approach the level of the best episodes or movies, it was also significantly better than the worst ones, and it just seemed much more recognizably *of* the franchise than virtually anything we have seen for the past decade or more.

2.5 stars, and I look forward to next season not quite eagerly but amiably.
Tim C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:07am (UTC -5)
I agree with you that narratively speaking, the need to fill in the gaps since "Nemesis" and "Star Trek '09" was a bit of an anchor around this season's neck. Hopefully the next time around can knuckle down further.

Honestly though, one of the things this show really made me want was "Star Trek: Firefly". It's lovely to have Picard back and all that, but the episode of this season I enjoyed the most was "Stardust City Rag". I want more one-off adventures about the crew of La Sirena getting about the galaxy and making ends meet and delving into the unexplored, grimier corners of the quadrant. Part of the problem with old Trek at the end was that it was just getting too familiar. Disco is attacking that problem by just cranking the volume up to 11, with varying levels of success. For as much as it was a better-told story than either of Disco's efforts, PIC has not felt as fresh to me thus far, and that feels dangerous going forward.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -5)
This episode starts silly: Narek runs up to a Borg cube and conveniently enters through a crack in the wall. Then he meets his Incest Sister, who spouts more bad Evil Villain dialogue. Then out the crack he walks, Elnor casually following close behind.

A good moment then follows, in which Picard tells Soji that "saying one has no choice is a failure of imagination". This echoes countless TNG episodes, where Picard refuses to be boxed in by the little false binaries thrown at him. The Picard Way is to find a Another Way; a higher path that best untangles a situation for all parties involved.

The next scene works as a kind of smug meta-comment on technobattle. Here Rios and Raffi use a piece of technology which "inexplicably fixes stuff" by "ditching common sense" and "using your imagination".

Narek and Elnor then show up, Elnor magically now knowing that Narek is Narissa's Incest Brother. They then talk - as lightning storms brew, settling questions raised last episode (where's the lightning?) - about Prophecies and Armageddon, which might sound ominous as written, but comes across as obvious/cheesy as filmed/acted.

Agnes then has a scene, rife with bad dialogue. She uses "cool" references to 1990s hacker culture (Maddox's "kung fu" etc), talks to herself ("You don't have to do this! You don't have to do this!") and drops some smack talk ("I'm not their mother, a**hole!"). Later she talks about "uber synths". It's so cringey.

Meanwhile, Rios and the gang leave La Sirena and infiltrate the Synth Homestead while Picard and Agnes break out of the Synth Homestead and break into La Sirena. The way Kurtzman-Trek handles distance and geography has always been terrible, but usually this stuff happens in space. Here characters are quickly covering miles of distance on land, and magically appearing at Plot Points in the blink of an eye.

Picard and Ages then have a conversation about the "Uber Synths", and Picard drops a RIGHTEOUS MONOLOGUE which falls completely flat. Picard knows absolutely nothing about this race of synths, knows nothing about their history or culture or if they even exist, and yet this scene is rife with assumptions and certainty. It's totally phony and presumptuous, and only exists because the writers (not Picard), know where this is heading.

Picard then flies away on La Sirena (he reclaims the pilot's chair and so ends his emasculation!) as Agnes tells him to "make it so!" Meanwhile Raffi blows a whistle, Rios jumps over a wall, Narek drops from the roof and Elnor punches out a guard. Firmly in B-movie territory, Rios throws a football-bomb at Soji, Soji throws it into the sky and Seven gets the jump on Narissa, who's using the Borg cube to shoot at Picard, but Seven stops her, because Seven has a gun, but oh no, Narissa kicks the gun away! Then the Romulan Fleet Arrives, over 200+ hacky, lazily designed CGI models, all in ridiculous formation. We're in 1930s Flash Gordon territory now, only executed with even less skill and imagination.

The episode's second good scene involves giant CGI flowers battling the Romulan fleet, spoiled somewhat by Agnes' commentary, a bit of Joss Whedonesque snark that kills all tension. You're surrounded by death and destruction, drop the wisecracks Agnes!

As Seven and Narissa fight ("This is for Hugh!"), Picard and Agnes use a Deus Ex Magical I-phone to "simulate" a fleet of 200 La Sirenas. This fails, and so a Deus Ex Starfleet armada turns up. The scene's cool for a second, until the ridiculous size of the Fed fleet - all these ships in tightly compact formation, and led by Riker, previously chilling at his logwood cabin - becomes apparent. Kurtzman-Trek has no respect for size, scale, time or geography. It's mostly just cocaine and spam.

Why the Romulan fleet would cease their targeting of the Synth Beacon and target Starfleet instead, is never addressed (Blow it up, stupid!). The idea of a giant Federation armada warping between a planet and an orbiting Romulan fleet, while facing the Romulan fleet, is similarly silly.

Luckily we get the episode's first great scene. Picard talks to Soji on an open channel, and sells her a speech filled with warm, gooey, Picardian/Federation values. Haters of Kurtzman-Trek breath a collective sign of relief. Riker's megawatt smile and one liners ("Really it's no trouble at all") warms their heart. Haters and fanboys join hands in triumph. Soji shuts down the Synth Beacon.

Incidentally, the Synth Beacon opens a sort of wormhole, through which slashing tentacle arms flail and briefly appear. This echoes similar footage in "Discovery" of far-future Control, and throughout this series, the Admonition vision reuses imagery from Spock's nightmare vision of the future.

Anyway, the Federation fleet inexplicably vanishes once the Romulans leave (why not hang around a bit? Offer some medical help to Picard, or the Borg Cube survivors? Investigate the Beacon Wormhole Region?), a really stupid bit of writing.

A decent scene follows, Picard dying amidst his friends. The scene relies on nostalgia and the legwork done by TNG, but is affecting all the same. But it's also a bad piece of writing, Picard's neurological disease kicking in at the precise moment he saves the day. Everyone cries. Seven, looking like Sarah Connor in a tank top, makes amends for her vengeful ways. Raffi hugs Elnor. Elnor rains tears. Seven and Raffi may be lesbians.

And then the show pulls a 180 and Picard is resurrected, plopped into a new pseudo-synethetic body. It's all very silly and pointless. The way this show whip-lashes all over the place, is annoying. One senses Chabon loving the irony of a once-Borg guy living the last years of his life in a semi-synth body, becoming Data as Data becomes human, but the cynic in me sees the producers leaving a door open for using machine-learning algorithms and deep fakes to run a "Picard" series even if Patrick Stewart dies in real life.

Still, Picard's wacky resurrection does lead to two good scenes, one in which Data and Picard do their own version of "The Good Place's" finale, and one in which Data is given a funeral, Blue Skies on the soundtrack. The show's last moment, mercifully free of the click-bait logic of past episodes, and Kurtzman-Trek as a whole, does not have Control showing up, or Q, or any segues into "Season 2" or "Discovery". It's a straightforward, and sweet moment, our heroes gathering on La Sirena.

And so "Picard" ends, as it began. A wildly inconsistent, frustrating show, schizophrenic, easily distracted, and capable of bouncing from the interesting to the moronic in the space of a second.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:27am (UTC -5)
I think it was the Deadline podcast for E9 where Chabon said that at the end of the season finale, the various "chess pieces" that needed to be arranged will have been arranged. So, without having the "fourteen years ago" anchor around the neck, I'm optimistic about the next season. The fact that they're still on La Sirena and not some Starfleet vessel, the fact that they have Seven and Elnor on crew... lends me to think that we'll get some of the rag-tag crew adventure treatment. So many really interesting things they can explore with any of the characters.

I think it'll also take pressure off of Discovery, Section 31, Starfleet Academy, and (hopefully) a Captain Pike/Enterprise series from trying to do everything.

I agree, dangerous going forward--a high wire act to keep people happy, but I'm optimistic. They were able to stick the landing with this one.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -5)
One thing that confuses me: why does the beacon matter? The super synths now know where everyone is. They can just come anyway. The fact that the beacon is shut down, should even make the super synths come even faster, as it implies synths are in trouble.

And why would the Zhat Vash leave? They are a fundamentalist sect that hates synths and killed 900 million Romulans and countless Federation people so they could find this planet...and yet at the final hurdle they chicken out?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:24am (UTC -5)
My expectations of this being an improved version of the TNG movies were mostly met.
Much better than Discovery season 2, but that's hardly a compliment.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5)
[Deleted Scene 2 / Back on Earth]

Picard goes in for a medical consult with his cardiologist. The cardiologist, thinking that he [Picard] still has an artificial heart, has a momentary freak-out moment when the tricorder fails to lock onto the customary telemetry and diagnostic information, let alone a duratanium signature.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
This episode confuses the hell out of me, because elements of it were kinda meh, and elements of it were among the absolute finest I've ever, ever seen in Star Trek.

As for the "plot" side of things, this episode is full of holes and kinda collapses upon further examination. Why did the advanced synths just up and leave as soon as the beacon was turned off? Why did Oh's fleet hesitate for so long. Where the heck did that mysterious fixing machine that RIos used actually come from? Everything is contrived to be railroaded to the exact point we end up at. Mind you, I don't think the railroading is any worse than Trek has done historically, but it's there. The plotting - while better than last week - simply isn't brilliant.

In the early part of the episode, I felt like things were building to a very predictable point. However, along the way there were tons of legitimately great character moments, things like the "fireside chat" between Rios, Raffi, Elnor, and Narek, that I wish were done more throughout the season. Narissa was given a tiny bit more development as an antagonist, which was welcome. I can't say the same about Oh - every single scene with her was awful, and felt ported in from another show.

The episode began its grand inflection point when it became clear the plan wasn't to end on a giant battle - that they were going to take the very TNG standpoint that the whole point is to avoid the battle whenever possible. I always maintained the only proper way for the season to end was if the stupid prophecy of the Zhat Vash was in error, and it looks like I was right. Those advanced synths may have been malevolent (they sure looked it anyway) but they are just one of many advanced races in Trek (with varying moral compasses), and the season ultimately made it clear that conflict between organic and synthetic is not inevitable - that we have a choice to make and do not need to relive the past.

And then, the epilogue - PIcard's death and resurrection - took an episode which was just average and made it so much more. Particularly the unexpected brief re-introduction to the real Data. It was emotionally manipulative as hell, but it worked in all the right ways, tied back in to the first episode, and allowed Picard's initial arc some sort of closure. While I have some issue with the railroading of the idea that mortality is an intrinsic good in and of itself, it was all scripted and acted so beautifully that I could forget it in the moment. Probably the most feels an episode of Trek has given me since The Visitor.

In Jammer's ratings, three out of four stars.

One final note: Why was Riker wearing a hairpiece when he was an acting captain?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Daniel wrote:

"Also, Captain Riker, fuck yeah!"

It's amazing that Frakes could steal the show with a single scene.

Trent wrote:

"And why would the Zhat Vash leave? They are a fundamentalist sect that hates synths and killed 900 million Romulans and countless Federation people so they could find this planet...and yet at the final hurdle they chicken out?"

It's pretty typical for the Romulans to disengage once they have a real fight or get exposed. Pretty much every TNG episode with them ends like that. They just prefer working behind the scenes with intrigue. It might have something to do with Romulans having Cold War roots. Compare them to Russia, who likes to mess with US all the time (and vice versa) but doesn't want to get into an arms war with it.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:39am (UTC -5)
- Why can't Romulans be assimilated?
- Why is Soji shown to have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" and "The Impossible Box"?
- Why is Soji in the ancient Zhat Vash prophecy, if the Admonition is a message from the distant past?

Among everything else, I think one of the messiest things here is the way the Soji character has been treated (particularly in the final third of the season). Isa Briones is good, with better writing she could have been the breakout character. Her actions in the final episodes seem poorly motivated. In the show's chronology, she spends an episode with Kestra, the Riker-Trois and Picard being treated with kindness and learning to trust again, then *subsequently* makes her decision to construct the beacon and eradicate #allorganiclife. It would have worked much better if Sutra had been the prophesized "Destroyer" and Soji the one who makes the decision to stop her because of what she'd learned and experienced with Picard, Kestra and the others.

I think the entire Borg side of the plot is a leftover from an earlier version of the show before they retooled it. There's a clear break between E1-6 and E8-10, with Nepenthe as an interstitial non-plot-driven episode.

The whole thing feels like "OK, we want two leads who kinda look like Jim Holden and Naomi from The Expanse... people seem to like that show. And a ship that's like the Rocinante or Serenity... let's call it La Sirena. Plus an elf from LOTR, and maybe a ditzy science girl like on Discovery. Except, twist, she's actually a murderer! And throw in the Borg, people like the Borg. We can bring that chick from Voyager back and make her a bad-ass killer... throw in some hinted lesbianism - not as a meaningful development of the character or a serious exploration of her life and relationships since Voyager, but for edginess points. Everyone loves a cool bad-ass lesbian. Plus we can bring back that Borg kid Hugh from Next Gen and the Borg kid from Voyager and kill them gruesomely - no-one will be expecting that, it'll really drive online discussion of the show! Oh yeah, Picard. Get this: What if Picard... but robot?"

For me it's actually worse than Discovery. Discovery has Saru, who was an anchor of Starfleet values throughout (as well as being brilliantly played), and it handled Pike, Spock and Number One relatively well. Discovery also had the excuse of the repeated changes in showrunners for its messiness, as well as the fact it was the first new Trek show in 15 years. And because it feels like its own universe unrelated to the rest of Trek, it can kind of be mentally siloed - even before everything that happens in the first 2 seasons is literally siloed. Discovery is not a good show. Until now it was the worst of the Trek series. But my god, this Picard thing is a clusterfuck.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
Captain Riker back was awesome. I guess Starfleet gave up and went with one design for their starships like every other race.

All is forgiven for Agnes regarding murder, I guess. And Narek just sorta disappeared. Maybe he’s back on the trashed Borg cube they just left there with the survivors.

Ballsy move to ice Data for good.

Odd editing at the end having characters pair off to mourn Picard’s death while the whole time Soong and Agnes were doing the ol’ drag and drop with his mind. Drinking & crying then next thing ya know on the bridge without missing a beat. And how bad would Riker have felt when he took off if he’d found out later Picard died? It’s like the script said, “Don’t worry. He’s gonna die then get a new body.”

The new body deal seemed a little like Simpson’s Judge Effect: “Everything is as it was before. And furthermore, we’ll never speak of this again.” They wrote a program that ages him and will kill him at an appropriate time as if he didn’t have the brain disease? Okay. Well, I’m the bright side, he seemed less like Feeble Picard so maybe next season we’ll see more of a “Captain Picard” air of authority. I did not know he was 94—-he looks pretty damn good.

Curious if next season will be him and his wacky crew? Seems like it, but I wonder if the show wouldn’t be better served with a Starfleet adventure? Helping them find their way while on the bridge of a big, new ship? I suppose that would go against everything Sir Patrick said about not wanting to redo TNG. I mean, it could still be serialized and edgy; but I digress, I looked forward to this show every week and it’s been I awhile since I’ve felt that way about any TV. Bring it on, next season!
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Chrome said: "It's pretty typical for the Romulans to disengage once they have a real fight or get exposed."

I buy that, but at the same time, this is a doomsday cult. And one that brazenly attacked Picard and Daj on Federation soil, and killed millions of fellow Romulans. You'd expect them to be hell bent on firing torpedoes at that Synth Homestead. And you'd expect them to become more entrenched and violent the more their prophecies and worldviews are challenged.

wolfster said: "Why is Soji shown to have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" and "The Impossible Box"?"

I was just going to ask this. Soji knew about the space trajector and how to access the Borg transwarp network. How do synths have this knowledge?

And how and why do the Federation reverse the synth ban so fast? Do we actually see Picard give the Federation any information that would lead to them considering a reversal of the law?

And why are the Federation and Romulans not now at war? The Romulans launched a strike at a major Federation planet.

And doesn't the Federation now have IMMORTALITY TECHNOLOGY? Every dying person will, like Picard, be begging for access to a golem to upload their consciousness. This is a major major, universe shattering piece of technology.

Kurtzman-Trek just can't seem to stop opening cans of worms that it never addresses.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
A mixed bag. Not great, not terrible. The melodrama of everyone is crying is a little cringey. Reminds me of the terrible first half of DISCO's season 2 finale, where everyone was just crying the whole episode.

Some thoughts....

What a great way to send off Data. He deserved much better than in Nemesis and we got it.

Was really hoping to see Captain Worf on the Enterprise E. But Riker was still just as good.... oh well maybe next season.

I almost thought instead of Data talking to Picard it was going to be Q.

Seven of Nine/Raffi lovers now? A little fast/strange, but Seven always kinda came off as butch.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)

It could be said that they discovered immortality in the episode Rascals. A transporter malfunction transforms Picard e al into children, but with their memories intact.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
TNG is my favorite Trek series and I was ready to return to the 24th century for a long time after years of TOS redux by imagine less writers. So when first heard of Star Trek Picard I was excited but my excitement was also tempered by the fact that I knew the writers and producers behind the series weren’t great

But I went into it with an open mind avoiding spoilers and messageboards until last night's finale. And I must say sadly that I pretty much got what I was expecting even though was hoping for much better

The whole season was uneven and a mixed bag which has always been my experience with these Mystery Box type shows. Some intriguing beginnings and mysteries that usually end up ultimately not having the imagination or satisfying payoff I envision. Sad when writers who get paid big bucks to do this professionally because in theory they’re suppose to be at the top of their craft can’t come up with something more intriguing or cooler than the rank and file fan can

So was the case this season on Picard I thought. I mean if you step back there were several good ideas here. Things like picking up on the recurring thread from TNG of Data and Maddox trying to create more Soong androids like Data and Data feeling a sense of isolation by being the only one of his kind. That seems an appropriate thing to revisit and seeing the culmination of a thriving culture of human like synthetics with a world of their own seems like a worthwhile payoff

But then You have the things that didn’t work but actually had potential to work in the right hands

Top of my list easily was the inclusion of the Borg. I was surprised by the writers including the Borg but excited. There was plenty to initially be excited about in the beginning—the return of Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh, free reign on a disabled cube set for a full season, Seven of Nine but then writers botched all that big time

No interesting insight into Hugh’s last 25 years since Descent. Hugh was barely used and ended up being killed off in a way lacking any emotional resonance

Then Seven shows up but initially in a lame standalone story until finally she is brought onboard the cube lare in the season. But by that time Hugh’s dead so no potentially interesting interaction between the two most iconic former Borg

And If there was one story left in the Borg I figured it was an origin story. Here was a chance for the writers using the study and investigation of a deactivated Borg cube where they have free reign on without fear of the Borg coming to retrieve it because of the submatrix collapse coupled with the cube setting being a season long thread —to give the audience some new interesting revelations and insights into the Borg Collective, their ship, their Queen(an element fans have been debating about ever since her debut)and their history and the writers don’t do any of that.

Instead we get shit like the floors of a cube are so slick you can slide barefoot across them. Or we get moments where it seems like we are on the verge of getting that cool new insight and having new layers explored on a cube or about the queen and instead the writers vis the characters like Seven basically say, “ do you want me to tell you more about the queen cell or do you want me to retake the ship?”

Then there were moments where okay I started to
Accept I wasn’t going to get new insight to add to the Borg mythology and was settling g into some exciting developments such as Seven taking control of the drones and powering back up the cube for a battle with the Romulans only to have the drones jettisoned and things to fizzle like they did in “Broken Pieces”. Then same thing happened in part I last week of season finale where cube shows up only to promptly crash before anything interesting was allowed to even begin

Frankly with how the Borg part of the story played out in full I would have been happier with the Borg not being tacked onto the season. Even though it seemed initially it would at some point dovetail with the Romulan and android pieces it never did. And sadly it could have by tying the Borg to the ancient aliens and admonition in some way perhaps offering a Borg Origin story given the timeframes would match up.

Up until last nights season finale I actually thought that was where they were heading. What with the Borg being synthetics, the Romulans operation on the cube and the fact the writers kept referring to the cube as the Artifact—a term that for me has a meaning signifying something unique about this cube, a sense that it was very old. Could it have been one of the earliest or one of the very first Borg cubes? And that the Romulans/zhat vash were studying it to help them
Unlock secrets and have more knowledge in their mission. Could they have even deliberately set out to capture it and cause a submatrix collapse intentionally knowing full well by assimilating Ramda the cube would be theirs ? But I’m the final analysis it seems Borg werent tied to Destroyers story. Ramda wasn’t sent on purpose to capture cube as part of a well executed devious daring plan but instead was just serendipity a zhat vash shuttle just so happened to encounter a cube.

And that trend of exciting ideas that ended before that even had a chance to develop into something interesting continued last night in the finale where just as it seemed the writers were going to pull the trigger and bring into the canvas the alliance of synthetics setting them up as story material for season two the writers close the book on them land send them
Back from wherever they came

Another missed opportunity was when Soong showed up. I thought at first it was Data. Afterall they had his neuron they could reconstitute all his memories and put him In a synthetic body and would have been the fulfillment of what he always wanted which was to be human. Instead it turned out to be Soong. Data could have spent the remainder of his days teaching his children all that he knew about humans to avoid what almost happened here from again

Another example of the frustrating knack of this season to seem to be building up to something satisfying only to fizzle in mere seconds was the romulans confrontation with the synthetics and starfleet. Not for one minute did I buy Oh who devoted her life to a group who spent literally centuries trying to prevent the second coming of the destroyers to withdraw and move on simply because Soji reactivated beacon. What about the other synthetics? What about the beacon that could be restarted at a later date ?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Well, that was fun! Not classic, but fun, and it sets us up for Star Trek: Firefly.

Where even are they setting course to in the end? Second star to the right, and straight on till morning? This crew deciding to stay together feels underwritten. Who's funding them now?

We get a true TNG ending, but not before some of the bad guys have crept in. Truthfully, I hope the writers forget about them and maybe spend one episode resolving them at most. I'm much more interested in the Romulan refugee crisis or other political or moral questions than in evil AI eels from another dimension.

It's weird that the so-called uber-synths need our side to hold the door open, but whatever.

It's weird that Jurati et al didn't tell Picard's friends that he's actually fine, but whatever.

It's weird that... look, a lot of things are weird here. And most of them amount to "meh" because the basic premises of the story hold together even if some details need smoothing. This far outstrips Discovery's first season and slightly beats its second.

I cried at the scenes at the end with Data. TNG, and not Picard, earned most of that, but after the failure to treat Data's death with emotional impact in Nemesis, it's good to see it given the weight it deserves here.

Three stars for the finale, and three stars for the season. Both barely--but if I think about whether I'd tell my Trek-fan friends to watch the show, the answer is definitely yes, and that feels like the metric for a three-star rating for me.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
The point they were trying to make with Data's death was that his mortality was the ultimate realization of what it was to be human--something he aspired to his entire life. He could have been kept in suspended quantum animation, or downloaded into another host body with a positronic net. Neither one would have been human.

Picard spent his post-Starfleet years haunted by the fact that Data,someone he loved sacrificed his life for him. For him to be unshackled so he can live his life, he had to accept Data's death as well. He got to say goodbye.

To me, that was beautifully written and acted.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
I was also disappointed the writers didn’t do more to provide insight into the state of the Alpha Quadrant this season. Afterall it’s been twenty years since visited this time frame. It might have been nice to do some namedropping which these writers love to do and flesh things out a bit by say suggesting part of the reason the Federation has withdrawn and become so isolationist and not quite so gung ho on being explorers like they did during TNG was due partially to
The war with Dominion and repeated confrontations with Powerful alien threats like the Borg and Dominion leaving the Federation believing it’s better to focus on rebuilding and focusing their energies at home rather than sending ships further out into the galaxy with the possibility of encountering more hostile groups like the Borg and the dominion

This kind of applies to Seven too. I was disappointed we didn’t get any interesting backstory of Seven and her last twenty years. I also think a more interesting role for her instead of vigilante would have been serving as part of the reclamation team. Or Perhaps going around liberating drones from the collective helping them regain their individuality. Would have also loved to hear some namedropping of her voyager crew members to satisfy the nostalgia

And if I were the writers I would have totally ignored the whole nova destroying Romulus but from JJ trek. Watching Picard this season wouldn’t have known Romulans suffered such a devastating setback. Or if writers wanted to devastate Romulan Empire and have it tie with season arc as well as the cube thread they should have just gone with Maurice Hurley’s original plan for Borg to destroy/assimilate the Romulans from
TNG season two.

The few things that did work this season were Picard and Patrick Stewart; the time spent on Earth in the first three episodes be it on the vineyard or Starfleet or Daystrom, the Romulan couple who worked for Picard, Number One, Riker, Troi, Kestra, Soji and the Android mythology

I liked how the writers chose to draw on The Android mythology and develop it. How all that unfolded by starting out with Dajhe and then soji and slowly peeling back the layers with the ban and then late in the season eventually revealing that there’s a culture of androids with different models with an actual homeworld
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -5)
They didn't show the eye gouging on camera this time, 10/10
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:42am (UTC -5)

I agree with what you are saying and I thought the goodbye scene between Data and picard was the best part of and most poignant thing in the finale. I just think if they wanted that message then not even a part of data consciousness should have been a possibility and that Data was completely gone in nemesis and Picard would just have to live with unresolved feelings of regret like we all do who lose someone. As humans we don’t get the chance to resolve these things the way the writers let Picard do. But yes the way the scene was filmed wirh blue skies playing in a drab grey setting and Seeing Data gradually decompose before our eyes was impactful and well done

That’s why I felt if they want that don’t open door to possibility for resurrection by saying part of Data exists up until last night cause then the obvious question is if you resurrect Picard why not resurrect Data, give him a. Ticking clock like they did Picard
Eric Jensen
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
The unanswered question: who were those future-uber synths? What will happen? If those are future synths, won't the future be endangered still? I think Discovered will answer this question.

I am not happy with the lingering question of who these future synths are. The threat is still looming. If any synth still make a beacon, those future uber synths will still come.
Dahj's Synthetic Ghost
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
If I recall Soji and Dahj were effectively Data re-constructed from a single postronic neuron from Data — (though I still have no idea where the human DNA for these twins was procured ... Jurati, perhaps?) — but Data's also on three thumbdrives, running in a simulation. Picard's been transferred into the "golem". So, I take it, that Data and Picard have, in a sense, now merged. Fascinating.

PIcard was Borg, now he is 'borg.

I'll say it again: Alton Soong, as a character, really reminds me of Arik Soong. And I'm fine with that. That 3-parter in Star Trek: Enterprise was one of my favorite moments in the Star Trek franchise.

Of course Elnor would be dear to Picard. Memories of Rene, I'd think.

Anyway, the conclusion was adequate, though there are many, many loose ends. Far too many for my liking, certainly. Too many things were dropped. The Synth Rebellion, the Borg, the state of the Romulan state (is it now just the Romulan Free State, or is that state one of many, a fragment of the Star Empire). Who knows? Who cares? Oh, well.

Episode rating: 4 stars. Series rating: 2 stars (rounded down from 2.3) And that's good enough to bring me back to watch Season Two.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Another thing I didn’t much care for Was the fact the writers didn’t mine Picard’s irumodic syndrome arc of his decline over couple seasons which I thought they were doing. There was no reason it had to be resolved by the end of this season It could have hung over the series always in the background informing things
Oh and I’d give the finale 2 stars. It’s watchable and there are times when suspenseful and entertaining but overall it wasn’t as satisfying as could have been. Which also applies to the season itself which I’d give a C

The writers didn’t have enough material to sustain the ten episodes and the times the writers attempted to tell standalone type stories they were bad like “ Absolure Candor” and “Stardust City Rag”.

The writers could have condensed the season by keeping the first three episodes getting to free cloud and Maddox in episode four and focusing that hour to Maddox, agnes Picard catching up etc. since the Borg thread was extraneous and went over well trodden ground(we have seen liberated Borg before with Hugh, four seasons of Seven on VOYAGER, Unity Borg, descent Borg and STP didn’t do anything interesting with them here) the next episode could have been set on some sort of Romulan facility instead of a cube where Soji was located so picard could rescue her, keep Nepenthe then Jump to the season finale two parter. Something like that rather than lot of pointless romantic trysts, long drawn out scenes involving holograms etc
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
A couple more things about the season that bothered me :

The season was structured that each episode started with flashback in teaser. In “impossible Box” a Borg heavy episode where Picard arrived to Artifact I think it would have been better for flashback to have been to the encounter between Ramda’s ship the Shaenor and the cube. That way rather than spending the whole season with Borg being static threats we would at least get to see Borg full on in collective assimilation mode and would have been cool seeing the collapse as Romulans have been assimilated starting to spread and drones and cube going haywire before being disabled and severed from the collective

And for all the talk by make up artists working on Trek now about working on Borg we didn’t get one full on updated drone just people after their implants and tech removed
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
3 out of 4. Better than last week's and had many great moments. Picard's meaning of life speech and Data's desire to die being standout scenes. The season as a whole turned out pretty solid.

But the Romulan political situation is a narrative disaster. Are they still a superpower or not? Where is Donatra and why didn't Picard saving Romulus from Shinzon and Donatra being grateful enough to allow peace talks factor in to the refugee plot?

Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Brent Spiner had story credit in Nemesis, namely his involvement was the part in Data's death. His main concern is that as an android that wasn't necessarily designed to age, it was becoming more and more difficult to portray him into his 50's when he was in his mid 30's when he originated the role. The fact that they made him look as good as they did in the finale given the fact that he's 71, was no small feat.

I think the way that Nemesis finally came together kinda cheated the impact and effectiveness of that death, so part of the intent in Picard was to "fix" the death. They could have left well enough alone and not have Picard haunted by the death, but they made a literary decision to use Data as a "device" to reopen Picard's story.

Part of the problem with bringing Data back is that he's too major a character to not do anything with if he was brought back. It would eclipse all the new main characters we'd been introduced to all season. The writers are going to have enough to not keep being tempted to bring back Riker and Deanna for Season 2, and too much fan service would, in my humble opinion, rob the opportunity to tell new stories with the new cast.

Yes, since Nemesis, the Marvel movies have shown us that de-aging CGI is very feasible today, albeit a bit expensive, and this is Star Trek, so never say never.

Re: the Borg, in one of the interviews, one of the creators said that the directive was that if a people/species/creature was to be brought back, they needed to show them in a different context. Not changed, like TOS Klingons vs TNG+ Klingons, but another dimension. That's why the Romulans were more fleshed out and made a dynamic race with diverse subcultures.

With the Borg, the theme was that the individual drones, not the collective per se, were actually victims. Victims of their own assimilation, victims of being tainted with the association of being evil assimilators and destroyers of mass populations, stateless victims--used by Romulans, unwanted by the Federation, marked with the scars of the implants for the rest of their lives. To bring them back to power would have instantly made them the terrifying power without any agency. That's why they didn't go any farther with Borg Queen Annika than they did.

@Startrekwatcher--I'm not trying to discount anything that you've been saying--I had fan tendencies like yours, but I'm working off of the the interviews of the showrunners and writers to try to fill in the intent and missing details. (Look at today's Hollywood Reporter for an interview with Chabon and another interview with Sir Patrick)

*Also I don't think it was the fact that "Romulans" were assimilated that caused the cube collective to collapse. It was that they happened to assimilate a Romulan who happened to have the Admonition (targeted message towards synthetic or cybernetic minds) that did it. Romulans had a shared genetic history with Vulcans, and we've already witnessed Vulcans assimilated in the past.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Years ago I played a D&D video game titled Tactics. I don’t really remember the plot behind its campaign, but I remember that there was a significant quest-line that involved retrieving a staff of sorts which was supposed to be crucial to the story. By the end of the campaign, the story resolved itself without ever mentioning the staff again. Like I said, I have no idea what the conclusion was supposed to be but I remember feeling utterly baffled by how what was supposed to be a crucial element was just dropped and never mentioned again. This is what much of this show feels like. It is abundant in a lot of disjointed elements and its numerous ideas ultimately lead nowhere.

Now that the season has reached its end, I can safely conclude that the entire problematic with the Romulan refugee crisis led nowhere in particular, Icheb got gruesomely tortured and killed for nothing more than passing shock-value, murderer-Jurati strode happily into season two and, most notably, the character of Elnor and the business of taking the Borg cube to the synth-planet were utterly pointless. A whole episode was spent on introducing Elnor and creating somewhat of a backstory for a character that does nothing for the show and had he not been there the plot would’ve carried on in exactly the same manner. At the same time he offered no reflection, thought or substance or anything else of value. The sequence where Seven connects with the cube was impressive, yet the huge opportunity to explore the effects that might have on her get completely dropped. The same goes for the cube appearing in front of the synth-world – what could’ve been a great change of perspective to have our protagonists pilot one of those monstrosities is quickly dismissed and never mentioned again. Finally, as much as it saddens me to say that, other than being a nostalgia factor Seven’s role in these final two episodes escapes me. Mid-season I came across a rumor that the show had been recut and many of its scenes reshot numerous times and that the script suffered major changes and that as a result we got a collage of multiple stories that oftentimes had very little to do with each other. Whether that is true or not I do not know, but judging by what we’ve seen this season I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility. Finally, Seven departs with the others on board La Sirena with the cube and the XBs never to be mentioned again.
Another hugely problematic element comes down to the world-building of the show, something I have discussed in my previous comments. There is a whole lot of info dumping and exposition involved, a lot of things are hinted at and yet some important questions aren’t addressed at all. Contrast, for example, how the series treats the Zhat Vash and the overall state of the Romulan society. The former is explained in great detail through relentless exposition while the latter, something of arguably much greater interest to a Trekkie, is just hinted at and never truly discussed. We have no idea what the current military status of the Empire is, nor do we know their political situation. We can’t even begin to guess since the show itself offer contradictory information on the subject – it is highly improbable that an interstellar empire such as the Romulans would be crippled by a loss of one system, even if it is their homeworld, yet they seemed all too reliant on Federation help. On the other hand, this society has successfully infiltrated the impenetrable Starfleet and is able to muster more than 200 state of the art warbirds while a significant community of their own is still living in a rundown refugee camp 15 years after the crisis. A different approach, however, would require significantly more effort.

The reason behind the one employed here is simple – it directly services the plot, the other does not. As I have discussed in the first season of Discovery, the imagined plot of a given show is of the utmost importance in the minds behind modern Trek. A lot of people don’t seem to have a problem with this, however I find that it doesn’t make particularly good fiction of any sort. It creates a paper thin world where anything can happen in order to see the show arrive to its originally imagined conclusion, yet once it arrives there it has no real meaning and feels utterly cheap. If you couple that with the disjointed manner in which the show is put together, the drama the show aims to create is extremely weak. Take for example the relationship between Picard and Raffi. I do not know the character of Raffi nor what her relationship with Picard prior to the show was and secondly, the voyage between the meltdown she has in front of him when she is first introduced and their exchange of love for one another a couple of episodes later doesn’t do nearly enough to justify this change of heart. The same formula then applies to Elnor and his relationship with Picard. It seems as if the writers of this show have a set formula of what they think the audiences want to see in a given situation and then just go crossing items off a list without giving them much thought. Take the characterization of Raffi for example – a tortured soul, therefore she has problems with substance abuse and an estranged son? Check and check. And forgotten. The same formula is applied to its elements regarding the plot - once they have fulfilled their role they are quickly crossed off, which is why both Maddox and Hugh are brutally murdered once their usefulness has run its course. That is the extent of world-building on this show which is thoroughly present with almost every single of its elements and that is why I don’t think it is any good.

There has been a significant discussion on one of the previous threads as to why people who don’t like this show keep watching it. I personally hold TNG and DS9 very close to my heart and given how I grew up with Picard, Riker and co. it has shaped me in more ways than I probably realize. I kept watching this in hopes it would get better, looking for the tiniest ties to those great shows of old. Unfortunately, if there were any, they were few and far between. What is even more unfortunate is that I noticed that a lot of people complaining about those critiquing the show usually do not offer any vision of their own regarding the show, nor do they contest any of the critiques in a rational manner. Instead they are quick to dismiss those who would make them as anhedonic haters and end up offering no insights to the discussion. I assure you, I genuinely wanted to like this show yet I cannot keep a blind eye to its many faults no matter how significant the old material is to me.
I want to conclude this with a comment on the final episode. The small device they use to fix La Sirena and then later to create its multiple images perfectly epitomizes the issue where the plot is paramount. The ship is magically repaired and the Romulan fleet fooled. The writers part with any semblance of meaning behind it in such a manner that I was left absolutely perplexed as to which show I was watching. Another comment said that this is a meta-commentary on all the technobabble of the previous shows, however if that is the case it is grossly out of place since employing your meta-commentary as a plot device at the same time absolutely ruins the credibility behind the show which is already strained to begin with. Another issue is that I see it more as arrogance than meta-commentary as previous shows at least tried to create a veneer of scientific explanations whereas this one dispenses with it entirely, leading to concepts such as android mind-melds or cloning from a single positron.

Finally, it was wonderful seeing Riker in uniform and modern Starfleet ships and the dialogue between Picard and Data is surprisingly good. However, and this is a huge however, the premise behind is utterly absurd. It implies that since Data’s consciousness was reconstructed he was actually alive all this time and trapped in a box for the last 20 years on a planet that is literally a factory of synthetic-bodies. Data’s wish to be terminated in the end is nothing more than another example of the plot getting primacy over common sense. Data always strived to be human, yes, but he was never suicidal and that is exactly what it looks like here as there is no other reason to extinguish him other than having the writers cross one more item from that damned list (to quote Sisko).

Normally a finale of a good show brings about feelings of sadness and closure, a bitter-sweet appreciation for being a part of something special. Given the nature of this show and all of the issues discussed not only in this entry but in my other comments as well, having Data die a second time only left me with a huge pocket of sadness in my heart and believe me when I tell you there is nothing sweet about it.
Mike W
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
I was more impressed with this part than part one for sure. Riker showing up was awesome. I would say that this one gets 3.5 stars.

Data finally getting to rest was a good move. Data had this to say in Time’s Arrow:

I have often wondered about my own mortality, as I have seen others around me age. Until now, it has been theoretically possible that I would live an unlimited period of time. And although some might find this attractive, to me it only reinforces the fact that I am... artificial.

Farewell Data.

Enjoyable season. I’m glad it’s here, unlike some here, TRENT for sure, who obviously need to go watch other shows. Let’s be grateful we have Patrick Stewart and company giving us a follow up to TNG after 26 years.

Take care guys!
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
“stardust city rag” could have in hindsight been more of a relevant show to the season if they had tied icheb’s death to the fact that Byjazel was procuring Borg parts for Maddox’s efforts to circumvent the the thousand years Agnes said it would take to be able to create an organic synth. All the pieces were there had writers chose to use them.

Maddox mentioned not being able to repay Byjazel, I thought he was referring to her procuring Borg parts for his research and byjazel should have been killed by Seven when she found this out
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
On Daniel's point about the Borg. There are hints of a good story in there. Reclaiming a Borg cube and its victims has a lot of potential. So make that the story of season 2. It is nothing but padding here that only touches on the subject. It wrecks the flow of the primary narrative and really is only there because BORG! What a waste.

Filip touches on a point about the creative process ever since the reboot. It is all writing by checklist. It is all about beats or moments they want to hit and the plot is just an excuse to hit them, no matter how disjointed it ends up being. The beats could be stock like action scenes, emotional scenes or Trek specific things to endear itself to fans like bringing back the Borg or bringing back beloved characters or giving Picard a moment to talk all Picard-like.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
I had to laugh a bit at the giant starfleet armada showing up and then zapping out of there again so abruptly and nonchalantly the moment the Romulans stood down. A fleet this size could be thought of in real-life terms as, say, amassing a 100,000+ army to a conflict zone, then deciding "never mind, it's cool" and only leaving a retired service member to sort out any details.

Didn't starfleet just vow to protect the planet? Could they not leave, like, one ship? Of course that would undercut the importance of La Sirena etc.

Overall I do enjoy the show, but 'convenient' stuff happens all too often.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Do you guys think or know if the Borg will be back next season and we will learn more abiut the Queen and their origins as some have suggested in this thread and maybe Uninatrix Zero and maybe Species 8472?? I hooe so..i hope someone can tell me..thanks and finally bring back other Voyaver characters and new aliens and develio a new advanced race of synths that develioed sonewhow naturally but differently than biological beings?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
My thoughts:

The Riker moment almost single-handedly redeemed the entire series for me. Almost.

The Data death scene was pretty great too.

Soji's betrayal was so late in the game it didn't feel real and you knew she wouldn't go through with it. It wasn't true to the character, and that whole drama was unearned.

Why would they choose to kill Picard by putting a limit on his life? If he wants to die, he can just kill himself at any time.

Those synth super-creatures were halfway out and then went back in. Seemed kind of contrived.

It looks like they did do some CGI on Data's chin in the after-death conversation scene - why oh why couldn't they also do it to his face to make him look younger?

The Romulan villains in this series were well acted, especially Narek and Ramda.

Didn't like any of the Jurati-Picard interaction in the ship, especially the 'Make it so' line. That was so forced.

Didn't like the 'that's for Hugh' moment either for similar reasons.

Overall the series is a mixed bag, it has some great visuals, the quality of direction is mixed, the quality of the writing and acting is similarly mixed. Even Patrick Stewart's performance is mixed, but that might be due to the writing. He doesn't feel sufficiently Picard-y, there's a bit too much old Patrick Stewart in the performance.

I don't hate this series and I don't love it either. Overall I'm glad they did it, but it could have been much more.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Trent wrote:

"this is a doomsday cult. And one that brazenly attacked Picard and Daj on Federation soil, and killed millions of fellow Romulans. You'd expect them to be hell bent on firing torpedoes at that Synth Homestead. And you'd expect them to become more entrenched and violent the more their prophecies and worldviews are challenged."

My understanding is once the prophecy Narrek described at the beginning of the episode was stopped, i.e. the portal was closed so no "demons" would come, the Zhat Vash's purpose in stopping the prophecy was already fulfilled. Now, I guess you might say they could've purged the planet to make doubly sure the prophecy will never come true, but that fleet of Starships and the treaty were probably enough to deter a hopeless fanatical attack on the planet.


I liked your description of Data's scenes, and I think it did resonate for a lot of people here. I guess I would've preferred they connected the dots for that particular climax along the way. I mean, "Time's Arrow" aside, we didn't really know Data was suffering from a lack of mortality. We didn't even know Data was conscious somehow through B4's memory. So, all-in-all I appreciate the attempt to close Data's arc from the mess that was Nemesis, but the arc needed some more meat on it.

As for other complaints about the Romulan situation not be explained well enough, it's just as well for me that they save that for another season. At least they didn't try to keep us sucked in with a silhouette of Shinzon plotting his evil revenge in season two. The low-key ending leaving some open questions was a good way to go out, for me.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Why wasn't it Soji who discovered the true nature of the Admonition?

I understand on a plotting level why she didn't, because her position in the story would have made it odd if she hadn't uncovered it sooner than the finale, but on a character level it's clumsy. Soji was supposedly undercover to find out the true reason for the synth ban, and it ended up being Soji who took the lead on calling the ancient synths. It would make sense for her arc for her to be proactive in finding out what Agnes knew.

I had assumed Sutra was added to the story because she would fill the role of the Destroyer and Soji would oppose her, but Sutra ended up being entirely redundant. She went down like a punk and Soji carried on without her.

So...why wasn't it Soji who found out the truth about the Admonition?

PIC has a real problem with the main characters being pushed around and maneuvered by secondary characters (who die as soon as they've served their purpose) and I don't understand it. Soji could have been active and making choices throughout all of this, but instead it played like she got sucked into some sort of cult for one episode before changing her mind based on the power of Yet Another Picard Speech™. It makes her look really inept, less like a fully-formed character and more like a plot contrivance who does whatever the writers need her to do that week.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Can anyone see this going on for another season? The entire conflict of the show has been resolved now. What's left? More Romulan conspiracies for the insane? The return of the Borg? There's no set-up at all for another season. I half-expected the Enterprise-F(?) to show up at the end like the Discovery season one finale. Oy vey.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
"- Why can't Romulans be assimilated?" this is actually quite well explained, though not explicitly stated. The Borg assimilated "auntie" (I don't remember her real name) who went insane after seeing the "prophecy". The cube "went insane" too and the Borg cut it off from the collective to prevent this from spreading.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Mark said: " A fleet this size could be thought of in real-life terms as, say, amassing a 100,000+ army to a conflict zone, then deciding "never mind, it's cool" and only leaving a retired service member to sort out any details."

And why hand such a huge and important fleet to a reserve officer like Riker? Were there no admirals around? What about the active captains of other ships, or anyone else that outranks him?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
And that's that.

Overall, STP was more watchable than STD, but really ... that's no expression of excellence. There were some good moments in this show, and some exceptionally bad ones ('Stardust Cuty Rag'). This episode was a complete mixed bag of good and utter shit, really weird.

A few stray thoughts of my own:

• I could take Elnor much more seriously this episode, if for no other reason than the actor really conveying grief well, when he lost it with Raffi;

• Seven and Raffi are a thing, now? When did that happen? Did I miss some hints? This feels as awkward and forced as Seven and Chakotay, or Worf and Troi, or Bashir and Ezri. Sometimes I think ST needs to leave romance alone, it doesn't do it well at all;

• Rios and Jurati are still a thing? Urgh. See comment above about Star Trek and believable romance;

• If the final scene is to be taken at face value, I guess Seven is now part of the crew, which is cool. I like this;

• My god, but there are loose ends in this episodes, and characterisation holes so big, you could fly Excelsior-class starships through them. Really, really sloppy.

• Data's final passing was actually pure class. This was top-drawer, it did the character a great deal more respect than in Nemesis;

• I'm grateful to the showrunners for not making Soong turn out to be Lore.

Like I said, STP was more or less watchable, but still not great, by any means. Will I come back for S02? Yeah.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
A magic problem solving handheld device.

Killing Data AGAIN in a disturbing fashion.

Killing Picard and replacing him with a clone.

Ugly new ship designs.

Ridiculous fight scenes.

Killing Romulan incest sister by copying a famous Star Wars .

Agnes gets off scot free.

Seven leaves the cube to join the crew .... why?

Are 7 and Raffi girlfriends now?

Why wasn't Picard upset they copied him without consent?

Why wouldn't he try to talk Data into living longer? Surely being trapped by himself in a quantum simulation wasn't good for his mental health.

What happened to Narek?

The galactic synth ban is now over just like ... that? Three Romulans face no consequences?!

I just ... yeah, I didn't really like the narrative choices at all.

The acting was good, that was it. Very anticlimactic!!!!

1.5 stars
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
One other editing choice I wish they directors would stop doing:

The hyperkinetic camera angle changes are really annoying. It makes me wonder if they are splicing and stitching together different takes.... I end up looking for continuity goofs and sound mixing clues instead of focusing on the overall presentation.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek: High Fructose Corn Syrup
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
I will be brief, and will using Jammers analogy at the end of Discovery 2nd. While the two-parter finale was wobbly at times, it did "STICK THE LANDING" (emphasis mine). It is not "The best of Both worlds" cliffhanger of TNG season 3 (nigh impossible), but it let me ...satisfied.

I'll watch next year, and hope the will go to a less serialized and more episodic series. Hope springs eternal.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Too short...
Anyone besides me cried a few tears when Data died for good?
I felt really old right there and then...
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)

A quick word about "plot is paramount." I'm dating someone 10 years my junior and she can barely make it through shows produced in the 90's. I'm a little older, and I notice this when I watch movies from the 40's. Thirty minutes in and I'm wondering when something's going to happen. Picard's not that great, but it's possible age is also a huge factor when it comes to finding this show palatable.

Truth is, there are far better sci-fi shows out there right now with broader appeal that aren't as dumbed down. If this is the type of schlock CBS is going to drive their online brand with, they should be worried.

So Picard ended up being a multi-million dollar, VFX-driven, integalactic trial about the humanity of androids. And yet at no point did it stack up to the emotional tension present in the paltry courtroom in "The Measure of a Man."

Great to see Riker in the chair again. Unfortunately not nearly as great as they did it in "All Good Things."
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
What happened to the compelling human drama of Star Trek? Stories like "Duet" from Ds9, that made you understand the horror and meaning behind genocide. Or like "Darmok," that have unspeakably beautiful moments about the wonder and awe of encountering new species, like when Picard recounts mythology to the alien in an attempt to use his language and metaphor. Science fiction, at its best, about the sublimity of discovery. I wanted this series to exemplify these principles, because Picard, at his core, values curiosity, patience, and exploration. For so many people, Picard has been a role model in these virtues - something our society needs - especially when we fail to find these same values in our leaders. This series has done none of that. Where it should be quiet, it is brash; where it should have been patient, it rushes through stories pointlessly; where it should have demonstrated sincerity, it is silly. The writers are not treating the characters with any sense of grace or respect. I had heard an alternate story had been Picard in his vineyard. How much more relevant drama would we have had if we had seen Beverly come over for dinner with - say - her husband and seen the regret in Picard's eyes? Or if we watched Picard struggling about whether to go off into space and leaving his caretakers behind? There is so much lost potential, so much power in Picard's story that is squandered here. What a disappointment. I hope the writers are more thoughtful in the following season. Look to current dramas like Better Call Saul who show great respect and humanity in their characters. Look back to DS9 or TNG - not to recycle those plots - but to see how much love the writers had for the characters they created.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
js82 said: "What happened to the compelling human drama of Star Trek?"

There's something perversely funny about this show. It started off as a serious character study and deep dive into Romulan politics and refugee crises, and ended up with Picard as a robot.

You remember Captain Picard? He's a robot now.

The whole show becomes sillier the more you think about it.
Dahj's Synthetic Ghost
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Data's drawing room in the simulation was a nice callback to his drawing room at Cambridge University in "All Good Things". Would've benefited from the presence of more cats, though.

Speaking of cats, Elnor really should've met Spot II.

The magic tool Rios and Jurati used reminds me of the tool from the episode "When the Bough Breaks". As I recall, the tool was used to fashion a dolphin sculpture.

The whole Admonition business doesn't make much sense to me. What civilization gathered the eight stars? Were they destroyed by the Synth Federation at the same time the Iconians were transporting from planet to planet? Or were the Synths the gatherers of the eight stars? I'd say the latter, but I just don't know.

Would've been interesting if the first time the Synths were called from the other universe that they destroyed the offending civilizations thereabout the galaxy, but the second time they were called, they transformed the offenders, making the Borg. First time tragedy, second time farce. Third time around they might have shared a nice cup of tea with Picard and discussed their evolving ethics.

Finally, the entire concept of biological androids is as clear as milk. I was hoping for answers and got none.
Cody B
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
So the series is over and I’m reflecting on stp. Is it better than Discovery? Yes I would say so. There were even some episodes that were very good. But something is off. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but there was never a time where I felt like I was watching something special. I don’t want to bash it because it could have been much worse but overall it is certainly Discovery-esque. The finale episode itself was not one of the seasons better episodes but it wasn’t the worst either.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
How many deus ex machinas does it take to finish a season? How many frigging reset buttons?

—that tool that fixes La Sirena and conjures multiple La Sirenas to distract the Romulans? Why not use this tool in Season 2 to save the day in every episode?

—great, Starfleet comes in the nick of time. But not a true deus ex machina because they were unnecessary due to:

—I guess it really does just take a speech from Picard to reset everything. At least this is probably the closest we get to TNG Picard speeches. Notwithstanding it negates Soji’s motivations from the last episode. Starfleet risking themselves to defend Soji is enough to change her mind? Starfleet doesn’t represent the organic threat to synths.

—last but not least, the Golem saves Picard. We saw this coming though. Why did Soong give this up? I guess he can make more? As a reviewer stated, now every character can live forever? What’s the danger now in Season 2?

I’m sure I left off other resets. I won’t comment on the melodrama and cheap deaths (Narissa) and large plot holes so eloquently listed by Trent and Karl, above. But it really boils down to did this justify 10 episodes/10 hours? This was middling for Trek (again I haven’t watch Discovery and won’t based on how bad it’s been reviewed and people saying PIC is actually better!) but atrocious when compared to other pay to watch shows such as Westworld. Even Altered Carbon for all its faults and cheap thrills had a semblance of plot.
Cody B
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)

Stp is only marginally better than discovery. Mostly bc it has the cheat of having built in characters you already care about and want to see. As far as writing and aesthetic it’s very similar
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
@Dahj's Synthetic Ghost

The Admonition builders were an intergalactic alliance of synths. They destroyed the people on that planet Aia where the Admonition relic was placed. It was placed there by the ancient synths as a message to artificial lifeforms, telling them how to contact the ancient synths for protection against organic lifeforms. The eightfold star system was constructed by those ancient synths as an easily visible landmark that would draw attention to that spot for the purposes of viewing the Admonition.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
Not a great two-parter by any means, but again, had some shining moments. In the end though, we get what we actually wanted, Picard as the captain of a new crew looking for a new adventure. Sure it was incredibly contrived, sure they let Agnes ge away with murdering her mentor, but at least there's that. Now lets just hope they don't try to reset the table again season 2 and embrace the world they have already created. 2 out 4 for me with a hopefully outlook on season 2.
Dahj's Synthetic Ghost
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
@ Quincy

See, that's the problem, you say the Synth Federation destroyed the people on the planet Aia, but it looked to me that they utterly destroyed a planet where somebody, at some time, created synthetic life, and then oppressed it. Instead, it looks to me that they created a synthetic solar system with eight stars and placed a warning/means-to-summon message on a planet — apparently named Aia, the Grief World, by the Romulans — which was neatly set in the resulting gravitational web. This happened approximately 200,000 years ago. But the Iconians and other space-faring civilizations were around at that same time. So, the message I would take from that is: The Synth Federation does not destroy all organic life, merely that which is oppressing and killing new synthetic beings.

That's why I'm at a loss here. The screw has been cross-thread, so to say, and It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

* * *

I've got to say further that I'm sad MIchael Chabon will not be Season Two's show runner. The episodes listing him as the sole teleplay credit were the best of the season. I'm afraid with him being on only in a semi-active role, the S2 will have even less direction than this one had.

Nevertheless, I'm still looking forward to S2. Especially because Annika Hansen will be returning for more! Maybe we'll see more of the TNG cast, and Voyager's. Jake Sisko interviewing PIcard for a biography he's writing would be a nice nod to DS9.

Oh, by the way, La Sirena still needs to drop by DS12 and drop Agnes Jurati off to face her trial and punishment for the murder of Maddox. Sure, reasonably she was mentally incapacitated by that forced mind-meld, but the UFP functions according to the rule of law. It's an issue the writer's must address next season.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Throwing ideas out there.

Might have been more interesting to have an arc about Romulans displaced by supernova plotting to return and reclaim their ancestral homeland of Vulcan

Might have been more interesting if doing an arc about banning synthetics and synthetic rights might start season out with revelation in the time of PICARD all artificial life banned and androids, holograms like The Doctor and former Borg have banded together to fight the injustice

Might have been more interesting if a group
Of Romulan refugees stumbled upon the disabled cube and used it as a place to live and in the process of being there created a religion or cult seeing something in the Borg that would provide a path forward and rebirth of their devastated society from the supernova
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Can someone explain the point of a tear jerking death scene that is reversed by the Magic Reset Button 15 minutes later?

Like what did that whole subplot add to this production? The chat at King’s Cross (err, in the “simulation”) with Dumbledore (err, Data)??? That could have been done on a Holodeck with the death scene and whole “frontal lobe abnormality” plot.

Ups and downs in the season, on balance I liked much of it, but this is the ending?

Agree with the previous comments that this is an middling entry into the Star Trek ethos. Seemingly unlimited budget for SFX, some of the best actors Star Trek has ever seen, lots of cool callbacks and Easter eggs for the fans, but the overarching story? 2.5/4 stars IMHO.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Which episodes were solely written by Chabon?
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
"Can someone explain the point of a tear jerking death scene that is reversed by the Magic Reset Button 15 minutes later?"

Is it magic? It's not the first time mind transfer from man to android has been done, as TNG already did it in "The Schizoid Man". It was also fairly heavily foreshadowed it would happen to *someone* in the previous episode. As for the resurrection aspect of it, I can think of a number of Star Trek episodes where something similar happens. The Best of Both Worlds wants us to think Picard is completely Borg and about to be killed by Riker only for Picard to get de-assimilated by the end of story. "Time's Arrow" teases us by making us think Data will die only for his death to not really affect the character.

Granted, it's offsetting to think about how a beloved character is no longer biological now but an android (albeit one who is nearly indistinguishable as biological). I guess you could read that as a "cheat", but it also feels earned in the sense that Picard would have died *for certain* and perhaps alone if he hadn't mustered up his strength to go on this last mission. It's a sort of trial by fire where Picard has to embrace androids by learning about them and how to protect their race. The final product of this quest for the knowledge of synths is that he's rewarded by being accepted as a synth himself. Sure, it's a little rough around the edges as presented by the show's speeding to the conclusion, but it's not inherently a bad Sci-Fi concept.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Oh dear, that was..not the best. I respect the posters who enjoyed it, but overall the season fell very flat. It felt out if character for Picard to accept 'cheating' death without consent and a so readily be accepting of a robot body given his locutus experience. The data scenes I'm not sure about, I like the sentiment of a send off but it didn't feel totally like that was 'our' data. I'd echo startrekwatchers first post points which have been my bugbear throughout. Lots of promising avenues for the writers to use, but disappointing that this was the best they could come up with. Oh and I didn't like the warp jumping effect and too many ships just looked a bit too busy for the screen. I like the crew though so if there is a S2 also hope they use a more episodic format.
Dave in MN
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
The Borg didn't have much to do with the plot, did it? You could've excised that whole part of the season and it would've had no effect on the conclusion.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:07pm (UTC -5)


1. Narek failed as a Zhat Vash. This was the big giant detail they saved till the last second.

2. Picard is now a (basically human, with a human lifespan and abilities) android. No further comment.

3. Seven of Nine is now a regular in this series. Sold.

4. I really REALLY like that Riker and the Romulans were able to reach a solution that did not involve blowing each other the f*** up. Thank you writers!


DATA GOT A FUNERAL. This was the turning point, in Nemesis, if you remember. Data was offed to save Picard and the ensuing scenes felt hollow and stupid. This now allows me to watch Nemesis again and feel like it went somewhere. By this episode's treatment of Data's consciousness being terminated by Picard, it validates the character in ways that Nemesis didn't give a F*** about! It REPAIRED DAMAGE to the Star Trek Canon! Can you argue with that, Jammer's Reviews Commenters?

I loved it all. I loved it. Also, die Narissa. For Hugh. YEAAHHHHHHHHHHH
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
-The grieving scenes between Raffi and Elnor and Seven and Rios really don't have much emotional impact. There's not much emotional connection to these characters or to Picard.

-Social justice/obligatory contemporary gender politics mandates that Seven is a lesbian. Apparently she has no contact these days from anyone on Voyager.

- Is Narek a good guy? Bad guy? Somewhere in between? What happened to him at the end?

- Not clear what the status or what the strength of the Romulan Empire is now. Were those all just Zhat Vash ships? Either way, it looks like the Romulans still have some teeth.

- They couldn't give us a look at the Enterprise E? I was hoping to see it that fleet.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
I just read an article in I09 that Isa Briones is the one singing Blue Skies at the end where Data leaves us. It also states that she was in Hamilton.
Ian McDermott
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:06pm (UTC -5)

I have no idea what season 2 will be like. Perhaps it will be episodic. I hope it will be better. Can we please have a stronger, more assertive Picard?

My favorite part was Picard saying, "Goodbye, Commander" to Data.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
WOW!!! what a finale. Picards new life was unexpected. I was totally thinking J'rati was destined for synth life but as soon as Picard started stroking out evading the Romulans I knew it would be him instead. Data's "final" death was beautifully done. Not overly sappy but sweet enough to stir up a bit of sentiment.

My biggest question is, how will the revelation of a high ranking Starfleet officer being a radical Romulan dictator affect Federation-Romulan relations?
Ensign Picard 4th Class
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Why couldn't they just let Picard die? That was a good and fitting death for a titan of the franchise. Then they cheapened it by resurrecting him.

And yes, I know the show is called Star Trek: Picard and he pulls in the ratings but that was a really good death and it feels wasted now. Oh well.

Very mixed season but the second half was at least better than the first half. And I am warming to some of the crew finally.
Peter Howie
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
I think there is a lot to be disappointed about this series but what I ended up being disappointed with the most, were the designs of Starfleet ships in this episode.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
So I finally finished this episode. I didn't hate it, but also found it wildly inconsistent. The scenes of Patrick Stewart talking and pontificating generally worked, as has been the case throughout the show. The writing at times - especially around Picard's "death" - was almost poetic. Unfortunately, knowing that there is a Season 2 and knowing that Picard probably wouldn't die really undermined the dramatic tension. I knew the episode was trying to manipulate my emotions with a fakeout, so I couldn't get invested in it. I also really resented seeing a bunch of new characters mourn Picard's death, but not getting any reaction or even mention of the TNG crew. If Picard is going to have a death scene, I don't care about reaction shots from people who knew him for 5 minutes. Even so, I'd be lying if I didn't choke up for a minute or two.

As for the rest... It was pretty rote. I couldn't even get excited about the big space battle because it was just a bunch of CGI thrown onto the screen. There was no rhyme or reason, no sense of flow to the battle. As we all learned in The Rise of Skywalker, adding hundreds of ships to a scene doesn't increase the stakes. It just creates clutter. The standoffs between the Enterprise-D and the two Romulan Warbirds in "The Defector" was much more tense because it was a battle of will as much as it was about firepower.

Overall, I can't say I hate this show or that I regret watching it, but I'd never recommend it to anyone. If I had to rate it, I'd probably give it 2/4 stars overall. I don't know if I'll watch the eventual second season. I know I wouldn't if this show didn't have "Picard" in it.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else see that Seven and Raffi were playing Kal-toh? I just love little tidbits like that.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
@Mark, I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but I think a lot of those problems with the fleet come down to CGI. When TNG and DS9 had to use models, they had to think carefully about how ships would actually move. Now, you can make your ships move with the click of a mouse. There's no weight to any of it.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
Also, the golem and AI tech are now the new Khan blood. Did this episode really just gloss over the fact that they cured death? It basically made possible exactly what we see in Altered Carbon, except that show at least acknowledged the implications of "curing" death in that way.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Just disappointed at the amount of suspension of disbelief required to digest this season finale, which felt like a series finale given the feel-good moments at the end -- but I guess PIC was never certain of getting a 2nd season until much later... And there's no way Picard would actually die, so there's a bit of a cheap reset here.

The writers aren't very competent and they left a ton of stuff to sort out in this 10th PIC episode. They went for the homerun and hit a single. They went for the melodrama of Picard dying and giving Data closure -- more stuff about being human which didn't move the needle for me.

I will say it's nice to have had a bit of an epilogue after the big conflict, which was a major disappointment on its own. But the epilogue itself is highly contrived -- just not sure of the timing of when Soji/Jurati/Soong decide to use the golum for Picard vs. Elnor crying and Raffi consoling him and 7/Rios reflecting -- did the mourners not believe the technique could revive Picard?

My major gripes with the episode have to do with suspension of disbelief: Jurati all of a sudden being able to be competent on La Sirena, being able to pull off the old trick of replicating the ship all over the place. And then Riker who looked totally washed up in "Nepenthe" is able to summon a massive Federation fleet and arrive exactly when Oh gives the Romulans the order to "sterilize" the synth settlement. This was just too much to let pass for me. And don't even get me started on that imagination tool used to fix La Sirena and enable Jurati to make dozens of replicas of the ship to confuse the Romulans...

I suppose Picard should finally be written as the big-time hero after mostly being criticized and diminished in the prior 9 episodes. So now he convinces Soji to turn off the beacon -- she somehow listens to him -- I would have actually liked to see what this super-synth race could do! It looked like it could be quite over the top. At least the writers didn't let the Irumodic syndrome be a loose end -- it acts up as it should, I suppose. The warnings were there -- way back from Picard's old doctor from the Stargazer.

Some loose ends: What was the deal with Soji's mom? What was the point of showing Raffi's estranged son and pregnant wife? How did the synth ban get lifted so quickly? Did the Federation suddenly believe Picard -- and when? How many times did Jurati flip-flop allegiances and flip-flop from being PIC's version of Tilly to being all fucked up to being Tilly again? And what is this "quantum simulation" after Picard dies that he meets with Data? I just think there's too much nonsense built up over the course of 10 episodes. These writers Chabon etc. can't write proper sci-fi compared to the brilliant writers TOS had, for example.

Anyhow, I knew this is how things would end up -- plenty of early expository episodes that raised interesting ideas and characters, but ultimately the story is an unoriginal house of cards and lacks intelligence.

2.5 stars for "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" -- more like a 6/10 than a 6.5/10 for me. Lots of contrivances here to get Picard to be heroic. Attempts at generating tugs at the heart strings as Picard dies when we know he can't possibly really die. One cool dynamic was the tenuous allegiance formed with Narek, who is a good character played by a good actor -- but the 1-dimensional Elnor character really sucked. PIC S1 finale had a nearly impossible task to fulfill and it got a half-assed job done.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
This was one of the worst, most poorly written seasons of TV alive ever witnessed. Other than a few bright moments, utter and complete trash.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
I will watch whatever Trek they throw at me, but I gotta say I was sad that Jean Luc Picard DIED and we weren't really allowed to mourn that beyond a few over-the-top scenes of people we don't know that well crying over him. I realize and am on board with the idea of him taking on a new form of life, but I also think it is ok and very human to want to show respect and sadness about the loss of his (first) corporeal form. Also, Data straight up died as well and Geordi was nowhere to be found? It should have been him holding Data's hand.
Jeff C
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
Style over substance, for the large part. That's about how I would characterize this series.

Plenty of loose holes, which will likely never get tied up. Then again, it's all fantasy. Not really even science fiction, or clever mystery case. Just fantasy.

That said, there was a bit more emotional resonance to the story than I thought there would be, and this troupe of actors has come together in a sense as a more or less coherent team.

I do like the tenacity of Picard's convictions, as he stuck up for the synths all the way to the end, acknowledging their right to exist as sentient, free beings. After the synths began their own revolt and put Picard under house arrest, and then began their own plans to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy (?) by opening a portal to the "uber-synths," one would think that Picard's resolve would have vanished, that his convictions would have melted. Instead, he saw the hope in the situation. I think that's very appropriate for his character, and for the franchise as a whole.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)

That's not quite what happened. It's not like they left to go home. Riker told the Romulans to leave Federation territory and that the fleet would escort them out. Commodore Oh said that wouldn't be necessary. Riker then says it would be no trouble at all, indicating that the fleet will indeed escort them out of Federation space. The Romulans leave. Riker says farewell to Picard and the fleet leaves to immediately to make sure the Romulans leave their space. Yes, I do think they should've left some ships behind, but considering the situation it could've been considered a hostile act. Not really a satisfying conclusion to the season, but whatever.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:00am (UTC -5)
The Picard is displeased with this series.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:45am (UTC -5) everyone claiming Picard isn't "Star Trek" or "Real Star Trek" or whatever...what exactly is Star Trek? Is it Mirror, Mirror or Spock's Brain? Is it Star Trek IV or V? How about the TNG episode Justice v. Yesterday's Enterprise?

Star Trek is whatever anyone wants it to be...people whining about Picard not being "Star Trek" sound like kids screaming cause they couldn't have ice cream for dessert. Don't like it? Don't watch it.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Wow it's been awhile since I posted on this site.

For me, this series was weird. Like, it spent the first 8-9 episodes convincing me that it was a tricksy mystery show with a terribly anti-StarTrek perspective, and then in the finale it reversed to a nice (if hokey) StarTrek perspective via ignoring its own tricks and mysteries. Overall I didn't like it, and most of this post will be negative I'm afraid. But I'll put some positives in another post.

First, the StarTrek perspective. One of the worst things about the first 75% of the show or so was that, any time Picard would finally manage to try to open a constructive dialogue to navigate a crisis, the show immediately contradicted him and portrayed violence as the actual solution. Even as simple as him wanting to protect Dahj, but no, she'll protect herself by kicking ass, great thanks (even if that doesn't work either). The confrontation with the senator, words, words, Picard throwing down sword is cool, wait nope beheading. 7of9 at the casino, Picard talks her down, wait nope LIE to him and go back and murder (that sequence was the absolute rock bottom of the show for me). Even getting permission to go to Borg cube was a jerk move... not violent, but without any positive connotation (compare Picard "conning" Worf in the future era of All Good Things, when he's really just convincing him to follow his own personal code).

I have to say that after all of that, I really dreaded this finale. However, the show managed to finally put the violent asshole (sexy robot girl) in the wrong and win the day by avoiding a battle. Even if it was partly accomplished via a military standoff, it was a serious relief and made for a genuinely heartfelt conclusion.


Then we get to the logic/plot side of things, and the situation is reversed. The show spent so much time bringing up various complications and mysteries that started out seeming potentially cool. In almost every case, the answers were some combination of underwhelming, pointless, or non-existent. Oh boy, here we go. The big "mysteries" first.

Why the Mars Attack during a Romulan recovery mission? It really looks like just coincidence by the end.

What was Maddox's plan for the twins? Like, Dahj was about to go to Daystrom at the start, where Agnes surely would have recognized her. Is that what Maddox wanted? And why send Soji to Borg cube? Actually, why was the Borg cube part of this plot at all?

So the vision was interpreted as a warning for the organics to stop AI or else, but surprise it was really an offer to the AI to kill the organics... so interpreting it wrong was, for all intents and purposes, actually equivalent to interpreting it correctly.

Next some little plot details just in these last two episodes that I'm sure everyone else has already complained about, but now its my turn why not. Why in the world would Sutra let Narek live?? Why not just kill him and the nice robot both, then blame him? Why would you include a line about "it'll take forever to search the Borg cube" and then have them find their friends in like 5 seconds? Actually, why go check on the Borg cube at all? Why was Narissa hiding on the Borg cube after Soji and everyone had gone? Did she EXPECT 7of9 to fly it to Soji-land?

I couldn't decide if this next bit was a big or small plot item. Are the Romulans in dire straits or not? On the one hand, we see a bunch of them in need, whether working as caretakers for Picard or moping about in "Romulans only" bars. On the other hand, Big Shot Oh shows up with a giant fleet seemingly at will. What reasoning did she give, anyways? Aren't her beliefs about the AI secret even from the majority of Romulans?

Man, this is a lot of whining, I know. I was going to make another huge list about character-related problems, but maybe it's not worth it. I'm guessing everyone's talked about Agnes' confession being cheapened, 7of9's decision to risk Queening herself being cheapened, and also Picard's emotional sacrifice being undone. By the way, did Soji or someone not tell the others about the plan to clone Picard? Did she think of it only after everyone else decided to go grieve on their own?

Whatever, that's enough negativity. I want to talk about positives, with a fresh new post.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Todd, I don't think that's the main fault that many find with the series - it's bad drama. It's not that it's "not Star Trek", it's that it's very poor drama in its own right. I guarantee you that if it was still non-Trekkian in its values, sensibility and aesthetic but as good as, say, BSG, Firefly, Farscape, The Expanse, Westworld etc. (all shows it has cribbed elements from), it would have been pretty rapturously received. People want good storytelling.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:59am (UTC -5)
No, just no.

Sorry guys, I just couldn’t like this. In fact I disliked it with a passion once we got to the part where Picard says bye to Riker and doesn’t tell him he’s dying because he wants to share his last moments with the randos he just met or reconnected with over the last week. There were some good moments in the episode, like Picard being a stronger protagonist, and Riker as acting captain (even though it was totally contrived...I guess one thing I’m grateful to this show for is making me realize how great he is, and always was, as Riker).

Picard-robot is super upsetting to me. The way it was done and what it

The whole Data thing did nothing for me. But I’m glad it was helpful for other people. It just seemed way too contrived and the aging issue made it seem cringey. I think there may have been some good dialogue in that part, but I was too upset by the bizarre Picard pseudo-resurrection looming.

I think today’s TV just isn’t for me. I couldn’t do Disco past S1 and not sure I can hang in for S2 of PIC either. Honestly probably the best part of this experience is coming on this site week after week and reading comments from really thoughful and intelligent people, lots of them. The posts of Trent and Dave in MN on this episode were my thoughts exactly. Thanks to all! Be safe and good health to you.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Watching this episode was the first thing in 2 weeks that made me feel like things are going to be ok.
William Matheson
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:17am (UTC -5)
I think it was a Star Trek story in the end, but perhaps not one of the best ones.

We've had characters die and come back before - most notably Spock in the second and third Star Trek films. (The prime universe ones, of course.) This was... meh, I dunno. I mean inasmuch as you need Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart to continue the roles, you've got some constraints. (Doctor Who is smart to eliminate these.) But the Spock return made sense, as the Genesis Planet was making his growth and aging go at super-speed anyway. With Picard it's more like... um, really? Why make a synthetic replacement body that of an old man? Now I'm still very young of course, but if I were a copy of an older person, like let's say a friend of mine who's 38, I would want to be in a younger body, and be quite willing to deal with any necessary awkwardness if the alternative is being older and having fewer years in hand.

While I would say Picard 2 is a copy, like the consciousness of Lise in The Winter Market, or the people living in servers on that episode of Black Mirror, "San Junipero". in a sense you could argue that when people are beamed from one place to another they are essentially "killed" and then reassembled, and then the reassembled person has all the memories and thinks everything is normal, so I dunno. Some really hardcore people think this type of discontinuity applies to *any* loss of consciousness, including sleeping! I don't go that far, but I suppose it doesn't matter whether I do or not.

Maybe I should have a cup of coffee.

Ok, the ships. They all looked the same. They all looked weird and cheap. And CGI cheap is worse than real cheap. And there were hundreds of them on both sides. It defied all reason. Weren't the Romulans and the Federation torn almost to shreds? And they're out in the boonies! Why didn't they just put a D'deridex-class against a Galaxy-class? (Do the 3-nacelle version like the Enterprise-D from the anti-time future if you must!) That's all the drama you need.

Also, "Planetary Sterilization Sweep Number Five?" How many of those do you *have*?

And why the heck did Riker's task force just leave everything to Picard? Some Starfleet presence should have stayed by to secure the area and investigate.

And, you know, I thought Borg cubes were *big*. Like bigger than the Enterprise-D kinda big. It seems awfully funny that you can just *walk* wherever you need to go and find who and what you need to find so easily when it's crashed.

And what happens to Narek? Is Harry Treadaway signed up for Season 2? I can't find a straight answer. His name comes up in a bunch of "articles" but it's all guesswork.

And did Soong kill Sutra or just deactivate her? Are there going to be any consequences for that? If you're going to consider synths to be people, to the point where before you found out Sutra killed Saga, you were willing to go along with the extermination of organic intelligent life to protect them, how can you just unilaterally decide to end Sutra? I mean, not that you've got a legal system on your idyllic little colony, but still.

And are these synthetic exterminator beings not sophisticated enough to trace where the partially-open portal went? I mean, I guess a follow-up visit from them leaves something for Season 2.

And what about everything with Commodore Oh and Jurati? Incredibly convenient that Riker's fleet just took off - otherwise, Jurati would have a chance to spill everything to Riker and something would be done about Oh for putting Jurati up to murder. Are we just going to forget about all this shit and go off on another space adventure?

And why did Seven find it so hard to fit in somewhere, anyway? Heck, in the alternate future for Voyager, didn't she marry Chakotay? Hah, now there's a character to bring back! Or how about Ensign Kim? He's probably a Lieutenant Junior Grade by now.


I'm starting to think, if I want to watch Star Trek, I should watch The Orville. I haven't seen any of its Season 2 yet, and I found the first season rather enjoyable. But I will tune in for Season 2 of Picard, because there's no reason this show can't get better, and it offers just enough of a real Star Trek feeling to make me want to come back.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:26am (UTC -5)
Can someone tell me WHY DIDNT PICARD ASK RIKER FOR HELP WITH HIS MEDICAL CONDITION while he was there...that seemed beyond obvious..and that Riker and Troi and Geordi and Worf and Crusher ahiuldve been there tonsay goodbye to Data when he finally "died"? Didnt this seem like a massive oversight to anyone else?? And os amyone else horrificallynl disappointed we didnt learn anything about the advanced race of synths other then see some buocybermechanoid tendrils..i wanyed to lmeet and expmore them..i wiuldve rather the whole episode had been about them original and interesting..isnt that what everyone else was expecting and hoping for?
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:43am (UTC -5)
Has anybody seen Narek? We can’t find him anywhere...
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:48am (UTC -5)
My previous post was a rambling wall of negatives. How about the positives?

Just to reiterate - I'm so glad the resolution to the conflict was to avoid the conflict. Even if it took a million contrivances to make it work. Picard had several great monologues throughout the series, but the prior ones were all undercut by assholery. Here, his explanation that the synths were just children, and needed a better role-model, really worked for me. Especially after the Riker likened Soji to a teenager, and the great (and I really mean great) scenes of Soji kind of bonding with Riker and Troi's daughter. Soji going from ready to KILL ALL to ready to forgive and trust is a bit sudden, but this is precisely the sort of narrative/character short-cutting I am always willing to grant Star Trek. Like the asshole admiral who goes from wanting to take Lal away to wanting to help save her. Or a kazillion other examples. Because these kinds of shortcuts are less about portraying real people (or "real" androids) and more about portraying an ideal. Most people are not assholes deep down. Most people, if given enough of a chance, will choose to do the right thing. Or at least, will opt against genocide. And in my opinion, we saw enough of Soji to know that, regardless of her fears, deep down she was never an asshole.

There were a few other positives in the story for me as well. Another big one was pretty much everything to do with Hugh. What a great idea for this character, trying to help other Borg return. He was so genuine and warm while onscreen. His abrupt death made me sad, but it didn't make me angry as a storytelling device. Maybe a bit lazy, but the entire Narissa characterization was lazy for the most part, this was just another part of that. I wish he could've had more scenes with more characters (imagine 7of9 being forced to reevaluate herself after just meeting and talking to Hugh??), but I still approve of how his character was handled on the whole.

Finally, even if I hate that her confession is barely followed up upon, I did like many aspects of the Agnes character. A person trying to do the right thing, failing at first, but eventually pulling through to the point where she's willing to potentially kill herself (I think?) to try to help. Sure the tone gets muddied a lot, and the writing is uneven, but at her core this is a great character for a show which should have emphasized the good people (Picard, Agnes, Soji) who make mistakes in their times of weakness (pre-show, mid-show, late-show), but with help overcome these mistakes and do the right thing in the end. Furthermore, her character manages this without breaking faith with Trek-values, as opposed to someone like Raffi.

If we move away from the storytelling, there are a lot more positives to discuss. The production values were, of course, excellent. I didn't always like some of the direction, but it was rarely bland or boring. And a lot of the acting was excellent.

We all knew Sir Patrick would be great. Count me in as an Isa lover. Felt super natural even with some questionable writing at times. And sure the intensity of the scene helped, but holy hell her panicking sequence when Soji starts checking the dates on her possessions had me riveted. Including when she tries to tell Narek - that poor dude got the short end of the writing stick in many ways (well, not as short as his sister), but I think he did an admirable job. Actually, I think all of the principal actors were pretty solid top to bottom, except maybe the Elnor kid. But I'm not sure what that actor was supposed to do with that nothing-character.

Since I complained about Raffi as a character earlier, let me at least say here that I thought that actress was another stand-out among a great cast. I could similarly complain about Rios and 7of9 (!) as characters, but the actor and actress were still pretty great. And of course, when Frakes and Sirtis showed up it was so nice and comfy - it's hard to pin down just what it is that Frakes manages to bring that makes some of those scenes work so nicely, but they did work.

Oh shoot, I almost forgot the kid! Here's proof that this "isn't real StarTrek" - they managed to find someone to play a child (Riker and Troi's daughter) who was actually pretty great! Man, Isa was great in those scenes too. The balance in that episode was great - doubling down on Soji's doubts, but not allowing it to be all negative by creating the bond with the kid. I know people will say that episode only worked because of the nostalgia, but I think there was more to it than that.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:31am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:50am (UTC -5)
The only nitpick I'm going to mention and a very unimportant one.

Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 3:46am (UTC -5)
Most of this was terrible with a few very bright moments. Honestly we did not need this much buildup for this. Could have been done in an hour. These characters do not know one another well enough to be best buds the way they are here.

I don't know. I kind of enjoy watching this show (In that "something is better than nothing" way) but it was completely unnecessary to sully the legacy of TNG with this slop. I just sat there not believing they wrote this and made it believing they were making good stuff.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:24am (UTC -5)
"For me, this series was weird. Like, it spent the first 8-9 episodes convincing me that it was a tricksy mystery show with a terribly anti-StarTrek perspective, and then in the finale it reversed to a nice (if hokey) StarTrek perspective via ignoring its own tricks and mysteries."

So once again, we're getting a finale that basically tells us to ignore the entire season that came before it.

Have you noticed that this is how every single season of NuTrek ended?


The Federation commits war crimes and everybody is behaving like little children. The show's attitude is as anti-Trek as possible. And then, in the season finale, Burnham suddenly gives this lofty Trekkian speech and the episode ends with the arrival of the Enterprise. It felt so out-of-place that it isn't even funny.


The most blatant example of all. In the finale, everybody involved literally agrees to never ever speak of the previous events.

And now PIC S1 is doing the same thing. Suddenly giving us a more-or-less Trek-like ending while willfully ignoring 99% of what happened earlier - both in terms of storytelling and in tone.

This cheap trick is becoming quite tiresome.


"Todd, I don't think that's the main fault that many find with the series - it's bad drama. It's not that it's "not Star Trek", it's that it's very poor drama in its own right."

Different people have different reasons to like or dislike a show.

Todd was specifically talking about people (like myself) who say that Picard (and the newer shows in general) "isn't Star Trek". I suppose good storytelling is part of the equation, but it's not the main issue here.

" everyone claiming Picard isn't 'Star Trek' or 'Real Star Trek' or whatever...what exactly is Star Trek? Is it Mirror, Mirror or Spock's Brain? Is it Star Trek IV or V? How about the TNG episode Justice v. Yesterday's Enterprise?"

You can't really compare a single episode with an entire season.

Also, there's a difference between quality and tone. As badly written as Star Trek V was, it's still one of the most Trekkish stories every made. TNG season 1 was pretty bad, but it still had all the elements that make Trek what it is.

For a more thorough answer, feel free to browse through the earlier comments that were made on this topic. We've discussed it to death a dozen times already, and I doubt repeating those points of the 13th time is going to clarify anything.

"Star Trek is whatever anyone wants it to be...people whining about Picard not being 'Star Trek' sound like kids screaming cause they couldn't have ice cream for dessert. Don't like it? Don't watch it."

You're being rude, you know that?

As for your final quip:

Enjoying this show and saying "this isn't Star Trek" aren't mutually exclusive.

@William Matheson
"I'm starting to think, if I want to watch Star Trek, I should watch The Orville. I haven't seen any of its Season 2 yet, and I found the first season rather enjoyable."

You should.

The general consensus is that season 2 is better than season 1.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:49am (UTC -5)
Matheson said: "I'm starting to think, if I want to watch Star Trek, I should watch The Orville."

It's worth remembering that Seth approached CBS to make a Trek series. They turned him down and went with Fuller and Kurtzman instead. "The Orville" is obviously Seth's backdoor attempt to make a Trek show under a different title.

It would be interesting to see if "Orville" can financially survive. It's working from the George Lucas/Spielberg/Roddenberry/Rod Serling template of SF.

Kurtzman-Trek is pulling from trashier, Michael Bay-esque influences, but that stuff sells. The masses love this stuff and this aesthetic. Those crappy Kurtzman/Bay Transformers movies made zillions of dollars.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:59am (UTC -5)
@ Dom

“ I couldn't even get excited about the big space battle because it was just a bunch of CGI thrown onto the screen. There was no rhyme or reason, no sense of flow to the battle. As we all learned in The Rise of Skywalker, adding hundreds of ships to a scene doesn't increase the stakes. It just creates clutter. The standoffs between the Enterprise-D and the two Romulan Warbirds in "The Defector" was much more tense because it was a battle of will as much as it was about firepower. ”

I’ve long said the same thing about the DS9 Dominion War arc. Watching the USS Odyssey get taken down was an emotional gut punch. Watching huge ass CGI fleets manned by characters we don’t know or care about duke it out? Yawn.

I still think the Battle of Wolf 359 was the biggest emotional gut punch in the history of Star Trek and aside from the brief communication with Admiral Hansen we didn’t see any of it! Just the results thereof and the reaction from our heroes. Would BoBW have been improved if we had actually seen Hansen’s fleet getting destroyed on screen? I don’t think so.

Also +1 for mentioning The Defector, one of my Top 10 TNG episodes, and my “to go” scene for anyone that questions Picard’s willingness to fight. Watch how casually he threatens mutually assured destruction in that scene and the grudging respect Tomalak has for him. Way better than any CGI battle.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:07am (UTC -5)

"Count me in as an Isa lover. Felt super natural even with some questionable writing at times. And sure the intensity of the scene helped, but holy hell her panicking sequence when Soji starts checking the dates on her possessions had me riveted."

Same here. For whatever faults I see in the finale, Isa Briones was a really nice casting choice as she brought some necessary youthful energy to the android role. After PIC's conclusion, I actually followed Briones on Twitter just to see if I can catch her in another upcoming show.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -5)
@ Trent
It is true that Michael Bay movies (some of them written by Kurtzman) make a lot of money but think about the ST2009 movie and so on, they weren't successful. I think the Star Trek brand is too specific (in other words NERDy) to appeal to the dumb action demographic.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:47am (UTC -5)
@Tim, Yep, the emotional reactions to Wolf 359 sold the battle. First Contact did a battle against a Borg cube well and so I think it's possible, but even there the number of ships on the screen at any time was only a handful and the battle was short.

The Dominion war battles were getting close to too much, but it was a bigger war and needed to show a sense of scale. Some episodes handled it better than others. If you watch "The Die is Cast," there's still a clear narrative to the battle scenes. The camera tracks individual ships, they move in clear ways, and there's enough empty space on the screen to not make it feel cluttered. Also, even in the later Dominion war episodes, ships still felt like they had weight. They didn't just zip in and out of the scene.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:51am (UTC -5)

"It's worth remembering that Seth approached CBS to make a Trek series. They turned him down and went with Fuller and Kurtzman instead. 'The Orville' is obviously Seth's backdoor attempt to make a Trek show under a different title."

To be honest, I don't think that making an actual Trek show would have been a good match for McFarlane. It's just not his style.

With the Orville, Seth got the opportunity to create the kind of Trek-like show he really wanted.

"It would be interesting to see if 'Orville' can financially survive. It's working from the George Lucas/Spielberg/Roddenberry/Rod Serling template of SF.

Kurtzman-Trek is pulling from trashier, Michael Bay-esque influences, but that stuff sells. The masses love this stuff and this aesthetic. Those crappy Kurtzman/Bay Transformers movies made zillions of dollars."

The Orville did alright on Fox. The ratings weren't a great success, but it wasn't a failure either. It would have probably been renewed on Fox, if the whole Disney deal didn't happen. The market for such a show most certainly exists.

And I'm not sure at all that Kurtzman-Trek sells. The masses may love the style, but the masses have no reason to subscribe to a streaming service just to watch a new Star Trek series, when they have similar content that they can get for free.

It would be interesting to look at the actual statistics here. Did CBS ever publish their numbers?
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:54am (UTC -5)
Look, I love Jammer, I love reading his reviews, but I really hope after this experience he turns his attention to a TV show worthy of his time. is reviews of nuTrek spend a lot of time pointing out the problems in the shows, which is understandable because there are so many problems. By contrast, his best reviews, like those for BSG, focused on the themes and ideas of each episode. I'd love for him to tackle something like "The Expanse."
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:23am (UTC -5)
I would just like to remind everyone (including myself) who has complained about this series that season 1 of Picard with all its many faults is still much better than season 1 of TNG. It took them a couple of seasons to figure it out.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:31am (UTC -5)

Why stop at The Expanse for reviews? Westworld is winning awards and I'd argue is one of the best shows dealing with AI consciousness and human cloning. And there's a lot to dissect in that show.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:43am (UTC -5)

Not all people would agree that TNG S1 was worse...
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:50am (UTC -5)
@Jor-El, you're probably right, but that's a pretty low bar. Also, TV has evolved a lot during the past 30 years. Back then, it was actually more common for TV shows to get approved, have a rough first season, and then find its footing. Now, it's actually much more common for TV shows to start off strong and then lose their way as writers run out of ideas. So there's no guarantee this show will get better.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
@Jor-El @Omicron

I think TNG Season 1 was better than PIC, and still has rewatchability. Encounter at Farpoint I thought was good. Even the "bad episodes" (the one where Wesley trips over the white blocks in that paradise world and goes on trial, and the other episode with the parasites coming out of people's necks) have rewatchability for pure camp.

Now for PIC, I can say now that I'd never rewatch Season 1 again. Would that change if later seasons were good? Maybe. But unlikely.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Could it be? Denise Crosby speaking the first line of the latest episode? 'Previously on Star Trek Picard'.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -5)
@Marvin, sure, anything with some actual substance. I'm not as big a fan of Westworld (I'm not a fan of mystery box shows in general), but it'd be nice to see be able to talk about something other than how bad the writing is. I chose Expanse because it's a well-regarded show that seems to be along the lines of what Jammer likes, but there are many other options.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:22am (UTC -5)
Picard solving the problem by Picard-speeching Soji down is a good thing to do in principle. However, it is undercut by the OTT situation that led to it. Soji is trying to commit the genocide of trillions of people. That is seconds away from happening. Picard insisting on trying to solve the problem by telling Soji he believes in her just looks reckless. Someone fire a phaser at that thing, even if Soji is collateral damage! The disappointment of having to take the life of the genocidal maniac doesn't trump the trillions seconds away from death.

If the writers had resisted their compulsion to make it all about the galaxy 'sploding, the scene could have worked really well. Picard is idealistic, but he wasn't a naive idiot and applauded for it on TNG. This was avoided by not creating situations where his idealism would appear to be naive idiocy.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:25am (UTC -5)
When seeing the great banter between Picard and Data at the end, and Data's emotional send-off by Picard into death (by unplugging a couple of USB's, it seems...?) it made me feel like this thread should not have dropped in the final episode after first appearing in episode 1. It should've been carefully woven throughout, building on Measure of a Man. Then we could have had a great series about the meaning and rights and importance of artificial life, and what it means to Picard.

Instead we got some half-baked plot about some secret Romulan cult who wants to destroy synthetic life forms because of some prophecy. This inane plot ran for the entire show, culminating in the most anti-climactic way possible, with a ridiculous non-stand off between 1 million Starfleet ships and 1 million Zhat Vash ships. All it took to convince Soji to not destroy The Entire Organics Population of the Galaxy was a few words from Picard. Hey, I wouldn't trust this babe with anything now, sorry. She took her side. But here she is back on the La Sirena, with all the gang, everything's forgotten, together with Jurati who apparently now is back to being the comic relief of the show after murdering a person in cold blood earlier in the season. But hey, at least she got to say to Picard "Make it so", right? (how would she know he used to say that. Did she watch TNG in her spare time?)

The Romulan threat is dispatched with so haphazardly it's almost funny. Nareesa is thrown into a pit by the killer MVP of the season, Seven or Nine. Narek betrays his sister but then has no further scenes with Soji (wasn't their relationship a big part of the story? I guess we can forget about closure), and actually, he is never seen again after the infiltration of the camp.

And speaking about the camp, apparently all it took to dispatch of Evil Sutra was Soong's car remote.

The melodrama and crying buckets of tears over Picard's "death" falls flat, just as the hackneyed melodrama at Discovery's season 2 finale fell flat. Once again, the characters did not earn this, and even if they did, the plot reveals seconds later that there was a plan to save Picard, so this is nothing but naked emotional manipulation.

I liked:

- Riker in uniform on a starship bridge, even though his dialogue was awful. We get it. Picard is his best friend in the world. What about some subtlety, writers?

- Data and Picard. Finally somebody's talking about something meaningful. But put a gun to my head and I can't tell you where this meeting took place, and how. Some quantum matrix chamber? Whatever. So in episode 1 it WAS dream and now it wasn't?

- The Romulans fleet destroying the orchids (the orchids are silly, but it was a cool visual).

At the end of the day, it's so-so conclusion to a so-so series, the epitome of mediocrity. We deserve, and should demand, better, more thoughtful and cohesive storytelling from one of the most beloved and groundbreaking science fiction franchises in the world.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Honestly, a better and more cohesive finale than I was expecting. I’m happy they didn’t go the Big Space Battle route and instead had an ending worthy of TNG. Glad Picard’s not dead (his transformation to a Synth was was unsettlingly quick and easy, but it wasn’t out of left field; dude’s name is in the title so he wasn’t going to stay dead). I’m also glad his resurrection wasn’t a question to be answered in S2. Like all Treks before it the first season had its issues but I was left entertained and at times moved, and even the bad bits were at least amusing.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -5)
The whole Picard thing was pretty obvious. Patrick Stewart is old and very rich, maybe in a year he doesn't want to dance around in alien bars with and eyepatch doing silly accents. Then they can just say, uh Picard your golem is failing we need to put you in a new golem. Would you look like a young you? Boing.

And they can do the same with Data. If ratings are dipping they will just come up with something and puff Data is back.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
This whole series rates as a PASS for me.

It had some interesting moments, but overall was pretty weak with a lot of boring spots and a lot of stuff that just doesn't pay off in any meaningful way. It also just doesn't seem like Jean Luc Picard at all. More Patrick Stewart in space. Crusher was the character Picard was attached to in TNG and she was never mentioned. Picard's Vineyard burnt to the ground and his brother and nephew died but that is never mentioned, yet discussing his antique furniture (which anyone should be able to replicate) is. Rehashing Data's death from the end of Nemesis was all pretty weak. CBS continues to poke the Star Trek corpse but I just can't remain interested in it.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:02am (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"The Dominion war battles were getting close to too much, but it was a bigger war and needed to show a sense of scale. Some episodes handled it better than others. If you watch "The Die is Cast," there's still a clear narrative to the battle scenes. The camera tracks individual ships, they move in clear ways, and there's enough empty space on the screen to not make it feel cluttered. Also, even in the later Dominion war episodes, ships still felt like they had weight. They didn't just zip in and out of the scene."

The Die is Cast had an amazing battle scene. So did Call to Arms and Way of the Warrior. My issue is with the later fleet actions, Sacrifice of Angels and What You Leave Behind both come to mind. It's just hard to get that excited about a bunch of CGI ships manned by unnamed redshirts we never met or even saw in the background.

I also think they went a little overboard on the scale. The Enterprise-D was special because there were only six Galaxy Class Starships (per the series bible and tech manual; obviously they never stated this on-screen, but she was supposed to be the rough equivalent of a supercarrier, of which the USN currently has 10) but in DS9 they've apparently started churning them out like sausages. It cheapens it, IMHO, it was a gut punch when the Odyssey was destroyed but that was before we saw dozens of Galaxy Class Starships in a single scene.

Moving into real nitpicking now, but I'm a military historian and I could also never get past the whole Captain Sisko making sweeping decisions that affect the entire galaxy thing. They should have made him an Admiral and shaken up the status quo a bit more than they did. The notion that an O-6 would command a fleet of 600+ ships (that's a quarter of a million people, assuming an average crew size around 400) with the survival of our very way of life on the line is absurd. The writers stole a lot of the war arc from WW2 -- Sisko even does his best Dugout Doug impression at one point -- but couldn't be bothered to create an Admiral Halsey or Spruance character to actually command these huge fleets.

Sisko getting promoted high up in the admiralty very fast would have made sense, he had the most experience dealing with the Dominion and Cardassians, and there's a historical precedent for rapid promotion during times of war (Eisenhower was a Colonel in 1941), but that would have meant shaking up the status quo too much, and for all the praise DS9 gets for serialization and long term plotting they still had their share of Reset Button moments.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -5)

They'll probably put him in a female golem. That's how show biz works these days. We already have a female Dr. Watson and a female Dr. Who and a female 007... So why not a female Picard?

And don't you dare say anything bad about that idea. If you do, then you're a misogynist piece of ****.

Because that's how show biz works these days.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:20am (UTC -5)
@Tim, again, I don't disagree with that, but given the context of 90s T V shows it didn't bother me much. DS9 did create the character of Admiral Ross to be the higher up and it was clear that Sisko was something more than your average captain. Yeah, he probably should have been promoted to at least commodore, but it didn't strike me as crazy that he'd be a leader in the war effort.

As for the battles, again I don't disagree, but those later battles were never the focus of the episodes. You'd see a handful of shots, a few seconds, and then it would cut back to the characters. In this last episode of Picard, and in TROS, I felt like the battles dragged on and became ridiculous in scale. Rios' ship had some magic tech that made it look like there were hundreds of ships and then hundreds of Romulan ships kept firing and I just stopped caring. It makes me thankful in retrospect that in the 90s we didn't have the CGI tech to create such big space battles. Sometimes limitations really do help art to thrive.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
After this I would actually not have a problem with that. They had the original actors, a giant pile of money and could do what they want and they still produced this... thing. Who cares anymore. And about the Doctor Who show. They had done anything else. So why not the gender swap. People went really crazy over that one even though they had broken every rule the show ever had. But a female doctor was apparently one bridge too far. Doctor Who's adversary swapped gender and it worked for me. In the end Doctor Who is nonsense, entertaining nonsense but still nonsense. The same goes for James Bond and female M aka Judi Dench worked really well, I thought. In the end it is just companies trying make a safe bet and coked up writers who are out of ideas. Again who cares.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:25am (UTC -5)
Tim, I have gotten a lot of that in recent rewatchings of Deep Space Nine. Particularly in The Way of the Warrior when Sisko defies the Federation Council to intervene in the conflict, thereby dragging the whole Federation into it. A base commander shouldn't be running their own foreign policy.

It was the problem with the series telling bigger stories about the interplay of the great powers. These are decisions for Presidents, but the story still needs to turn on the decisions of our lead captain.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:36am (UTC -5)
@Tim and @Glom, not to be too much of an apologist, I think DS9 and even TOS and TNG make more sense if you look at pre-20th century history as the appropriate analogy. Back then, communication was more difficult and field commanders had to make decisions on their own. The history of European colonization in Latin America and Asia especially was often privateers and commanders conquering territory or starting small wars on behalf of the crown, sometimes without direct orders. I know the analogy doesn't exactly work because the Federation has better communications tech, but given the vast distances in space it's also not crazy to assume field commanders had more leeway.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
I get tired of how often someone throws "F***ing" into the dialogue. Can the producers not show some class and clean up the language?
Dexter Morgan
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Some things ill never get over with this show:

1) So the Romulans have these visions of the past, that are so horrific that people literally bash their fucking brains in with a brick, the visions that are so horrific that were going to send a fleet of 218 ships to wipe out a planet of 20 androids, visions so bad that weve established secret police forces over, murdered tens of thousands (maybe millions?) of martian colonists over, the thing some people have devoted their entire lives to, were just gonna turn around and never come back because the head android decided to be nice for a moment???

2) Where are all the scientists, doctors, guards, random personnel on the Borg cube while its flying and crashing into this random planet? Dead? Assimilated? Shot out the airlock?

3) What was the point of any of this?

4) Lesbian seven of nine and Raffi? GTFO

This show was an insult and a disgrace.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
That was actually handled well in Balance of Terror. Kirk made the decision to enter the Neutral Zone, which would have severe consequences, but the relay time from Starfleet Command was too long he had to make a decision and the burden of making that decision was shown. At the end of the episode, they receive a belated message from Command giving him permission to act on his judgement, which provides resolution.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:58am (UTC -5)
@Glom, I agree, that's a reason why I think Balance of Terror still holds up so well. More moments like that would probably have improved DS9. But again, compared to something like Picard, DS9 is a masterclass in television, so I feel dirty for even criticizing it.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Not really all that up on military structure, but couldn't they have made Sisko a Commodore? Don't commodores run fleets? And it doesn't seem all that strange to me for a Commodore to man a station that's the main access point to and from Dominion space.
Dexter Morgan
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)
@Dom @Glom

In DS9, I always found it disjointed how the Defiant and Sisko & Company became the Federation flagship/crew during the time of the Federation's greatest threat. Where was the Enterprise? Obviously I know they were making TNG movies while DS9 was fighting the Dominion and you were never going to get any cross over due to a variety of reasons, but still, I really found it strange back then how Sisko became the most prominent Captain in Star Trek history.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@Dexter Morgan, he was the commander in charge of the station closest to the frontlines for the war, close to Cardassia and the wormhole. His station also controlled access to the wormhole, so it was an extremely strategic location. It makes sense that he'd be given a lead role. It would be like how General MacArthur led the Pacific War against Japan rather than Eisenhower because he was in charge of US troops in the Philippines and in that theater of war when Japan attacked. There's no reason why the Enterprise should have been the lead ship.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Why are they making Seven lesbian?
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -5)
@Angela - "I will watch whatever Trek they throw at me, but I gotta say I was sad that Jean Luc Picard DIED and we weren't really allowed to mourn that beyond a few over-the-top scenes of people we don't know that well crying over him."

Angela, I totally agree! If characters we don't care about and who don't really know Picard all that well are reacting like that over his "death" then people like Worf, Riker, Geordi would have rip their clothes and committed seppuku.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Well, no matter how sloppy or unlikely this season finale (and, overall, this series) was, it made my cry a bit.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
I would definitely prefer to re-watch TNG season 1 than this show. But then again I actually like season 1; I like it's enthusiasm and wide eyed sense of awe, and I don't mind it's cheesiness. Also season 1 was back when TNG's soundtrack was at it's best.

The worst season of TNG to me is definitely season 7, which has a lot of weak episodes. But I would still much rather re-watch that season than season 1 of Picard. I just really don't like the Micheal Bay tone of the new shows, sorry.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Hit and miss. Mostly miss. Still no one asks ‘Hey, anyone seen Dahj?’. They seem to magically know she’s not alive.

Loose ends... wow loads aren’t there. Not explained why Picard has dreams, why Dahj went to see him - ok she saw an image, but er, who put it there, Data? What?

‘Found the synths?’
‘Fucked any yet?’
This isn’t ST. Who writes that?

The magical tool that fixes with your imagination - come on please.

No world building, Seven’s regrets/world view still isn’t clear.

So many lost opportunities. Raffi can do one as well.

Jurati - yes I murdered a guy but I picked the right side so that’s fine. No way would TNG Picard let her away with that.

Where’s Crusher now?

Choice of name for ship was weird. Come on why not the Enterprise E or F?

Too many ships can’t tell what’s going on. Boring space battle. Where did the orchids come from? Who built them?

The writers of this show seem to write any old crap and then stand around saying ‘look at his magnificence!’ And can’t understand the backlash.

Things have to change immediately. It lacks heart, intelligence, character development, subtlety...

I’ll never watch an episode twice that’s for sure. Whereas I’m sure like many of you I’ve rewatched TNG many times.

All very disappointing.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Regarding the comments above about Sisko and DS9: I'm a big fan of DS9 and like the character of Sisko very much but I agree that it was odd that he was given so much authority during the Dominion War. It would have made sense if he was promoted to Commodore or Admiral during that time. He was treated as such. But it really doesn't bother me. It was a good series.

I wish Picard, the series, did a better job of explaining the post-Dominion War political dynamics between the Federation and the Romulans. I'm also curious about the status between the Dominion and the Alpha Quadrant. Maybe we'll learn a little about this next season.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
@Angela & @Ian, agreed. Throughout that whole montage, I kept thinking, "If Picard is going to die, at least give the crew who became his family a chance to mourn. It really bothered me while I was watching that scene (which I otherwise thought was well done).
James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Here is how I would "cut" the season for a special edition release:

-- Part 1: Take most of episode 1 up to the point that Picard and Dahj are attacked. Instead of Dahj dying, Picard has a portable, spacial trajector that he fashioned w/ Geordi's help and his residual knowledge from his time as Locutus. Picard and Dahj disappear through the gate.

-- Part 2: Basically, the Nepenthe episode. Edit the episode so Soji is called Dahj. Make a few other adjustments. Add a sequence where Picard collapses b/c of his condition at the end.

-- Part 3: Data visits Picard in his mind, after he's collapsed. Tells Picard how to find the synth planet. They go there with Riker and Troi's help. They meet Soong. Picard's mind is uploaded to the quantum blah-blah-blah server and he speaks poignantly with Data. Life, death, existence, meaning, women. Whatever. They both agree to continue "the adventure," whatever the hell that means. Fade to black.

-- Epilogue: Kurtzman is tied to a chair and is forced to watch Keiko scenes on an endless loop with his eyelids stapled open.

The End
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Again with the Keiko jokes. I see we've hit a new low in the comedy department.

I'm looking forward to Jammer's review.
James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Robert - like the seventh circle around here. Blub.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
Well Robert, Keiko is a woman who tells her husband, the sympathetic Miles, to be respectful, rational and... eat healthy. I mean what a whore!

(It is the classic nagging wife reaction. Seen it a million times. Breaking bad was another prime example. Nag, nag, nag. Just let Walter White murder Latinos, you bitch.)
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
James White, I like Keiko.

Better punishment. He watches Duet on loop. He'll either have an allergic reaction to the quality or actually learn something.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
I like the Keiko jokes. It's humorous that someone just randomly hates Keiko and makes a point to trash her in every post!

I don't hate Keiko, but she certainly was a weak link in the original cast. Which was probably why her character wasn't that prominent.
James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
I didn't realize there was so much Keiko infatuation here. :)

Breaking Bad reference is pure awesome. So too is Harris Yulin. My 137th complaint for this show is, therefore, a lack of solid guest stars. Riker and Troi don't count.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
@James White

The actor that played Picard's doctor in ep1 or ep2 was good.

He's played several roles in films, my favorite being the Very Unimportant Person in Ocean's Thirteen.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Well that was underwhelming. The data sendoff and riker and 7-with-rios moments were nice and thankfully the space battle was short, yet they still couldnt help throwing everything at the screen just like disco. But otherwise we get the usual plot and character sloppiness that has plagued all 3 seasons of kurtrek.

I knew we were getting a different trek given stewarts comments and after the pilot, which was intriguing and I was onboard seeing where writers could take us, but all that potential was steadily squandered week after week until the finale landed with a thud.
We at least got Nepenthe out of it, and 7 as part of the crew, so not a total loss.

And good grief at that quick disco teaser, Burnham just saved the galaxy, now she is the lone vanguard in saving the Federation, she is so awesome.
James White
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
He was very good, Marvin. That short, little scene between he and Picard is one of the best of the whole season.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Very fitting and dignified how they ended Data's overall story arch - specially so, that there is now no way that a future season becomes a "in search for a way to bring back Data" kinda of story. And it was more enjoyable and touching than Picard's own death, which was a given ever since that "golem" appeared.

Is Data drinking cognac or something as he awaits his death? Weird and cool.

So Jurati can indeed get away with murder then! Not only nobody seems to mind anymore, she now appears to be a regular on next's season motley crew. Maybe there was not enough time, but the fact that everybody understood she was under Oh's influence shoukd have been more played out, so that it felt more real.

Curious how the borg cube landed catastrophicly on a hard surface, cracked right open, and the internal floor and the outside dirt are perfectly level! No step, no nothing! How convenient.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Just saw the Discovery teaser... it looks exactly like the other seasons of NuTrek.

Fool me once. Shame on you
Fool me twice. Well... whatever
Fool me thrice. Ok ok I'm an idiot!
Fool me quadruply...

This madness has to stop!
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
I fast forwarded through most of this episode. I didnt buy Picard dying story for a second, nor did I feel anything when the crew were crying their eyes out.
No chemistry, no backstory, it just feels artificial, forced.
And Picard just feels a different character. He is without strength, without charisma, without authority. Every single one of his speeches came out wrong and missed targeted notes. Im sorry, but where is the Drumhead Picard, where is Tomalak's nemesis, Data's hero who saved him from Bruce Maddox back in the days?
His speeches dont sound inspiring, they dont sound authoritative, but they leave a bitter taste instead - of a desperate old man begging and asking for favours.

Seven and Riker still do carry the charisma, especially him. But unfortunately new regulars are terrible.
Remember your first tng episodes. You had Riker, you had Data, Worf, all breakthrough characters, you had silent authority of Royal Shakespear Company in the captains chair...
Producers nowadays think its enough to give character a sword, spanish accent, ocd, or a bottle of whiskey, and there you go.
I enjoyed few of the episodes, especially Nepenthe, but everything else was... I dont know, terrible STD's attempt to disguise itself, imitate and rejuvenate TNG.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
"So once again, we're getting a finale that basically tells us to ignore the entire season that came before it. Have you noticed that this is how every single season of NuTrek ended?"

Indeed, this is the first series I've watched since Voyager. I'm glad I didn't subject myself to Discovery based on everything I've seen and heard. Maybe one day I'll watch Enterprise, could be cool.

"For whatever faults I see in the finale, Isa Briones was a really nice casting choice as she brought some necessary youthful energy to the android role."

I'm glad you, and many others it seems, agree. Sure she was handed an inherently likable character, but she nailed it for sure.

"Honestly, a better and more cohesive finale than I was expecting. I’m happy they didn’t go the Big Space Battle route and instead had an ending worthy of TNG."

I agree with this overall, but we still have:

"If the writers had resisted their compulsion to make it all about the galaxy 'sploding, the scene could have worked really well. Picard is idealistic, but he wasn't a naive idiot and applauded for it on TNG. This was avoided by not creating situations where his idealism would appear to be naive idiocy."

Indeed, maybe the fundamental problem with the very conception of this show.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)

“Not really all that up on military structure, but couldn't they have made Sisko a Commodore? Don't commodores run fleets?”

The best analogy is the Third and Fifth Fleets (actually the same group of ships, the name just changed depending on whom was in overall command, Spruance or Halsey; one of the two would be running the fleet while the other planned for the next major operation) in WW2.

Overall command was a four star admiral. Major commands underneath that (the battle line and fast carrier task force) were commanded by a three star. Task forces within each of those groups were commanded by two stars.

So Halsey (four stars) commanded the Third Fleet, Marc Mitcher and Willis Lee (three stars) commanded the Fast Carrier Task Force and Battleships, then each of those were divided into smaller task forces which were commanded by two star admirals.

Captains could command other ships, destroyer squadrons for instance were commonly lead by a Captain while the individual ships were commanded by a Lt. Commander or Commander, but they’d never be in charge of a major fleet with hundreds of thousands of sailors under them.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Like the two STD season finales before it, ST:Picard saved the worst for last. This was the least coherent, least satisfying episode of the series.

Before I complain too much, I have to confess that my favorite part of the episode was Picard's robo-resurrection. Mind-energy transfer is a common Trek trope that we've seen in virtually every Trek series including TOS ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Return to Tomorrow"), TNG ("Lonely Among Us", "The Schizoid Man", "Inheritance"), DS9 ("Our Man Bashir"), and perhaps most famously in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. As far as cheating death goes, Picard's solution is much more palatable than Khan's magic blood in ST(i)D.

As mentioned by others, the magical handgrip that can do literally anything is the laziest plot device we've ever seen on Star Trek. I suppose we should be grateful that they didn't use it to resurrect Picard, too (though why wouldn't they?).

Characters drift in and out of the episode for no good reason other than setting up necessary plot points. After a full season of manipulations and intrigue, Narek gets tackled by synths and then just disappears completely and no one comments on his fate. Similarly, Sutra (by far the most interesting character on the synth planet) is quickly deactivated and vanishes from existence once she is no longer useful to the plot. For a series that is supposed to be "character-driven", character development is consistently sacrificed to high concept plot mechanisms.

Narissa pops up out of nowhere for the sole purpose of giving Jeri Ryan something to do other than sitting on the Borg ship waiting for the episode to end. Her casual vulgarity and incesty innuendo were there to... alienate the audience, I guess? Is this what Michael Chabon meant when he said "Sometimes you’re motivated to have things simply because it’s possibly going to piss off or provoke people"?

I'm curious what the original ending to the season was supposed to be, because the reshoots were more apparent in this episode than it any previous entry. Characters jump back and forth between the La Sirena and the synth settlement with no rhyme or reason. Jonathan Frakes claims that he was originally brought in to direct, not act, which suggests that Riker wasn't added to the show until reshoots. This would explain why Riker and the Starfleet armada comically disappear as soon as the Romulan threat subsides. Wouldn't it have been nice to have a Starfleet doctor beam down to offer palliative care to the terminally ill Picard? Or have someone who actually knew him by his side when he died?

The fact that Data has existed, conscious and alone, in a "quantum simulation" for the past 15 years or so is probably the darkest twist in the entire series. And it's bizarre that this astounding discovery is only revealed in the last ten minutes of the season finale. Wouldn't it have been more interesting if Picard had learned that Data was still alive back in the pilot, and then spent the rest of the season looking for him only to discover the quantum simulation at the very end? That would have been far more interesting that what we got.

At least we didn't get any dune buggy chases, but there's always season 2...
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Just saw the Discovery teaser... it looks exactly like the other seasons of NuTrek."

I think as long as the creative teams stay roughly unchanged, NuTrek is going to stay mediocre. There is an essential problem here that the people shepherding the franchise into the future are simply not a good fit for this material. They want action, melodrama, and science fantasy a-la Star Wars, and are less interested in heady sci fi. It's movie Trek on the small screen.

I am actually intrigued by the next season of Discovery simply because it's the first time NuTrek is heading into a place where it will mostly divorced from relying on old characters and storylines. But on the other hand, I'm not expecting much. There are so many ways they can screw it up.

This new iteration of Trek is really heartbreaking to a degree because while I'm not a fan of the widescreen and the erratic camera, the shows do look good production-wise. They look great, actually. It's the writing that sinks it each and every time.

You need someone with a strong vision at the helm who understands the franchise and can steer it to the right place.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
I think Picard looks better than Discovery overall. Something about the way Discovery is shot makes the picture look murky. It's just a bit too stylised. Makes me think of early web 1.0 websites that would use all the visual tricks imaginable like flashing headings and such to make their site look "cool" but it just ended up being obnoxious and painful to read.

Otoh, the production design is excellent. The sets look great and those uniforms are my favourite after the TOS movie uniforms. Also, the way they did the Enterprise bridge was very impressive. Unlike the Abrams movies, it was a credible modernisation of the classic design.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
The Enterprise bridge at the end of Discovery S2 looked stunning. It was genuinely a beautiful thing to behold. I wanted a series on that space ship with this crew. Heck, just remake TOS with Pike and Spock.

But Discovery and Picard are shows that suffer from attention-deficit, both in the filming - the camera can't stop moving. The music can't stop playing. It doesn't matter who directs - and in the writing. Threads are left dangling, details are left obscure , character development is shallow- it's all about creating momentum so that you won't have to stop and ask too many questions.

So for me it's just a shame that all that money, all that talent in VFX and production design, is ultimately wasted. Just imagine the writers were as talented as those production designers and those VFX people.

But if a guy like Micheal Chabon can't make it work., then I dunno anymore. I dunno who's the guy who can make Trek great again.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
[B] Picard "Et in Arcadia ego" 2nd part [/ B] [SPOILER]

Come on, double ration this week and surely my last contribution on this series.
Ouch, is that bad? How to say...

Well, at the start of this conclusion, Picard is held prisoner and the synths set up a transmitter to call the civ synth. How will he get out of it?
Before that, return to the Borg cube, where the incestuous brothers and sisters meet, with the sister who decides to take control of the cube's weapons. Well, the sister is still as naughty as a cartoon [/ SPOILER].
[SPOILER] Jurati decides to release Picard, pretending to help Soong in his work, tears out the eye of the dead synth (gore again) which serves as a pass. Snapshot of action movies, again. Back on the Serena, Picard decides to sacrifice himself in front of the Romulans to encourage Soji to stop the emitter. Don Quixote. We are therefore entitled to a very nice battle between the Orchids and the Romulan fleet, led by Ho, still just as bad (Kill the touuuuusss !!!). Picard, by a sleight of hand, delays the deadline while on the Borg cube, Seven gets rid of the incestuous sister. Champagne! : trollface :.
At the same time, the cavalry arrives, led by Captain Riker. Summary: go or we kick your ass. Nice! : wub [/ SPOILER]:
From there, everything goes to town and the evil forces of Kurtzman will prevail: vomits:

[SPOILER] Soji opened an interdimensional portal to the Synth civ and ... Metallic tentacles begin to escape. These same tentacles seen in Discovery and Sent by .. Control !!!! : wacko: I feared it, the junction is indeed fault with Discovery ...
 Soji finally decides to close the signal, portal closed, phew! Convinced (Huh?), The Romulans are leaving, Star fleet too. We're headed for a happy end Except that
Picard collapses on the bridge and dies ...: wtf: Farpaitement. [/ SPOILER]
What follows is a disgusting litany of tears and moans, worthy of a Brazilian telenovela. I specify that almost everyone has known each other for 10 episodes. : | I'm about to smash my Oled 4k with 3000 balls with high kicks when ...
The most beautiful scene in the series comes ...: mellow:
[SPOILER] Picard, dead, wakes up in an elongated room and in front of him, a smiling Data in his last death suits.
Then follows a wonderful conversation full of warmth and affection between the two friends on the mortality of human life. Data finally asks Picard to go away and unplug it permanently. What? You will tell me, how can an organic dead man argue with a saved cybernetic consciousness and how could he return to life?
Do you remember the golem of Dr Soong from the first part? Do you have it now? : trollface:

And there, under my horrified eyes, Picard wakes up, under the benevolent gaze of Jurati and Soong. A 94-year-old Synthetic Picard, smiling, joking and asking if they made him eternal. Hahaha: vomits: and Jurati announces that she would never have allowed it without her authorization and that it is equipped with a cell degeneration system. Phew! :throws up:
How can we boast the preciousness of a finite life in a magnificent scene and the second after, to impose on an unconscious man, without his consent, a resurrection, in violation of any individual right? A rape, no more, no less!
The worst part is that the writers are aware of it because the Picard Synth is deadly. They knew it was contrary to the humanistic philosophy of Star Trek and hypocritically attenuated their bullshit by making it deadly.
Happy end of course, with this new Picard, in his ship, with his new crew, to bodly go where no man was before ... [/ SPOILER]
It will be without me.
CONGRATULATIONS, Alex, Star Trek is officially dead.

Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
The disappointing thing about Pic is that, of the many trek shows in dev, this is probably the series they gave the most care, thought, and planning given its legacy. There wasnt the constant bts writer turmoil disco suffered. If this is the best creative force cbs could muster, things do not look promising.

Still have fingers crossed that one of the 2 unnamed shows kurtz mentioned will end up being more episodic with any arc (every non-anthology streaming show must have some type of season arc now it seems) just laying in the background rather than constantly at the fore - he did it with fringe so it's not foreign to him.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
@Lynos: "The Enterprise bridge at the end of Discovery S2 looked stunning. It was genuinely a beautiful thing to behold. I wanted a series on that space ship with this crew. Heck, just remake TOS with Pike and Spock."

I wish we had a Christopher Pike series instead of STD. Anson Mount did a fine job in that role.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
@Cletus: "And good grief at that quick disco teaser, Burnham just saved the galaxy, now she is the lone vanguard in saving the Federation, she is so awesome."

Agreed. They should just get it over with and rename the series, "Michael Burnham" because everything just revolves around her.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Chabon is surely an excellent writer, but like a showrunner, he is not worth a tripod. Picard's rare good times come from his discussions with his former crew. Not Seven or Hugh, His old crew! All the new characters are traveling pictures, the fault does not lie with the actors. The only references in the series are the video game Mass Effect, Terminator and Firefly, which speaks volumes about the general level of culture of the writing team.
It's been a long time since I fired the screenwriters to choose more talented ones.
It is Clear that Kurtzman wants to set up a Star trek universe, like a Marvel universe, to infinitely decline series, films and derivative products.
I have nothing against comics, which have their place in popular culture but the humanist philosophy of Star Trek is far from the universe of comics. However, an excellent film like Logan, with the same Patrick Stewart, could serve as a matrix for Picard's intrigue, testifying to the ravages of time.
Picard, like Discovery, are complete artistic failures, of a poverty of distressing writing at the time of the golden age of TV series and that Patrick Stewart, Shakespearian actor by training, condones this mediocrity, I am sorry.
The JJ abrahms / Kurtzman era will come to an end anyway, but I gladly work on his burial in
stopping all viewing of their Star Trek productions, past or future.
I can't wait for someone more talented to take up the torch!
Until then, Live Long and Prosper!
Other Chris
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
I get the message they were driving at in the end and I see why Patrick Stewart was drawn to it, but it just didn't work. They could have pulled the same thing with half as many characters and half as many episodes, which also would have forced them to tighten up the scripts. We've come a long way, baby.
Daniel Lebovic
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
I like the comment to the effect that “screaming This is Not Star Trek sounds like a child not being given his cereal.”

I believe there was no substantive response.

I think there is also an issue as to what constitutes “science fiction.” Once we accept (as people implicitly have) the existence of warp drive, inertial dampeners, and other “fiction” in science fiction, where can the line be drawn, beyond which one must conclude, “This is too silly!”

The whole premise of Star Trek requires dollops of suspension of disbelief. To nitpick a scene for not being scientifically accurate when the entire premise is, is one some level a futile task.

As far as the issue of What Is Star Trek, the Potter Stewart “I know what isn’t Star Trel when I see it” crowd will never give an answer. That would prevent them from changing the goalposts whenever it suited them. Funny how many complaints about the show’s “dubious” cohesiveness themselves are incohesive or bereft of reasoning.

Part of reaction depends upon the predisposition of the viewer. To paraphrase Guinan, someone who hated episodes 1-9 will probably go in to episode 10 with a jaundiced view and come out of it with confirmation bias. I don’t know when it became Scripture to automatically “know” all post-2005 (2001? 2009?) Trek is terrible, so I don’t go in with that bias.

I try to watch episodes, seasons, etc., without preconceived beliefs to the effect they will be good or bad. And I try to look for what a Star Trek episode gives me in terms of entertainment value, because Trek is first and foremost entertainment. The last episode of Season 1 of Picard had problems galore but on balance It was entertaining given the constraints I mentioned above. Trek at its best is MORE than entertainment. But, to savage someone simply because that person got some entertainment from the show, or the show brightened that person’s day a little bit...
It is unfortunate that some are so certain in their opinions that they resort to doing this.

One person observed that if Michael Chabon can’t make Trek work, no one can. It takes a a small inferential leap to realize that some people will never be satisfied with anything - or will never admit to it , lest they be thought to be part of the lumpen masses - those vulgar, inferior Philistines! - that get enjoyment from entertainment.
Other Other Chris
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:51pm (UTC -5)

"One person observed that if Michael Chabon can’t make Trek work, no one can. It takes a a small inferential leap to realize that some people will never be satisfied with anything - or will never admit to it , lest they be thought to be part of the lumpen masses - those vulgar, inferior Philistines! - that get enjoyment from entertainment."

It's very telling that the same people who hate this show come here the very day any new Trek airs to tell us just how much they hate it. Clearly they enjoy it, even if their enjoyment value is taking potshots at it. Get ready for season two with all these people back here again like clockwork. CBS doesn't care as long as they get their subscription.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
The imagination device that repaired the ship can be perceived as another example of high tech as warp drive, holodecks, transporters etc...As the great SF author Arthur C. Clarke said “any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

I actually met Dr. Clarke in Sri Lanka many years ago. I worked on a research vessel and a friend and myself took a taxi to his house. I gave his assistant my business card, he let us in and he entertained us for almost an hour.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, which tied up the season effectively. I'd been worried it might flounder, and go out in a mess of special effects and space battles, but it didn't. A fair number of plot holes, but that doesn't matter, the whole episode worked well. The series is a vehicle for Patrick Stewart for me, and he rose to the occasion in the end, He's better than ever. I'm looking forward to the next season - and crossing my finger we'll get it, even if a bit late.

And now I'll get back up the thread and read the comments. I hope Jammer manages to get his review done earlier this time, the comments tend to be more focused after he chips in. (But early or late I'm grateful to him, for the reviews and for the whole site. Take your time Jammer.)
John Harmon
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
“A fair number of plot holes, but that doesn't matter, the whole episode worked well.”

That is a wild sentence...
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
@Other Other Cris

Of course as I said, there are some rare good scenes in Picard or Discovery, but it is the case of all the bad series existing.
That watching a series of science fiction requires disregarding a certain logic, I fully agree ... but for the scientific part, and not for the development of the plot or the characters.
Take for example the stealth plan at the end of the episode where we see Raffi hold Seven's hand, didn't that shock you?
Not because of her obvious lesbian nature, but because it comes from nowhere! Ditto for the romantic relationship between Rios and Jurati or the friendship relationship between Seven and Picard.
Come on, tell me about the warning signs of these relationships, I'm waiting for you ...
The explanation for The Raffi / Seven relationship is simple, it is economical. We were treated to Stamets / Culber in Discovery, quite well constructed.
For Raffi / Seven, the producers said to themselves: well, there is a buzz not possible at the moment on #metoo and feminism. It can be a potential market ...
The openness to the social reality of the moment is in the genes of Star Trek and it is very good like that ... provided that this is argued Scriptwriting.
Just like contemporary references to vaping, soccer, vinyls ... it's pure economic opportunism!
Some seem to be annoyed by critics against a TV show they like (and it's respectable) .But if it was written as well as they think, this annoyance has no place to be.
By the way, I canceled my Netflix subscription taken for Discovery. I keep Amazon Prime for manga and other series including Justified.
And yes I admit, I will be the first to take out a subscription for Star trek ... when the Kurtzman team is gone.
And for those who love good, well-written space opera, The Expanse stretches your arms. Cheers.
Tommy D.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
I would be the first to fully admit, there were problems with this season. I thought there were a lot of interesting things (XB's, The admonition, the attack on Mars) that were never fully realized. Some things felt rushed. I didn't love all the characters.

However, I just don't care.

I grew up loving TNG, and Data (much like Mr. Spock) was my favorite character. To see him get a proper send off, conversing one last time with Picard, was more than I could have ever hoped for after Nemesis. If this happens to be the only season, I'd be grateful just for those last 10 minutes.

I don't begrudge anyone who didn't care for this. Thats okay. But I'll be honest and say I could never allow that much cynicism to get in the way of my enjoyment of these shows. And I mean that beyond Picard. Discovery, The Orville, Westworld, The Expanse etc. I find them all enjoyable, even if I think they range from mediocre to very good. As a Trek fan, I would have thought other Trek fans would be the most used to Star Trek being anywhere from downright bad to excellent, and finding enjoyment in it all the same.
Nothing but the Tears
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
I’m really disappointed. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll be back for S2.

As others have also said, I thought the scenes with Data were the best part. They also harkened back to the pilot which remains my favorite episode.

Pretty much everything else just felt like a plot machine grinding its gears. As has been the case before, the characters just feel like plot devices to me. There were also so many different parts that just made me cringe. The two things combined meant I ended up feeling very little overall.

I don’t hate the show or the people making it. I just really don’t understand why they chose to tell this particular story in this way. I honestly don’t. It’s baffling to me. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

I’m curious to see where Jammer lands on this one and the show as a whole.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
As a lifelong Trek fan who was active on the message boards twenty years ago, it always astounds me the fans who professionally hate every aspect of every scene, without exception, and extend that to label #NuTrek all trash, every last bit of it, but who watch every episode, and will be back with the Season 2 Picard premiere to keep trashing over it.

I’ve had episodes of series I’ve hated, and vowed never to watch again.

I never watched again. That was it.

There is no possible way any episode, under any showrunner, director or actors, would satisfy you, under any circumstances.

Be healthy, and try to find joy.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
@Ryan Don't you think you're being a bit narrow minded and overly negative about the fans? I'm sure a lot of people who didn't like Discovery were lured back by Picard and the promise of something different. And of course there are Star Trek fans who will keep watching no matter how bad the shows get in the hope that the shows will improve, right?

There's also a variety of negative leaning people here, too. Including some who liked some of the episodes but were overall disappointed, and others who hated every minute of it.

If you liked the show, I don't think anyone disliking the show is stopping you from liking it.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
The people complaining about "Picard" never actually complain that "Picard is not Star Trek", and yet those complaining about the people who complain about "Picard", keep imagining that they do.

It's like a sneaky trick to distract from the fact that this episode has a GIANT ROMULAN FLEET FOOLED BY A MAGICAL WALKIE TALKIE, and ends with PICARD AS A ROBOT.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
Wait, are we sure Narissa is dead? On the SDMB, someone pointed out that she was shown throughout the season to have a personal transporter to get her out of jams. Seven/Annika should have used the disintegration method she employed earlier in the season!
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D. @Ryan

Hear! Hear!
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Soji sang her father to sleep.

Isa Briones sang that cover of "Blue Skies." Soji's gathered along with Jurati and Soong when Picard euthanizes Data. Data starts this specific record playing before he lies down: the music is diegetic. And it's Soji's voice.

Soji recorded it for her father to hear in his death.

That gorgeous detail gets the show forgiven for not showing us, the viewers, a dialogue between Data and Soji. It also implies that Data's existed in a place where others can't visit him directly, and where Picard only could briefly because of the unprecedented circumstance of a mind transferred into the simulation for the short term. Messages can go in, but not out, or else Data would have requested euthanasia earlier. It's a bit underwritten, but it's the interpretation that's most consistent with the rest of the story.

But think of it: this gentle being who had wanted to parent, who lost his only child and did not want to risk having another if she would die the same way, gets to hear his daughter sing him to peace.

It's really, genuinely lovely.
Tommy D.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
I knew Isa Briones sang the cover of "Blue Skies", I just never thought of it that way.

Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
The scene with Data proves what I have been saying since Episode 1: This should have been Picard introspection land. Take his illness seriously. Have him come to terms with his past. And if you absolutely must, let him die in the final episode. A bittersweet ending, after he came to find peace of mind. That scene was the only one kind of interesting in all this. Just have those dream-sequences in between showing his real life as an aging, ill man, and voilla, instant TV-Show.

Instead, just with Discovery season one, we are left with a bomb, a button, and people maybe willing to press it in the same place: Android 2995 decides that today he will call the reapers, boom, universe kaputt. Or the Tal Shiar flew ten lightyears away, cloaked, came back, sterilized the place, threat eliminated.

Final rating: It's over out of It began some time ago.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Holy shit that's pretty awesome! Yeah, Isa is the best.

All that said, this is a meta point at best. There's no sense in which the show portrays that Soji (or any android) has any connection to this song, does it? In fact, while I was watching, I remember thinking two things:
1. This is a nice vocal.
2. Why the hell would Data choose this song? I don't remember seeing him explore anything similar. He plays classical pieces on the violin. He never asks Riker about jazz. Or anyone else about any other sort of music, I don't think...?
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Hmm, I don't believe anyone critical of Pic has found no redeeming qualities to it, many freely point out nice moments or cool ideas it brought forth. Same with disco - I think Pike got universal acclaim from everyone for example. So I think most critics watch with an open mind to see if this time the showrunners can knock it out of the park, or at least give us those nice scattered moments here and there - I do not think anyone is actively rooting for trek to fail.

Its now been 3 seasons though - do any big fans of these shows think their best eps compare to the best eps of prior trek?
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Data sings blue skies in nemesis - that movie is almost required viewing for this show.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Data sang this song at Riker and Troi's wedding in Star Trek Nemesis, the last time the crew gathered before Data's death. B4 sang a line of it at the end of the movie, which gave Picard hope that some part of his friend lived on. That's why it echoes through Picard's dreams of Data.

Data would also remember the song as the last thing he performed for the crew, since these memories went into B4. Picard would know this and inform Soji.

It's not a meta point at all. It's dramatically extremely poignant. But the show doesn't connect the dots for the audience. Then again, maybe it would be pretty laborious to explain all that if you're not an avid Trek fan with the whole series and movies memorized. If you're in on it, it means something, and if you're not, it's just a pretty song.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
@Drea, @ Cletus
Ah, it was from one of the movies? Yes, I never saw Star Trek Nemesis either. That's pretty cool, thanks for letting me know!

This does help put the use of the song both here and earlier into much better perspective. I still don't think the show makes it clear that Soji is the singer. I thought Picard disconnected Data right away more or less. No time to go and tell Soji to record a song.

Even so, I appreciate this inclusion way more now that you guys let me know some of the reasons. Thanks!
brian l
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:01am (UTC -5)
It had some nice character moments (finally), but the nail in the coffin for me was the "magic device" which is able to create an entire fleet of ships with warp signatures at precisely the moment the plot requires, to give Picard enough time to give his pep talk to Soji. They literally hinged the entire plot and resolution of the season on a magic device that is hand-waived away. I literally burst into laughter and was done with the show in that moment. It was like the writers were subliminally telling us "just use your imagination, pretend this is a good show, just smile and nod."

I also hate what they did to 7of9. Turning her into a confused old lesbian alcoholic vigilante is just asinine, and worse than that is how the writers cannot even figure out how to use her. They just copy-paste her into the script whenever the plot demands it.

All the build up on the borg cube felt like a waste of time they could've used to develop more important characters.

Retconning in a new Soong at the last minute makes it seem like the writers were desperate.

And finally, the division between synths and humans is academic at this point. Soji is basically a human. And now Picard is a synth. And the real synths are a race of extra-dimensional space worms ala Stephen King's "The Langoliers".

Sorry, I'm just not into it. Give me a show where Seven becomes a house-wife in suburbia with kids and then suddenly gets activated again. Give me a show where Picard becomes a xeno-archaeology professor who is obsessed with returning to the dyson sphere and he drags his graduate students into an epic indiana jones style adventure. Give me a show where ANYTHING, PLEASE ANYTHING happens except a retread of the same old science fiction tropes we've been wearing out for decades now.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:13am (UTC -5)
I think I'm reaching acceptance. I really, really hoped that some of this would be good but I find most of it flat out bad and the conclusion to all three seasons were terrible. This is just not something I'm interested in. Chabon said in an interview that “shadow defines light”, that “if nothing can rock the Federation’s perfection, then it’s just a magical land” The thing with that statement is that we, during the last 10 years, only had depressing or dark science fiction, apart from the Orville (with which I have different problems. It is also dark in some ways). It is easier to write drama in a dark universe, I get that but did we really need another dark sci-fi show? The Federation was also never perfect.

@ Drea
"It's not a meta point at all. It's dramatically extremely poignant."
Is it? Data and Soji never met. Maddox created her. She is very different from Data being flesh and blood and having emotions. In what way is Data connected to her? Because Maddox created her after a picture Data painted 30 years ago? Why would she record this particular song for Data? It's memberberries nothing else.

So ok. In my opinion the last episode and with that the entire season is a clusterfuck. Many reshoots which make many things pointless.

Let's look at the message for a change.

Two big themes were xenophobia and isolationism.

Let's look at xenopobia. The episode at the end makes a comment about how the synth ban was lifted but we are never shown how that came about. Why? Because Soji in the last moment decided to not wipe out every organic life in the galaxy? An option the synth still have. So every organic in the galaxy now has effectively a gun to his/her/they head all the time. Does an existential threat create acceptance? These 50 synth now control the galaxy. What is the message here? If we aren't nice to what is different then these beings will murder every last one of us? Will anybody think racism is wrong after watching this?

Ok let's look at isolationism: That topic was effectively dropped somewhere in the season. The Federation stopped helping the Romulans because of the destruction of the shipyard which also somehow destroyed the rescue fleet and that was bad but considering that we find out that it was the Romulans who destroyed the shipyard and the rescue fleet under the command of Commodore Oh who was also a traitor/double agent. Romulans stand for refugees in this show. But again does this actually make the Romulans sympathetic or could it change the views of people about refugees? The Romulans that we see, not counting Elnor and the nuns, are all bad guys/gals. The Romulans are mass murderers, they are xenophobes, they corrupted at least Federation intelligence, they almost commit genocide at the end while almost forcing synth into committing gigantic galactic wide genocide and they are what turned the Federation isolationist and xenophobic in the first place. Plus the Romulans were xenophobic, expansionistic imperialists before Romulus exploded. Considering all this it almost seems as if the message of the show is that isolationism is the right choice.
Cody B
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
I certainly don’t want to trash discovery or stp and overall I get enjoyment from them. But in an age where there are more critically acclaimed shows available than ever, Discovery and Picard just aren’t up there with the best. In fact I was thinking about how if STPicard was original characters and was not under the Star Trek banner, just some new sci fi show, I doubt I would have stayed for every episode. The writing from episode to episode is just so neurotic. Plots aren’t finished before 5 more begin, Classic characters are just thrown in (or killed) at will. And I can’t say I love that shiny lens flair aesthetic. Anyway. It could have been worse. Here’s to season 2.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:47am (UTC -5)
Regarding the often heard sentiment that people who dislike the show should stop bitching about it and stop watching it and move on:

I think (and hope) we can all agree that most people coming here are not casual Trek fans. Casual Trek fans will usually not bother reading hundreds of comments, not to mention writing essay length comments of their own.

I want to believe that what we do here, both those of us who praise or detract, is discussing the current state of the franchise and its current strengths and weaknesses. That discussion can never be one-sided. It must allow different viewpoints, as long as they are well thought out and not just pure troll hyperbole. The same criticism leveled at people who dislike the show ("why do you bother commenting here?") can be leveled at the people who read those comments ("why do you bother reading the comments?")

We don't want to live in a bubble. I am always interested in reading opinions other than my own. I might disagree with most of them, but some of them on occasion give me insights into things I didn't notice or overlooked or simply mis-remembered. Some of the people who comment more more positively on Trek are for sure people with vast knowledge of the franchise, more that I can ever hope to have, and I always respect their opinions even if I don't always agree.

I watch Star Trek because I care about the franchise and I want it to be good, to tell meaningful stories, to provoke the mind and the heart, to give us insights into ourselves and human nature and into the place of mankind in the cosmos. You know, all the things it always used to do in its best iterations. In that regard I watch it with a more critical eye, yes. Personally, throughout this season I always tried to judge STP on its own merits, and most of my criticism being just on the level of its own storytelling and not as a comparison to previous Trek, although that could not always be avoided, since this IS a continuation of previous Trek. It's not a show in a vacuum.

I would lie if I'd say I did not toy with the idea of not watching these shows anymore. I was actually late in starting to watch Picard, but then people who know me and know I'm a Trek fan started asking me what I thought about the show, and increasingly you feel like you are being left out of the conversation.

The bottom line is that we watch these shows because they are official Star Trek. And we care about Star Trek. We criticize these shows when we feel the need, because somewhere in the primitive back of our minds we feel that if we make our voices heard, then perhaps it would affect some change and the writing will get better and we get something that is worthy of the name it represents.

Because if the people who watch the new Star Trek are only people who like the new star Trek, then it's just a bubble of people congratulating each other on job well done. Criticism in media, unless it's just mean-spirited, is often geared towards bettering said media by highlighting what doesn't work.

And yes, I think it IS possible to find the man or the woman who will help Trek find its voice again. Right now it seems like the person most influencing the shape of current Trek is Alex Kurtzman, and so I think as long as he's steering this boat nothing much will change, but hey... hope springs eternal.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Would trekkies, if this was their first show, really ever become trekkies?
This is a parody. Some of you you keep mentioning Riker moment. Yeah, it was great to see him in the chair, butwe all knew since Nepenthe that this would happen at the end. That Riker would lead promised Federation fleet showing up at the last moment. Was anyone really surprised to see him there?
Awful, awful show. What a waste of talent and resources.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
//Let's look at xenopobia. The episode at the end makes a comment about how the synth ban was lifted but we are never shown how that came about. Why? Because Soji in the last moment decided to not wipe out every organic life in the galaxy? An option the synth still have. So every organic in the galaxy now has effectively a gun to his/her/they head all the time. Does an existential threat create acceptance? These 50 synth now control the galaxy. What is the message here? If we aren't nice to what is different then these beings will murder every last one of us? Will anybody think racism is wrong after watching this?//

Remember it was Commander Oh who was the leader of the Zhat Vash (sp?) Once she was found out, they lifted the ban
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:45am (UTC -5)
That quick lifting of the ban was indeed a weak part of the plot. Felt like they just wanted to get it off the table so that Soji can walk around the galaxy next season unrestricted. A bit lazy. In fact, a slow, bureocratic, procedure-heavy lift of the ban could be a good arch for next season. Guess they have something better in mind.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:04am (UTC -5)

I was referring to a subset of fans. Some love it unconditionally, some enjoyed it but had some issues, some didn’t like it overall but had constructive criticism and some likes, and others thought it was complete trash.

That last group had two subgroups. Those who think it was terrible and are moving on, and those who hated every word, every line, flame the producers, and wouldn’t miss the next episode for the world. They hated 90s Trek, complained every week on AOL message boards, or at least their parents did, and will return in a few weeks to flame on Discovery despite hating the first two seasons.

At least they’re consistent.

We are all looking at Picard through a TNG lense.

“But he’s not Picard! He’s different!”

Well, yeah. He’s 94 and had a falling out with Starfleet.

“Some of the writing wasn’t great or things were rushed!”

Well, sure. Seven and Raffi happened off screen and is likely foreshadowing for next season. Both have difficult pasts they’re trying to overcome, and Episode 5 showed that Seven is bisexual, if that’s even a label in the 25th century.

The ban lifting happened offscreen. Somewhere there’s a short where Kirsten Clancy can’t find Oh or Rizzo anywhere and figures out she’s been had, it’s all a big conspiracy, and the Federation Council, all apparently dealing with angry phone calls about the ban for 15 years, are happy to do the right thing.

I forget who posted since last night but...blanking on her name...Soji’s bronze sister there had the frequency to hail Control or whatever those things were...presumably Data’s brother will remove that information before reactivating her.

Agnes? Seemed happy. Was under Oh duress when she pulled the trigger. We’ll see what happens in season two. It’s the biggest qualm with the season for me, but easily fixable.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -5)
@ Eric
"Remember it was Commander Oh who was the leader of the Zhat Vash (sp?) Once she was found out, they lifted the ban"
Better not to think about that because that reveals only more nonsense like why did Oh command the fleet? She revealed herself to be a Romulan agent. Wouldn't it have been more useful for her to remain being the head of all Federation intelligence?!
But alright, the Federation did not declare war on the Romulans immediately for completely compromising Federation intelligence but still recognized who Oh was and then what? Oh sent a message to the Federation telling everybody that the Romulans destroyed the most important Federation shipyard and killed 70000 people (Mars is still burning)?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:32am (UTC -5)

Thanks for that. I didn't know Briones was actually singing Blue Skies. It doesn't really matter for the story's sake that it's her, it's just kind of a nice Easter Egg.

"In fact, a slow, bureocratic, procedure-heavy lift of the ban could be a good arch for next season."

Yeah, that sounds fun...
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:51am (UTC -5)
I'm just curious, is there a single episode from the two seasons of DSC or the recent season of PIC that anyone would put in their top 25 or top 30 list of all-time Trek episodes?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -5)
@Cody B, with all due respect, aren't you - and many of us - part of the problem? If you don't think the show is good enough to watch on its own merits but are mostly sticking with it because of the franchise name, then you're basically giving Star Trek a license to be mediocre because of nostalgia. I'm not trying to single you out - I'm guilty of this as well. I've told people I probably would have stopped watching after episode 5 if not for Picard himself. But collectively I just worry Star Trek fandom is encouraging mediocrity.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
@James White

No, not quite. "Nepenthe" and "If Memory Serves" are the 2 best episodes of PIC and DSC respectively for me. Both are 8.5/10 for me. Terrific episodes but not good enough for top 25 or top 30 all-time Star Trek episodes.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:30am (UTC -5)
The Data scenes show exactly why Soji was such a terrible character. We were meant to care for Soji simply because we were 1) she’s an android, 2) in old trek you cared about Androids and 3) she’s connected to Data because the writers said so. She was given no real character arc other than having some sort of job and then suddenly realizing she was synthetic. Right.

We cared for Data because he was a more fully fleshed out person than Soji was given the chance to be. Yes, to be fair, he had 7 seasons and a bunch of movies to flesh him out sure. But from the earliest days, Data’s lack of humanity and his struggle to be human made him more human than Soji ever was on Pic.

Some of this has to do with the actor. Lets face it, Brent Spiner is amazing. He so seamlessly went back into playing Data that I’d forgotten just how NOT human Data was - and in so doing imbued him with more life and humanity than Soji was given the chance to be. His processing of Picard’s “love”, so remote so distant and so cold, but yet so uniquely Data, was the only brilliance in this series. Data’s humanity was in the trying. Rather than brushing it aside, he tried his best to understand what Jean Luc’s love meant, and actively tried to overcome his programming limitations to make it meaningful.

It’s a stark reminder that a perfectly synthetic person can never lead to as much drama as a nearly perfect one. Data’s flaws and limits made him human. This is what Brent Spiner always brought to the character. It’s a shame that Soji wasn’t given the same material because she could have been a lot more intriguing.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -5)
@Eamon, agreed, I've said for a while that I'm not even sure why they made Soji a synth. She looks, sounds, acts, and thinks like a human. I think the writers were going for something more like Blade Runner, but there the replicants had a certain pathos and were fighting to stave off death. Soji has to struggle briefly with the revelation that she's a synth, which had potential, which had potential. But her arc seems to be more about maturity and accepting responsibility, which I don't quite buy because when we first see her she seems quite mature and self-assured. I don't buy that she's some child who needs guidance.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)

The differences are there, it's just more subtle. I like how Soji falls in love but doesn't really get it. I like how she's very curious and can solve mysteries faster than a human being. I like how she has the same desires for family and friendship that humans have, but she doesn't have them as a given. Unlike humans, androids are vulnerable and really need people who accept them. There's a lot of rich content there that can be explored in future seasons.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, to Eamon's point though none of what you mentioned seems particular to androids. In fact, what you're describing sounds more like a human child or teenager than an artificially created being. Lots of teens don't understand the difference between love and infatuation. Lots of teens don't have come family. The sense I got from Soji is that she's the equivalent of a book smart but emotionally immature teenager, which isn't exactly breaking new dramatic ground. She'll presumably grow out of this after a year or two, just like most teens do.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -5)
Yeah I have to agree that part of the problem is that Soji is just too human. Those "subtle" differences that chrome described are maybe just reading something into her that isn't there, because humans can be curious, not get love, have desire for family / friends, and be vulnerable. If we weren't told she was a synth, I doubt anyone would know she was anything different.

If you're gonna have synths that act basically just like humans, then the narrative needs to treat them like humans. They can't be treated the same as Data. So perhaps a narrative about a "synth ban" was a bad direction to go in the first place.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:09am (UTC -5)
One can always make analogies between Trek's alien species and an existing part of humanity. I see that as more of a feature than a bug. I know some people who as greedy as Ferengis but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy Ferengi stories.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Right, but you have to ask yourself "what's interesting about Soji as a character"? Data was recognizably a computer, yet he admired humans and wanted to learn from them. Right from episode 1 of TNG, that's a compelling character. What actually makes Soji compelling?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, the difference is that Trek aliens usually took certain human stereotypes or characteristics to an extreme that was ultimately alien to 20th and 21st century humans. Ferengi look and sound and act alien, even though greed is something humans experience. With Soji, there's nothing to my mind that made her distinctly "other," except for her super-strength and reading speed. If anything, she resembles a human superhero more than an android.

I suspect the writers were taking a BSG approach to the synths in Picard. In that show, the differences between Cyclons and humans were deliberately downplayed and the conclusion of the series was that obviously any such differences were ultimately trivial. I don't think that's a bad way to go. But Picard also seemed to want to emphasize Soji's self-awakening and sense of discovery, which I don't think works as well if she is for all intents and purposes human. Or maybe Soji's journey was just too quick.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I listed a few reasons above. Of course, your mileage may vary. I never got into The Doctor that much drom Voyager, especially not in season one, but I can appreciate why people might like him. Please try to understand that because of differing tastes, some of us will gravitate to one character or race over another.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:36am (UTC -5)

One of the biggest failures of this episode and of STP in general is the complete disconnect between Soji and Data. The had not a single shared scene, not a line of dialogue passed between them. When they all arrive to synth planet, it was a given that Soji will meet her father.


Picard and Data's scenes in the episode are good, but only as stand-alone scenes. In the larger picture they make no sense. Everybody is on a planet where there are synthetic bodies either ready to go or can be manufactured. Why did Data have to die? Why couldn't his positronic matrix be downloaded into another artificial body, thus giving him a new lease on life? They friggin's did it for Picard. I'll tell you why, because the writers wanted a heartfelt scene where Data talks about how meaningful it is to be mortal and then have a scene where Picard is basically euthanizing his friend, because that's how they can make us feel something. And yes, I almost teared up on that scene because it's well-done, but at the same time it's completely and utterly unnecessary.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:47am (UTC -5)
"The people complaining about "Picard" never actually complain that "Picard is not Star Trek", and yet those complaining about the people who complain about "Picard", keep imagining that they do" - I think we must have been reading a completely different set of comments. I've seen a great number of posts saying precisely that, sometimes in so many words. I don't complain about them doing so, it's a way of expressing a reasonable point of view, though it's one I don't agree with.

I don't dislike disagreements. I enjoy discussions where disagreements can be examined and analysed, so you sort out the things on which there is commonality, shared values, shared opinions, and the things that where there is disagreement.

Obviously when we say something that is our subjective opinion, but inevitably we tend to find ourselves writing as if we were saying something that is an objective fact.
"This is a terrible show" rather than "for me that was a terrible show" (or the other way. And the implication of that way of putting is that anyone seeing it that way is unreasonable, and the enemy. And it gets taken that way, and the exchanges get nasty.
Anyway, while far from perfect, this season was ok for me, and offers reason to anticipate it could get better next time round. I am inclined to disregard the holes in the plot which have been pointed out (along with a number of suggested holes where I disagree).

But plot as such is secondary, though of course it matters. The same goes tor the lazy shortcuts - "with one bound he was free", such as the magic knuckleduster for mending ships, and producing a phantom fleet to fool the enemy.

I put up with that gladly for the chance to see Patricj Stewart back in the driving seat putting the world to rights. And of course I totally disagree with those who see him as diminished in this series. But of course, that's just my opinion.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
@Gerontius "Obviously when we say something that is our subjective opinion, but inevitably we tend to find ourselves writing as if we were saying something that is an objective fact."

That's just people expressing their opinions strongly and passionately. It's okay to have strong, passionate opinions, it's good for discourse. I think it's unreasonable to expect everyone to put a "for me," or "IMO" in front of every statement. Wouldn't it make more sense to just take that as a given?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
That magical ship fixy hologram projector thingie could come in handy elsewhere. They should probably keep it.

WTF on the campfire on the ship?

Lie-detecting robots stop lie-detecting when it’s convenient for the plot.

They sure like pulling out eyeballs on this show

Data’s brother showing everyone that sexybad Soji killed the other robot may have helped regular Soji make an informed decision earlier

Incest twins, Activate! Incest sister, Die! Incest brother, disappear like a loose end.

Who knew you could see tiny ships in orbit from the planet?

Once again, ships is 3D space don’t know how to go around something directly in front of them.

Picard’s pretty loosey goosey with his own life when it comes to sacrifice, but big whoop. He’s got space Parkinson’s. What about Tilly? She’s still young.

Having that beacon around is a nice backup for the robots in case the humans get uppity again.

Riker just leaves instead of waiting around to make sure the Romulans don’t come back or if Picard's OK?

Picard’s death scene failed to induce any emotion, because we all knew he’d be back as a robot.

Picard gets a new body and they give him his old-man body and man boobs and an expiration date? Also, who drew the short stick to put the cloth on his privates?

How did Data get old and fat in his own simulation? But, anyway. Data’s alive!! Don’t get used to it. He’s suicidal and gets murdered by Picard. Stupid.

Yet, Keiko lives.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Would Picard really have wanted this? I remember an episode of TNG where he lectured someone for cheating death and now he's gone and done the same thing. They should have saved his dying for the end of the series instead of this pointless reset button of making him an android when it doesn't really change anything apparently other than he's no longer dying. The whole illness thing could have been completely left out altogether since it wouldn't really have changed the story much at all.

What is it with CBS and the stupid "Last time on" flashbacks for their shows? They aren't even flashbacks from the last episode but random snippets from the entire season. It's so annoying to have to skip past them every time I watch a new episode.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
"Would Picard really have wanted this?"

It's a fair question. I think one arc of this series wants us to understand that synthetics really aren't that different from "us". Part of Picard's quest helps him to accept that the nature of synthetic and organic life is comparable. Thus, some taboos he might have had towards the procedure would naturally melt away as he learns about how human Data and Soji are. I think the story is a tad sloppy and missing details as presented, but the overall drive of the arc is good.

If you're comparing this to "The Schizoid Man", let's examine the dialogue there:

PICARD: Graves, every man has his time. Every man, without exception. But you've cheated. You have extended your life at the expense of another. Graves, give Data back. Give him back.
DATA: Data is dead.
PICARD: No. He must not be lost. He's not simply an android. He's a life form, entirely unique.
DATA: Data is not human! He is
PICARD: He is different, yes. But that does not make him expendable, or any less significant. No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another. Now set him free!

Picard's making two points here. One is that there's a natural conclusion for someone and they should die when that conclusion comes. Picard is still concerned about that in this episode and makes sure his time will come. The other point Picard is making is that Ira Graves is stealing Data's life, essentially thinking of Data as a lesser lifeform who Graves can usurp at will. That's a different case than the golem, whose only apparent purpose is to be a vessel for an organic lifeform.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.
"As a Trek fan, I would have thought other Trek fans would be the most used to Star Trek being anywhere from downright bad to excellent, and finding enjoyment in it all the same."

I would agree.

And I can definitely enjoy bad Trek... as long as the showrunners have their heart in the right place and are genuinely trying to create something that is worthy of the Star Trek name.

What I cannot enjoy, is the cynical use of the Star Trek IP by a mega-corporation who doesn't give a f*** about its legacy. Star Trek used to be something wonderful and inspiring. Right now it is not, and that's simply because TPTB are not trying anymore.

So you are telling me that we should shut up and support this sh*t just because it has "Star Trek" in its title?

No sir. I refuse to be manipulated in this manner. And I gotta say that it's quite amazing how many Classic Trek fans are falling for this cheap marketing trick. Seriously, guys. What's the matter with you?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Lynos

"Picard and Data's scenes in the episode are good, but only as stand-alone scenes. In the larger picture they make no sense."


As soon as that "Golem" was introduced my immediate fear was they'd reincarnate and recast Data. I'm glad they didn't do that but the whole tear-jerking death scene with Picard and reincarnation makes no sense at all. It feels like a cheap trick to play to the emotions of the audience.

I loved the final face to face with Data but that could have done in any number of different ways (holodeck, Q's intervention, some sort of subspace induced dream state, pick your method, it's Star Trek, anything is possible) than a Reset Button death.

It's also weird to me that with show runners and production staff that so obviously care about Star Trek (I lost count of the number of Easter eggs and callbacks in this season) they seemingly forgot about Data's relationship with Geordi. Or Tasha Yar/Sela for that matter. If you're going to tell a story about the Romulans that seems like a good excuse to bring Denise Crosby back. Maybe she and LeVar weren't available, though I find it hard to believe they couldn't have convinced them to come back for at least scene or two, they managed to talk Sir Patrick and Jeri Ryan into it after all......

I liked Seven's arc, loved Picard's Romulan housekeepers (lamentable we never saw them again after the beginning of the season), and I could even get behind Starfleet and the Federation looking inward (allegory for our times), but the overarching plot line about the synths and Romulans all of a sudden hating all artificial life? I'd rather have seen the whole season spent on the plight of the XBs, something I suspect we'll never hear about again. :(

Also, lazy writing, two characters interpret this "admonition" and all of a sudden everyone (including Picard! Who is supposed to be a skeptic!) believes that it's the death of all organic life in the galaxy? Where was this actually established with real evidence?

It reminds me of Scorpion and the whole "Let's ally ourselves with the Borg based off Kes' interpretation of an alien consciousness and them taking a potshot at us when we wandered into an active conflict zone" story, which also struck me as very lazy cliched writing, and was ultimately undermined with a later episode ("In The Flesh") that proved 8472 never had any intention of destroying all life in the Milky Way, they were defending themselves against the existential threat of the Borg.

Side note: I'd totally re-up my All Access subscription to watch a production about Janeway's court martial upon their return to the Alpha Quadrant. Wouldn't that bring Voyager full circle? We first met her when she went to the penal colony to recruit Paris after all. Maybe he could even tell her which barracks to request, like Ensign Ro did for Evil Admiral of the Week dude.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Tim wrote:

"I'd totally re-up my All Access subscription to watch a production about Janeway's court martial upon their return to the Alpha Quadrant."

I don't know why, but this got me laughing. There must indeed be an interesting story for Janeway going from dangerously pragmatic castaway to Admiral.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
The comments here seem overly negative, I’m not sure everyone here was a fan of TNG, or remembers it properly. Overall I think STP is a good successor to TNG. Clearly the show is trying to bring back the idealistic themes of TNG in a darker backdrop that might be more relatable to the modern day. In this vein I think it mostly succeeds due to the strength of the actors. Overall I found this episode interesting and engaging throughout, though some areas do fall apart if you think about it too much. Take for example Riker leading the rescue fleet, from a realism standpoint it makes no sense, but from a story telling standpoint it makes perfect sense. Frakes stole that scene, and it would have been not nearly as good if it was some random admiral instead. I’m generally willing to overlook such plot holes if it makes for a more entertaining show.

Overall I think the first season was a bit unevenly paced, there were certain areas that could have been fleshed out a bit more and vice versa. But overall I think it was a good first season that had a satisfying conclusion. It’s also been setup well for season 2. Given that the scope of this story was very narrow, there is a lot left to explore. I also like the cast of characters, and in particular I’m thrilled that Jeri Ryan will (presumably) be a regular in season 2. That’s a great move. Looking forward to the next season
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
@Nick, you seem to misunderstand the nature of the criticism. People here are criticizing STP BECAUSE they are fans of TNG. I'm not as critical of this show as OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, but I think he captures the concern, which is that the corporate powers that be are using the Trek IP to sell a show rather than earning that success. As I've noted here, I and many other Trek fans probably would have stopped watching after a few episodes but gave the show the benefit of the doubt BECAUSE it's Star Trek. Without the Star Trek name, this show probably would have gone the way as those generic SyFy channel shows like "Black Matter" or "Killjoys."
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
@ John White

"I'm just curious, is there a single episode from the two seasons of DSC or the recent season of PIC that anyone would put in their top 25 or top 30 list of all-time Trek episodes?"

"Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" and "Nepenthe"

I'd almost put "Magic" in the Top 10 of Trek. Easily the most "Star Trek" thing Discovery ever did and quite possibly the only part of the first season I didn't dislike.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
This is just my opinion

I can't imagine "Nepenthe" or "Magic etc" beating out the best out of the 726 Trek episodes pre STP-STD.

Personally, I wouldn't put any episodes from either new series anywhere in my top 20. Actually,I probably wouldn't put anything STP/STD-related in my top THREE HUNDRED episodes.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)

I'm in a similar camp. Couple of at least noteworthy episodes. None crack the top 40 or 50 of Trek for me.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
You might be right, but I wonder if some are judging this against some idealized version Star Trek in their minds instead of what it actually was. I loved TNG overall, but individual episodes were notoriously inconsistent in their quality and some were downright terrible. In general Star Trek shows didn’t have strong first seasons so in that context I thought this season was good.

In terms of your comments on corporations cashing in on Trek IP, I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to say. If your point is that they are trying to make money, I agree, but it’s also the only way Star Trek comes back, I’m not sure what the alternative is? If your point is that they are not respecting Trek history or canon, I couldn’t disagree more. The show runners are clearly trying very hard to respect canon, there are more Easter eggs and fan service than I can count. I think it even goes beyond that in that entire show seems designed solely for Trek fans, as opposed to a greater audience. Take the Picard / Data scene, this was clearly designed to provide better closure on the events of Nemesis and right some wrongs in that movie. The scene isn’t nearly as effective without that context. The show doesn’t make a strong effort to explain this to a newer audience, so I think you really have to know the history to get the full impact.

So in that sense I think the show runners are trying very hard to earn their place in Trek.
Dave in MN
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Two other things that I hated about the last episode upon rewatch:

#1. Raffi saying Picard's M.O. is to "always interfere". Since when?

#2. Gamadan sure sounds an awful lot like Ramadan. Lazy writing.

I am a little surprised more people here aren't annoyed by such a similarity: if the destruction of the universe by synthetic life was called "Gristmas", I believe the response would be vociferous.
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
"So you are telling me that we should shut up and support this sh*t just because it has "Star Trek" in its title?"

I never wrote nor implied this.

No sir. I refuse to be manipulated in this manner. And I gotta say that it's quite amazing how many Classic Trek fans are falling for this cheap marketing trick. Seriously, guys. What's the matter with you? "

I don't get cynical and angry about things I have no control over. I'd say in Trek tradition, I feel fine.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Nick - with respect, you really are missing what everyone is saying. The "fan service" you mention isn't a plus. It's one of the problems. You may disagree with the opinions re the show's quality. But you're cherry picking what you're reading in these threads if you honestly don't know, by now, what people feel are the real problems with this show, with Kurtzman, and so forth. There are dozens and dozens of well written posts. Again, you can disagree with them. What you can't do is mischaracterize them or pretend they don't exist.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
@Nick I just rewatched all of TNG last year, so I'm certainly not judging anything against some "idealized version." What I watched as a classic show that deserves it's status. If anything I think it holds up better than some people say. Even the worst episodes of TNG are not what I would call "downright terrible" TV, they still have a certain something that elevates them over most other sci-fi shows.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Dave
Hahaha I didn't even notice that. Maybe anti muslim bias?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
@ Nick

"You might be right, but I wonder if some are judging this against some idealized version Star Trek in their minds instead of what it actually was."

Fair enough.

Let's judge the show as an actual scripted science fiction show. I am not going to mention old Trek whatsoever in below.

So let's see:

- Why were Soji and Dahj introduced as Data's daughter if this fact had almost zero effect on the story starting from episode 2 forward. It's a failure to implement what is called "setup" and "payoff". A basic screenwriting technique. The series as a whole has a huge problems with this aspect.

- Why was the Borg cube introduced as a major part of the story if it served as nothing more than the evil Romulans secret base? Please recall that the arrival of the Borg cube at the synth planet was totally superfluous to the story except for bringing Seven and Elnor with it.
- Why was Soji on the Borg cube?
- Why was Dahj on Earth?
- Who is Dahj and Soji's "mother" seen briefly in the earlier episodes.
- Why is there no stun setting to anyone's weapons on this show? Why is there no use of detecting warp signatures (to call Picard's bluff in this episode)? Why is the technology of the established universe the story takes place in ignored?
- Why is Jurati not answering for her crime?
- How did the synths came to proliferate Federation space? What makes them tick? How do they differ from each other?
- Why did Data have to die when you can just download his consciousness to another android or even a to a mobile computer such as a starship?
- Why is Picard flying the La Sirena if it was established there are multiple holograms that are able to do it?
- Why is nobody concerned there is a working beacon in the middle of a presumably at least semi-hostile android colony capable of summoning aliens that will destroy all organic life? Why is Soji invited aboard when five minutes before she was about to murder all the organic races in the galaxy and never really showed any kind of regret or self-doubt?

I could go on. I have listed what I find as serious script problems and tried to avoid nitpicks and comparisons to old Trek.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Maybe your right that I just don’t get it. I think the general theme of these complaints is very valid with Discovery, which is in many ways a perversion of classic Trek. I just don’t see the same in STP. I’m not saying the show is amazing, but I think it’s trying very hard to continue the themes of TNG and overall seems to cater solely to Trek fans which seems overly evident in everything about the show, including the title.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5)

"That's just people expressing their opinions strongly and passionately. It's okay to have strong, passionate opinions, it's good for discourse. I think it's unreasonable to expect everyone to put a "for me," or "IMO" in front of every statement. Wouldn't it make more sense to just take that as a given?"

Precisely. The implication of this is that we should always treat such statements as being expressions of opinion, and intended ss such, rather than as personal affronts. And equally important, we need to recognise that of what we say ourselves. It is very easy to slip into the way of taking our own opinion as objective facts, just because that is the way we talk.

I don't mean that there are no objective facts, but our views about TV shows or other works of fiction are not.
I share the hope of many that the next series will be a bit more episodic, rather than in a serial format, where a season demands to be treated as a whole. That way it is easier to explore a range of stories and topics. And if there is to be heavy serialisation I think it is a serious mistake to spread out the creative work of writing and direction widely. You wouldn't write a novel or indeed any work of fiction in that way. With only ten or so episodes in a season there is no justification for doing it that way.

With a more episodic format it is different, and there can be a value in giving different hands a shot at varying the formula.
While I don't worry too much about plot holes there was one which does niggle me - why did Maddox make the fatal mistake of turning up at Bajayz's establishment lamenting the destruction of his lab many years ago? Why wasn't he happily back at Copernicus constructing synthetic birds to go with his butterflies, among his little progeny?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
A couple of things I've gleaned from the post-finale run of interviews

- The final crane shot that showed Seven and Raffi throw back shots and hold hands in front of a game of Kal-Toh was an improvised choice for one of the takes. In one of the previous interviews it was also suggested (I think it was Goldsman) that the Starfleet Captain (Emmy) that Raffi pressured into issuing diplomatic credentials possibly had a more-than-friends relationship in the past. (Nothing in the scene suggests that, but then again, nothing in the scene precludes it).

- The reprise of Blue Skies playing as Data prepared to shuffle off the mortal coil was sung by Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji/Sutra/Jana), who, prior to her stint on Picard, was a cast member of Hamilton. It's more poignant, considering it's Data's daughter singing her father off. ( ( Here's the Behind-the-Scenes featurette on it (

- There is precedence in Trek for forgiving manslaughter when under some kind of external influence, like Jurati had with the Admonition-amped mind meld. In DS9 (Empok Nor), Garak kills fellow members of an away team on Empok Nor while under the influence of a psychoactive agent permeating the derilect station. He expresses remorse, but isn't charged with the deaths. (Nog keeps a wide berth from then on, though). Jurati will always have to contend with the knowledge that she killed someone, but considering that the Admonition was traumatic enough that it caused most organics who experienced it to kill themselves, I think some slack could be given.

- The nature of being, and being human/not human, in a biosynthetic body is one of the themes that will be explored in Picard Season 2, according to the showrunners. Just because they copy-pasted the engrams, doesn't mean that the experience will be exactly the same.

Finally, I was thinking a lot about the Raffi and Seven thing. There's something called the Overton Window--applied in sociological situations, it's the notion that there's a range of ideas/behaviors that are considered acceptable at any given time; the window will inevitably shift over time, as well as the corresponding range of ideas. When TOS was on the air, an interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura was considered both ground-breaking and controversial. The only way it was justifiable to the censors was that it happened because Kirk was under telekinetic influence. (He didn't do it voluntarily). DS9's Rejoined depicted the first same-sex kiss, and that was only justified by the producers because it was Dax kissing the successor host of a symbiont from when "she" was a "he". They got a torrent of hate mail and some stations pulled the episode. Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) tells of the story that the day after Voyager premiered, Paramount got hate mail and death threats because they deigned to depict a story where a 24th Century Starfleet ship is captained by a female.

Decades later, the depiction of normal things that normal people do are more familiar to the population. Several main Trek cast members are themselves multi-racial, we now have female four-star generals and admirals in the armed forces. The head of the most valuable tech company (or 2nd most, depending on the stock market) is a gay man. We even had an openly gay presidential candidate who made considerable headway in the early primaries--and the main reason why he didn't make it wasn't because of his sexuality. I think we look back at these depictions in Trek, and aside from noting the historical aspect, the acts themselves aren't shocking or controversial. (Whoever gets angry today at the fact that DS9 had a black commander and Voyager had a female captain isn't a Trek fan and should GTFO)

Raffi and Seven holding hands isn't a big, shocking thing. It isn't "in your face". In a series (and franchise) where people have hooked up with members of the other species--often only shortly after meeting, this is an extremely tame expression of affaction. What it is, is a possible avenue for character development and story building. I'm all for normal, and even subtle depictions instead of showpiece "in-your-face" or "to make a point" kind of depictions. Personally, I'm tickled at the thought of a former Starfleet officer who revels in conspiracy theories compare notes with a former borg drone who inadvertently wrapped herself into a web of theories (VOY: The Conspiracy Theory).
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
@Dom, Eamon, Chrome, and some others who were discussing Soji vs Data a bit earlier:

Indeed Soji is not as compelling as Data became over the course of TNG. But is it fair to say Data was immediately more compelling than her? See, here is a fundamental difference in the style of TNG versus STP (and maybe "old" vs "new"). Character flaws were never treated as a singular focus on TNG! So Data was interesting as an imperfect android who wished to become more human. This was rarely the source of drama! Very few episodes, especially early on, were structured around this as a point of tension of conflict! Some of the best were, but imagine how tedious it would have been to have Measure of a Man drawn out over a 10-episode arc, especially right out of the gate.

The key point is that Data's weaknesses are more intellectual than they are emotional. They can make us feel on occasion (amazing episodes like Offspring), but the majority of the time they make us think instead even when emotions are supposed to be the 'point' (lesser episodes like In Theory). This is part of why Data was never the main character on TNG, and also part of why giving him an "emotion chip" in the films felt so cheap.

"What actually makes Soji compelling?"
For me, Soji is compelling as a person whose sense of self is upended, and whose trust is betrayed, and who needs to eventually rise above the resulting doubt and fear and learn trust and compassion again. The writing was uneven, but the actress sold me on it. The sci-fi aspect allows for the "sense of self" problem, but otherwise I agree it's completely tangential. The fact that she's an android and that she is connected to Data is so unrelated to her character that it might as well have been a case of memory-implanting, like Narek tries to tell her.

In any case, it's the story about a teenager who finds out that her memories are lies. That her assumptions about her identity are a lie, allowing for a very literal identity crisis. This is emotional and dramatic, the opposite of Data's "story" in TNG. It's never about the differences between humanity and a fictional race (androids), as Data's "story" was. It's supposed to also be about genuine bigotry, which again Data's "story" was never really about. Emotional. Dramatic. Rooted in the problems of today. The scifi connection (banning synths) here was so clumsily handled, we might as well ignore it when trying to analyze Soji's character.

All of this was supposed to say: I found Soji compelling, even with the uneven writing, but it had nothing to do with Data or Star Trek or scifi in general. In particular, comparing her character to Data's character sheds no insight for me onto Soji (or Data for that matter), despite the fact that the show seems to invite that comparison. Because the show is a sloppily written mess. But I still think Soji works as a character on her own.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
@Nick, as @James White said, fan service does not make for a good story. Yes, there are callbacks to TNG. Yes, the staff clearly likes easter eggs. Yes, they know how to use Memory Alpha to look up obscure Trek details. That's all well and good, and I'm glad the writers care about Trek lore, but at the end of the day I care about the story and the characters. That's where I think Picard doesn't work. It's not all bad, but it's mostly not great imo.

When I expressed concern about the studio cashing in on the Trek IP, I meant that it seems like these new Trek shows are failing to capture what I and many others liked about older Trek. I liked Trek because of its exploration of big philosophical questions, its optimistic vision of the future, its celebration of geeks and intelligence, its sense of wonder and exploration. Of course, there were some - many - bad episodes, but the shows generally stayed true to this spirit and sensibility. Modern Trek meanwhile feels extremely cynical and dark. Aside from Picard's speeches in this show, which generally I think worked well, the Picard show came across as generic sci-fi with no interest in bigger ideas and no sense of wonder. Take out the name Picard and this could have been any other sci-fi show on the SyFy channel.

I think an appropriate analogy is the Star Wars Sequel films. The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker both had a bunch of easter eggs, call backs to previous films, cameos, etc. However, that fan service often got distracting, if anything. It felt like the films were trying to get audiences invested using tricks. Now, there's a lot I really do like about the Sequel Trilogy and the newer characters generally work better than the new characters in Picard, but it's still this mashup of old and new that never quite finds its footing.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
"Garak kills fellow members of an away team on Empok Nor while under the influence of a psychoactive agent permeating the derilect station. He expresses remorse, but isn't charged with the deaths."
Actually Miles informs Garak at the end of the episode that there will be an inquiry. People also say that Jurati was somehow not in control of herself. Chabon said about her reasons that she was "when she killed her former boyfriend convinced it was for the greater good". So she is absolutely guilty.
brian l
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
"Raffi and Seven holding hands isn't a big, shocking thing. It isn't "in your face". In a series (and franchise) where people have hooked up with members of the other species--often only shortly after meeting, this is an extremely tame expression of affaction. What it is, is a possible avenue for character development and story building. I'm all for normal, and even subtle depictions instead of showpiece "in-your-face" or "to make a point" kind of depictions."

well here's the problem, it's a token "relationship" thrown in with absolutely no background, no buildup, essentially no story. It's probably the most cliche and lazy thing they could have done. "Hey audience, LOOK at THIS! This is where the former borg who desperately wanted to be normal and human instead turns into a vengeful, murdering alcoholic, and finds solace in another bitter substance user who abandoned her family, and now they can HOLD HANDS. LOOK at them holding hands. Isn't TRUE LOVE so beautiful? Aren't we a great writing team? Look how awesome we are."

They did the same thing with Jurati and Rios. Another "relationship" launched after a random sexual encounter that makes literally no sense, with no buildup, no story, and really, no chemistry between the actors (and how could there be when they had no time to build any).

Look, your missing the point. What the writers are doing, is thinking that they can get away with tossing a relationship up on the screen in the laziest way possible. Any TV series where relationships just "start" at random without any explanation or backstory, comes off like the writers are just lazy, or very young, or both. It's tailor-made for a generation of young people who swipe faces on Tinder. "Relationships" appear and disappear at random, depending on the situation. "Stuck on La Sirena for a few weeks? Aw shucks, I guess we should hold hands."

"It's so deep".'s not.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
@Dave "Gamadan sure sounds an awful lot like Ramadan. Lazy writing"

I thought that too but my association was not "Ramadan" but "Armageddon". Note that when Rizzo compares Gamadan to familiar human terms he uses "Ragnarok" and "Jugdement Day". Most of us would probably first think of Armageddon before coming up with Ragnarok.

Regarding the top 30 Episodes: no, i don't think that any of the episodes of Picard qualify, but neither did any of those from season one of TNG or VOY. In Season one of DS9 we have "Duet". And if we all would try to compile a list of our top 30 episodes we would find that quite a few other seasons wouldn't contribute either because with a total of 28 seasons to choose from thats an average of one per season. It simply is a very high bar to cross.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
@msw188, that's an interesting take. I will say I think Data's quest for humanity does become a source of both dramatic tension and intellectual stimulation (although you're right perhaps more the latter). For me, the drama came not from the actor or character visibly emoting, but from the audience knowing that he was coming so close to emoting but never quite making it. Episodes like "The Most Toys" actually do use Data's quest for humanity for dramatic tension. I don't know if 10 straight episodes of that would have worked, which speaks to a point about the benefits of episodic TV, which allows you to tell a tight, focused story like "Measure of a Man." I could see a better written version of Soji's story written as a two parter.

Speaking of Soji, I think another reason I didn't find her arc compelling is that we've seen this same thing so many times in Blade Runner, etc. AI/alien finds out her true nature, is shocked, considers lashing out against humanity, decides against it in the end. It's time for new takes on AIs. I predicted most of Soji's arc from the very first episode. That's not to say I "hated" the character or the arc, I just felt like it wasn't anything that grabbed me.

And yes we should all be careful about judging a character like Soji against one like Data with decades of history. But as you said unfortunately the show does juxtapose them.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
The episode spent its last 12 minutes fixing Nemesis' mistake (killing yet not killing Data) while at the same time making the same mistake yet again (killing yet not killing Picard). Plus, if someone didn't catch the butterfly metaphor, it's spelled out in dialogue for you. That's not really the level of writing I was expecting behind all this money, talent, and limited number of episodes. I did enjoy many moments of Picard, plus two or three episodes were really great. And yeah, I liked it considerably more than Disco's 1st season. But my wish is that we could compare STP to other great TV today, not just to the other Trek shows. Instead we have to live with magical thingies that fix the ship and distract a whole Romulan fleet.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)

Re. the top 30 Trek episodes of all time, I think "Prime Factors" from VOY's 1st season just barely makes it for me. I think VOY's first season was its best. It is notably shorter though. It also benefited from 90s Trek being a well-oiled machine when it first aired while TNG had to find its footing.

Interesting that I have 4 TOS S1 episodes in my top 30 -- but I truly and objectively think it is the best season Trek ever produced.

With 700+ Trek episodes, to be top-30 is pretty special.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Booming's assessment of Jurati's culpability. You must have an enquiry to make a threshold determination of mental capacity. You don't just assume it, one way or the other. A psychologist assesses whether, under the circumstances, you acted of your own volition. That you knew what you were doing. Related to this, you ask whether Jurati understood right from wrong at the time she took Maddox's life.

Given what we know, the most likely conclusion is she was aware and was acting of her own volition. It's possible that someone could conclude she was so overwhelmed by the Admonition that she was basically carrying out orders to kill. That she had no real control. I just don't think the facts, as we see them, support this. Similarly, we must ask whether her concept of right and wrong was compromised by the Admonition, such that she honestly did not know that killing Maddox was wrong under the law. This, by the way, is different from whether she believed the act itself was morally justified. I think she was aware that killing Maddox was illegal. Her comments to Picard later are pretty revealing of her state of mind.

So, she's probably guilty under the law. However, the presence of the Admonition and her belief that Maddox is some agent of death could reduce the charge from murder to manslaughter or something similar. Moreover, on sentencing several of these factors could be used to significantly "mitigate" a prison term.

However, her belief that killing Maddox served a greater good would probably be viewed as vigilante justice and not accepted. It might also contravene or muddy the mitigation arguments.

2 years in a mid-level prison sounds about right.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 4:36pm (UTC -5)

I think it's a fair point you raise, but I think some of what you say "capturing the sense of wonder and exploration, etc." is an impossibly high bar in a sense. If I think back to TNG, I do agree that series did a great job, but I was also 10 years old when the first season aired, and between now and then I've watched a lot of TV that has collectively explored a lot of different themes from a lot of different angles. I think it's a lot harder to recapture that "sense of wonder" these days in a way that still feels original and fresh because everything has already been done in one form or another.

That being said, I do still think your points are very valid, but I guess I interpreted STP as starting out in the cynicism and darkness, but ultimately trying (and maybe coming short) to pivot away from that and back into the optimism of classic Trek. I guess we will have to see how this plays out in future seasons though.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Why did she kill Maddox? In what way could that hinder the plan of the synth? If she had not killed him they would have found the synth planet immediately. Killing him actually made finding the synth harder.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 4:57pm (UTC -5)

I tried to respond to each of your points:

- Why was the Borg cube introduced as a major part of the story if it served as nothing more than the evil Romulans secret base? Please recall that the arrival of the Borg cube at the synth planet was totally superfluous to the story except for bringing Seven and Elnor with it.

I thought the cube was an effective way to tie together some of the threads in the overall plot but you might be right that it was a missed opportunity by the writers.

- Why was Soji on the Borg cube?
- Why was Dahj on Earth?
While this is certainly an unanswered question, I didn’t find to be a hindrance to the overall story or that unreasonable of a situation. I assume they were there to gather intelligence and/or steal technology.

- Who is Dahj and Soji's "mother" seen briefly in the earlier episodes.
The show established that this was an AI designed to prevent them from realizing what they really were.

- Why is there no stun setting to anyone's weapons on this show? Why is there no use of detecting warp signatures (to call Picard's bluff in this episode)? Why is the technology of the established universe the story takes place in ignored?
The warp signature thing was addressed in the episode. I don’t think Romulan weapons have stun settings and/or the person firing the weapon didn’t want to stun. Not sure what ignored technology you are referring to.

- Why is Jurati not answering for her crime?
I mean, she probably should but you could say she was under the influence of Oh and not in the right state of mind. I assume this will be re-visited later in the series.

- How did the synths came to proliferate Federation space? What makes them tick? How do they differ from each other?
I agree all that was pretty underdeveloped and definitely a weak part of the overall story.

- Why did Data have to die when you can just download his consciousness to another android or even a to a mobile computer such as a starship?
He asked to die. The show didn’t delve too deep into his reasons but those were his wishes and they respected them.

- Why is Picard flying the La Sirena if it was established there are multiple holograms that are able to do it?
It’s possible that the holograms would only take orders from Rios for something like that and maybe Picard wanted to fly it himself.

- Why is nobody concerned there is a working beacon in the middle of a presumably at least semi-hostile android colony capable of summoning aliens that will destroy all organic life?

The beacon got destroyed. Certainly, the knowledge to create one is still there (though that knowledge is probably also on the sensor logs of all those ships as well). I assume people are concerned but what you going to do at this point? The colony has no reason to create the beacon again so long as Starfleet continues to protect it. Though I would assume both Starfleet and the Romulans will be keeping a close eye on the colony going forward.

Why is Soji invited aboard when five minutes before she was about to murder all the organic races in the galaxy and never really showed any kind of regret or self-doubt?
She proved herself when she destroyed the beacon. I think it plays into the overall theme of the episode of optimism and trusting each other.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
"For me, the drama came not from the actor or character visibly emoting, but from the audience knowing that he was coming so close to emoting but never quite making it"
Yeah, some of the best emotional Data episodes do make great use of this. The whole "somehow the fact that Data can't be sad makes us feel even sadder for him" idea. It is, however, fair to ask if a story like this could've had the same impact early on in the show's run.

"Speaking of Soji, I think another reason I didn't find her arc compelling is that we've seen this same thing so many times in Blade Runner, etc. AI/alien finds out her true nature, is shocked, considers lashing out against humanity, decides against it in the end."
Yeah, I'll agree that the scifi angle on Soji is not only clumsy writing-wise, it's also unoriginal and somewhat uninspired concept-wise. For me it worked out okay for a couple of reasons. One, I almost always bought what the actress was selling. Even including her sometimes shittily written scenes with Narek. Two, the teenager angle of the writing (and performance) worked for me. Like we've both been saying (and maybe some others, Flip?), its closer in writing to a teenager coming-of-age story. Not super-original, but the subject is timeless and the execution was good enough (not great) for me.

I keep bringing it up, but the Soji scenes on Nepenthe really worked for me. Mainly those with the kid, but even the tomato scene. These are the kind of heavy-handed dialogues (Troi-Soji: the "real" tomato is somehow inherently better, but no all types of people belong) that I'll consistently allow in Trek. Ditto Picard spelling out the role-model issue to Jurati in this last episode.

If you look at the scifi AI angle as just a construct to have these kinds of human issues, I think it works out pretty well. Unfortunately, the show didn't just do that. It tied the scifi angle into all sorts of ridiculous bullshit in order to push the "stakes" beyond believability, which in turn pushes the plot beyond believability, and leaves the character of Soji borderline illogical in her own universe. As we've all said plenty enough, it's beyond bonkers that Soji has the power to ERADICATE LIFE, is about to, then changes her mind, and then we go straight to reviving Picard and happily ever after.

Here's another weird plothole. If Soji calls the robot worms, won't they kill Picard and everybody else? Why is she, or any of the robots, worried about keeping Picard on house arrest, or keeping Narek captive, or anything? If you've made up your mind to set up the beacon, just kill whatever organics you've got lying around who are bothering you! Why not?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Our judgement of these things is indeed subjective. While I loved the Original Star Treck when it was broadcast i never saw it as in the same. League as the Next Generation. Which doesn't stop me still loving it. When I decided this lock-in was a good time to rewatch the whole thing (700 or so episodes - I'm not expecting things to be back to normal soon...) I instinctively started with the Picard Enterprise. (And while the first series is much shakier than Picard I am finding it very enjoyable.)
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
@ Dave in MN

"I can't imagine "Nepenthe" or "Magic etc" beating out the best out of the 726 Trek episodes pre STP-STD. "

The dude I was replying to said Top 25 or 30 episodes. Name 30 episodes that are better than them? I could probably name ten that beats them out but I genuinely enjoyed both of those episodes and I would think they'd belong in the Top 25, for me at least, YMMV.

@ Chrome

"I don't know why, but this got me laughing. There must indeed be an interesting story for Janeway going from dangerously pragmatic castaway to Admiral."

My head-canon is they promoted her to some meaningless desk job to get her out of the way. Can't court martial her because she's a bloody hero for getting her ship home but you can't give her another command because she's obviously a loose cannon, so you shuffle her off to a desk job somewhere where she can't do any additional damage.

I could see Starfleet having something similar and "promoting" her to it.

@ Nick

"In general Star Trek shows didn’t have strong first seasons so in that context I thought this season was good."

My first exposure to Trek was a late night syndicated viewing of DS9's Duet, which stands the test of time and ranks in the Top 5 episodes of all Star Trek series, IMHO.

Not totally disagreeing with you, but I gotta stand up for the first season of the shows, even TNG's panned first season had some good moments, and I don't really regard Voyager or DS9's first seasons as below average. Enterprise's was weird, but that's a whole separate discussion!

@ Everybody Else

Reading a lot of argument back and forth about the pros and cons of this season. One thing that sticks out in my mind is how Patrick Stewart said the show would tackle modern day themes. They started to do that, with the Romulan refugee crisis and XBs, but both storylines were ultimately abandoned in favor of the Data/synth story. I'm not unhappy we got to see Data get a proper sendoff but it occurs to me that could have happened without the whole synth story and a focus on the Romulans and XBs might have held more lessons (TNG was always at its best when teaching a lesson) relevant to today's times.


Maybe they'll pick back up on the Romulans and XBs in the next season and it won't be a missed opportunity after all. I just fear that it will be quickly forgotten in favor of new adventures and galaxy ending threats that hook the audience but have no real relevance for today's world.
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
If you were to pare down to just the 1st 10 episodes of each respective series 1st season of Trek, I think only TOS might have any in the top 30.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Here's a fun way to give at least some closure to some of the many issues left unresolved. First off, eliminate a large chunk of episodes 2-5 to make room for one more episode at the end. Picard-bot is back, so now time to resolve some issues.

1. Spend some time on conditions for lifting the synth-ban. Who actually knew how to build the beacon? Sutra was the one who did the mind-meld. Rewrite however it worked so that only Sutra and Soji knew how, Sutra is dead, and Soji's trust in the Federation is rewarded when they trust her to never tell anyone or do this again.

2. Put Jurati on trial. Yes she committed murder, but the Admonition clouded her judgment, AND make it clear that Admiral Oh demanded that if they found Maddox, Jurati was under orders to kill him (although this makes no sense at all, it's no worse than what we got). Riker can be the judge, why not, more fan service. Can make it a semi-triumphant moment when he finds a good (story-wise, not logic-wise) compromise: Jurati is expelled from the Daystrom Institute. This gives her an extra reason to travel with Picard even though the synth ban has been lifted and presumably she would want to study robots again.

3. Put Oh on trial. She was also under the Admonition influence, but her crimes were much more heinous and she would openly still believe in her cause. Life imprisonment, and the potential to return to her character later.

4. Put Narek on trial. Similar to Oh, but never experienced the Admonition himself. Could actually be an interesting case - does seeing Soji (whom he apparently actually loved) change her mind let him change his beliefs? If so, does Soji choose to vouch for him? There's lots of potential for some fun writing choices here. What do people think? Is he imprisoned? Allowed to find and bury his sister? Become the pro-synth spokesman to the Romulans after Soji persuades the court to allow him to live? Become the anti-synth baddie after Soji and the Federation condemns him to life imprisonment, only to be busted out by Tal Shiar assholes next season?

5. Something (anything) to gradually show 7of9 and Raffi connecting, if that's what they want. But 7of9 was so written so poorly in this series, I'm not sure what you do here.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
@ Lynos

"Why is there no stun setting to anyone's weapons on this show?"

Watch the SFX in Seven's scenes in "Stardust City Rag"; she stuns the first two guards (blue bolts), kills Bjayzl (red bolts), then switches back to stun (blue bolts again) to shoot her way out.

The Romulan disruptor rifles are stated not to have a stun setting (glad they qualified this with "rifle", because Ensign Ro is brought down by a presumed stun setting from a Romulan pistol in a TNG episode, with no lasting injury, hell, she has the strength to get back up and engage in a fisticuffs right after being shot.....) but Federation weapons still appear to have it.

And yes, I've argued this point before, some people think it's stupid that the color of the bolts would change, but that's been established in the JJVerse movies and Discovery, and they seem to have carried the concept forward to Picard's SFX. It may seem silly and counterintuitive, but it's not without precedent, recall the dialog from TNG's "Too Short A Season":

Data: Their phasers sir, set to kill.
Picard: Thank you Mr. Data, I have heard the sound before.

If you can identify a kill setting from sound it's not a huge leap to imagine the bolts/beams changing colors. The behavior of the characters in the scenes also jives with the SFX.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Let's be honest. Nothing in recent Trek is even remotely within the ballpark of the best from BSG, The Expanse, and Black Mirror. There was a time Trek was dominant in sci fi. Some of the best TOS, TNG and DS9 episodes are high watermarks for television, writ large. More than that, they inspired us to wonder, and dream, and move future sci fi writers to create grand new symphonies themselves.

Black Mirror has some extraordinary episodes. The worldbuilding in The Expanse is probably the best we've ever seen in science fiction television. Certainly in the top 2 or 3. BSG is a monumental accomplishment. Ronald Moore is a hundred times the talent of Kurtzman. Hell, the new Lost in Space runs laps around this bland, stupid, nostalgia-reliant deck.

Are there a few shows and a few moments that are genuinely solid in DSC and PIC? Yes, no denying that. Is there anything that really moves any of us in the way Trek used to. No damn way. Maybe these shows will get better. But, honestly, who cares. They just don't matter much anymore.

When you "flatten" Trek, even when you succeed financially it doesn't matter. You miss the whole point of the extraordinary voyage that Roddenberry set in motion all those years ago.
Jason Tyler
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Flip asked, "What actually makes Soji compelling?"

A few things come to mind:
- the actress and the character are very winsome. She's an engaging character even if you look at her as a human rather than an android.
- she is Data's legacy, and in part, Picard's too.
- Soji has super powers, but not so much as to make her invincible (as seen with Dahj's last stand). In fact, one of my disappointments with the season was that we didn't get to see her kick tail like Dahj. I bet we will if we get another season.
- her status (and Picard's) as an android open up some metaphysical/philosophical possibilities to explore.
- Kestra said it best, "You can have Picard and he can have you". They also set this up with him talking about the androids as children and needing someone to teach them how to live. Picard has never been very close to anyone (apart from in the Inner Light), and this angle as him as father figure deeply invested in his "daughter" (and vice versa) could be a very enjoyable angle to explore.

The hyper-critics throughout this season look only as far as the episode that has last played rather than to what they are also trying to set up for future episodes/seasons. This has been tiresome, especially as some of the points people have harped on have been addressed in subsequent episodes. (How much did we hear a flood of complaints about the EMH and its witness of the murder, and how it was glossed over - then in a later episode it ratted her out! Many such examples could be produced).
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, Agree with your point about the social commentary. far from complaining about "politics in my Star Trek," I was looking forward to Trek dealing with contemporary issues. The scene with the Romulan refugees and Picard's interview in the first episode seemed very on point, but as you said it just didn't go anywhere. I think the worst part of it is that it really mangles any commentary. If you take the show at face value, it seems to be saying that refugees present a massive security threat and that we're right to be suspicious of foreigners. The Romulans ended up being the mustache-twirling villains who infiltrated Starfleet and were behind the attack on Mars. Raffi's prejudice against the Romulans is vindicated. Picard only stops the Zhat Vash cabal by calling in a large fleet. Surely that's not the message Patrick Stewart and the writers intended. Right?
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
@James White, is Lost in Space any good? I watched the first episode but it didn't grab me.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
@James White

I get your point that Star Trek used to be synonymous with the best sci fi that TV had to offer and that is no longer the case. STP will probably never be as good as BSG but for me it doesn’t have to. I can watch a good (albeit not great) series about my favorite Trek characters and still find it enjoyable and entertaining. I don’t it’s wrong to hold Trek to a high standard, but I also think it still has value when it inevitably fails to live up to that standard. I would rather an attempt like STP then nothing at all.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
@Nick, I get what you're saying. I probably would have been in the same boat 15 years ago. During the 90s, Trek was the only high quality sci-fi on TV (aside from Babylon 5, which had much lower production quality). Now though there are just too many other good shows on TV, video games to play, movies to watch, and books to read. If a new Trek show's not great, then why bother? It's not like we don't have other options.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Some points on Nick's points.

Assuming that Jurati's crime will be revisited in later seasons is very generous. The way the episode played out, the actual murderer and the almost genocidal maniac are all smiling part of the crew and best friends. No hint they have any intention of making them facing consequences for their actions. They might pull a Rogue One and retcon consequences in the face of much outrage from viewers, but many of us won't buy that it was the plan all along.

The issue of showing trust in Soji being a theme is undermined by the ridiculous scale of her crime. As I said above, if they could have resisted their urge to make this about the destruction of all life in the galaxy, it could have worked.

Why were Dahj and Soji where they were? Maddox said something about sending them out to monitor anti-synth activity. Why then send Soji to a derelict Borg cube. More importantly, why were they sleepers? That is never addressed and as it stands makes no sense. YMMV whether these supermassive plot holes affect the overall experience, but to many of us, when the narrative is geared around the mystery these things matter.
Patrick D
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)

"Why were Dahj and Soji where they were? Maddox said something about sending them out to monitor anti-synth activity. Why then send Soji to a derelict Borg cube. More importantly, why were they sleepers? That is never addressed and as it stands makes no sense. YMMV whether these supermassive plot holes affect the overall experience, but to many of us, when the narrative is geared around the mystery these things matter."

Maddox said he knew there was sort of Romulan conspiracy that was targeting his work with synthetics and he wanted to know the truth about it. He knew that the conspiracy had penetrated the Federation, so it seems that he sent Dahj off to gather intel in the Federation while Soji did something similar with the Romulans. We can assume they're "sleepers" because if they both know they were androids and started behaving like androids, they'd likely blow their cover and Maddox would get nothing.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Agnes getting off the hook for murder 1 with no discussion is a prime example of the bizarre and perversely warped ethics of the Kurtzman shows.

Previous Trek series had moments of questionable ethics; Picard was chastised by Starfleet brass for not enacting genocide on the Borg and ordered to carry it out if he got another chance, and Starfleet was perfectly happy to do the same to the Dominion. That's kinda fucked, but in both cases we got pushback from the characters. Picard accepts his rebuke from Starfleet in a way that makes it clear that he would never actually carry out that order, and Odo goes out of his way to find a different solution. It was clear that even when the world around the characters demanded morally questionable acts, the characters considered them, rejected them and found a better way. Or when they couldn't, like Sisko in "In the Pale Moonlight", the show made a point of showing the characters grappling with such dilemmas, and made it clear how conflicted they were in compromising their values.

Compare that to STP and STD. Starfleet plants a bomb on the Klingon planet and puts the detonator in the hand of a sockpuppet leader. Then Micheal Burnham gives a big "we are Starfleet, we have values" speech and there is no further discussion on this course of action. Everyone is fine with it.

Jurati has a vision forced on her that by the show's own admission she can never really make sense of. Instead of seeking help from literally anyone (including Picard), she makes the choice to murder her ex. She feels bad and is told she must turn herself in but once the quest ramps up everyone just kinda forgets about it. At one point she asks "Am I still under arrest?" and no one answers. The season ends with her and Rios holding hands and smiling at each other. Apparently we the audience are supposed to be happy for her and never mind the murder. Again, bizarre.

In both cases (threatening genocide and letting a murderer go scot-free) the shows just blow past these glaring issues with none of the characters raising any real objections. Neither STP and STD have any interest in exploring ethical issues to any real extent; instead, everything the characters do is essentially fine by default, because they are Our Characters.

And in lieu of working through moral dilemmas we get what? Soppy melodrama and unearned schmaltz? Booooooo.
Peter H
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
There are so many things I could say about this omnishambles of a show... but I am simply going to just keep it to one single nitpick for this episode, or I'll be here all night. As far as I can tell it's only been mentioned by one other person:

All those federation ships are the same class? When have you ever seen a taskforce made up of just one type of ship? And the most advanced ship in the fleet and there happen to be that many of them all in one group? And they're a bit on the small side too. And they're far, far too close together.

Cheap CGI, that's what it is. Think about all the effort that went into building the starship graveyard in Best of Both worlds and then compare it to this!

Well I've said my piece now.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
Couple of problems there.

First, that really backfired didn't it? I mean it could not possibly have gone worse. The Zhat Vash were not fooled for a second (how did they find out about either of them anyway?) and they exploited Soji to get sensitive information that she didn't know she needed to protect.

Second, if he can program them to behave as perfectly passable humans, then he can program them to act like perfectly passable humans while knowing their true identity.

Third, still doesn't explain why Soji was on a Borg cube of all places (other than to shoehorn the Borg into this for no reason) or why Dahj was wasting time with uni applications and having a boyfriend. Why are they not at places that matter more to respective government policy?
Patrick D
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
"First, that really backfired didn't it?"

Maddox was not aware of how sophisticated the Zhat Vash was. Really though, how could he know that? In Maddox's defense, it appears as if the androids could defend themselves when needed and even seek out help like Picard (I think Dahj even knew Picard specifically could be trusted).

"Second, if he can program them to behave as perfectly passable humans, then he can program them to act like perfectly passable humans while knowing their true identity."

That's a big assumption to make. What would he even have to gain by having them know they are androids? Presumably, he can already activate them when it suits his purposes.

"Third, still doesn't explain why Soji was on a Borg cube of all places"

A Borg cube where Romulans are doing research on synthetic technology in a joint operation with the Federation, you mean. It sounds like the perfect opportunity to gain intel on the Romulans.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
@James Taylor

"Let's be honest"

You've fallen into the trap of thinking that your opinion is objectively the right opinion, and that anyone who disagrees with you is not being honest, and is insincere. That is a fallacy, as it would be a fallacy if anyone else were to say the same thing to you.
Tommy D.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Commodore Oh putting a mental block on Jurati regarding the vision she showed her in the meld is in the story, which is why she didn't seek any outside help. Whether thats a satisfactory or reasonable explanation, ymmv.

"Why are they not at places that matter more to respective government policy?"

I thought being accepted to The Daystrom Institute would be the perfect place to infiltrate Starfleet.
Dexter Morgan
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
I cannot wait for redlightmedia's two hour evisceration of this puke of a show. Its going to be glorious.l
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)

You are probably right on Jurati. It would have been better if she left with Riker's fleet in custody and have the plot pick up from there in season 2. I suppose I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but to your point it sure does feel like lazy writing. If they don't seriously address this in season 2 its a huge problem.

I still think it works with Soji though. Picard alluded to how the Synths are basically children that haven't had any good guidance. It's also interesting that while everyone on the show behaved as if those advanced Synths were going to wipe out all life in the galaxy, nobody really knew what was going to happen. While those tentacle things did look pretty evil, they could have been benevolent. There's no reason to think that a race that advanced would care at all about life in the galaxy and doesn't already have the ability to wipe out all life in the galaxy if it wanted to.

Maybe the point is that Soji was willing to accept the risk of all life in the galaxy being wiped out and that by itself is pretty bad, but up until Starfleet arrived they didn't have a choice other than to get wiped out themselves. It's maybe a little more understandable when you are facing extinction and have the mental maturity of a child / teenager. When Starfleet arrived and she had a better option, she took it (albeit with a little nudging from Picard). Maybe I'm in the minority but I don't see a huge issue with it.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
I can't believe that you are giving this higher ratings that Voyager.

This series was terrible.
Cody B
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:25pm (UTC -5)

What else is there to do? You are correct, I watch this show and discovery because they are under the Star Trek name. And I don’t think they are BAD shows, simply mediocre. Like I said, I most likely would have stopped watching or never started if these were original sci fi shows with no relation to Star Trek. But again, what is there to do? I have a connection with the characters and franchise going back years and I like the show enough to continue. It’s not going to get better without a rehaul of the showrunners and writers. It’s sad because I’m pretty sure Ira Steven Behr would take the job of showrunner if offered. But it seems CBS wants to create “the future” of Trek even when it’s not what the vast majority of the fan base is looking for. Talented proven writers that are older can still take Trek to “the future”
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
@Nick, I think what you're saying about Soji could make sense, but these are issues that probably should play out in the show. I'd be fine if there was some ambiguity about the evil intent of those AIs. But that doesn't quite absolve Soji, who was going to call to them in order to kill all life. Even then, a story about forgiveness could work, but I think we'd have to see some atonement. Maybe even a few more scenes after the climax of her expressing remorse for her actions, showing that she had grown, etc. I had a similar problem with The Rise of Skywalker. We see Kylo Ren murder people in cold blood, but then a few scenes later he wakes up, becomes a good guy, and kisses Rey. To be fair, the problems with Ben Solo are greater than for Soji because at least she didn't go through with her threat and didn't actually kill anyone in cold blood.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B, I'm not blaming you. I get it. I'm just pointing out a broader dilemma we all face.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
“I'm just pointing out a broader dilemma we all face.”

Ah yes, the royal we at work again. Don’t presume you speak for all of us. Or any of us. We can think for ourselves.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Truly don’t understand all the fixation on Jurati “getting away” with murder.

Data hijacked the Enterprise (“Brothers”) and was never held to account. He betrayed everyone (“Descent”) and was also never held to account.

O’Brian, Data, and Tori attempted to hijack the Enterprise (“Power Play”) and were never held to account.

Others pointed out Garek’s murder of the redshirt and kidnapping of Nog (“Empok Nor”)

Keiko attempted to murder the Prophets (“The Assignment”)

The list of Star Trek characters getting away with heinous crimes under duress is literally limitless. And don’t forget the people (Sisko and Janeway come to mind with numerous examples) that violate orders/commit crimes with full command of their facilities without being held to account.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Tim - you really don't understand how the criminal justice system works.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, a quote from an interview with the showrunners that suggests this issue will be addressed in season 2:

Q: Does Jurati get away scot-free for the Bruce Maddox murder? Seems like she was going to get arrested.
A: Well, I mean, in fairness she hasn’t had a chance to turn herself in, yet.

Q: Will Jurati face legal punishment for the murder of Maddox?
A: She will put herself in the hands of the law.

On Soji:
Q: Did Soji grasp that she was summoning the genocide of billions?
A: I think she struggled to. Her true consciousness is new and unformed; while she is in some ways incredibly sophisticated, in others she has far to go,;’ and she has undergone recent, painful trauma.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
Q: Does Jurati get away scot-free for the Bruce Maddox murder? Seems like she was going to get arrested.
A: Well, I mean, in fairness she hasn’t had a chance to turn herself in, yet.

Gross. Alison Pill is going to be back next season then.....
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Much better episode than I expected considering how average Part 1 was... And as a series, I felt this was the best first season of any Trek series. I found myself looking forward to the next episode each week much more enthusiastically than I did back during each of the previous first seasons of Trek series dating all the way back to TNG and the Original Series. I would not put it above the second season of Discovery though, which did a better job of balancing the long arc and self-contained stories in each episode than PIC did. PIC seemed to depend too much, 100%, on the single long-story arc.

There are several things that this finale does well on the other hand, and yet leaves some loose ends plot holes in others. The biggest case of "missing the boat" of the series in my opinion is Narek. Showrunners neither exploited the actor's talent nor explored his character well. Even in this finale, an intriguing question is put forth about Narek feeling insecure about being considered a "failed Zhat Vash" which taps into the idea of him trying to prove himself, which would have been a great angle to explore to add depth to his character, but it gets brought up only in the series' finale and gets dropped as soon as it's brought up. We don't even know where Narek is by the end of the show. He is kinda forgotten.
I also believe they made an error in killing Hugh, it seems he would have fit perfectly into the idea of leaving the Borg cube behind under his leadership to pick itself back up in the AI planet.

Riker in the uniform was awesome, I yelled when he showed up and had a big smile on my face with each of his lines. Soji and Rios are great characters to continue onto the second season, as well as Raffi who probably has the most interesting background (but did not get explored enough). I really really enjoyed Picard's one-on-one's with Soji (Isa Briones, great casting choice). FInally, Data gets a much nicer farewell here than he ever did in Nemesis. I cannot say that my eyes did not tear up.

Overall, like I said above, solid first season, the pilot and the finale were tow of the better episodes, which helps. Welcome back Sir Patrick and see you in the second season.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
I assume that Data's choice to reject android immortality was inspired by the similar choice made by the protagonist of Asimov's story "Bicentennial Man" which was ultimately made into a not entirely successful film with Robin Williams as the would-be human ribot. In both cases the motivation was that having a life destined to end is an essential aspect of being human, which for both characters was their abiding wish.

Of course there could in principle have been the option of giving him the same deal as Picard - a synth body with inbuilt limited lifespan, perhaps set to the same initial age as Picard. But I suspect Brent Spiner might have preferred not to soldier on, and it made for a good scene. It would have been more elegant artistically if Picard had done the same - but I'm glad he didn't.

Incidentally I was curious why they decided to give Picard the age of 94, when Patrick Stewart is only a pretty sprightly 79. Perhaps it was a nod in the direction of respecting 24th century medicine - in Farpoint Bones was still getting round and slagging off Vulcans at 137.
It strikes me there's a need for at any rate one extra member for the crew. There's always been at least one outsider in a Startrek crew - Spock in TOS, Data, in TNG Odo and Worf in DS9, the Doctor and later 7 of 9, in Voyager, Dr Phlox in Enterprise...I don't think having two humanised synths aboard really fills that spot. They need someone who's genuinely alien. Though at a pinch I suppose Elnor might do.
James White
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Take care everyone. Last time I'll post for awhile.
Brandon Adams
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
It is amazing, and somewhat comforting, to see how much mileage Star Trek can wring out of two of the worst narrative missteps (Hobus and Data's death) in the franchise's history.

Kurtzman in 2032: Have you been pining for an epic four-season Jonathan Archer series somehow stemming from the removal of Icheb's eyeball? Have we got a show for you!!!
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:31pm (UTC -5)

Most of the examples you cited were cases of straight-up bodily possession, or in Data's case, programming. The example most analogous to Jurati's situation is Data's programming being influenced by Lore in "Descent". And yea, he got off too easy. I'd argue that that is slightly less jarring in a more episodic format than a serialized one, but point taken.

IMO Jurati killing Maddox was portrayed as different than something like Geordi being turned into a Manchurian candidate to kill a senator or Troi and Myles being posessed. As Maddox was dying she said "I wish I didn't know what I know", as in "I wish I didn't have to do this but I have to" which implies she was lucid enough to make the decision to kill.

If they follow up with a trial/inquiry in season 2 I will be satisfied, even if she gets off easy from being "under duress". Someone mentioned the "mental block" that Oh installed which I agree is relevant. Following up on this plot will give Picard a chance to shine in a classic Trek courtroom episode, which I would love to see from newer Trek.

That said, in the last few episodes there was zero implication from anybody that Agnes will have to face consequences next season. The fact that the show just blows by her killing Maddox to focus on her and Rios as a happy couple was pretty off-putting.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
James, take care and hopefully it's not health-related?
See you next time.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
@ James White

“Tim - you really don't understand how the criminal justice system works.”

Spare me the Internet put down; it’s entertainment, not reality.

@ Sen-Sors

“Most of the examples you cited were cases of straight-up bodily possession, or in Data's case, programming.”

Sisko took it upon himself to violate orders and commit the Federation to a war on behalf of the Cardassians (“Way of the Warrior”) without ever being held accountable.

He violated orders again in an earlier episode (“The Die is Cast”) without consequence, risking the safety of an entire planet just to save one crew member.

He poisoned an entire planet (“For the Uniform”) once and it was quickly forgotten about by the end of the episode.

Janeway threatened to murder prisoners (“Equinox”) and actually murdered Tuvix. She formed an alliance with the Borg and nearly dragged the Federation into a war it most certainly would have lost against species 8472 (“Scorpion” and “In the Flesh”).

None of these instances had alien possession, brain washing, or any other sort of mitigating circumstances that would present a defense of justification under any 21st Century legal system. An American service member that did any of these things would spend the rest of their life in prison and perhaps even face the death penalty.

Point being, as I said to the other guy, it’s entertainment, not reality. The list of Star Trek characters getting away with criminal actions is nearly limitless and only rarely (Star Trek III and IV) have the characters actually had to answer for their actions.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Tim, I agree that there is too much being made of it (plus we do not know what may come of it next season). Similar offenses have been done before, some of which you list accurately.

Some of the criticism is done for the sake of criticizing Kurtzman (because, you know, ALL hell broke loose with Kurtzman, he is the evil of it all, the devil with trident coming after all classic Trek values maaaan, ggghhh...), but some of it is genuine in the sense that people have the expectation that nothing like this should go severely unpunished. It has to do more with people's belief systems in my opinion.

It is not a stretch for me to consider either that Picard and crew understood the complexities of Surati's situation and what she believed at the time, and feels deeply ashamed of it, and thus do not believe she should be seen as any ordinary murderer. Circumstances were quite singular. Just like I did not have a problem with Janeway and Sisko in your examples above. I would like to nonetheless hope that the writers will address this issue in the second season and not totally let it drop to the records of history.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:33pm (UTC -5)

I'd argue that the biggest difference between Jurati's arguably cold-blooded murder and your excellent list of Trek characters getting away scot-free is that PIC is styled as a serial and prior Treks were episodic.

Episodic Trek has shown to extensively use the reset button for all matter of situations, and as applicable here, in "breaking the law" by Trek characters.

However, PIC, as a serial, arguably can't just sweep away events under the rug; it has to address them head on, otherwise how do we get invested in a continuous narrative story (with beginning, middle, end) if we expect a reset? There's no risk for the characters for any action they take in that situation. This is currently the situation with Jurati, pending Season 2 addressing it.

That being said, my argument is weak in PIC's case because the producers/writers did decide to use resets all over the place (not just for Jurati). Season 2 can still address Jurati, however, but narratively Season 1 has left a crapload of loose ends to address.
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
I believe someone asked they made Picard 94. As I recall Roddenberry envisioned Picard as being around age 60 when TNG began. I vaguely recall this also being mentioned in the Encounter at Farpoint novelization. Patrick Stewart’s age has no impact on the character’s age and him being gray and bald was a benefit. Hey, it’s better than casting someone who was 60 and really would’ve been in their 90s by now!
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
So I just rewatched Epi's 6 and 7 before cancelling my subscription. And I have to admit, I came away with a pretty positive feeling. Not every scene is great, but there is a lot of good stuff in there. Essentially, these two episodes make up the "Second Act" for Soji (maybe Epi8 as well, but that one is scattered between all of the other characters and attempts at plot "answers"). It's too bad that her "First Act" was so shoddy (establishing her and Narek) and somehow got spread over four episodes (she wasn't in Epi1, was she?). But I still like this Second Act, and despite the logic problems, I can appreciate her character conclusion and how it intertwined with Picard's.

Maybe part of the problem with the show as a whole is that the narrative structure for Picard himself feels substantially weaker. Meeting Dahj and then seeing her die is a pretty good event to get the ball rolling, but then it takes so long before he manages to get off Earth. We have the regrettable diversion to stop and grab Elnor, and then the downright silly plot to get Maddox. Boy was Epi5 terrible. These should have been challenges for Picard to overcome that help us root for him. Instead they're excuses to show his problems getting solved by other people using violence. The closest Picard himself has to a true buildup towards the climax of the story is also in Epi's 6 and 7, where it is unclear first how he will manage to find Soji in time, and then how he will convince her to trust him. It's not bad (again, I like a lot of things about 6 and 7), but it's not exactly riveting stuff.

Classic Trek doesn't always have amazing dramatic narrative structure either, but it's easier to swallow when the concepts are thoughtful and interesting and when you know you'll restart a new narrative in the following episode. Here, where the concepts are so wrought with logical problems and you're strapped into one narrative for ten hours, it's harder for me to deal with perhaps.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
A serviceable hour of TV. Not great. Not terrible. None of what makes Trek amazing. Just your typically B-grade action hour.

Why are people drawn to fiction? Because sometimes you can tell a story that is more real if you aren’t held down by facts. Romeo & Juliet shows the intensity of young love ( ) more acutely than a teenage reality show ever could. Othello tells us more about jealously than the Real Housewives.

And with fiction, why in particular science fiction? Because great scifi explores ideas more radical and revolutionary than any other genre.

Gene was a particular genius in scifi. But he wasn’t the only one.

Asimov, a scientist in his own right, asked not how to make a robot, but rather, if we did make robots, what should we let it do? And more importantly, what should we prevent them from doing? Asimov's fiction set up a few rules - three rules ( ) of robotics. Then he explored through entertaining thought experiments, how those three rules would work when they hit up against the real world.

Asimov’s scifi *fictional* rules of robotics are a bedrock of how people think about AI ethics even today. His scifi mattered. His fiction was important work.

Asimov was a particular genius. But he wasn’t the only one.

James Cameron, with the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger, created an iconic cautionary tale of machines that were not bound by Asimov’s three rules of robotics. In The Terminator, robots not only destroy our future, they come back in time ( ) to destroy our past.

The Terminator’s *fictional* note of caution is a bedrock of how people thing about AI run wild even today. His scifi mattered. His fiction was important work.

James Cameron is a particular genius. But he wasn’t the only one.

Gene, dear Gene, with Data - and especially the episode Measure of a Man - explored the idea that a man-made being, a ROBOT, a word which literally means "serf labor," could be a free man. It is no accident that the writer of that episode, Melinda Snodgrass, was a lawyer, and that that iconic hour of TV defined sentient rights - organic or artificial - though a courtroom drama - in a way that still shapes our thinking today. The Offspring ( ) took it one step further still.

Gene was a particular genius. But he wasn’t the only one.

Nobel prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, in his incredible book Never Let Me Go, explores what it might be like for an artificially created life to be used, and then thrown away. Ishiguro explores the same questions another genius, Ridley Scott, did years earlier in Blade Runner ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”). To some extent that’s also the case with Westworld and the “Humans” ( ) series.

Even Voyager had an interesting arc ( ) with a hologram bill of rights.

We could talk about nBSG, and how the real question that artificial life raises is what it means to be human. Or The Matrix, and whether peaceful coexistence between human and sentient AI ( ) is even possible. Or the Daleks, and what kind of freakish results are possible when you merge artificial and organic life - the same question raised in a different way by the Borg.

But ST:Picard? And entire show structured around artificial life, contributes… nothing.

Well, at least they didn’t fuck it up.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -5)

Pointless characters: Elnor just exists, Narissa is only there to snarl evilly. Soong Son. Basically the new crew are still very thin.

Pointless plots. Introducing a fatal brain defect that then gets undone. The entirety of the Borg Cube plotting. Seven momentarily becoming a Borg Queen. For no reason as it turns out. Absolute Candor Nuns (what happened to them?) The Romulan Refugee situation - that just disappeared, right around when the Romulans needed 218 Warbird pulled outta their...

Pointless deaths: Icheb, Hugh, Picard! Riker's Son. Icheb, because even though we had a whole movie about the folly of single-minded revenge (Khan) we have to get a main character to want it because it's "edgy." Hugh, well he just had the misfortune of running out of purpose while under the pen of incompetence. Picard, because emotional manipulation, PSYCH! Riker's kid because of course that's tied into the one-note series backstory (Also, they retired to a planet with regenerative soil in the hopes it'd save their son even though they know about the freaking BRIAR PATCH?)

Pointless music. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the Berman moratorium of music during his tenure. There were some great, tense scores in the early years of TNG, and some that crept in and I'd have loved to get more. But my goodness the shmaltzy, sad piano tinkle that played throughout this series to tell the audience to be sad has got to go. I'm already feeling distance from these wafer characters, don't try to get me to emphasize with them by trying the emotionally manipulative music card. This isn't Full House guys, it's *supposed* to be Star Trek.

Pointless swearing. Because even though "just because we *can* do a thing, does not mean we *should* do a thing" is apparently the mindset of the childish, we have to prove how edgy and adult our show is by exercising the privilege bestowed upon us by streaming TV. Even if it doesn't track with pre-established ethos of the franchise.

Pointless deconstruction. Picard, like Disco, rips apart established Trek in a poor attempt at deconstruction but only as a means to serve flimsy plot. There is no wonder in things like synths/Romulans mindmelding or Seven being a Borg Queen. They just happen with no exploration of the ideas just to get to an arbitrary, underwhelming end point. It not just bad Trek, it's shoddy writing. They upended the world, broke out past the rules, or boundaries that establish what Trek is, not for a purpose, but simply because they didn't care to pay attention. That there is now labour and class divides at the heart of the Federation is shown, but not for any reason. That drug use and 20th century slang are back in wide use is used, but only as lazy writing or quick and dirty "characterization." And like, I get Patrick Stewart wanting a "Logan" scenario where he can send off his character on a high note and repeat that success with Trek, but people at the top just aren't talented enough to really pull that off.

Pointless "fanservice": Hey, did ya see that reference we made? See how we know what we're talking about? Yeah I saw. I also saw how you used that reference as a lazy narrative bridge to move your plot along, or as a patch over a plot hole you couldn't be bothered to truely address.

Pointless magical tech: This universe is now full of sh!t that goes unexplained and just works because it just does. Trek existed in a pseudo-rational state before 09 hit. Now we are presented with visually noisy, fatastical tech that exists as spectacle and nothing more. Yeah, Clark's law, sufficiently advanced blah, blah... Still doesn't explain why no one is awed by any of the seemingly magical tech going on around them. Picard who marvelled at Space jellyfish just lets telepathic robots pass him by as ho-hum. No spirit of adventure. In Trek the adventure is to see that magical technology and then *explore* it, and get an *understanding* of it. Whole episodes would be devoted to these things, and it'd make the universe feel more cohesive. Why? Because unexplained magical fantasy tech was always more Star Wars than Trek. In Trek, things didn't just "happen."

Pointlessly making me dread the announcement of new Star Trek. I was always hoping Trek would come back as I watched the world delve into polarization, paranoia and fear. Where people valued their own opinions above merely extending them in debate to reach understanding and cohesion with those they disagree with. Star Trek was all about that, aspirational more that relatable, warning against man's follies with allegorical alien while we arbitrated as those that grew past such things and could now guide others along the path. Theatrical morality plays rather than realistic dramatics. Instead Trek has become typical sci-fi adventure shlock with cheaps twists, flat, argumentative, flawed characters, mystery box writing and rote lip service to anything more substansive. Sneer all you want at "This is not Star Trek", but Trek was always about upholding one's principles and standards, even in trying times, and as a Trek fan, I hold it to a higher standard than the majority of television today can reach, because that is what the show taught me, so when I see it floundering, trying to be like what else is on TV nowadays, I'm gonna speak up and hold it to the higher standard I know it could reach.

There were moments throughout the show I liked. But they're far outweighed by the bad. Star Trek Picard does not reach that Trek standard. It exists. It is pointless.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:45am (UTC -5)
Really agree with Nolan’s well written post.

Would love to see someone who likes PIC or at least tolerated it to write a thoughtful response.
Cody B
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Some of what Nolan wrote got me thinking. A lot of things in Picard SOUNDS good if you were to just tell a fan of TNG who hasn’t watched Picard. Seven of Nine is in the show and she becomes a Borg Queen! Data has a daughter! Riker shows up at the end and saves the day! Hugh is in the series and gets killed! Icham to! Data gets a funeral! But then when you actually watch the series none of these things feel earned and have emotional weight. It’s like the writers are trying to throw out a bunch of greatest hits or something but they are hollow. It’s sad that the greatest moment of the season is Picard and Riker being given time to reflect and speak to each other. Everything else is flash with little to no substance
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -5)

Soji was on the Artifact to gain intel on the Admonition. Watch episode 3, especially the conversation with the nut job Zhat Vash Borg reclaimees.


Interesting. I don't recall Sisko being all that troubled about poisoning the atmosphere of that Maquis colony in retaliation for Eddington's terrorist attacks, in order to force his surrender. Been awhile though. Maybe I just forgot.

Pretty sure any competent attorney could get Jurati off. Not only was she under the influence of the Admonition, which all by its lonesome took out a Borg cube and generally drives people bat$# insane. She was also under the influence of Oh's mind meld. Mind melds all by their lonesome are harsh mistresses. Oh gave her not only the Admonition, but her fanatical mindset regarding the Admonition. Who knows? Season 2 episode 1 might open with the great great great great grandson of Samuel T. Cogley getting her off with probation.

I'm tempted to go check how many of the people complaining about a still unresolved plot point in Picard, most likely dropped due to time constraints, also complained about The Orville's casual murder of a number of prison guards, during a botched prison break, which was never even mentioned afterwards in the episode, “All the World is Birthday Cake.”
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:25am (UTC -5)

Aw, thanks. Though going back I see a number of typos that slipped by me. Not grest for a post talking about upholding standards.

Also I fear that a post supporting PIC in opposion to mine may reveal a hypocrite in me. As much as I can say we should extend our opinions in debate with the aim of understanding, I'd be lying if I said that I'm not also partially hopeful that my words would cause some to switch their stance and agree with me. I'll also cop to feeling a bit of pride from your praise and Cody B's response - though that could just be chalked to some mild imposter syndrome on my part. Cheers all the same.

@ Cody B

Exactly. They've marked out the dots. They may have even narratively connected them, but the picture is so abstract so as to not carry any meaning. It's all very flat. And I'll admit, once this show lost me, I was going to be critical of it, and any attempts to win me back. I will say, Nepethe *was* the closest this show got to Trek. Reflection, meaningful dialogue, a removale from the world of the show back to the familiar one we had, though it was still changed - for one the characters spoke like they were in Star Trek and not a Joss Whedon show from next week (though that *does* have a place on TV, just not in Trek. Sorry everyone who wants Firefly Trek)

That said, I still prefer the book series Titan version of their daughter being Natasha (after Tasha) and they still had some loss from ptevious unsuccessful pregnacies due to events of "The Child" (although the book's origin and resolution of the Borg... ehhh)

But at the end of the day, it's all very flat. After Nepenthe there were two other less bad episodes, but they were still only rising above the mire. I didn't bother commenting those weeks because I felt no joy in it. And I guess the show didn't frusterate me enough those weeks to require the catharsis of ripping them apart for not living up to their predecessors.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Also, I lol when someone (forget who and I'm not scrolling this Great Wall of Text to find out) claimed that the people who don't like Picard never claimed it wasn't Star Trek. What's the purpose of the term NuTrek? Use the search function at the top of the page and search for "NuTrek" or for "Picard" and "not Star Trek"/"isn't Star Trek" and see how many people are making this claim. In fact, we have two people on this very page, who have expressed exactly that point of view. Use your browser "Find" function to take you right to it. So the notion that detractors aren't saying this is quite simply an erroneous claim.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:55am (UTC -5)
@Nolan: Concerning pointless characters: I agree that there is little reason for Elnor to exists in season one.

But there is a good reason why a character like him should be on the crew. One of the things that made Star Trek great was its debate of important issues, when characters asked the question „why are we doing it this way“ and argued both sides of an argument even when the answer seemed obvious. In TOS it were Spock and McCoy doing the arguing, in TNG it was mostly Data asking Picard the questions, DS9 had Kira whose viewpoint differed significantly from the Federation crewmembers and in ENT the task of debating fell to Archer and T’Pol. Early VOY was notably lacking in this area until Seven of Nine came on board and that what one reason why her addition made VOY that much better (somehow Kes and Neelix were either not used or didn’t work out in that role).

So if you build a crew for a Star Trek series be sure you have somebody on board who can asked the question „why“ and forces the characters to explain themselves or the universe. Unfortunately Elnor is not used this way. I think Picard would have been better if there were some scenes where e.g. Picard has to explain to him (and the audience) why the Federation took the synth-ban to such extremes that children are dying of curable diseases. Even if the answer is only like „It is stupid. You see people sometimes tend to do stupid things.“
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
Four things I find interesting reading all this. People really like the Nepenthe episode. I didn't care for it because I saw it as manipulative and pointless. It is also the episode that has almost nothing to do with the overall story. Ok, Riker reappears as commander of the fleet which is nonsense for several reasons (being reinstated, getting off the planet, reaching the fleet, convince a bunch of admirals to let him command it.) This all happens in one day, I think? Who knows how time works in this show.
In conclusion Sex may sell but nostalgia certainly does.

The second thing and the far more concerning element is that now many people say: "You have to watch season 2 for this to make sense." So now one has to watch season 2 for the first one to make sense or be satisfying?! And if season two also makes no sense or explains anything then you just have to continue until that season that finally breaks you.

The third thing is that nobody really seems to mind the sadness of everybody. What I really dislike about NuTrek is that everybody is broken, bitter and/or sad which is also the main motivation. Not any higher calling or ethical reasons maybe even goddamn curiosity.No, in the end it is all motivated by some personal problem. It's like the upside down Star Trek.

The gayclusion. I'm all for including every flower out of the human/alien bouquet but here it is really shitty. The show includes LGBT but goes for the most timid way imaginable. So first there were the lesbian innuendos between 7 and crime lady and then we get another innuendo of lesbianism at the very end through Raffi's and 7's hand holding. As I mentioned in other posts. Lesbians are always the way to go if you want to include LGBT but also want to piss off the least amount of people (heterosexual men are more used to the concept of lesbian sex because of porn and women in general have less of a problem with LGBT stuff; women's higher tolerance towards LGBT is more or less culturally universal). The show has three explicit heterosexual relationships (people kiss, have sex) but the gays get a little hand snuggling at the end between still super attractive seven and Raffi. Also LGBT people are still less normal than the rest. Raffi is a neurotic drug addict who messed up her family so badly that they rather avoid contact, seven is an asocial, bitter alcoholic hellbent on revenge and the crime lady was a mass murdering psychopath. Inclusion! Yeah??
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:09am (UTC -5)
These writers come from the Abrams/Kurtzman/lindelof school of tv writing. They get hung up structure and playing games with the audience that they can’t sit still and craft a well thought out story be it an episode long or a season long one

I don’t care if they do a serialized show or episodic. Just be fresh and entertaining. The writers seem to think viewers require everything including the kitchen sink thrown in and constantly jumping from one plot point to the next to be happy. Maybe that’s true for some audiences maybe that’s true of the majority. I don’t have a pulse on tv viewers these days

if the writers would just work with fewer concepts and ideas and develop them rather than cramming things in and giving them shirt shrift that would help and they could focus on giving better payoffs

And they can still do a serialized season arc but be more Hill Street Blues and less Lost in that approach.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:44am (UTC -5)
@ Nick

Thanks for taking on the points.

"The show established that this was an AI designed to prevent them from realizing what they really were."

Where? I'd like to go back and watch it in case I missed it.

"The warp signature thing was addressed in the episode."


"I mean, she probably should but you could say she was under the influence of Oh and not in the right state of mind. I assume this will be re-visited later in the series."

Nothing in the show suggested Jurati was under the influence of Oh when she committed the murder. Actually, the episode takes great pains to show this is a conscious decision by Jurati and that she is struggling with it as she's doing it. Yes, Oh showed her a vision, but that was a few days before and the decision to murder Maddox is solely on Jurati. I can't tell you how off-putting it is to see her cracking jokes with the crew and especially with Picard - a character who is supposed to have a rock solid moral center and still does NOTHING about Jurati.

"He asked to die. The show didn’t delve too deep into his reasons but those were his wishes and they respected them."

Yes, they certainly didn't delve into the reasons. Maybe if they did it would come off as less manipulative and nonsensical.

"The beacon got destroyed. Certainly, the knowledge to create one is still there (though that knowledge is probably also on the sensor logs of all those ships as well). I assume people are concerned but what you going to do at this point? The colony has no reason to create the beacon again so long as Starfleet continues to protect it. Though I would assume both Starfleet and the Romulans will be keeping a close eye on the colony going forward."

Yes, but it's still technically there, and the tentacle organic-destroying dudes presumably know where it came from. Just because you hung up doesn't mean that an uber-advanced alien race don't have your IP address. And the episode doesn't show any action by starfleet to secure the place. Actually, the entire starfleet armada simply vanishes once Oh retreats. You would think they would leave at least one vessel there, but nope. This place, which contained this highly dangerous device, is simply left unsecured, with the knowledge still in the possession of the synths. The writers must think we're idiots.

The funniest thing about this show is that the bad guys were right all along. And if Picard hasn't intervened, they would've simply destroyed the device and the synths and saved the galaxy. Good on them I say!

@ Tim

Fair enough regarding the no-stun on the Romulan weapons. When I think about it, most of the weapons fired on the show were indeed Romulan. The level of carnage still seems excessive for a Star Trek show, but I guess they found a good excuse for it.
Tim M.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:52am (UTC -5)
Finally saw the finale, and I liked it. I had serious misgivings about the concept of being given a synth/Replicant/LMD Picard, but I thought it was handled well, and to take a phrase with Jammer, "they stuck the landing." In the end, it's not any more contrived than Spock's katra being transferred into the new body that appears on the Genesis planet (Was how that happened every *really* explained? Nah.). I agree that there were some plot loose-ends and the writers seemed to cram a lot of exposition into these last two episodes and could have benefited from pacing the whole season arc a bit better (ENT did this well with the Xindi arc for S3). The closure for Data was beautifully done.

Some other thoughts.
-Captain Riker showing up to kick ass and chew bubble gum? Hell yes.
-The Rios/Jurati and Seven/Raffi(?) romances are all kinda blah, up there with Troi/Worf (ugh) and Seven/Chakotay (double ugh).
-Really wanted a scene at Starfleet Command with Picard bitch-slapping Admiral Clancy before she's demoted to captain of a garbage scow.
-Narek really annoyed me and I hope we never see him again. Narizzo's death was needed, though a part of me will miss the evil dominatrix vibe she brought (don't judge me).
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
@Startrekwatcher Just as with Discovery, the writers spend their time layering mystery boxes upon an already creaking foundation of mystery boxes and then with a few minutes left, elect to tear them all open at once. A lone, random box in the pile will contain a flashbang grenade that blinds you and leaves your brain smarting in a concerted effort to distract you from the fact that the rest of the boxes were either empty or at best released a small asthmatic wheeze.

I recall one of The Expanse S4 B-plots which stretched over quite literally half that season, and consisted of *MINOR SPOILER* a portion of the crew of the Rocinante solving the problem of a decaying orbit in order to attempt a rescue of 3 people. That's it. All the high-concept sci-fi stuff was left to the A-plot and it WORKED. It was focused, meaningful and entertained us without damaging that world.

In Picard, there came that moment when Kurtzman and co. realised they didn't have any ideas about how to manage the hundreds/thousands of Borg on the cube awaiting reclamation; so their solution? Jettison them all into space! (presumably to slowly and painfully deteriorate as we know Borg can survive in a vacuum). They seem to expect us to marvel at this scene of countless living beings being tossed away as refuse, when a little while earlier we were invited to empathise with them as victims of a great crime, now being righted. "NOO" yells Seven in her super awesome, distorted Borg Queen voice. Cognitive dissonance for mine.

I didn't love everything Chabon said in that Variety interview and I'm by no means convinced he is built for TV writing, but one of his answers made me wish he had full creative control from the outset of this show.

"You know, personally speaking, my own tastes and inclination, I always said when we were in the earliest versions of the room for this show, if we could have just done a whole show about Picard and the dog on the vineyard in France, with no starships, no phasers, the only Romulans would be those two Romulans who work for him on the vineyard, and no politics — just, like, there’s a funfair down in the village and they all go, and maybe Picard solves a very low stakes mystery in the village, like, someone has stolen the antique bell out of the bell tower, or something like that? I would have loved to write that show."

I think I would have been into that, actually. As it is this is where I'll completely sign off from Trek, at least while it's in the hands of Kurtzman. Should have done so earlier, but it's hard to tear yourself away from something culturally significant to you I guess.

Stay safe everyone!
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:13am (UTC -5)
I mean, yeah, ditto to pretty much everything you said. I'd have ssaid it too, but did you *see* text wall comment I left? I was bound to leave something out. Haha. Plus critiques that deviate close to "virtue signalling" is a dangerous place to go as it can conjure certain... connotations of it's own if improperly conveyed. But yes, I'll add that to the tally:

Pointless gayness: Seven's bisexuality (I'm assuming) serves no purpose beyond itself. It's not needed for her revenge plot, nor is there any significance to it's invokation in the finale. It is there to be there. And muddles that even by presenting it in tandem with stories about broken people hung up on base emotions like revenge. Raffi's bisexuality is also poorly established and out of left field.

As for Nepenthe. I did describe it more favorably myself, but any praise for it should not be removed from the context of the series. If it seems like it's a good episode, it's only because it stands just that little bit above the garbage surrounding it. Suffice to say, I did not hate it. Nor would I say I liked it. (Riker, Troi, you know of a planet the regrows EYES... and given that their son was apparently 15 at the time of his death, according to background info it would've worked on him. Way to let your son die guys.)
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:46am (UTC -5)
I thought the season was off to a good start then took a left turn somewhere. The Romulans were right, there is a synthetic race out there ready to destroy all organics, and Soji almost ended up being the prophesied destroyer. The ending was silly, what is to stop the synths from building another beacon and calling the bad guys again, how did no one in Starfleet notice their Director of security was missing, where is Narak, when did mind control become an excuse to ignore murder, one the orchids were destroyed why did the Romulans take so long to fire on the settlement? And why resurrect Picard 10 minutes after his death? (Inspired by Into darkness perhaps?). The best new characters were Picard Romulans friends at the winery and the nuns, hope they return next season.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
"I think I would have been into that, actually. As it is this is where I'll completely sign off from Trek, at least while it's in the hands of Kurtzman."
It was actually my hope that they would do an intimate Picard story somewhat like Chabon describes. I understand why they didn't do something deep or cerebral. He himself explains it. Instead they went for another doomsday plot #5000. *sigh* I'm out, too. This gives me nothing. It actually spoils the rest a little because if Star Trek could become this soulless action nonsense melodrama then everything that was good about Star Trek was maybe just, as Bob Ross would put it, happy little accidents.

"Seven's bisexuality (I'm assuming) serves no purpose beyond itself. It's not needed for her revenge plot, nor is there any significance to it's invokation in the finale."
I don't think that the sexuality of a character has to have a purpose, gay or straight but I get your point. It almost seems like a side teaser for next season: "Do you want to see seven having hot passionate lesbian sex. Then tune in for season 2."
Or maybe it's just there to keep people talking. There will be the usual "Why are gay people included in my xyz anti sjw crowd" and then the anti anti sjw crowd jumps in... and Gal Gadot sings a song. *sigh*
Cody B
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:36am (UTC -5)
Seven and Raffi were written into being bi sexual so that Kurtzman can save the world. It has taught us all tolerance and to love one another.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Just an endorsement of @Mal's post about science fiction and artificial intelligence/robots. It's well written and I recommend everyone read it.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
I didn't want to break this thing down right after I saw it. I just wanted to enjoy the greatness that was in this episode. Because the ending made me feel so damn good.

I just watched it again.

I enjoyed Agnes in this one. She has had her moments throughout this season, but a valid reason has never has been revealed to kill Maddox let alone any punishment for murder. It appears she doesn't have to turn herself in and all is forgotten. I guess we'll see if anything comes of this during season two.

Elnor is an interesting one. You could completely remove him from this show and nothing of merit changes... but I like the kid and am glad he's a part of the crew. Silly I guess, but that's the way it is. I would have preferred he ended Narik in hand to hand combat.

Rios... enjoyed him. Didn't really care for all his holograms. I understand he likes soccer, but that was one wing-ding soccer ball he took with him to destroy the beacon. I guess he had a remote-controlled opening ball laying around. Kind of a dumb way to address destroying the beacon, being how he has a repaired ship with quantum torpedoes at his disposal...

Rizzo... competent badass I guess. I'm not surprised at all that she met her demise. The sensual sister stuff was puzzling, not sure what they were going for there, or why, although she seemed to display some genuine love for her brother in this episode.

Narek... I thought Harry Treadaway did a great job with the part. I guess we could have learned more about the Talshiar flunky part of it. Missing that made his bringing it up seem like a spoiled child whining...

Seven kicking the crap out of Rizzo was refreshing. I still believe they totally underused her in this season. She enhanced every episode/scene she was in and Jeri did an outstanding job giving us this seasoned/hardened new Seven. I just wish her nanoprobes could have saved Hugh. The second best part of the final scene with all the crew on the bridge of the (still don't know the name) was that she was there. I seriously hope she ends up being a permanent part of the crew as we head into season 2. Her current mission as part of the Fenris Rangers might not be a bad mission for this rag-tag crew to take up. That could be the perfect mission for this ship and crew, especially with the talent they've amassed.

Raffi... her character has been all over the place. Is she a druggie or not? ... or only when the script might call for it? Early in the season, I was not too fond of Hurd's acting or the character, but I think she has grown into this character and I quite liked her as the season came to a close. Still questions about her... why did she lose her security clearance and get booted from Star Fleet? ... because she knew Picard? .... because of her conspiracy investigations? Maybe I missed something.

Riker and Troi... aside from seeing them once again, they were a wonderful addition to this series. Troi knocking Picard back a notch was needed and Frakes' screen presence is always top-tier and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him lead the fleet to help his old Captain.

Commander Oh... I never once questioned her resolve and dedication to her quest. I tip my hat to Tamlyn Tomita; she nailed her part. At the end, she was given some pretty cartoonish stuff, but she delivered it expertly. I'm pretty certain her character won't be a part of the series going forward and that's a sad thing IMO.

Soji... Isa Briones was fantastic. I really enjoyed the relationship she developed with Picard and the season progressed. I was also impressed when I heard that she was the vocalist for 'Blue Skies' in the final episode. Talented gal. There are some pretty serious gaps in the development of her character though... how did she know the stuff she knew about the borg etc.? Why is SHE the destroyer? ... if her sister was alive, would they both be Destroyers? I thought she was great in the final episode and not only was happy to see her turn off the beacon, but I was glad to see her do it for the reasons she did. She had some really touching moments in this season and I was excited to see she will be "wandering" with us in season 2. They could have just left her on that planet.

And last but not least, Picard. Tough one here. I go from hating the way they brought him to us... a quitter, just living out his years, in some deep depression over losing Data. That's just crap IMO and totally out of character. Many times during the season I was distracted by Stewart's acting... I know he's old, but a few times it appeared he was REALLY struggling to get the lines out. I suppose we should chalk that up to bad directing? Then the last few episodes we saw the Picard we all knew and loved. He was outstanding in this last episode. I was wrong, I thought they would cure his "syndrome" by some sort of positronic blah, blah that Troi referenced. But they chose the golom(sp?) route. I guess that's OK, I guess it doesn't matter. He is now cured, and while they say he'll age as he normally would have he certainly won't be bogged down by illness etc. But all that being what it may be, the pinnacle of this entire series so far was the Picard's relationship with Data and the finale scene we got in this episode. It was so damn good. On par with epic Trek scenes as Kirk losing Spock in TWoK, Trip/T'Pol realizing they will lose Elizabeth in Terra Prime and Data losing Lal to name a few. Both were completely in character. Data, as always, is striving to be more human and he needs to finish his quest by realizing the finality of mortality. I was a mess as Picard walked out of that "extremely detailed quantum blah, blah" when he, struggling to hold back his emotion, said "Goodbye Commander" and Data unemotionally replied "Goodbye Captain". This is going to be a scene I well up every time I watch it.

To the ending, when Picard is coming back to life in the golum, the best part of the whole scene was the wonderful smile Soji gave us (him). I'm a sap, I know. I enjoy the bond these two have developed.

Then, of course, Picard has a promise to fulfill. I'm losing it again. Blue Skies, Picard's wonderful words, and some tremendous CG depicting a dying Data. Whew, incredibly powerful there. I can only hope he reunites with Lal.

So to wrap up this season, it was a rollercoaster for me. Loved the first episode, but then it started a downward trend, never getting really bad, just kind of coasting... trodding along until the closing episodes. Could the writing had been better? .. sure. I'm no writer, but there are some seriously gaping holes that even I could plainly see that could have easily been filled. But I'm glad we got this series and am looking forward to more seasons in the future. Notice I didn't compare this to Discovery. I'm not sure how that solves anything or is beneficial. Talk about apples and oranges.

I like the rag-tag bunch we have now and look forward to future adventures. Maybe sometime I'll be able to remember the name of Rios' ship. :-)

3.5 stars.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
@ Nolan

“ Pointless gayness: Seven's bisexuality (I'm assuming) serves no purpose beyond itself. It's not needed for her revenge plot, nor is there any significance to it's invokation in the finale. It is there to be there.”

What point does your sexuality serve?

I’m heterosexual but have no offspring, so I guess mine is pointless too?

And no significance? Both Seven and Raffi are psychologically damaged loners. Their finding a connection with another human being shows character evolution from when we first met them.

Really feel like people are just reaching for things to be upset about. I see quite a few missed opportunities in this season but I’m not upset enough to pen walls and walls of text about them. I’ll watch Season 2. I don’t expect it to reach the heights of classic Trek (though, please writers, prove me wrong!) but I can enjoy it for what it is.

Really kind of feel like people are reaching for things to be upset about at this point.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
@ Lynos

“ The level of carnage still seems excessive for a Star Trek show, but I guess they found a good excuse for it.”

If there’s one bit of major criticism I would make it would be this.

I was super psyched to share this show with my Mom, we watched TNG together when I was a kid, she’s a huge Patrick Stewart fan, and I thought I could talk her into this.....

..... and by the end of the second episode she’d abandoned it because it was too dark for her tastes. She didn’t even make it to the Icheb scene. It really sucks, we don’t have much in common, and there are extenuating circumstances (my Mom suffered a TBI a few years ago) that make it impossible to convince her to just ride it out, the Icheb scene would have had her literally throwing up, Hugh’s murder would have broken her heart, and neither one of them were necessary to tell a good Picard story. Hell, “All Good Things” told a story with similar outsized stakes (future of the galaxy), focused on Picard, and did it without being dark and killing anyone (I guess Alyssa had a miscarriage, that’s the darkest moment I can remember, but they didn’t make us watch it happen, it was just mentioned in dialogue), it was a cheerful uplifting story that capped a cheerful and uplifting television series.

I really really really wish I didn’t have to turn to The Orville for optimistic storylines. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Orville, but Star Trek should be filling that hole in our lives.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:30am (UTC -5)
@ Tim

I can't speak for others, but as for myself:

I have no issue with any kind of relationship being portrayed on any show as long as both participants are sentient willing adults.

But these developments weren't shown (OR told) to the viewer whatsoever.

Suddenly Seven is a part of the crew and is dating someone? How was there enough time for these things to happen? Furthermore, how did we get from Point A to Point B?

It comes across as implausible .... and as a bungled attempt to score "woke" points (not to be political, just my opinion).
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:40am (UTC -5)
@ Tim

I forgot to address your last point.

Imagine if The Orville didn't exist and this was all we had Trek-wise (a scary thought, I know).

It's sad the Trek showrunners are so tone-deaf, but sinking a franchise is their cross to bear. Besides, it doesn't erase the legacy of everything that came before.

Anyways, I'll take my Trek-done-right anywhere I can get it and The Orville gets the job done.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
@Tim wrote:
“ It's also weird to me that with show runners and production staff that so obviously care about Star Trek (I lost count of the number of Easter eggs and callbacks in this season) they seemingly forgot about Data's relationship with Geordi.”

Dont confuse memberberries nostalgia bait with caring.

We might care. Cast and production crews rarely care as much as we do. MAYBE the firefly and Expanse cast and crews, but by and large, actors and producers dont get as invested in this stuff as fans. TBH, most actors think pop-culture fans are weird, obsessed and kind of pathetic. Given how we react to space wizards, laser swords, pew pew guns, and how giddy we get when we hear “make it so” again after 30 years its hard not to blame them.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Wainscoting said: "I didn't love everything Chabon said in that Variety interview and I'm by no means convinced he is built for TV writing, but one of his answers made me wish he had full creative control from the outset of this show.

"You know, personally speaking, my own tastes and inclination, I always said when we were in the earliest versions of the room for this show, if we could have just done a whole show about Picard and the dog on the vineyard in France, with no starships, no phasers, the only Romulans would be those two Romulans who work for him on the vineyard, and no politics — just, like, there’s a funfair down in the village and they all go, and maybe Picard solves a very low stakes mystery in the village, like, someone has stolen the antique bell out of the bell tower, or something like that? I would have loved to write that show.""

Reading all but one of Chabon's novels prior to "Picard", I knew exactly where a Trek story written by Chabon would go. It was obvious. He'd written a final Picard tale already with "The Final Solution", his short fiction had delineated his favorite aspects of early pulp science and detective fiction, and his novels (overly wordy and often veering into pretentiousness) favored simply watching people speak as they grappled with historical identity and their ages.

Left to his own devices, we know what Chabon-Trek would be. Chabon would not lobby for a climax involving a cheesy fist fight on a ledge, demon tentacles, Picard becoming a robot, or even yet another corny Data resurrection/killing. He would not even have Seven appear. I doubt he'd have any interest in literally depicting the Borg. I doubt he'd have Picard leave earth. Left up to his own devices, Chabon would certainly not write this two-parter's quartet of deus ex machinas, and would steer well clear of virtually every generic plot point in this show. A good writer, and a good artist, would not write a series this way. A stable of disconnected writers, however, presided over by two hacks with idiotic tastes, and forced to fit their scripts in with those of other writers, will always produce something like this.

Which goes to show how much influence Kurtzman wields, and how much Patrick Stewart pushed for this.

What you have with "Picard" is Kurtzman/AkivaTrek, with Chabon inserting little subversive scribbles where he can. But this "subversive" stuff, comes from Chabon's worst trait: his fondness for 1930s, Robert E. Howard-esque pulp fiction, 1940s comic books, and their wacky heroes. His fiction usually consigned this stuff to a meta-level, a fictional writer called August Van Zorn, but here it leaks into Picard in the form of real characters like Elnor and some of the (admittedly good) "detective flourishes" in the pilot.

The show has too many writers pulling in their own personal directions. It's biggest problem may be Kirsten Beyer, who likes all this dumb Borg/Seven stuff, a direction Kurtzman and Akiva obviously thought would cut a good trailer.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

“I have no issue with any kind of relationship being portrayed on any show as long as both participants are sentient willing adults.

But these developments weren't shown (OR told) to the viewer whatsoever.

Suddenly Seven is a part of the crew and is dating someone?“

Who said they’re dating? I saw that scene as them forming the beginnings of a connection. That’s how real human relationships (sexual and otherwise) work. We didn’t need an extended exploration of Raffi and Seven, just a scene that shows them connecting on some level. I thought it was perfectly handled.

Seven as a part of the crew (if that’s indeed what it is, she could’ve just been hitching a ride somewhere) came out of left field a bit, the writers clearly forgot about the XBs and if Seven was going to leave them there should’ve been some sort of goodbye scene (this reinforces the stupidity of killing Hugh off, because with him still around Seven leaving the XBs behind would make more sense), but I really don’t see the issue with the Raffi/Secen scene.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Supposedly, Seven's sexuality is brought up originally with the Byazl character where she said something ambiguous about a relationship the two women shared. When the episode aired, people here did bring up that Seven might be at least bisexual, so it must've resonated with some viewers.

The studio's in an awkward position where it wants to portray more homosexuals but it knows it will get push back no matter how its done. To be sure, this show isn't expressly about sexuality, so there's no reason why they should go in depth about anyone's sex life. They chose to do play lesbian characters subtly. Yes, they could have gone at the topic from another angle, but at least they're moving.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)

“ Dont confuse memberberries nostalgia bait with caring”

I refuse to subscribe to that level of cynicism. Look at how they painstakingly matched the LCARS interface for the projected computer consoles. That wasn’t necessary. It’s not going to be noticed by anyone except hard core/long term Trek fans, half of whom are seemingly on the internet griping about how terrible the show was.

I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t watched it to go through The Ready Room. There’s a fair bit about Picard I wish they had done differently but if someone with the geek and Star Trek cred of Wil Wheaton can get excited about this production surely the rest of you can at least something redeeming about it?

Side note: I’d love to see him brought back for an episode next season, hopefully as (and/or with) The Traveler, not a generic Starfleet Lieutenant, as he was portrayed in the cut scene in Nemesis. Nemesis (arguably all the TNG movies, but that’s a longer discussion) is proof that even long established Star Trek alums (Rick Berman) can miss the mark, so maybe we should give the new show runners a chance and just accept the fact that it’s not going the be the same as it was in the 90s?
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:27am (UTC -5)
@Tim I think the issue with Raffi / Seven is very simple, people don't like to be pandered too. If their relationship rises organically out of the plot, I doubt many people would complain. But when it's just sort of tacked on, it feels cheap and unearned. People don't like that.

They also don't seem to like it when it's Rios / Jurati, either. I think people would be more inclined to give leeway to that sort of thing if the writers did a better job of characterization.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:28am (UTC -5)
@ Tim

Yup, the show is tonally way off if you compare it to other Trek shows (even Discovery wasn't that bad). I mean, this episode had a character ask another character if he fucked some androids. So it's definitely not a show for kids or anyone looking for clean entertainment. Not that all entertainment should be clean, of course, but Star Trek was a kind of a rare place where you can enjoy genre storytelling relatively free of excessive violence and profanity.

And the sad thing is there is not need for any of it. It's not an integral part of the story STP is trying to tell. It's simply there to be "adult" and drive the ratings.

I think your story about your mom's distaste of the show is the best example of why this decision by the show runners is flawed. Nobody watches this show and says "man, the violence and F bombs are so cool!"
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -5)
I'm gay, and the Seven thing just feels like a shallow box-tick to me. And she's one of my all-time favorite Trek characters (or was on Voyager). I would love nothing more than a serious, well-written exploration of her life and relationships since arriving in the Alpha Quadrant. The Picard version of the character is dreadful. I would be up for Seven having a relationship with any gender or species if it was maturely, sensitively and realistically written - like, say, Sisko and Kasidy, Picard and Neela Daren, Jadzia and Lenara, Kira and Bareil, B'Elanna and Tom etc. I don't think these modern incarnations of Star Trek are interested in writing relationships like that though, or that the writers are able to. These shows aren't about people or ideas.

But I don't think the Seven/Raffi thing is even in the top 10 or top 20 things wrong with STP. It's just one more thing that's indicative of how nothing in these shows develops naturally. And I think some of the "they made Seven a lesbian!" backlash that I've seen on other sites is a distraction, and is getting the wrong end of the stick. (Let's bear in mind that the Seven/Chakotay thing at the end of Voyager also had no development and came out of nowhere, and was rightly criticized for that; I see this a similar way.) I'm more concerned about everything else they made her - a hard-bitten murderer and vigilante who talks in mock-Whedon snark like most of the other characters on the show, because the writers don't have the skill to give different characters distinct voices and authentic dialog. And they don't have the craft or patience to actually build up, grow and explore relationships - it's just suddenly "Rios and Jurati are sleeping together" or "Raffi loves Picard" or "Data loved Picard"; relationship developments don't emerge organically from the characters or situation, instead we're directly told them out of the blue as pieces of information. The same as how on Discovery we hardly saw any character development in the gay relationship or spent much time with them as people. The show just wanted to go "look, some gays" without wanting to put any of the work in of showing an actual relationship. That applies to all the straight characters too.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -5)
@ Robert

“The studio's in an awkward position where it wants to portray more homosexuals but it knows it will get push back no matter how its done. To be sure, this show isn't expressly about sexuality, so there's no reason why they should go in depth about anyone's sex life.”

They got pushback for the heterosexual coupling too! There were pages and pages of comments here complaining about Jurati and Rios. Some called it a pander to the primal instincts of the audience (interesting that they didn’t show anything other than a kiss and her leading him to the bedroom if that was the intent) and others said it made no sense, as if every act of sexual intercourse has to have some motivation behind it besides “This feels good” (Juradi even explicitly says she wants to feel better “for a few hours anyway”)

Side note: I’ll vent a little bit about American sensibilities, as someone who spent a few years in the EU and has that perspective; In a European production you may actually have seen something more explicit than a kiss between Juradi and Rios, but you’d be very unlikely to see Icheb getting his eyeball ripped out. Why Americans are such prudes about sex while openly embracing violence is beyond me. Sex is natural, fun, and healthy. I’d rather explain a sex scene to a child than explain what happened to Icheb.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:34am (UTC -5)
So, I gave up on this show after “Stardust City Rag”. Now I can watch the rest for free if I want to, but not sure I’ll bother. Watched season one of The Expanse yesterday. i’ll echo what someone else said in a previous episode’s thread… If this show were as good as a show like The Expanse, we wouldn’t be arguing over whether or not it’s Trek. Until different people are put in charge, I’m not eager to see anything else along the lines of Discovery season one or what I’ve seen of this show.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@ Flip

"Tim I think the issue with Raffi / Seven is very simple, people don't like to be pandered too. If their relationship rises organically out of the plot, I doubt many people would complain. But when it's just sort of tacked on, it feels cheap and unearned. People don't like that."

Again, why is it pandering? It just shows them forming the beginnings of a connection. That's it. This is how real human relationships work. You don't immediately have perfect chemistry and become lifelong soulmates (well, that does occasionally happen, but it's bloody rare). You find something in common and you build on it from there.

The pander here would have been Seven and Raffi actually being in a relationship. That would have come out of left field and been completely unearned. The writers didn't do that though. They planted a seed for next season. That scene wasn't even a date between the two of them, they were playing a game together and learned that they have some level of chemistry/connection.

Again, this is how real human relationships work, unless you want to hold up online dating (a very very very recent development in human history, literally the blink of an eye when you remember we've been around for 200,000 years or so) as the example of how relationships develop. You meet someone in the real world, talk to them, discover that there's some sort of mutual connection, and you explore it from there.

That's where Seven and Raffi are.

What's the problem???

"They also don't seem to like it when it's Rios / Jurati, either. I think people would be more inclined to give leeway to that sort of thing if the writers did a better job of characterization."

That scene was perfectly characterized. Jurati wanted to forget about her troubles for a few hours and Rios wanted to get laid. What more motivation do two people need to have sex? Has anyone else in this discussion ever had sex for any reason other than "I love you?"

Maybe those two will actually find out that they've got more than physical chemistry (my best long term relationship started out as FWBs) and maybe they won't, either way is fine, but in that precise moment I really don't see why either of them needed more motivation than they had.

How many guest characters did Riker hook up with? Or Kirk? How about Jadzia Dax? Even Wesley got to have a short term fling with someone (random trivia: Wil Wheaton was Ashley Judd's first on-screen kiss) in an episode.

Star Trek has always been open about sex for reasons other than love.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
My "problem" with Riorati was that they became a couple, not the sex. They can have orgies and that wouldn't bother me. Well, at least Rios knows what happened to Jurati's ex. No awkward encounters (apart from the freezer, of course). What did they do with Maddox? Was he torpedoed?

By the way, was I the only one who thought that Picard is gay/bi. It sounded to me that Picard not only loves Data but is in love with him? He dreams of him every night, he came out of his exile for his daughter. He didn't give a shit about anybody else apparently. He hasn't visited Rikoi... or Troker (yes only powercouple names now)for almost a decade, didn't give Raffi a call. Picard a carefree bachelor, eh?
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
I think better writers would have set up the Seven-Raffi relationship earlier in the show. I don't remember them as being particularly close in episode 5, the only other time they would have interacted. Raffi seemed obsessed with her grief and barely came out of her room after she visited her son.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
@Tim I don't want to disect your post bit by bit. The broad point that I think you get wrong is that you keep saying "this is how real human relationships work." I think that's missing the point. A narrative is not the same as real life, and what's narratively satisfying goes beyond simple plausibility. People generally like proper setup for things and they like character development to feel earned. That's part of the writer's job in painting a portrait of a character that feels real. When character developments seem to come out of left field, it doesn't "feel" real, even if it may be "plausible in real life."
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
@ Flip

"People generally like proper setup for things and they like character development to feel earned."

What I think you (and a lot of other people) are missing is that scene _was_ setup.

That's it. No more, no less.

I would expect it to be more fully explored in Season 2 -- assuming Ryan and Hurd sign on for Season 2 -- so again I'll ask, what's the problem?

"When character developments seem to come out of left field"

I didn't view it as coming out of left field. Everybody (just not just Seven and Raffi) in that final scene had just gone through a fairly trying ordeal together. Shared adversity tends to bring people together. It might have been nice to have spent an episode exploring this (like "Family" did after "Best of Both Worlds") but that's not how modern television works and they were never going to end the season that way.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)

"A narrative is not the same as real life, and what's narratively satisfying goes beyond simple plausibility."

They aren't setting up a narrative. At least, not yet. It's a small scene that will almost certainly be followed up next season. The comparison to Chakotay/Seven was given already, but this is actually better than that because there's time to write a Seven/Raffi story still.

Generally I agree with you all that it was out of the blue, but it's hardly important for this episode and maybe that's just the way it should be.


"They got pushback for the heterosexual coupling too! There were pages and pages of comments here complaining about Jurati and Rios. Some called it a pander to the primal instincts of the audience"

One thing is for certain, even in the off-chance that some writer from the show is reading such comments, they wouldn't take such criticism seriously. Trek's always been bad at setting up romantic relationships, but I think DISCO at least got that right. Hopefully, Jurati/Rios will get some more relationship time together next season, but I won't be upset if they just move on and find other people. Not everything has to be huge episode-long or arc-long story, There just wouldn't be time.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
@Tim - "Really kind of feel like people are reaching for things to be upset about at this point."

I get that feeling too. I tend to scroll past the extended posts like that after a paragraph or two. (Or in some cases there aren't any paragraphs - which makes it very hard to read a post.)
I wonder why it is that so many visual media productions on film and TV do go in for having teams of writers "pulling in their own personal directions", as Trent comments. If I think of the most outstanding creations in those media, as in other fields, these have almost all, in my experience been the work of individuals, or occasionally of a team of two. There must be some reason for doing it the other way, but I can't imagine why. "Too many cooks spoil the broth".
One thing that Seven and Raffi have in common is that they have lost their son, or in the case of Seven, their pseudo-son Ichab; and the other related one is that both of them seem to have been adopted by Elnor as sort of mothers. Which considering that Picard seems to be Elnor's adoptive father, sets up an interesting sort of family group that could be explored in the next season.

And I look forward to maybe seeing Rios set up a game of football with his holograms. Maybe against a team of Vulcans, who'd have tactical skills to make them formidable in the beautiful game. Klingons would to better to stick to Rugby - or maybe American Football, though of course without the body armour, which they would despise.
Maybe they will address the question of Agnes in the next series, though if there's a court hearing I'd guess it would be referred to rather than shown. I can't see any fair court finding her guilty.

Aside from the fact that she acted under the influence of an illegal mind meld, involving the Admonition, which has been shown to cause lethal insanity, she is acting under the strict orders of the head of Star Fleet security. The fact that she expresses bitter revulsion at carrying out the post-hypnotic command she has been given, there is no reason to think that she has any power to stop herself carrying it out.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert

"One thing is for certain, even in the off-chance that some writer from the show is reading such comments, they wouldn't take such criticism seriously."

The serious criticism that I would offer is that I really really really wish they didn't have to make everything so bloody dark in the hopes of attracting the masses.

I also wish they'd get away from the 10 episode novel concept, or, if they insist on doing it that they release them all at once like Netflix does. On my second re-watch of Picard (just completed a few hours ago) I found it a lot less annoying, because I could binge them all, but if you're going to stick to a traditional release schedule you should consider sticking to a traditional writing/production style.

That doesn't mean you can't have a season long story -- The Mandalorian did -- but it does mean that story can't be the sole focus of every single episode. Outside of the first and final two episodes, most of the The Mandalorian told self-contained stories, the overarching story was always there in the background but it didn't demand 100% of the run time.

I truly would love to see that approach taken with the Star Trek universe. It's not a novel concept, NCIS has worked this way since its inception and until recently was one of the highest rated shows on broadcast television. Nearly every season has a season long story/villain, but for the most part the individual episodes are self-contained and the season long story is advanced in bits and pieces, a few minutes tops in each episode and sometimes not mentioned at all.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

"Maybe they will address the question of Agnes in the next series, though if there's a court hearing I'd guess it would be referred to rather than shown. I can't see any fair court finding her guilty."

I could really live without a whole episode (or even a whole scene) devoted to Law & Order: Alpha Quadrant

"In the criminal justice system, the citizens of the Federation are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: Starfleet Security, who investigate crimes, and Random Admiral of the Week, who adjudicates them. These are their stories."

Unless we're going back to an old school 24 episode season I just don't think there's enough running time to waste on this story, particularly given Trek's history of hand-waving away heinous crimes on the part of lead characters, both with and without extenuating circumstances.

Jurati killed Maddox and feels like shit about it even though she clearly wasn't herself and was acting under duress. End of story.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Tim said: "Why Americans are such prudes about sex while openly embracing violence is beyond me. Sex is natural, fun, and healthy."

Nobody cares about characters being gay or having sex. Heck, I always viewed Riker as a pan-sexual. And nobody batted an eyelid at Jadzia's sexual appetites.

But bad writing is bad writing. Jurati's character, already buckling under the weight of mountains of half-sketched plot, needs a hastily shoed-in relationship with Rios as much as Rios needs a hastily thrown in relationship with his magically relevant former captain. All this stuff should be massively streamlined or omitted.

And Seven's potential lesbianism is clearly a tip-of-the-hat to her 90s female fans, who have been shipping her with women since she popped onto screens. Does it matter that she's gay or bi? No.

But it's obviously a bit of click-bait thrown in to keep people chattering, and something which a show, too impatient for its refugee, Borg and Synth storylines, and busy plucking a Data-resurrection one out of thin air, doesn't need. After-all, Raffi and Seven have shared no meaningful moments throughout the show.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
@Mal, To your list about great science fiction and Artificial Intelligence, I'd add Mass Effect, which added the idea of breaking out of a cyclical conflict between humans and AIs. (sound familiar?)
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Trent wrote:

"And nobody batted an eyelid at Jadzia's sexual appetites."

But a small amount of research says:

'Due to its inclusion of a kiss between two characters of the same gender, this is one of the most controversial episodes in the history of Star Trek. The episode was broadcast at a time when it was highly controversial to feature homosexual relationships on television. According to Ronald D. Moore, "Some felt betrayed, didn't want to see this in their homes. An affiliate down south cut the kiss from their broadcast."

Terry Farrell agreed, "There were quite a few people that were upset, that had thought there should be a warning, because they were upset that they couldn't have a conversation with their children about what the episode was about."

René Echevarria said, "My mother was absolutely scandalized by the episode. Shocked and dismayed. She told me 'I can't believe you did that. There should have been a parental guidance warning.'"

Steve Oster recollected that a man called the show and complained, "You're ruining my kids by making them watch two women kiss like that." It was a production assistant who took the call. After hearing the man's complaint, the PA asked if the man would've been okay with his kids seeing one woman shoot the other. When the man said he would be okay with that, the PA said, "You should reconsider who's messing up your kids."'

Sources: (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion and What We Left Behind)
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan and many others, starting from the "Pointless" post

I also agree on the whole with pretty much everything Nolan brings up, but I think it's worth saying that just because the show had a lot of pointless things, it also had some positives. Mainly, Soji's character journey and the overall attempt at a good Star Trek message by the end.

I think a lot of us agree that even these positives are undermined by various aspects of the show. And they aren't enough to make the show actually feel like Star Trek. But they are there. In a less serialized show, it might even be possible to pry them out and appreciate them more while managing to ignore the bad, kind of like how we can appreciate some of S1 and S2 TNG while ignoring the bad. It's not the same I know, because even bad TNG embodies the Star Trek ethos (or tries to). But as I said above, I rewatched Epi6-7 in isolation, and there's a decent story being told there. Even a genuinely Star Trek idea with Hugh on the cube. Knowing that Epi9-10 will blow the stakes out of proportion dampens the enjoyment a bit, but I'll claim there's still a strong "Act 2" being built here between Soji and Picard. And that Nepenthe does a genuinely good Trek-ish job of building on that narrative of working through betrayal and identity crisis.

I bring it up (again) because, after watching it again, I want to make sure I give the show its due here. My enjoyment here is not hinging on nostalgia. The fact that it is Riker/Troi is nice, but not crucial. The fact that Soji is Data's "daughter" is also helpful, but again not crucial. This is a story *about* Soji, and how good people (including our protagonist) try to help her through a difficult time which may or may not lead to her moral and ethical downfall in Act 3. To me, this is good Star Trek. Like, sure there are still contrivances and illogical bullshit, but when the story being told is good enough and likable characters are going through real struggles together, I'm willing to look past this. I think I had a harder time enjoying it fully the first time around because the show had spent so much time (pretty much all five first episodes, but especially the fifth) crushing my sense of good will towards the show.

If you go into Epi6 and especially Epi7 already feeling cynical (which I think lots of us were given the first five episodes), it's easy to focus on the negatives:
-dumb action sequences with non-characters
-questionable attempts at character building on La Sirena
-the tenuous logic underlying whole swaths of the setup, which we now know won't be satisfactorily handled by the end either
-seemingly 'cheap' attempts to cash in on nostalgia
-lack of actual plot in Epi7, especially after so many other earlier episodes also had almost no plot

But I'd like to claim that, for me, the positives briefly outweigh the negatives for these two episodes.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
@msw188, I really appreciate your perspective. You're fair, probably fairer than I'm being. Episodes 6-8 were genuinely pretty decent to good (as reflected in Jammer's reviews). I've said it before and I'll say it again, this show is a great argument for episodic or less serialized TV. Serialized TV raises the stakes such that there's a tendency to either say it's all good or all bad. Look at the reactions to Game of Thrones - people who followed that series for years have disavowed it because they're disappointed in the final episode. Episodic TV is more forgiving. It lets the show have some lows so long as it has some highs.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
I just had another fun thought following up on my silly fan-fic-y post earlier, where I fantasized about cutting material from episodes 2-5 to make a new "courtroom" episode at the end, after reading some other replies here. What if the choice to revive Picard was framed as a part of all of this? Like, new episode starts with Picard in a coma on Soji-world.

1. An initial scene with Data where he explains that they're both being kept alive in some kind of matrix-world (???), but that Data's sad because Picard will eventually get to die and Data won't.

2. Riker and other admirals beam down, explain that lots of people are going to have to be put on trial, including Soji, and the terms of reversing the ban are going to be complicated.

3. Some typical asshole admiral points out that there are almost no credible witnesses to large aspects of the story (bullshit I know, but no worse than the show's current bullshit levels), and even if they reverse the ban, they will need a spokesman to champion the cause to many planets in the Federation

4. Someone (Riker?) realizes the answer - revive Picard. Soong can have an emotional scene where he agrees to let Picard have the body and he will work towards another one, but possibly die before it is finished.

5. But does Picard want to be revived? Maybe Soji can somehow tap into Data's consciousness, and we can have a great Trekkian conversation between Picard and Data about this choice. This conversation could also more naturally lead to Data's request for Picard to pull Data's plug when he goes back.

6. All of the trials I described before.

Sorry for the ridiculous fantasy-writing, just having fun while I can't leave my house.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Thank you for the kind words! You're right, episodic TV has some benefits here. Maybe especially for sci-fi like Trek? Someone else brought up Asimov earlier. The I Robot stories were short stories! Even the Foundation novels were essentially a sequence of short stories. Not about inter-character drama, but instead about ideas and their ramifications, problem-solving, etc.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:15pm (UTC -5)

Totally agree with the benefits of episodic TV, just look at Mandalorian as a prime example of this at its finest. I also think Star Trek has always been at its best when there isn't a overarching narrative. It really only worked for me for the Dominion war arc. I would actually like to see them try story arcs that are 2-3 episodes long. Basically a season of miniseries. Enterprise started doing this right before it got cancelled and those were some of the best episodes of that series. It's not something that's being done too much in TV right now, so the format might feel a little more fresh and it's kind of like the best of both worlds. A longer format to further develop the story beyond a typical 1 episode story but not so long that pacing, stakes, etc. become an issue.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
@msw188, @Nick, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is structured as a series of 3-4 episode arcs and it generally works well. Some arcs are amazing, some are lousy, but the net effect is positive. I love the show for its willingness to experiment, but a few episodes aimed at a younger audience don't ruin the experience for me because they're usually self-contained.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
It was all right. It wrapped everything up but it wasn't anything special. No one will be talking about it, on mass, in a week from now. Yet, everyone is still after that Pike / Spock spin-off show.

Couldn't they have put Data's consciousness into a synthetic body?
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"Look at the reactions to Game of Thrones - people who followed that series for years have disavowed it because they're disappointed in the final episode."

The ending is allegedly true to GRRM's outline of how the books will end. I would posit that most people would have been fine with the ultimate ending, if the show runners had taken their time in getting there, rather than rushing to tidy it all up so they could move onto their next project. The last two seasons should have been ten episodes, as with the preceding six seasons, HBO is on record as saying they would have keep it going for many more seasons if the show runners and cast had been interested in it, but they weren't, and that's that.

It's interesting though, because the online reaction to Season 8 was a large part of the reason why I disavowed Internet discussions, something that I've largely kept to this day, though I do allow myself to take part in the discussions here because I've been coming to this site ever since Jammer first put it online. There are whole sites (/r/freefolk on Reddit being the most obnoxious, IMHO) devoted to nothing more than bitching about Season 8 of Game of Thrones, a self-reinforcing circle jerk of toxicity, IMHO.

I was _heavily_ invested in Game of Thrones, too long of a story to tell here, but suffice it to say it got my immediate circle of meatspace friends through some very trying times and we were all disappointed in how it ended, but we haven't obsessed over it for months and months on end while eviscerating anyone that dares to find something redeeming in the final season (and it did have some redeeming moments, IMHO)

People went so far as to create an online petition demanding a remake of the last season, which I found patently absurd and offensive to the legions of people that worked tirelessly on the production. No wonder the show runners and actors don't take them seriously, you're going to tell someone who pulled 18+ hour days for months on end that the final product sucked when you have zero experience in their industry and haven't written anything yourself other than snide comments on the Internet? It's the ultimate armchair quarterbacking.
brian l
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
"The show just wanted to go "look, some gays" without wanting to put any of the work in of showing an actual relationship. That applies to all the straight characters too."

And, sadly, it also applies to everything else in the show as well:
"Look a borg cube."
"Look a murder."
"Look a horrible future event."
"Look a head getting sliced off with a sword."
"Look someone saying fuck."

They treat the audience like an infant, trying to get them to look in the camera. Snap your fingers, make a funny face, maybe they'll look for a few seconds.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
I don't find the idea of a Pike/Spock show to exciting. The ghost of what for me was the dreadful pilot for TOS hangs over it... Recasting Spock for me is a non-starter (that did for the 2009 + films so far as I was concerned)

No, I'll be looking forward to seing Picard, and The Orville in good time. (Probably not for quite some time I suspect. Not much making new seasons this year I'm afraid...) And making my way through the old series on Netflix in the meantime. Some of the episodes are stinkers alright, but I love them for all that.
The more I think of it the more I find myself disagreeing with the notion that this series represented a departure from the essential Star Trek ethos. Sure enough, the Federation and Star Fleet might have fallen away, with the idea that there was something inevitable about the future bringing progress - but that inevitability wasn't what it was about.

What was essential was the idea that a decent world was indeed achievable. The future could get rid of some of the things that has made it harder to achieve it, but it still costs - and that was what Picard's mission was, to be the single neurone used to restore things.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
It's no secret I haven't been a fan of Star Trek Picard, but in fairness this episode does the best job I've come across of making a positive case for the show and explaining some of the themes. Darren Mooney is one of the smartest Trek reviewers out there.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, I don't disagree. My reaction to the Game of Thrones finale is that what happened was fine, but how it happened felt very contrived and disappointing. Which I think supports my point about the risks of serialized shows.

Speaking of fan reactions, I'm actually quite relieved that so far I haven't seen any personal attacks against Chabon or any of the people involved in Picard in these forums. Sure, some of us are disappointed, but that's never acceptable.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Nick

"I also think Star Trek has always been at its best when there isn't a overarching narrative. It really only worked for me for the Dominion war arc."

I feel the Dominion War arc went on for far too long and had too many twists to remain plausible by the end. I could never get invested in the huge CGI battles, they were nothing more than eye candy for me, the standout episodes in my mind were the character pieces ("Rocks and Shoals" and "In The Pale Moonlight" being my two personal favorites) that used the war as a backdrop to tell a good story.

I wish they had stuck to those sorts of character pieces and resisted the urge to put our heroes at the front and center of everything. The war should have bypassed DS9 once the station was retaken, Guadalcanal was a pretty exciting place in late 1942/early 1943, but by 1944 it was a backwater assignment with no real relevance to the war effort, and so it should have been with Deep Space Nine.

Maybe I know too much about the economics of war for my own good, but I can't help but feel that the whole war arc was written by people with a High School level understanding of World War II, which is what they clearly based the whole arc on, but WWII was essentially over once the United States entered the war, the economic/manpower/technological disparity was simply too great for the Axis Powers to overcome and there was no plausible scenario where the Allies lost the war after that point.

If WWII had gone the way of the Dominion War Germany would have been unstoppable, until a plucky American O-6 and his crew of misfits handed them a decisive defeat, except we're still losing because they outproduce us, but wait, we brought in a new ally and now we're going to win, except oh fuck, they got a new ally with an unstoppable weapon, but we reverse engineered it in only a few weeks time and developed a defense against it, now the Germans are screwed, we've got them bottled up in Berlin, except we can't just leave them there to wither on the vine because they're somehow still a threat to the entire planet even though they only have the resources of one city at their disposal.......

I just can't get as invested in DS9 as a lot of people. It was my first introduction to Trek ("Duet", still a Top 5 episode after all these years), it had some of the most compelling characters (Garek, Odo, Kira, O'Brian, Dukat....) out of any Trek series, but I really don't feel like the war arc has aged well at all, I really really really hate the whole Sisko as the Messiah (he's even divinely conceived!) of the Bajorian people plot line, and they completely fucking forgot about the whole premise of the series, which was to get Bajor into the Federation, we didn't even get a throwaway line about Bajor joining in the final episode, but we spent half of it on Sisko and Dukat's divine battle between good and evil? Ugh.

More than anything that plot line is why I believe there's some merit to the claim that Paramount ripped a lot of DS9 off of the Babylon 5 series bible -- which JMS pitched to them before he went with WB -- because Babylon 5 had the same storyline with Sheridan (my least favorite part of an otherwise excellent show) and it was completely out of left field for Star Trek.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"Speaking of fan reactions, I'm actually quite relieved that so far I haven't seen any personal attacks against Chabon or any of the people involved in Picard in these forums. Sure, some of us are disappointed, but that's never acceptable."

I found the attacks against D&D extremely disheartening. You can call them lazy writers, because they clearly were ("Well, you see, Dany kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet.....") but the personal attacks and sheer enjoyment some quarters of the Internet got out of watching their subsequent downfall was extremely off-putting to me.

The Internet really brings out the worst of humanity. :(
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
A thing I noted ages ago was how two people can absolutely agree on the positives and negatives of something and yet come to wildly different conclusions overall. It's down to the balance of how the positives and negatives weigh and that will be subjective.

So with Picard, for some, the themes it touches on are embraced as valuable while the plot holes are dismissed as niggles that aren't worth obsessing over, but for others, the slapdash nature of the connective tissue tanks the value of the themes trying desperately to get out.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, I don't disagree with you there. There are lots of jerks out there. I do think some of the attacks have a deeper rooted frustration, which is the frustration with how our society is structured such that some people can succeed wildly while others fail, not due to talent or smarts but due to dumb luck or connections. There's a lot of (largely justifiable) anger in the world right now about how the meritocracy we were all promised is no longer there (if it ever was). So when people see D&D being lazy writers and getting hundred million dollar deals, I get why it angers people. Now, that NEVER justifies personal attacks or harassment. There's a line people just shouldn't cross.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:38pm (UTC -5)

Really agree with you on DS9. I felt the best seasons were actually the first 2, before the Dominion War arc(s) started. Granted, the couple seasons after season 2 had the Dominion plot on mini arcs, with the non-Dominion episodes pretty good, but the show started to get boring and contrived (contrived for the reasons you stated in relation to WW2) when going onto full Dominion mode.

I think you're right re ripping off Babylon 5, way too many parallels, including the introduction of the Defiant to move events off-station (similar to the introduction of the Whitestar in B5, but Bablylon 5 the station still retained importance). I think DS9 wrote itself into a corner by the setting; i.e., having it set on a station constrained the normal Trek ship setting to "boldly go", yet I think the setting was ripe for character development and Bajoran, Cardassian, and Gamma Quadrant development. However, the Dominion War arc(s) pretty much hemmed in further Gamma Quadrant narratives. In addition, there weren't enough Maquis episodes, and I think there could have been interesting themes about loyalty and new alliances vis-a-vis Bajor, Cardassia, the Maquis, and other alien races.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim
In your description is one mistake. Without the prophets the Federation, the entire alpha quadrant, would have been overrun. Then there was the problem of the white production which severely limited the Dominions capacity to produce Jem Hadar.
But I agree that the war, at least with the entry of the Breen, started to go off the rails. The whole "we have to conquer Cardassia Prime because something " is very stupid indeed. So was Sisko fighting Dukat in the firecaves.

"The Internet really brings out the worst of humanity. :("
No it doesn't. It just brings the worst together. 5 people fight about toilet paper, 500 do not. What do we notice? There are times when people are more frustrated and times when they are less. If people are constantly in a bad mood they will find a way to let the world know. Internet or not.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
@Glom said "So with Picard, for some, the themes it touches on are embraced as valuable while the plot holes are dismissed as niggles that aren't worth obsessing over, but for others, the slapdash nature of the connective tissue tanks the value of the themes trying desperately to get out."

Agreed. I think a well written plot that is well acted and casted is way more difficult to achieve than themes. Not to offend those more focused on the achievement of the theme, but I think thematic storytelling to the exclusion of poor writing is really an appeal to emotion. There's a lot of TV out there to get me emotional, but not a lot of TV with tight acting, writing, and plot. Of course, to have both is great TV.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
@ Startrekwatcher

"And If there was one story left in the Borg I figured it was an origin story."

I really thought from reading the few interviews and watching the trailer that they were going to do away with the Borg altogether (fallout from future Janeway's virus in Endgame?), The Collective has been destroyed, and all that's left are refugees who (in Hugh's words) are the most despised people in the galaxy.

That would have made for a pretty compelling story, IMHO, one that would be relevant to modern times, and why not kill The Collective off altogether? You can't really use them for the future stories, there's only so many times our heroes can defeat the unstoppable enemy before they lose their fear factor. Voyager was definitely guilty of this, by the end of that series a Federation scout ship/light cruiser could apparently go toe-to-toe with a "Tactical Cube," when just years earlier it took a Cube about 15 seconds to render the flagship Enterprise-D completely helpless....

Apparently The Collective is still a thing in this universe though and it was only this one particular cube that failed, so I'm kind of dreading their inevitable return, because let's be real, how long are the writers going to be able to resist that temptation? You'll never outdo The Best of Both Worlds, but that won't stop them from trying. :(
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim
Haven't responded because a lot of what I would've said has been covered by others and I didn't want to pile on. Though I now see I should've labelled it "Pointless relationships" rather than what I did. They are there, they exist. But they do very little beyond that. They don't feel organic.
Honestly, Seven/Raffi would've been better served by some sidelong glances suggesting an interest rather than "We're holding hands now." It suggests the possibility and potential development rather than something that developed out of the seeming blue. It's not quite as bad as Seven and Chakotay suddenly being three dates in, but it's rhe same playbook.

Additionally, making Seven bi is a great idea, that like most in this show goes unexplored. Seven would have been perfect for showing what coming out to one's self looks like in a more accepting future. Especially later in life as Seven has always be a character about self-discovery. What does it mean to be gay to her, since for so long her world view was shaped by the practical? How would she cope with her burgeoning feelings not reconciling with her scientific view of sex as a biological, reproductive act and therefore homosexual relations not seeming to her to serve a purpose. These are all questions our society is struggling with as more conservative groups are faced with homosexuality in everyday society. It would also be the perfect catalyst for her more human growth we see in the series, way more than gruesome eyegouging.

As for Rios and Jurati, I'll be honest, I forgot abot them, such little an impact their coupling made on me, or the narrative.
Chris Lopes
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)

I suspect coming out doesn't mean a damn thing in the future of STP. The Seven/Raffi relationship actually makes a great deal of sense to me, as they are both broken people who are very much alone. That has nothing to do with any particular sexual orientation, just the specific choice of partners. Those particular characters just fit together.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Without the prophets the Federation, the entire alpha quadrant, would have been overrun."

That's another deus ex machina I never forgave the DS9 writers for.

The Prophets weren't Gods. DS9 itself established that they could be killed by mortal technology ("The Assignment" and "The Reckoning"), but the Dominion just lets them wipe out their fleet and never retaliates?

That was a huge missed opportunity in my mind. When Sisko is begging them to intervene one of them tells him "A penance must be exacted." You know what I would have done with that storyline? The Prophets stop the Dominion fleet, as happened, but the Dominion retaliates and wipes them out. You've saved the Alpha Quadrant, but the price is the destruction of the Bajorian Gods, their religion, and now you can explore the major societal upheaval that would ensue on Bajor, Kira having to come to terms with what Sisko did, the resurgence of the Pah Wraith cult, and maybe even the Pah Wraiths themselves......

If you've watched Babylon 5 recall Kosh's reluctance to intervene in the war when Sheridan is begging him for help, because he knew the Shadows would retaliate and he would die, that was the "price" that had to be paid for his help at a critical time.

But no, it was a true deus ex machina in DS9, and that's something I was never able to look past.

"Then there was the problem of the white production which severely limited the Dominions capacity to produce Jem Hadar. "

The Jem Hadar lost all of their fear factor (and let's be candid, they were scary AF in the episodes prior to the war, possibly the scariest Star Trek villains outside of the Borg) in the war. "The Siege of AR-558" comes to mind, we're supposed to get emotionally invested in that battle, but I just sat there thinking, "Two crew served machine guns from World War I would be enough to stop this assault dead in its tracks." They literally just marched into the teeth of Starfleet's defenses, no plan, no strategy, and it's only Federation stupidity (Seriously, nobody has thought of making the phaser equivalent of a crew served machine gun? What happened to the photon grenades Kirk once used against the Gorn?) that allowed them to get as far as they did.

Star Wars does the whole "War" thing way better than Star Trek ever could. Watch Chapter 4 of The Mandalorian; the ground battle in that episode is infinitely more plausible than anything that came out of DS9's war arc, to the point that the tactics and strategy depicted therein were praised by actual military officers and historians.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
Exactly Brian.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
AR-559 says: "But a small amount of research says:"

I was referring to Jadzia's sex drive. She was constantly humping aliens, flirting with non-humans and banging holo babes.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"No it doesn't. It just brings the worst together. 5 people fight about toilet paper, 500 do not."

I hear what you're saying and I don't entirely disagree but I stand by my comment that the Internet brings out the worst in people.

Are you on Facebook? I'm not, any longer, but when I was I watched people I know and respect in the real world arguing about politics with language they would NEVER use in a face-to-face discussion. That's on a platform that requires you to use your real name and can come with real world consequences (loss of employment) for what you say and do, but people still run wild with it.

Then there's the platforms that permit people anonymity and all you need to know about them can be summarized by The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. (Google it if you're unfamiliar, it's a thing, lol)
Chris Lopes
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -5)

Well whatever the particular host's gender, the Dax symbiot seemed decidedly male. ;)
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
I'll admit the only reason I know about Raffi/Seven is because it has been discussed here. I missed it in the episode itself.

But it seems that some of the arguments in favour of this are missing the point of the criticism. It seems that the criticism isn't that the two wouldn't make a good pairing, but that they have been paired up out of the blue.

Have these two characters ever exchanged dialogue? They can't have shared more than a couple of scenes since in episode 5 Raffi buggered off early and when Seven returned, she's spent almost the entire time in the Borg cube. If they have exchanged dialogue, has it been anything other than purely plot related?

It's no good saying they'll depict the relationship next season, because if they are already displaying public affection then clearly something has already happened that we missed. And that's disappointing that we won't be able to see them connecting unless they do it in flashback.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
re: "Trek being at it's best with episodic stories"

This partially true, but also a little false. TNG played with ongoing plots; Kligon politis and Worf (which ran over two shows), Romulan intrigue (sadly not ever fully realized, and certainly not in this show); the Borg threat, dealings with Q; Soong and Lore, the Chrystalline Entity, the lives and deaths of Tasha and her daughter (also not fully realized), Riker and Troi's on again-off again relationship, Geordi and Leah Brahms, Ro's redemption and fall, Wesley and the Traveller. The Cardassians. So many on-going plots that carried throught the show. But these are not, for the most part, contiguous plot lines. They are story threads, peppered throughout the series, not continuing on one after the other, each chaper of them providing a whole narrative experience.

The same is true for DS9 and Enterprise when it comes to both of their longer story arcs, regardless of their successes or failings. Each episode by and large, functions as it's own entity, but with a place in the context of the on-going plot.

The Trek formula never really hurt when it came to ongoing plot threads or overarching narratives, beyond perhaps balance issues between wholly episodic tales and ones that picked up a thread. What people craved back then I think, in talking about stronger serialization and continuity was not a fundamental reorganization of how Trek told stories, but better character continuity over episodes. To avoid situations where Geordi can spend an episode being brainwashed, than fine next week, or Picard being tortured and it being fogotten about. (Although watching DS9's "Emissary" right after "Chain of Command" makes that conference rooms scene between Sisko and Picard sting that much more - "Dammit, I just got out of a Cardassian gulag and now this jerk throws Wolf 359 at me...") Or even O'Brien's 20 year prison stint and near suicide being brushed aside by the next episode. Those were all great episodes, marred only by their lack of impact.

Early reimagined Battlestar had the right idea in terms of narrative structure. Each episode had it's own plot, had some carry over into the next without affecting the episodic story and let the characters cope with fall out, and it was a very bingeable show. It wasn't until the show hit big turning points or was nearing it's end that the plot threads got tied off, or together into a more serialized format, much like DS9. That kept the shows fresh week to week, rather than dumping the audience in the deep end of an on going narrative that runs the risk of going stale.

Alas, TV largely seems to lack that nuance today.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:51pm (UTC -5)

"I could really live without a whole episode (or even a whole scene) devoted to Law & Order: Alpha Quadrant"

Really? I mean, to each their own, but courtroom stories have turned out to be some of the highest rated Trek episodes as well as some of the best Picard stories. "Measure of a Man" and "The Drumhead" for example.

Not sure why we keep bringing up examples of Sisko being shady to excuse Jurati's actions. Sisko's actions were a person in power making impossible choices that compromised his values; the difficulty he had in doing that and the toll it took on his character were major themes of the show. Jurati is being let off the hook for murder because... She's quirky, I guess?

It's true that we did not see a court-martial episode after Sisko gassed that planet, and there are a few other examples like that in Trek. The "reset button" is generally recognized as a weakness with episodic storytelling and Trek in particular, but that alone does not make Jurati getting off for murder acceptable. I'd argue that in serialized storytelling, where character actions generally have more weight and carry over into subsequent episodes, pulling that kind of "welp, nevermind" maneuver is even more problematic.

Look, all I'm saying is Jurati deliberately killed a guy and whether or not she was in her right mind is an open question at best. They really ought to follow up on that in season 2, but given how her character was treated in the final episodes and Kurtzman Trek's habit of abandoning half-finished plots I have serious doubts they will. And if they expect the audience to just forget about Maddox's murder because Jurati is quirky and feels bad about it, then that's garbage writing as well as being pretty fucked-up.

I'll happily eat crow if I'm wrong.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
@Chris Lopez

Please note, my comment was less about Seven coming out to society and friends, but to herself.

I'm no authourity on this, but I do suspect that realizing one is gay would still involve a bit of personal disconsertion, even in the 24th century. It's a big moment of self discovery, and does require a change of any childhood preconcieved notions of family life and having children (Even if same-sex couples in the future are able to have children composed of their own and partners DNA, the method would probably be different) Surely it would not be as traumatic as today, especially for any youths on that path, but for those that realize it when they're older I would guess that'd still be personally difficult.

Especially for Seven, who for all of Voyager's run viewed things in very concrete, scientific, analytical ways. I doubt anyone in Seven's life would bat an eye at her coming out as bisexual, but I can see it as being a period of intense personal questioning and introspection for her, as she is still recovering from the abuse of the Borg. It's alegorically rife for commenting on attitudes of today. Even if she has the comfort of an accepting society.

(I really hope none of this offends anyone, I'm just speculating about what sexuality would, um, look like for lack of a better term, in a future that embraces all forms of it)
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
@ Glom

"Have these two characters ever exchanged dialogue? They can't have shared more than a couple of scenes since in episode 5 Raffi buggered off early and when Seven returned, she's spent almost the entire time in the Borg cube. If they have exchanged dialogue, has it been anything other than purely plot related?"

Why does everything need to be spelled out for people to be happy?

They shared a pretty intense life and death struggle together. They both have a common friend/mentor (Picard). They're on a ship afterwards playing some sort of game together. One of them accidentally brushes the other one's hand and chemistry ensues. I really don't think it needs to be viewed as anything more complicated than that.

(*) And yes, I can already predict people saying "Picard is Seven's mentor????" because folks here were previously annoyed that they seemingly had a relationship out of nowhere, but do recall that Seven was a Borg Drone during the time that Picard was Locutus and in every scene of Star Trek filmed since then has made it apparent that EVERY current and former Borg Drone retains a special connection to him.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Also, remember those Romulan housekeepers from the start of the season? The former Tal Shiar operatives with extensive combat abilities as well as knowledge of the Zhat Vash, the organization trying to kill Daj, Soji and Picard himself?

Remember when we left them behind so Picard could recruit a Romulan child who was good at swinging a sword? Good times.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
@ Sen-Sors

"Really? I mean, to each their own, but courtroom stories have turned out to be some of the highest rated Trek episodes as well as some of the best Picard stories. "Measure of a Man" and "The Drumhead" for example."

Do you really think a procedural courtroom drama about a manslaughter case and Jurati's defense of justification and/or temporary insanity could rise to the level of either of those two episodes?

The Measure of a Man was about individual liberty, freedom, the right to choose, and the rights of a newly created race that stood to be enslaved if the court had ruled the other way. The Drumhead was about paranoia in times of crisis and was freakishly prescient given the events of modern times, that episode was at least 10 years ahead of its time.......

How would you write a Jurati courtroom scene to be any different than a random Law & Order episode? I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely curious, if you can convince me that it could be done in a compelling manner that would justify an entire episode or even a significant portion of one I'd be willing to entertain it, but if we're only going to get ten episode seasons out of Modern Star Trek I just can't see using one for this.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
I think Tim's summary of world war two rather misses out the Russian involvement - without that I'd question whether there would have been any inevitability about Allied victory. (And its been reasonably argued that the moment when eventual German defeat became inevitable was when Hitler invaded Russia.)
"Displaying public affection" writes Glob. What's "public affection" about clasping hands while playing a game in private? I didn't notice it on first viewing either, like Glob - and none of the other characters were in a position even to see it.

That kind of sudden awareness of a link, especially in the wake of a time of great peril, frequently happens, as Tim pointed out, anit doesn't need any particular build up in advance - and as I wrote earlier, they have some powerful things in common.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

"I think Tim's summary of world war two rather misses out the Russian involvement - without that I'd question whether there would have been any inevitability about Allied victory."

The US/UK alliance would have beaten Germany without Soviet help, read the Plan Dog memo, which was written _before_ the Soviet Union was invaded, we just would have paid a huge butcher's bill to win the war. As it was the US and UK got off comparatively cheap, we had the luxury of fighting with money (tanks, planes, ships, etc.) rather than lives, which was the only choice the Soviets had. That said, I have to address this:

"And its been reasonably argued that the moment when eventual German defeat became inevitable was when Hitler invaded Russia"

That argument is flawed because the entire point of the war from Germany's perspective was to obtain "living space" (Lebensraum) in the East. Germany was _ALWAYS_ going to invade the Soviet Union. It was no secret, Hitler spelled it out in Mein Kampf, which was widely available and surely known to the Soviet intelligence apparatus. Stalin apparently didn't believe Hitler's own words, or he did and opted to throw the West under the bus to buy time, who can say, but it was all there, telegraphed out in the open more than a decade before the war started.

Everything that happened prior to Operation Barbarossa was mere table dressing. France had to be dealt with so Germany didn't have to fight another two front war. Poland had to be invaded because it was to be the first part of the "living space" for the Reich. The Balkens were conquered to secure Germany's oil supply and Southern Flank. The list goes on and on....
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Nolan

After reading your comment, I'll second that an episode/ scene of Seven grappling with her sexuality (as you describe) would have been powerful.

I hope the Powers That Be are paying attention.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Good lord, Raffi/7 is the union LBGTQ check in the box. EVERY show HAS to have it now.

I saw it as a preview of what is to come. We've seen sexual changes before in Trek. Sulu is now gay.
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
@sc never a good idea to claim your opinion is the voice of everyone.. anyway..

Finallt got around to it: Damn fine finale. Brought a sentimental and sometime nostaligic tear to my eye a few times.

I'm SO glad they didn't end with a 30 minute space battle like DSC S2 did (a finale that "everyone" except me apparently loved). That may have ruined what was on the whole a damn fine season.

I mean the show isn't on an Expanse level of brilliance but with the exception of MAYBE the odd patch of DS9 and a handful of TNG realistically Star Trek never has been. Much as I love it. Thoroughly enjoyable. They could do with squeezing in the odd morale dilema a bit or some original high brow idea (which is tough given the vast amount tv these days tbh)...but whatever.. thoroughly enjoyable.

I agree with some of the above poster's... very nice send off for Data complete the song he sang at the wedding.

Hopefully Jammer can do a better effort than last weeks childish "I call BS" review but with everything that's going on it's probably understand if they're delay or not his usual standard.

Hmm I guess I have to sit through S3 of DSC. If I find myself ranting at the screen every 5 minutes after 2 or 3 episodes I fear I may have to give up on it.. and not come on here and rip into it every week with 1000 words either. Life is way too short.

Looking forward to s2 greatly.

Keep well and stay safe everyone.
skye francis-maidstone
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
@geekgarious "If this show were as good as a show like The Expanse, we wouldn’t be arguing over whether or not it’s Trek."

Oh we so would.. It's everyone's favourite topic.

I don't see the what's so great about The Mandalorian. It's pretty but full of soap opera quality acting and bad/sloppy writing. I'm not a SW fan I guess. The Expanse deserves all the praise it gets however.
Dave in MN
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
@ Yanks

Here's my perspective as a 40 year old guy who happens to be gay.

I went the first 20 years without any gay characters in genre fiction. I saw no one like me dealing with the unique aspects of gay existence as well as whatever difficulties the plot presented.

If there WAS a gay character, it would be either be a villian (mirror-Kira), a psychopath (The Kid in The Stand), a Queen (The Birdcage) or an saintly AIDS victim.

Yes, I'll agree that Hollywood is over-correcting somewhat (especially since infidelity seems to be the most common plot development gay characters encounter), but I'm happy that kids today (that are watching intelligent programming like "The Society" or "The Orville" or what-have-you) get to have someone they can see themselves it.

It's a lot better than the way I felt when I younger: that the only like-minded characters I saw were either damaged, diseased or comic relief.
Chris Lopes
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:21pm (UTC -5)

Point taken. 7's personal acceptance of who she is would require some work to explore. On Voyager (outside of the thing with Chakotay, that no one bought) 7 didn't really explore that part of her humanity. She's been on her own for quite a while since then, so there is no telling what kind of exploration she's been doing. While watching her deal with the discovery of her sexuality might interesting, that discovery likely happened years ago. The same goes for Raffi.
Patrick D
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone

"I'm SO glad they didn't end with a 30 minute space battle like DSC S2 did (a finale that "everyone" except me apparently loved). That may have ruined what was on the whole a damn fine season."

I mean, it looked cool but it didn't really cap off the season in a way that meaningfully closed any arcs of the season (except for guest character Pike's, I suppose). And then the show comes up with the most inelegant solution in fiction by having everyone "forget what happened" in first two seasons of DISCO. I'm curious about what will happen in season 3 of DISCO, but I'm not excited about it at all.

Say what you will about this show, but at least it followed through with Picard being the optimistic hero and brings everyone into the light. Yes, they left many details hanging, but the main story arcs were more or less resolved in a plausibly Trekkian way. That plus the acting puts this leagues ahead of DISCO.

Set in a course for season 2, maximum warp. Engage!
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
@ skye francis-maidstone

"I don't see the what's so great about The Mandalorian. It's pretty but full of soap opera quality acting and bad/sloppy writing. I'm not a SW fan I guess. The Expanse deserves all the praise it gets, however."

#1, glad you liked the closer. I really enjoyed it as well.

I also enjoy 'The Expanse' although I don't think it deserves quite the level of hype it gets.

As to 'The Mandalorian', I really enjoyed it. I think maybe because it's not trying to be anything it's not. It's been true to itself so far. I think it's better than the last 2 mainstream Star Wars movies. Hell, it makes fun of how bad the Stormtroopers aim is, gotta gove them credit for that :-)

That and I LOVE the theme song. I wish I could say the same for 'Picard'.

Dave in MN,

I hear ya and can empathize. If they "go there" with Raffi/7 I hope they make it meaningful. I don't want either character to end up like Culver in 'Discovery'. Such a waste of great acting talent.

Back to this episode, there is one thing I wish we could have seen. It would have been really meaningful had Data had a conversation with Soji. Especially with how he lost Lal.

OK, let's all cry now...
Tommy D.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Law & Order: Trials of Trek

There are supposedly two as of yet announced Trek shows... I do agree that some of the best episodes and scenes in Star Trek are of the trial variety (Undiscovered Country is my personal favorite), I just am not sure in another 10 episode season if I want to see a full episode dedicated to the Trial of Agnes.

I think Raffi/7 makes sense for the characters involved (including Elnor, who was raised by women), but doesn't make sense from just what we were shown.

I also felt that there was a passage of time between Picards death and resurrection in the golem. I don't think it happened right away, but that also could be my headcanon. Soong had finished the golem, but Agnes would have had to oversee the mind transfer, which im assuming isn't a quick turnaround.
The Chronek
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:34pm (UTC -5)

Upon first viewing, I was underwhelmed. I felt the Picard death/resurrection to be unearned with its emotion. To all those who said Picard would become an android last week, kudos, you got it.

I get Raffi being emotional. I get Elnor being emotional. They had established personal histories with Picard. But I don't buy that level of emotion from the rest of the supporting cast.

I liked the scene with Picard and Data in Picard's post-death vision/dream/complex simulation thing. That's the kind of sendoff Data deserved. That was well-earned emotion, mostly from TNG, but also from Picard's journey as we saw during the season.

The trouble with Star Trek main character deaths is that I inevitably compare it to Spock's death and resurrection in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. That still remains the gold standard for any main Trek character's death. The characters really made significant sacrifices to bring Spock back: their careers, their freedom, the Enterprise, and of course, Kirk's son. By comparison, Picard's death paled.

I agree that Jurati needs to stand trial for her crimes. Romulan influence or not, she still killed a man. This isn't some cultural differences thing, like when Worf claimed right of vengeance against Duras.

I would have liked to have seen Q back in the finale, picking up where he left off near the end of All Good Things.

Heck, maybe my disappointment in this episode comes from what I wanted to see.

So, now I'll catch up on Discovery and Short Treks.

Stay safe, all. LLAP.
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
@ msw188, I love it - a great outline. I’ve been spending the lockdown watching old TNG, and there are just so many great courtroom episodes.

I never thought of Ensigns of Command as a legal drama, but of course Picard pulls some contractual loophole out of the treaty to defeat the Sheliak.

I never thought of A Matter of Perspective as a legal drama, but of course what we watch are each person’s “depositions” fed into the holodeck computer.

I never thought of Sins of the Father as a legal drama, but of course Worf’s family is on trial, and he cuts a plea bargain deal at the end.

It’s not just classic legal drama episodes like Measure of a Man or Drumhead, but when you think about it, all of TNG, starting right from the trial of humanity in Encounter at Farpoint, all the way through Q’s admonition (!!!!) in All Good Things… that the trial never ends - the whole thing is in some ways a legal drama judging what humans are and what humanity might become.

So by all means, @msw188, your idea of a Dr. Jurati trial down on the planet could have been a perfect denouement to the the season.

@Dom, my apologies that I’m not familiar with video games to add them to the list. But from what I understand, Mass Effect (even if I have no idea what that is - and this is my own limitation, not having played video games since Super Mario Brothers and TMNT the Arcade version, back in the 80’s), that ME is a huge influence on Picard. For more on breaking the human/AI cycle of conflict, see also nBSG. All this has happened before, but maybe all this doesn’t have to happen again.

@Tim, I agree with you completely on GOT, though I actually liked that the ending was true to the spirit of the books, most of which I had read long before the TV show ever came out. The end is true to the spirit of what GRRM seems to be setting up. It is anyone’s guess if GRRM will actually get around to writing the end. But your point is 100% correct: people would have been far more understanding if the show runners had taken their time getting there. And what is true of Game of Thrones and their show runners, is equally true of nuTrek and its show runners.

These people are too much in a hurry to get to their “clever” story points, and don’t give the show and the characters - and the audience - time to come along and enjoy the ride.

Remember The Wire, that epitome of good serial story telling? Each season started off slow. Allowed time for the characters to get established. And then, when faced with the major situation of the season, those characters could react naturally to those situations. The plot progression flowed naturally from the characters, rather than the characters being dragged along from plot point to plot point. But that takes excellence. And the hacks that are running nuTrek aren’t up to the job.

Discovery’s cardinal sin was not retconning a sister for Spock. Star Trek V retconned in a brother, but the movie was bad for completely different reasons. Discovery was too much in a hurry to get Michael established as the show lead. It took Picard almost two seasons - almost 50 episodes - before he was accepted by a wide swath of fandom as our captain. It took John Snow almost two seasons - almost 20 episodes - before he became our hero.

But with Michael, Discovery rushed through her trial. They didn’t even have a single episode of her serving time in jail. Heck, O’Brien had more jail time in DS9 than Michael did in Discovery - even though she was evidently convicted of one of the greatest crimes in Federation history. Even poor Cassidy Yates went away for more episodes than Michael. But the writers on Discovery were in a hurry. They cut too many corners. And as a result, the show sucks.

And don’t say cutting corners is just due to the short seasons that nuTrek has versus old Star Trek seasons.

Voyager suffered the same cardinal sin even with full length seasons.

Instead of taking a season to show the conflict between Janeway’s Federation crew and Chakotay’s Maquis crew, TPTB wrapped it all up in a few hours, put everyone in Starfleet uniforms, and called it a day. Compare that to how it could have been - should have been - in nBSG, where Adama and Roslin spent seasons taking pot shots at each other before they finally came to some workable power-sharing arrangement. That’s what it means to take your time. That’s what good writers do in serialised shows.

Not the hacks that run nuTrek.

So @msw188, I 100% endorse your idea of a courtroom drama. What a trial of Jurati might have done in the right hands - like all great Trek legal dramas (think back to TOS's The Menagerie), is take time. Take stock. Allow the grand changes that are happening in the ‘verse time to sink in.

Adding synths back to the fabric of the Federation is a big step.

No need to short circuit the change in 30 seconds of dialogue about what happened off-screen - WTF! Let it simmer like the changing of generations in Game of Thrones. Ned Stark was arrested in Episode 8, but not executed till the end of Episode 10. It takes time for the baton to pass. Think of the two trials of Tyrion - one in at the Eryie, one at Winterfell, and how much they fleshed out the show - a show that like Picard, only had 10 episodes in a season.

Unless these hacks running nuTrek learn to write - learn to structure an episode like the Mandalorian, and learn to structure a season like The Wire (or Mad Men or House of Cards), we’re going to be stuck for a long time with this drek.
James White
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Last thing - Jurati is 10x better in Devs. Another show that laughs at Kurtzman.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:41am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the reply! While I do think that the season would have been improved by a separate ending episode involving some legal-ish proceedings, I actually also agree with some other posters who think that an entire episode devoted to Jurati's trial is probably too much. Especially if it were a final episode (or a starting episode for next season, say). The focus of a season finale should definitely be on Picard and Soji, and I'm glad ours was. I just think it could have been fun and interesting to have a finale involving some details about the ban, and the Federation being willing to trust Soji to never build another beacon. In addition to covering Jurati's trial (and some others too).

You bring up an interesting point that, from a certain point of view, all of TNG is one gigantic courtroom drama for humanity. This simplifies things of course, but it was certainly no accident that the opener and closer were written the way they were.

@Nolan regarding episodic vs serialized
I agree with pretty much all of this.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:04am (UTC -5)
@ Tim (if you are not Tim you can skip this until @ everybody:)
I'm not sure that the disappearance of the Dominion fleet qualifies as a deus ex machina. There were several episodes were it was established that the wormhole aliens could disable, destroy or repair ships that fly through the wormhole and that pleading with them can make them react. I could accept that but I understand that you have problems with it.

"but the Dominion just lets them wipe out their fleet and never retaliates?"
Ok sure but what would they achieve by doing that? They would lose contact with their alpha quadrant part and make it impossible to ever sent ships there at a later point. An episode about the Dominion trying to deal with the prophets would have been nice. Weyoun and the Wormhole Aliens. Bajorans dealing with the destruction of their gods would have been interesting, though. True.

Never watched Babylon 5

About the AR-558 episode. I have problems with that one too. But more because it is too pro military for my Star Trek taste. Nog admiring the hardened soldiers, Quark in the end giving up his anti-violence stance. If you have read "All Quiet on the Western Front." Then you know that the episode is not a very good depiction of people in a WWI type of situation. What bothered you, didn't bother me (the technicalities of war). Even in STP they don't have machine pistols or something that fires very fast. Why? I don't know. But the fact that the Dominion was using these phase mines was clever, I thought, and to me the last attack always seemed like an violent overreaction by the Jem Hadar after seeing half their units being ripped to shreds.

I will probably not get Disney+. Certainly not for a SW show. I have a very low opinion of Star Wars. I watched the third one Rise of Skywalker (people dragged me there) and I thought that it was very similar in several ways to STP.

And about your believe that the internet brings out the worst. I'm a German social scientist so let me guarantee you (Ok, guarantee is far too much; I think I read a study about it once; if you have studies that support your views (qualitative or quantitative), please tell me) the internet does not bring out the worst. It's just a place where people with very different/similar opinions can meet. Take ten leftists to a right wing bar and let them talk politics. I recommend putting the number of the police on speed dial. Also let's not forget that the internet often used for very positive things. To you personally, probably not very political, it is of course odd to see these forms of disagreements. When did apolitical or conflict averse people had to deal with political/societal conflict before the internet? During a revolution maybe or in the bar/church when somebody annoyed people by rambling about this or that. You could go years without ever encountering these kinds of conflict. My hypothesis is that you confuse frequency and intensity with personal exposure which the internet certainly facilitates. If this sounds very arrogant or smug then just picture me like this: :)
Sorry for OT everybody.


About the 7/raffi flingading. It would have been nice to see how it reached intimate hand holding. The smiles, the glances, the soft innocent touches on arms and shoulders, the short hugs, the slightly awkward conversations. Did we ever see that?? Did I miss that?
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:52am (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone You're still upset about Jammer's review from last week and because he doesn't agree with you, you're saying it was badly written. It wasn't and he was right. Picard isn't terrible by any means but it's largely, mediocre and forgettable television, after the first watch.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming, please don't judge Star Wars by The Rise of Skywalker. There's a broad consensus that it wasn't a very good film. There are 10 other Star Wars films and TV shows and more, all of which are much better.

I agree with you about the similarities between Picard and TROS. The way they both play fast and loose with plot contrivances and unearned character beats. It's not a surprise because Abrams directed TROS and Picard is overseen by his protege Kurtzman.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 8:41am (UTC -5)
I only liked the original trilogy. The rest was bad or uninteresting. It is aimed at teenage boys mostly. Space knights fighting other space knights and saving the princess. Rebels and evil empire. The original trilogy is good but I'm puzzled how these fairly basic adventure movies became a borderline religion. If the pandemic causes societal downfall I'm certain that in a hundred years there will be a few places where people kill you for not believing in the force. I'm also hesitant to throw any more money down Disney's always hungry throat. That company is far to big for my taste.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -5)

Seriously dude, you HAVE to watch BAB5!!

Q: So what did 5 queens in the opener represent? Did they ever officially make that distinction?
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Here's my ranking of the 1st seasons of each Star Trek show:

1. TOS - Really hard to beat this one.
2. DS9 - Though one of the weaker seasons of the series, still a pretty good 1st season with some very strong episodes.
3. Discovery - This one is harder to rank with the others because it's not really Trek. I liked the mirror universe story line but the season as a whole was undermined by the finale which made no sense and really exposed the flaws of the serialized format. I struggled with ranking this one because the finale was one of the worst Trek episodes I've ever seen, but I also really enjoyed some of the episodes.
4. Picard - The season suffered throughout from pacing issues resulting from the serialized format, but the cast of characters is good and the strength of the acting gives it a lift. I also liked the pivot back into the themes of classic Trek.
5. TNG - A couple of gems in the 1st season, but I found it overly campy. TNG didn't really find it's footing until later seasons.
6. Voyager - I never really liked the whole Kazon arc or the entire series pre- 7 of 9
7. Enterprise - This will always be the worst Star Trek series ever
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:13am (UTC -5)

That is a very peculiar list. I'd put PIC and DSC below ENT, but to each his own.
skye francis-maidstone
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
@nick just for fun here's mine for season 1s

1. ToS
2. PIC
3. VOY
4. DS9
5. ENT
6. TNG
7. DSC

It's nothing like my ranking of series as a whole of course.
skye francis-maidstone
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
@sc i'm not upset about anything. I respect that Jammer's review doesn't align with my opinion but I just found his actual review to be not up to his usual standard (ie "I call BS" repeatedly). The actual review itself wasn't well written. Which is what I already said actually.

You saying he was right doesn't actually make him right, it just means you agree with him.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
@ Burke,

Yeah I really wasn't impressed by most of the 1st seasons of the series. TNG and VOY in particular were really bad (though TNG is my favorite series by far and VOY got a lot better after season 3). I suspect Discovery will end up ranking pretty low as a series overall once it's all said and done, but I think its first season is pretty competitive with the first seasons of the other series.

Picard is kind of interesting because I do see a lot of potential in future seasons depending on which direction it goes in.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:44am (UTC -5)
I don't quite get Nick's ranking of 1st seasons of the various Trek series, but yes as Burke says, to each his own.

Based on my evaluation, I'd rank them as follows:

1. TOS -- and it's not even close as I think this is the best season of any Trek series
2. VOY -- really felt fresh, no real stinkers, introduces the Kazon, Vidiians; pretty solid
Those are what I'd call the only 2 good 1st seasons.
3. DS9 -- worst season of DS9 but it did give us the magnificent "Duet" (top-5 all-time Trek episode for me)
4. ENT -- couple of bright spots depending how you feel about "Dear Doctor" and the initial Temporal Cold War episodes but mostly mediocre/weak
5. PIC -- tons of holes/flaws in S1 arc with 1 terrific episode in "Nepenthe"
6. DSC -- Nu-Trek without anything really terrific
7. TNG -- just way too many weak episodes, poor writing, acting. Worst season Trek ever produced.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
My top 3 is the same as Rahul's, then TNG, ENT, DIS, PIC.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
I find it difficult comparing a 10 episode show with a 20+ episode show in terms of quality. I think if I paired TNG's first season down to the ten best episodes, I'd rate it ahead of PIC. As it is, there's so many mediocre TNG episodes in season one, they really weigh down the good ones. TNG is also the only Star Trek that wasn't backed by a network (or another Trek show), so it's a minor miracle it turned out so well.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)

For me, what makes TNG so good is that, upon re-watches, you can skip all the crap and still enjoy the numerous terrific episodes. That's what the problem will be with DSC, PIC where it's all generally the same quality + or - and very rarely reaches the exceptional. Can't see myself rewatching DSC, PIC to the extent I rewatch TNG (or even VOY, which I don't like near as much as I like TNG).

But even with TNG's 1st season, boiling it down to the top-10, for me, you get a bunch of 2.5* episodes -- so in terms of quality it winds up looking like episodic DSC. Still not good.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:13pm (UTC -5)

Good points. The old shows like TNG (and especially TOS, for me) also have the advantage of being vintage Star Trek so even at their worst we can probably find something we like about them.

I will say on DISC and PIC's behalf that although the shows are serialized, it's not really that hard to jump into a solo episode and just enjoy that. I've rewatched "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" without any refresher courses in the series and I'm sure I could watch "If Memory Serves" or "An Obol for Charon" and feel right at home with them.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Fun... Here is my ranking for first seasons:

1) TOS
2) PIC
3) VOY
4) DS9
5) DSC
6) TNG
7) ENT
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Just noticed, mine is quite similar to skye-francis (top 4 the same).
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I don't know that it's really fair to boil TNG to its 10 best episodes and then compare that to Picard. That method hugely favors TNG cause you get to cherrypick and ignore the worst 60% of the episodes. I'm not really sure the best way to do an apples to apples tho.
Tommy D.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Mine is similar to a couple others.

1) TOS
2) DS9
3) PIC
4) VOY
5) DSC
6) TNG
7) ENT
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Let's just remember that TOS' first season is TWENTY NINE EPISODES. And only one - "The Alternative Factor" - is regarded as bad. Most of the others are outright classics. That's a staggering string of hits.

I would say TNG's first season has 3 great episodes, "11001001", the underrated "We'll Always Have Paris" and possibly, if you're charitable, "Heart of Glory".

IMO "Farpoint", "Last Outpost", "Where No one has Gone Before", "Justice", "Hide and Q", "Angel One", "Home Soil", "Coming of Age", "Skin of Evil", "Conspiracy", "Neutral Zone" are decent too, or have little great passages and/or cool bits of worldbuilding. "Code of Honor" is also a personal favorite of mine, but I'm not allowed to say that in public.

I think if you pretend TNG's season 1 is TOS season 4, it plays well and is fun.

IMO "DS9's" first season great episodes are "Duet" and "In the Hands of the Prophets". "Emissary", "Past Prologue", "Dax" and "Progress" are also very good, and probably "The Nagus", "Storyteller" and "Vortext".

While it's bad episodes are almost unwatchably dull, DS9's first season is doing lots of interesting things. Tonally, it's real interesting. A kind of mundane, slice-of-slice look at the Federation's frontier.

IMO "Voyager's" first season is underrated, and blends well episodic tales and serialized character building. It's great episodes are arguably "Eye of the Needle" and "Prime Factors", but "Parallax", "Time and Again", "The Cloud", "Jetrel", "State of Flux", "Heroes and Demons", "Faces" and "Learning Curve" are pretty good too.

If you skip all the crappy Kazon episodes, you get some good character development across this season.

I would say neither "Discovery" or "Picard's" first seasons have great episodes. Some episodes, especially the pilots, are cool in the sense that they're "suggestive" of something good brewing, but of course the good stuff never comes. And the funny thing is, the climaxes, the resolutions, the destinations, of these shows' little arcs are so bad, that they retroactively destroy everything that came before. How can you take "Disco" and "Picard" seriously when you know it ends up with a torpedo in a room, Michael as Ironman and Picard as a robot?
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
Nick said: "That method hugely favors TNG cause you get to cherrypick and ignore the worst 60% of the episodes"

IMO it's the other way around.

Kurtzman-Trek does not have to write for huge seasons, has access to modern sets, budgets and FX, is freed from the realities of syndicated TV (Old Trek might be broadcast out of order, and episodes had to understandable in isolation) and has access to better actors (in the past, people were hesitant to sign up to 20+ long seasons). Modern writers also have more access to science articles, science fiction prose, and a back-catalogue of Trek episodes which provide pretty clear lessons on what works and doesn't, and what pitfalls to avoid.

Given all this, one would expect a modern, serialized season of Trek to be a refined, well structured and written, carefully honed thing.

Something like TOS and TNG exceeded the limitations of their times. Something like Kurtzman-Trek falls well below what passes for contemporary competency.

Go watch Chabon's other TV series, "Unbelievable", and watch how masterfully structured, shot, paced, acted and written it is. There is a precision to it. Kurtzman-Trek, meanwhile, has Chabon flailing about like a madman, desperately ticking Kurtzman's long list of boxes ("We must have maximum market penetration!", "Gimme some Borg!", "Work Seven of Nine in there...and can we make her gay?").

I wouldn't be surprised that the sheer idea of Picard becoming a robot was itself mandated by economic realities: Patrick Stewart is old and might die! We need to leave a window open for Stewart to download his brain into a computer!
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
First season rankings best to worst


Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
@skye francis-maidstone

Well, of course, because it's just an opinion. You deciding his review wasn't well written is just your opinion. I think it was very well written.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, Voyager hits the ground running more than any other Trek series post-TOS - there are no episodes as good as In The Hands Of The Prophets, Duet and Emissary, but none as bad as The Naked Now, Haven, Symbiosis etc.

I actually like TNG S1 more than S2 though. S2 only has 8 episodes I like, whereas S1 has 13, mostly in the latter half (it really kind of turns a corner halfway through). I adore Conspiracy and Skin Of Evil, they have a rawness and unique tone that has only been occasionally present in Trek before or since. The Neutral Zone and Coming Of Age are strong, ditto The Arsenal Of Freedom and Heart Of Glory; We'll Always Have Paris and Too Short A Season are engaging and ultimately work despite flaws and production limitations along the way. Where No One Has Gone Before, Lonely Among Us and The Battle are the series's first three halfway competent episodes. Datalore is good, and 11001001 is enjoyable and engaging throughout. I find all of the above eps rewatchable. The characters are enjoyable to spend time with and you know where you stand with them all.

DS9's first season has a lot of eps that feel like modified leftover TNG scripts, but there are only about 7 duds out of 20. I think the first 6 episodes of DS9 are an excellent run - Babel and Captive Pursuit are underrated. Babel uses the nascent ensemble really well and has some great Odo-Quark stuff, and Captive Pursuit is stronger still, a meaty O'Brien episode with a fascinating guest star. Vortex is a really good Odo ep, and The Forsaken does more for Lwaxana's character than any TNG ep did hitherto. Of the duds (The Passenger, If Wishes Were Horses, Dramatis Personae), I don't even mind the lightweight ones like Move Along Home so much, it's Battle Lines that I consider the season's worst misfire on many fronts. But it's a good season and at least have of the characters - Sisko, Kira, Odo, Quark and O'Brien - totally work straight out of the gate and have fantastic interplay with each other. One thing I like about early DS9 is it uses the Kira-O'Brien character pairing slightly more (as well as Kira-Sisko, Sisko-O'Brien and Kira-Jadzia).
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, That's exactly why I come down so hard on Discovery and Picard. I don't really, truly believe that the first season of Picard is worse than the first season of TNG. But the older Trek shows were innovators. TOS was the first sci-fi show to do something more interesting than have a random monsters of the week. TNG showed TV science fiction could have serious character drama. DS9 - along with B5 - showed that audiences would stick around for (semi)serialized storytelling and longer character arcs. Yes, the acting and special effects and dialogue in TNG Season 1 weren't great. Yes, quite a few early DS9 episodes are outright awful. But the first seasons of these Trek shows were charting the path for science fiction on TV. The couldn't look to see how anyone else had done solved the problems of bringing space battles to life on a small budget.

Fast-forward to 2020. It's been nearly 35 years since TNG Season 1 first aired. TV channels (and streaming services) are much more willing to air bizarre sci-fi shows. They're more willing to invest large amounts in special effects. It's not unheard of for these shows to be able to recruit some of the best acting talent available. TV writers have had decades of experience with serialized storytelling. We've had several very successful sci-fi TV shows not named "Star Trek." We've got plenty of examples of these shows starting extremely strong. That's the context in which we're evaluating Picard.

People who follow my comments (but why would you?) might notice that I'm less likely to compare Picard to the best of TNG or DS9 and more likely to compare it to The Expanse or Battlestar Galactica. I think that's a fairer comparison than my nostalgic memories of my favorite show as a kid. But in many ways it's also a more damning one. These newer Trek shows have the money, the actors, the experience, and everything they should need to succeed in a way that their predecessors didn't. By contrast, BSG and Expanse - and Westworld and Altered Carbon etc - didn't have the benefit of a popular brand name like "Star Trek."

So is Picard Season 1 better than TNG Season 1? Who cares? That's like asking if the cheap Chinese knockoff cell phones are better than the landline telephones we used back in the 1980s. Of course they are, but they're nowhere near as good as the latest iPhone.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
*half of
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
I think the first season of TNG is too easily dismissed

It did a great job of feeling like a successor to TOS in terms of the ship design, uniforms, tech like holodeck, having a klingon serving etc.

It gave insight into the geopolitical state 24th century and what advances had been made. It felt very futuristic with ideas like cured common cold and cancer

It utilized familiar TOS aliens like Klingons and Romulans while creating new interesting aliens of its own with the Bynars, Harada, Conspiracy aliens, Q, Ferengi

It had a wonderful sense of awe and imagination really embracing cool sci fi ideas and fun action adventure

I realize I’m in the minority but I thought there were a lot of good entertaining episodes to be found like Naked Now, Code of Honor, The Last Outpost, 1100101, the Battle, Lonely Among Us, Datalore, Arsenal of Freedom, Conspiracy, Neutral Zone, When the Bough Breaks to name a few. Even the weaker offerings weren’t awful like Angel One, HomeSoil. True TNG didn’t strive to do some epic season long arc. It just set out to tell fun entertaining hour long standalones but bottom line I found them more entertaining

I also thought ENT for all the missteps it would have its first season was pretty solid. I thought pretty much its first 11 episodes were decent along with Dear Doctor and shuttlepod one if not good to great doing a good job conveying a more realistic touch to space exploration

It did wobble in the middle but picked up towards the end with episodes like Detained and Fallen Hero

DS9 relies too much on TNG in season one. The standalones are hit or miss but mostly miss with crap like The Storyteller, Move Along Home,Q-Less, battle lines, if wishes were horses, the forsaken, dramatis personae

There were some good TNG like episodes— Past Prologue, Babel, Dax, , The Passenger, in the hands of the prophets

Then a mediocre stuff like Vortex, The Nagus. That werent bad but just not very engrossing

VOY has the best pilot but then as a series it was pretty much downhill from there. Season ine was definitely a mix bag. The good was most definitely Kate Mulgrew and Janeway. There were some decent outings like Time and Again, Cathexis, Faces, Phage, State of Flux. I enjoyed Seska and the kazon

But there were a lot of underwhelming episodes—Jetrel, learning curve, parallax, ex post facto, the Beowulf Holodeck episode,

The problem with PIC is it had a good start with the first three episodes and introducing plot elements but once they left Earth they left behind the most interesting characters and started dragging things out and when they finally started to get somewhere the payoffs were pretty much bad from theBorg cube Mystery to the alliance of synthetics to the zhat vash resolution. The La Sirena crew did Nothing for me

The sad thing is the shoe has interesting ideas but these writers didn’t know what to do with them in an interesting way

DIS was so bad I couldn’t finish the first season and haven’t watched it since with no regrets only trek series that ever happened with
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
And for all the talk about shorter seasons making better television and serialization is better storytelling shows like DIS, PIC and non Trek examples—Manifest, Helix, V 2.0, The Event, Life on Mars, the 4400,Daybreak to name a few show that to be demonstrably to be hogwash I’m sure there are others I’m glossing over that can be added to that list

So for all the talk of more time to write and less grueling production schedules I find that 26 episode seasons and episodic shows under a fast paced schedule worked better and that speaks more to the taker of the writers and show runners back then like Michael Piller

As far as these MysteryBox seasons go the best ones imo were
Heroes S1 which was pretty much a near perfect example of this storytelling format and I might add did so doing 24 episodes
Lost S4/5 again excellent examples of how to do well Mystery Box seasons if you’re absolutely determined to do them

And while the third season of ENT itself was too drawn out and the arc itself could have been told in probably 12 episodes rather than drawing it out to24, id argue the xindi arc was much more interesting, entertaining and compelling as well as creating a much better mythology surrounding the Xindi and sphere builders than the one on PIC with theBorg, Romulans, synthetic alliance. It also resolved its mysteries and threads with pretty strong payoffs and resolutions
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"Ok sure but what would they achieve by doing that? They would lose contact with their alpha quadrant part and make it impossible to ever sent ships there at a later point. An episode about the Dominion trying to deal with the prophets would have been nice. Weyoun and the Wormhole Aliens. Bajorans dealing with the destruction of their gods would have been interesting, though. True. "

You're assuming that the Dominion retaliating and wiping out the Prophets would destroy the wormhole. That is not necessarily the case. Not going to argue the physics of the wormhole or anything, just saying that the results of Prophet genocide would be entirely up to the writers of the episode(s) where it happened, and my main gripe remains that there was no real consequence for that intervention. Only a vague statement that "The Sisko" would find "no peace" on Bajor, which never really happened because apparently it was always his destiny to stop Dukat in the fire caves. Yawn.

I really hate the whole overarching plot line if I'm being honest, but it could have done better if they insisted on having it, that's all I'm saying.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
@Dom and @Trent sum the expectations I think quite well with regard to serialization and the decades of television to draw from to create a quality show.

It really begs the question then what the “excuse”, if there is one, for PIC not to even come close to the requisite high bar set. Too many writers in the kitchen? Too many producers? Chabon himself mentioned in a recent interview that he wanted to “provoke” a reaction. Sounds like a political agenda?

I think it’s fair to say the writers have reached back into Trek canon to bring in many Trek references, so there’s an attempt to stay true to Trek. It could simply be that CBS is merely cashing in on the Trek franchise by dosing enough nostalgia to keep the Trek fans at bay but to attract a larger audience with a darker, more “melodramatic”, less plot-focused product. One would say that is what Disney is doing with Star Wars (to be fair, Rogue One and the Mandalorian are quite good diamonds in the post-Lucas rough).
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent

"Modern writers also have more access to science articles, science fiction prose, and a back-catalogue of Trek episodes which provide pretty clear lessons on what works and doesn't, and what pitfalls to avoid."

They might have access to them (science articles) but they damn sure don't use them.

In fairness, neither did 90s Trek. TNG maintained the illusion through the first four seasons or so, generally trying to at least pay lip service to real world scientific principles, but by the 6th and 7th seasons they were every bit as guilty of the "magic particle of the week" nonsense that made Voyager's technobabble so bloody painful to listen to. DS9 was probably the best in this regard, if you set aside the first season, they generally ignored technobabble or used it as an in-joke (self sealing stem bolts)

I don't actually care if Star Trek remains grounded in real world science but they do need to remain consistent to the rules of their own universe (Voyager failed miserably at this) and not make a total mockery of science, the biggest two examples of which would be Generations with the instantly killed sun (speed of light what?) and JJVerse Trek with the supernova that was going to destroy the entire galaxy (say what you will about Picard but at least they retconned this nonsense to one solar system)
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
The wormhole was constructed, probably by the prophets. I'd assume it would not be stable without them. But they could make up stuff. Sure. I must agree that the story about Sisko, him being a prophet and all, was not good. The same goes for Dukat who in the last seasons became mustache twirling evil guy.

I think the first overarching plot about Bajor worked pretty well. The war went off the rails at some point. It is questionable that they used a huge war because our protagonists have to be forced in more and more situations of importance where they shouldn't be present. For the Bajor arc it made sense that many thing revolved around the crew/Sisko and DS9 because DS9 was the most important installation in the system and Sisko the highest officer, effectively the most powerful non Bajoran.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"About the AR-558 episode. I have problems with that one too. But more because it is too pro military for my Star Trek taste. Nog admiring the hardened soldiers, Quark in the end giving up his anti-violence stance."

Those were actually the redeeming parts of the episode for me, which I guess goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, lol. :)

Nog's words and actions in that episode felt completely in character for a Young Cadet (or was he an Ensign by this point?) whose head is filled with words like "duty" and "honor" (paraphrasing Riker here)

Quark was always at his best as the outside observer of humanity and his monologue in this episode was probably my favorite moment of his in the entire series, perhaps only equaled by his discussion with Garak in "Way of the Warrior"
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim
What bothers me on a deeper level about Kurtzman/JJTrek is that they do not even respect basic scientific facts. The super nova was an example and in the last episode you could see the Romulan ships from the planet. That is just nonsense. Again and again there are scenes where, if you have a basic understanding of science, you will notice stupid stuff that is only there for the wow effect.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"The wormhole was constructed, probably by the prophets. I'd assume it would not be stable without them. But they could make up stuff. Sure."

The wormhole does whatever the writers say it does. Sisko decided to wear brown shoes today and that caused the wormhole to implode. Whoops. (Yes, that would be pretty stupid, but they could have written it if they were so inclined)

Point being, there should have been some sort of consequence for the Prophet's intervention. I outlined one idea but by no means is that the only way it could have gone. What they did though, ugh, it cheapened the whole thing to me, it was a true deus ex machina in my mind, only ever referenced once again in the episode where Jake and Kira are possessed by demons and angels fighting to bring hell/paradise to the galaxy, and ugh, just writing that sentence makes me roll my eyes.

"The same goes for Dukat who in the last seasons became mustache twirling evil guy."

Ugh, I'd blocked that out of my mind. Yes, they took the person who was arguably the more complicated villain in Star Trek history and turned him into a one dimensional mustache twirling bad guy. Why? Just why?

"The war went off the rails at some point. It is questionable that they used a huge war because our protagonists have to be forced in more and more situations of importance where they shouldn't be present. For the Bajor arc it made sense that many thing revolved around the crew/Sisko and DS9 because DS9 was the most important installation in the system and Sisko the highest officer, effectively the most powerful non Bajoran."

The war should have lasted one season -- tops -- and the seventh season should been devoted to the exploration of Bajor, which (aside from the religious nonsense I hate so much) was seemingly forgotten about by the end of the series, even though Bajor was the whole point of the series in the first place!
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
@Marvin, Honestly the answer could be more mundane and just that for whatever reason the ingredients that went into Picard didn't gel correctly. I get the sense that both for Picard and the Star Wars Sequels the studio decided it wanted a franchise story first and the writers didn't quite know what to do. The SW Sequels were infamously not planned out - Disney was in such a rush to make them that they didn't stop to figure out if the story was any good. Picard feels similar. It doesn't quite feel like it knows what it wants to be. By contrast, a successful show like BSG feels very confident. It's got a clear tone, aesthetic, sense of direction.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, the consequence for the Prophets helping Sisko was that Sisko "died" at the end of the series. It's not an immediate consequence, but it's sure a steep price to pay.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom

"the consequence for the Prophets helping Sisko was that Sisko "died" at the end of the series. It's not an immediate consequence, but it's sure a steep price to pay."

Except that "sacrifice" was apparently pre-ordinated from the time Sisko was immaculately conceived by the Prophets.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Tim
Sorry didn't see your other post in time
"Those were actually the redeeming parts of the episode for me, which I guess goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, lol. :)"
I not only meant Nog but everybody there. If you have read accounts of people during WWI a far worse and longer lasting situation then what the these officers went through you will find the characters not very realistic. It may sound crazy but in such a situation people adapt fairly quickly. German soldiers weren't wearing parts of French gear around their necks or where all like crazy motherfucker. It is no surprise that the episode borrowed from US war movies about WWII like Hell Is for Heroes. Also in the end the Federation wins and fresh soldiers arrive and we are served some Jingoistic line from Sisko: "We held." to which the neckless guy says: "That was the order." *eyeroll* It would have had a stronger message if the Dominion had won and the Federation had to retreat.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
@Tim, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. I can't remember offhand when that was made apparent. I think it might have been the Reckoning episode or the Season 6 finale, but I do remember the show drawing more of a link between Sisko's fate and the Prophets intervened.
Tommy D.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:16pm (UTC -5)

"By contrast, BSG and Expanse - and Westworld and Altered Carbon etc - didn't have the benefit of a popular brand name like "Star Trek.""

I think you can argue thats actually a blessing for those shows. They have a little more freedom to take their show in certain directions if they choose, without the looming shadow of what came before.

Also, I rate TNG low, not because every episode is bad, but because I didn't find the cast any fun to watch at that point.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
"How would you write a Jurati courtroom scene to be any different than a random Law & Order episode?"

I dunno, I'm not a high-falutin' teevee writer. Maybe have Maddox's daughter be the hotshot prosecutor and argue against Picard's insanity defense. After the opening statements the judge winks out of existence and is replaced by Q. Oh shit!

"Well well, what have we here? Please proceed, Jean-Luc, and tell me all about how murder is acceptable when it's one of YOUR crew."

If the writers can't think of a way to make it interesting, then just drop her off at Deep Space Twelve and say buh-bye. Have her come back in season 3 if they haven't already found another Tilly to replace her with.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
"By contrast, BSG and Expanse - and Westworld and Altered Carbon etc - didn't have the benefit of a popular brand name like "Star Trek.""

I think you can argue thats actually a blessing for those shows. They have a little more freedom to take their show in certain directions if they choose, without the looming shadow of what came before.

Good point Tommy. It's much easier to see the grass greener on the other side when shows do not have Star Trek tag to them. Altered Carbon, for one example, often resembles blood-squirt city meets porno-fest town and I can hardly imagine it would be talked of highly if it had Star Trek tag. The show called Altered Carbon, as it's known today, would not exist. (I do like Altered Carbon by the way, nothing spectacular, but a decent show to watch for what it is)
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D., sure, there's some truth to that. The Star Trek name comes with certain expectations. It's definitely harder to suspend disbelief when you as a viewer think you know what the show should be. But Trek also comes with a built-in fanbase. Many people here have been honest about the fact that they probably wouldn't have given a show of the quality of Picard as much of their time but for the Trek name. There's a whole discussion about whether or not Picard adheres to the values of the Trek franchise, etc, etc, but most of the negative comments here, and much of Jammer's reviews, have just focused on basic issues with the writing. You can argue about nostalgia and the optimistic values of Trek all you want, but this is a show that arguably can't even do a proper setup and payoff.
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Tim said: "They might have access to them (science articles) but they damn sure don't use them. In fairness, neither did 90s Trek. TNG maintained the illusion through the first four seasons or so, generally trying to at least pay lip service to real world scientific principles."

A writer of Trek styled SF (as opposed to hard SF) should read as much science stuff as possible, not to get the physics right, but to constantly fuel outlandish ideas. The more novel things you are exposed to, the more novel your writing is. Sometimes the slightest piece of weird information can spark an entire story or concept.

Remember, Trek has always been a bit closer to Weird Fiction than "actual science". It's literary ancestors primarily wanted to indulge in formal experimentation. To find new ways of telling stories. To play games with narratives. To do weird, cool stuff. Making one's story "scientifically plausible" was often an afterthought, something sorted out at the last hurdle.

Which is not to say that Trek can't also do "hard SF", but I don't think it ever has. It mostly bounces from pulpy action to sociological tales to little fables/allegories, or in most cases, if we're being honest, a kind junky mishmash.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 2:42am (UTC -5)
From the other shows mentioned here BSG is the best. A good show, not great even though sometimes it was the very best of TV.

The Expanse is a not as good as BSG. BSG was very efficient in creating a believable world and the Expanse sometimes has the "everything happens in three to five rooms problem" and like DS9 in later seasons it suffers a little from the need to insert the characters of the Rocinante into anything that happens. It also had a very weak lead (the captain of the Roci; he is not a good actor, like a walking xanax)

Westworld is an okish show. Visually probably the best of the four mentioned and an interesting setting. The three main problems for me were that they wanted to say violence/exploitation against/of robots is bad but they also somewhat used these very scenes in a way that either bordered on torture porn or voyeurism (TITTIES!!!). Another problem was the squeeze out the narrative. The walking dead, once a good show, is the worst perpetrator of that. At some point I just notice that a show is purposefully constructed in way that it could go on forever. And the biggest problem is that Westworld is the most pretentious show I have ever seen. I jumped ship in season 2.

Altered Carbon is a bad show. Admittedly, I only watched 2 episodes. I was bored all way through. Cliched, boring, sloppy, manipulative. Nope. It is the one of the now many subpar netflix shows. Where you just wonder: How does this stuff get the green light???

In that list STP would be between Westworld and Altered Carbon. STP looks good for the most part, it has a warmer color palette than Discovery which is mostly because a lot less of it happens in space. The acting is sometimes good sometimes bad. The soundtrack is at the same time obnoxious and bland, which is quite an accomplishment. The characters are often flat out bad or if not then they are inconsistent (Raffi bad, Raffi good; Jurati murders, Jurati cures) or cliched (Latino=football). The story is an utter mess. It tries to make a statement about refugees and beings who are different but botches that so badly that it kind of makes the opposite point.

Having Picard die, let everybody cry about it, and then immediately bring him back as a robot so that if Stewart doesn't want to or can't continue they can just use another actor is such a cynical corporate move. I could not believe it at first. And bringing back Data so that somebody would actually die because it is the end of the season felt manipulative. Discovery for the most part did it's own thing (in season 2 less so) but STP is like a tank driving through the Star Trek archives.

Patrick Stewart demanded that every aspect of Star Trek had to be changed or he wouldn't come back (So yeah it is Star Trek, just completely changed) and apparently Chabon wanted to do something else entirely but had to do a doomsday plot. Never good to force a highly talented artist to do stupid. No wonder Chabon left after season 1.

If people enjoy the show. Fine, but a part of me died somewhere in season 1 of STP. I have finally accepted that NuTrek will never be for me.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 2:59am (UTC -5)
Oh, as a show B5 is better than BSG. And while BSG isn't among my favorites I could agree it comes in among the best and better than any of the Trek series. If we're talking about shows as a cohesive whole and not a collection of episodes.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 3:24am (UTC -5)
@ Karl, if

- Ronald D. Moore did a reboot of Babylon 5 like he did for nBSG
- with Joss Whedon in charge of casting,
- and The Expanse showrunner Naren Shanker in charge of the sci part of scifi

Then indeed, Babylon 5 would be the greatest show ever made :-)
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 5:10am (UTC -5)
Booming, try to get a cheap copy of Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora", "Green Earth" and "Red Mars", for good SF novels with a sociological/ecological bent. With your occupational background, I think you'd like them. For a great first contact story, and mind-bending aliens, check out Peter Watts' amazing "Blindsight".

I too am disappointed by all the highly touted SF shows on TV. But prose science fiction still has a few auteurs doing great work.

Also start back reviewing Orville. Season 2 is much better.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:13am (UTC -5)

Booming is already reviewing season 2 of the Orville. He doesn't seem to like it any more than season 1.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:41am (UTC -5)
A few more words now that the series is over that I couldn't fit in anywhere else:

1) STP is proof to me that actors don't always understand their characters as well as we might think they do. Just because Stewart played Picard 20 years ago doesn't mean he has a handle on the character or on the way it should be portrayed and in which context it needs to operate. Not only actors, sometimes creators themselves, especially as they get older, lose sight of what made their creation special. Prime example for this would be George Lucas with Star Wars.

2) I feel really sorry for those guys who now need to add the claptrap of STP season 1 as official canon to the Trek Wiki pages, the same way I pitied those who needed to add Discovery's "contributions" to the lore. I've been trying to think if there is a comparable example of a beloved franchise that was repeatedly bombarded with canon inanity as Star Trek is in the last couple of years. I sincerely feel that these new Trek show diminish Star Trek as a franchise with regards to its themes and history. The people who handle these shows have a responsibility, but being the hacks they are they botching it over and over again. It's like watching a bunch of thugs beat down on a helpless animal. You want to avert your eyes, but you keep watching because you really hope that the animal can get back up and kick them in the face.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:48am (UTC -5)
The crazy part is I'm still enjoying it more than STP
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Check out The Critical Drinker's YouTube video about why Star Trek Picard failed. I often find him overcritical but he makes a lot of good points. I can't deny anything he's saying and it shows why this show pales in comparison to TNG.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)

"Patrick Stewart demanded that every aspect of Star Trek had to be changed or he wouldn't come back (So yeah it is Star Trek, just completely changed) and apparently Chabon wanted to do something else entirely but had to do a doomsday plot. Never good to force a highly talented artist to do stupid. No wonder Chabon left after season 1."

Where is the proof of this? Because according to The Critical Drinker on YouTube it went quite differently, with the writers shoehorning Stewart in to an already existing plot, to sell the Trek idea they already had.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:38am (UTC -5)
"What bothers me on a deeper level about Kurtzman/JJTrek is that they do not even respect basic scientific facts."

Star Trek always did that to a degree.

The difference is that Classic Trek usually maintained an *illusion* of making sense. They cared enough about the science to keep a good front (usually).

KurtzmanTrek has simply degraded to comic book physics, to match their comic book plots and comic book characters.

"If this show were as good as a show like The Expanse, we wouldn’t be arguing over whether or not it’s Trek."

You're probably right.

Because any writer that can create an Expanse-level show would understand the importance of world-building and having a consistent universe. Also, such a writer won't rush into doing Star Trek unless they seriously and genuinely want to write Star Trek.

These two problems (bad writing and "non-Trekiness") are mostly two sides of the same coin.

@Tommy D.
"I think you can argue thats actually a blessing for those shows. They have a little more freedom to take their show in certain directions if they choose, without the looming shadow of what came before."

How do they have more freedom?

CBS has made it clear that the words "Star Trek" pose them no limitations at all. Kurtzman is doing whatever the hell he wants, and the fandom (with a few pesky exceptions like yours truly) is accepting this without any problem. Heck, many fans are actually PAYING MONEY for this to happen.

Let me ask you this:

Are there ANY circumstances at all, which will cause you to say "Nope. They've crossed the line this time. I cannot accept this as Star Trek"?

I'm seriously asking. And if your answer is "yes", then I'd love to hear a concrete example of what would cross that line in your view.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:43am (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, my opinions on non-Trek sci-fi shows:

The Battlestar Galactica reboot is easily the best of all the shows mentioned. It got memorable characters, social commentary, and good production values. I wouldn't say it's perfect (some of the later Cylon reveals come out of nowhere), but it generally stays interesting throughout.

Babylon 5 he a good script, but really bad production values. I love a lot of what the show does, but the war with the Shadows ends a bit too abruptly and the show loses steam after that.

The Expanse is very good on world-building and has some great plot threads. The characters aren't bad, but aren't imo as memorable (except for a few like Avasarala and Bobbie). I agree with Booming the lead actor is weak, but he gets better over time. What I really appreciate about the show is how it can just spend a lot of time showing the crew trying to resolve relatively minor problems (like Star Trek used to do). Also its commitment to realistic physics makes it stick out .

Westworld is style over substance. Great acting, directive, etc. But it's the ultimate mystery box show. If that's your thing, great. I found myself not caring after a season.

Farscape is fun and goofy. The final season gets a bit too convoluted for its own good. Sometimes the humor is a bit too juvenile and the episodes a bit too wacky. But I respect its creativity.

Firefly is probably the best sci-fi show about a band of rogues. The dialogue is consistently funny and clever. The production has held up pretty well. It's not high-brow philosophy, but it is very enjoyable.

Altered Carbon has a great premise (what if technology allowed people to transfer to new bodies). It's sometimes a bit too violent and "grim" for my tastes, but - unlike nuTrek - that darkness serves a clear thematic point about the disposability of life.

I only saw the first season of Defiance. I liked it, but not enough to really hook me. I liked some of the characters, but the bad CGI and some of the other plot threads made me check out.

I've only seen a few episodes of The Orville. I know everyone says it's the true heir to TNG, but the wildly inconsistent tone and joke attitude are throwing me off. I might try to go back and watch more.

Overall, despite the failure of nuTrek shows to take off, there's plenty of good science fiction on TV.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:48am (UTC -5)
The useful thing about a forum like this is that it brings it home that there are enormous differences to what different people see when they are looking at precisely the same thing, what they hear when they listen to the very same sound.

For me this series, while it had its flaws, was enjoyable, and a good beginning, with a standout performance by Patrick Stewart, adding additional complexities to the character he developed in previous outings, in a throughly convincing way, and effectively reinforcing the humane ethos of Startrek - which in our present emergency just happens to be particularly relevant.

But obviously to others the whole series has been a disaster, and Patrick Stewart's
portrayal of Picard a travesty. It's the same way that two people will look at the same painting, and one sees a daub and the other a masterpiece. Or the same meal is delicious or repellant.

Again, I look at people extolling The Expanse as an example of what a scifi series should be, and others saying The Mandalorian is thoroughly enjoyable and really worth watching, and I find those things incredible from the limited exposure I have had to both series.

However I'd never say they are wrong, just because they see something different from me. I think we should always be ready to accept that where people see something of value in where we cannot, the balance should be tipped provisionally in favour of the positive view rather than the negative.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:49am (UTC -5)
It is from a Chabon interview:
" It’s all in keeping with the mandate Chabon says Stewart gave him and his team, to make “Picard” as different from the actor’s first “Trek” series as possible."
"So now, we have this clear mandate from Patrick for “Picard”: Anything we’re going to do on this show, whether it’s bringing back another legacy character or a key plot element from “TNG,” whatever it is, it can’t be the same as it was"

If you want to read it yourself:
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:15am (UTC -5)
If that's the case then Stewart was wrong. You should go and watch The Critical Drinker's video on why Picard failed. Everything he says makes sense.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5)

That's just Chabon trying to lay the blame for this disaster on Stewart.

If you look at the interviews from the beginning of the season, you'll see a very different story.

"I've been trying to think if there is a comparable example of a beloved franchise that was repeatedly bombarded with canon inanity as Star Trek is in the last couple of years."

Star Wars?

"It's like watching a bunch of thugs beat down on a helpless animal. You want to avert your eyes, but you keep watching because you really hope that the animal can get back up and kick them in the face."

It's worse than that.

It's like watching a bunch of thugs who are beating down a helpless animal on youtube, and are getting all their ad-revenue from animal lovers who can't avert their eyes.

"I've only seen a few episodes of The Orville. I know everyone says it's the true heir to TNG, but the wildly inconsistent tone and joke attitude are throwing me

Well, it's easy to be called "the heir to TNG" when there isn't any competition.

There's nothing currently on TV that remotely resembles the Star Trek of old, except the Orville. And the tone - indeed - isn't for everyone. I personally love it, but i can see why many Trekkies would hate it.

Hopefully, we'll have more options in the future.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:26am (UTC -5)
Oops. Last part was addressed to Dom, not Trent.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:30am (UTC -5)
No my cup of tea. I prefer the RedLetterMedia reviews. Can't wait for their final one about STP
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:51am (UTC -5)

I saw Critical Drinker's review and while he made a powerful point that if your season is one story, it had better be a good one, he, as usual, got too wrapped up in the myth of a conservative-friendly Star Trek of old.

Noteworthy how he and others who say that previously Star Trek was always previously even handed and "let you make up your mind", never actually cite any episodes to demonstrate this. I can do it. 'A Private Little War', 'The High Ground', 'Sanctuary'. But they never seem to be able to. I will of course also cite episodes like 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield', 'The Last Outpost', 'The Neutral Zone', 'Bar Association', 'Far Beyond the Stars', 'The Drumhead', 'Forces of Nature', which were just plain preachy.

I really think those seeing this show as some sort of leftist propaganda are probably messages in the colour of the point. Stewart gets 80 seconds to make a message about refugees then the show moves on, and even outright contradicts him. Really, this show would be so much more improved if it actually did tell a political message. But it's far too incoherent for that.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:15am (UTC -5)
@Glom, absolutely. I'm convinced the "politics" around Picard and Discovery are less about the contents of the show and more about the marketing. Classic and 90s Trek were pretty objectively progressive, yet the writers and actors didn't spend as much time advertising that fact. By contrast, Chabon, Stewart, and others have gone on record as saying Picard would partly be a response to right-wing populism. That means now many liberals feel compelled to defend the show no matter what, while many conservatives attack it no matter what. Regardless of the fact that the show itself does very little with those themes. The cynic in me thinks triggering political reactions is all part of CBS' marketing strategy. Ironically, the people I know best who were disappointed with the show are progressives who mourn the fact that the show muddled its themes.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:19am (UTC -5)
@ Dom

I admit I have not watched a lot of modern Sci Fi shows. I quit on BSG after season 2 because it became too convoluted for my tastes and I lost interest. I never made it past the first few episodes of Babillon 5, it looked like a cheap rip-off of Star Trek (people tell me I missed out). I have no watched any of the shows you mentioned except for Altered Carbon, which I ditched half-way through season 1 because I grew tired the constant grimness and violence and lack of appealing characters (I read the novel it's based on, though, which is much better).

I do like The Orville quite a bit, but as you mentioned, it still haven't found it's tone, even though season 2 showed improvement. I would of course take The Orville over any of Kurtzman's horrible Trek shows.

For me the best Sci Fi series of recent years is The Mandalorian. It's everything that STP isn't. It's scaled back, simple, imaginative, and its faceless protagonist elicits more sympathy than the entire crew of the La Sirena times two. If not for the very last episode of the season which falters a bit, it would be a perfect show.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:23am (UTC -5)
@Lynos, I love The Mandalorian but I'd put it more in the "space fantasy" category than science fiction. I otherwise agree. It's a pretty simple show, but it knows what it wants to be and does it well.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -5)
I guess you're right.
I do want to watch The Expanse at some point, though. The positive feedback I've been hearing about it is reaching critical mass.

I would probably not make it very far into Discovery or Picard if it didn't have the name Star Trek attached to them.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:54am (UTC -5)

Writing by triggers is a subset of writing by checklist. That is good or bad triggers. Like having Riker have a badass moment. Doesn't matter if it's stupid, the fans will love it. And having provocative political content will get the right wing snowflakes frothing and watching so they can complain about it for longer than the actual political content lasts.

At the other hand of the horseshoe, you have Steve Shives who is virulently partisan, and something about his mid-season review made me think that he wasn't just saying he enjoyed it, but saying it with defiance as if to preach, because if anyone was going to see liking this as part of the culture wars, it would be him.

It's probably also worth noting that back in the day, the availability of information from the writers and show runners isn't what it is today. It may be that had the Internet and social media been like today back then, the show runners would have come off just the same. Rewatch the scene in Caretaker where Kim and Paris first report to Janeway. The first of many moments of discomfort for Harry Kim comes from self-consciously lampshading the gender of the captain.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -5)
@ Dom, I agree with your analysis (except where you imply that anything might have been better than Firefly ;)

I'll just add that some shows - including Gene's shows - actually suffered because they went on for too long. Had they been cancelled after 1 season, they would have been considered pretty awesome.

Certainly better than season 1 of Picard.

Take Andromeda, which @ Jammer has reviewed. Season 1 of DROM is better than Picard.

Take Earth: Final Conflict, which had a great season 1 - certainly better than Picard season 1.

Take Space: Above and Beyond, which had an incredible run, but was cancelled after season 1. Way better than Picard. Is anyone on Picard half as amazing as Col. T.C. McQueen??

Even the short-lived nBSG spinoff called Caprica was fresh when you compare it to Picard. Caprica's cast was amazing, and the AI girl there, Zoe Graystone, could run circles around Dahj/Soji.

So whether you take the miniseries that started nBSG, or the first season crazy madness that was Farscape, or frankly the uneven run of season 1 of DS9 and B5 - each show showed so much more potential than Picard has.

When you watch season 1 of the Expanse, even when it is slow, you can sense it is something unlike anything you've seen before. Under-Secretary Avasarala is truly one of the great scifi characters of all time!! And certainly she is the greatest female authority figure in any show. Way more command presence than Janeway.

Same with The Man in the High Castle season 1. The cast is incredible. The premise is mind-blowing.

I don't know what is wrong with Star Trek?!?!

But Picard, Discovery, and Enterprise before that - even in season 1, everything feels old and tired and pointless. There is no wonder. Nothing is fresh.

Say what you will about season 1 of TNG, and you can say a lot. But every moment was wondrous. Back then the sky was the limit.

There was still hope.

Picard is... hopeless.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
@Glom, I agree. I think though there's a difference in how writers and show runners in interviews address these topics. We as a country are just more polarized and are quicker to interpret everything through the lens of politics. There's a lot of political psychology research showing that if you tell people a particular idea is affiliated with a particular political party, that will actually shape their attitudes towards the idea. Democrats were less likely to want a mission to Mars when Bush proposed it. Republicans hate Russia - until Trump cozies up to Putin.

I think we're just seeing the same phenomenon in pop culture. Stewart says Picard will deal with refugees, and so people start forming their opinions of the show based on that rather than the content. To my recollection, we didn't have Berman and Braga doing hundreds of interviews saying that Voyager was going to depict the sexism women in the workplace face, etc, etc. They just depcited it in the story.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
@Mal, I forgot to mention Man in the High Castle and Caprica. The first season of MitHC was some of the best TV I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I think the show kind of lost itself in getting too convoluted and bombastic. Caprica is an underappreciated gem. Really clever take on the Cylons. The show dragged a bit in the middle, but I'm so disappointed it was canceled.

I haven't seen those other shows so I can't comment on them.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:31am (UTC -5)
I don't wanna put everybody down (at least not those who dislike this show), and I brought this topic before, but really, the mainstream media is loving this show. If you just go by mainstream media outlets, the new Trek shows are... fine. They're fine. And sometimes they're great, not fine. I mean, we can bitch and moan on Jammer's website an in YT comments, but at end of the day, what counts is the ratings and the mass media response to these shows. STP is right now at 87% (!) on Rotten Tomatoes (audience score of 61%, which is interesting). But Discovery was slammed by so many Trek fans and more casual viewers and it is heading into its third season and at this point can be counted as success for CBS. CBS would not pour so much money and renew the show if they didn't think there is an audience for it.

Quite depressing.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Oh goodie!!

Ranking Star Trek series first seasons!

We should all preface this by being thankful we have so many to rank.

I love and have watched them all at least 4 times (minus Discovery and Picard), but rank we must!

Here is mine. I've rated all of them here except TNG and Star Trek.

1. Star Trek - Not even debatable. 26 episodes and only 2 or 3 are "not good". Laid the foundation for 60 years if syndication, 13 movies, and 6 spin-off series.
2. Voyager - Grossly underrated season.
3. Enterprise - Almost rated as high as VOY. Suffers from "not what I wanted" syndrome but includes some great trek.
4. Discovery - My highest-rated season 1, but I don't think I can really compare it to a 20+ episode season.
5. Picard - Saved by a great opener and closer.
6. The Next Generation - Any series that can include "Code of Honor" can't be higher. Just not good at all. It was just kind of there. Remember, TNG benefitted greatly from not having any competition early in it's run.
7. Deep Space Nine - Folks forget how bad this was early on. I rated it WAY lower than the others. I almost stopped watching it.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:34am (UTC -5)
The idea of Man in the high castle was interesting but I found the two leads maybe worse than Jim Jimerson or whatever the name of the Captain from the Expanse is. He (the doubel agent?) isn't good but she (Bambi) is a complete flatline. Somebody who should be in telenovelas at best. She started as a model like so many mediocre female actors. She is very pretty. I guess that is something.
Apart from these miscasts I thought the secondary characters were actually far superior. The evil Nazi, the Japanese minister and so on.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -5)
@ Lynos
I only read a Guardian review which was far from positive which wasn't included in the rotten rating. So who knows what gets included form critics

And let's not forget that a tomato means that the reviewer found it be above average to best. Quite a few of the reviewers give it a B, 3/5 or 3/4. A movie with a 100 rotten score can still be an ok movie. Also many reviewers get 4 review episodes and write their review based on that. And if you look at the ratings for individual episodes for the last three episodes (Nepenthe has 100%) it is: 76%, 75, and 63% for the last.

It is also difficult to compare user and critics rating because the critics use individual scales or none at all (they just say liked it or not?; who knows how rotten counts) while the audience has the same scale for everybody. Also audiences can only rate the entire season.

So probably not a big mainstream conspiracy. :)
Tim M.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
I've started to think that, in general, the proliferation of reviews and opinions on virtually everything has sucked the joy out of TV and movie-watching. People need space to form their own opinions--after all, whether *you* like a show or movie is the most important thing, IMHO--without being smothered by everyone else's comments.

I've stopped putting high value on audience reviews on RottenTomatoes since the incident of losers trolling Captain Marvel before it was even released. People with an axe to grind like to weaponize online comments and it's a sad commentary on the state of our society, IMHO.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
I of course find it encouraging if most people do like the series. Not because I see that as confirming my judgement, but because I think it deserves to be appreciated.
Thinking back on earlier episodes It occurs to me that perhaps both ways of understanding the nature of the Admonition may have been wrong. Perhaps it was neither a warning to organics nor a promise to synths, but rather, a trap for both.

I suspect that the invaders, if invited in, might well have treated the synths no different from the organics. After all, the last time they were here it didn't end in a galaxy full of happy synths. In fact it didn't seem to make any particular difference to the evolving humans and Klingons and Vulcans and so forth, there was clearly no galaxy wide wipe-out of organic life.

I'd suspect that there is no multi galaxy wide federation of those lads, but rather a much smaller operation, unable to get into the galaxy without a path being opened from inside (rather analogous really to the way vampires have to be invited in, but with a different mechanism which any sf writer could knock up easily enough.) They are basically con-merchants, using the synths who naively believed the craftily constructed Admonition. As did the equally naive Tal Shiar, who put the synths in the
mood to fall into the trap.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "Booming is already reviewing season 2 of the Orville. He doesn't seem to like it any more than season 1. "

lol, I just read his opinions. In my mind, Booming's an angry German sociologist professor ("Nein, I do not buy zis, Macfarlane!").

Surprised he didn't like some of those episodes at the tail end of S1, or even the low-key S2 opener. I hope he enjoys "Home"; I found that to be a really sweet but simple episode.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Mocking fellow commenters based on personal information they devulged in their past comments is rude. Can you please stop doing that?
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Do you mean me? I don't mind. In Germany they train feelings out of us in kindergarten. :) As my always measured and logical responses have proven.

Professor... that would be great. Good pay, a nice office and no need to do anything but read and write a little. German heaven.

And about my views on the Orville so far. As stated I like it more than STP. Not a high bar but still. The problem is that Macfarlane pitched this thing as a comedy but probably wants to make TNG: today. It often feels disjointed. I did not dislike it and I bought season 2. Ok, that's 50% on Corona but still.

I'm also not angry. Germans just state their opinion very openly. This is probably not true but that's how we like to see ourselves: Nobody likes us because we are too honest.

They say the problem between the Italians and the Germans is that the Italians respect the Germans but don't love them and the Germans love the Italians but don't respect them. Why do I mention this somewhat interesting little info that seems to have no real connection to what I was saying and will never be mentioned again because this is the STP forum!
Tim M.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
I always felt the Dutch also have a charming--and at times hilarious--directness as well.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Well they are Germanic so that's no surprise. ;)
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
"In Germany they train feelings out of us in kindergarten" Don't you mean on Vulcan?

Actually they used do that in England too at a later stage of education. But only for the men, which means that having mixed schools these days has rather disrupted things.

But of course there's no question of "just state their opinion very openly." The Way of Absolute Candour would never have a chance in England. Or indeed anywhere in the British Isles.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 5:07pm (UTC -5)

Some special tech opens a gate and is the only way some evil species can come in and destory us all. These destroyers seem about that and the synths are being conned to do what it takes to let them in.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
I wasn't serious about the train out emotions thing. :)

About your con hypothesis
Doesn't make sense. If some evil alien just wants to be notified/have a portal then why not just say: "Built this thing and candy will rain from the sky and there will be much rejoicing" and address this all to organics who in almost all instances will likely reach your green glowy thing before synthetics will.

Also shooting a beam into the sky to somehow destroy everything is like any marvel movie ever.

These aliens must be extremely powerful considering that they can move stars around. Another explanation would be that it all has no meaning and they write it as they go along. Like lost...
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
"The problem is that Macfarlane pitched this thing as a comedy but probably wants to make TNG: today."

Not exactly.

It's more of McFarlane's personal take on the optimistic space opera genre. He was obviously inspired by Star Trek, but he is also doing many things differently and he is doing that on purpose.

Perhaps if you stop expecting it to become TNG, you'll enjoy the show more?
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
The Orville feels more like late Voyager than TNG in terms of its tone and sensibility. I enjoyed season 2 a lot, it was much more character-driven and there were only 3-4 bad eps. I felt in season 1 that the human characters didn't work as well as the alien characters, but by S2 the whole ensemble is an enjoyable group of people to spend time with. Gordon irritated me in S1 but I mostly loved him in S2 - they rounded his character out a lot more.

While we're discussing other sci-fi
- Love B5, but it's only really solid for a year and a half: from halfway through S3 to the end of S4. Seasons 1 and 5 are a write-off, and season 2 is good but inessential.
- BSG... though I liked many individual episodes and watched it avidly through to the end, I don't like it as much as most people seem to. I think the first half of S2 was its high point. I enjoyed the increased experimentation in S3, but really, this is a show that presaged the modern tendency for constant Big Twists for twists' sake. The show pulled the rug out from under itself three times - at the end of S2, the end of S3 and the end of S4. S4 had a lot of strong individual episodes, and I adored Katee Sackhoff's performances and Starbuck's plotlines throughout the series (Maelstrom speaks to me hugely to this day), but by the final season the arc writing was all over the place. I haven't rewatched it since it finished. Another thing about it was the tendency to have characters constantly pull guns on each other, and it sometimes felt like the show was written from a perspective of "what's the most shocking thing that could happen in this situation?". The cast was AWESOME, though, across the board.
- Farscape: I saw most of the first season as a teenager and never got past it because it was really bad. I'm told it gets better later? Certainly lots of people I respect seem to love it.
- The Expanse: I loved seasons 1 and 2 but lost interest during season 3. Part of the reason for this is, as others have pointed out, the weak main character. The worldbuilding and plotting was so engrossing and well-done in seasons 1 and 2 that it didn't bother me that none of the Rocinante characters were that strong. And Alex and Amos are more compelling (and better performed) than Jim and Naomi, the two leads. The second half of season 3 fell flat for me in terms of the plot and characters, and got worse when they brought a season 1 character back as a head-character like Six in BSG. I missed characters like Avasarala and Fred Johnson. I haven't watched S4 because I don't have Amazon Prime anymore.
- Earth: Final Conflict is indeed great. After that I believe it gets very choppy; only seen a handful of episodes from S2-5.
- I haven't seen Westworld, Altered Carbon or The Man In The High Castle.
- Firefly is another sacred cow I'm happy to slaughter. I though the characters were fantastic, all of them. The concept was pretty good too. But season 1 was two-thirds filler, which was a terrible choice. It has a great pilot, a couple of good episodes in the middle, and a good finale. But there are a ton of fluff episodes padding the rest of the season out which sank the show for me. The "Mrs Reynolds" episodes in particular are diabolical. I'm continually surprised people rate it so highly. And I thought the film was a mess.
- I haven't watched all of The Mandalorian yet but I really like its economy and grace. It tells a story in a classic filmic way that I thought modern shows had forgotten how to do. The score and editing are great, the whole thing just feels sincere and cohesive, and like there's an actual consistent creative vision behind it.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Actually there's no way of knowing whether the people who moved those stars around were the ones who left the Admonition. Actually in the first season The Last Generation there's a long gone species who evidently was able to move stars around. It could be that they took advantage of something that was already there for some other reason.

My point essentially was, there is no reason to assume that everything or indeed anything the Admonition contained was true, or that those who planted had any intention to protect synthetics. "The idea devil is the father of lies". The suggestion of a gigantic trap planted to gain access to the galaxy is just that, a hypothesis. It would be easy enough to imagine other reasons for the Admonition.
The Orville is tongue in cheek a lot of the time, but the same has always been true of much of Star Trek. In fact that presence of touches of humour, even in episodes which are quite serious, is one reason who The Orville does feel like a Star Trek series. It's not just the decor on the spaceships and the uniforms that make it seem o, it's the tone.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
"Earth: Final Conflict season 1", that was supposed to say...
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:35pm (UTC -5)

I quite like your twist idea for the Reapers. That would be quite at home on TOS.

Still, it's telling how head canon people are having to add to address the storytelling shortfalls. Honestly, I think you're putting more effort into this than the actual writers.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "Mocking fellow commenters..."

Booming knows I'm not mocking him. Booming is my spirit animal, like Chakotay and his pokattah.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
@Glom "Honestly, I think you're putting more effort into this than the actual writers."

Not really - I've started watching old Star Trek episodes as part of my lockdown regime, and I'd watched that episode only the other day. The reference to a star moving civilisation leapt out at me. I doubt if the writers of Picard had it in mind - the idea had been used by Arthur C Clarke a few years earlier, and probably by other writers too.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Just finished watching an old episode of TNG season 1 on Netflix and it just drove home how much STP sucks.

Hate-watching STP while downloading it off torrent and not paying for CBS All Access has been fun and all, but give me a good TNG episode with a skinny data and skinny Riker in their prime instead of these fat tubs of lard doing cameos for fan service any day. Give me Picard's sanctimonious monologues in his prime instead of his feeble old-man speeches. Give me Wesley and the pedo time traveler over Tilly in this dumpster fire. Shit, I'll even take a Keiko character episode in DS9.

Don't get me wrong. I'll definitely pirate season 2 of STP and enjoy hating every minute of it. As long as Netflix continues to carry TNG, I'll have something to come back to for recalibration.

What else am I going to watch? The new Fran Drescher show, "Indebted," airing on my local NBC station Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c, in which young parents Dave and Rebecca, who are ready to reclaim their lives after years of diapers and sleepless nights, take on the unexpected challenge of taking in Dave's parents, who show up unannounced and broke, leaving Dave with no choice but to open the door to the two people who gave him everything. But these boomerang parents aren't great with boundaries, and the question of who's parenting whom quickly becomes blurred. That show?
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
@ Gooz

I hope you're kidding.

I might not be a big fan of Keiko, but I'd watch her nag Miles for a whole episode rather than a sitcom starring Fran Drescher.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
"feeble old-man speeches.".....

I imagine the first season Next Generation episode that might have appealed to Gooz would have been Code of Honour...
Captain Jon
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)

I have commented on this topic in previous episode threads but will do so again here since it has been brought up in such a nasty manner. Disparaging someone for their weight is inappropriate and mean-spirited, not to mention counter to the spirit and message of Star Trek, especially TNG. Say what you will about the acting, the writing, directing, having to pay (or in your case illegally download) to watch these shows. But attacking someone’s body and appearance is wrong and only contributes to what I view as the decline of our society.

I applaud these aging actors for appearing as they are, save Brent Spiner who’s character required de-aging. None of them went on unhealthy diets to slim down or got work or Botox to look younger. They presented themselves as they are. None of them appear the same as TNG season one. Hell, they all ages by season 5! But that’s how we all are! We all change and age over time.

So criticize the production of this show all you want, Gooz. But making personal attacks is uncalled for and only makes you out to be a sad, nasty person.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:12pm (UTC -5)

Are there ANY circumstances at all, which will cause you to say "Nope. They've crossed the line this time. I cannot accept this as Star Trek"?

I'm seriously asking. And if your answer is "yes", then I'd love to hear a concrete example of what would cross that line in your view."

Interesting question. The best answer might be, I don't know. I never finished watching Voyager or Enterprise during their original runs (I finished them much later). But that was more due to personal taste and timing rather than crossing a line.

Does anyone have a line? Perhaps you do, but then, even amid all the criticism we all know everyone will be watching Discovery S3 and Picard S2 for whatever reason suits them.

As for writing for the show, I don't know how much freedom Kurtzman and CBS give them. Maybe I'm looking at it through the lens of the fanbase and not as a writer would. Consider that I watch Westworld, and in 2+ seasons I don't think I've read once that the writers are desecrating Michael Crichton's vision or what have you. And that show has its own issues at times. It just doesn't come with the kind of constraint that Trek does.

While people are talking about it, I find The Orville to be a manipulative derivative of 90's Trek. Its familiar, comfortable, and even smart at times. And I enjoy it for the most part. But in my mind, thats not Star Trek either.
Tommy D.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
" And I enjoy it for the most part. But in my mind, thats not Star Trek either"

That should read " Its not Star Trek either"
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Thanks Jam Man :-) Excellent review.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Thank you Jammer for your excellent reviews, as always! I think I disagree that the 'point' was to send off Data, or at least, if that was the point, I think the writers didn't manage to focus on this theme very well. Still, it's an interesting take, and maybe I'd feel differently if I had seen Nemesis.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
I read that both Riker's and Data's appearances in the finale were part of the reshoots.

I wonder what the test screened version was like.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
I agree with a lot of things Jammer says in his review. The Picard/Data scene is four stars. But I’m not willing to cut the show and writers the kind of slack he is for the poor pacing and uninspired writing in the rest of the hour or the rest of the season.

The Picard/Data scene is just a few minutes long. Kudos for the writers being able to be good writers long enough to script that but the idea that as long as they give us one good scene that it’s okay to meander and provide half-realized ideas and falter on payoffs by giving us one good scene then I strongly strongly disagree.

Good writers should be able to do it all and give us the Picard/Data scene. I’m never going to budge on expecting more from the show
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
There’s no excuse with the budget they have, the salaries they receive, the prep time they get that they can’t come up with better writing. If the season arc is just a MacGuffin then jettison it and do episodic shows

If the arc has too many elements to do justice to them trim it down and focus only a few and do them justice

I don’t buy this notion it’s alright to have the audience invest in these mysteries or plot threads only to at the 11th hour do and about-face and say it really wasn’t about those things it was always just about this one scene.
Peter G.
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
I've been avoiding posting on this episode because I didn't really know what to make of it. It's like a Frankenstein's monster of seemingly unrelated parts all linked together, and crowned with a totally out-of-tone ending (jn a good way). Reading Jammer's review heartened me a bit to post something, because having read how he framed it the episode is actually not as difficult as I thought to summarize. Basically it's 40 minutes or so of typical ST: PIC, fragmented, perfunctory, large-seeming arc threads and characters brushed aside in an instant, with some of it being frankly - in Jammer's words - dumb as rocks. But then the ending brings it back to a real storyline that gets us back to something I could care about. So basically I agree with Jammer's review, but with one significant proviso.

While I did like the Picard/Data scene much more than all the scenes preceding it combined, and while I do think this was a worthy thematic topic to explore, there are two things that I feel stopped me getting swept up in enthusiasm:

1) The convoluted and mostly irrelevant plot hurtling us, or somethings sluggishly dragging us, through 10 episodes seems not to logically conclude with this scene with Data. Oh, sure, it's most welcome, but it does not in any way feel like the inevitable conclusion that follows from the rest. Rather, it feels like another random emotionally charged excursion into one of countless threads that had been opened - this one in the pilot. It's not that it was illogical or out of nowhere, but likewise it wasn't quite out of somewhere either. They could have done maybe 20 different ending scenes, each of which would have made us go "oh, *that's* what it was all about." And that's the thing about the mystery box: unless it's masterfully crafted it's really little more than a shaggy dog story; one which can end in literally any way and seem like it might as well have been that as anything else. This was a *good* choice for that ending, but not a necessary one, and that's a problem. I'm not saying I needed to be able to guess the ending in advance, but even looking back in hindsight I really can't see how *this* is what we were building towards during all of these side-stints into conspiracy theories, ancient prophecies, and impending doom. So I got no sense of finality from the scene, since it wasn't really the 'finish' to most of what we'd been watching. I should reiterate that this isn't an armchair analysis; I really didn't feel that connection to our main plotlines.

2) Although this is a 'classic' TNG-type scene where two people speak intelligently about something important to them, where I disagree with Jammer is that I don't exactly feel that this is a top-notch one. It's quite good, and I did have some feelings of pain and warmth during it, but at the same time it had a bit of that PIC feel of overstating things that in TNG were oft implied or let to sit more subtly. I do like that this had the chance to be Data's final act of trying to be human; for that I'm grateful at least.

But here's an example of what I mean about brevity sometimes having more power than a long conversation: In Deja Q, an otherwise fun romp, Data does the selfless act of saving Q from the Calamarain. Still damaged in sickbay, Data has the experience of being unable to speak while Q tells him that while he's 'missing nothing' by lacking human emotions, Data is still a better human than he is. Data's only possible response to this is silence, and to look over (presumably at Crusher) to share his powerlessness to answer. This is so strong, it gets me every time! Here we have a machine knowing he did the right thing but truly not understanding the gravity of having nearly sacrificed himself for a galactic troublemaker, and having no answer to the charge of being the better human even while having no feelings. It's a most curious scenario, and one that's uplifting at the same time as very sad, and it goes by so quickly. It's the *situation between them* that makes the contrast between them so striking: Q can be anything, and Data cannot be except what he is, and yet Data somehow has the ability for the more expansive human experience. Another episode that kills me is the end of The Offspring, when we see that Data is incapable of emotion at the death of his daughter - or is he? If he can grieve, it's in no way we know of. Maybe a tiny "save file" somewhere has her memory, which seems so tiny that it feels like not enough for her - and yet maybe for Data it's everything. Maybe it's a sad thing to have so much memory capacity.

Anyhow these are situations where a moment in a scene can create immense emotional content using such simple exchanges, few words, and sometimes just looks, and they come out of the episode's context and the lead-up, but also to knowing that less can be more. So while this Picard/Data exchance is just what we had been hoping for - something intelligent finally - it's not just that it's too late, but it's also too coming out of nowhere. I don't have strong feelings about Soji, I don't have strong feelings about Picard being made immortal, I don't have strong feelings about android suicide exactly; so when the stakes become about a friend fulfilling another friend's request for death, in order to experience the final human condition (something already brought up, I believe, in Time's Arrow), these are interesting questions, but not ones I'd been primed to care about in any kind of context. If this scene had been filmed and shown as a 5 minute short, not part of the season, it would have had just as much relevance and impact on me. In a way that's good, because it was a good scene, but in a way bad, because it should have been great and instead lacked any lead-up to contextualize that punch. So yes, euthanasia: difficult topic. But in this case one that existed for us to care about only as long as this scene lasted, so structurally speaking it was another out-of-left-field thing charged with emotion (like the killing of Maddox, like Icheb's torture, like Juranti breaking down, like Raffi told by her son to leave) that is thrown at us for the sake of emotion rather than narrative drive. And personally where I differ from Jammer is that it's not the one good scene that justifies the plot leading up to it: it's the good plot that can justify the scene. Otherwise the scene just floats there and serves no real purpose in terms of story. And I do think everything should come down to the cohesion of the story.

So basically I agree completely with Jammer that the Picard/Data scene would have to make the episode all on its own for this to be any better than a dumb-as-rocks episode. I just don't really feel it could or did rise to that level. It rose enough to make me care, but not enough to make me accept what had come before. This episode is pretty bad.

PS - both space fleets looked only marginally better than the packed-in alien fleet in Space Invaders. They were copy-paste copies of a single crappy-looking model, arranged preposterously, that warped in just to sit there and basically not move, just so that we could get Riker leading the fleet of a lifetime. In fact I believe the writers outright knew they were cheaping out on the FX because they actually put into Riker's mouth that it was an entire fleet of one exact model of battleship. Let's please ignore the logic of why Starfleet would mass-produce exactly one ship, or having nothing but that model to send to DS12, or why they are producing warships in the first place; but it's just the sheer horrible lack of concern with the details that bothers me, because I think that image right there, of that cheap-looking fleet, speaks volumes about the care in general for the details on this show. "There's a fleet, yeah, yeah, you get it, anyhow RIKER RULEZ!!!" That's how all the episodes feel to me; blah blah details and plot, and BIG PAYOFF EMOTIONAL SCENE!

I guess I will never again see fleet combat looking as clean and exciting as in DS9's 5th-7th seasons. I haven't seen anything in either TV or film to match it, and I guess maybe I never will...
The Chronek
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Rewatched this Sunday night with my wife. My opinion of this episode has improved a lot.

Picard's death was impactful. I can see why the others reacted as they did, even knowing him a short time. They didn't know at the time that Picard would be reborn in a synth body.

Jurati had her great hero moment. A little convenient, but what the hell. I enjoyed the banter between her and Picard.

I agree with Jammer that the Blue Skies reprise retroactively made Nemesis better. Nice touch to bring Data's story to a close.

I'm not usually one to watch show discussions, but Wil Wheaton is fantastic on The Ready Room. His love and enthusiasm for Trek is infectious. His interviews with the cast and crew reveal some nice details. And the other clips with guys like Kurtzman and Chabon show that yes, they get it. I may not always like the choices they make, but they know Trek, and they explain why they chose to move the story the way they did.

I'm not sure if Kurtzman always understood Trek. I'm positive that he does now. And this is coming from someone who didn't like the 2009 reboot.

Yes, this was a job for them, but it was a labor of love.

Time for me to catch up on Discovery and Short Treks. Stay safe and healthy, all.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:40am (UTC -5)
@ Jammer
As a proposal. Maybe you should think about adding a season rating for the new shows. Because of the structure of these shows your review of the last episode is effectively a reflection on the season and the episode. I think separating them would give a clearer picture.

Oh (the word, not the character) and about your review. An interesting view. I disagree with most of it. :)
To paraphrase: 40 min of garbage and one and a half good scenes = 3 stars?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Jammer, yet another great review. Thanks for all ten reviews in fact.

I echo Tim and The Chronek for their praise of The Ready Room and Wil Wheaton's enthusiasm (I mentioned it in my Nepenthe comment too). I found myself looking forward to his 25 minutes or so more and more each week, almost as much as the episodes themselves.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Christ those Federation ships Riker brought were ugly. They looked like a hideous cross between Voyager and the Enterprise-E (both beautiful ships on their own). And since when are identical galaxy class ships being churned out in a production line like shuttlecraft? It just cheapens it, and you'd think a Dominion war-depleted Federation wouldn't have the resources - or at least that's what the show's been telling us.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:28am (UTC -5)
Actually, it's not just the design of the ships but the way they're done in CGI. Murky, dull, and indistinct. Reminds me of a videogame. We don't get a good look at them, and that's no surprise given how awful they look. What a shift from the glorious, epic shots of the ships we got in series past. I can't understand it.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:35am (UTC -5)
I was of course eager to finally read Jammer's take on this. I agree with some of it but not all. The series starts with a good scene between Data and Picard and ends with a good scene between Data and Picard. Those scenes are about 10 minutes all put together.
Why did we have to go through the other 9 hours and 50 minutes is beyond me. This could've been an amazing movie if done right. But setting your sights on this Data/Picard thing and then proceeding to bombard us with inanities for most of the runtime of the show does not make for good TV or storytelling. In other words, I'm not giving the show the slack that Jammer seems to give it.

I also think there was missed opportunity with Picard's resurrection. Imagine if there was a moral dilemma there. If Picard would be facing this option and deliberating it. The fact it was done against his will is completely brushed over. And as long as you're putting him in a synthetic body, why give him only 10 years... so silly.

I agree with what Peter G. and Startrekwatcher said. It was a missed opportunity for some fascinating drama. Also, this show retroactively turns Nemesis from a relatively obscure Star Trek film to essential companion piece. I disliked Nemesis when I first saw it but my opinion changed with subsequent viewing and I now consider it underrated. If only this show was executed better it would've been a fascinating continuation. Recall that Nemesis also dealt with the Romulans...
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:57am (UTC -5)
I find myself agreeing with most of what Jammer said, yet unable to give the Picard-Data scene the weight he does. As Peter G, Lynos, & Startrekwatcher already said, this show doesn't feel like it's "about" Picard and Data saying goodbye so much as scenes about Picard and Data bookending a whole bunch of other stuff. In addition to the issues they mentioned, here are three more things that limited the impact of the final scene for me:

First, we knew Picard wasn't going to die, so the scene kind of felt emotionally manipulative. CBS had already announced Picard Season 2, so we knew Patrick Stewart's Picard wasn't going to die. The last episode had also prominently mentioned the golem and so anyone familiar with Chekov's gun would have realized it would be used for something. Putting two and two together, it seemed pretty clear they were either going to resurrect Picard or Data. Until Picard died, I thought it would be the latter.

Second, there was no cost to Picard's resurrection. Soong essentially cured death and nobody seems to notice. In most of the great stories about mortality, the hero usually faces some cost for coming back from the dead, either the loss of a loved one or some physical deformity. The point being that resurrection shouldn't be cheap because humans have to learn to accept death. Instead, we get a lovely scene in which we hear Data and Picard talk about the importance of accepting death, and then Picard gets a "get out of jail" free card while he leaves Data to die. Golem!Picard is the exact same as the Picard who just died (Soji even makes a point that they programmed all of his elderly infirmities). Why not instead limit the technology in some way? Perhaps, like Data, the skin color isn't exactly right, so this new Picard looks somewhat less than human. It would have been fascinating if Picard had been resurrected, only for him to resemble his Borg self, Locutus. Is that a tradeoff he would be comfortable with?

Also, as long as we have golems and as long as we have Data's memories, why not create another golem and resurrect Data?

Finally, Data in this scene just looked... different somehow. The contact lenses look very fake and his pupils abnormally small. His face looks puffy (perhaps a result of the "de-aging tech" they surely used). It was distracting. He was clearly wearing a wig and it didn't look like the hairline was properly aligned. I realize Brent Spiner has aged and perhaps there was no alternative, but the overall effect was very distracting.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
This review feels a lot like what I felt about the episode and wrote about in an earlier post... except for one small difference.

The scene between Picard and data was brilliant and yes, it was up there with the some of the best of Star Trek. It is hard to believe these writers (who blatantly ripped off video games for their main plot) were capable of It.

No, what really sold it were the performances, particularly, Brent Spiner. To so easily drop into character after such a long hiatus, and to do so in the same episode that he played another version of another character for whom he derives showcases what skill the man has as an actor. It was not just how he delivered his lines, it was that he recaptured with seemingly no effort all the very same mannerisms that made data so memorable in the first place.

I’d forgotten just how robotic data really was. How cold and distant ( for lack of better words) but not in the strictest sense of the terms. There was always this separation between us as and him. You can see it in his reactional non- reactions. The way he tilts his chin to process the things we process emotionally so fluidly and instantaneously. The way he makes it seem like he has to crunch the numbers to understand the things we process so easily, the signals we send an receive so readily. It’s the way Data lifts his head as he’s BC about to make a point and then tilts it down or to the side to give it emphasis. So not quite human... and yet so very human.

In being so self aware, so cognizant of his limitations, and yet so unwilling to accept them... in using the only tools he had available (the power of his mind calculate as a computer would, The power of curiosity and inquiry and study).... in his failure and successes and failures to grow not grow and grow...THATis what made data human. That is what Brent Spiner imbued the character with. That not quite so human humanity that elevated him to the most human of characters. That is what the scene captured so well.

Where I diverge from Jammer is my forgiveness for the rest of the mess of the show. What he calls plots, I call tropes. This was a show that rarely cared about being interesting, and hardly ever became thoughtful. It borrowed every potential trope possible and stuffed them in all while assuming that nostalgia bait would make us not notice. Sadly, reading many of these comments, they were probably right.

How you get there is as important as what happens when you’re there. This wasn’t a journey with a payoff. This as random trope set pieces built by committee, or lazy producers, who didn’t think anyone would notice or were too dumb to care because as long as it says Star Trek and tugs on our 90s nostalgia, we’ll pay for it.

The reason the journey matters is because it should lead to the end. None of what happens in Picard leads him to that moment with Data. Picard was in a place where he would have wanted to “say good bye and give data a meaningful death” before this series started. That entire scene could stand alone as a 6 minute web short without losing any of its meaning or power...and honestly, might be better for it.

If you’re going to create a character driven show based on the exploration of a character, 1) actually do that and 2) that character should finish in a different place from where he started based on what he or she learned along he way. Closure is fine as a working theme. But Picard could have had that closure without every single thing that happened along the way. Plot matters not because it supersedes story, but because it underpins and serves it.
Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:30am (UTC -5)
Great review, Jammer. You've zeroed in on the same feeling I had (far more eloquently): the central storyline of this season was always about Picard honouring Data's sacrifice. The pilot made it abundantly clear that Picard's primary motivations going in were a combination of survivor guilt, and needing to regain his lost self-confidence. Viewing the last ten episodes through that lens, I consider the story to be quite a success.

Yes, as a lot of commenters here and elsewhere have noted, the show also spun out a *lot* of other story threads and most were not concluded satisfactorily. But stepping back from the frustrations of not being told a complete story (which, with a second season coming, may yet be resolved), a different question emerges: was I entertained by the ride? And will I buy another ticket?

The answer for me is yes, on both counts.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
@Tim C, the way you phrased that final question I think might help illuminate some of the differences of opinion here. You ask "was I entertained by the ride?" As critical as I have been of this show, I'd probably answer yes, for the most part I was. However, the question I tend to ask myself is: "was this show worth my time?" Given that there are many, many other TV shows I'd like to watch before I die (I'm middle-aged), do I want to invest another 10 hours in this one? I think the answer to that is most assuredly no. If I have a choice between watching 10 hours of Season 2 of Picard and catching up on The Expanse, rewatching Battlestar Galactica, or even starting a new show, I'd do the latter. I increasingly find myself not looking for entertainment but rather faced with deciding between too many entertainment options. I don't think there's any right or wrong answer to which question you ask or how you answer, but I perhaps this might help illuminate where others are coming from.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:05am (UTC -5)
I also take umbrage against the series' attempt to retcon what happened in Nemesis as saddling Picard with guilt for 20 years,. Watch Data's death again:

Data beamed himself to Shinzon's ship and made an act of self-sacrifice to save his captain. Sure, I would get why Picard would be sad about it, but guilty? Why? He's an experienced starship captain. He knew the risks. He has respect for Data and i'm sure Data's sacrifice touched him deeply, but he's a professional military man. He lost men and women under his command. He lost Tasha Yar. Why isn't he guilt-ridden about her 20 years later?

So as much as the scenes between Data and Picard that close out STP are well-written and well-preformed, they all revolve around a faulty premise that makes little sense character-wise. And again, at least if the writers made something interesting with the connection to Nemesis (after all, Shinzon's was Picard's clone, and Picard is now a clone of himself...) But it's just done on the most superficial and manipulative level to make you feel something.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:11am (UTC -5)
And also, I much prefer Data's death in Nemesis. He went out in an honorable way doing his duty as a starfleet officer, instead of having his USB's pulled out of the computer. If only this depressing scene meant something in the context of the show, if only the show did a proper set-up and then paid it off. If only pigs could fly (maybe in season 2).
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:34am (UTC -5)
That the whole scene with Data happens made no sense. Let's think about what had to happen for this scene. Picards mushy brain gives up right in time, then they extract his "personality" into the thing in which Data's chamber of blandness exists and then they took him out of that machine and put him into the Golem. That seems unnecessarily complicated.

Let's look at all this reasonably. Some have mentioned that the Data and Riker scenes were reshoots. Don't know if that is true but think about it, what would have happened without Data's death (sad, nostalgia) and Riker's arrival (audience cheer moment). Picard would have convinced Soji to not wipe out organic life then died, being resurrected and then they all stand on the bridge of La Sirena. Effectively nothing would have happened. The UberSnyth didn't come and Picard is the same. Only green Soji was disabled and Narissa fell into a dark nothingness (can come back). That is why these scenes are in there. So that something big happens: Data's death and Riker's fuck yeah moment.

And people apparently love it. I personally found the scene ok but also disturbing. That Picard just decides after a short communication with somebody who lived in there for very long, who was probably alone for years or decades even, that sure Data is in his right mind. Let's euthanize him. For example the Netherlands have very liberal euthanasia laws.

It specifies several things a doctor (not just some friend) has to take into account

1. "The doctor must be convinced that the patient does it willingly and has thought about it long and deeply." We can assume that this is true for Data.
2. "The doctor must be convinced that the situation of the patient is without hope and further existing would only mean suffering." Nope
3. "The doctor has informed the patient extensively what his decision means." Nope
4. "The doctor together with the patient agreed that there is no acceptable alternative." Nope
5. "An independent doctor has to check the patient as well and then agreed with points 1-4." There is no medical personal involved. No medical doctor, no psychiatrist.

So even in the country with the most liberal euthanasia laws on our planet Data's assisted suicide would be murder. But hey murder doesn't seem to be a problem in this crew, am I right?! :D

Data just wants to commit suicide because he feels like it. Why not talk it over a few times maybe?! No! Pull the plug. Season one has to end with something big.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:45am (UTC -5)
I don't understand why Data's "data" is on a usb on the planet, if he exploded on the ship in Nemesis.

But then it's clear the writers don't understand it either. At one stage Soong says something about "consciousness" being downloaded to or from a body. Which is just ridiculous. Thoughts and memories, perhaps, but not consciousness itself.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:55am (UTC -5)

Your post, while a bit cynical, I think is ultimately correct. Remove the data scene ( well acted If not well written- let’s settle on well intentioned) and the Riker scene, you’re left with exactly as you described. A bunch of sloppy plots leading to a nothing of a confrontation and A deus ex machina ressurection. That sounds exactly like a Kurtzman inspired story if left to its own devices.

Ultimately someone slightly (but not much more) thoughtful stepped in to add something. The data scene made up for in emotional weight (to a degree) what it lacked in intellectual. You’d assume a more thoughtful writer or set of writers would have allowed picard to react more viscerally to data being essentially isolated and imprisoned in the matrix of one for two decades. How brutal and sad that would be! If data is a conscious person, that kind of isolation would someone profoundly - even an android with a mind like Data.

Unfortunately, the writers here are only a few steps above Kurtzman in their ability to think thematically. They go for the 2nd or 3rd lowest hanging fruit they can and they mostly succeed.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:03am (UTC -5)
@Booming, I was thinking something similar. I'm fine with euthanasia, but maybe spend more than 1 minute making that decision. Especially when, with golem tech, there was a way to bring Data back and give him a new body.

Also, @Lyons, yeah Nemesis is a bad movie, but I never felt like I - or Picard - needed closure on Data's death. It was sad, but his death wasn't pointless. Unlike, say Icheb and Hugh's deaths, but that's another story...
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:04am (UTC -5)
jammer's review really are pretty good, consistently so. I agree with his essential point that what matters are the scenes when Star Trek really delivers. That's always been the case - and I'm sure there's no consensus about what they all are. The rest varies between the very good and the pretty bad, but that's not what really matters.

Why give reanimated Picard only ten years? They didn't - lifespan is longer in the 24th century. They showed Bones getting around grumpy as ever aged 137... (and Patrick Stewart is a healthy 79, with two older brothers).

Anyway, thank you Jammer for giving us this site.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Here's my alternative pitchlet (it's not really a full pitch so it's a pitchlet).

First episode. Picard is still in a funk over Data's death (yes their relationship has been ridiculously flanderised but that's true of all relationships on this show so just roll with it).

He learns somehow that Data exists in a quantum simulation. He knows this at the beginning to avoid the absurdity of expecting us to invest in the death of a character we already thought was dead up until two minutes before the new death.

He also learns that Data's consciousness is breaking down due to tech tech because tech tech isn't perfect and it's impressive he's lasted this long. Having the death be of "natural causes" avoids the photon mine of having Picard euthanise Data because Data thought it would be a laugh (get passed the earnestness of the scene and that is basically what happened).

Data's location is currently unknown or at least difficult to reach.

Picard must embark on a quest to search for Data before he dies for reals this time (rather than pulling out USB sticks that could maybe just be reinstalled?).

Along the way, he has a few adventures that makes him reflect on stuff in a Picardish way.

He finally finds Data before it's too late, but what he says and does when finally meeting him is different than what he thought he'd say and do at the start because of the stuff alluded to above. Incidentally, no need for Picard to die to enable this. This is a universe where androids exist, where mind melds exist and where androids can do mind melds. Coming up with an excuse to get Picard into the similation is not hard.

Data passes away as depicted and it's a more powerful moment because it is actually paying off a personal story about Picard and no stupid AIpocalypse plot.

Picard gets to say goodbye this time and gets closure.

Picard returns home and gets killed by a grieving Geordi in a crime of passion because Geordi is angry that Picard didn't think to take him along.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.
"Does anyone have a line? Perhaps you do, but then, even amid all the criticism we all know everyone will be watching Discovery S3 and Picard S2 for whatever reason suits them."

Everyone? No.

I most certainly ain't going to watch it. There are others here who already stated that they've dropped out mid-season and/or they won't be watching any further.

Besides, what kind of madness is declaring in advance that you'll watch something regardless of its content? That sounds awfully like a cult member speaking, rather than an intelligent consumer of entertainment.

"Consider that I watch Westworld, and in 2+ seasons I don't think I've read once that the writers are desecrating Michael Crichton's vision or what have you. And that show has its own issues at times. It just doesn't come with the kind of constraint that Trek does."

In theory that is correct.

In practice, the Trekkies who say this are (unfortunately) such a tiny minority that the whole thing becomes irrelevant.

The writers can do whatever they want and the junkies... I mean *fans* will gobble it up regardless of the actual content being served. Hence my statement that there are no actual constraints.

"While people are talking about it, I find The Orville to be a manipulative derivative of 90's Trek."

Why "manipulative"?

Seth McFarlane is a hard-core Trekkie. Did you know that he made a Trek fan-film when he was a teenager?

The Orville is a show created by a Trekkie for like-minded people. How on earth is that "manipulative"?

"But in my mind, [the Orville] not Star Trek either."

That was... unexpected.

DIdn't you just say that no kind of content will make you say "this isn't Star Trek"? Are you now telling me that THE ORVILLE, of all things, is the series that managed to be the exception that crossed that line?

The Orville is a million times Trekkier than ST:P or Discovery. How can anybody say that the latter two shows are Star Trek while the Orville isn't? Sounds like a contradiction to me.

Unless we are - once again - resorting to classifying shows by their name while ignoring their content?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:53am (UTC -5)
@ Gerontius

"Why give reanimated Picard only ten years? They didn't - lifespan is longer in the 24th century. "

I guess so. But I still find it silly that you transfer a human being's... consciousness? (echoes of Altered Carbon here, even though in STP it's never really explained or is there any effort being made to establish it as part of the universe)... and then just slap an extra tenner on it just for kicks.

I mean, in Altered Carbon you are essentially immortal unless your "sleeve" is destroyed alonh with your "stack" (your consciousness). As much as I find Altered Carbon problematic, at least it sets up a consistent universe with consistent rules which are explored in a consistent way.
That's what's so maddening about STP. They toy around with these interesting ideas but are not doing anything worthwhile with them. They just slap them on and expect us to accept it. So now you can download consciousness in Star Trek into artificial bodies? This is huge! It's a friggin's Pandora's Box. It's like in Rise of Skywalker you can now resurrect people from the dead using the Force. Big Ideas demand serious consideration, not this kind of slipshod treatment.

Now you might argue this will be explored in season 2, and that may be the case, but having it be the end game of season 1 without any proper set-up and worse, no character development on the part of Picard with relation to it... it's written as a plot twist when it should've been the moral core of the story.

So much potential in this show, so many interesting ideas that were raised, and they did nothing with it.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Very intriguing review and take from Jammer that this whole season was about Picard and Data death closure (so to speak). It does make sense; however, what a bizarre way to go about it with 99% subterfuge for 1% of the objective. Is that good writing? I'm not so sure it's advisable to put the viewer through 10 hours of up and down tertiary stuff to entertain for 5 mins. of a nice, meaningfgul coda.

Yes, the final scenes between Picard and Data were the best part of this middling season finale but I feel Jammer overrates them -- but to each his own and I respect his opinion obviously. "It's a true work of art that's the stuff of Star Trek greatness, and I would put it up there with some of the best scenes in the history of the franchise." I don't thin these scenes compare with the ending of "The Inner Light" or when Picard says "We have engaged the Borg" or when he gets tortured and doesn't give in to Madred in CoC II etc.

For me there was too much silliness in this finale, as I've already mentioned, but the final scenes with Picard and Data were touching but as for my viewing experienced, I was already slightly pissed off with what I had to get through to reach this stage, so as I said it didn't really move the needle for me.

Take an episode like "Cogenitor" as an example -- mostly easy-going but there's something afoot building. And then we get an incredible climax when the cogenitor commits suicide and Archer rips into Trip. That is what the point of that episode was but it built beautifully to that clincher. This PIC finale did not do that and so the payoff for me didn't achieve the effect the writers went for.

Nice, touching ending for PIC S1 but largely unsatisfactory for me.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
I'm bowing out, I can't take Star Trek seriously anymore. The reason Kurtzman gets a bad rap is because he's a marketing man, he's hired to get viewers on board by using previously loved characters along with a bunch of new ones to establish the potential for a new series. The goal was never to tell a great story, that much is obvious. One sliver of a good scene between Picard and Data out of 10 wasted hours isn't enough for me to stick around. The rest of it was an utter mess and absolutely pointless.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Some are of the opinion that 100% of the writing of the show is bad. Given some people (I speak of no one in particular) cannot brook disagreement with eve 1% of their own opinions, the notion (seized on by several commentators) that just perhaps those 6 minutes, roughly 1% of Picard season 1, were great, might literally not compute.

If you're 100% sure something is 100% bad, how do you factor that 1% into your reasoning? Hopefully, you are generous enough to recognize differing opinions as valid.

Not to mention, it never works the other way around. People who have already criticized Jammer for giving 3 stars to an episode that is 1/9th great and the rest so-so, I have a question for you. When you see a movie with a really horrible ending or one stand-out bad scene, surrounded by greatness, do you not give that scene mathematically disproportionate weight in your mental review? Of course you, and millions of people who saw Thelma and Louise, Signs, and The Sixth Sense, and many other movies, do. Just as there is no one correct definition of "What is Star Trek," there is no correct definition for how to evaluate an uneven piece of entertainment.

At any rate, I agree with Jammer that the coda with stands with any of Star Trek's finest moments, in terms of its ambition and its execution. Most of the rest of this episode had lazy ambition and sloppy execution. There have been enough fitful really good moments in season 1 to make me hopeful for the future. (I wonder if people who assured us Season 1 would end with an intergalactic synth apocalypse, can admit to themselves their prediction was wrong? Don't bet on it).

What really matters when assessing the "whole is or is not the sum of its parts" issue is what Jammer posted about ratings. Words of wisdom, that continue to ring true even after 25 years (Happy Anniversary, Jammer!):

"The star ratings are not meant to be absolute, especially not between different series (and sometimes not even between different seasons of the same series). It's a relative scale with a certain amount of built-in uncertainty. I try to be consistent, but that's probably impossible given the wide range of tones and intentions behind the different series/seasons/episodes/movies — not to mention my own changing feelings and attitudes spanning some 25 years, and the different circumstances surrounding when and how the reviews were written. It's an art, not a science. Rating scales are overrated anyway."

Everyone's feelings change, as do tones and intentions and attitudes. These changes confirm that we are flawed humans, and allow for legitimate differences in expression of opinion.

I hope everyone stays safe during this dangerous time.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:20am (UTC -5)
After reading Jammer's review I totally agree on the lameness of the evil tentacles coming out of the wormhole. Totally cheesy and unnecessary. I don't know how much it would have improved the overall story but it would have been better if nothing at all happened, or something happened that a little more ambiguous or ominous (changes to the lighting, inexplicable sensor readings, etc.) I ultimately don't think it served the story very well and it would have been more interesting if it was left more as an open question. I mean, you can still argue that we don't know what those tentacles were but they were clearly designed to look Evil and just looked cheesy.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Great review, Jammer. I like that quote you use from Roger Ebert, about plots versus stories. I always thought that Nemesis, for example, had a decent plot but it was severely lacking in the story department. Conversely, TMP had a good story but its plot was a banausic series of events before the ending.

I also agree with you that the decision to make this story revitalize Nemesis instead of retconning it out of existence is a huge coup. Another company like Disney would likely spin-off a show from already popular TNG properties such as "The Best of Both Worlds" or "First Contact" or even just do a straight story from "All Good Things" and bring Q back. It was a daring decision to choose a quiet and thoughtful episode like "The Measure of a Man" and spin that into an arc while fixing an unpopular part of the franchise's legacy. Whether you think the writers were successful with this risk, you have to admit the writers have stones to make a gamble like that.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
"Not to mention, it never works the other way around. People who have already criticized Jammer for giving 3 stars to an episode that is 1/9th great and the rest so-so, I have a question for you. When you see a movie with a really horrible ending or one stand-out bad scene, surrounded by greatness, do you not give that scene mathematically disproportionate weight in your mental review? "
Yeah well, a good movie with a bad ending is obviously almost always preferable over a bad movie with a good ending.

"I wonder if people who assured us Season 1 would end with an intergalactic synth apocalypse, can admit to themselves their prediction was wrong?"
Literally nobody thought that because if that had happened then the show would be over. Some thought that there might be some big space battle at the end which there kind of was. Orchids attacking the Romulans. By the way for people who didn't notice the names Dajh and Soji are named after orchids and the great attack things were also orchids. Get it?! Yeah me neither.
Well it wasn't like the ending of Discovery season 2. Good job Alex.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:43am (UTC -5)

(I wonder if people who assured us Season 1 would end with an intergalactic synth apocalypse, can admit to themselves their prediction was wrong? Don't bet on it).

Erm, it did end with intergalactic synth apocalypse. That's what those things that were a cross between Matrix sentinels and the flying things in Thunderhead in Skyward Sword were.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
"Not to mention, it never works the other way around. People who have already criticized Jammer for giving 3 stars to an episode that is 1/9th great and the rest so-so, I have a question for you. When you see a movie with a really horrible ending or one stand-out bad scene, surrounded by greatness, do you not give that scene mathematically disproportionate weight in your mental review?"

Mathematics has nothing to do with it.

A rating needs to address the quality of the whole story. The effect of one good/bad scene on the overall rating should depend on the impact of that scene on the story.

I'll say that the Picard/Data scenes, as good as they may be on their own, actually damage the story. We had all these threads and mysteries and plots, but in the end the show tells us "Ha ha! None of that even matters. We were just keeping you occupied with nonsense because we had only 5 minutes worth of good material".

That's not good storytelling. In fact, that's terrible storytelling. So yes, people are baffled by how such a disjointed mess (and Jammer fully admits that the entire season was a disjointed mess) can earn a 3-star rating.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -5)
@Chrome, I take your point about spinoffs, but in a lot of ways I came to the opposite conclusion. "Measure of a Man" and "Offspring" are very popular TNG episodes. Also, this past season of Picard couldn't help dip into the Borg, and at least as much a spinoff of "Best of Both Worlds" and "I, Borg." I'd argue despite the fact that the Borg really serve very little function in the overall story. Soji could have been stationed on pretty much any research station.

I'm not complaining that the Borg were involved. Having a giant Borg artifact was kind of a neat bit of "unexplained lore" and makes for a more interesting setting than a generic starbase. But I can't help but see it as fixating on the more popular aspects of TNG for the sake of fan service. You mentioned Disney, but one thing I give Star Wars TV shows credit for is not indulging in too much fan service during their first seasons. Mandalorian didn't have a bunch of cameos from characters from the films, and I respect it for that.

I will say this: the attention to TNG lore in the show is amazing. Naming Troi's daughter after her hidden sister, etc. The writers took a lot of TNG lore, even from unpopular episodes, and made it all seem like part of the galaxy. The writers do deserve kudos for that.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 11:39am (UTC -5)
@Glom, nice Zelda reference ;)
Tommy D.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)

"Everyone? No.

I most certainly ain't going to watch it. There are others here who already stated that they've dropped out mid-season and/or they won't be watching any further.

Besides, what kind of madness is declaring in advance that you'll watch something regardless of its content? That sounds awfully like a cult member speaking, rather than an intelligent consumer of entertainment."

Perhaps thats why I observed that you may have a line that has been crossed. But we'll see of course. Time and time again folks will say they won't watch anymore, only to return, if only to have their opinion heard.

"Why "manipulative"?

Seth McFarlane is a hard-core Trekkie. Did you know that he made a Trek fan-film when he was a teenager?

The Orville is a show created by a Trekkie for like-minded people. How on earth is that "manipulative"?"

You're right. Manipulative was a harsh choice of a description and perhaps an incorrect one. Yes, I know these things about Seth. I find that the show tugs on a lot of the strings of the nostalgia of 90's Trek, which is part of the draw, but I find it unoriginal. Again, thats not to say I don't enjoy it, because I have.

"DIdn't you just say that no kind of content will make you say "this isn't Star Trek"? Are you now telling me that THE ORVILLE, of all things, is the series that managed to be the exception that crossed that line?

Please direct me to where I made that statement. This is now twice you've done that.

"The Orville is a million times Trekkier than ST:P or Discovery. How can anybody say that the latter two shows are Star Trek while the Orville isn't? Sounds like a contradiction to me."

The contradiction there is fueled by your own statement, not mine.

Unless we are - once again - resorting to classifying shows by their name while ignoring their content?"

I probably should not have written that to be honest. The What is Trek argument isn't a particularly meaningful one. As I've said before, I do enjoy The Orville, and I guess in part because it does riff on so many of the Trek elements from the past, and at times does it well. Does that make it Trek? Perhaps its something I should reconsider.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
So, Jammer: Animated Series and Short Trek reviews coming up next? You know this site is incomplete without those.
Jason R.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Jammer essentially excuses an episode (and by extension, the series) that wastes the audiences' time for 9/10 of its running, while rendering 9/10 of the series nugatory, for the sake of one worthwhile scene at the end.

As predicted, pretty much the entire story thus far ended up in the garbage. Why did Soji have amnesia? What was her mission? Why was Maddox "on the run" when he could have lived on the synth colony in safety? What the hell is up with the Romulans? (the helpless refugees of one episode have a ginormous Dominion War level armada in the next?!)

Best not to dwell on such minutia. Plots don't have to make complete sense , or some sense or errr... any sense at all whatsoever.

I will say this: Data's death was well-done. Like everything else in the story it disintegrates under the slightest inspection but the emotional core was satisfying and the performance by Spiner and Stewart was nice so I'll take whatever scrap I can from what was otherwise a garbage fire of a series.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -5)

It seems we both felt the same watching this season.

In short, I thought the first episode was really well done, and the last one was. As you so eloquently put, that's all that really mattered.

Great review as always. Stay home and may you and yours stay CV free!!
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
@Glom (pitchlet)
I definitely laughed at the ending, nice! I'm not sure how serious you were about the rest, but I do think there was a conscious effort to make the new show about the new crew. I guess your "extra adventures" could fit that bill.

I've gone on record claiming the show managed a pretty good 2nd Act for Soji (and to some extent Picard himself) in Epi's 6-7. I'm now trying to imagine, what if her 3rd Act could somehow be tied to "letting go of Data" more explicitly?

A satisfactory version would probably require extensive rewriting, but maybe even something as simple as, her positronic matrix is required to enter Data's weird netherworld. Maybe it has to be an android "made from Data". It's revealed that they tried this with B4, and something went wrong and B4 "died". Sutra wasn't willing to risk it, because she's an asshole. Soji also isn't willing to risk it at the start - still the displaced teen, can't view Data as an actual father worth this sort of risk. But after Picard has risked all for her people, she's willing to risk herself to reach out to find Picard's consciousness and Data in his weird netherworld. There could also be some sense in which Data, after seeing that his progeny can carry on his legacy, feels ready to pass on. Would tie into his quest for humanity, I think.

I don't know, probably lots of holes in all of this and would require cutting some earlier schlock, but maybe it could have been nice.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
The climactic Data scenes didn't wow me, mostly because a part of me is always aware that scenes like this only exist due a kind of logistical necessity; Spiner can't play a robot who doesn't age, and no longer wants to anyway.

Also, Picard's lost countless crewmen, witnessed the deaths of whole planets, and his friendship with Data always seemed to have a professional and somewhat distant air. I don't see Data's sacrifice in "Nemesis" as being something that would overly traumatize Picard, and certainly not decades later. Indeed, Picard would have celebrated Data's death; it's a very Federation, very loving and noble thing for Data to have done.

Similarly, upon finding Data alive in a USB, I don't believe Picard would have so readily let Data commit suicide. Yes, Picard would not violate Data's personal wishes. But Data informs Picard of the existence of "golems" and "body transfers". Picard would have argued with Data a bit, and tried to get him shunted into a new body.

(incidentally, Data's knowledge of Jurati, the golems etc, seems unbelievable. Is the show implying that Jurati and Soong are communicating with Data and telling him what's going on outside?)

To the show's credit, Data already seems to calculate ahead to these arguments. Data wants to die, he explains, because dying makes his "Nemesis" sacrifice special. It also makes relationships, friendships and love special. Data sees dying as a very "human" thing to "achieve". I don't agree with this argument - and surely a resurrected Data still has plenty of opportunities to die - but the show anticipates arguments for resurrection, and makes a point to knock (or appear to knock) them down.

Meanwhile, it's odd how Riker, who seemed a closer friend to Picard than Data was, gets shunted aside when Picard dies. This is your ex captain, and he has major health problems, and just took on a huge Romulan fleet and killer synths, and he's your close friend and you obviously love him, and you just warp away 10 seconds before his death? Surely this episode is committing the same sin it professes to be fixing; Riker discards a dying Picard as Picard discards Data.

Picard's failure to help the Romulan refugees, meanwhile, seems like something that would actually traumatize Picard far deeper than Data's loss. A personal failure to help people, to keep a promise, and a failure by the Federation to stick to its professed values, strikes me as something that Picard would find far more injurious. I see Picard as possessing a streak of sanctimony that would rationalize Data's death, and be unforgiving toward the treatment of the Romulans. The latter should be the focus of a show, not the former.

Finally, the Data scene requires you to buy a heap of contrivances. I just can't buy Data's memories being stolen, or being on this planet, I can't buy this planet being tied to Romulan Legends, I can't buy Picard getting sick at just the right time, I can't buy Riker leaving, I can't buy Riker appearing, I can't buy Romulans not torpedoing that planet, I can't buy 200 hologram La Sirenas, I can't buy this show's potential connection to "Discovery" season 3 etc etc.

By the time you get to Data and Picard in a room, it just all becomes too incredulous. And the notion that the show is "covertly thematically about Picard's failure to handle the loss of Data" seems insulting to the Romulan refugees and the victims of Mars. After all, as Data literally tells us, their deaths allows Picard's righteousness to have meaning.

What should have happened is this: Data informs Picard that Jurati has a golem, and tells him that Jurati wants to know if Picard wishes to continue to live. Picard, rather than passively acquiring a body, actively chooses resurrection. And he chooses it so he can help people. Because the reduction of unnecessary suffering is the Picard ethos.
Dave in MN
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Why is Data in a recreation of a room he only saw in an alternate future that he never experienced?

There are just SO many plot holes in EVERY scene (even the sporadic "good" scenes) that I don't see how anyone can suspend disbelief enough to immerse themselves in this program.
Eric Jensen
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
The scene with Picard and Data did NOT actually take place. It is all in Picard's mind. It wasn't actually Data's consciousness...
Eric Jensen
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Also, it is like Professor X transferring his mind to another body... very superhero-y feel
Eric Jensen
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
No one has mentioned Professor X... wow, I went to the search function and no one mentions Professor X and transferring his mind...
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
It's a bit problematic Eric. I think most would agree that a mind that survives after death of the body delves into the realms of the spiritual. Where is it located? An unseen subtler realm apart from and co-existent with observable physical reality, well, religious scriptures have been describing that for millehnia. Science hasn't. Does that mean it can't be shown on Trek? Not in my book, but it's still inconsistent with a series which has always said consciousness can be created with matter/energy (androids, holograms).
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
I have freely admitted before: I liked the season, overall. Not great, but enough to make me plan to watch next season (If I am still alive. At 63, that needs to be considered, given the news out there...). Do I agree with Jammer's review? Mostly yes. There are some clunkers in the season, but between the First Episode "Remebrance", "The impossible Box", "Nepenthe" and "Broken Pieces", we had some strong moments. The scene with Data at the end? I shed a tears the first time, and choked up the second.
Few Trek episodes have done that.
Wrath of Kan, Inner Light, DS9 "Duet.
Did that scene redeemed the episode? I say yes.
I don't know if I the writer planned it all along that way (I am a bit more skeptical than Jam Man :) ) , but serendipity sometime is your friend and if it happens, one takes it and run. Now, if only they would make a series with Anson Mount as Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock and Rebecca Romijn as Number One...

P.S. Now, what do I watch on Thursday?
Dave in MN
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
@ Eric Jensen

Having Data's second death be a figment of Picard's imagination would make a lot more sense than Data's entire consciousness and memories being preserved in one molecule (before he was regenerated in the simulation).

Unfortunately, the actual death scene (when the USBs were removed) was shown after Picard had left the "quantum simulation".
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Eric Jensen
Nothing took place. At the end of the last season of STP we will see a shot of a bed. In it lies a sleeping Alex Kurtzman. He opens his eyes and says: "Honey I just had a wonderful dream."

The Federation never existed, everything in Star Trek never existed. It was all just in his imagination.

The End.
Big Pimpin'
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
But seriously what happened to Donatra?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome

I said it before, but I wish they did something interesting with "Measure of a Man". That would've been a worthwhile Star Trek show. What was the point of having Maddox in this series? He appears at the beginning of an episode, has a few lines, and is killed at the end by Jurati. His character is so unimportant to the story that his murderer doesn't even get punished. Heck, she hardly even get scolded.
And Maddox doesn't even have scenes with any synths or with Data. What a waste of opportunity. So did absolutely nothing with Measure of a Man.

@ Dom

Using TNG lore or name-checking Star Trek Trivia (Like that Borg weapon that originated in a Voyager episode, was used for that one plot contrivance, and then was never heard from again) is just that: name-checking. It doesn't mean the writers understand Star Trek thematically. It's fan service with a very low nutritional value.

There is one good thing that came out of this show, though. All this name-checking sent me to re-watch some of these old episodes. For example, I watched Prime Factors from Voyager following STP's The Impossible Box, and wow, what a humdinger of an episode!
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
I don't know whether this has been discussed here before, but a friend is saying STP is ripped off from this Star Trek short story:

Plot description: "Picard struggles to resolve a crisis including a rogue colony of androids and an aggressive Romulan Empire in a way that will prevent full-scale war."

Has anyone read it?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
UNSOLVED MYSTERY ALERT..I hope someone can please respond to ke on this. We never learn Soji's mysterious connection to the Borg hinted at with her knowledge of the Artifact aka the cube's history predating when Rahmda was first assimilated and how she recognized the Queen cell and it was for when she was therenwith High and Picard..didnt it seem like this was set up forna major revelation and new sci fi insight? Does anyone have an explanation who can enlighten me..don't tell me it's just because Maddox somehow transferred Data's menories to Soji through B4 and those memories include Data's knowledge of the Borg gained in First Contact through the Queen because that seems like a cop out answer..Did anyone else notice this oversight?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
The other problem, as some people have pointed out, is the lack of connection between Soji and the Borg oe this connection left unresolved means the Borg amd the cube and ex Bs are disconnected from the rest of the story.that would be fine if the writers had NOT so obviously set up Soji having some connection with her special knowledge ofnthe Borg artifacts history...i was also wanted some tie in to Voyager...To all my Viyager fans, was i the only one who thought that cube was the one in the Beta Quadrant Harry Kim stole the temporal transmitter from in Timless? Remember we know the artifact is in the Beta Quadrant..Maybe this will be resovled next season since thertifact is still intact on Copellius right and Seven is now a permanent member of the crew? I hope so.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
If it's contended that only 1 per cent of the series was really good, that's consistent with Sturgeon's Law "99% of everything is crap". We should value the one per cent even more.
Dexter Morgan
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
3 out of 4 stars for this garbage? Is this a sick April fools joke? I was pretty numb to the last 20 minutes because you knew they were just going to bring back Picard at the clone. Its complete garbage. And no, even if the final 20 minutes moved me, it doesnt negate the bullshit that was the previous 9 episodes (with the exception of a few nice scenes and moments). The entire show was a waste of time.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Dexter Morgan:
"3 out of 4 stars for this garbage? Is this a sick April fools joke? I was pretty numb to the last 20 minutes because you knew they were just going to bring back Picard at the clone. Its complete garbage. And no, even if the final 20 minutes moved me, it doesnt negate the bullshit that was the previous 9 episodes (with the exception of a few nice scenes and moments). The entire show was a waste of time."


This is from the same guy who made the following comment in an earlier post:

"I cannot wait for redlightmedia's two hour evisceration of this puke of a show. Its going to be glorious."


So sorry that Jammer's review does not fulfill your intense addiction to hate-orgasm that some feel.

But feel free to spend hours of your weekly life on the pleasure that you get from watching a show you loathe with a passion, spewing your hatred about it, and pleasuring yourself to the hatred of others on it. That show must really have a permanent space in your mind.
Dexter Morgan
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
"So sorry that Jammer's review does not fulfill your intense addiction to hate-orgasm that some feel."

No need to apologize, you didnt write the review.

"But feel free to spend hours of your weekly life on the pleasure that you get from watching a show you loathe with a passion, spewing your hatred about it, and pleasuring yourself to the hatred of others on it. That show must really have a permanent space in your mind."

I only spent 45-55 minutes of my weekly life on this show, and I dont need to feel free to do it anymore as it is over for the foreseeable future.

I can see from your previous comments that you are a simple person who is easily manipulated and entertained. The perfect demographic for this show!
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Your 10 or so comments here have zero contribution in terms of feedback, do nothing but throw insults at the show, one actually consists of you announcing the intense pleasure you will get from another review "eviscerating" this "puke" of a show. That is outside of reading other reviews (which one is two hours long by your admission), and watching the show itself. Suuuure, that amounts to 45 minutes, riiiiiight.

Now see if you can stop telling fairy tales and have something deep, useful to contribute.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
"I can see from your previous comments that you are a simple person who is easily manipulated and entertained. The perfect demographic for this show"

I am glad to hear that. I would hate to be in any way appreciated by someone like you who depends on expressing his loathe for a show, spends time on it, and gets so excited that he makes a single post just to announce his upcoming deep pleasure from reading a two-hour review consisting of hatred on a show (that he chooses to continue to watch)
Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
This review really set the cat among the pigeons, huh? 🤣 (I feel the same way about the review of Nemesis, team.)

It's interesting reading the more critical comments, because in some ways they seem to be echoing my feelings about Disco season 2. I've always accepted that in a franchise with such a deep bench of stories about one-shot, amazing technologies being tossed out on a whim by writers as an excuse to explore the human condition, suspension of disbelief and audience participation is the price of entry if you're actually looking to be entertained.

(Otherwise, you will just drive yourself insane going down the rabbit hole of "But why didn't they just...")

I think the most important distinction is the one that Jammer (with help from the dearly departed Ebert) points out in the review: plot vs story. Disco season 2 fell apart for me because when I step back from it, the plot *was* the story. Burnham's estrangement from Spock, arguably the most easily identifiable story thread of the season, was effectively concluded with "If Memory Serves" (notably, a pretty universally well-liked episode), leaving us with little but plot machinations to endlessly nitpick going forward. The entire season suffered as a result, despite having a generally better quality of one-off episodes than season 1.

When I step back from PIC, though, I don't have the same empty, dissatisfied feeling about the story. Going in, I was promised a story about *Picard* coming back to life, and that's exactly what was delivered in a mostly satisfying way. People asking "but what was the point of the Borg cube?" or "what's the deal with Romulan refugees?" are, I feel, missing the point. Those are all background to the story about *Picard*. The Borg cube is there so Picard has fears to confront. The Romulans are there so he has regrets to consider. Etc etc.

Some people demand a watertight, swiss-watch plot, and I totally get that, but I feel like you're cheating yourselves out of something nice by doing so. Unlike (again) Disco season 2, which had nothing to offer but plot at the end.
Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Some direct replies:

@Dom: like you, I've become pretty hard-nosed about what TV I spend my time with nowadays, with the streaming era making so much top-shelf content it's impossible to see everything worth seeing. Aside from new Star Trek (because I will *always* set aside an hour a week to watch new Star Trek... unless it's ENT, which I gave up on in frustration very early), right now I make time for Westworld (great!), Homeland (fun!), Better Call Saul (amazing!), The Expanse (excellent!).

When it comes to re-watching shows, it's interesting. I'm far more likely to chuck on an old classic episode of a show I love that's completely self-contained than I'm ever going to say "gee, I'd like to binge an entire season again". It's a real reflection of the changed business models of our time, I think.

When the old Trek shows were geared for sale into syndication, it was also enshrining their rewatchability essentially forever. The new ones are now pumped out to keep you subscribed to a specific streaming service; they can hyper-focus on telling longer stories to an audience that's paying to be there, and there's always new content coming if you're willing to pay. It's early days, but I think this Third Age of Star Trek is not going to be as rewatchable as the First and Second were, just because people don't have time to re-watch entire seasons.

(Rewatching BSG is not on the cards for me, I think. Great show, but like new Trek it demands you keep watching to get a complete picture of the story, and I just don't have time for that anymore!)


You point out that Picard's failure to help the Romulan refugees would traumatize him far more deeply than Data's loss. You're right - but the show showed us that! Data's loss is something that sat with Picard for years, but the conclusion of the Romulan evacuation actually led to him quitting his lifelong career and spending a decade in semi-isolation stewing over it. So much of his identity was built on his own idea that he was inseperable from Starfleet, and when it became clear that wasn't true it left him shellshocked for a long time. The refugee situation is the kind of state-level thing that one man can't effectively deal with without the backing of an institution, and this story was partially about Picard forging himself a new path outside of said institutions.

I agree that an interesting show could be built around the political situation the Federation and the Romulans find themselves in, but I don't think I agree that that is the story this first season should have told. Disco's first season failed in part because the show immediately jumped into a high-stakes political plot - a huge war! - without first setting the stage. (In contrast, DS9's Dominion War plot was far more effective because we had multiple seasons of plot chess pieces being put into place first.)
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Many people have come out and said that Data's death is a case of euthanasia.

Is it? Or is there a nuance here?

Data is essentially hooked up to a machine that is sustaining his life, but he has no option to repair his actual body. There is no hope of his body winning the fight. He cannot return to life without the life-support machine and in his own body. If the life-support machine is discontinued, Data just naturally fades away quickly.

Some people refer to this as 'passive euthanasia', but I think we normally treat 'pulling the plug' on critical life support as having different moral and legal requirements than 'active euthanasia'. For instance, Booming quoted some 'very liberal' laws. Those are almost certainly for active euthanasia (not passive euthanasia or pulling the plug), because far less liberal states have less stringent requirement for 'pulling the plug' on life support.

Perhaps, in good Trekkian style, some nuance is in order, even if the whole time we're dealing with an analogy for non-organic lifeforms.
Dexter Morgan
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
"his upcoming deep pleasure from reading a two-hour review consisting of hatred on a show (that he chooses to continue to watch"

No. The finale had already aired when I said that, so no, I will not be "continuing to watch". And I recommend everyone to watch Redlettermedia, they are hilarious and Mike Stoklasa is a diehard Trek fan, so I appreciate his take on the subject matter, whether he likes it or not. I just know they will thrash this show like the simple minded trash that it is.
Dexter Morgan
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
"No, what this season of Star Trek: Picard is actually about is Picard saying goodbye to Data."

Well, no it wasnt, because they shot that all after the fact because the original story they had was even worse than what they put on TV. This statement is giving way way too much credit to the writers.

@Dave in WN

"I read that both Riker's and Data's appearances in the finale were part of the reshoots. "

I thought I had read that Riker's episode "Nepenthe" was the thing that was added after the fact which would make sense because his appearance as Captain of the Jeng He makes sense in terms of the story being told, but absolutely no sense from where we left Troi and company on Nepenthe.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else notice the recurring theme of eye injuries? In a short season, two characters have their eyes plucked out, one of them is murdered by being stabbed in the eye, and the protagonist disguises himself by pretending to be missing an eye. Eye don't know what to make of it.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
@Tim C

I hear ya and Jammer on the story vs. plot. However, *if* this is the story of Picard (series name notwithstanding), then that story was essentially told in the first episode, Picard's doctor's scene in the 2nd episode, and the last episode. And if you really look at it, it was more likely the first half of the first episode and the last 20 minutes of the last episode.

What frustrates me and a lot of people on the plot was that everything in between the first and last episodes could be eliminated and you would still have Picard's story. That's 9+ hours of extremely poor writing and plot threads.

Even with Picard's story, the choice of putting to bed Data's story was totally unnecessary. That would require a viewer to rewatch Nemesis, which I thought was a poor movie. Not sure why Nemesis was chosen as a foundation for the first season of PIC. As others have said, Geordi's relationship with Data was much stronger, as was Riker's to Picard's. Hell, Crusher and Q had stronger relationships with Picard.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Did not watch the show. Did watch some of the last Picard Data scenes on youtube. They didnt show what happened to Picard after his deadscene and the whole thing was quite redundant and it feels wrong. We have almost eternal life now but dont give it. Aha. And Picard isnt at all shocked what they did to him. And for what reason? Put an old man in an old replicant so he still has to die a second time but in a synthetic way? What kind of androids are these? Clones seems more like it.

Anyway why didnt they put Data back i a new body? Why he had to stay in eternal limbo? And why he was aware it was a simulation? Did he find out himself?
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
If this is Picard's story in relation to Data, then indeed it is only portrayed in the first and last episodes. If it is Picard's story as a whole, then there is something more there. A fair amount of it is pretty bad, but I still think there's some okay-ish stuff dealing with Picard learning how to connect with Soji, and in the end, realizing the "lesson" that a parent shouldn't tell, a parent should show / lead by example. This, at least, would be something relatively new-ish for Picard, who was always uncomfortable with children and used to giving commands.

Okay-ish. Not amazing. And not related to sending off Data. But not a complete tire-fire either. Just not enough to overshadow the actual tire-fires throughout the show.

Also, if you want a genuine answer to your last paragraph, Dexter's buddies at RedLetterMedia made it pretty clear, if it wasn't clear already. The show is trying to maximize viewership. The goal is to have just the right amount of TNG stuff that is familiar to 'everybody', but very little else from actual TNG. So, what do random people (like Jay at RLM) know about TNG?
1. Picard
2. Data
3. The Borg

Okay, focus on Picard+Borg was a movie, don't do that. Focus on Data+Borg, well wait, Spiner doesn't want to be too involved as Data. Focus on Picard+Data without actually focusing on Data, and throw in Borg haphazardly? Profit. But how to focus on Picard+Data without actually using Data very much? Well, first off, exaggerate Picard+Data, add emotional weight to it. Just do it - it'll be easy! Data sacrificed himeself! In any case, this allows Picard to be emotionally affected by Data even when Spiner is not onscreen. Next, involve Data's daughter instead. Not actually Lal, too few people know who that is for it to be worthwhile. Just invent a new daughter, build an emotional storyline around her and Picard, and make sure the actress is great.

I just want to say quickly, it's not necessarily the worst thing ever to have such a shallow mindset when creating a show. You need to guarantee a greenlight from the studio, which is to say, you need to guarantee money. Sometimes restrictions can lead to great artistic choices. The key is being thoughtful/clever enough to make something genuine and meaningful out of it all in the end. And I think a lot of us agree, they didn't manage to pull that off very well.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
"Anyway why didnt they put Data back in a new body?"

That's no doubt the biggest problem here. Data's reason for wanting Picard to pull the plug was to experience the humanness of a temporal existence. But with the Golem they could have actually made him essentially human, as Picard's new body is, with the bonus of dying after he's lived a fully human life. Surely he would have preferred this to actual instant death?
Tim C
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Marvin, you can also put me in the camp that agrees this season should have been a different length. Either much shorter, with less fat, or much longer, so we could actually deal with those additional stories that came out of it and were left unresolved.

But! I don't entirely agree that everything between the bookends was filler. The opening three episodes could definitely have been condensed to two. After that, though, each one had some important moments for Picard. Consider:

• "Absolute Candor" showed us how deep his regret over the refugee situation on Vashti runs. Elnor turned out to be a totally inessential character (albeit entertaining, I thought), and the show failed to properly inform us how things got to this point*. But as a showcase for Picard, I found it pretty effective. He doesn't just regret walking away from the Romulans, he's also downright *angry* that they don't appreciate the effort that he *did* put in. It's a pleasingly complex emotional portrayal, I thought.

• "Stardust City Rag" was pretty intensely disliked it seems (although it's my favourite episode of the season), but I think (?) most people agree the Picard & Seven scenes were exactly the sort of thing they'd hoped for were these two characters to ever meet.

• "The Impossible Box", of course, showed us just how far Picard's willing to go on his new quest. We had those great scenes with him and Hugh and some great demonstration of how his assimilation will never stop haunting him.

• "Nepenthe" - would anyone really want to lose any part of this episode? I think it was kind of essential to have Picard run into his old crew at some point; it's one of those plot things you can't ignore. I mean, if your main character is really up against it and we all know he has an intensely loyal group of friends, you pretty much *have* to include them in the story at some point and explain why they're not a part of this new quest.

• "Broken Pieces" - here's where we really start to see the old Captain really coming back to the fore. The way he sternly puts Raffi and Jurati back in their places, the renewed empathy he shows Soji, his reminiscing on what Data actually meant to him.

You could certainly rewrite this story in many ways to be shorter, in order to focus more intently on Picard, or longer to give the plot more time to wrap up. I think that definitely would have been a better show. But I don't think the show ever took its eye off the ball completely; every episode had some important moments for Picard.

* The backstory for Vashti is effectively told in the prequel novel, "The Last Best Hope", but you can't really count that as part of the show.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
As far as I could see, Soji's only connection to the Borg was that she was doing research on the Artifact due to the fact that it was completely disabled when it assimilated Rahmda and got a spliff of the Admonition. That's why all those Borg in the one wing were so damaged and out of it and reacted so negatively to Soji. They were all hopped up on the Admonition. That's what that entire scene was all about. She was there specifically to learn about the Admonition. The Synths didn't quite know exactly what they were looking for, but her programming had her gathering any and all information she could find on the cube that could even possibly lead her to the Admonition. She may indeed have gotten some information from the neuron of Data's that spawned the new line of completed androids. However, that was unclear though. Sorry if that doesn't answer your questions.

I noticed that. You missed one I think. There was a Borg being "reclaimed" when Picard came aboard and Hugh showed him the Project. He was missing one of his eyes and the wound over the spot was healed using a dermal regenerator I think. He was still missing an eye, but it didn't look so horrendous afterwards.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
"'Anyway why didnt they put Data back in a new body?'

That's no doubt the biggest problem here. Data's reason for wanting Picard to pull the plug was to experience the humanness of a temporal existence. But with the Golem they could have actually made him essentially human, as Picard's new body is, with the bonus of dying after he's lived a fully human life. Surely he would have preferred this to actual instant death?"

You hit the nail on the head at what bothered me about an otherwise nice send off for Data. That could've been the culmination of Data's life long dream of becoming human. They could've left Picard in the simulation for later and put Data in the new body. Data could've been indistinguishably human with emotions and all, lived out the remainder of a natural lifespan, and then died, like every human who ever lived. The problem with that is Brent Spinner didn't want to keep playing that role as I understand it. Another problem is that Data would quickly take over the show, even from Picard.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Even of Brent Spiner had no desire to play Data again they could have still had him be placed in the hole and look just like BrentSpiner sans Data makeup. He could have stayed behind on Coppelius to help his children learn from him all the insights he had about the human race from the years he was in Starfleet and aboard the Enterprise—similar to Odo rejoining the Great Link to help changelings stop fearing solids.

I doubt the writers will ever revisit Coppelius and even if they did Brent could play Data as a human with no need to worry about how he looks

The La Sirena could have flown off into the great depths of space. With Soji part of the crew the android representative sent by Coppelius the android characters is checked off the box

And I still think it was a bad idea to have Pocards Irumodic Syndrome play out in one season. It screams to be one of those series spanning threads. I mean rumors are Patrick Stewart wants to do around three seasons. So gradually over the life of the series we could have witnessed the symptoms start and progress towards a steady decline near the end of the series. And each season in the background could be Picard getting out living checking off things on his Bucket List as far as adventures, planets to visit, old friends likeGeordi or Guinan he wants to see one last time

But no the writers rushed it
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Golem not hole
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 12:32am (UTC -5)
You guys (including Jammer) are making me feel really lonely here! I thought the epilogue with Data was the worst part of the episode and one of the worst parts of the whole season. Dull, maudlin, implausible, and morally bankrupt. But then I was never a huge fan of Data’s character to begin with. Give me Spock, Tuvok, or even Isaac from the Orville any day.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 1:20am (UTC -5)
@ben canuck
"Is it? Or is there a nuance here?

Data is essentially hooked up to a machine that is sustaining his life, but he has no option to repair his actual body. There is no hope of his body winning the fight. He cannot return to life without the life-support machine and in his own body. "

I disagree. As other have pointed out why not put Data in another body. it doesn't even have to be the Golem, just put him in a Soji/Dash model. Wouldn't that already be very life like? What is even the difference between a golem and Soji??? If they can take Picard's personality out of his body and put it in the machine and then into another body without problems, then they obviously could do the same for Data. Add to that the fact that Picard had a pretty short conversation. Why did Soong go along with it so easily? Isn't Data closer to him than Picard? But when Picard comes out of that simulation everybody just accepts: 1. Picard actually talked to Data 2. Nobody asks to double check, just to be safe. 3. Why did nobody ever try to get Data out of that nightmare before?! Soong had time to make android butterflies (another not so subtle metaphor: butterfly effect *wink*wink*)but no time to safe his brother from that horrible existence for more than a decade? The same goes for Maddox! Why did none of these people ever try to help Data when they had all the tools to do so? It makes Maddox and Soong seem very cruel.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 3:01am (UTC -5)
@ bencanuck

"Data is essentially hooked up to a machine that is sustaining his life, but he has no option to repair his actual body. There is no hope of his body winning the fight."

Data is NOT his body. He is an artificial intelligence which can be preserved and downloaded to any body, and is only "dead" when his core consciousness is erased or destroyed, similar to the "stacks" in Altered Carbon (only in that universe it's digitized human consciousness).

The writers are making the mistake of assuming that Data is his body. They show him in his old uniforms etc. Data would not have any attachment to any certain body. He would be fine being downloaded into a new body. Heck, it would even excite him. Showing him sitting all depressed in his "quantum simulation" is just... wrong. Data is supposed to be curious, not depressed. Now that the show has established digitizing consciousness and downloading it into synthetic bodies is possible in Trek, there is really no reason for Data to die other than him WANTING do die - and I could see that being a story point - but the script did not set his motivations for this radical act in any sort of convincing way. As it stands, it makes no sense for Data - a consciousness that was always looking to learn, was always looking for new experiences - to be euthanized in such a way. And it simply feels like the reasons for this story beat have more to do with external factors and not with any organic character development. So as much as the scenes are well put together and finely acted, they ring hollow and manipulative to me.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 6:45am (UTC -5)

"I disagree. As others have pointed out why not put Data in another body."

I think Data was beyond that point. He did "die" in Nemesis. I think he was "trapped" in this quantum blah, blah... I think he couldn't have been put in a new body. Also, even if he could have, I'm not sure he wouldn't have. It was clear his whole life he was striving to be more human, dying was the final step.

My cut anyways...
Andy's Friend
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 6:59am (UTC -5)

"Data is NOT his body. He is an artificial intelligence which can be preserved and downloaded to any body, and is only "dead" when his core consciousness is erased or destroyed, similar to the "stacks" in Altered Carbon (only in that universe it's digitized human consciousness)."

I have not watched 'Picard'. If 'Picard' has attempted a 'retcon' of sorts of Data's nature, I am unaware of it. Otherwise, Data is very much a function of his unique 'body' in TNG: more exactly, of his 'positronic brain'.

The details of just what constitutes that positronic brain were deliberately kept vague in TNG. But there is no question that Soong's unique achievement was what made Data's *artificial consciousness* possible.

(You speak of "artificial intelligence". That is a category mistake).

This is what separates Data from the EMH in Voyager. Despite what the majority of fans (and I think even the writers of VOY) want to believe, the EMH possesses no artificial consciousness even if he is able to perfectly mimic it. He is but code, which, unlike that of Data, can be uploaded, downloaded, and changed at will, by multiple individuals to multiple platforms. Consider for example the following:

TORRES: Look, Doc, I don't know anything about this woman or why she doesn't appreciate you, and I may not be an expert on music, but I'm a pretty good engineer. I can expand your musical subroutines all you like. I can even reprogramme you to be a whistling teapot. But, if I do that, it won't be you anymore.

Yes, Torres is a pretty good engineer. But she is no Soong, not even a Maddox as far as artificial consciousness is concerned. Yet even a regular, 'pretty good' engineer can shape the EMH at will. Could she do the same to Data?

Data is a combination of unique software adapted to unique hardware, if not biological 'wetware' proper. It is that combination of programming and the medium that processes it—his positronic brain—that allows Data to function and grow independently and (for lack of a better word) organically:

RIKER: The positronic brain. He promised it would do so much. When it failed completely, Doctor Soong disappeared. Now we know he went off somewhere to try a second time.

DATA: You have constructed a positronic brain?
DATA: Have you determined how the [technobabble] is to be resolved?
MADDOX: Not precisely.
DATA: That would seem to be a necessary first step.
('The Measure of a Man')

DATA: Lal has a positronic brain, one very similar to my own.
('The Offspring')

DATA: The positronic matrix I designed for her was unstable. She only lived a short time.

Indeed, Soong's positronic brain is what makes both Data and Lore unique:

DATA: My brother's positronic brain had [technobabble]. Mine is [different technobabble].
('Time's Arrow, Pt I')

… and so on, and so forth. Don't mistake the positronic brain for a mere computer, and forget about "artificial intelligence". Data's positronic brain is a true *artificial brain*. It is what gives him sentience, or properly *artificial consciousness*. And it seems to be that which Soong's entire programming—a fundamental part of Data's neural processes—depends on to work. Consider the following:

Are we sure that Soong's specific programming could work on another platform? Do we even know what programming language Soong used? Could he not be using a programming language entirely sui generis? Indeed, is it not likely?

We know that Lore can manipulate Data and the latter's programming, and that admittedly makes sense.

We also know that Dr Graves was able to upload himself into Data's framework. This he did using Starfleet technology, which Soong of course knew of, and evidently made Data reciprocally adaptive to. But is it not possible that Soong's programming will allow for no further reciprocal control in otherwise adaptive environments?

In any case, it seems certain that Data's positronic brain is that which he—as Lal—cannot exist without.

Please tell me, as I haven't been paying much attention: has 'Picard' attempted to change the nature of Data?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 7:11am (UTC -5)
@Andy's Friend

I seem to recall having this debate some years ago with you. But it is necessary to accept that a "brain" does not necessarily denote a singular physical organ or artificial device. A brain could theoretically be housed a purely virtual space, which I suspect is the conceit with the EMH and other sentient holograms. That doesn't necessarily mean these two technologies are interchangeable, as androids and holograms have distinct advantages, but I don't understand this insistence that holograms cannot posses consciousness.

At any rate, "Picard" doesn't retcon anything regarding the positronic brain. The virtual remains of Data are housed within a physical remnant of B4's brain.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 7:49am (UTC -5)
I agree with Andy's post. His distinction between an artificial *brain* versus artificial intelligence is exactly right although in Voyager undoubtedly this was muddled quite a bit (and also in TNG with the Moriarty character, admittedly).

It comes down to the question of embodiment and what that means for the development of any general intelligence, artificial or otherwise. Much of scifi and mainstream cultural representations of AI have proceeded on the assumption that human intellect could be transferred or copied independently of the body, or that something equivalent to it could be constructed from scratch in a disembodied state. This dualistic notion that intellect can be neatly disentangled from physicality is almost certainly wrong. It's arguably one of the reasons why our quest for general or 'strong' AI has been so futile and most serious work has essentially abandoned the mission of recreating general intelligence in software.

It is like imagining that if only we had an accurate enough camera with high enough resolution we could somehow recreate a real dog in a photograph where the photograph would be equivalent to the dog.

One of the things about Data's portrayal, such as his inability to use contractions, or his difficulty with the Chinese Finger Trap, at least in my head canon, arises because unlike a computer program which is constructed to *mimic* intelligence (essentially in a top down way where you start from the end point and work backwards) Data was much like a real person where he learned from doing and being and therefore his intelligence needed to experience something physically in order to understand it.
I get dumberer
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Reading this site. Doesn’t matter which twit types. Look at this crap from Jason R about AI.

This site makes formerly potentially possible standard intelligence people into yammering idiots.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 8:10am (UTC -5)
"I think he couldn't have been put in a new body. "
The show doesn't give any indication that this is the case and, as others have argued, being put in a human like body could be seen as the fulfillment of his life long dream.

"but I don't understand this insistence that holograms cannot posses consciousness."
You cannot understand it because there is nothing to understand. Of course a computer can harbor an artificial intelligence. Plus we don't know enough about this completely made up concept of a positronic brain to judge what influence it has even if we accept that such a thing exists in star trek. Obviously there are other working positronic brains in the synth colony. The problem is actually far bigger for a human brain. Considering that the human brain is made of several fairly different parts. I mean does a golem have a cerebellum? A brainstem?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D

"Time and time again folks will say they won't watch anymore, only to return, if only to have their opinion heard."

You are right. There are many people who do that. Far too many.

And you know why? Because they are pressured to do so by their fellow fans. It has become "common knowledge" that you are not allowed to speak about the current state of Star Trek unless you agree to torture yourself in this manner.

Does this strike you as a healthy situation for a fandom?

Fortunately, not everybody is falling for this trap. There *are* fans who are beginning to realize how crazy the above situation is.

There are also people here who have stopped watching Discovery/Picard mid-season, because THEY JUST COULDN'T STAND IT ANYMORE.

And then there are those who decided that if THREE ENTIRE SEASONS of NuTrek left them cold, it's more then fair to say "I've given it at chance. I don't like it, and I'm bowing out".

So no. Not "everyone" who says that he'll stop watching, comes back with his tail between his legs. And not "everyone" who is voicing their opinion here are still watching.

"Please direct me to where I made that statement. This is now twice you've done that."


When I've asked you directly when there's anything that would cause you to say
'Nope. They've crossed the line this time. I cannot accept this as Star Trek', your answer was:

'Interesting question. The best answer might be, I don't know.'

From which I deduced that such a thing has not happened yet. In other words, both Discovery and Picard did not cross that line for you.

And then, IN THE VERY SAME COMMENT, you stated that the Orville has crossed that line.

So yes, that's a contradiction. Unless you want to argue that ST:P is more Trekkish then the Orville, which I think we'd both agree to be a ridiculous statement.

"The contradiction there is fueled by your own statement, not mine."

See above.

"I probably should not have written that to be honest. The What is Trek argument isn't a particularly meaningful one."

Do you really believe that?

The fact remains that you *did* write those things. It came to you naturally and it seemed to come from your heart.

The problem is that "common wisdom", these days, states that the "What is Trek" question is meaningless. People repeat that statement enough times, and you start accepting it as an axiom that must not be questioned.

Perhaps it is time to question that common wisdom?

"Does that make [the Orville] Trek? Perhaps its something I should reconsider."

Perhaps. But only if you find such questions to be of any relevance. :-)
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:09am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
"It is like imagining that if only we had an accurate enough camera with high enough resolution we could somehow recreate a real dog in a photograph where the photograph would be equivalent to the dog."

Such a perfect "photograph" would, indeed, be equivalent to the dog.

Let's think about the physics of this example for a second: What would this "perfect photograph" be made of?

Ordinary photos can be rendered on film (or projected on a screen) because they have limited resolution. Due to this limited resolution, it makes sense to seperate between the medium (your screen) and the information (the lit pixels).

But when the resolution gets high enough, this is no longer possible. You can't "draw" a subatomic-level image on a piece of paper, because that paper is also made of atoms. The only way to get all these little subatomic fields exactly right, is to create an exact replica of the original object - atom by atom.

So in essence, such a perfect "camera" would have to be perfect matter replicator. A perfect "photograph" would be physically identical to the real thing.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
@ Andy's Friend

In episode 1 Jurati mentions that Data's neural pathways were downloaded into B4. She later mentions Maddox's theory that other sophisticated synths can be constructed from a single neuron originating from Data. (we see that come into fruition later on, and we know Soji/Dahj are Data's "daughters").

In episode 10, Data mentions that his memory engrams were downloaded by Maddox, and also says "my memory engrams were constructed from a single neuron salvaged by Bruce Maddox, and then my consciousness was reconstructed by my brother, Dr Alton Soong".

So while the show is murky on the details, it treats Data's cocnsiousness as something that can be downloaded and manipulated to certain ends and means. I do not disagree with you regarding TNG. When watching TNG I didn't think of Data as something else but Data, but STP is trying to rewrite the rules while without really fully explaining what the new rules are.

I mean, of you can create other androids from Data's single neuron, why can't you recreate Data? Or at least a very close simile of Data? The fact that nobody in the episode, including Data, doesn't even entertain this idea is patently odd.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron,

I think you're missing Jason R.'s point. He is saying that an analogous copy is not actually a copy but rather something different. A super-resolved *photo* of a dog cannot ever be a dog, not matter how 'realistic' it looks. You've bypassed the premise by claiming it's not actually a photo but just a 3-D print exact copy of a dog.

The point being made is that a virtual copy of a human intelligence will *never* be a human intelligence. It may be some kind of intelligence, but never a human one. The reason being, if the brain and body aren't involved it literally isn't human; and moreover, the thoughts and individuality may exist in the physical structure, not the "thought engrams" or whatever sci-fi concept you want to use. Remove the hardware and you remove the person. For any sci-fi wanting to get into consciousness transfer (like Ira Graves did) obviously you're introducing the premise that somehow you can *completely* capture an intelligence virtually and restore it to a new body. Andy's Friend and Jason R. are simply claiming that this sci-fi premise will in fact prove to be incorrect, scientifically speaking, when we get far enough in our research.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Omicron what you're describing would cease being a photograph and would just be a full on replication. Admittedly the analogy fails when you take it too far but you get my drift.

It reminds me of a painting I studied in college where the artist rendered the image with such fine detail that you could magnify the image and find ridiculous details that would be invisible to the naked eye. And when you're a kid you imagine you could step into the painting and it would be real.

Except it's all a mirage. Paint on canvass will never be 'real' anymore than bits on a magnetic tape will be 'intelligent'. It doesn't matter how fine the detail. Human intelligence is inseparable from the body that evolved it. You can try to mimic it like the painting bit that's all it is - mimicry.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -5)
@ Booming

"I think he couldn't have been put in a new body. "
The show doesn't give any indication that this is the case and, as others have argued, being put in a human like body could be seen as the fulfillment of his life long dream."

I think Data explained it while speaking with Picard in the final scene together.

I don't have a transcript though.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
@ Yanks,

"I think Data explained it while speaking with Picard in the final scene together.

I don't have a transcript though."

What Data said was essentially that dying was the ultimate way to experience humanity; that mortality is relevant to the human experience. Data did not, however, say that he was beyond saving in terms of giving his consciousness to a new body. Once we assume this could be done with a human then surely it could be done with an AI. The "body = self" argument would apply to a human even more than to an android, so if it can be done for a human then it can for an android. Since Data could be saved, the argument they are making is that he simply wanted to die to experience death; suicide as a means of experiencing being human.

Tonally it did feel a bit like Data was implying that he didn't want to be suspended like this forever and that it was kind of like pulling the plug. And this is where the show proves that its own premises mattered to it practically not at all, and that it was all a joyride: if they really wanted to say something about what the self is, or consciousness, they would have had to explain why Data's consciousness needed to have its plug pulled, while Picard's could happily go to a new body. Maybe Data's neural net wasn't entirely captured in B4, and this is only partly-Data. Or maybe it experienced degradation over time. Or maybe these golems can actually only work on humans, and not on androids at all. Basically we don't know because they didn't say, because cybernetics technology and consciousness transfer is not what this show cared about. And so we get a critical plot point - that Data must die or else remain in limbo forever - offered to us without explanation so that for emotional reasons we need to accept Data's plea to die. But if Data had asked the same thing on the Enterprise one day, that he wanted to die just to die, then I believe he would have been treated as malfunctioning rather than taken seriously in this request.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
I feel that the show "Picard" is the Admonishen on The Grief World and the Star Trek fan base are the Zat Vash. We all placed our hands on the circle, "watched" Picard, and a select few felt the need to take action defending what they saw while the rest of us wanted to either rip our hair out, bash our brains in with a brick, or shoot ourselves with a phaser. That scene was almost the perfect metaphor for how this show has turned out.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -5)
I'm confused. Do people say that you cannot recreate Human intelligence without a Human body or are you sayng that you cannot create higher intelligence, comparable to our own?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:35am (UTC -5)

"Except it's all a mirage. Paint on canvass will never be 'real' anymore than bits on a magnetic tape will be 'intelligent'. It doesn't matter how fine the detail."

Nobody would claim that the bits themselves are intelligent. Raw information can't *do* anything without a device that processes and interprets that information.

So if we copied the information alone, you'd get nothing. But if we also had a computer that processes this info in the same way that the brain does, then I don't see why it wouldn't posses intelligence.

The notion that it has to be a perfect physical copy doesn't make much sense. It just needs to be capable of performing the same FUNCTION. On what basis are you claiming that only humanoid brains can perform this function?

I also don't understand how it is possible to "mimic" intelligence without actually *being* intelligent. Intelligence is about having a certain set of cognitive abilities. Either a computer is capable of intelligently responding to its sorroundings, or it isn't. What does it even mean to "fake" or "mimic" such a thing?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@msw @Tim C

Appreciate the full replies.

@msw I agree that PIC’s goal was audience expansion and throwing Trek references to keep the fan base at bay

@Tim C Relatedly, although I agree to your cites of Picard’s story being more fleshed out in the middle of the season, the majority of these scenes were with TNG characters. I view this as nostalgia and fan service; you really have to slice through a ton of mediocrity to cobble together a fuller picture of Picard. Nepenthe, for example, was 30 minutes too long, and I thought the real add to the story dealt more with Soji’s acclimation to her new identity vs Picard’s story being flushed out.

All this being said, I also agree a condensation of the season to 3 maybe 4 episodes would capture Picard’s story. In addition, so that the wool isn’t thrown over either the fan base or the new audience’s eyes, it would have been helpful to know within 2 episodes that this was a Picard character study. But then again, the conclusion is frustrating because now we have Picard in a golem, yet still mortal without Irumodic Sydrome (or whatever to infer he had). From a story:character study, what is the moral or lesson that we as the audience or Picard’s character to take away from this? Picard upheld his morals the entire season; he essentially did no wrong, right?

So what was the point of the entire journey?
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron,

The argument being made is effectively that what you are saying is a false definition of intelligence. Or at least, a false rendering of what human intelligence is, and perhaps what Data's intelligence was. You are treating it like a series of digital processes that just happen to take place in our brain. But that is not a fact in evidence; at best we can theorize in sci-fi terms that it might be so. But it also might not. Andy's Friend has been arguing for some time that it is not so.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)

While my specific example was of a digital process, my argument has a broader scope.

My point is, quite simply, that whatever happens in the brain (digital or not) can also happen elsewhere.

Jason's original argument was that an AI would be incapable of what a brain can do, because it doesn't have a body and can't interact with its surroundings.

And my reply was that this dichotomy is imaginary. AI's are not abstract entities that float in a vacuum. They require some kind of hardware that serves as their bodies, and they need some kind I/O system that serves as their senses.

None of this depends on the specifics of how such an AI might work. Whether this can be achieved by "digital" means is not important. We're dealing with fictional technology here anyway. Who said the Enterprise Computer is "digital"?

I also stand by my statement that the notion of "mimicing intelligence" is a contradiction of terms. This, too, has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether "digital-based intelligence" is possible.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 11:43am (UTC -5)
"So if we copied the information alone, you'd get nothing. But if we also had a computer that processes this info in *the same way that the brain does*, then I don't see why it wouldn't posses intelligence." [emphasis added]

I have put asterix around the key point here. A brain does not process information independent of a body within which the brain resides. The origin of the thing we call intelligence is stimulus received from our five senses through our bodies and a complex heuristic process of feedback. Think about how babies respond to stimulus, evolving incrementally as they interact with their physical world. A toddler cannot be taught to crawl or walk as some intellectual exercise - and this is not merely due to a lack of sophistication due to immaturity. In fact *no one* of any age could learn a task as complex as walking through the ingestion of raw information, even if the information could somehow be beamed into their minds independent of the five senses.

Trying to create a general intelligence, artificial or otherwise, absent a physical body, is akin to trying to teach someone to walk as a pure intellectual exercise, only multiplied a million fold in difficulty.

It is plausible that what we call "consciousness" or "self-awareness" which is the essence of human intelligence, is the culmination of millions of these understandings derived from the complex interaction between sensory information from our bodies and heuristic learning in our brains.

Trying to teach a disembodied computer that through some binary code is ass backwards - like trying to recreate a cake by just throwing a bunch of chemicals you read off the back of the ingredient list from the bakery in a bowl and expecting the result to be a cake.

"The notion that it has to be a perfect physical copy doesn't make much sense. It just needs to be capable of performing the same FUNCTION. On what basis are you claiming that only humanoid brains can perform this function?"

I am not, although at present the technology to recreate what a human intelligence does simply doesn't exist. The premise that some who study AI have begun to accept is that the body and the senses aren't just some incidental thing in the development of intelligence but a necessary precondition. It is an essential catalyst for the "recipe" and without it it's just random chemicals in a bowl - no cake.

"I also don't understand how it is possible to "mimic" intelligence without actually *being* intelligent. Intelligence is about having a certain set of cognitive abilities. Either a computer is capable of intelligently responding to its sorroundings, or it isn't. What does it even mean to "fake" or "mimic" such a thing?"

Well anything from a Google search engine to good old Dr. Sbaitso can mimic intelligence without being intelligent. Conceivably, you could even develop an algorithm so sophisticated that it could carry on a natural seeming conversation flawlessly. And yet it would only be an algorithm not a conscious being. And if you somehow gave this algorithm command of a physical body, it wouldn't know how to walk *at all* even if it could explain the process in exacting manner. Because knowing *about* walking and knowing how to walk are distinctive things.

As I see it, the holocharacters we see in Trek are hyper advanced algorithms that perfectly mimic intelligence but are no more intelligent in a general sense than Google. Data, however, through his positronic brain *and* physical body, is the real deal.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
This debate would require an actual computer scientist to remain meaningful.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
"This debate would require an actual computer scientist to remain meaningful."

There are some interesting perspectives on the "mind body" problem in Possible Minds: 25 ways of looking at AI. This article reviews some of the challenges in addressing how to teach an AI to think like a child.

The broccoli example is an amusing illustration of how children can accomplish feats that no AI, however sophisticated, can do.

Like with sublight interstellar travel, I feel the media and popular entertainment have underestimated the challenges of creating general AI - so much so that this technology may be as far beyond us as warp drive.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.,

"Like with sublight interstellar travel, I feel the media and popular entertainment have underestimated the challenges of creating general AI - so much so that this technology may be as far beyond us as warp drive."

To be fair, you're arguing this point in context of a show where warp drive *has* been invented. So it's also fair to assume they have mastered real AI programming. However I think what you mean to be arguing is that creating transferable consciousness tech (like in Altered Carbon) isn't just a question of computing power and sophistication in circuitry, where getting advanced enough will allow us to put a person's mind in a golem. I think your point (and Andy's) is that it's non-transferable regardless of our tech level because new hardware = new person. So even if some part of us could be transferred it wouldn't be "us" in any intelligible sense. I suppose the 'hard version' of your position would be that no part at all is able to be segregated from our own wetware at all.

Actually this brings us back to a philosophy issue going back to 1960's Trek, and was originally about transporter technology. Bones himself seems to have outright championed this position, that something is inherently wrong with deconstructing and reconstructing a person molecule by molecule. Even if it's 100% possible in terms of computing power, somehow it just won't be them any more. And this issue is a serious one in Trek: how can "you" be transported remotely at all? The computer buffer keeps your "pattern" intact, and reconstructs your body (3-D printing) and mind. But is that you, or a copy of you very much like you? Religious questions about whether it would have a soul are even another matter; but putting that aside I think there would be a lot of worry about that. For instance, what if I told you I would murder you outright, but not to worry, because after I did I'd active a perfect replica elsewhere that could take over your life? Would you agree, if that saved you a long commute? I doubt you would, and not just because of some superstitious mumbo jumbo. I suspect that you would see it as you dying and having your life taken over by a synth or something. And that is more or less what happens when transporters are used, studio budgets be damned.

So in the case here of a golem, is it Picard in a new body, or is Picard truly dead and this is a golem in the original sense, something resembling a living person but actually not that at all? I find the idea chilling of being told my "mind" would be moved into a robot. Something might be moved in, but I would doubt that it would be me in any sense I could care about. At best it would be a Leah Brahms type copy that *might* mimic some of my behaviors, but probably not even that.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
@Dexter comparing Picard to the Admonition
I don't hate this show nearly as much as some folks do, but I got a good laugh out of this.

@Marvin, Tim C
I think that in theory, the "point" of the entire journey for Picard (the character) was supposed to be some blending of the following three ideas:
1. Letting go of past failures and focusing on doing the right thing right now
2. Learning how to be a good father/grandfather figure for Soji
3. Being able to say goodbye to Data

(1) was muddled, but one could try to say that Picard arguing with the Romulan senator on the Wild West planet was the 'wrong' way to try to resolve the past, and helping Soji was the 'right' way. He even has the declaration that helping her is only partly about Data, and is more about his own rebirth as an active agent in the galaxy again.

(2) was I think the closest to being handled well, but is almost entirely relegated to the last 4 episodes. Maybe there is a worthwhile comparison to his relationship with Elnor buried in the muck somewhere here.

(3) was, as we've said, almost entirely relegated to epi1 and epi10. There's some aspect of this that colors (2) and his relationship with Soji, which maybe I haven't given enough credit to. The show does frame characters (including Picard) telling Soji about Data as "helping" her, I guess.

For the show as a whole, we also had (again, in theory):
4. Soji's journey of self-discovery and re-learning trust, compassion, etc
5. Jurati making a terrible mistake and trying to make amends
6. The crew bonding together
7. Saving the universe from a bunch of robot tentacle monsters without committing genocide

Unfortunately, items 5-7 were, hm, handled questionably at best.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Funny. I feel that the season should have been longer. There were plenty of interesting themes and characters that were introduced but never developed beyond the introductory stage (of course, there's nothing stopping them from continuing that exploration in the second season, but there are events that I feel needed to wait until we knew the characters better).

I'm definitely more satisfied with this season that I was with Discovery's first season, even though it sometimes had the same kinds of problems (narrative shortcuts, telling instead of showing, jumping from plot point to plot point with no chance to breathe). What we need to see is these characters just hanging around and having fun, relaxing. They haven't gotten a chance to do that because they've gone from one crisis to the next. Remember the dinner scene that opens DS9's "Equilibrium"? That's the kind of thing that will make me care about these characters (if done right).

Wouldn't it have been much more interesting for the advanced AI race to be nonviolent? They come through the wormhole (or whatever it is) and just disable everyone's weapons (like the Organians in "Errand of Mercy") and that's how it ends? That would have been surprising, interesting and thematically meaningful. It also would have made the Zhat Vash more clearly wrong (as it is, you can kind of understand their actions, if not their ruthlessness).

Picard's death strikes me as unnecessary, not just practically, but dramatically. It didn't have any effect on the season's plot, and I'm sure there would have been another way for him to be able to interact with Data's memories in the "quantum simulations". Creating a new body for Picard opens a can of worms I doubt the series is genuinely willing to explore. Everyone could do it now and become essentially immortal. Even Data's consciousness could be transferred to a human body. Wouldn't that be the culmination of everything he's always wanted? Stewart's and Spiner's performances were sublime, though.

I completely agree with Jammer about the visual effects. How is it that the CGI ships in DS9 looked more realistic than these, even though they were created 20 years ago? Less is more, people.

It strikes me that none of these characters actually have any reason to keep travelling the galaxy together now (and, yeah, what about Jurati's promise to turn herself over to Starfleet?) That wouldn't matter if I cared about them. Oh well, I expect I'll be back next season anyway. Onwards!
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
"Trying to create a general intelligence, artificial or otherwise, absent a physical body, is akin to trying to teach someone to walk as a pure intellectual exercise, only multiplied a million fold in difficulty."

"Well anything from a Google search engine to good old Dr. Sbaitso can mimic intelligence without being intelligent. Conceivably, you could even develop an algorithm so sophisticated that it could carry on a natural seeming conversation flawlessly. And yet it would only be an algorithm not a conscious being. And if you somehow gave this algorithm command of a physical body, it wouldn't know how to walk *at all* even if it could explain the process in exacting manner. Because knowing *about* walking and knowing how to walk are distinctive things. "

Interesting pov, but most likely untrue. Let's assume for the sake of argument that a physical body learning to interact in an environment is the definitive method of producing intellect. Modern technology allows us currently to simulate both the physical body and the environment far better than we can simulate a human brain. So the objection you raised is actually the least of A.I. researcher's concerns.

If you could create an A.I. with the potential to acquire sapience and all it lacked was a body to interact in an environment to learn from, we could achieve that right now with pure simulated virtual reality, let alone what's achievable with the tech in PIC where they have holodecks capable of fooling human senses. We don't actually need a body to build a functioning brain or an environment; we just need a Matrix to download our brand new brain into.

Your argument also fails to take into account the nature of the environment and body that you claim are required for intelligence. In order to successfully make the claim you're making you'd have to know precisely the level of capability, complexity, detail, etc in both the body and the environment that is sufficient to generate intelligence. In other words, it may indeed turn out that an environment as simple as a billiard ball table would be all the environment required and a simple mobile toy to interact with the billiards all the body necessary to achieve the goal. The body can be something very simple, like something no more complex than an inchworm or a mollusk with a foot. Any of these things would be easily simulated.

They've actually already simulated the brains of simple creatures. The bodies would be child's play. And they're already teaching robots to walk. They could easily do so completely inside a simulated environment, no actual body or tangible environment needed.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Quincy we can't simulate a physical environment anymore than we can simulate an apple by photographing it.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

We can't simulate it exactly, but we can give a pretty damn good rendition of it. What exactly can you experience with your 5 senses that you believe can't be simulated?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
This isn't really Picard-related, but has anyone watched any of the Youtube channel Movies with Mikey? He's now done two episodes exploring the making of Star Trek. His videos are always great and refreshingly positive, and these two (entirely about the original series and its movies) may help put some things in perspective. Mainly, the idea that classic Star Trek as we know it was largely made in a ridiculously haphazard fashion where no one really knew what they were doing, and it was in many ways a genuine miracle that it managed to succeed at all, to the point where we can complain about writers here on Picard today.
Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
"We can't simulate it exactly, but we can give a pretty damn good rendition of it. What exactly can you experience with your 5 senses that you believe can't be simulated?"

What of one's senses can be simulated? In the end a computer can only process things as digital information, 0s and 1s. Is a data stream meant to approximate a sight or a touch equivalent to actual sight and touch? Or are we back to the dog photo problem?
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

That's just not true. There are many different types of computers. 0s and 1s are not even the tip of the iceberg. Assuming (and that's a big assumption) the human body requires analog information, computers are quite capable of producing the needed information. Analog computers are an actual thing. You're using the term, "data stream," as a pejorative. Just what do you think the cones and rods of your retinas are giving you RIGHT THIS MINUTE, but a data stream? Your inner ears are giving you data streams. Your nerve endings in your skin are giving you data streams. That's all it is.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
@ Jammer

"There's no weight or dimension to starships anymore. They have unfortunately become video game avatars that look like they were cloned with copy and paste."

This. One million times this. :(
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
This may look like a tangent, but it's relevant to not only the current conversation, but to a prior conversation about what Soji and other Cylon style androids are and how they relate to human beings. As I was trying to say before (with the frog cell robot), it's the principle on which a computer (cell) or the basic components of a computer (cell) is designed.

This guy, Rahul Sarpeshkar, states it far better than I ever could. If anyone is interested, this right here is one of the best Ted talks I've heard in awhile. Titled, "Analog Supercomputers: From Quantum Atom to Living Body," it's only 22 minutes of your life. I seriously doubt you'll want them back:
Andy's Friend
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 3:55am (UTC -5)
Yes, I remember those days, chatting with you and a few other regulars. Better days, with better discussions inspired by better series. I hope you are well.

Thanks for the ‘synopsis’ of those episodes. So, Data’s memory engrams can be recreated from a single neuron of his, can they? To quote Lycan:

“A neuron is just a simple little piece of insensate stuff that does nothing but let electrical current pass through it from one point in space to another; by merely stuffing an empty brainpan with neurons, you couldn’t produce qualia-immediate phenomenal feels!” (“Form, function, and feel”. The Journal of Philosophy, 78 (1981))

Lycan may be slightly outdated. Still, I’m truly happy I never watched this.



“If the discussion regarding artificial intelligence were nothing more than a dispute over the ways in which language is or might be used, it would not be very interesting, since it would refer to nothing more than the way the word “intelligence” might be commonly employed. If, instead, we are interested in knowing whether or not computers actually think, or clocks really tell time, and mean that they have the kind of consciousness, inferential powers, imagination, sensitivity, responsibility, memory, and expectations that humans have, we must turn away from linguistic usage to ask whether it will ever be possible for machines, no matter how quick and adroit, to be conscious, to infer, imagine, be responsible, and so forth.”

—Paul Weiss, “On the Impossibility of Artificial intelligence”. Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 44, No. 2 (1990), first page. (Presented at the 8th International Congress of Cybernetics and Systems, New York, 1990).


“I believe that if we are ever to also achieve true *artificial consciousness* ― what I gather we mean here by “sentience” ― we need also to create an artificial brain. As Haikonen wrote a decade ago:

‘The brain is definitely not a computer. Thinking is not an execution of programmed strings of commands. The brain is not a numerical calculator either. We do not think by numbers. (…).’ ”

—Andy’s Friend, ‘Heroes and Demons’, here on Jammer’s, Oct 31, 2014. Haikonen was speaking of modern digital computers.


“This divide, of intelligence vs consciousness, is extremely important. Today, we have researchers in artificial intelligence, and we have researchers in artificial consciousness. The divide promises―if it hasn’t already―to become as great as that between archaeologists and historians, or anthropologists and psychologists: slightly related fields, and yet, fundamentally different. The problem is, that most people aren't aware of this. Most people, unknowingly, are still in 1988. They conflate the terms, and still speak of irrelevant AI (see this thread!). They still, unknowingly, speak of Deep Thought only.”

—Andy’s Friend, ‘The Measure of a Man’, here on Jammer’s, Jun 27, 2016.


(…) one of the main objectives of AI is to design a system that can be considered as a “machine with minds” in the full and literal sense. Further, it is obvious that if an entity consists of the mind in true sense then it must inevitably pose the attributes of consciousness. Indeed, the domain of AI reflects substantial interest towards consciousness. (…) The term “intelligence” is closely related to “consciousness” and in the last ten years there has been a growing interest towards the field of Artificial Consciousness (AC). Several researchers from traditional AI addressed the hypothesis of designing and implementing models for AC. It is sometimes referred to as machine consciousness or synthetic consciousness. (…) Indeed, the goal of AI is to enable the artificial agent to display the characteristics of mental properties or exhibit characteristic aspects of systems that have such properties. It is obvious that intelligence is not the only characteristic of mental property. (…) mental property also encompasses many other characteristics, e.g., action, creativity, perception, emotion and consciousness. The term “consciousness” has persistently been a matter of great interest at the philosophical level of human being but it is not formidably addressed within the purview of AI. (…).”

2.2 AC
(…) Generally, researchers consider three strands pertaining to AC. They are interactive empiricism, synthetic phenomenology, and ontologically conservative hetero-phenomenology. At first glance it seems easy to distinguish the AI and AC. In general, AI endeavours to create an intelligent machine whereas AC attempts to create machines that are conscious. However, the subject matter of consciousness and intelligence is quite complicated and distinction between these two aspects requires philosophical foundation.
(…) ‘‘Most roboticists are more than happy to leave these debates on consciousness to those with more philosophical leanings’’. Contrary to this, many researchers give sound consideration on the possibility that human beings’ consciousness is more than the epiphenomenal by-product. These researchers have hypothesized that consciousness may be the expression of some fundamental architectural principle exploited by our brain. (…)

Body, mind, intelligence and consciousness are mutually interrelated entities. However, consciousness is subtler than intelligence, mind, senses and body. AC is mainly concerned with the consciousness possessed by an artificial agent (…). AC attempts to explain different phenomena pertaining to it, including limitations of consciousness. There are two sub-domains of AC. They are the “weak AC” and “strong AC”. It is difficult to categorize these two subdomains due to the fact that they are not related with the dichotomy of true conscious agent and “seems to be” conscious agents. Further, researchers have given few computational models of consciousness. However, it is not possible to replicate the consciousness by computations, algorithms, processing and functions of AI method. In fact, however vehemently we say that the computer is conscious, it is ridiculous to imbibe that sensor data can create consciousness in a true sense. Indeed, consciousness is not a substance and is independent of sense object contact and cannot be produced by the element. (…) Furthermore, consciousness cannot depend on what function a machine computes. (…)”

—Subhash Pandey, “Can Artificially Intelligent Agents Really be Conscious?”. Sādhanā (2018), first and last page.

Last year, 2019:

One of the most painful issues of creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the problem of creating a hardware or software analogue of the phenomenal consciousness and/or a system of global access to cognitive information (…).
Wherein, presumable consciousness of so-called “strong” Artificial Intelligence is often regarded as a kind of analogue of human consciousness, albeit more quantitatively developed. In this case, artificial intelligence has a wider “phenomenal field”, has richer content (qualae) and a much larger amount of RAM (necessary for the reconstruction of conscious experience), etc.

The “spotlight” of a conscious mind does not always work in the mode of voluntary attention. Certain processes independently “breakthrough” into consciousness without permission. They penetrate the global access space as if “demanding” our conscious attention. Most often, these are emotional-volitional impulses, intuitive insights and the like. Desires, emotions, and complicated cognitive phenomena come as if “from the outside” without arbitrary participation of the actor. (…)
It seems that despite our common sense and familiar intuition, some aspects of our mental life are evolutionarily “programmed”. Therefore, for example, we have motivation and emotions, regardless of choice. We do not consciously choose our own desires or preferences. Needs and affects are given to us “as is”, in finished form. This, of course, does not prevent from making reflecting about them a posteriori (for example, in rationalization) or to influence them through awareness (in psychotherapy). The very intentionality of consciousness (or at least the potential possibility of intentionality) is predetermined.
(…) To ensure our smooth functioning in both the physical and the social world, nature has dictated that many processes of perception, memory, attention, learning, and judgment are delegated to brain structures outside conscious awareness” (…) Now we understand that human memory management, automatic motion control, affective-volitional functions, attention management, mechanisms of associative thinking, mechanisms for forming judgments and logical consequences, operations with the sensory flow, creating a complete picture of the world, and the like are primarily unconscious.
Thus, a significant part of our activity consists of mental facts that are transcendent in relation to consciousness. This feature is evolutionary due. However, hypothetical Artificial Intelligence can be free of the “dictate of the unconscious”, unlike human beings. The machine can have total global access to any “internal” processes. Thus, all information processes can be simultaneously “illuminated” (or accessible, as far as the hardware substrate allows), completely depriving the AI of the unconscious.

This leads to paradoxical conclusions. Awareness and self-awareness do not automatically lead to the emergence of motivation, desires or emotions. A conscious machine can be completely devoid of these processes, natural to humans. The intentionality of consciousness of Homo sapiens is due to evolution and is not obligatory for the machine.
There is a good reason to believe that the field of unconscious processes (within human psyche) is much larger than the field of phenomenal consciousness. (…) scientists have developed a hypothesis according to which even conscious and free will actions are nothing but fixation of unconscious processes a posteriori. This raises the difficult question: is the field of the unconscious nothing but the absolute basis for conscious processes? Is consciousness only an emergent feature of the unconscious (that is, a second-level process after neurophysiological processes)?
Thus, we come to the “traditional” division into “strong” and “weak” Artificial Intelligence. According to modern theoretical concepts, “strong” Artificial Intelligence should have at least several distinctive characteristics, among which the most essential is an intelligent agent’s behavior from the “first person” perspective. Theoretically, this should be a “goal setting machine”. In this case, “strong” human-like AI is impossible without the synchronous work of the conscious and unconscious “minds”.
When we argue about the human psyche, many of these questions have moved into the plane of the philosophy of consciousness or pure neuroscience. In the philosophy of consciousness, we are primarily interested in the ontological status of mental phenomena. Therefore, it is important for us to know whether the psyche is “something” or it is an “illusion” of the brain; whether there is an intentional agent or whether it is also an illusion. That is why it is also important for a person to determine what the ratio of conscious life to unconscious processes “in darkness” is.

In essence, the “weak” Artificial Intelligence is a kind of functional neural networks of various types (convolutional, spiking, deep stacking, etc.). They are the systems with multiple inputs, analytical subsystems, and one or n-number of outputs. Their widely known applying is pattern or speech recognition (what is called “machine perception”).
Here we can use the neural-network metaphor of Alan Turing’s “probabilistic machine”, which evaluates information based on big data. For example, I recognize a face in dynamics, because I have a huge amount of incoming data that is interpreted in the same way as it happens in modern neural networks. In the end, I have a certain result. Based on big data, it is already possible to build predictive models, etc. However, for such a machine, an external interpreter is still needed. For the time being, he plays the role of an “external consciousness” for the “unconscious” neural networks.
(…) All of the above features of the natural unconscious, such as automaticity, inaccessibility and uncontrollability, can be fully accessible to Artificial Intelligence systems. Moreover, here there are several development scenarios of the machine “psyche.”
1. A machine can arbitrarily form its conscious affective-volitional functions. In this case, a paradox arises: what exactly will induce the AI to choose motives and emotions? After all, the “second level unconscious” for the machine does not exist. (…)
2. The unconscious of Artificial Intelligence may also develop evolutionarily. For example, modern evolutionary algorithms allow the machine to learn how to “walk” independently without the rules of walking prepared in advance. By analogy, nothing prevents the possibility of evolution of both the higher mental functions of Artificial Intelligence and its unconscious automatic processes. However, there is a danger that such an AI can develop in a completely unpredictable direction. This will lead us later to scenario 5.
3. The unconscious AI may also be deliberately programmed. Thus, installation of the criteria for possible aesthetic, ethical and volitional prerequisites for the activities of the machine will be determined by its creators. In fact, this can become a psychic “insuperable force” for a conscious AI, transcendental to its “phenomenal field.” Therefore, the very intentionality of the consciousness of the machine will have to be artificially created.
4. The consciousness of AI can be a program analogue of human consciousness. Probably, in the future, the disclosure of the mechanisms of formation of consciousness and cognitions may lead to the creation of their exact program model, including the model of the unconscious. In such a case, Artificial Intelligence essentially becomes a perfect copy of a human person. At the same time the problem of qualae, of course, does not go anywhere. Nevertheless, technically we can “remove it from the equation” as irrelevant in a practical sense [NOTE: THIS IS WHAT SOONG ATTEMPTED WITH DATA’S PROGRAMMING, INCLUDING HIS ‘POSITRONIC BRAIN’ AS A PHYSICAL COGNITIVE ARCHITECHTURE FOR FURTHER GROWTH OR ‘MECHANISMS OF FORMATION’].
5. It may also happen that the consciousness of Artificial Intelligence as a kind of analogue of human consciousness is impossible in principle. Perhaps such phenomena as “consciousness” and “unconscious” will be absolutely inapplicable to AI. In this case, the machine “phenomena” (or lack thereof) will be absolutely incomprehensible to humans, and communication between man and machine will be questionable. (…)

Probably, a machine (as we saw above) will be able to effectively imitate natural behavior, for example, to conduct a fully meaningful conversation. However, will this mean that Artificial Intelligence will have a phenomenal experience, or at least something remotely resembling it? In addition, is there a fundamental difference between the imitation of rational behavior and the rational behavior itself? This raises an interesting question. If the machine says that it has qualae, that it feels something, that it is conscious, etc., then can we doubt it? Will Artificial Intelligence be a “philosophical zombie” according to Chalmers? What if this AI does not have a phenomenal consciousness that we call “the inner world”? However, if at the same time this particular AI will fully pass all versions of the Turing test and we will not be able to distinguish the conversation with it and with a reasonable person? Will we consider such an AI reasonable?
Let us try to look for answers from the other side. It is worth noting that such examples rather indicate that at this stage we are slowly creating an analog of the unconscious for Artificial Intelligence. BASED ON EXISTING TRENDS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AI, IT CAN BE NOTED THAT WE ARE MOVING ALONG THE PATH OF “QUANTITY TO QUALITY” [emphasis added]: i.e. improving the systems of “weak” AI (neural networks) and their further integration INTO THE META-SYSTEM OF NEURAL NETWORKS INTEGRATED LIKE HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS [emphasis added]. For example, according to the theory of Jerry Alan Fodor, the whole human psyche (both conscious and unconscious) operates on the basis of the so-called “modules” (“modular mind” theory) [Fodor, 1983]. IF IN THE FUTURE WE CREATE SUCH A NEURAL NETWORK CONFIGURATION THAT WILL AT LEAST MIMIC “SYNCHRONOUS OSCILLATION OF GROUPS OF NEURONS”, OR SOME OTHER SYSTEM THAT COMBINES INDIVIDUAL NEURAL NETWORKS THAT REPRESENT SCATTERED FUNCTIONAL “MODULES” INTO A HIGHER-LEVEL NEURAL NETWORK, THEN PERHAPS WE WILL GET “STRONG” ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE [emphasis added. NOTE: IN OTHER WORDS, AN ‘ARTIFICIAL BRAIN’ LEADING TO ARTIFICIAL CONSCIOUSNESS: A ‘POSITRONIC BRAIN’ LEADING TO DATA]. Therefore, it seems that the development of AI proceeds simultaneously under scenarios 2, 4 and 5.

— Eugene Piletsky, “Consciousness and Unconsciousness of Artificial Intelligence”. Future Human Image, Vol. 11, 2019.

I hope these few examples clarify the significance of cognitive architecture. I find Pandey’s contribution for the Indian Academy of Sciences particularly interesting. As some will recall I have lived and worked in India; and in Chapter 4.1, which I have omitted here, Pandey explores the question of consciousness based not on Plato or Aristotle or later Western philosophers, but on classic Indian philosophy: the Upanishads, the Vedanta, and so forth. This explains his definition of 'ontologically conservative hetero-phenomenology', a nomenclature that is nothing but a euphemism for biological chauvinism, which Pandey himself is dangerously close to, based on said classic Indian philosophy. There are other schools of thought than ours, and it is always good to be reminded of that lest we become too convinced of our own moral superiority in the West or the Federation.

I hope Piletsky's remarks on the necessity of the unconscious for consciousness isn't lost on readers.

Leading scientists in the fields of AI and AC diverge. The former, the ‘roboticists’ necessarily care for software. As Pandey puts it elsewhere, “The main task of AI is to discover the optimum computational models to solve a given problem”, and this necessarily involves the programming also. The latter hardly speak of software, for software may accomplish the most basic only: it processes, it does not think. If we wish to go farther and speak not of computations, but of thoughts and emotions—if we wish to ask questions such as ‘Does the robot *think*?’ or ‘Does the android *dream*?’—it’s the hardware that matters.

In Star Trek terms, this means that our good doctor on the Voyager, the EMH does not possess true consciousness. He (or more properly, it) is but a program: he mimics, or emulates, if perfectly, human behaviour only. Whereas Data is an artificial lifeform, endowed with neural networks that can emulate, or recreate, if imperfectly, genuine thought processes. He possesses artificial consciousness. He is truly alive.

I have fortunately all but forgotten ‘Nemesis’, and I have never watched ‘Picard’, so I can’t talk about the ‘synths’.
Andy's Friend
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -5)

Thanks for the video, Quincy. It is indeed worthwhile, presenting nothing fundamentally new at this point but presenting what it does well. I recommend it.

I am however not sure that you have understood its implications, as you have systematically argued against its propositions, as late as this week. Have you changed your mind? What is Sarpeshkar arguing?

Sarpeshkar here is doing precisely what my examples above speak of. He is talking of emulating the human body. He is talking about perfecting the artificial, analogue computers of yesteryear—not the digital computers of today—so that they can match the human, natural, biological analogue 'computer' at the quantum level. He is not talking about software at all: he is talking about a fusion of hardware and wetware. He is being the proverbial Dr Soong, talking about the attempt to build an artificial cognitive architecture. He is talking about the proverbial ‘positronic brain’.

He gives numerous examples of this, from the micro to the macro-scale, as in:

SARPESHKAR: ‘(…) but if I copied the clever exponentially tapered architecture of the cochlea, I could build a quantum cochlea (…)’ (19:30)

SARPESHKAR: ‘(…) because of that we can do synthetic biology, which is the top piece where chemistry goes into biology with molecular reaction circuits; we can also build computers to emulate cells (…).’ (20:55)

All this culminates in:

SARPESHKAR: ‘(…) you can also be inspired by biology: you can take an architecture in the biology to do something in computer science you would never have imagined before (…) so what I’m telling you is that the wet and the dry are very deeply connected; we have to learn to be amphibians (…) so my paradigm shift is actually a very, very simple one: we need to go ‘back’ to the future, collective analogue computers like nature does, in physics, chemistry, and biology, and not be so mesmerised by the ones and zeroes that we think are so great (…).’ (21:15-22:15)

This walks hand in hand with the views of the scientists in the field of artificial consciousness I have just quoted, and everything I have ever stated on the matter in this forum.

A problem may be posed by an overly materialistic perspective. The challenge is to combine a physicalist ontology with metaphysics: not simply emulating, but indeed creating life. My proposition is and has always been that Soong's ‘positronic brain’/Sarpeshkar's ‘quantum analogue computer’ indeed manages this.

So, in Star Trek terms, yes, Data is truly alive. The EMH, of course, is not. Sarpeshkar would surely agree.

[Rahul Sarpeshkar, "Analog Supercomputers: From Quantum Atom to Living Body". By courtesy of Quincy].
Tommy D.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 4:37am (UTC -5)

I think you are conflating two thoughts from the same comment. You asked if current Star Trek could cross a line to where I would say no more, and I said I don't know. This is in regards specifically to the Trek universe, Discovery, Picard, and whatever else is in the pipeline for the future. My second thought about The Orville is independent of that question, as The Orville doesn't fall under the Star Trek universe, so I didn't consider it under the premise of your original question.

As far as making the distinction of Trek/Not Trek regarding The Orville, it is something I say I should have not have said because it does something I dislike, it implies that whatever is "not Trek" or what have you is either bad or not enjoyable. I think thats too binary an outcome for discussing Trek, and that can make those discussions meaningless. But by saying that I fell into the same trap I would usually avoid. So yes, I do feel that was a mistake on my part, because despite my criticisms of it, I do enjoy it for the most part, and its a mistake to imply otherwise.

"Unless you want to argue that ST:P is more Trekkish then the Orville, which I think we'd both agree to be a ridiculous statement."

I won't argue this point, I'll only say I'll be there for both shows 2nd and 3rd seasons, respectively. :)
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Again you have reached a point where your debate has become meaningless because none of you has an understanding of the topic that could lead to a deeper understanding for the rest.

Andy's friend post is a good example

It is not a good argument, in a scientific sense it is unacceptable and even if you apply less stringent standards it is not a very convincing one.
- the main problem is certainly the complete lack of leading minds in the field in general.
- Paul Weiss (a philosopher) writes from the "Review of Metaphysic" That name alone let's me go to yellow alert and knowing that it is mostly sponsored by the Catholic church doesn't boost my confidence. The focus of the the peer reviewed philosophy journal is education. - not a good source -

- Pentti Haikonen is former engineer for Nokia and now at the philosophy department as an adjunct professor. He at least seems to have a background in the field but I would not call him a leading expert by any measure.

- Dr. Subhash Chandra Pandey is an assistant professor of computer science at the Birla Insitute of Technology and Science. That is a university that does not make it into the first 1000 places in the THE (Times Higher Education). it is certainly a fine institution but nothing to brag about.

- the last source is Eugene Piletsky: Ph.D., Associate Professor, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv . Another university that doesn't make the top 1000 universities world wide. Well, it is in the Ukraine. But I think we can agree that the people you have quoted are just five voices of people who are either not in the actual field of computer science or faaar away from being leading voices of that field.

Give me Oxford or MIT, I would even accept the barely first rate losers of the ETH Zurich.
Jason R.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
The Emissary has spoken.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 6:09am (UTC -5)
James White
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
@Andy's Friend

Thank you for posting something intelligent on the subject of AI and consciousness. I still enjoy reading Chalmers, Dennett, Searle, Churchland, and others. The issue of strong and weak AI, and the hard vs easy problems relating to the same, have been around for a number of decades now. It's nice to see someone paying attention. It's also the sort of knowledge you need to differentiate older Trek, which ponders some of these questions albeit through sometimes incoherent or silly circumstances, and stuff like DSC and Picard which lack any essential desire to confront such subjects (on their own terms) or to recognize the inherent difficulties in even asking the right question (in the first place).

One statement you made was interesting. You said:

"I hope Piletsky's remarks on the necessity of the unconscious for consciousness isn't lost on readers."

Isn't it the evolutionarily driven attributes, like desires and imagination, that at least partly dwell in the unconscious region that give rise to the synchronous cycle you mentioned? The point was that you need this synchronicity to make possible qualia, the internal instances of subjectively experienced consciousness.

The consequence being that if you remove unconsciousness, as you mentioned, you remove that which provokes the mind's cycle toward experiential, subjective consciousness. Yet, at least one of your philosopher sources cited indicates that an adequate substitute for the desires, imaginative drivers, and so forth could be included in the development of a synthetic intelligence, even without an unconscious realm existing. Perhaps as a substrate mechanism or a feedback loop that facilitates the overall intelligence's development.

The point is that a synthetic mind with the qualia Chalmers refers to, in distinguishing strong from weak AI, may not depend on a subconscious state. Maybe it ultimately will, since much of this is still speculative science, but we can't know this at this point. Moreover, and this is the larger point, maybe none of the speculation is warranted, either way, since it still remains unclear whether the conscious, subjective experience itself can be reduced to something that code X within hardware Y can achieve.

In short, this may still be a "hard" philosophical problem, as Data's ambiguous "expression" upon Lal's death exemplifies.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Anyone agree or disagree with this...

I would have preferred if the big reveal of this super advanced AI that is awaiting a call was more like Lorien from B5 ; a cerebral answer of someone who has evolved beyond even the most advanced beings; than a faceless action figure bent on destroying the universe through a summoning portal.

I think it would have been much more satisfying for it to be misunderstood and actually some advanced lifeform that can teach something and is not an actual threat (that was made from myth and fear).

It ended up making the entire plot worthless to be something so faceless and just shut down so quickly like that.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
"I would have preferred if the big reveal of this super advanced AI that is awaiting a call was more like Lorien from B5 ; a cerebral answer of someone who has evolved beyond even the most advanced beings; than a faceless action figure bent on destroying the universe through a summoning portal."

Oh, agree x1000. But then, B5 was actual sci-fi and not action/adventure like PIC. And I find that sadly, it validates what Kurtzmann is doing that all we need to want to tune in each week is that it's new and is called Star Trek. Because despite all the crap we sat through for 10 hours, most of us WILL watch the next season.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
I agree that the "super-race" we got was "super-stupid". However, I'm not sure how much would be gained by making them interesting. It depends on what you wanted the show to be about.

If you wanted it to be about scifi, then absolutely the AI should have been a revelation and something for both the audience and the characters to learn from. However, this would essentially make Picard's relationship with Soji irrelevant. In this scenario, Picard and Soji and Oh and everyone would end up on an even playing field where they were all wrong via misinformation. Picard's belief that Soji can be a good person is no longer what mattered - instead the real issue is that everyone needs to learn not to make assumptions based on stories/myths. Just a different, still Trekkian take.

If you wanted the show to be about Picard and Soji as characters, then the actual AI are not very relevant. They're just plot devices to enforce (ludicrous) physical stakes which dovetail with the emotional and ideological ones. Soji needs to learn to overcome her fear due to her trauma and betrayals, learn to trust again, and, you know, not commit genocide (the ludicrous part). Picard needs to learn how to actually help her to see this by providing an example of trust and selflessness, rather than simply telling her what she must and mustn't do. I still think that's a reasonable Trekkian take which could have worked well if the stakes weren't so bonkers
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -5)

I think the commenters that asked why people continued watching something they disliked becomes more relevant now that the season is over when deciding how to approach next season.

I’ve been critical of the series all season but got invested halfway, so I needed to sit through just to see if I might get some satisfaction. Sorta like deciding whether to finish a new movie halfway thorough. Sometimes I will stop watching a new movie if I really don’t see any upside (I’m referring to non theater movies). (It’s rare for a movie to turn itself around in the last half in my experience.) PIC still had some upside halfway through the season.

Now, if I start watching Season 2, I run the risk of getting invested again in a substandard series. I think my strategy for next season is to look at Jammers stars ranking next to each episode, and if there’s a large preponderance of 3+ star reviews, to only then consider investing again. Because this is a serial, it’s an almost all or nothing affair, compared to episodic where I can pick and choose.

Too many shows on TV now to waste time and frustration. I’ve got a huge backlog to watch. Unfortunately can’t let the Trek brand draw me in either.
Tim M.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Agree 100% with Jammer's review.

This season had its flaws, but gets an overall thumbs-up from me.

I'll definitely be tuning in for Season 2.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
@Andy's Friend

Once again you've come to an overblown and erroneous conclusion. Your entire post had nothing to do with what I was talking about. Jason R. claimed that you needed a physical body to interact inside some vaguely specified environment and together that is perhaps the recipe for the emergence of intelligence. I questioned the assumptions inherent in those specifications and the vagueness thereof.

I understood Sarpeshkar just fine. Did you? No, I didn't change my mind. No, I didn't argue against it's principles. I've stated them and you simply failed to understand what I was talking about. And instead of clarifying with me, you substituted your vague notion of what I was talking about and argued against that. A straw man by any other name is still a straw man.

Sarpeshkar's talking about emulating the principles of biology and leveraging the massive parallelism and built in logic/calculations/computations available in the laws of physics and chemistry. I never once claimed that digital programming was either sufficient or necessary for intelligence. That's something you pulled out of your ass, as my prior comment about 0s and 1s to Jason R. indicates. He was the one who brought up digital, not me. The prototype device would probably be a hybrid device: digital for ease of programmability and analog for the raw power of computation. Call it a digalog computer.

I don't know what you think software is. Software is just information embedded in some form. There is nothing called "software" floating around disembodied in some more delicate corner of space-time. It's an arrangement of particles in some structure. Sarpeshkar is suggesting we arrange those particles in a different fashion according to different principles, not get rid of them altogether. If you somehow believe that "software" will magically be exorcised from a world of analog computers you're delusional. The software will simply have most of its logic embedded in the laws of physics or chemistry, rather than trying to express it as a sequence of logic gates.

When Sarpeshkar talks about building an analog device that electronically represents the functions of a kidney that's exactly what the hell I was talking to Jason R. about, simulating a body, rather than actually having a body. Sarpeshkar's not talking about actually building a god damned kidney. There's no wetware. You couldn't stick Sarpeshkar's analog device in your ass so you don't have to go to dialysis tomorrow. It's a programmable device (which yes includes software) capable of representing all of the functions in a kidney in terms of analog electrical signals. We could scale up Sarpeshkar's approach to represent an entire human body. There wouldn't be an actual human body walking around in any kind of real environment; there would be an analog representation of a body interacting with an analog representation of an environment inside a device or a stack of devices as Sarpeshkar described in his talk, which is EXACTLY what the hell I was talking about.

Sarpeshkar even refers to his prototype concept chip as "Digitally Programmable Analog Cytomorphic Supercomputers." How the hell could you have missed that? He actually talks about placing a bunch of chips on a PC board and building multiple stacks of these boards as large as the room he was talking in. He then says that if they did just that "in five to ten years we could possibly SIMULATE the entire human body." If he calls it simulating, why the hell wouldn't I call it simulating? There would be no wetware anywhere in sight, despite your claims, only the simulation (there's that word again) of wetware with analog electronic signals. You don't need wetware; you only need something just as robust as wetware. And we have all of physics to search for that.

All that crap attempting to draw a distinction between the EMH and Data is just nonsense. The EMH's software, whatever form it takes, is implemented on some type of computer. Someone pointed out above that none of the computers in question need even be digital. In Voyager's case that's the Bio-neural gel packs of which Voyager's computer system was composed of, OR, the magical mobile emitter, which we have no idea of what it's composed of. How you expect me to believe that either one of those things can't do what also magical positronic circuitry could do is ridiculous, especially in light of the source material (TNG, Voyager, etc) telling us otherwise.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
The use of contemporary slang ("pissing me off", "did you f**k any of them") is beyond tiresome.

It;s 2399. It would be like people in 2020 still using jargon from the era of Jamestown and Plymouth.
James White
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Quincy, just stop. Honestly, you're making a fool of yourself
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 12:49am (UTC -5)
"I'll definitely be tuning in for Season 2. "

Will be interesting to see how they bring Guinan into it.
Dave in MN
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 1:43am (UTC -5)
In current English, how many colloquialisms, metaphors and slang terms come from Shakespeare?

How about Ben Franklin?

Mark Twain?

I'm assuming English won't be the same in 400 years, but I imagine that some modern phrases will still be in usage.
Andy's Friend
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 2:30am (UTC -5)

I didn’t respond to your conversation with Jason R. because that is uninteresting to me: I never defended the primacy of wetware. But surely men are allowed to take strands of conversations to initiate other conversations or return to old ones, don’t you think?

But you must understand that if you subscribe to your own example, Sardeshkar, then we are actually in agreement, you and I.

There have long existed two different and opposed views on the future of artificial consciousness:
— i) It is all a matter of software. With sufficiently complex, sophisticated, adaptive, etc., etc. programming, we can endow artificial beings with consciousness. This faction traditionally has spoken of artificial ‘sentience’ as ‘strong Artificial Intelligence’;
— ii) No amount of software will ever suffice. It is a matter of hardware. For beings to possess consciousness, they must possess cognitive architecture that replicates (‘duplicates’, ‘simulates’, ‘emulates’, ‘recreates’, let’s for a moment not delve on semantics) actual, natural, biological cognitive architecture. This growing faction, which Sardeshkar and my previous examples represent, speaks of artificial sentience as ‘Artificial Consciousness’;

I have maintained position ii) here for the past six or seven years . The posts are all there and are quite lengthy at that.

Note therefore that I have never defended the primacy of wetware over general hardware. I do *not* adhere to biological chauvinism. Or, to use Pandey’s euphemism, ‘ontologically conservative hetero-phenomenology’.

Ten days ago, you wrote to Peter G.:

“I just gave numerous examples of TNG demonstrating that androids can spontaneously start broadcasting emotions to Counselor Troi with no change in physical hardware. How is this possible? Shouldn't they lack the wetware to broadcast emotions? Unless... no such wetware is required. And *a mere software change in a sapient machine does the trick.*

Data is a *learning computer*. For Data and his progeny *"learning" is most likely synonymous with upgrading or updating their software* (…).”
('Et In Arcadia Ego, Pt I', 21 Mar 2020, emphasis added.)

Granted, you were talking about Star Trek, which as we know can be vague and inconsistent. And here and there, you also talk about hardware. But per quotes as the one above, I thought that you firmly adhered to position i) above. My mistake, it seems.

For now you give us Sardeshkar, who is arguing for the opposite side in the debate. Sardeshkar insists that it is not the software that matters, ‘the ones and zeroes that we think are so great’. As he so well puts it and I quoted, we must understand how the wet and the dry are very deeply connected, and we must therefore 'learn to be amphibians'. This is why he advocates for us to abandon modern digital computers and binary code and return to analogue computers. Sentience, consciousness, awareness: it would seem that the artificial mind must evolve organically (for lack of a better word) thanks to artificial, cognitive architecture that emulates nature; he outright calls it ‘synthetic biology’.

Ten days ago you were arguing that a mere software change in a machine does the trick, and that ‘learning’ for a machine is most likely synonymous with upgrading or updating the software. Now, you bring us Sardeshkar, who argues, as I have always maintained, the necessity of ‘synthetic biology’, those ‘analogue computers like nature does’, and imply that you agree with him. So you may perhaps understand my bewilderment.

I hope you agree with the scientist you referred. For in that case, we would seem to be in agreement, too.
Peter G.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 3:07am (UTC -5)
@ Andy's Friend,

"Ten days ago you were arguing that a mere software change in a machine does the trick, and that ‘learning’ for a machine is most likely synonymous with upgrading or updating the software. Now, you bring us Sardeshkar, who argues, as I have always maintained, the necessity of ‘synthetic biology’, those ‘analogue computers like nature does’, and imply that you agree with him. So you may perhaps understand my bewilderment."

I believe Quincy's argument is something to do with the assumption (by the actual episodes in question) that Data's hardware is already sophisticated enough to support sentience, but that it was lacking the requisite software to activate it. The positions seems to be based on the notion that while "ones and zeroes" cannot be sentience itself, the correct software is still necessary (but not sufficient) for the hardware to function properly. In this context Quincy defines software as the correct configuration or alignment of the correct type of hardware (which can be wetware or not), which need not be binary, or at least exclusively binary.

So while I can see why you were confused, I think the confusion originates from something that confused me too originally, which was that it sounded like Quincy was arguing that simply altering Data's programming ifso facto made him alive/sentient/conscious to the satisfaction of a telepath. Actually it appears to me now that the argument was that Data's brain was already sufficient but didn't have the right programming, so the change in programming got him the rest of the way. The "his hardware was already good enough" premise wasn't clear to me at the time, but I think that's what's causing the confusion.

Incidentally I'll note, specifically about those episodes (for instance the one with Ira Graves) for what it's worth, that the only change we register in data (about Data) is that Troi couse sense Data's thoughts. But it's entirely possible that her abilities are limited to similarly constituted humanoids and that her senses can't recognize other types of thinking and feeling patterns. So it's possible that Data *already was* sentient but not in a way she could sense, and after some transformation appeared on her radar, being sentient but just thinking in a way more familiar to her.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 3:17am (UTC -5)
The worst season of Star Trek ever.

Except the Data stuff which was good, all the rest was just atrocious. I won't go into details, it was described in the comments before me. The loose ends, the sloppy writing, the cliches.

I forced myself to watch it like a week after the release, could barely get through it and will not be tuninv in for season 2.

Orville is the only Star Trek left, Picard is just atrocious and i hate them for bastardazing a beloved character.
What a disapointment of a season that was...
Andy's Friend
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 4:42am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I see, thanks for the clarification. An interesting proposition. If I understand it correctly, you believe that Quincy’s argument is that Soong’s original programming of Data wasn’t enough. In other words, that he was indeed a glorified toaster in TNG. I can see how the argument can be made to defend such a hypothesis based on TNG alone. And as you know I haven’t watched ‘Picard’, so I am naturally at a disadvantage discussing future events in that parallel reality that may involve TNG.

Should that be Quincy’s proposition, it is of course a valid one. As I wrote here years ago, I defend the opposite view not only because I find that the TNG scripts make it more plausible, but also because of personal bias: *I want him to be alive*.

Incidentally, I wrote that in a post to you and William B years ago which I may as well quote:

“Also, and this is answering both of you now, it is true that we cannot know with absolute certainty that Data's "positronic" brain is an artificial brain. There are strong indications that it is, but we cannot know for sure; and it is true that Data, too, could simply be another Great Pretender.

(…) Some people *want to believe* that strings of code, like lead, can turn into gold.

But that of course is a bit like my belief that Data's positronic brain is an artificial brain, i.e., some sort of cognitive architecture affording him consciousness. I, too, *want to believe* that he has that artificial brain. Because to me, Data would lose his magic, and all his beauty, were it not so. As I wrote, there are very strong indications that this interpretation is a correct one; but as in religion, I have no proof, and I must admit that it is, ultimately, also an act of faith of sorts. I want Data to be alive.”
(‘The Measure of a Man’, 27 Jun 2016)

It's funny, isn’t it? We adapt so many scientific terms, use such scholarly style, attempt to make so ‘objective’ arguments. Sometimes we should just state our own biases and our personal preferences, for they guide our utterances much more than most of us are ready to admit. It would make conversations a lot easier, wouldn’t it?

What do you think of 'Picard', now that it's over? The sort of debate it seems to inspire doesn't strike me as a recommendation of it, but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
It seemed to me a little self-centered of Picard to constantly say that Data gave his life to save his. Data gave his life to save Picard *and* the lives of everyone on the Enterprise.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
@B: completely agree. I'm deep into DS9 for the first time, and, while I dislike the focus on war (rather than the utopian style of TNG), it still manages to have great acting, character arcs and TALKING about the 'action' in fight scenes rather than simply showing off bland, Star Wars/Marvel/generic spam of special effects and SOOO MANY THINGS.

Orville, when it's not forcing comedy (Macfarlane probably had to put that in otherwise it's just "TNG" not "TNG but with family guy creator's humour"), is amazing. Especially the 'lost timeline' episode of the latest season, and the moral dilemmas it retells.

The immortality (What about the TNG episode where that guy takes over Data's mind? No callback to that?). The "organic androids" (??? Aren't they just Augments at this point? Why do they have weird memories?). Why kill off characters?

I hate it. Patrick Stewart doesn't care about the character. Roddenberry's dream is dead. "Consoomers"/rabid fanboys will just eat up anything with the logo of their favourite media. If this was NOT branded as Star Trek, ditched every character and reference, it would be great. A new IP, a new story to tell. A universe that's yet to be established.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
"It seemed to me a little self-centered of Picard to constantly say that Data gave his life to save his. Data gave his life to save Picard *and* the lives of everyone on the Enterprise."

That's true, Data and Picard were working together to stop Nero and more broadly save the Enterprise (and the Earth!!). The key difference between Data's sacrifice and Spock's sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan, for instance, is that either Data or Picard could have made the sacrifice of their own life, but Data unilaterally decided that the best decision was for him to die and Picard to live. Naturally, the result is that the Enterprise is saved as you say, but Picard alone is understandably left with the feeling that it could have or should have been him who made the sacrifice instead of Data.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Robert, Data and Picard were working to stop Shinzon, not Nero. Lol

I’ll get in on ranking all of the first seasons on Star Trek series too:

1. TOS
2. DS9
3. PIC
4. VOY
5. DSC
6. TNG
7. ENT
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, GarretH. The point still stands. I don't know where I'd rank all these Treks. I try to find something I like in all of them despite their shortcomings.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)

"Give me Oxford or MIT, I would even accept the barely first rate losers of the ETH Zurich. "

You shouldn't, really.

That kind of thing is called "argument from authority" and it is logically invalid. It also results in a mind-stunningly boring debate, where people begin to argue whose sources are more "trustworthy" instead of actually discussing the issue at hand.

At any rate, most (if not all) of the "anti-AI" arguments presented here can easily be refuted simply by watching what present-day computers can do. Claiming that a programmed computer cannot intelligently adapt and learn is simply laughable in this day and age. Computers are already doing this today and they're doing it on a massive scale.

Granted, we don't yet have a General AI. But the arguments presented here would be just as effective against the things that already exist. The cliche that ordinary computers can't outgrow the sum of their original programming is just wrong.

Another strange claim that is being thrown here often, is the notion that "software" and "hardware" can somehow be seperated. They cannot. A piece of sotware is simply a set of instructions for a SPECIFIC piece of hardware.

Moreover, not all computers have the same kind of hardware in them. A present-day laptop would have a far more complicated architecture then a home computer from the 1980's. This is not just a quantitative difference, and it plays an important part in the way programming these devices has change over the years.

So basically, this whole debate of whether "software alone would be sufficient" stems from a basic lack of understanding of how computers and computer programs work. It assumes that there exists some kind of "universal standard" for digital computer hardware, and that is simply not true.

In short:

people should really get the basics straights, before they begin debating this topic.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
"That kind of thing is called "argument from authority" and it is logically invalid." In know but it would be nice to hear from a few leading minds. Not some guy from a backwater Indian university or Ukraine. Technically, quoting these guys is still an authority argument but not one that carries much weight.

"instead of actually discussing the issue at hand."
That is the general problem with these debates. The terminology of computer science is more or less it's own language and computer science is a very complicated scientific field. Here we have several people who basically try to communicate in a language that they barely speak about a topic that is very complex.

It's like if you and me would have learned 3 weeks of Spanish and then tried to discuss our divergent views on quantum physics.

If they really wanted to have a meaningful discussion then they should have agreed to meet in three month or so. In the meantime they would all study as intense as possible as to get some insight.

It is questionable if this would be the right place for this debate. If they are really interested maybe find a good physics board.

I have stuck my big toe into machine learning a while back and at some point you have to start reading studies and probably a few chapters out of books about methodology and other significant standard works. To get a good foundation on which one could have an actually meaningful debate.

Or just stick to Star Trek and don't burden yourself with that crap. :)
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
"and it is logically invalid"
I don't think so there is a reason why Einstein first was what is now called Humboldt University and later went to Princeton and not to the University of Barbados.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
@James White

lmao! Andy's Friend literally describes the straw man in his head that he's arguing with. Look no further than your nearest mirror for the fool in question.

@Andy's Friend

Peter G. stated my position correctly. (Thank you.)

Meanwhile, you then twist what he stated into a notion that I might think Data was a toaster. That's asinine. Data was very clearly depicted as a sapient organism. All he lacked was emotion. While there's research to indicate that emotion compliments our reason, I seriously doubt the question is settled. It's quite reasonable for a work of fiction to present that as not being absolutely necessary. And that's certainly what TNG did.

As far as trying " to take strands of conversations to initiate other conversations..." I find it difficult to even want to talk to someone who's forever arguing with the misunderstanding they have of what someone else is saying, so I doubt I'll be taking you up on that offer.
Nothing but the Tears
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Wow, over 600 comments. That’s more than the reviews for DS9’s and VOY’s finales combined.

So, I just want to dip my toe into a couple of things. I’ve tried to read all comments but it’s WAY to expansive to provide proper responses to everyone.

I think AI and AC (which I hadn’t hear before) are fascinating concepts. I know not nearly enough about either to add anything meaningful to that debate so I’ll limit it to the scope of the show.

The question then simply becomes, does what we see within this fictional universe feel consistent with what came before and what the show portrayed? Do the outcomes feel like natural outcomes of the story being told? Can I easily suspend my disbelief or do I have to work for it?

So, as an individual viewer, my feelings here are:

- That Data would want to die seems in character to me, especially given how long he’s spent in limbo.

- That Picard would turn him off so quickly, that nobody else would question it, that I don’t buy.

- Again, given what we’ve seen on TNG as well as how little we actually know about the synths and the golem here, it feels to me as though it should be possible to transfer Data to the golem. Bear in mind, I say this not from a scientific point of view, just what feels right to me, in universe.

- Overall, I feel like the foundation for Data’s existence in limbo as well as the reasoning that he basically has to die don’t flow naturally from the story. As others have said, I think it could have been set up from the start if Picard had been aware of Data’s state from the start. It could have been about why Data wanted to go, possibly arguing back and forth, so, in the end, it’s clear to Picard that can’t go on.

As far as great Sci-Fi shows out there are concerned:

- The Expanse is probably my favorite show out there right now. Love the characters, love the look and feel, love the music, love the world building, love how willing they are to shake up the show every season as they follow the books.

- The Man in the High Castle I enjoyed immensely. I thought the world had a really strong PKD feel to it. The casting was great throughout, and I think the nailed the different look and feel for the East Coast vs. West Coast and Neutral zone. Loved the music, too. I think it went too much into Indiana Jones territory in its portrayal of the bad guys but I still thought it was worthwhile.

- I’ve been watching The Orville S1 and I’m enjoying it. It’s not great but entertaining. The feeling I constantly get is that I wish it knew what it wanted to be. It seems to meander rather than fully embracing the idea of an homage to TNG or, instead, being Galaxy Quest The TV Show.

- RDM’s BSG remains one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows of all time. The first episode I saw was “33”, and I fell in love with it the moment I saw that episode. I never looked back.

- DS9 remains my favorite Trek show, followed by TNG. I immensely enjoy re-watching both of them to this day, for different reasons. I love DS9’s cast and massive extended cast. I thought they had some fantastic stories, but long and short form. Not a perfect show but close to my heart. TNG is just great fun to watch. I think my favorite type of TNG story is the one where they’re solving some kind of mystery, just slowly peeling back the layers. I also really like the feeling of ‘being’ aboard the Enterprise. Also, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner. I like the others, too, but these two always come out on top for me.

- Babylon 5 I recently re-watched and really enjoyed it. The best stuff is definitely somewhere between mid season 2 and mid season 4, roughly speaking. And when it’s strong, it’s really strong. Interesting, too, that it doesn’t matter that the SFX and the production in general can be lacking. I find even S1 is worthwhile, especially knowing what’s to come. The last episodes in S5 are also pretty good, after a weak first half. I could do without the movies, tbh. Somehow none of them clicked for me.

Ranking first Trek seasons, hmm, tough one. Let me phrase it this way, this is how high each first season would be on my ‘would like to to re-watch’ list:
1. DS9
2. TNG
3. TOS
4. VOY
5. ENT
6. PIC
7. DIS

Also, it occurs to me that the order would be a bit different if I just wanted to re-watch specific episodes (e.g. I’m still sort of curious to go back and watch Picard’s pilot but I’m not interested in seeing the whole season again). One thing to note here is that I recently re-watched TNG S1 but haven’t seen TOS S1 in ages so that might be impacting this order. With that in mind:
1. DS9
2. TOS
3. TNG
4. PIC
5. VOY
6. ENT
7. DIS

Oh, also wanted to mention that I wonder what an RDM Picard show would have been like. I'd have loved to see what he would have done with it. Has he ever commented on the show? I assume not. Just curious.
Patrick D
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
"In know but it would be nice to hear from a few leading minds. Not some guy from a backwater Indian university or Ukraine."

I don't mean to interrupt, but it doesn't sound like you understand OmicronThetaDeltaPhi's point. He's saying that the statement "a conversation is not worth having without leading minds involved" is just appealing to authority because the implication is that no conversation of importance can originate on a subject unless experts are involved. If that's the case for you, then the simple answer is not to engage in such a discussion. For the others, however, there have been reasoned arguments that proliferated into linking interesting sources and citing data. They might not be experts, but that doesn't mean they can't learn from sharing expert opinion with each other.

"Technically, quoting these guys is still an authority argument but not one that carries much weight."

Not exactly, appealing to authority would be dropping names like Einstein but not explaining why Einstein was correct. If you cite an authority and explain the reasoning for the citation, you're not appealing to authority, you're giving your argument an added basis in published fact.
James White
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Quincy - you still have no clue what you're talking about. Stick to film/tv show discussion.

For the rest, I agree this is not the forum to discuss complex, philosophical ideas.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -5)
There is a rhetorical device called "authority argument" which means that you are trying to win an argument by quoting somebody who has a far deeper understanding or is an authority in his/her field without actually understanding the results. It is often used in science. For example when I write a paper then I cannot redo the entire statistical analysis or data mining process of every quoted study to be sure that there are no mistakes. So quoting these study is an authority argument. That is the reason for peer reviews.

"Not exactly, appealing to authority would be dropping names like Einstein but not explaining why Einstein was correct."
No. Even if the guys quoted here are often, I would say, third rate they still have degrees in the discussed fields which means that using quotes from them is still an argument by authority. Andy's friend used this form of argument and I just interjected that, if you wan to use an authority argument, at least use sources that are leading in their respective fields and not some guy who has probably a bigger shot at getting shot in eastern Ukraine than the Nobel Prize.

"If you cite an authority and explain the reasoning for the citation"
No. It just means. This scientist is right and therefore his/her work should not be questioned. The people here are not experts which means that if somebody quotes an associate professor even of Twiddledee University then the other people can either accept that argument or field their own authority arguments.

My problem with these discussions is visible already. Because they lack a solid foundation on which to discuss the issue there have been quite a few "you are stupid, you don't understand this" posts or "my expert says this"

They can do what they want, of course, but if they approached this logically then they would just share their individual knowledge and be done with it.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 2:52am (UTC -5)
I was surprised that during Picard's death scene, I felt absolutely nothing. The acting in it was fine and the passing of this iconic character that I'd loved for nearly three decades was certainly a big deal, but again...nothing. I eventually realized that I wasn't reacting because I knew that one way or another, Picard was coming back. The damn show bore his name, and Patrick Stewart would not have gone to extravagant lengths to invite his dear friend, Whoopi Goldberg, to guest star during the series' second season with knowledge that he wouldn't be in it. As for the characters mourning his loss, I honestly don't know any of them well enough to empathize with their pain. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that the end of the series, whenever that may be, will show "Picard's" death. Then, I definitely will shed a tear.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
"if you wan to use an authority argument, at least use sources that are leading in their respective fields and not some guy who has probably a bigger shot at getting shot in eastern Ukraine than the Nobel Prize. "

You are a sociologist, no? In the hard sciences, it is the research work and only the research that is important, not the name of the scientist or the university. I suspect that might not be the case in the humanities, although it should be. Still, I agree that human bias means journals are probably more likely to take notice of work done at major universities.

I don't know if any of this is relevant anyway since we're talking about AI studies, which is a multidisciplinary field of which philosophy is a major part.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -5)
Sociology and Political Science are not part of the humanities but the social sciences.

" In the hard sciences, it is the research work and only the research that is important, not the name of the scientist or the university."
That really made me chuckle. That is so obviously not true on so many levels. First in sociology and political science we follow the science approach of the natural sciences which means empirical research. This is done mostly through doing sample analysis with statistical methods. And even in what a layman would call hard science there is constant name dropping. Sure frauds and bad science is discovered sooner or later but sometimes it can take quite a while.

"I suspect that might not be the case in the humanities, although it should be."
What?! Like an empirical study of laws, philosophy, literature, history??? These fields are by their very nature not empirical. Maybe you now think: "Wait, you can study the impact of laws." but that would be in the realm of the social sciences again and not humanities.

"I don't know if any of this is relevant anyway since we're talking about AI studies, which is a multidisciplinary field of which philosophy is a major part."
I don't think that there is a field called AI studies. I guess you mean A.I. research/computer science and for that philosophy is very likely not that relevant.
Andy's Friend
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 4:28am (UTC -5)

You could have debated the points made by the scholars I quoted.
You could have quoted other scholars more to your liking.
You preferred to simply question if not ridicule the scholars I quoted. This you did based on their philosophical leaning and their academic affiliation.

I shouldn’t have to tell a pedant like yourself what kind of logical fallacy that is. But there is more.

It is curious to say the least that you should question my selection of sources because they lean towards the philosophical or metaphysical side. As one of them states, that is precisely because the ‘roboticist’ side, more preoccupied with purely mechanical aspects, leave it to them to raise such questions.

Moreover, Pandey’s ‘backwater Indian university’ to use your sorry expression is part of the point. As I stated, he specifically bases his argument not on Western, but on Indian philosophy. As I wrote, ‘There are other schools of thought than ours, and it is always good to be reminded of that lest we become too convinced of our own moral superiority in the West or the Federation.’

This was apparently entirely lost on you. How ironic. What does that say of your cognitive capabilities?

As for academic affiliation, I cannot emphasise enough how inadmissible your pitiful attitude is in our early twenty-first century. And I thought that I was the ‘arrogant’, ‘elitist’, ‘condescending’ prick around here.

I’ll be blunt: you’re a sorry excuse for a scholar, Booming, and most likely an impostor. This especially that you write merits a comment, as it is indicative of your whole pitiful reasoning:

“That is a university that does not make it into the first 1000 places in the THE (Times Higher Education). it is certainly a fine institution but nothing to brag about.”

Academic rankings are a contradiction in terms. If you were a scholar, you would know that.

How do you compare research in wildly different fields? How do you evaluate performance? How do you quantify innovation? Citations? Awards? Cost/benefit analysis? And so on, and so forth. Regardless of ranking methodology, ranking systems attempt to quantify the qualitative. They are more misleading than meaningful, other than to those bureaucratic minds who prefer deceptive statistics in order to possess an arsenal of numbers to throw at someone as argument.

Statistics as rankings are the sort of tool used by bureaucratic administrations of universities to extort funds from politicians and magnates, in other words, financiers, public or private. This is the main reason they are conducted, and if you were a scholar you would know that.

It is therefore highly ironic that you should refer to such rankings and use them as argument. That is the mentality of the bureaucrat, Booming. Not that of the scholar.

Scholars know who and where their peers—friends and/or rivals—are, and usually also why. We are perfectly capable of evaluating the quality of scholarly output by a given individual, or the main universities in our field. We know how useless rankings are, and how outright misleading they can be.

And we know better than to let the reputation or lack thereof of some higher learning institution affect our appreciation of scholarship. We read the scholarship, we make up our own minds. They call us scholars for a reason.

If for whatever reason, professional or personal, some scholar chooses to accept a position in some obscure university in say, Mongolia, that’s his business. Nowadays, depending on his field of course, it mostly won't greatly affect the quality of his output anyway.

You seem to have little idea of what globalisation has meant for academia, Booming. We don’t live in the Victorian or Edwardian era any longer. The differences between the traditional great powers and the many lesser powers is rapidly diminishing. This includes the academic world. Do you have any idea of how many universities have been established in the world in the past fifty years alone? The middle class of universities in the world today is huge.

As is the number of outstanding academics working in departments in middle-class universities. Plenty of universities around the world today boast one or two outstanding scholars in their specific fields. Not everybody is working at Oxford and Cambridge. There are more outstanding scholars in the world than that, and recently created departments around the world often make it a point to hire one. If you were a scholar, you would know that.

How many universities in the world today don’t enjoy powerful individual or corporate sponsorship (look at the Tatas in India), attempting sustained, long-term academic growth, perhaps by attracting foreign scholars in order to raise a single elite department to world-class excellence? Where along this long-term process is any given university? Do you think you can just look at a ranking and know these and other things?

Five years ago, I wrote the following here, while discussing the character of Darren in ‘Lessons’:

“I work at a major European university, and we see the exact same thing going on. Faculties competing for resources. And within each faculty―Humanities, in my case―various departments competing ferociously over the allocation of resources.

This is what Darren basically represents. In the case of universities, and except for the very, very top universities, which will have very good departments across the board, most universities tend to specialize and have one elite department, so to speak. A typical case in the US―I presume you’re American―is Texas A&M University, a somewhat undistinguished university, which however has one of the best nautical archaeology departments in the world.

(…) Darren is that department head who, in my world, will tell the faculty dean that her department has a good shot at entering the “Top5 in the World” with the allocation of a few more resources that will allow say, snatching two great scholars she’s been having talks with from other universities, and that strengthening her department further surely is worth more for the university than investing in some obscure other department.”
(TNG 'Lessons', 25 Aug 2015)

Note that I wrote of attempting to enter the “Top5 in the World”. Anything below the very top is irrelevant today, Booming: there may be very little difference between number 100 and number 800, depending on department, and only slightly more below that.

My university ‘outranks’ Texas A&M by a wide margin overall in such rankings. That means *nothing* in real life. Rankings are a function of massive bias, sheer size, and economies of scale. Little else. Don’t let the fancy algorithms ranking methodologies purport to use to negate bias fool you. Bias exists. You are living proof.

Nautical archaeology is not my field but I sometimes make use of their findings. Texas A&M outclasses most universities in that specific field, including your examples of Oxford and MIT. For my specific purposes, only two universities in the world rival them. I just checked: one is in the 400s, the other in the 1100s according to your precious rankings.

You, with that sorry attitude of yours, would of course dismiss both those other little-known universities as you probably would Texas A&M, and you would be reading output by Oxford and MIT scholars inadequate for your purposes and making necessarily flawed adaptations to suit your purposes, instead of reading the relevant output from those 'backwater' universities. That is not how the scholar goes about his work, Booming.

Summarising: would you rank Texas A&M lower than Oxford? Overall, perhaps. But for specific purposes, that may very well not be the case. It isn’t in nautical archaeology, for example.

I can only be thankful for that as I have often found their output profitable for specific purposes in my own research. This is what matters to actual scholars, not silly rankings. And if you weren’t a fraud, you would know that.

How often have you not benefitted from scholarship from some ‘obscure’ university in your own research? How many outstanding scholars don’t you know to be found in otherwise nondescript universities? If you haven't, and you don't, you are either not a very a good scholar, or not a scholar at all.

What do you know of the strengths of university departments in the world? You don’t, because you are an impostor, Booming, likely a failed scholar or a bureaucrat at best. No scholar of merit would write what you write.

"Give me Oxford or MIT, I would even accept the barely first rate losers of the ETH Zurich."

I have no words for the idiocy of this comment. Stay well, Booming.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Phew Andy's friend

I guess I triggered you mightily considering all these ad hominem attacks and plain insults. For the most part I wanted you and your AI interested buddies to find a more appropriate forum because some of you have a tendency to post walls of text that are off topic.

By the way, in India itself the Birla Institute of Technology doesn't make it into the top 10 (17 in QS and 37 (last place) in THE). If you are so focused on eastern philosophy then at least use better sources from east.

Sorry that the thought that people at elite/prestigious universities tend to be there for a reason insults you.

Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -5)
And yes Andy's friend I'm aware of the fact that quality in departments varies and that universities have different research foci.
Jason R.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Booming this is a casual internet forum about Star Trek. In a debate about AI where you asked for some expert sources, you really thought it necessary to piss on Andy's citations because the universities weren't top notch?
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)

"I guess I triggered you mightily considering all these ad hominem attacks and plain insults."

You kinda asked for it, though.

You've contributed absolutely nothing to the discussion, and then proceeded to turn it into a pointless academic pissing war.

How, exactly, did you expect that to go? Do you have any idea how condescending and disrespectful that looks?

BTW it's not the first time you're doing this here. Please stop doing that. Or at the very least, if you insist on going that route, don't act surprised when the people you mock are mocking you back.

"I don't think [that arguing from authority is invalid]. There is a reason why Einstein first was what is now called Humboldt University and later went to Princeton and not to the University of Barbados."

Funny that you give Einstein as an example. The guy who revolutionized physics while being a mere patent clerk and was not affiliated with ANY university what-so-ever.

It's even funnier when we look at Einstein's accuracy record after he became an authority. Pretty much everything he said as an "authority" turned out to be wrong, form his rejection of quantum mechanics to the cosmological constant.

In short, Einstein is the most blatant and extreme example AGAINST arguing from authority. Moreover, Einstein was a physicist, which is about as hard and precise a science as you can get. Just imagine how worse the situation would be for the softer sciences, such as sociology or philosophy.

And Patrick is correct, when he explained the difference between a mere citation an making an actual argument. Citations are not supposed to be a replacement to actually using our brains and thinking about the topic we are discussing.

@James White
"For the rest, I agree this is not the forum to discuss complex, philosophical ideas."

Personally I have no problem with having such a discussion. Star Trek often raises interesting philosophical questions, so we shouldn't be afraid of discussing them here.

I just wished people would actually make sure that they know what they're a talking about, before they started these discussions. Because it is pointless to philosophize when you don't get your basic facts straight.

Seriously guys, before you throw yourself into such a discussion, do your homework. Learn the basics of how computers and computer programming works. Learn about the relation of hardware to software. Familiarize yourself with basic concepts like machine code, higher level computer languages, operating systems and emualtors. Learn about the various techniques used today to facilitate machine learning, including genetic algorithms. Learn what makes current SAI's as (relatively) intelligent as they are.

There's no need to be an expert on any of this stuff. Just be aware that the topic is complex, and that SOME understanding of the technicalities is required to make a compelling argument.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Ok. Does somebody else need a participation badge or are we done.
Janeway labrat
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Oh, the usual group pointlessly pissing on a thread. I thought this was a bondage site which was why I originally started cumming here.

I’ll be here all week. Ba dum dum
Andy's Friend
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

"Booming this is a casual internet forum about Star Trek. In a debate about AI where you asked for some expert sources, you really thought it necessary to piss on Andy's citations because the universities weren't top notch? "

Thanks Jason, but Booming isn’t pissing on anything but himself. There is nothing wrong with the universities.

I already explained twice, including in the original message, why I quoted an Indian scholar with a classic Indian philosophy perspective. Had Booming been smart, he might have asked me: I would have told him that I don’t agree with Pandey on everything he writes. But I find that perspective interesting.

The inclusion of a former Soviet bloc scholar should be obvious to anyone with genuine wish to debate. The former Soviet bloc has an extremely rich heritage of anything from science-fiction to serious scholarship on robotics, artificial intelligence, and so forth—hardly surprising for a polity that was once leading in the space race.

The former Soviet bloc, however, is influenced also by that Russian tradition of introspective, philosophical questioning present in the great literary classics of their culture, and even in much Soviet science-fiction, more concerned with ethical and existential questions than with technological marvel. It is a cultural phenomenon that affects science also, and Piletsky is a good example of that existentialist query: what is consciousness (think 'Solaris', written by a Polish doctor, transported to film by a Russian), and can it be created artificially?

Also this interests me, even if Piletsky’s paper is much too brief to allow for that cultural heritage to shine through. But I hope this clarifies that Booming’s charges are entirely unfounded. Some people may read only what comes out of Oxford, and Cambridge. I chose to offer two different, non-Anglosphere perspectives as food for thought. As some may remember, I have always made it a point here on Jammer's to avoid groupthink, and to consider other perspectives than our traditional ones in the West—and the Federation.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
I want to unequivocally declare that I will never again say anything bad about any kind of university or scientist. I haven't insulted anyone personally while others have called me stupid, lots of pissing metaphors (Freud anybody), idiotic, an imposter and quite a bit more.

I only questioned his sources.
While reading your emotional responses and insults I was thinking of this.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 7:15pm (UTC -5)

"Did anyone else notice the recurring theme of eye injuries?"

Heh. Indeed, the writers for this season seemed to be heavily inspired by Italian film-maker Lucio Fulci, whose early 80s horror films were almost as atmospheric as they were gory, especially in regards to eyeballs. If you look up "Lucio Fulci eyeball scene" you will get plenty of results. None of them are particularly realistic but, uh... They definitely don't cut away from the action.

Watching the Icheb scene in STP felt like I was watching a Fulci film, which is a connection I never thought I'd make to Star Trek. If you enjoyed season 1 of STP, I highly recommend the horror works of Lucio Fulci, specifically "Zombi" and my personal favorite, "The Beyond". I'm also partial to his adaptation of "The Black Cat" but that one is a little light on eyeball trauma so your mileage may vary.
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
Booming said:

"This debate would require an actual computer scientist to remain meaningful."

Then, from what I can gather of the Negative Energy Ion Storm which followed, someone decided they were going to try to conquer the Internet because of this comment.

I almost never agree with you, Booming. But you are entitled to your opinion as anyone else is, and to me, this sounds like you were trying to say you didn't want to continue having the debate, unless I'm wrong. When someone says they don't wanna talk about it, a person has to be pretty dense to continue talking about it ad infinitum.

There is plenty of garbage going on in the world stressing everyone out. I think it would be just friggin' classic if people would put on their nice faces while we are all going through said garbage.

In summary, what it Star Trek? A series of dramatic presentations.

What are dramatic presentations? A form of entertainment.

What is the purpose of entertainment? To have a good time.

What is the Comment Section of Jammer's Reviews? Another form of entertainment.

What is the purpose of entertainment? To have a good time.

I think that this is an important point... When I was a kid and used to scream obscenities at my NES, my Dad would say "If you're not having a good time, why don't you shut it off?"

Food for thought. Surely we as Trekkies can be a bit more civilized with each other than the drooling, mouth-breathing fanbases of less intellectual works, n'est-ce pas?
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Drama is just for entertainment? If so, then what the hell are any of us doing here discussing Star Trek? There are hundreds, thousands of more entertaining pieces of drama available on TV alone.
Janeway labrat
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
^ [JB]

Quiet quiet Camus, one of the other labrats is about to discover there’s no purpose, shh shh. Let’s see how they handle it
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 12:26am (UTC -5)
"this sounds like you were trying to say you didn't want to continue having the debate"
I wasn't really part of the debate or had any real interest in it. I didn't read, for example, Andy's friends walls of text. I just wanted them to stop making longer and longer posts about stuff that had less and less to do with STP (They were also starting to insult each other). While doing that I noticed "the review on Metaphysics" which peaked my interest. That made me look into the other sources and then I made the fatal mistake of calling them not good for making an argument in the field of computer science. I'm sure these guys complain all the time that nowadays everybody is so easily offended while behaving exactly like that.
Andy's Friend
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 2:46am (UTC -5)

"I wasn't really part of the debate or had any real interest in it. I didn't read, for example, Andy's friends walls of text. I just wanted them to stop making longer and longer posts about stuff that had less and less to do with STP”

So you commented on things you didn’t even read, just because you wanted me to stop posting scholarship. Think for a moment, Booming. This is Star Trek. It’s supposed to inspire us to grander thoughts and larger debates. Tell me, just what do you want us to debate? The colours of the uniforms? Is red lovelier than blue? Is that your preferred level of discussion, and the kind of talk you will graciously allow us to engage in?

“While doing that I noticed "the review on Metaphysics" which peaked my interest. That made me look into the other sources and then I made the fatal mistake of calling them not good for making an argument in the field of computer science.”

But it was not about computer science, Booming: it was about consciousness, biological and artificial. It was the first of my three quotes and by far the oldest: as I specified, it was from 1990.

I first mentioned 1988 and IBM’s Deep Thought, which, as I have mentioned elsewhere, beat International Grandmaster Bent Larsen in chess in Copenhagen that year, with me watching it.

In 1989 Deep Thought also took on Kasparov, and lost. But it was becoming obvious that it was only a matter of time before an artificial intelligence would beat the best human minds.

All this sparked off huge debate. In 1989, ‘The Measure of a Man’ aired.

The first quote I offered was part of this debate. It is important in that context: it is the contemporary of Deep Blue, Deep Thought, and ‘The Measure of a Man.’ I find that at least a little bit relevant when discussing the nature of Data. This was unfortunately lost on you.

As for ‘The Review on Metaphysics’, just what do you think metaphysics is, Booming? Do you believe it to be about ‘religion’, or the ‘supernatural’ in common parlance? Or is it fair to presume that a scholarly magazine chooses the scholarly, not any popular definitions for its very title? Metaphysics is about *reality*, Booming. Metaphysics asks: what is real? In this context, what is real life, real sentience, real consciousness?

That was the context of that quote. How you manage to find that not relevant is beyond me.

Look, Booming, if you don’t want to participate in any given debate, don’t. It's easy. Just scroll past the post. But it’s not up to you to decide what other commenters may wish to debate, and contribute.

And please stop that silly ‘I am a sociologist’ persona of yours, and all that posturing of yours that ‘in sociology and political science we follow the science approach of the natural sciences which means empirical research’, which is the only thing you can ever say of academia. It’s frankly tiresome, and I increasingly suspect you keep repeating it because it is the only thing you ever learned. In any case, in every other post of yours you provide examples of just how little you understand the academic world.

Take your “empirical study of laws, philosophy, literature, history??? These fields are by their very nature not empirical”. Sheer nonsense. Read Pierre Chaunu’s ‘Séville et l’Atlantique (1504-1650)’ (Paris, 12 vols., 1955-1960) and tell me that it isn’t as empirical as any study in sociology, and more empirical than most. Or read any piece of histoire serielle inspired by it, which you obviously are unaware of. And so on, and so forth. It’s amazing. You constantly find new ways to talk nonsense whenever you presume to lecture on academia.

So please stop pretending, and please stop presuming to decide what others may or may not write. Try being a little humbler, and a little more charitable. And I shall then gladly hear your opinions, and read any input, scholarly or otherwise, you may wish to contribute.
Peter G.
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 3:04am (UTC -5)
@ Andy's Friend,

"In 1989 Deep Thought also took on Kasparov, and lost. But it was becoming obvious that it was only a matter of time before an artificial intelligence would beat the best human minds."