Star Trek: Picard

"Remembrance"

3 stars

Air date: 1/23/2020
Teleplay by Akiva Goldsman and James Duff
Story by Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon & Kirsten Beyer & Alex Kurtzman and James Duff
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Cast includes: Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Isa Briones (Dahj), Alison Pill (Agnes Jurati), Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal Rios), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), Harry Treadaway (Narek), Evan Evagora (Elnor), Brent Spiner (Data)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Eventually, the passage of time will get to you. Last year, as I was watching Ira Steven Behr's DS9 documentary, What We Left Behind, the thing that struck me the most — even more so than watching the writing staff "break" a hypothetical eighth-season premiere — was how much older everyone in the cast looked, and by extension, how much older I was than when I was watching them during the airing of the series. Sadly, since I watched that doc, both Rene Auberjonois and Aron Eisenberg have died. Time is the fire in which we burn.

In "Remembrance," the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard, the predator that is time has not permanently claimed Picard, but it has in a way left him in limbo. It's a limbo he is fortunately able to recognize he must escape, realizing he has wasted so many years "waiting to die" because he took the route of disgruntled passivity. He comes to this realization after a series of intense and intriguing events that give him reason to suspend retirement at his family's vineyard in France and take up a new purpose. What exactly that purpose is remains to be seen. There are mysteries at work here and many things still to do.

Picard plays like a just-right balance between fan service and staking out new territory. Opening with a dream sequence on Ten-Forward of the Enterprise-D, Picard plays poker with Data. After some familiar chit-chat, Data observes Picard is stalling, who responds by saying he is doing so because "I don't want the game to end." The details of the sequence are interesting because they use the familiar visual cues of TNG (Ten-Forward, a game of poker), but twist them with a certain dream logic (Data is anachronistically wearing the Enterprise-E-era uniform he died in, and Ten-Forward, where poker was never played, is lit in a way that makes it feel askew).

At the core of the episode is Picard being haunted by the dreams and memories of his fallen comrade. When I learned of Brent Spiner's involvement in this series several months back, I feared some sort of retcon that would resurrect him, perhaps through the B-4 escape hatch the writers built into Star Trek: Nemesis. But "Remembrance" does not cheat — and indeed leans heavily into the fact that, yes, Data very much died at the end of Nemesis, which took a very real emotional toll on Picard and now results in strange, mysterious dreams that have Meaningful Reasons.

(B-4 does eventually figure into this — as he should in order to answer questions we would obviously have — but it's with the reveal that he never had the capability to properly process Data's downloaded memories and was deactivated, disassembled, and shelved shortly after Nemesis. Perhaps the oddest thing about Star Trek: Picard is how it almost makes Star Trek: Nemesis into essential viewing.)

"Remembrance" plays out almost entirely on Earth, much of it in the naturalistic confines of Picard's vineyard and chateau, where we catch up with what he's been doing — or not doing — for two decades. This setting feels more grounded and familiar than, say, Discovery, because we are re-entering a universe we are familiar with, and are in the orbit of an iconic character, now much older and narratively treated as such.

The visuals are every bit as polished and eye-popping as other 21st-century Trek productions, featuring lush photography and crisp visual effects. But the cinematography stylistics are considerably toned down from (read: less obtrusive than in) Discovery, as is the pace, which takes its time just sitting with Picard and contemplating his emotional state. Obviously, when you have an actor of Patrick Stewart's caliber you would be well advised to do that as much as possible, and the writers and director Hanelle Culpepper wisely exercise patience and do so.

The plot involves a young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones), who is attacked in her apartment by unidentified, black-clad soldiers wearing masked helmets. After killing her boyfriend, they mention she has been "activated," at which point a switch in her head is somehow flipped and she is able to wipe them all out with impressive fighting skills she was not aware she even had. In the middle of this, she has a vision of Picard, and is compelled to seek him out.

Meanwhile, the expositional need to catch us up on the most pertinent highlights of the last two decades are economically accomplished by way of a rare media interview of the famous, now-reclusive, former Starfleet captain and admiral. We learn he resigned in protest following a massive attempted Federation rescue operation (which he compares to Dunkirk) of 900 million Romulan survivors of the supernova that destroyed Romulus (see Spock's ill-fated mission in Star Trek 2009). Using the destruction of Romulus as an entry point into the Federation's current political situation is intriguing. Working at Picard's chateau are two Romulan refugees, which serves as an effective shorthand for the plight of the decimated empire and where it now stands.

Also woven into this backstory are crucial details about an uprising of "synthetic" AI laborers who destroyed the Utopia Planitia shipyards at Mars amid this rescue operation, leading to the mission's cancellation and Picard's eventual resignation in protest — as well as a ban on all artificial lifeforms. Late in Voyager's run we started to see some "rights of AI lifeforms" as a theme surrounding holograms, and Picard now brings it back by way of androids. The question of "AIs rising up against their masters" and "what responsibilities do we have regarding AI" were sci-fi issues at the core of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, and it will be interesting to see if Picard can bring yet another spin to the concept without being redundant.

But the details are intriguing, especially once Picard meets Dahj and is inspired by her familiarity to go search through his personal archive at Starfleet Headquarters to uncover the mystery of who she might actually be. This mystery, with clues provided by Data's old paintings, is actually pretty well constructed and has some compelling implications — that somehow, we're not sure how yet — Dahj is an android created from human flesh and blood and also Data's "daughter." (And any search through an archive that also shows us the hilarious "Captain Picard Day" banner from "The Pegasus" is an archive search worth witnessing.)

If there's a place where "Remembrance" steps wrong, it's the sequence where Picard and Dahj are attacked by the black-clad soldiers, revealed to be Romulans, which results in Dahj's demise so suddenly, just as we were getting to know her as a character. Picard is knocked unconscious and wakes up back in his home, in a narrative shift so jarring I'd assumed it had all been a dream or some kind of premonition. When it becomes clear what we saw, yes, actually did happen, I had questions, like: How could this shootout and explosion have happened on a rooftop and not be witnessed in some way by anyone or any kind of surveillance equipment and not leave behind a ton of forensic evidence? (This happens in the heart of San Francisco right next to Starfleet Headquarters, no less.) The police chalk it up to "the old man hit his head" and say there was nothing on the security feed except Picard. This is either an incredible plot convenience or there's way more going on here than they are telling us. (Neither would surprise me.)

Dahj's death feels emotionally glossed over but motivates Picard to dig deeper. He goes to the Daystrom Institute, where Dahj had just been accepted for a fellowship, and there he meets Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), who shows him the disassembled B-4 and explains how she and Bruce Maddox (yes, that Bruce Maddox, from "The Measure of a Man") had — before the synthetics ban — been working on some new android technology that would've theoretically been able to clone an android from a single positronic neuron. The two of them conclude Dahj was somehow created by Maddox, and that she has a twin out there somewhere. (The details for how exactly they jump to this conclusion escape me, possibly a result of my lack of time to watch this more than once, or possibly because of convenient narrative shortcuts.)

Of course, no episode of any serialized show begotten of this century would be complete without a teaser setting up the season's mystery through a Big Shocking Reveal (or at least a Big Shocking Reveal already hinted at in the trailers), which is that some project at a "Romulan reclamation site" is doing something, and this site happens to be in the wreckage of a Borg cube. As Big Shocking Reveals go, I found it to be suitably intriguing. Dahj's twin, named Soji, is at this site. She has a brief conversation with a Romulan named Narek (Harry Treadaway) who is notable because he has lines of dialogue and appears in the opening credits. These are introductions, nothing more.

"Remembrance" is a very promising albeit not always riveting start to this series, and as is always the case with these serialized slow builds, it's hard to know where this is truly going. In terms of substance, we may get another sci-fi analysis of artificial intelligence within the context of a Federation that's not currently on great terms with "synthetics." And in terms of social commentary, the status of the Romulans as a former empire reduced to refugees — and how the Federation views them (which is not entirely clear at this point) — could have some interesting contemporary parallels.

Meanwhile, Picard's dreams and memories are evocative, and every minute spent in this universe is a pleasure, and shows why reboots and nostalgia can work when a creative team really taps into them. Stewart's chemistry with Isa Briones shows promise (which made it all the more disappointing to see her character so unceremoniously discarded, even if she has a twin sister), and as for the Borg connection teased at the end — well, what's more central to Picard's character than his relationship with the Borg?

Some other thoughts:

  • An early working title for this series was apparently Star Trek: Destiny. I'm pretty sure I like that better. I get you want to market your show, but Picard as a title is just so ... prosaic.
  • Beyond the connection drawn through the paintings, does Picard's connection to Dahj have something to do with his assimilation into the Borg collective, and if so, how? Or does it have something to do with this theoretical ability to retrieve an android's essence from a positronic neuron and perhaps Picard's proximity to Data at the time of his death? I'm just throwing things out there.
  • Is there any connection between Dahj and Lal?
  • A wounded Romulan spits acid/blood/something that disintegrates Dahj and causes a phaser to overload and blow up real good. Explanations, please. (I'm willing to wait, but I want them.)
  • Why did the synthetics destroy the Utopia Planitia shipyards at a cost of 92,000 lives, clearly-not-coincidentally during the Romulan evacuation? And why are the Romulans now apparently hunting synthetics? And how do the Borg figure into it? There are connections and reasons for all of this. At least there'd better be.
  • Speaking of What We Left Behind, the hypothetical season-eight DS9 premiere they broke had the same sort of serialized-build-out-with-teaser-ending structure this had. Like I said, that's just the architecture of a TV episode today.
  • The opening titles seem to offer some clues into what this season is about. Cryptic clues at best, but probably in there somewhere. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the theme, but I wasn't for Discovery right away either, and it ended up growing on me quite a bit.
  • In the opening poker game, Data lays down five queens. All I could think of was that TNG spliced-up parody video, created in the early-to-mid 1990s, where Data announces, "I have six aces!" and then laughs maniacally (using the audio from "Deja Q"). One of the earliest of all Internet video memes.
  • I went back to trying CBS All Access using the Android app via Chromecast, and for the first time ever, I had no problems with video stutters. Maybe they've finally fixed it.
  • My wife really needs a refresher on the major TNG backstory points that really give this episode more meaning. She felt lost at times, and I had some explaining to do. She didn't feel this way with Discovery (even though I was always explaining TOS backstory) which I think speaks to how this show really is designed for old-school TNG fans.
  • Despite my ever-alarmist self-doubting qualms, this turned out to be a full-length review — much longer than average, even. I guess I just can't help myself once I get started. Perhaps this will go more smoothly than I planned. Perhaps things will get shorter as the season goes on. We'll see. I'll shut up about my process now and just let things do what they do.

Next episode: Maps and Legends

◄ Season Index

283 comments on this review

Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
First off, the soundtrack was really REALLY obtrusive, repetitious and dull. Many scenes would have been much better with silence instead of manipulative music spoiling surprises and telegraphing what the audience should feel. It felt like stock music for a cable show, "sad", "nostalgia", "dream" and so on. Also, why don't they use an actual orchestra instead of these Law and Order: SVU MIDI synthesizers? Is CBS that cheap?

Some plot points I'm not clear on:

Why didn't the Federation start evacuating what they could with the fleet they have (even bringing roundabouts and shuttles)? Didn't the Romulans still have a fleet of their own to start evacuations? Wouldn't Romulus have been flooded with Ferengi etc offering Romulans passage for a price?

Speaking of which, if the Romulan sun went supernova, how could there be enough time for the Federation to build a fleet or anyone to come to the rescue?

Also, was the emotional alien woman with Scottish accent a Romulan? I assume her demeanor precludes being a Vulcan. Also, why did the Romulan talking to the twin at the end have an Irish accent? Romulans have earth accents?

Um, the twin thing. *sigh* Was I supposed to think that both girls were raised with each other and Daj never told Picard she has an identical twin?! Sorry but I'm not buying that.

What was the deal with her mother? How did she know about Picard? If that was actually her mother and not a program pretending to be her, wouldn't she call Daj2 and tell her about her sister in danger?

Also, why would Picard spend all this time with Daj and not just SCAN her to find out if she's telling the truth?! Couldn't he get ahold of his ex Beverly and ask for help?

Also, why doesn't Picard have Irumotic Syndrome? I know not everything needs to be explained in the first episode, but I feel like his incurable-in- the-alternate-future disease should've gotten a brief mention. Maybe that was the reason Picard didn't remember Data's painting of Daj is hanging in his house?!

I don't want to say I hated this because I liked most of the acting (unexplained character accents not withstanding) and the "future" looked sufficiently cool (I don't mind the recycled use of Discovery FX in a few scenes, after all Starfleet stil uses Miranda class starships so I imagine legacy tech has its appeal). The cinematography was pretty good excepting for the tired overuse of sepia filters).

I wish they could've found a way to splice in the original physical model footage when they zoomed in on the Enterprise D. It looked obviously CGI. Barely any shots of ships in space for a Trek show, that was kind of a bummer. But overall, it was visually appealing.

But good God, the blaring tacky CSI soundtrack and the endless "wait, what, how can that be" moments marred what should have been an immersive fun experience.

To be fair, I'm going to rewatch after I play with the sound equalizer settings (to minimize the soundtrack as much as possible). Maybe some of my WTF questions were answered, I was just too distracted to hear them.

Stewart gives a great performance as always and so, plot and soundtrack problems aside, I'd say this was much better Discovery's first episode and I will watch episode 2 after I rewatch this.
Dave in MN
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Oh, and they shoulld've hired someone else to deepfake Data to look younger. The de-aging algorithms they used simply aren't up to par with today's technology.
Toph in Blacksburg
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Wow. I am really impressed with how this series has started out. A very interesting storyline that picks up some 15 to 20 years after the last time we saw the card and the next generation crew.

I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the season play out.
Toph in Blacksburg
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
Some things that stood out to me after a first watching:

It took me a little while to realize that Picard’s two assistants at the Chateau were Romulans. Nice touch.

I thought that Data’s appearances were well done and very appropriate. I’ll be curious to see if they include him in future episodes somehow.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -6)
I'm not going to write up any reviews until season 1 finishes, but I thought it was interesting. There's of course some jarring action moments that feel more like NuTrek, but overall I felt the episode was fairly slow and thoughtful.

Incidentally, Picard referenced Dunkirk, which was a French city and an initial German target during WWII. Germany halted its advance to conserve troops, and the allied forces were able to evacuate 330,000 people. Okay, enough history. :-)
Tim C
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
SPOILERS

Well, wasn't that just wonderful?

Not perfect, mind you. From a production standpoint, there's a slickness to this that definitely marks it as a sister show to Discovery, which at first didn't feel like it was the right fit. But from the moment Picard's TV interview started getting ugly, and we saw that old moral certainty (with outrage at injustice) poke through the calm exterior, I was sold. Picard's back, baby!

What I think I most appreciated about this first episode was that the writers have clearly molded this twenty-years-older version of the character on the guy that we knew from TNG, rather than the weird action hero we started getting in the movies. The scholar, the thinker, the speechmaker. A welcome evolution for the character is his clear relaxing on personal displays of emotion, which feels quite fitting for a now-retired man who for years felt he had to maintain a professional distance.

Aside from Sir Pat's expectedly winning performance, I also liked all these new characters we're meeting. Seeing Romulans so clearly devoted to Picard is a very fun bit of world building and a great way of showing just how much the Alpha Quadrant dynamic has changed in the last twenty years. The actress playing Daj *nailed* the fear and confusion someone in her situation would be feeling, and with a short amount of screen time had me completely invested in her story. The two plot twists regarding her - that she's Data's "daughter" and her shock death - both managed to take me by surprise and left me genuinely excited to see what happens next.

Also: B4's eventual fate was to end up disassembled in a drawer. Thank god!

Bring on episode two!!!

3.5 stars.
Tranya and Tonic
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
I found this first episode to be surprisingly engrossing. I think my greatest concern was that Picard himself was going to be a dark, brooding, and cynical in a way that wasn't in tune with the character we all grew to love back in the TNG days. He was certainly a man suffering from the aftereffects of some pretty hefty traumas (the failed rescue of Romulus and the Synth attack on Mars), but he was still kind, respectful, and dignified in his own way. Even his anger during the interview was directed toward Starfleet not living up to his own ideals (a theme that certainly resonates with TNG episodes like "The Drumhead" and "The Pegasus") rather than any changed worldview on his own part. There's also the implication that the Federation might not be as corrupt as he's making it out to be - that his own struggles with Data's death, the Synth attack, and the Romulan refugees have colored his view a bit. And naturally, Patrick Stewart is such a stellar actor that he can convey a sense that something has been lost in Picard while still exuding a natural warmth and compassion to everyone around him.

I also appreciated that so much of what happened pulled naturally from the characters of TNG without feeling predictable. Picard has always been a surrogate father for so many characters on TNG that him almost longing for that role again with Dahj felt very natural to me. I was worried at first that they were implying that Data secretly built himself a secret, magical daughter, but I liked the idea that he's just been taken with the concept of having one since the death of Lal in "The Offspring" and that Bruce Maddox was actually the one responsible. In fact, bring Bruce Maddox into the show so directly was a welcome surprise.

I liked Allison Pill's doctor character as well as the two Romulans that live with Picard.

Nice Disco tie-in with the boyfriend being a Xahean, like Tilly's friend Po.

Really cool design on the new Romulan ships.

Some of the exposition on the androids was a little clunky. I'm still not totally clear on what exactly Dahj and her twin sister are supposed to be. Sorta like the Cylons from the new Battlestar Galactica? But can only be twins? Somehow? This didn't worry me too much since this is clearly going to be THE major plot of the show, so I'm sure further explanation is forthcoming.

Anyway, I liked it.
James White
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Excellent beginning. Let's see where this goes. Stewart's presence makes such a difference.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
On the whole it was very promising beginning to the season, but not a totally flawless one. Still probably the best pilot episode that a Trek series has ever had.

There were many things to love here, some of which have already been mentioned.

Stewart always elevates material - even when it's dreck like TNG's first season. Fortunately this is far from dreck, but his acting has only improved with age and every line he gives is a pleasure. Picard is back baby! Isa Briones surprised me in a very pleasant way as Dahj as well - the trailers didn't really show much of her after all, but she's a powerful enough force onscreen to not wither away in the presence of Stewart. Spiner is in perfect form in his two little bits as Data. Alison Pill's character leaves me a bit cold so far, but the supporting roles were generally speaking excellent.

I am very happy that this series is a lot slower paced, warmer feeling, and more naturalistic than Discovery. There was none of the jarring use of purposefully weird camera angles, fast cuts, harsh lighting, or loud music that makes Discovery episodes distracting. So far Picard knows that it's important to make the quiet parts quiet, and I very much appreciate that. Most of the dialogue seems natural and at ease. The focus on character so far reminds me quite a good deal of Deep Space Nine - my favorite Trek by far.

The one aspect I didn't like is the episode had a bit too much expository infodump for me. Two interactions in particular just stood out as not good. One was Picard's "interview." Although Picard's reactions to the interrogation were an excellent chance for Stewart to show off his chops - and the writers to show how many people in 2397 don't like Picard much - the questions the interviewer answers seemed like they were there for the purpose of elucidating us as the viewer. Worse still was the whole of the interaction with Jurati at the Daystrom Institute, which involved both badly-done exposition and some really suspect technobabble (Reconstructing all of Data's brain from a single positron? They always have to be twins? Seriously?). It's a shame, because except for these two scenes, everything was perfect.

On the whole I'd say in Jammer's rating system it is either 3 or 3.5 out of 4 stars. I'll be generous and give it 3.5 because he rated Emissary that high - and I think this is a better pilot.
Jammer
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
So a few quick things, now that Picard has officially premiered:

1. I did my best to get the new Picard section and the first episode page up ASAP after the premiere was released (I did prep work days ago behind the scenes), but CBS made it especially difficult by not releasing the episode titles in advance, and by also not making it obvious what time this would actually be released. (Discovery used to be released in the evenings; that's clearly not the case for Picard. I guess for Picard this is going to be midnight Pacific Time?)

2. This goes across the board for all shows, but I would really appreciate if you would NOT discuss episodes in places other than the pages for those episodes. In recent years, I've gone to lengths to try to get pages up before the review is written (by timing it with prepared automation) because I know if I don't put a place out there for people to discuss, they'll just start posting comments somewhere else. It'd honestly be great if you could just *wait* if the page for some reason isn't there (like if I can't learn the title in advance) -- but I'll make every effort to time it so the page is there when the episode hits the street.

3. I know I've said this a lot in the past few years, but I have no idea how long or detailed the reviews will be this time around. As a matter of sanity, I am committed to stay on schedule and not get behind by more than a few days, and certainly no more than a week, because I simply can't have the reviews pile up or I'm likely to just give up. I managed to find a way to still turn out good reviews for the past few years of Discovery and Orville, but I don't know what that will look like with my time-boxed schedule being even more limited than in recent years. We'll see how it goes. The fact I couldn't even muster a blog posting previewing this and have still not yet written the "Rise of Skywalker" review is probably not a great sign, but we'll see.

4. No promises, but I may see if there's a solution I can come up with to help delayed Picard watchers steer clear of spoilers in the comment stream. Hiding them all would be easy, but I don't know if that's the best option for everyone. For now, if it is labeled with "PIC S1," that's your cue to avoid it if that's your desire.

5. Play nice while I'm not moderating. I'm frequently a few days behind in reading comments. And for Picard, I may run behind as a regular practice.
Clark
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
4/4 for me and very interested to see where this goes, especially after that look ahead. With a serialized season arc, so much will depend on how this all ties together and how the rest of the cast gels, but really off to a great start. Was a relief to see that the didn't sit in the nostalgia but aren't forgetting what came before. If this is done well enough, it could add depth to re-watches of TNG.

... just hoping we don't see Q or section 31 anytime soon
Marco
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
I had forgotten what a good actor can do with ANY material! I am 63 and if Stewart were to yell at me to tie up my shoes, I would burst into tears...But I digress. This is a very good beginning. Clearly the two Romulan are not servant, they are refugees! And live in the big house, and they care for Picard . And when He gets righteously angry over the interviewer not knowing anything about Dunkirk...Chills.

The story line arc probably will drop off at one point (it is pretty nice though, right now) but, frankly, who cares. I can watch the Old English dude work his craft, and I'll be happy.
Geekgarious
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
Pretty good, I’m definitely intrigued. The score and ending Felt straight out of the JJverse, and I was sad to see Dahj go so quickly. Looking forward to learning more about her sister at least.
Trent
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Almost every line uttered by Picard in this is masterful. Stewart is riveting here.

But there's a huge disconnect between the episode he is in, and the episode everyone else is in.

Almost everything beyond Stewart dips into overcooked melodrama, wild overacting, is rushed, or filmed with shots cut too short and given no room to breath or generate weight. Consider, for example, the opening "beauty shots" of space, all fading into each other, before we see the Enterprise D. All of these shots should be longer, allowed to be savored, as should the beautiful scenes of Picard wandering his vineyard with his dog, which are rushed with a series of frenetic fades.

The "girl with mysterious powers and in distress" subplot - a cliche ripped from Firefly, Jason Bourne etc - was also often rushed and cheesy. A better writer would have ditched the scenes with her and her boyfriend being attacked, and have her first appear on Picard's vineyard. Instead of having her then leaving Picard's vineyard, and then deciding to re-meet up with him (another cheesy scene), and then suddenly dying (another cheesy scene; an exploding disruptor kills her), a better writer would streamline this: have her leave the vineyard with Picard, visit the Federation archives with him, and be attacked whilst leaving together.

I also thought the show's action sequences were ridiculous. What's with Kurtzman and wire-Kungfu? The hand-combat scenes here are cheesy, belong in a Marvel movie, and scenes with our heroes flying/leaping, or in which an explosion hits Picard (why isn't he taken to a hospital immediately?), are laughably cartoonish.

Alfred Hitchcock used to say that everyone knowing a gun is under the table is more interesting than guns being fired; anticipation, buildup and tension are more exciting than space Kungfu. Surely there are more interesting, original and tense ways to cook up a sense of danger and threat than having ninja-Romulans beaming into rooms and throwing knives? Stewart deserves highbrow action sequences, clever, measured, patiently drawn-out and exquisite, not a 12 year old's conception of cool.

Like Spock's relationship to Michael is shoehorned into Discovery, we see Data's relationship with his "daughter" shoehorned here, a bit of fanbaiting which admittedly works to an extent (Spiner and Stewart are just so good), but nevertheless is wholly unnecessary. Alluding to Data/Lal and daughters indirectly might have worked better. But this episode doesn't do subtlety; characters overtly play with "meaningful rings", constantly have "explanatory dreams", paintings are literal rather than symbolic, reporters infodump decades worth of history and so on.

Finally, the spoiler-heavy credit sequence is awful on every level (the score begins nicely but never swells or climaxes with satisfaction). Indeed, the episode as a whole is over-scored, several times employing intrusive music when silence would work better.

So yeah, the pacing and melodrama issues of Discovery are still present to a degree. The show needs more grace and patience, and less comic book tropes. It has a tremendous asset in Steward, who dominates the screen and delivers more power than the best FX, and needs to be confident in his ability to command attention.

Still, this is nevertheless a strong pilot. Earth and its various Federation locales look great, Picard's sparring with a news-reporter is great (though too many buzzing droids), his dream-interactions with Data likewise, the Romulan music from TOS is a nice callback, and the plot's promises to "flesh out" the Romulans is interesting.

It's hard to know how to rank this in relation to other Trek pilots. With "Remembrance", one gets the sense that the episode does "less things bad" than previous Trek pilots, but also does "much less things". As it was shot as a two hour episode (or two parter), one probably has to see next week's installment to judge it properly.
Yanks
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Just fantastic!! Super excited to see the rest.

Starting off with a poker game. Perfect.

Data was used expertly I thought. Not hitting your head over it but used in context beautifully.

Was this his brother's vineyard?

I think this opener did what it needed to do. Filled us in on the past and reintroduced us to Picard. The synthetic thing really surprised me. It also surprised me that Star Fleet got cold feet... I think they could have mentioned Spock's effort to stop the supernova. This did, of course, validate the "Kelvin" timeline. (as much as I hate calling it that) I like the look of the show.

The interview was a perfect way to fill us in. Dunkirk was perfect too. I only got the reference because of the recent movie.

Taj wasn't activated? .... hmmm... intriguing.

A tremendous job with the fight scenes I thought. The only part that caught my eye in a bad way was when she blew up and Picard was blasted what, 75+ feet? .... he's 80 you know ...

Was there an episode in TNG where Data actually painted that picture?

I got a little sentimental when Picard went into the storage room...

Nice insertion of Mattox I thought (someone that 99% of trekkies hate). It looks like he continued his work after synthetics were banned... made himself a couple of synthetics. Data is still unique and B4 couldn't handle the download during Nemesis. (THANK YOU!)

Flesh android? ... Why ban androids and not holograms?

Nice to see a couple of Romulans living with Picard.

I like the actress that plays Dr. Asher (Soji).

Then, of course, the big reveal at the end showing us a Borg cube.

The theme didn't grab me as the Discovery theme did. Not bad of course, (not Faith of the Heart for sure) but nothing special. I'm sure I'll grow to love it.

I can't wait to meet the rest of the regulars and get this show on the road.

I'm glad they release these earlier. I hated having to wait until 8:30 for a new episode of Discovery.

An easy 4-star opener for me.

Make it so!!
BZ
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
I am a bit reluctant to come to any conclusions this early, given that the pilot of "Discovery" was nothing like the rest season 1, but I mostly like what I see. It's refreshing to get most of the mysteries surrounding Daj resolved in the first episode, and not in the way everyone was speculating (she's not a Borg or a Q), even if she had to die (another surprise). Also, from what we see so far, the Federation and Starfleet have not been corrupted or taken over by fascists or anything. In fact, I wonder if Picard's resignation was an over-reaction.

The "reveal" that the Romulans are on a Borg cube is a bit disingenuous given it was in just about every trailer, but even that hearkens back to the TNG or at least Voyager era where reveals like this were often spoiled by trailers.

Given the hostility toward Romulans I almost wonder if Picard's "servants" are illegal immigrants.
Nolan
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 11:23pm (UTC -6)
Picard airs on actual TV in Canada, which is nice, but does mean I have to wait and avert my eyes from parts of the internet for a chunk of the day, ah well.

I guess TV's made a resurgence in the 24th century (25th?) Given past series said it died and gave the impression all news was written.

However, the magic and holo tech plays so much better here than in Discovery. It feels like natural progression rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.

Good to see Ten-Forward again, though the CGI to recreate the iconic windows was a bit... ehh.

I am so glad that the Romulans are getting a big arc; they've been criminally under and misused so far. Though I'm still a bit miffed about Romulous getting destroyed. I always felt with proper use of the Tal Shiar, one could have a good Trek political/spy thriller on their hands, ala Bourne, Bond, Three Days of the Condor, or heck, even The Winter Soldier. And I'm still hoping for that ENT continuation (I know, I know)

That said, I found myself getting really invested in this, to the point it made me realize how casually I'd been watching other shows (lookin' st you, Arrowverse, with all your predictability and uninspiredness.)

And honest to god call-backs and reverence for what came before, rather than changing things for change's sake. Disco shoulda known that, but it was too busy being a cash grab. (Though, I guess I owe it somewhat, cause I doubt this show would've been greenlit if the interest wasn't shown to be there.)

I will say, that while I like DS9 for it's serialization, I don't know if Trek works as a fully serialized series. On-going plot threads, myth arcs, and some multiple episode plot arcs have shown to be really successful, in fact, DS9 and to an extent ENT showed how to do story arcs in Trek successfully, because in those there was overarcing stories and themes, but each episode maintained it's own identity and focus, whilst contributing to the bigger story, even if it was a one-off because it allowed for some pacing. I don't mind heavy serialization, but I'm starting to miss the semi-serial/episodic format. That's where Trek lives at its best I think.

All that said, I'm looking forward to getting back into new Trek with characters that have embodied the comfort zone. Picard still seems like someone it'd be a pleasure to spend time with, much like he did as TNG went on. And I also don't have to be on gaurd for some dodgy continuty to slap me in the face. (Although I still hate the title. Way to suck the drama out of it for newbs when they get to BoBW or CoC)

Is it next week yet?
Rahul
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
The overly highly hyped premiere of PIC didn't disappoint -- pretty good but not awesome. Certainly a better premiere than TNG and DSC which I assume PIC will often be compared with. Great to see the character of Picard back and being urged to start living again instead of waiting to die.

PIC is like an epilogue for TNG whereas DSC was like a prologue to TOS. PIC's main villains appear to be Romulans whereas for DSC it was Klingons. Personally, I've always found it a stretch that a people like the Klingons could accomplish anything with their warrior mentality -- can't think of 1 Klingon who you'd say could be a serious engineer and build a warp reactor, whereas it is much easier to see a Romulan accomplishing anything technical. Have always felt the Romulans were far more interesting adversaries to the Federation so if PIC is going that route instead of using Klingons prominently, that's an advantage over DSC.

What is a bit tiresome is that there is more discussion here about cloning, creating androids from flesh & blood. This topic has been beaten to death on Trek starting with Dr. Korby in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" So now, it would be a violation of some treaty to re-create an android, but the Romulan reclamation site (Borg cube) seems to be doing just that.

One part of the history I found dubious is the Romulan supernova and the Romulans reaching out to the Federation for help as if it was an emergency and they didn't see it coming. If anything, the Romulans are extremely good strategists and should have been able to predict their sun going supernova with plenty of time for evacuation/relocation. So Picard leads the charge in helping relocate 900 million Romulans is the end result. Something doesn't seem right about this...

As for Dahj, she looks like an older version of Lal from "The Offspring". That much is nice continuity if it is meant to be so from the standpoint that Data would want to re-create Lal. But Dahj apparently has a human-looking mother so maybe it'll be revealed how she was created... and why twins have to be created -- sounds arbitrary.

Too bad Data is "dead" -- sacrificed his life for Picard on their last mission, which I assume is the destruction of Utopia Planetia on Mars. I guess this is the dream Picard has in the opening. Data was one of the strong points of TNG -- but looks like he's only appearing in flashbacks or dreams.

I guess Star Trek these days doesn't put the title of the episode on screen anymore. Still miffed about this as I always like to catch that when re-watching an old ep.

An episode like this is plenty of exposition and doesn't have to provide answers. Ultimately episodes will have to provide answers and they can be judged more harshly based on how good the answers are. So the questions to ponder for now are interesting -- more so than they were DSC. PIC benefits from characters we know and can draw on the more plentiful TNG cannon -- doesn't seem like there's a need for retconning, which is nice given that it's not being shoe-horned 10 years prior to TNG. I suppose the Romulan supernova is a retcon.

3 stars for "Remembrance" -- start of an interesting arc for a character everybody cares greatly for. Definitely an hour that held my interest. Obviously eager to see how TNG characters fit into the new plot. It would seem the Romulans are recreating "synthetics" as their soldiers, perhaps with Borg technology? I hope there is more to the threat than that. I'm sure there is. Pretty solid start for PIC.
Nolan
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:00am (UTC -6)
@Rahul

Hven't seen Star Trek: Nemesis or (2009) lately I take it, as both those answer your questions about Data and the Romulan supernova respectively. ;-)
John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -6)
That was quite a good a start. Considering Discovery was constant mind numbing action and melodrama from minute one, I was really worried about Picard and I’m glad I was wrong.

It was well paced. There was time for the story to breathe which was great. Shockingly not everything in the trailer ended up in the first episode which I really thought would happen.

Picard felt like Picard. As much as I usually groan at fan service, the moments like that in this were well done and definitely touched me.

There’s just no hiding the fact that Brent Spiner is a 70 year old man, but I quickly got over the looks. It helped that he was only shown sparingly. I’m sad that B-4 didn’t make it. I loved that aspect of the Countdown comic, that the memory transfer worked.

I’m confused as to how Picard’s rescue attempt on the Romulans was connected to the “rogue synthetics” destroying the Mars shipyard. That journalist was basically blaming him for it.

I’m also confused how Starfleet had a slave race of androids anyway. Wasn’t that the point of Measure Of A Man? I guess they weren’t sentient?

At any rate, I’m intrigued where it’s going. I was actually engaged and it felt both familiar and new, which is what I want from new Star Trek. I can’t wait to see more.
John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:11am (UTC -6)
If I had a complaint, it’s the music, or at least the theme. It was pretty bad. Not at all memorable or standout like a theme should be. Especially a Star Trek theme.
Nolan
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:21am (UTC -6)
@John Harmon

Yeah, say what you will about "Faith of the Heart/Where My Heart Will Take Me," but you know after binging six episodes at some point that song'll start spilling out. Don't think I could hum the Picard theme. And I don't think there's going to be any bloopers of the cast breaking out in a rendition of their theme after a particularily dramatic line reading either... "Dahhh, dadada, dadada da da..."
AntonioE
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -6)
Impressive so far. Patrick Stewart is every bit the magnanimous actor he is always been. That interview scene gave me goosebumps and it was all because of Patrick Stewart’s wonderful, utterly convincing performance. Unfortunately this episode is not much to go off of since I know we have not been introduced to the other half of the main cast of characters. But so far it is looking promising. The writing is better so far than Discovery. The main titles and Jeff Russo’s main theme is certainly interesting and gets the job done but is a little too simplistic and around the middle of the credits sequence I felt very bored, Wondering if anything was going to happen. It was a strange feeling to feel during a credits sequence. Otherwise the music was fine.

The story is intriguing so far they. They have kept just enough hidden to keep me interested. So far the show is the very definition of slow burn but if that slow burn pays off that then I am in it for the long-haul. Overall, this was a very good episode and it is wonderful to see Captain Picard again.
Leif
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -6)
Where was Seven of Nine? Was anyone else disappointed she wasnt in this?
Reece Zimm
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:11am (UTC -6)
Just great!
Ian
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:28am (UTC -6)
Just watched ""Remembrance" and I generally liked what I saw. This was very much a set-up episode as there are still other characters we have yet to meet. It's just a kick to see Picard again but kind of sad to see out of Starfleet, "waiting to die" as he put it.

Just a few quick thoughts:

1) Wonderful to see the Enterprise D again, if only briefly and in a dream.
2) The opening credits and theme music were disappointing. I wasn't expecting the Jerry Goldsmith theme but it's nothing memorable. I was hoping for something that would stand out and that would bridge the gap between the TNG and this series.
3) Loved seeing Data again. He looks a lot better but there's only so much you can do with CGI. Brent Spiner is 70 years old. Besides, its Picard having a dream about someone he hasn't seen in years so does it really matter how Data appears now?
4)Maybe I'm missing something here but why wouldn't Starfleet and/or the Federation want to help the Romulans? What better way to help end decades of conflict and distrust? Maybe this will be explained later but what happened to the alliance between the Federation, the Klingons and the Romulans at the end of the Dominion War?
5)Picard didn't bother to ask Dahj what her name was until hours later after sunset?
John Harmon
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:09am (UTC -6)
@Jammer thank you for continuing to maintain this site and your reviews. I don’t know what your job is or what has your schedule ever hectic, but thank you for making the reviews happen. Honestly it wouldn’t be Star Trek without a Jammer review to go with it.
Nolan
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:29am (UTC -6)
Oh, I forgot to mention; how much does everyone think Lore might be involved in some of this somehow? I know, it's all early speculation at this point, but if I had to guess, Maddox used HIM for his experiments, and Lore using his "children", set Mars on fire.

Which, Mars being on fire. Interesting development.
Tommy D.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Loved it!
Dave
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:51am (UTC -6)
Hey Everyone

Delighted Jammer's site still has tons of followers and great discussion. Look forward to reading all the banter. Over 2 decades and this is still the best Trek discussion on the net!
Yanks
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 6:52am (UTC -6)
@ John Harmon

"I was really worried about Picard and I’m glad I was wrong."

Well, he's not Picard from 20 years ago, but I'm fine with the 80 year old version.

"Shockingly not everything in the trailer ended up in the first episode which I really thought would happen."

I'm not sure I like this. I think I would have rather had the trailer just reveal 'Remembrance' stuff and left us guessing for what's to come. I don't think they needed Jerry Ryan to sell this thing, or Riker. Kind of made the big reveal of the Borg Cube kind of blah.

"I’m sad that B-4 didn’t make it. I loved that aspect of the Countdown comic, that the memory transfer worked."

I'm not sad at all. B4 shouldn't have been able to handle "Data". If it could, why create Data in the first place? I'm not familiar with the Countdown Comic, but if was revealed by Dr. Agnes Jurati here that B-4 couldn't handle it.

"I’m confused as to how Picard’s rescue attempt on the Romulans was connected to the “rogue synthetics” destroying the Mars shipyard. That journalist was basically blaming him for it."

Me too... clarity forthcoming I hope.

"I’m also confused how Starfleet had a slave race of androids anyway. Wasn’t that the point of Measure Of A Man? I guess they weren’t sentient?"

MoM dodged the sentient thing all together. Data was only awarded the right to choose, not sentience.


@Rahul

"One part of the history I found dubious is the Romulan supernova and the Romulans reaching out to the Federation for help as if it was an emergency and they didn't see it coming. If anything, the Romulans are extremely good strategists and should have been able to predict their sun going supernova with plenty of time for evacuation/relocation."

I've thought this since ST2009. The whole scenario make no scientific sense what-so-ever.


@ Nolan

"I will say, that while I like DS9 for it's serialization, I don't know if Trek works as a fully serialized series. On-going plot threads, myth arcs, and some multiple episode plot arcs have shown to be really successful, in fact, DS9 and to an extent ENT showed how to do story arcs in Trek successfully, because in those there was overarcing stories and themes, but each episode maintained it's own identity and focus, whilst contributing to the bigger story, even if it was a one-off because it allowed for some pacing. I don't mind heavy serialization, but I'm starting to miss the semi-serial/episodic format. That's where Trek lives at its best I think."

I agree. While DSC appears to be stuck in the season long story arcs, I'm hoping for some sort of episodic format here, but I'm afraid I'm not going to get it. Modern TV seems to be serial... especially with the shortened seasons.


@ Tranya and Tonic

"Nice Disco tie-in with the boyfriend being a Xahean, like Tilly's friend Po."

Wow, nice catch. I completely missed that one.


I have no issue with Soji and her sister. Looking forward to learning how they made them. Having some sort of "Data" around for Picard will pay off I'm sure.

Something I forgot to post last night.... I smell Lore here... but knowing that Spiner was dead set against reviving Data I could be wrong.

Nice to see some new activity here.

Break...

Anyone know when DSC Season 3 will be available?
Pokeroo
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:17am (UTC -6)
To me the Romulans didn't look like Romulans.

I found out on the internet that the Penny Dreadful guy and the two people in France were meant to be Romulan.

On re-watch, I will keep that in mind.

Other then that, it seems like a good show - not great - just "good" and a decent way to spend time killing.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:35am (UTC -6)
Curiosity got the better of me.

I'm interested, but by no means committed.

I'm gonna say this right up front and without apology: DSC and PIC are two of the LOUDEST shows I've ever watched. I CAN'T HEAR THE DIALOGUE!! Why does the music/sfx have to be so OBSCENELY LOUD?!?!? I live in an apartment building, I'm not turning it up. Landlords have a thing about 'quiet enjoyment of the premises.'

Now, with that out of the way, some points of interest plot-wise:

- Having the nasty interviewer broach the subject that the interviewee was clear they didn't want to discuss is a scene from Magnolia (Tom Cruise's character didn't wish to speak about his father). I recognized it as such, but at the same time, it speaks volumes right away about how far removed from Roddenberry's Idealism this show wants to place itself, which I believe is a good thing. Harve Bennett used to say that one of the things that he found attractive about TOS was that even though it was in the far-flung future, there were still problems, there were still heavies, and humans would remain as they are, well-intentioned, but flawed. He didn't think 400 years of technological advancement was going to elevate the human race into bliss and karma (his words, not mine), and having the media be nasty and rude to people to get a story says quite a bit about what this new vision of Trek is going to be like.

- This is, indeed, not your grandfather's Oldsmobile. The messages which were espoused in "Measure of A Man" (Cmdr. Maddox is mentioned! Hello again you jerkwad) have given way to fear and hostility about synthetics, to the point of a total ban on creation of synthetic beings. Heavy stuff, PIC. That's some very Trekian 'meat on the bone' storytelling there.

- Dahj resembles Lal quite a bit, and also has a name from Hindi, I think... (Googles)... Turns out it's closest known relative, "Dahej," in Sanskrit is "dowry." A dowry is a very old practice where the bride's father or guardian makes a payment to the groom for him to marry the daughter (as marrying a man's daughter was seen as doing them a favor at certain times in human history, since the father would no longer have to care for/feed her). Dahj also actually uses the word "OFFSPRING." I caught that.

- The way the episode ends has provoked questions. The Romulan guy spit on Dahj, her skin started disintegrating, and the disruptor on overload exploded, seeming to kill her (This is Star Trek, though, so until I see a body, I'm not convinced). If this isn't made clear by the end of Season 1, I'm gonna be upset. I really hope the writers' room for this series is a lot more focused than DSC's.

In all, my rating for it is gonna be about 3.5 stars. I'm taking points off for the 'BLAST YOUR EARS OFF' sound mixing, and btw, whoever said the soundtrack is boring is right. It's like their sound engineer is mainlining crack.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:44am (UTC -6)
There was one other thing.

I caught the line where they said that ANY part of Data's positronic brain which survived could be used to reconstruct him.

... At the end of "The Offspring," Data said he uploaded Lal's experience memories into his positronic brain.

I'm not sure what this means, but... It seems quite significant.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -6)
I'm reading the comments and I can't quite believe my eyes.

Am I the only person here who is bothered by the fact that the Trekverse has been turned into some kind dystopia? It seems that the same people who had this exact same problem with Discovery, suddenly accept it now without any problem.

Do you realize what this means for TNG, if we accept any of this as canon? What it means for the inspiring message behind many TNG episodes, to "know" that in 20 years the federation is going to look like this?

It may be good TV, but it's depressing as f***.
Elderberry
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:59am (UTC -6)
Enjoyed that a lot. All the comments about the uniqueness of Data made me wonder whether Picard et al ever submitted a report on Dr Juliana Tainer's little secret. Presumably she could be still 'alive' - and equipped with a lot of coding. I also wondered whether the twins thing was an echo of the Binars.
Elderberry
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -6)
It does seem a change from TNG high-point Pax Federation to this more combative world, but it isn't a sudden flip - the Dominion wars did massive societal damage, and the Borg had already paved the way. Enterprise showed us an earlier iteration of earth turning xenophobic in response to threat - seems fairly credible.

We also can't really tell much about this society, we've just seen a few tiny glimpses of it - Chateau Picard looked as peaceful as ever - most citizens may think it unchanged - in the TNG era there was already huge and largely irrational prejudice against genetic engineering of humans - it's just extended now to synths.
Julian
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 8:34am (UTC -6)
As for me, I loved it! One question: is this the first time we ever hear Jean-Luc Picard actually speak French?
Looking forward to episode two...
James White
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -6)
@Jammer

A piece of advice - treat your followers less as adolescents requiring moderation. I understand where you're coming from, but your tone is starting to sound condescending. This is, after all, a forum for discussing entertainment.
R.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:13am (UTC -6)
Omicron, you're certainly not the only person who is dismayed by the paradigm shift in Star Trek since the 2009 reboot.

Dystopias have been done before on Star Trek. Often to powerful effect in DS9 (Homefront, Parts I & II', 'In the Pale Moonlight', 'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges') and even later episodes of Enterprise ('Judgment', 'Cogenitor', 'The Forgotten') but there was always a thread of optimism and hope running through all those series despite the bleak situations the protagonists were in.

With 'Discovery' and now this, I don't feel that sense of optimism or hope. Indeed, at this stage the whole thing feels rather like Star Trek after the release of 'Nemesis' in 2002 - tired, messy, bereft of hope or direction and, perhaps most profoundly, out of gas. Kind of like Admiral Picard in this new vehicle, to a certain degree.

I miss the days where Star Trek could be used a means of examining the nature of our society, the encroachment of technology, spirituality, politics, environmentalism, terrorism, artifical life... Now we have Isa Briones whaling on Romulans dressed like stormtroopers before exploding, Weird Science (TM) with this whole fractal neuronal cloning thing and, that most tired of Trek tropes, the Borg.

I think I will invest my time and energy in 'The Orville' from here on out because this boat isn't spaceworthy anymore.
Snitch
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -6)
@R.
"I miss the days where Star Trek could be used a means of examining the nature of our society, the encroachment of technology, spirituality, politics, environmentalism, terrorism, artifical life..."

I am pretty sure the new Picard series is a comment and reflection on the anti-immigrant sentiment of the Trump administration and a call to stand up against those fascist tendencies.

For the first episode it was a good outing, we shall see how the setup continues and how much of main story-line vs adventure of the week the series will provide.
Filip
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Hello again, everyone. It's good to be back. I didn't come back for Discovery's second season since I didn't watch it as I'd thought I would, but this I couldn't miss.
First thing I have to get out of the way is that I made my peace with the fact that this was not going to be something I’d want It to be long before it premiered. My expectations were set pretty low. And even so, to be honest, I am surprised by the generally favorable reviews by you guys.

It wasn’t horrible, by any means, but I wouldn’t call it particularly good either, especially considering the material they were working with and its immense potential. There were a couple of comments that said the show was moving too slowly, but I feel the exact opposite to be the case – the narrative sequences were moving so fast from one event to another that it was really hard to savor any of it, which, in my opinion, massively misses the point. When you bring back a character after 20 years who had been established as a thoughtful diplomat and a scholar, and have an immensely capable 80 year old lead, you want every moment to savor the two. Or at least, I do. I wanted longer pauses between the scenes, longer shots of Picard drinking his wine in the garden, more time to see all the emotions he tried to convey develop on his face and to have the show allow us to immerse ourselves in them and feel them too.

Since they decided to portray Picard as a broken man, the producers should’ve known better than to expect to evoke melancholia and try to cram so many things into one episode in such a frantic pace at the same time, because as it is, I just didn’t come across as it could’ve. There was enough material here for at least one more episode. Daj comes and goes, and I’m just left here wondering why should I care.

In his earlier comment, @Trent said it best:

“Almost everything beyond Stewart dips into overcooked melodrama, wild overacting, is rushed, or filmed with shots cut too short and given no room to breath or generate weight. Consider, for example, the opening "beauty shots" of space, all fading into each other, before we see the Enterprise D. All of these shots should be longer, allowed to be savored, as should the beautiful scenes of Picard wandering his vineyard with his dog, which are rushed with a series of frenetic fades”

I also liked your quoting of Hitchcock’s technique very much, it was really appropriate here.

There were also quite a few nonsensical turns of events that too contributed to a choppy experience. Just to give you an example, after being knocked out in the explosion, Picard wakes up on his sofa with his servants (?) pouring water on him. What? What happened in between? The servants said that the police hadn’t seen anyone but Picard on the rooftop, which implies that there was a crew out in the field, but instead of taking a knocked out 80 year old to a hospital, they just beam him in that state to his couch? We’ve seen a bunch of sequences like that in Discovery and I’m afraid the trend is going to continue here as well. Also, can you imagine how bad that Boston apartment must smell, with all those dead bodies and nobody to call the police or something?

As for the sci-fi element, I’ve read a lot of comments on other forums and sites about the idiocy of science behind cloning data from a single positron and how it makes no sense at all. Out of all the venues they could’ve taken to explain the existence of Daj, and right now I could give you five more plausible of the top of my head, they go for something that has zero scientific credibility? As I recall, Jammer, you were particularly harsh on TNG’s Genesis because of its whacky science, and yes, while it was ridiculous, it was fun. I’m interested to see if you are going to apply the same rigor to this issue here.

I could go on, but I don’t want to turn this into a rant already on the first episode. I will most definitely stick around for more. Like I said, it’s not all horrible, but the general style of direction detracts much from the show.

And @OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, I’m with you on this:
“I'm reading the comments and I can't quite believe my eyes.”
BZ
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
It's not as dystopian as the trailers made it out to be

* Romulus destroyed in a supernova - this is established canon
* Reluctance on Federation's part to help the Romulans - they still seem to be hostile, so it's an understandable reaction
* Mars attacked - this is one of those unexpected threats nobody could have foreseen. Compare Wolf 359
* Banned synthetics - this is quite in character. Compare Khan and the ban on eugenics
* Picard confronted by a hostile reporter - given all of the above some anger would be expected
Pokeroo
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -6)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

If your depressed, don't think of it as "Star Trek". Think of it as a space adventure.

For me, the Trek started with Farpoint and ended when Voyager got home. The rest is "based on Trek", but not the actual trek.
Norvo
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -6)
Thoroughly enjoyed this, more than I thought I would.

A few minor points and quibbles:

Yes, it's a dream sequence so anything goes: but Data never wore that First Contact era uniform on the Enterprise-D (and Picard never drank tea with milk and sugar either).

Dr. Agnes was portrayed a little too much like a Tilly-esque nerdy motormouth with poor impulse control.

The Bruce Maddox reference. I wonder if we get to see Brian Brophy reprise his role, IMDB doesn't list Picard among his credits (in fact, he hasn't been in anything since 2014).

If All Good Things... is still canon, there's a chance Picard is suffering from the Alzheimer like Irumodic syndrome. One wonders if this will come to play before the season is through.
R.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Snitch, I understood the allegorical use of the Federation in 'Picard' to reflect the real world. I just don't understand why exploding biological robot girls (or whatever Dahj was) and the Borg needed to be included. The core story of Picard in a changed Federation that has moved on without him would have sufficed without all of that.

Filip, excellent points but I felt, besides the absolute ass pull of cloning someone from a positronic neuron, they were fairly sedate with with the whacky science. No transwarp beaming or magic mushroom space travel in this one, which is a mercy.

I must confess - my biggest fear is that they'll have Klingons or worse, Worf, in this but made up like 'Discovery' era Klingons.
Rahul
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:38am (UTC -6)
@Nolan @Yanks

Yes, haven't gotten around to seeing Nemesis so I'm missing some canon. Was just never enthusiastic about the weaker TNG films like I was the TOS ones -- and forget about the reboot films - haven't seen all of them either.

Thought having seen every non-animated Trek episode would cover whatever I needed for PIC, but then I recall last weekend the Space channel here in Canada replayed all the TNG movies in anticipation for PIC. Sucks that PIC would use movie canon instead of more television canon, but if it's not alternate timeline stuff being incorporated and we're just dealing with 1 timeline, then it's my bad for not seeing Nemesis.
Pambo
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:26am (UTC -6)
@Snitch : "I am pretty sure the new Picard series is a comment and reflection on the anti-immigrant sentiment of the Trump administration and a call to stand up against those fascist tendencies"

Oh, here we go. This is why so many Star Trek fans have been alienated by STD and the woke versions of so many films these days. We just want to enjoy Star Trek. We want interesting characters and good stories that are respectful and consistent with the established Star Trek universe. Is that really too much to ask for?

We don't want left-wing indoctrination or your opinions on contemporary shoved in our faces every minute. By the way, the Trump administration is not "anti-immigrant". It is against people who enter our nation illegally. That's a clear distinction. It is especially against those who commit crimes such human-trafficking and bringing in drugs that help kill thousands of people in the U.S. every year.

"Fascist tendencies"? You should first what fascism truly is before using terms like that.

As for Picard, the premiere episode was pretty good. Clearly this series is going more like STD rather than TNG but that doesn't mean this can't be a good series. Looks like it going to take a few episodes to get a firm sense of the tone and nature of this story.
Rahul
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Great comment @Pambo
Well put, totally agree with everything you said.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -6)
This is like one of those times the site gets hacked, except this time it's by Patrick Stewart.

Have to say I wish I could participate, but I'll likely wait until S1 is over before trying to watch this show.
Mertov
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Impressive start and a good entry into the lore of pilot episodes in Trek arena. Sir Patrick Stewart is once again on top of his game here, representing the Picard we know very well while adding layers of what has occurred since Nemesis and the effects it had on him. Tranya and Tonic's description of the actor/character above is recommended reading.

I must say the same for Brent Spiner too, that opening scene was heartwarming and Data had the subtle glances and inquisitive looks that we have seen Spiner portray in fine fashion many times.

The synergy between Laris, Zahaban, and Picard is quite genuine, I loved those characters (I believe they are also in the Countdown comics) and I was afriad they would be killed late in the episode, but no, thankfully.

Very happy with the directing, Hanelle Cullpepper is also set to direct the next episode. Loved the archive scene.

A bit too much info dump, but I guess when you have a ten-episode season and two-plus-decade-long gap to catch up on, some of it is inescapable. This is where I have to question why they keep the episode under 50 minutes when they have the freedom to go longer. DSC's best episodes were 50+ ones too. If there were one question I'd like to ask the producers, that would be it. Nonetheless, overall, the world-building was well-handled.

Not all of the main cast has been introduced yet. Harry Treadaway only came in at the end and I am glad to see him, considering he was phenomenal in Penny Dreadful. There is still Santiago Cabrera to come (Salvation) and Michelle Hurd.

The search is on for Soji (who is seemingly unaware of her identity like Dahj was? Not sure). Also, some intriguing sub-plots like Maddox still possibly being alive, leaving the door open for some story completions from the TNG years.

Bring on next week, quickly please!
wolf359
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:48am (UTC -6)
The episode itself was interesting. It was much more than I was expecting. However, I am struggling to understand the time line. I searched around for an answer and the only thing I could find was " Picard exists in the Prime timeline, so those movies didn’t change anything that happened to the TNG cast."

Historically in the series every time the past has been "changed" the future is also changed (City of the edge of forever, the Enterprise C, Gabriel Bell). Clearly the supernova wasn't stopped. If the events from ST2009 happened, shouldn't this be the Kelvin timeline? Where it be kinda the same but different? If the Enterprise (and A) where radically different, would the Enterprise D be different? Does 200+ years allow the time lines to somewhat re-converge and become more similar? Wouldn't Starfleet know of the Romulan sun going supernova? Do you think the Starfleet didn't care because they knew it would fail?

Is this a plot hole or did I miss something?
Chrome
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
I watched the Wil Wheaton bit and it sounds like the writers are semi-competent. One thing they mentioned that people are discussing here was that Picard’s resignation was more of a bluff to get Starfleet to back down from its position on Romulan aid. When they didn’t, he had to go through with quitting.

So, can we wager on future events? It seems pretty obvious, given the Romulan infatuation with technology and Machiavellian gambits, that the synthetics who started the Mars incident were Romulan-instigated.
Mertov
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Hey wolf,

Spock explains what happened in the Star Trek 2009 film when he meets Kirk (Chris Pine).

Romulus was destroyed in the prime timeline despite Spock's efforts to create a black hole and to get rid of the supernova (he was too late). When the black hole was created finally (after Romulus was destroyed), it sucked the supernova in, but also sucked Spock's ship along with Nero's mining vessel into it and send them to the past, which resulted in Kelvin timeline.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
@ MidshipmanNorris

"I'm gonna say this right up front and without apology: DSC and PIC are two of the LOUDEST shows I've ever watched. I CAN'T HEAR THE DIALOGUE!! Why does the music/sfx have to be so OBSCENELY LOUD?!?!?"

I should have mentioned this. I had the same issue. Very frustrating. The only way I got around it was my sound bar has a button that accentuates conversation. Primarily used for news and documentaries, etc. It worked for me, I'd be interested to hear other solutions.

"At the end of "The Offspring," Data said he uploaded Lal's experience memories into his positronic brain. I'm not sure what this means, but... It seems quite significant."

Could be. This could be where Maddox got info for a pair of Data daughters?

@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"Am I the only person here who is bothered by the fact that the Trekverse has been turned into some kind dystopia? It seems that the same people who had this exact same problem with Discovery, suddenly accept it now without any problem."

Because it's not a dystopian future. Shit happens, even in a Utopian future (which trek NEVER was, Earth was the only utopia). In this case, androids went bats...t and caused some major deaths (900,000?) and there ARE social/institutional and governmental consequences! I like some realism over patty cake pie in the sky plot lines.

"Do you realize what this means for TNG, if we accept any of this as canon? What it means for the inspiring message behind many TNG episodes, to "know" that in 20 years the federation is going to look like this?"

You don't have a choice, it is canon. ... and this will mean nothing to TNG. The inspiring message will come as a result of Picard's effort throughout the series I'm sure.

What does the "federation look like"? Romulus is gone, Mars is ablaze... but what else is messed up?

"It may be good TV, but it's depressing as f***."

I have confidence in Jean-Luc Picard to fix this.

@ Norvo

"Yes, it's a dream sequence so anything goes: but Data never wore that First Contact era uniform on the Enterprise-D (and Picard never drank tea with milk and sugar either)."

Wow, wow, wow... trekkies' innate ability for detail amazes me. :-)

"The Bruce Maddox reference. I wonder if we get to see Brian Brophy reprise his role, IMDB doesn't list Picard among his credits (in fact, he hasn't been in anything since 2014)."

I couldn't open this at work, but Heavy.com thinks he's coming back.

heavy.com/entertainment/2020/01/star-trek-picard-spoilers-bruce-maddox-coming-back/

"If All Good Things... is still canon, there's a chance Picard is suffering from the Alzheimer like Irumodic syndrome. One wonders if this will come to play before the season is through."

True enough. I hope they don't gloss over this. Unless that future didn't really happen because Picard figured the puzzle out in AGT's?

Oh, one more.... I got a chuckle out of "Tea, Earl Grey, decaff" ... especially Picard's tone while saying "decaff".
Yanks
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Chrome

"So, can we wager on future events? It seems pretty obvious, given the Romulan infatuation with technology and Machiavellian gambits, that the synthetics who started the Mars incident were Romulan-instigated."

I don't know that I agree here.

I'm thinking that maybe Maddox got a little over-zealous, which is consistent with him in MoM, and causes this whole thing? Why would the Romulans instigate this when they needed the Picard led evacuation effort?

It will be fun to find out though.
BZ
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
@wolf359,
Nero's and Spock's time travel created an alternate timeline. The events of TOS, TNG, and the other series and movies (and the background events that set off the J.J. Abrams movies), still remain in the "prime" timeline. It's true that that's not typically how time travel works in Trek, but then we've never seen time travel via red matter black holes before.

This has all been confirmed out of universe by the creators, and in-universe by Star trek: Discovery / Short Treks. We see Spock first join the Enterprise, and it's not as first officer with academy cadets to go to Vulcan right before it's destroyed.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
Yanks wrote:

"I'm thinking that maybe Maddox got a little over-zealous, which is consistent with him in MoM, and causes this whole thing?"

First off, I agree that Maddox probably spearheaded the research that eventually reaches the wrong hands. Still, I think Maddox gets a bad rap. Was he really a bad guy in "The Measure of a Man"? Making more Datas does seem like a noble endeavor - one that Data was also interested in, might I add. Also, that episode closes with Maddox more or less agreeing with Picard, so it doesn't seem like he'd be plotting his revenge in a lab somewhere.

"Why would the Romulans instigate this when they needed the Picard led evacuation effort?"

Because they're Romulans. The Klingons did the same thing in TUC when Praxis exploded, remember?
The Chronek
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Absolutely loved the premiere. Plenty of tidbits to reward longtime fans, but plenty of new stuff to keep the story moving forward. Picard is indeed the captain I remember.

I loved the effects, too. I also enjoyed seeing the characters interact with computers and databases. It felt like the producers took special care to make it look more futuristic, but to still make it feel like a logical evolution from the LCARS displays we saw in 24th-century era Trek.

I'm curious about what's being kept as canon and what's not. For a while, I thought the Countdown comics that preceded the 2009 film were canon. Orci stated that they were canon, and Kurtzman did co-write those comics. But I know, as a rule, only the broadcast shows and films are considered canon.
Rath
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
This show looks stunning, from the opening nebula shot to those beautiful landscapes.

That said, the de-aging tech on Brent Spiner is only partially successful, but I wasn't bothered that much by it. I did think the earlier era uniforms looked a little cheap in hi-definition given how good the rest of the costuming on this show is.

What else is there to say about Patrick Stewart's performance other than it's like comfort food to the world weary?

I've never seen Isa Briones in anything before, but I found her especially impressive. I wonder how differently she'll play Soji from Dahj.

I had a theory a while back that Dahj would actually turn out to be a resurrected form of Lal, especially given that her reactivation was a major plot thread in the novelverse (R.I.P.), especially when she name checked the episode "The Offspring". Glad to see I was wrong and that they didn't draw out the reveal too long.

I didn't know this until now, but apparently all I've ever wanted is to live on a vineyard with Orla Brady.

I thought the choice of painting journalists as unscrupulous and untrustworthy was an odd one for showrunners who've made a big deal about how the present-day climate toward media and politics is unnaceptable. Character wise, if Picard has been tuning down interview requests for two decades, then of course she's going to seize on the chance of getting her moneys worth out of him while she has the opportunity, but the "journalists will entrap you" trope still kinda bothered me.

Framing Picard in terms of his writing historical journals was nice. They've taken care to present him as the fully rounded character with other interests he always was on TNG, not just someone who used to be nothing but Starfleet and is now nothing without it.

He was right about INDEX - that humour did not land

Romulans with and without brow ridges. Good.

I'm curious as to why exactly Picard woke up on his own couch after the explosion, rather than in a hospital bed facing questions from Federation Security about why there was an explosion in the first place and why the rooftop would have been littered with at least some not charred beyond recognition Romulan agents. (Tal Shiar, or some remnant of them?) The fight choreography made it clear that a few of them were dead at the opposite end of the rooftop from the staircase where the explosion happened.

Aww. B4.

On that note, no actual discussion of Lore. Nemesis did that as well, which I thought was strange at the time. You'd think that on the context of "Rogue Synths" somebody might mention that of the three Soong-type androids, only one was what you'd call an objectively good person, given that Lore was a psychopath and B4 was too child-like to be considered much more than something of a proof of concept.

Between Control in DISCO and Synthetics here, somebody in the Trek writers room is definitely an alarmist about AI research. It makes me wonder about how they might handle sentient holograms like Doc EMH, as far as artifical life form rights issues go. Maybe when Seven appears she might shed some light on this, given their friendship.

That music cue at 41 minutes in as Narek enters the scene was straight from TOS and I loved it. Actually, the sound design and music throughout this entire show was faultless.

Possile spoiler: According to IMDB, the guy who played Bruce Maddox in "The Measure Of A Man" hasn't had an acting credit since 2014, but I'm fairly certain I saw a split-second shot of him in one of the trailers.

I have an idea now where a certain plot thread might be going, and if I'm right they won't need de-aging tech any more.

So all in all, as still furious as I am that nearly twenty years of the novel-verse has been completely written off in favour of this, I still found it the most enjoyable thing I've watched in a long time, and I'm glad it seems to have at least some idea of what pacing is, by not cramming every character from the trailers in to the first epsiode. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to listen to "Blue Skies".
Lee
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
Just to reply to “BZ”, up above...

This is Star Trek, dude. A utopian socialist future. There are no “illegal immigrants” to drive your neocon outrage.
Ian
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
Wouldn't mind seeing Bruce Maddox again at some point again. Wouldn't it be something if he turns out be the person who is able to bring back Data or Dahj in some manner?

@Rath: I was thinking Dahj was Lal. As for Lore, I guess anything is possible. But they would have the same de-aging issues if they attempted to have Spiner play that character. Unless Lore returns in some other form not even looking like he did before.
Ian
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
@Rath: "I'm curious as to why exactly Picard woke up on his own couch after the explosion, rather than in a hospital bed facing questions from Federation Security"

Same here! That didn't make much sense to me either. Did Picard pick himself up and just stumble his way back home via one of those public transporter pads (whatever they call them) and just go back home?
Rath
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
@Ian: "We can build flesh and blood android bodies now, and also Data's consciousness and memories might be floating around somewhere."

9 episodes later:

"Welcome back Mr Spiner without the need for makeup and de-aging tech in your new 71 year old human looking android body."


----


@Jammer
Any plans to review Avenue 5? There's a lot to criticise about the pilot. On paper, you’d think “The Poseidon Adventure - In SPAAAAAACE… and it’s written by the brilliant team of satirists behind The Thick Of It and Veep" would be a grand slam right out of the gate, but the first episode reeks of network interference.

Apparently some reviewers who have seen more think it picks up significantly as it goes on. Also has a character played by Ethan "Neelix" Phillips.
Elderberry
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Yanks ref to the "Tea, Earl Grey, decaff" line reminds me that Admiral Janeway despised decaf (coffee) and when she ran off in Endgame, rescued her younger self and the rest of the Voyager crew and re-set the timeline, thus eliminating sundry disasters she'd lived through for two decades, drinking real coffee for the first time in years was a symbol of her new resolve.

Maybe we'll see Picard back on real tea next time.
Elderberry
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
Index reminded me of Mr Atoz in All Our Yesterdays - I see on checking that there was a real man there, just one with many replicas (tech not specified). Still, a nice call-back to early days.

So far everything seems very consistent with Trek as we know it - definitely not the first time we've dealt with refugees- remember the DS9 one, where despite the occupation having reduced the Bajoran population by at least 5 million, the planet refused to house 1 million skilled farmers who wanted to settle there - because they were flaky smelly matriarchal foreign skilled farmers. And a lot of the Maquis discussions developed around finding new homes fro people who'd rather have stayed in their old ones.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Lee,

Neoconservatives typically advocate the promotion of democracy and American national interest in international affairs, including peace through strength (by means of military force), and are known for espousing disdain for communism and for political radicalism.

Not sure what you are referring to.

As to the servants, BZ's comment is apt in that from what we know of the Romulans, they wouldn't be welcome on Earth. Probably refugees.

@ Chrome

"Because they're Romulans. The Klingons did the same thing in TUC when Praxis exploded, remember?"

Sure, I remember. Yes, the Klingons would never ask for help, but I not so sure the xenophobic Romulan's wouldn't call for help in a situation like this. I think they did ask for help, and Spock answered by trying to help them?
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 1:54pm (UTC -6)
@Pambo
Oh, here we go. This is why so many Star Trek fans have been alienated by STD and the woke versions of so many films these days. We just want to enjoy Star Trek. We want interesting characters and good stories that are respectful and consistent with the established Star Trek universe. Is that really too much to ask for?

You're free to watch the Orville or TOS and TNG.

Others of us would like to have sci-fi that actually talks about contemporary issues, rather than reveling in some outmoded version of the past that was only a utopia for some people
BZ
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
No need for personal attacks. Neocon? Outrage? I made a statement based on today's political situation. Star Trek is often social commentary, you know.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Yanks, what I mean is while there might be some Romulans who would be open to Federation aid, there were probably still factions not happy with it. We've seen Romulus be very divided before, as far back as "The Defector".

Anyway, it's just a guess. :-)
John M.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
Three stars of four for me. I thought it was just about perfect until the big death - the rest after that was fine but very perfunctory. Picard getting up off the couch didn't have the same impact as his heart to heart about what Data means to him or his interview, when it should probably have been the linchpin of the episode.

Overall, though, it had Discovery's excellent special effects, DS9's sometimes slow burn and geopolitics and Patrick Stewart. That's pretty darn good!

I don't mind people saying they didn't like it (or any Star Trek, I really dislike Voyager), but criminy I've had it with "This isn't Star Trek" complaints. Star Trek has like 775 episodes now, it can be lots of things. I've seen complaints about the fights not being Star Trek, but there are lots and lots of fistfights in Star Trek, dating right back to the original series. Or I've seen complaints about the music, when the Romulan music is the original TOS music just tweaked slightly. And of course the "Star Trek shouldn't get political" thing is like saying Disney ruined their latest film by making it animated.

That off my chest, we're done here. *rips off mic, leaves interview*
MusicalTurtle
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Oh thank TPTB that so far it's not Discovery-esque! (By the time I realised I really didn't like DIS, I was engrossed in the plot so had to force myself to watch it through to the end of the first season. However if it hadn't been called Star Trek, I'd not have persevered beyond the first few episodes in the hope it would get better.) Some of the visuals showed that it's a product of the same era, but beyond that it simply felt like modernised Trek to me. A fitting ... update, I think would be the word. It's not a modern version of TNG but it's certainly still the same universe (and felt informed a bit by DS9 in a way, that the Federation and Starfleet are not perfect even though they'd like people to think they are).

In The Ready Room they mentioned that Picard was made for fans and new viewers alike. I think they got it right; for the casual viewer I think there was enough explanation that having watched TNG or any other Trek was not a prerequisite, but of course being a fan gives a deeper understanding and appreciation of the characters and references.

Count me incredibly relieved! Let's hope it continues to stay true to Trek.
ovaduh
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Just as Admiral Picard has in many ways remained the same, so has the nature of some of the comments on the site.

Some of the comments take it as a fait accompli that TOS/TNG were "Utopian," and therefore, are what Star Trek "is about." Even if the premise is correct (and that is open to interpretation), the conclusion does not follow.

No one person has (or should have) a monopoly on what the meaning of Star Trek is. At least one person here, has already criticized the show - not on its actual merits, but because it is too "dystopian."

The phrase "dystopian" is in the eye of the beholder. Half of the entirety of DS9 aired amid the backdrop (and sometimes the foredrop, if that is a word) of a war between two Alpha Quadrant powers; viewers were reminded of the brutality and unnatural-ness of war more than Once ("Siege at AR-558," "Nor the Battle to the Strong...."). And many of TOS' allegorical episodes were in-your-face with treatment of what is regarded as the most turbulent decade of our time, perhaps.

Is Picard gratuitously dystopian? Is the dystopia (assuming for argument's sake that label is accrate) intefering with the abillity to appreciate the show? No, and no, I would say.

If there is a common thread tying the Trek of the past with the Trek of today, it is, yes (cliches be damned; they are cliches for a reason), "optimism," in the face of turbulence, or responding to bad things with a foot forward instead of cursing the darkness. The first episode featured so much Picardian self-reckoning because.... he wanted to be a pessimist until his dying days? I don't believe that.

I also don't care for political correctness, however and by whomever it is practiced, being shoved in my face. I don't think "Picard" has been stridently P.C. -not from the limited evidence of what was the first episode.

@Bold Helmsman, what you want isn't too much to ask for, given that what exactly is the "established Star Trek universe" ultimately is an expression of one's value judgment, and as such not a fixed-definition commandment.

Entertainment may serve as a commentary on contemporaneous issues. If it does so competently, and cogently, and in a way that is dramatically interesting. That's fine (examples where Trek failed to do this - Enterprise's "Chosen Realm," the Krola character in "First Contact" - these episodes felt didactic, not organic) Wokeness for wokeness' sake is wrong. If a Star Trek show - the show that introduced the concept of IDIC while Dr. King was marching - needs to beat its chest to show its progressive bona fides, or to prove to viewers who just put in new batteries in their wokemeter, we're in trouble.


Re: The Hitchcock comment: "Alfred Hitchcock used to say that everyone knowing a gun is under the table is more interesting than guns being fired; anticipation, buildup and tension are more exciting than space Kungfu."

Hitchock practiced what he preached. His approach to showing versus telling was neither "right" or "wrong." He happened to be an expert practitioner in creating suspense. Other directors have tried to live by Hitchcock's maxim, and can't deliver the goods. It is not the storytelling device that we should applaud or "boo" someone for using. How well the storyteller employs its preferred method of storytelling is what counts. Certainly, there is room for reasonable disagreement as to whether Discovery is paced too quickly, is overly "sedate" for what it wants us to glean, and so forth.

I think the dialogue serviced the plot, and that the plot was functional, if not exceptional. The show, to me, took time to pause and breathe. (Proving that this is possible, DISCOVERY). The acting (especially, Sir Patrick, of course) was overall pretty good. For a piece of popular entertainment, I don't demand much more

Surely there are more interesting, original and tense ways to cook up a sense of danger and threat than having ninja-Romulans beaming into rooms and throwing knives? Stewart deserves highbrow action sequences, clever, measured, patiently drawn-out and exquisite, not a 12 year old's conception of cool.
Batfunk
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
Well, I have mixed feelings about this first episode.
The first 30 MN are nearly perfect. The first scene is a perfect transition with last Tng episode.
The ordinary living of an retired Picard is well retranscribed:he's very old, bored and out of place. His dog named Number one, among other things, is an evidence of his nostalgia and melancholy.
The media interview is a smart way to introduce current political contest and Picard's dogma:10 years ago, Romulus was no more. Picard organized refugees evacuation and a act of terrorism committed by rogue androids cause Federation withdraw of rescue operation and deactivation of all androids.
In protest, Picard resigned.
Even I would have preferred that this show had no link with Kelvin time-line, the context is credible and typical of good Science fiction:this identity withdrawal of Federation echoes our real world and Picard will probably fight this, opposite to real values of Federation.
A moment, I hoped that the show will dig deeper (one more episode) in Picard's melancholic mind and bored life.
Direction was smooth and quiet, dialogues were great and funny until, Bam! ... The ninja scene. Boy, what a shame.
Wasn't there an other way to introduce Dahj character? Jason Bourne style? Come on...
On the contrary, the way to reveal her real identity is fine. Reference to dreams and later to Data's paintings were well made, because it makes use of Trekkies memories. A Really nice touch.
Once again, I hoped the show will explore further in Picard's paternal desires and Bang!, Ninjas are back again(dressed like Dead Space Hero) and Dahj died...
10 MN, faster than a blind date. Shame!
After that, the show was on Discovery mode:Picard, not very moved by Dahj's death, learns in Daystrom Institute that she has... A twin! (drumrolls) and revealed that ninjas were... Romulans! (jawdrop).
And of course, the shocking last shot: the Romulan recovery barge is a... Borg cube!!! (My. GOD.)
Next:an intergalactic conspiracy, with probably a "back from the Dead "Lore manipulating outraged Romulan. Or not.
Well, this episode reminds me a lot Discovery Pilot, which was very respectful of Star Trek ideals, except that here it lasted only 30 MN...
A schizophrenic episode and I hope that producers realized that Patrick Stewart is nearly 80 years old, a bit old to act in an action show(Shatner stopped ST at 64...).
Damn,the beginning was so good...

3 stars
Tim C
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Of all the nit picks that could be made, hearing people seize on the "positronic cloning" as proof this show is ridiculous trash is the funniest. It's Star Trek, the same series that gave us people evolving into salamanders, de-evolving into spiders, interbreeding aliens, de-aging transporters, etc, etc. If you can't get over a bit of throwaway technobabble that could well be explained further along than episode one anyway, methinks you probably have a deeper issue.

As for Picard waking up at home vs a hospital or police station, I think we can reasonably infer he was treated and returned home, and that things were covered up. YMMV, but does anyone think it really would have enhanced the episode to give us a five minute scene of Picard having magic medical wands waved over him to heal his burns, or frustratedly trying to convince sceptical cops there were Romulan assassins on the roof of a Starfleet facility? It'd just be filler that's just as easily covered by a single line of dialogue, which it was.

The real meat of all that was his realisation that he needs to dust himself off and live again, which is the scene we got. And an effective one, at that.

You wanna talk about universe-breaking nitpicks, I would love to chat with you in another thread about Disco's magical teleporting shuttlecraft...
Bold Helmsman
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
@ovaduh
Whenever, I hear people complaining about 'political correctness' or 'wokeness for wokeness sake' or things along that vein, it always comes off as people being okay with social commentary, until it's about something they don't agree with, at which point it must be given different names to make it something aborrent. I personally have no issue with my fiction deciding not to water things down to avoid offending people.

Also, I'd be interested to about your idea of a highbrow action sequence and how that differs from what we got in Remembrance.
Dom
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the general sentiment. Not perfect, but promising. The story is fairly ridden with tropes, including the secret girl with a mysterious connection to the protagonist, but Patrick Stewart really elevates the material. And I'm so happy Picard wasn't "Last Jedied" like Luke was. He still possesses the dignity and sense of right that we've come to love, even if the world around him has changed. I'll definitely be tuning in for more.
Booming
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Eh...

Quite a few kicks and flips...

Was that a Rom cube?
Ghosted
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
A nice start on first watch and good to see positive comments above, I must admit the Picard day banner was lovely :). The theme whilst not overly memorable is probably reflective of Picard's stage in life so it's possibly better being on the subtle end of the spectrum I guess. Initial thoughts, it's a shame Dahj went so soon, Data was fine and sad b4 didn't make it in a way but also happy with why he didn't. I like the fact that they reference Maddox and are referencing TNG elements in a seemingly useful way. The big reveal would have been more effective without trailer spoilers ideally, but that's the way of things these days. Looking forward to the next episode.
wolfstar
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
A relatively auspicious start - I liked it, and I like it more the more I think about it. I loved the score, and really appreciated the calm, measured, sensitive tone, and the fact there was a strong focus on just two characters throughout the episode, instead of trying to introduce multiple new figures or frenetically switching between settings. It pulls back from many of the things I dislike about our "peak TV" era, and has a literary sensibility; you can tell an experienced novelist worked on this. It understands implicitly that Star Trek does not have to mean "space adventure", something that I thought the franchise's stewards for the past 15 years had forgotten. It's coherent, and reveals its hand slowly and logically. And it's so refreshing to have a prestige drama like this centered around a 79-year-old. Finally, Isa Briones is excellent - her skilled, naturalistic performance earned more genuine compassion from me in one episode than SMG has in two seasons of talentless gnashing and gurning. 3.5 stars - I'm on board.
Filip
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C
"As for Picard waking up at home vs a hospital or police station, I think we can reasonably infer he was treated and returned home, and that things were covered up. YMMV, but does anyone think it really would have enhanced the episode to give us a five minute scene of Picard having magic medical wands waved over him to heal his burns, or frustratedly trying to convince sceptical cops there were Romulan assassins on the roof of a Starfleet facility? It'd just be filler that's just as easily covered by a single line of dialogue, which it was."

I have no idea what hospitals you've been to, but where I come from they don't discharge people in an unconscious state. But that's a minor issue; the bigger one is that this is symptomatic of poor editing and direction. Obviously we don't have enough episodes here to fully discuss that issue, but we were given plenty of material for that in Discovery, which shares a lot of its production team with Picard. If you make a show where such rough sequences are left to the viewer to 'infer' things, then that is indicative of lazy writing.

As for examples of ridiculous science, those were contained to the episode-of-the-week and if they sucked they were quickly forgotten. The idea here present is the staple of this show. Also, what issues would that be?
wolfstar
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Oh, and it understands the audience has an attention span and doesn't have to be constantly distracted by fast cuts, circling cameras and snappy wisecracks. The two fight scenes are there because the plot intrinsically requires them and not because 10 minutes of dialog have passed so There Has To Be An Action Scene Now. And it has an elegiac feel in a way that I really connect with.
Tim C
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Filip, you say "poor editing", I say "streamlining stuff that the audience doesn't need to see". I'm right with you on the pitfalls of the writers just leaving it to us to fill in gaps in storytelling logic (I probably have a good rant or two on that subject floating around on this site, in fact), especially in a serialised narrative. I just don't think it was a major one that breaks the story being told or the world it's set in.
Ruth
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
That was amazing! I was so worried about what it would be like. Though, I liked the pilot of Discovery too and it all went downhill from there... I hope that doesn’t happen here

What separates this from Discovery is that it’s *about* something, and that was the crucial thing we all liked about older Trek (then, episodes that aren’t and are just comedy or just entertainment stand in contrast). Some people, I assume Americans, are seeing this as a Trump allegory of some kind (whether they approve or not) but for me as a British woman it appears to largely be about the Syrian refugees. I think Patrick Stewart spoke about both the refugee crisis and Brexit as issues of our time he thought this show would address, didn’t he?

I like that this episode makes the French language canon again! I hated that they wrote out a whole language/culture like that previously. In light of the above, I can’t help but see it as a pro EU statement, too.

I wonder who is behind all this plotting. I can pick out like a dozen angles. It seems too sophisticated for anyone we know but the Romulans or the Cardassians. The Romulans would be pretty thick to doom themselves like this for the sake of striking a blow on the Federation, but maybe it makes sense to some of them? The Cardassians are surely not in any shape to do this, though they certainly hate the Romulans enough, and you’d think they’d be too dependent on Federation aid to attack them. Though, that in itself could motivate some...

There’s obvious Borg involvement, but it just doesn’t seem like their style to me.

My other guess is the Vulcans. Who else would be so alarmed at the prospect of a huge influx of Romulans into the Federation? Scary thought though for it to come from within like that.

I hope you get a chance to watch it soon, Jammer! I think you’ll like it. Thanks for putting up this comment page for us in the meantime, too.
Ruth
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
I also really like that we weren’t “wondering” if she was Data’s daughter for the whole bloody series. I was worried about that. I think not telling us about her, about Data, about Romulus, about why Picard quit, that’s still a bit manipulative, but I guess it would be a heavy infodump otherwise so I forgive it.

I’m also sad that the Romulans who live with Picard are only “guest stars”, I really like them!
Dave in MN
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: the complaints about the title theme

Why didn't they reuse the theme from Star Trek II? It is light years better than anything else soundtrack-wise, at least since Voyager.
Dom
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
@Ruth, I agree. I was also worried that the show was going to drag out the reveal that Dahj was Data's daughter. I guessed it before it was revealed, but it would have been really frustrating to see Picard stumble around trying to figure it out when the audience had already beaten him to it. By contrast, Discovery really dropped the ball by dragging out the Ash/Voq reveal through most of Season 1. By the time the characters found out, we'd already known for months and didn't share their sense of shock.
Omar
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
@Bold Helmsman

"Others of us would like to have sci-fi that actually talks about contemporary issues, rather than reveling in some outmoded version of the past that was only a utopia for some people"

Then make your own sci-fi series with non-gender specific holograms and bash the U.S. and nationality sovereignty all you want. Leave Star Trek alone.
Booming
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 6:36pm (UTC -6)
I have to rewatch it but I'm for the time being part of the resistance, the contrarians.

So is this the prime or Kelvin???
While I appreciated the warmer color pallet I still hat somewhat the feeling that it didn't look like trek.

So is Mars burning for 10 years now? What? The atmosphere? Wouldn't that burn out very fast?? Days probably??

I hope there is some kind of cover up because one wonders how there are explosions and whatnot but the Federation is not sending the space police or something. I mean they were fighting in broad daylight more or less directly in front of that central archive. Wouldn't there be hundreds if not more witnesses?? Shuttles flying around???

How is Picard no badly injured? I once had a mine explode maybe 10m away. That was pretty rough and here it was a huge explosion and Picard was barely 10m away. The shockwave pushed him back several meter. It looks like a small atom bomb?! How is he not dead. Maybe they should check if Picard is a synthetic.

The people who attacked the data daughter said: "Knock her out." but then just put a sack over her head and wait for several seconds and then try to beat her. Was that supposed to knock her out?? Are there not better was to knock her out to literally knock her out??

So Data painted two pictures for Picard 30 years ago around season 5 of TNG. One on which you could not identify his daughter and one where you could. Then he was killed 20 years ago. Ten years after painting this. So did he paint it and then build the two daughters somewhere between 2369 and 79 or did somebody else somehow build the two and for some reason they looked like a set of paintings Data gifted to Picard???... ???

Picard just accepted that two Romulans wanted to become his servants?? I find it strange Picard is comfortable with that.

Nice to see that in the 24th century women still wear skirts and high heels... I'm joking. I actually find it very strange that in 400 years women still mangle their feet, knees and lower back that way. Shattering women's lower body parts from 1960 to 2399. Sure there is modern medicine but still odd that gendered human clothing is very much like it is today.

Why is the journalist angry about Picard??? Why is it his fault that synthtics went rogue?? She also behaves kind of racist. Romulan lifes?! That there is sometimes racism, ok. We know that but that she just blatantly says: "Romulan lifes?!" or "resources could have spent somewhere else" Billions of people will see this. What was her aim? Trying to make Picard snap? What journalist would not be fired after forking this up so badly??

Did I get that right that there is a galactic ban on synthetics?? So the entire galaxy just agreed: "Ok no more synthetics!"?? Also the Federation still has no idea why it happened but still banned everything?? So these Synthetics were not like Data?? Because he once said that his positronic pathways could not be forcibly altered.

Why do the scientists who study synthetics still have a huge room when there are only like five people working there?? And always two have to be created...ok

Why are the Romulans building a death cube star?? Didn't their empire collapse??

I hope that there are answers to this but I fear that we just get hit with Kurtzman's mystery boxes...
Booming
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
While we are at it. The new logo of the space force.
It looks like starfleet command! :D
https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1220823868853702657
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
"I hope that there are answers to this but I fear that we just get hit with Kurtzman's mystery boxes..."

All valid concerns.

But seeing the Enterprise D and Captain Picard Day drawing pretty much sealed the deal. And yeah, it's Picard.... I feel like I've come home and found my long lost friend. They've got my money for as long as they want to put Patrick Stewart in front of the camera.
Boomer
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
Plot Hole:

In the episode "Homeward" the aliens were allowed to die, of natural causes. In this episode, Picard keeps insisting the Romulans MUST BE SAVED. A Supernova is a natural cause, why is Picard involved?
Top Hat
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
The issue there was that they were a pre-contact species. It's not to do with it being natural causes. The Enterprise helped with natural disasters plenty of times ("Deja Q" and "A Matter of Time" come to mind).
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
I heard from my Dad that Jonathan Del'Arco is cast in this series.

That's the guy who played Hugh in "I, Borg." Just saying.
Nic
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
As with any serialized show, a lot will depend on how the overarching storyline plays out, but judging from this episode we're in for a treat. It's hard to believe this was made by the same people who make Discovery. From the very first frame, this feels much more competent, like classic TNG with just a slightly more modern feel, which I think is exactly what most of us want.

I have many questions that I'm hopeful will be answered somewhere down the line. I thought the revelation that the "flesh & blood synthetics" are made in pairs was kind of dumb, but that's a minor issue.
Trent
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
I watched the episode again and thought it played really well once you self-censor the cheesy action scene.

The "Picard waking up at home instead of a hospital" scene also now seems less like bad writing and more like a crucial point; it is suggested that the security footage of the attack on him has been doctored and scrubbed, and we know that the telephone call to the synth's mother was some kind of deepfaked woman. It seems someone with sophisticated gear is doctoring and erasing these events, much like Control did in Discovery. I hope Kurtzman isn't trying to tie these two series together.

OmicronThetaDeltaPhi said: "Am I the only person here who is bothered by the fact that the Trekverse has been turned into some kind dystopia?"

Trek's been moving away from episodic, mind-bending SF tales, and tales of naval exploration, and toward serialized war and conflict for decades now. The latter tends to be easier to write. The former is hard and tends to be easier to write badly.

This first episode of "Picard", though, doesn't feel as "dystopic", grim and airheaded as some of the comments (mine included) here make it seem. It really does feel like a logical continuation of TNG and DS9; the Federation's still a good place and Starfleet still launched a massive humanitarian operation to help its foes. But it's also a Federation that's been driven to paranoia and forced to hunker down after excessive threats from outside. You get the sense - at least from this episode - of Picard trying to drag the Fed back to the stability and nobility of the relatively peaceful TNG era.

Booming said: "So did he paint it and then build the two daughters somewhere between 2369 and 79 or did somebody else somehow build the two"

This episode implies that someone used Data's robot DNA to make robot babies modeled on Data's daughter paintings. The impression I got was that the creator isn't Data (probably Maddox or the Romulans, both who had access to Data's body).

Booming said: "Picard just accepted that two Romulans wanted to become his servants?? I find it strange Picard is comfortable with that."

I thought this was great. The newly designed Romulans look excellent - no rice bowl haircuts or shoulderpads, each unique - and have a sympathetic, graceful, homey quality which we've never seen before. These two seem to owe their lives to Picard, respect him greatly, and really appreciate his attempts to save their people.

Booming said: "Why is the journalist angry about Picard??? Why is it his fault that synthtics went rogue??"

I think she's just pointing out that the attack decimated the fleet that would have assisted the Romulans, and/or forced Starfleet to become somewhat isolationist. I got FOX news vibes from her; she did seem to be trying to bait him into a reaction.

IMO that scene made the episode. It was like a classic Picard MONOLOGUE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERED WITH GUSTO BEFITTING A KING.


Booming said: "Did I get that right that there is a galactic ban on synthetics??"

The impression I got was that it's a ban within the Federation, or within Federation colonies belonging to Earth. Seems to be a "some terrorists did some bad things so we ban all brown people" metaphor.

Booming said: "Why do the scientists who study synthetics still have a huge room when there are only like five people working there??"

And why is there a table at the center of this room dedicated to storing Data/B4's body parts?

Notice too that when the scientist enters the room, we get a show-offy close up of the fancy computer touchscreen required to let us into the room. A better director would shoot this in long-shot; its a matter-of-fact, mundane procedure for these far-future people, as dull for them as turning a door handle is for us. TNG was great for its really detached approach to the Enterprise's technology. The crew weren't wowed by it, and neither was the camera. This banal approach led to a sense of realism.

Booming said: "Why are the Romulans building a death cube star?? Didn't their empire collapse??"

I thought it was a derelict/damaged/abandoned Borg cube which the Romulans converted to some kind of facility. I didn't get any Romulan-build-death-cube vibes from it.

Now go watch Orville S2, Booming, we're waiting on your reviews. This whole post is a trick to get you to watch keep reviewing.
Andrew S.
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed the first episode of Picard!
-It's great to finally have a sequel set in the main Star Trek universe. No more prequels or reboots or alternate timelines, which frankly, have often been kind of a let-down.
-The writers clearly know their Next Generation. Lots of callbacks to the series: the reference to Bruce Maddox (the guy who tried to have Data dismantled), the stuff in the storage locker like the Captain Picard Day banner, Data painting and having a daughter, poker, the French vineyard, etc.
-This may make people mad, but I'm kind of glad Data is actually dead. I didn't really like Nemesis (though admittedly I haven't seen it in a while), and I didn't agree with the decision to kill Data in the first place, but I'm glad they're not running from the decision. I remember someone had told me that various comic books had made B-4 just like Data reincarnated, which is definitely a stupid and way-too-easy way out. Though I would be ok if this show had a long drawn out "Search for Data" sort of thing going on where they try to bring back some aspect of him.
-In many ways, Data was kind of the heart of Next Generation, so I really like how even in death he's still a central figure in the story.
-I remember being annoyed with the decision made by the J.J. Abrams team to blow up Romulus in the prime timeline for no good reason. On a side note, I've noticed J.J. Abrams movies have a tendency to blow up planets out of nowhere as a cheap way to raise the stakes. (See e.g. the Star Wars sequel trilogy). But anyway, like Data's death, the writers did not run away from or ignore the decision, and the destruction of Romulus is a major plot point in the story. Even after just one episode has made for some really compelling ideas.
-Which brings me to the "interview scene." To me this might have been the most captivating scene in Star Trek since...well...maybe 1999? This is classic Picard, being the moral voice of Starfleet, and completely unwavering in his view that the Federation should have saved as many Romulans as possible even though Romulans are old enemies. One can't help but think of the parallels with the U.S. failure to take in Syrian refugees, and how the true test of a country is its generosity to others during times of a crisis. So when Picard says he left Starfleet "because it was no longer Starfleet," that really really hits home. The show seems to be off to the right foot because it realizes that the best scenes in Star Trek are not usually space battles but instead really compelling stories.
-I was intrigued by Picard's Romulan assistants And I think it was trying to show how people who used to be enemies from a different planet can get along and make wine together. It's sort of a callback to the original Star Trek "Balance of Terror" where the unnamed Romulan commander right before his death tells Kirk that under different circumstances they would have been friends. I thought it was interesting that Picard's Romulan's assistants appear very human in their clothes and hairstyle.
-I want to learn more about this rebellion of synthetic lifeforms, and how the interviewer seems to hold Picard somewhat responsible for what happened. Maybe it's just because people now hate artificial life forms and Picard has always been a champion of the rights of artificial life forms (see "Measure of Man"), or maybe there is something else going on.
-I really hope the show doesn't turn into shoot-em-up action next week, but if this episode is any indication, I think we're on the right track as far as good storytelling goes.
-This might actually be the best Star Trek pilot episode. DS9's "Emissary" is pretty poorly paced, but is way better when you have seen the end of the show because you see how much of the groundwork for the show was laid down right from the start. But as a standalone episode, I think Picard is hands down the best Star Trek pilot.
-My girlfriend and I watched Battlestar Galactica and Season 4 of The Expanse recently, so she made the joke that it's easy to get Picard confused with these other series since we have android sleeper agents and people living on Mars.
-So what's going on with the Borg, anyway? The trailers had totally given away the big reveal of the cube at the end. The finale of Voyager was such a mess I honestly don't remember to what extent the Borg collective is still around or if they were all wiped out by Janeway (or did they ever tell us?). But anyway, the cube no longer appears to have any Borg on it and it's just being used by Romulans as an outpost. I really hope this show doesn't overuse the Borg on this show like Voyager did.
Dick
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
My initial thoughts:

- Everything looked and sounded very nice, especially at Chateau Picard. The camerawork was restrained and the pacing was less frenetic than STD, which is a step in the right direction.

- Sir Patrick Stewart was great, as usual, but I'm not sold on the actress who plays Dahj/Soji. Her over-the-top emoting in some scenes felt very Burnham-esque.

- I won't indulge in too much nitpicking surrounding the increasingly convoluted taxonomy of Soong-type androids (whatever happened to Juliana Tainer?), but the technobabble explaining Dahj's creation was laughably nonsensical. The technical details behind Data's creation were always kept fairly vague on TNG, and they shouldn't have tried anything more ambitious here. Just say that Bruce Maddox created androids using Data's specs and leave it at that.

- As with STD, producing Trek-like dialogue continues to be an issue for the writers of nuTrek. The news interview/exposition dump at the the beginning of the episode was particularly bad in this regard.

- I am intrigued by the teased return of Dr. Bruce Maddox. If he does come back, I hope he gets the same rich characterization as in "The Measure of a Man" and isn't just an evil/insane villain.

Overall, I give Rememberance a tentative 6/10. A lot will depend on how well the plot threads are resolved as the season progresses.
Jet
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
I was really surprised by how much I liked this episode!

It's not perfect, but it sets a strong foundation for what's to come. The acting, set design, CG... I was really blown away by the visuals and spectacle.

As for the story, I enjoyed it but it'll really depend on the rest of the series. Unlike TNG, this one is so tied in to the storyline that I don't think this ep will be a great standalone visit many years in the future.

Still, I loved what I saw. It's so "true" to JLP, and I think that's exactly what it needs to be.

Eager for more!
DavidR
Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
Let’s begin with an exercise in willing suspension of disbelief. Which of these two scenarios sounds more far-fetched: that over the course of the next several centuries humanity could master interstellar travel, conquer all material needs, become a race of peaceful explorers, discover countless alien races and build a utopia on a foundation of individual rights and dignity?
Or that they could make a new Star Trek show starring Patrick Stewart that I wouldn’t greedily devour like a taspar egg after a hunger strike?
The series opens back in Ten Forward on the old Enterprise D with Brent Spiner reprising Mr. Data across the table from Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. And they’re playing poker in a spiritual continuation of the final episode of TNG (I will not acknowledge the four dreadful studio movies. For me, as for most fans, the Next Generation I know and love ended with “…and the sky’s the limit” from the final TV episode.)
As in the finale, the poker chatter here veils a deeper meaning. As Picard mulls a call or fold, Data wants to know why he’s taking so long to decide. “I don’t want the game to end,” Picard replies. “I’m all in.”
With the weight of seven seasons and four movies of TNG behind it, this seemingly innocent remark nods to the mortality of Picard and even to that of the 79-year-old Stewart. It’s also directed at us, the convention goers, the cosplayers, the usenet-turned-Redditors who have watched, discussed, critiqued, dissected and loved Picard for decades now.
An extra-narrative angle like this can easily turn overindulgent, but director Hanelle Culpepper displays a light touch (and nice to see a black woman in the “captain’s chair” as well.) Perhaps she learned what not to do watching the latest Star Wars movies, where the camera fawned over original movie characters for so long it turned gratuitous and plodding.
Things take a turn for the worse as Picard sits for an ostensible interview that quickly devolves into some extremely sloppy exposition. Sample question: so Admiral, can you catch us up on what you’ve been doing for the last 20 years? Stewart does a voiceover (cringe) and explains how Starfleet dropped the ball on helping out the Romulans in their hour of need and banned synthetic life forms like Data, so he quit in disgust. Stewart is Stewart, so he sells the heck even out of this lazy backstory. “Because it was no longer Starfleet,” he mutters. “BECAUSE IT WAS NO LONGER STARFLEET!”
Newcomer Isa Briones plays Dahj, a young woman recently “activated” by mysterious assassins and now searching for answers from Picard. Here the fanservice, so deftly executed in the opening scene, takes a turn toward the maudlin. “Everything inside me says I’m safe with you,” Dahj says, with a very obvious double meaning most children of the eighties (me included) can probably decode. “Be the captain they remember” urges one of Picard’s assistants. That’s a little thick for my taste.
Picard is flummoxed when he realizes that Dahj’s face is identical to a painting that Data created decades ago. A quick trip to Starfleet HQ confirms Picard’s memory and establishes that Data named the painting Daughter. Even the thickest viewer realizes that Dahj is Data’s creation, an outlawed synthetic person hidden in respectable human society, though she herself doesn’t yet recognize her true nature.
Picard is trying to explain all this to Dahj when the posse of shrouded assassins returns and Dahj has to beat them off. Dahj drags a wheezing Picard to safety while she continues to kick butt of every hooded dweeb who beams in. These fight scenes are outstanding: fast, bone-crunching and visceral. The earlier fight scene where Dahj was first “activated” really had some shock value. I have no idea if Briones is doing her own stunt work, but we’ve come a long way since Kirk faced off with a Gorn in a rubber suit.
Picard gets a look at one of their faces and….they’re Romulans! The last one spits some acidic green blood on Dahj and for reasons I can’t understand her gun explodes. Yeah, not sure I buy for one minute that Dahj is permanently dead. “I owe it to her to find out who killed her and why!” Picard declares. Oh how motivated your character is! JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE.
Picard meets with Dr. Agnes Jurati (Allison Pill), a cybernetics expert and disciple of Commander Bruce Maddox, last seen arguing in TNG Season 2 that Data should be disassembled and reverse-engineered. Picard and Jurati ogle the disassembled B4, a Data precursor also played by Brent Spiner. In a plot twist everyone who watched Star Trek: Nemesis saw coming, “The essence of Data may be alive!”
Pill’s character intrigues me and I like what the actress is doing with it. “This is everything that ever mattered to us…to me,” she says of the now shuttered Federation robotics lab. Her backstory is convincing and interesting. Pill has some fine comic timing, too! She figures in a number of scenes from the end-of-episode trailer, so I guess she’ll be a big part of the new show’s cast. Thumbs up for initial impressions.
The other big reveal is that androids are created in pairs! (Remember Data and Lore? See, it works with the established universe.) Dahj has a Romulan twin working her flirt with a Romulan with a “sad story”… but what dreamy eyes! And are they in a….why yes they are in a Borg-like cube, either under construction or maybe damaged.
The ship designs look very cool here, with an updated, sleek Romulan warbird and a menacing cube that feels absolutely and appropriately huge. The pullback shot that reveals the cube is handled well, more props to Culpepper and the visual effects team.
So off we go with the launch of a new show. I’m pretty impressed so far and looking forward to the next installment. Let’s see what’s out there.
Brian
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 12:12am (UTC -6)
You know what? I hated it. I hate Kelvin Trek. I hate Kurtzman Trek. And now I hate Picard too. I just fundamentally do...not...like what this group of people create. I knew the moment I saw trailers for Picard, that I would hate the show, because it is essentially the same people making the same show except with Picard in it. I thought the pilot contained the same ridiculous sort of modernist attempts at story-telling that failed abysmally in Discovery and a myriad of other TV shows. It is a sad commentary on our demographic that they believe we need kung-fu sword-fighting robots to stay subscribed. It feels like it was designed and written by committee. How many producers were credited in the opening? Must have been 15 at least. I think for an average sci-fi show it's passable. For a Star Trek show, it's embarassing. Really struck me as a blatant cash-grab spin off show, at the expense of a once beloved character. It takes zero risks and plays exactly into the waiting mouths of rabid fans who will fawn over anything with the Trek name on it. If this drek were released under any other name it would run one season and be forgotten. Star Trek is really being crushed under its own weight.

I'm guessing this is how it'll all play out:
- Picard will have an insanely contrived rise to prominence and very quickly he'll be back in ye old captains chair saying "engage" a lot.
- there will be many space battles and kung-fu scenes with much CGI spam
- there will be a handful of messily written character arcs we are supposed to "identify" with.
- the music and visuals will tell us exactly what to feel and when, because none of it will feel earned.
- the season will come to an unexpected and contrived cliffhanger ending which virtually necessitates that you stay subscribed to All Access and watch season 2.

I trust these people to give us a unique take on the man-vs-machine dynamic about as much as I trust my 3 year old to take the trash out on tuesday night.
Jammer
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 1:06am (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Leif
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 1:27am (UTC -6)
Jammer et al.

How,can you be sure Data will not be ressurrected at some point? I think it would be nice if they did. Also, yoh described the Borg cube as being wreckgae being rebuilt, how do you know it's not a new cube being constructed...thsts the impression I got. And I had no idea Rene Auberjonois died..so sad...this life
MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:38am (UTC -6)
GET AWAY FROM THAT LAUNCHER

...

Ok I turned on Auto Volume Leveling on my computer and turned down the bass.

4/4.

Star Trek is back, baby.

It occurs to me now, especially after talking with my Dad, that we haven't actually revisited the main timeline proper since the end of Star Trek: Voyager. I'm into this.

The emotions which are seemingly intended to be generated by Jean-Luc Picard realizing that sitting around pouting about Starfleet being little whiny b***hes about the Synthetics ordered to evacuate Romulus instead going rogue and torching Mars and the Utopia Planetia Shipyards have just hit me in full force.

I mean, now that I can properly hear and process the dialogue. There's so much that goes into enjoying and properly understanding a film presentation.

Also, the actiony/dystopian bits of this series are kind of necessary, in my opinion. You are guiding people who've not watched Trek for a long time or have never watched Trek into a new world. You have to take them from what they know (everything is garbage) into this new world. I feel that Picard is going to do that, and the fact that it draws so much from Star Trek's past in ways that are relevant to the storytelling (and not just "easter eggs" that make you say "OH SH** that's a TREK THING) gives me faith that this is actually going to hold my interest.

Also, I should probably point out that I did not RE-WATCH a single episode of Discovery.

I just re-watched a new episode of Trek for the first time in multiple decades. That has to say volumes.

Also, during the 2nd Picard's Data Dream, where Data is painting in the vinyard...

What's this?

https://imgur.com/PCW9iX1

There's some image inside the lens flare. What is that? Numbers? Is it some kind of code? What is that?

Intriguing.
Booming
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:43am (UTC -6)
@ Trent
"This episode implies that someone used Data's robot DNA to make robot babies modeled on Data's daughter paintings. The impression I got was that the creator isn't Data (probably Maddox or the Romulans, both who had access to Data's body)."
Yeah ok but only Picard had the picture of Dajh were you could see her face. I guess it was Maddox who built her. How did he know a 30 year old painting that Picard kept at the archives and that nobody accessed (Picard asked the computer).

"I thought this was great. The newly designed Romulans look excellent - no rice bowl haircuts or shoulderpads, each unique - and have a sympathetic, graceful, homey quality which we've never seen before. These two seem to owe their lives to Picard, respect him greatly, and really appreciate his attempts to save their people."
The looks of them were fine. It is no Discovery klingons horror. What I mean is that Picard was always portrayed as being very private person who always needed his personal space. So having two people live with him who apparently do nothing else but serve him just seemed odd to me. By the way, that is a gigantic mansion Picard ... owns??

" I got FOX news vibes from her; she did seem to be trying to bait him into a reaction."
I always thought that women at fox need to be white and blond?! Why would Picard sit down with such a blood hound? It felt a little forced. Couldn't his PR Romulans have warned him? Nice that we got a "we have to do what's right." speech but the whole scene still bugged me.

"The impression I got was that it's a ban within the Federation, or within Federation colonies belonging to Earth."
At the Daystrom the scientist says that building androids would violate galactic treaties. It sounded like galactic ban.

"Notice too that when the scientist enters the room, we get a show-offy close up of the fancy computer touchscreen required to let us into the room"
Yeah I noticed that too. I little bit like the eyes of the archive hologram lighting up when it does a search. It smells a little bit like TV for stupid people. Like " The computer is doing a search, get it?!" Also the room and the entire institute looked very 21th century.

"I thought it was a derelict/damaged/abandoned Borg cube which the Romulans converted to some kind of facility. I didn't get any Romulan-build-death-cube vibes from it."
Really? Why would there be derelict Borg cubes? Wouldn't there be a billion people who would try to get there hands on something that valuable.

I will continue to watch and I hope that this is smarter in it's set up---> pay off than Discovery... no scratch that because everything would be smarter than Discovery's pay off. I just hope it pays of well and is not another: committee of 20 people who have watched five episodes of star trek hated four and thought "we can do this much better and not boring."

"Now go watch Orville S2, Booming, we're waiting on your reviews. This whole post is a trick to get you to watch keep reviewing."
I haven't even finished season 1. And who is we?! It is just you who wants to see me suffer. Your gotcha questions remind of that nasty journalist. I would never shy away from doing my duty to review Seth Macfarlane's last artistic bowel movement. ;)
Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this pilot episode of STP (still hate that name, but what are you gonna do?). Looking at Picard's aging had me feeling my own. Time overcomes all challengers as Jammer indicates. Still, even with the bright shiny sheen, though, I got that old familiar Star Trek vibe from the episode. It was like a hybrid of the old and the new. Which makes this next post all the more hilarious:

@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
"Am I the only person here who is bothered by the fact that the Trekverse has been turned into some kind dystopia? It seems that the same people who had this exact same problem with Discovery, suddenly accept it now without any problem."

LMAO! Kind of illustrates exactly what I've been talking about. All of Discovery's sins become virtues when you thrust Jean-Luc into the forefront. People groaning and eye-rolling about too much Burnham don't even bat an eyelash at the absolutely CRINGE WORTHY title, Star Trek Picard. The ridiculosity is hilarious. Perhaps now you'll recognize that many (not all, but many) of those detractors came in bad faith anyway and held merely capricious and arbitrary objections in the first place. But perhaps you won't. In any case, I won't hold my breath. Any charges of "dystopia, dystopia," is overblown. Picard doesn't live in a dystopia; he lives in a more believable future than one exclusively made of rainbows and butterflies. As someone said above, "$#!% happens." If anything is to be expected of the future, it is that.
John Harmon
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -6)
Loved the review. Definitely agreed. Glad to see it was a pretty long one too. That’s bound to happen with the first episode at least.
John Harmon
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 3:00am (UTC -6)
“All I could think of was that TNG spliced-up parody video, created in the early-to-mid 1990s, where Data announces, "I have six aces!" and then laughs maniacally (using the audio from "Deja Q").”

That sounds hilarious. Does this video still exist somewhere on the internet?
R.
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -6)
@Brian

A total of 19 producers were credited in this premiere episode. Just shy of the 21 or 22 credited in the Discovery Season 2 finale.
Trent
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 6:31am (UTC -6)
Jammer said: "Beyond the connection drawn through the paintings, does Picard's connection to Dahj have something to do with his assimilation into the Borg collective, and if so, how? "

To me, Picard's dreams seemed far too "helpful" to be anything other than some kind of Borg/machine trace memory. The way the episode crosscuts Picard's "helpful dreams" with Dahjs, seems to suggest a similarity between him and the synths.

Andrew said: "This may make people mad, but I'm kind of glad Data is actually dead."

Me too. Unfortunately Spiner's just too old to play an Android who doesn't age. I liked how the show quickly and relatively respectfully got rid of B4 and Data.


Booming said: "How did he know a 30 year old painting that Picard kept at the archives and that nobody accessed (Picard asked the computer)."

The impression I got was that the archives are public, like a museum, and he had clearance to rummage through Data and Picard's belongings and records. But as you say, and which I didn't notice before, the episode specifically mentions that "nobody accessed" this. That lines seems inserted to deliberately explain some future revelation.

Booming said: "What I mean is that Picard was always portrayed as being very private person who always needed his personal space. So having two people live with him who apparently do nothing else but serve him just seemed odd to me. By the way, that is a gigantic mansion Picard ... owns??"

I can't see Picard living out his final years in the family vinyard either. In my mind, someone of his personality becomes some kind of Federation ambassador or diplomat. But I nevertheless thought the episode sold well the idea that he became a kind of outcast hero to the Romulans. I liked the entire - it seems very original - and I thought their relationship was very sweet. I imagine this trio has a rich history together.

Booming said: "Really? Why would there be derelict Borg cubes? Wouldn't there be a billion people who would try to get there hands on something that valuable."

Does the episode say where the Cube is located? The impression I got was that the Romulans fought a cube in Romulan space and destroyed it. Also, does anyone know if there's a Romulan/Federation Peace Treaty in effect at this time? Does DS9 end with the Romulans and Feds at Peace? Does Nemesis? I can't remember.

Booming said: "And who is we?! It is just you who wants to see me suffer."

Mostly me and Omicron. We skype and email each other about your transgressions and plot your various trials and tribulations in the hope of achieving satisfaction.
Tim C
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 7:19am (UTC -6)
Good to have you back on deck in full flight, Jammer!
skye maidstone
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -6)
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Vastly superior to DSC (which i'll probably watch S3 of anyway just because...)

Daj/Isa Briones initially seems a far superior actor to pretty much any of the DSC main characters (except maybe Saru and i'm not including Pike since he's not really a main) - although that's a little harsh on the actors since they're given pretty much nothing to do except spout technobabble or stare at greenscreen/cgi.

Comparisons asides this almost had the cosy feeling TNG had in a lot of way to me but with a slightly darker edge (DS9) style without being delierately gritty.

I haven't been smashed hard in the face with a diversity spade yet, if it was there then good, it should be natural and ridiculously forced as in some Netflix shows.

Very promising start. 3.5 out of 4 for me. Not 4 due to a couple of jarring moments. Like someone else commented.. It seems little silly that romulans assassins can beam in and our with weapons around a major Star Fleet facility and nothing is on the security feeds or records. Daj exploded without leveling a molecule around to analyse - this may be explained later though however: Section 31 cover-up etc.

Hard to rate these really since they're not longer really serialised like TNG. I was dumbly expecting the whole series to drop on the 24th for some reason. I should pay more attention.

Always nice to see more good sci-fi about anyway. Still a little thin on the ground (I devoured The Expanse too fast).
Brian Roelofs
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 9:16am (UTC -6)
Just here to comment that the Borg may feature heavily in this series and during the poker game Data laid down five QUEENS.
Jason R.
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -6)
"People groaning and eye-rolling about too much Burnham don't even bat an eyelash at the absolutely CRINGE WORTHY title, Star Trek Picard. The ridiculosity is hilarious. "

Well you know apart from the fact that Picard is a beloved character established over seven seasons and four movies played by a legendary actor, versus Burnham being a poorly written brand new character played by a mediocre actress - sure you make a great point.
Chrome
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Jammer wrote:

“Perhaps the oddest thing about Star Trek: Picard is how it almost makes Star Trek: Nemesis into essential viewing.”

Yeah, I was a little surprised how much they used material from this and ST:2009. They even went through the trouble to reference “Blue Skies”. I think there’s enough introduction material for newcomers not to get lost, at least.

“How did (Maddox) know a 30 year old painting that Picard kept at the archives and that nobody accessed Picard asked the computer?”

Data and Maddox kept correspondence, which was mentioned in “Data’s Day”. It wouldn’t be surprising if Maddox was interested in seeing Data’s artwork.
Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
'@Jason R.

Aside from the fact that I love Picard and yet still recognize that an objective person should acknowledge that cringe worthy is cringe worthy wherever you find it, you made a great "rebuttal." Fail more entertainingly next time.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 11:19am (UTC -6)
@Trent
"Mostly me and Omicron. We skype and email each other about your transgressions and plot your various trials and tribulations in the hope of achieving satisfaction."

Don't drag me into this.

I was the one who told Booming to stop with the Orville if he doesn't like it. I still stand by that recommendation. People should not force themselves to watch stuff they don't like.

@Jason R.

"But seeing the Enterprise D and Captain Picard Day drawing pretty much sealed the deal. And yeah, it's Picard.... I feel like I've come home and found my long lost friend. They've got my money for as long as they want to put Patrick Stewart in front of the camera."

Ah. Finally an explanation for what's going on. Touche to CBS, I guess.

@Yanks
"You don't have a choice, it is canon."

Of-course I have a choice. We all do. As intelligent consumers of entertainment, it is up to us to decide what we accept and we don't.

Anyway, since nearly everybody here seems to be thrilled with new direction that Trek has taken, I'm not going to ruin your party. Enjoy.
Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Booming said: "How did he know a 30 year old painting that Picard kept at the archives and that nobody accessed (Picard asked the computer)."

IMO the Data connection is too strongly foreshadowed and too well emphasized by Picard himself for these two new androids not to be directly descended from the work of Data himself. Even if Data isn't the one who rolled these off the assembly line, somebody with access to his work definitely did. If Data knew what he wanted his daughter to look like 30 years ago, anybody directly copying his work would also know. As has been pointed out, Maddox was in continued contact with Data over the years. I wouldn't be shocked if Data willed him his technological inheritance after his death.
eekl
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
One critical question to Jammer: why haven't you reviewed Star Trek: The Animated Series?
Booming
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 12:23pm (UTC -6)
I will wait for answers but that daughter painting thing feels like retconning.
Jammer
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
TAS is on the indefinite backlog.
Jason R.
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
"Aside from the fact that I love Picard and yet still recognize that an objective person should acknowledge that cringe worthy is cringe worthy wherever you find it, you made a great "rebuttal." Fail more entertainingly next time"

Indeed, I have made it clear on this thread that I'm not objective. If they have Picard spending the next two episodes sitting on his porch filling out his taxes (do people pay taxes in the 24th century?) I will tune in.

But for the record, thus far things have been completely passable. Picard is still Picard - he hasn't shot anyone in the back, mutinied or started an interstellar war, so as far as I am concerned we are off to a good start.
Dan Davidson
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this pilot, and I think I'll mostly just leave it at that seeing as the nature of the series is that not all the answers are going to provided by episode's end.

Just a few thoughts:

~ It's awesome to see Sir Patrick back as Picard, and I think the writers did a great job showing him as a man affected by what's transpired, but not "broken" as I've seen other suggest. He's still the thoughtful, intellectual and compassionate man I remember. I trust we will *not* being seeing him taking down an army of Romulans/whatever with a phaser rifle in this series...

~ Also awesome to see Brent back as Data, and I'm glad they didn't retcon Data's death just so he can be there. Hopefully he has more appearances in store.

~ Loved the little things that touched upon the past (Ten Forward, poker, the Picard Day banner, etc.), but also that the show is clearly not going to be stuck there.

~ So much potential to being other past Trek characters into this show and see where they're at and how they might contribute to this storyline. I know several are coming up, but I find myself thinking about ones we have't seen in the previews. Hopefully the writers can find a way to do this without taking away from the main characters. With Voyager represented, I hope DS9 will find a way in too.
Brian
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
19 producers in the opening credits. I am 99% sure the payoff you all are wishing for, will not happen.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
@ Jammer

My 2 cent advice would be to resist the urge to binge them (since the episodes are only 22 minutes).I'd stretch out watching the episodes if/when you do review TAS. (like only 1 per sitting).

The repetitive soundtrack cues and recycled animation from episode to episode can occasionally distract from the story/fun.
Dave in MN
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
I do hope Booming continues watching The Orville because I really do believe he'll start feeling the Trek by the middle of Season 2.

I think it really gets old-school moral-dilemma Trekkish about then in all the best ways, who here WOULDN'T enjoy that?
Aurelius
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
I wonder what effect the "Romulan" supernova had on the Remans?
Jaxon
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
The year 2016 seemed to be a turning point for America, where it made a sharp turn away from heading for a future humanity like that depicted in Star Trek, and headed for one much more akin to the future humanity depicted in Avatar.

Looks like this show has recalibrated Starfleet accordingly, which would explain Picard's disgist.

The reporter than interviewed Picard seemed like she worked for One Federation News Network.
AR
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
First thanks to Jammer for the reviews/moderating etc of this site. Came across it just two years ago and have found it great when watching repeats of the Trek series. Even if many of the reviews are decades old, they're still interesting

Only started watching DSC this year on E4 and now Picard has started. Enjoying both.
The first episode of Picard was epic. Patrick Stewart's acting is that of an absolute legend! Liked how there was a lot to get through and the action moved quickly when away from the vineyard.

Title sequent was the only bit I didn't enjoy. Never liked VOY's titles much either. But then hey, who watches a show for the opening title sequence?
nf
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -6)
I have to say I was thrown by the Irish Romulan...that's just not something I was expecting. But maybe the Universal Translator, or whatever it is, can simulate an Irish accent, why not?

Anyway, I enjoyed it, although Picard (and by extension, Stewart, obviously) does seem quite frail.
MusicalTurtle
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -6)
I still don't have the brainpower to read through all the comments so I don't know if anyone has said it, but the twin thing didn't feel like something we were supposed to know and understand. It was the scientist who said it, in telling Picard - she knows why because she's worked on this stuff. He just didn't ask about it (or, hasn't yet; they will have to explain it at some point, hopefully along with a bit more about how positronic cloning is supposed to work).

Last night I had a dream which included Bruce Maddox from something between MoAM and Picard, but with him looking like a sightly older version of Reginald Barclay. It was ... odd. But in my real life thoughts about Maddox, I rather like that he's gone from someone the audience is not supposed to like to presumably someone the audience will very much like for having continued Data's line, in a way.

Btw from the moment Dahj activated, I just knew she was Data's daughter - no idea how at that point, of course, but I was absolutely certain of it. It would be wonderful if somehow she is based on Data's research / experiments that led up to making Lal, but I don't know if that would work with the positronic cloning. I really did appreciate that there is a physical resemblance to Lal though, which I thought was very appropriate.
J Ryan
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, just want to say thank you for the comprehensive, insightful, well-written reviews. They've become part of the whole Star Trek experience to me. Each episode I watch I go right to your site and read your review. Excellent work. I hope you are able to keep it going.
Gerontius
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
As everyone has said, it's great to have Picard back, to show how it should be done.
I loved that they didn't try to set aside the fact that age alters things, for example the way he was totally puffed out by running away up the stairs in the big fight, and not up to playing any part in it. (Contrast the way the ageing Kirk in the somewhat forgettable movie Generations bounced around the way he always had - Captain Tigger.)

I like the suggestion that's been made that at the heart of the story is going to be Picard setting out to redeem the Federation and Star Fleet so that it gets back to its true self. Succeed or fail, that would be the right way for his return to be used.

The mechanics of the plot are fun to speculate about, but basically that is just business. And it's far too early to work out much of how that is going to unfold.

As for the occasional gripe about how Star Wars should stick to just being entertaining and back off from stuff that verges on the real world, that's not how Star Wars has ever been. It's been done with a light touch, but always a key element has been an implied message about equality and fairness and a commitment to working together to achieve those things. And if the society around us has come to a fuller understanding of what those values imply, the Star Trek universe needs to take account of that.

And I'm pleased that, from the little we've seen, Picard is set to do that. Both Picard the man and Picard the series.

(As for the odd sneer about The Orville that's surfaced every now and then in the comments, I profoundly disagree. So far The Orville has held up the classic TNG way of representing and developing those values while being throughly entertaining. There's no need, and no value in being tribal about these things. There are more ways to skin a cat than one.)
Nolan
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:15pm (UTC -6)
Of course, if this show is indeed about Picard revitalizing Starfleet, it's a shame that season 3 of Discovery is all set to do what Discovery does best, by wading in and being a poor reflection of things past, as it seems to be that in the future that show jumps to, the Federation and Starfleet are naught but a distant memory, somewhat invalidating the narrative thrust Picard seems to be aiming for.

Can they please just drop that show in it's own universe so Discovery can become Dis-continuity already? Who kmows, maybe if I knew it wasn't just constantly fraking with what's been established I could enjoy it for what it is.
Ian
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:18pm (UTC -6)
"•A wounded Romulan spits acid/blood/something that disintegrates Dahj and causes a phaser to overload and blow up real good. Explanations, please. (I'm willing to wait, but I want them.)"

I didn't quite catch that. I thought he coughed up some acid (like Alien) and got some of it on Dahj which made her disintegrate. I thought she exploded but it was a phaser overload?

Lot of questions at this point for sure.
Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
@Ian

Yeah, it was the phaser that caused the explosion. Dahj did look like the compound he spit up was eating her alive. It was dissolving both her clothing and her flesh and she screamed in extreme pain, so she was probably dead either way, unless they could've beamed her straight into a medical bay or stasis chamber.
Nolan
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
@Ian and Quincy

I also got the impression that the acid was disitegrating her and the phaser, the phaser blew up, then whatever was powering her blew up due to the damage resulting from the phaser overload and caused that giant explosion that knocked Picard on his ass.

Big-badda-boom.
Mertov
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
The wounded Romulan ripped a capsule (or something) with his mouth and spit its contents to Dahj, I don't believe it was not his blood or his own spit. His face starts disintegrating too after he does that.

Jammer, great review as always. Thanks for finding the time to write one.
Quincy
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 12:47am (UTC -6)
@Nolan

I originally thought she exploded too, but watching it at 1/4 speed all of the explosion appears to me to be from the disruptor or phaser or whatever it was.
John
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 3:40am (UTC -6)
GET YOUR CONTINUITY ERRORS HERE:

Greetings! I will be your guide to all of the continuity errors present throughout the entire Star Trek: Picard series. This will be fun. Here in Remembrance, we have one minor error:

Picard is constantly seen as dreaming in this episode. He has very vivid dreams of Data and even says to one of the Romulans, "The dreams are lovely. It's the waking up part I'm beginning to resent."

And yet, in the 4th season episode of Star Trek: TNG, "Night Terrors," it is established that Picard doesn't recall his dreams ever. In that episode, telepathic aliens are killing the crew by suppressing their ability to dream (except for Troi, who has nightmares). Crusher then stumbles on to the problem and asks Picard in his ready room, "Can you recall any of your dreams as of late?" Picard responds, "I don't recall dreams." Then Crusher adds, "Most people don't. But think about it. Have you even had a dream recently?" To which Picard, once again, sternly replies, "I don't recall."

I'm hoping the writers of Star Trek: Picard remedy this continuity error in the future by having Picard say something like, "I used to never recall my dreams. But now, they are the only things that make my waking state seem real." That would be cool.

Anyway, carry on, everyone. I shall address more continuity distortions in the next episode, if any!
Jim Smith
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 5:48am (UTC -6)
Watching this for the second time, I genuinely felt a twinge of anger. Because clearly it's possible to write a decent Trek series these days. This opening episode proves it. So how come Discovery's first two seasons were so utterly *wretched* in the main?

I loved nearly everything about this opener. I loved the continuity nods. I loved the supporting cast and their characters. I loved the visuals of space and Earth. And most of all, I loved Patrick Stewart and Picard. Boy have I missed them. His shredding of the news interviewer was pitch-perfect. And speaking not pitch-perfect, Brent Spiner still has that Data voice nailed. Yeah, he's aged some. But we're seeing him in dreams, so it's easy to imagine him looking slightly 'off'.

The episode pacing was good, slow and contemplative when it needed to be before ramping up the speed and the tension when Dahj and Picard are attacked. I thought that it was going to feel a bit rushed, especially with the last couple of minutes being devoted to a teaser for the season ahead. But it felt pretty good to me in the end.

Biggest problem? Want more! :-)
wolfstar
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 6:36am (UTC -6)
nf, I was thrown by that too, especially because the Romulans just seemed like 21st century humans with prosthetic eyebrows. (I wasn't totally sure whether they were supposed to be Romulans or Vulcans at first.) I guess the idea is that Romulans (and other aliens) have been living on Earth for a while and have integrated into local communities, just like there are black and Asian Irish people who have Irish accents.
wolfstar
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -6)
@Dan Davidson - yeah, I'd love to see Kira and Bashir in season 2, as well as obviously Worf, Miles and Keiko. I think there could be room for Quark too. My dream would be if the Picard series would delve into post-DS9 material (in season 2 or 3) and involve Kasidy and Jake in some way too. I would like to see that Jake became a successful writer/journalist and wasn't destroyed by his father's loss the way he was in The Visitor.

I disagree with the idea in the reboot novels that Kira would become a vedek and Ezri would become a captain. I feel very much that both of them would stay in their profession.
Gerontius
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -6)
I can't really see that as an error, John - I know myself that Most of the time my dreams have completely slipped beyond recall by the time I have properly woken up. I'd be likely to say that I don't recall them - and yet every now and then something does come through, and occasionally I'll have quite a clear memory of a vivid dream, or a run of dreams.

I think that pattern is a pretty typical pattern many people have - as Crusher implies there. I believe there are techniques for improving dream memories some people go in for.
...
I think it would be a mistake for them to fake a way of bringing back Dhaj. I think we'll have to make do with her twin sister. The idea of androids having to come as twins seemed a bit phoney and arbitrary at first, just there to provide a way of allowig them to kill off a character for shock effect without actually losing them - but someone made a good point in picking up the established precedent with Data and Lore. I hope sister doesn't turn out to be a nasty... I also hope she'll be able to reveal something of Data's most attractive quality, his naivety and innocence, and also perhaps his tending to take things literally. That last is a characteristic you actually get with real people from time to time on the autistic spectrum - as with one character in Discovery.
Booming
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 7:41am (UTC -6)
That is not a good point. Lore was build before Data and Data was build differently than Lore (with emotions optional) for obvious reasons. There is no connection between the contrived "There have to be two" reasons and Lore and Data.

Plus they both are not that similar to Data because they both had emotions from the start.
Trent
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 8:11am (UTC -6)
MidShipManNorris said: "Dahj resembles Lal quite a bit, and has a name from Hindi, I think... (Googles)... Turns out it's closest known relative, "Dahej," in Sanskrit is "dowry." A dowry is a very old practice where the bride's father or guardian makes a payment to the groom for him to marry the daughter (as marrying a man's daughter was seen as doing them a favor at certain times in human history, since the father would no longer have to care for/feed her). Dahj also actually uses the word "OFFSPRING." I caught that."

Yes, and those who remember the TNG Episode "Offspring" will remember that the episode states that Data chose the name of his daughter, Lal, because it's the Hindi word meaning "beloved".


Booming said: "I will wait for answers but that daughter painting thing feels like retconning."

The painting doesn't appear in TNG, but the TNG episode "Offspring" has Data discussing painting with his daughter, placing her DNA into him, she has hair similar to Dahj, and we know Data paints often.

Booming said: "There is no connection between the contrived "There have to be two" reasons and Lore and Data."

The "robots come as twins" thing probably started in TOS. We had four set of android twins in "I Mudd". And in TNG, of studying androids, Data says "in any meaningful evaluation, you would require another model for a basis of comparison" implying that you'd somehow need two of the same machine when studying their behavioral evolution.

I doubt the writers remember all of this, though.
Yanks
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -6)
@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

"@Yanks
"You don't have a choice, it is canon."

Of-course I have a choice. We all do. As intelligent consumers of entertainment, it is up to us to decide what we accept and we don't."

You have a choice to watch and to like or dislike trek, but you do not determine what is and isn't canon. Neither do I.

"Anyway, since nearly everybody here seems to be thrilled with new direction that Trek has taken, I'm not going to ruin your party. Enjoy."

I certainly will.
Eric
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 9:52am (UTC -6)
Concerning the Romulan spitting acid. If you look carefully, you see that he bites on a capsule of something before spitting it out. So Romulans have not started to spit out acid, he simply bit on a capsule of acid and then spit it out a her.
Circus Man
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -6)
To build on Yanks point, I think that the term "canon" is used so loosely these days as to lose descriptive usefulness. Canon means officialdom; it's ultimately an institutional term. It means those things legitimized by the Word of God, and this is slightly more than a pure metaphor, since the very term references matters of the sacred. The Catholic Church claims among its powers the ability to degree which books of the Bible are canon, are of divine origins and which are not (Apocrypha, Deutercanon, Pseudepigrapha, etc.). Now obviously every other denomination claims these powers too and sometimes have slightly different versions of the Bible, and any individual reader of the Bible has the ability to declare "I think this part is real and this part isn't"... but in so doing, they are hypothetically going against canon. A book like "Bel and the Dragon" obviously does exist — you can go and read it. The question isn't whether or not it exists, but whether or not it contains that mysterious touch of God that gives it the status of canon. The parts where Star Trek canon is nebulous or unclear are roughly equivalent to those moments when the Bible contradicts itself; points for discussion and debate, certainly, but even engaging in this debate theoretically accepts that there is such a thing as canon and that it's worth talking about. Just as the Catholic Church claims for itself the powers to say "this is real and this is not," the people running Star Trek (or whatever eklse) do the same. We do not have to accept their authority, but as soon as we reject it, we're not talking about canon any more. Fans have a place in this canonization process (I gather that a fan poll helped (re-) canonize TAS), but it's not an all-determining one, it's one of influence and the ability to assert pressure through ones choices of consumption, etc. Saying "I don't like this" is not the same thing as saying "this is not canonical"; saying "I don't want to think about this" is not the same thing as saying "this is not canonical."
Jaxon
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -6)
"I'd love to see Kira and Bashir in season 2, as well as obviously Worf"

If it means Worf has to be one of those monsters they're trying to call Klingons now, I'd prefer they not bother.
Gerontius
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 10:19am (UTC -6)
It seems likely that the question of how whoever put together the two Data girls got to see the picture is likely to be seen as a big puzzle.

If that's Maddox a simple explanation would be that Data, being in touch with him after the trial, and helping him in his work (once the little business about taking Data to bits had been dealt with) had scanned the painting and sent him a copy. Perhaps the girls are the joint effort of Data working with Data, and trying to avoid the glitch that messed up things with Lal.

It'd be nice to have Data as having been actually involved in some way in creating his "daughters".
Ian
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -6)
Quite a few people have mentioned DS9 and have expressed hope that we'll see some DS9 characters at some point. Count me in. I hope "Picard" will figure out a sensible way for us to perhaps visit DS9 or least get some update on the DS9 side of things. What's going on now between the Federation and the Dominon, if anything? What happened with the alliance the Federation had with the Romulans during the war with the Dominion? Would love to see Garak again.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 11:48am (UTC -6)
Be careful what you wish for.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks, Circus Man

You're hinging so much on the word "canon" that it's a bit frightening. Is this a Star Trek forum, or a forum for religious zealots?

May I remind you that Star Trek is a work of fiction? Regardless of how central Trek is to our lives, it is still a work of fiction. People are free to accept or reject whatever parts they want from a work of fiction. There is no cosmic rule that says you have to accept everything or reject everything. Sure, TPTB decide what's "canon", but what we personally decide to do with that is our choice.

And I'm not willing to accept the world depicted in ST:Picard as the future of the world from TNG/DS9. I, personally, find the notion of accepting this to be an anti-thesis of what Star Trek means to me.

That's my personal choice. You're free to choose otherwise, but your personal choice does not oblige anyone else but yourself.
Circus Man
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Quite the opposite: regardless of their religious origin, these terms are founded in the vagaries of corporate ownership. Reject what you like, but the language of "canon" does not apply, and is in danger of becoming meaningless the moment you make it mean "thing I like." To quote myself, "We do not have to accept their authority, but as soon as we reject it, we're not talking about canon any more."

To further this metaphor, if creator/owner says "X is canon," if your reaction is "I don't like X," you have the ability to not watch X or not watch the entire show if you feel like it. But creator/owner can produce more operating under the premise of "X is canon" and your decisions don't affect that directly.
Keith DeCandido
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
FYI, there's a credit missing from the writer list: Kirsten Beyer, a Trek novelist, who is very much a driving force behind this show, even though she's not as famous as the male names in the writing credits......
Geekgarious
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
The concept of a canon in a fictional universe serves only to allow corporate entities to say certain stories are more important than others. The concept of canonicity began as a joke, but has become a corporate canard of immense power over the last 20 years, due largely to George Lucas and his endless and endlessly stupid revisionism. Prior to the special additions, hell, prior to the prequels, nobody cared about what was or wasn’t canon. More on the canonicity canard here.

https://www.themarysue.com/star-wars-expanded-universe-canon/
Gerontius
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
The term"canon" in this sense gets a wider use than in the context of religion. It gets used of the writings of authors and poets as well - and not merely about whether or not a piece was written by the person, but often restricted to the work they felt of value. So a writer might wish to exclude juveilia, or hackwork.

WithStar Trek its morecoplicate, basecause of all the different writers involved, in a range of media. It wouldn't be righttojust seeit as a matter of who happens townthe franchise at anytime , which could change overnight, after all. It has to be seen as meaning a kind of consensus between the creators and the fans. But consensus isn't just a matter of individual preferance.
Aurelius
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Didn't someone say in the show that there were two duplicate paintings, and Data gave Picard one of them?
Circus Man
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
The value-based version of canon (also in the broader sense of "literary canon") always seemed to me a bit different. After all, we treat a Star Trek episode like "Spock's Brain" or "Shades of Gray" as canon... any Star Trek product that bears the stamp of "canonicity" no matter how artistically worthless, while -- with select exceptions -- no novel (say, The Final Reflection) or fan film (World Enough and Time) gets to be canon, no matter how good or even influential they prove to be. In other words, I don't think canonical status should be thought of as some sort of blue ribbon. It's a descriptive term for establishing its status relative to officialdom.
Helmus
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Thank you Jammer for your review and thank you for maintaining this site. I love reading the discussions about the new Picard series. It feels for me that Star Trek is alive again.

The first episode of the Picard series was very enjoyable. I still can't believe we have Picard back and finally post Nemesis Star Trek. A few things, as already started before, could have been better. The music was a bit too much, the pace a bit too fast. But in the end, this is modern Trek. I'll get used to it.

This is a series I really hope and really want to be good. We'll see how it evolves.
Dave in MN
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
@Keith

I'm glad you gave Ms Beyer a mention. She's the one who forced the writers to go to canon camp.
R.
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
I think the writers of this new generation of Trek threw out any adherence to the established narrative history of the setting (ignoring the dreaded 'c' word for now) when (a) Vulcan got sucked into a black hole, (b) Cadet Kirk got promoted to captain of the Federation flagship in the same movie or (c) introducing a war with with Klingons in the 2250s that apparently decimated the Federation and Starfleet yet is never mentioned even once in all the chronologically antecedent material set in that same universe and timeline. Consistency has been shortchanged in favour of action.

I for one am thankful that Kirsten Beyer seems to be reining in this crop of writers somewhat. If I remember her 'Voyager' relaunch novels correctly, she's extremely good at making narrative sense of otherwise meaningless or unintelligible ideas from the show's original run. Even the spatial distortion phenomenon from that godawful episode 'Twisted' or the glowy space ruins that Kes's boyfriend shows her in 'Darkling'. The woman deserves a lot of credit.

@Jaxon

Word of God is that Worf will look like his TNG self despite this show being in the same timeline as 'Discovery'. How they'll explain that one is anyone's guess.
Becca
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 7:21pm (UTC -6)
So why didn't Dahj mention she had a sister? Well my theory is that she isn't Dahj's sister but one of another set of twins, and I think there will be three pairs because Data put down a hand of six queens in the dream poker game.
Jor-El
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
I still don't understand why they couldn't use current technology to thin Data's face and make him look younger. It's so distracting and takes me out it. Are we really expected to not remember how Data looked? Isn't this aimed at TNG fans who actually watched TNG? All I see now is old Brent Spiner playing Data with lots of makeup which is failing to make him look younger and instead is making him look creepy and ominous.
Jason R.
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -6)
Jor-El agreed - I just found puffed up Brent Spiner in makeup cringe-inducing. Given it was just a few seconds of screen time here and there it would have been one of the few times I would have applauded use of de-aging cgi.

Also I wish they'd stop using the makeup from the movies and go back to Data's look from the show. The movies made him look greasy and slimy and totally unappealing. I wish they would not have carried that over into the new series. Yuck.
JulieYBM
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
I loved it. I'm a little sad to see the novels might be ignored but it's a nice story so far and it's incredible seeing so many old actors bad.

I do wish the cinematography had been more inventive. I want smarter angles, shot rhythm and handling of dialogue scenes. They could save so much time for more important scenes by handling scenes through off-camera ADR.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 1:10am (UTC -6)
I have another question.
The people who tried to abduct Dajh obviously knew who she was/what she was. Why did they only sent three people (Does hitting the head of an android with a fist have any effect)? They didn't realize that she would kill them all easily?

The same goes for the second attack. What was the plan here? Let's try what didn't work the last time but with slightly more people thrown at the problem? If the poison guy didn't spit on her then they would have accomplished nothing. Also they shoot at her and miss several times. How fast/strong/super awesomely powerful is/was she?

And how does living tissue exist on a robot? Wouldn't that make things far more complicated?? I mean you have to create an entire system that just keeps the fleshy parts from dying off.

PS: Is the friend of Dajh just rotting away in her room (and the killed operatives, too)?? Are people on earth often found with knives sticking out of their chests? Isn't this big news? Like the giant explosion in the heart of San Francisco???

I really hope that they planed this out this time and that we don't fall down another rabbit hole of incompetency like every season of Discovery...
Latex Zebra
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 2:38am (UTC -6)
Thoroughly enjoyed that and can't wait for the next episode. I'm not going to nitpick it to death. There are very few movies or TV shows that can stand up to a rigorous dissection. Just enjoying seeing Picard on screen again and enjoying the tone.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 2:47am (UTC -6)
@Omicron
Here for us in the resistance. The redlettermedia review.
It perfectly encapsulates what bugs me about the start of the show (and you, I believe).
What is even more worrying is that anybody seems to love it. Was that the actual goal of Discovery? To lower our standards so much that everything after it would look like Shakespeare?? Now the the tired and battered fans gobble up every stale crumb out of the creators hands? :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfQdf93e63I
R.
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 6:17am (UTC -6)
Have RLM reviewed the pilot already? Wow, that was quick. The thumbnail says it all, really.

Thanks for sharing, Booming. Glory to you and your House!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 7:04am (UTC -6)
@Circus Man
"The value-based version of canon (also in the broader sense of "literary canon") always seemed to me a bit different. After all, we treat a Star Trek episode like 'Spock's Brain' or 'Shades of Gray' as canon..."

Of-course we do. Why shouldn't we?

"Shades of Gray" is a bad episode from a storytelling perspective, but it doesn't do any damage to the established Trek timeline. "Spock's Brain" is ridiculous, but its ridiculousness is contained to a single planet and a single story, so again the effect on the grand scheme of things is minimal.

And I'm all for accepting canon in ordinary circumstances, even when it comes from an occasional bad episode. That's the point of having canon in the first place: To serve as a default option. The default option is that we accept canonical references as "truth" (whatever "truth" could possibly mean when we're dealing with fictional universe).

But this doe not mean that we should feel forced to accept everything automatically. I'm sorry, but there comes a point where common sense should trump any and all "canon" considerations.

And it is up to each individual fan to decide where he believes that point is. There is no obligation to follow what you call "the fan consensus", because Trek fandom isn't some kind of Borg collective. I know that there are fans who refuse to accept ST:Enterprise or even DS9 as part of the Trekverse "history", and that - too - is a legitimate choice.

@Booming
"What is even more worrying is that anybody seems to love it. Was that the actual goal of Discovery? To lower our standards so much that everything after it would look like Shakespeare??"

I guess that Discovery is part of the reason why ST:P seems to shine so brightly in the eyes of many fans. But the main explanation of this mystery has to do with two words:

Patrick. Stewart.

That's pretty much it, in a nutshell. This combination of a magnificent actor, an iconic TNG character, and the fact that Classic Trek fans were given absolutely nothing for the past 15 years.

It also helps that TPTB kept the more blatant NuTrek elements to a minimum. As a stand-alone TV production, the ST:P pilot is actually pretty good. Sure the science is terrible (even by Trek standards), the notion that the 24th-century Federation would go bonkers after a 9/11 style attack is ridiculous, and the mystery boxes are obvious. But as a viewing experience, it's an enjoyable ride carried by an excellent actor. So it's easy to forget the flaws, especially when people don't really want to think about those flaws in the first place.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 7:38am (UTC -6)
Yeah it is a little strange how anybody was up in arms about "I like science" Discovery mushrooms but just accepts that the Romulan sun went supernova without warning? Or that it brought down the entire Romulan Empire or that in Nemesis it was shown as a yellow dwarf (cannot cause a supernova) or that there were only 900 million people on Romulus?? *passes out*

It's true though if it wasn't Star Trek it would be ok. It really feels like they burn down the last remnants of Star Trek's utopian vision.

Wouldn't it have been nice if it started with the supernova and then we would have seen how the Federation reacts to that, helping a desperate people.

Good that Gene Roddenberry is dead, that sweet old pervert. :)

Well... let us just hope that the Rorg cube won't be used against the Federation because that would be a really weird message.
Federation helps refugees, rescues them, becomes kind of racist (and hardcore anti synthetic) in the process and then gets attacked by those refugees which then leads to a mortal struggle Federation against refugees.

*starts to pray* Oh Prophets save us!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:04am (UTC -6)
@Jaxon
"The year 2016 seemed to be a turning point for America, where it made a sharp turn away from heading for a future humanity like that depicted in Star Trek, and headed for one much more akin to the future humanity depicted in Avatar.

Looks like this show has recalibrated Starfleet accordingly, which would explain Picard's disgust."

This is kinda strange, though.

It was always a Trek postulate that things would have to become much worse (Eugenic Wars, Bell Riots, World War III) before they can become better. None of it ever bled into Trek's vision of the 24th century, because it was assumed that by that time humanity managed to overcome those problems.

So why do TPTB feel the need to "recalibrate" the 24th century now, all of a sudden? Are Trump and Brexit scarier than a global nuclear war? The lack of perspective that the showrunners are exhibiting here is positively funny. It's like they've completely abandoned all hope for humanity, just because reality has gotten a little rough.
Gerontius
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -6)
It's a minor point, but I'm puzzled by why anyone should see the fact that Dhaj never mentioned she had a twin sister as significant. Do people generally always tell people they are talking to about what siblings they have or don't have? It's quite as normal for her not to mention the twin as it would be to mention her.

We don't get told everything at once, and we don't know more than we have been told - that's as true of Star Trek as it is in the real world. If we are told there were 900 million Romulans to be saved, that needn't mean there were only 900 million Romulans in the first place. The same kind of things are true about quite a few of the inconsistencies that have been picked on, it'd be perfectly possible to come up with unmentioned things that would remove the inconsistency, and generally it just wouldn't be worth doing that. So if those kind of things don't mess up the story, forget about it, get a life.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -6)
@ Gerontius
No need to get defensive. It could also be that it is just bad writing. Have you seen Discovery? It was produced by the same guy who made ST:P, by the way.
Circus Man
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:48am (UTC -6)
"I know that there are fans who refuse to accept ST:Enterprise or even DS9 as part of the Trekverse "history", and that - too - is a legitimate choice."

I'm hung up on two words here: "accept" and "legitimate." As I've repeatedly said, people's choices of consumption are their own. So it's "legitimate" not to watch or like those shows, just as it's legitimate not to watch or like Star Trek period. I'm just not really sure where this discussion interfaces with canonicity which, as I keep emphasizing, is the terrain of the people who own the thing. Feel like rejecting the authority of CBS or whomever else to declare "canon" -- go to it. If you further the religious metaphor, that would be called heresy. "Heretic" does have a nice ring to it.

I will say that declaring (for instance) "I accept TNG but not DS9 as canon" -- which in the weird terrain of accepting that some of these fictional event are more fictional than others -- feels a bit Quixotic, sort of like Grampa Simpson brandishing his US flag with 49 stars: "I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah." The joke of course being that Missouri exists both geographically and as a recognized political entity whether or not he "recognizes" it. It's rather the same with whatever bits of Star Trek you choose not to "recognize," and it has naught to do with "canonicity."

That said, I don't disagree too strongly with this statement: "But this doe not mean that we should feel forced to accept everything automatically. I'm sorry, but there comes a point where common sense should trump any and all "canon" considerations." Just as, even if one accepts that the Catholic Bible is the true word of God, that doesn't necessarily preclude discussing and debating and examining it.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 9:54am (UTC -6)
"So why do TPTB feel the need to "recalibrate" the 24th century now, all of a sudden? Are Trump and Brexit scarier than a global nuclear war? The lack of perspective that the showrunners are exhibiting here is positively funny. It's like they've completely abandoned all hope for humanity, just because reality has gotten a little rough."

Ha! Because the original timeline merely had global nuclear armageddon, post atomic horror etc... but in retrospect that was naively optimistic?
Patrick D
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 10:07am (UTC -6)
Trek reflects the times. You see a lot more Cold War stories in TOS/TNG than you ever see in Voyager. If the writers want to comment on terrorism and immigration in Trek, they need to set up some conflict in the Trekverse that’s similar. It’s not like Star Wars where it’s all fantasy - Trek by nature is interested in talking about current events through allegory.
Elderberry
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Another vote of thanks to Jammer.

In TNG 'Inheritance' it is explicitly stated that Data has an ageing programme, so a combination of that and Picard's dream-consciousness presenting him with a friend still the same number of years younger than himself seem enough to explain the older look. I have no problem with the dreaming - the comments in TNG 'Night Terrors' were specific to that situation - no-one was dreamng, and everyone was going nuts as a result.

First Contact opened with a Picard dream-sequence - the opening scene of this felt like a reference to that as well as to our memories of TNG.

My theory about the Discovery Klingons is that they are all products of the fashion for intense cosmetic surgery predicted as a response to the Augment virus in Enterprise. TOS Klingons were out-and-proud virus survivors who spurned surgery. Worf at al are natural Klingons.

I'm still curious to see whether this twins thing is in some way influenced by the Bynars.
Bold Helmsman
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -6)
@OmnicronThetaDeltaPhi
The utopian worldview we see in TOS and TNG didn't appear in a vacuum. It's a direct mirror to the mindset that the United States was in during that time period when those shows were made. People believed that the future could be like that because they thought that they themselves were on that same path. The problem is that same worldview was ignoring a lot of the issues present back then.

In the current day and age, it simply feels unearned for Star Trek to act as if humans have evolved beyond the issues we're seeing in Picard when we haven't done it in real life.
Drea
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:55am (UTC -6)
If Trek has always been about allegory and social commentary, let's consider the ramifications of this allegory.

Star Trek: Picard posits that a resource-rich nation faced with refugees fleeing danger has a moral responsibility to build whatever ships necessary to rescue them and bring them in. Not simply to allow them in should they somehow come, but to rescue and bring home, en masse and pro-actively. Failure to do so is a betrayal of ideals and responsibility. Even if the refugees belong to a government that has long been an enemy.

Can we imagine this proposition in the United States or Europe right now? Real-life debates center around what proportion of refugees to keep out when despite the odds they make the journey on their own.

Starfleet ceased to be Starfleet because it didn't rebuild its evacuation boats after the first fleet's destruction. That's the fall from grace that ST:P depicts. It's exactly where we saw the Federation heading with the moral compromises of the Dominion war and the enslavement of synthetic people as seen toward the end of Voyager.

And it's still worlds better than anything happening today. If we scrutinize the allegory of ST:P, it raises the moral bar on our political debates. I have previously argued as if removing internal barriers against refugees were adequate, and now I will argue that our wealth (not to mention our hand in creating many contemporary crises) obligates us to send boats to lands with fleeing refugees and bring as many people as want to come.
Dave
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
I don't see this speculation above, but I may have missed it above. Apologies if this is a re-tread.

Are we sure that Dahj's "death" wasn't some elaborate deception? This is my speculation, as I have seen nothing beyond the first episode. The kidnappers/Romulans had a transporter lock on the guy who got thrown over the side of the steps to beam him out before he even hit the ground, so we know that technology was there and functioning. Could the overloading phasor have been a cover to make Picard and everyone else think she was dead? Maybe this wasn't their first plan to kidnap Dahj, but it was an outcome that they had planned for if they couldn't capture her again, like they failed to accomplish in Boston.

Absent this, I agree with Jammer that to build her character up and then have her die was a problematic part of this episode. I did enjoy it, but I am hoping something more was going on there.
Dave in MN
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
I have to say that I'm agree with the assertion that Starfleet abandoning it's core principles is slightly problematic.

Yes, we've seen badmirals before who sold out their ethics in the name of expediency, but 99% of the Starfleet officers we have seen since TNG have echoed the Federation's principles in words and deeds. I do find it hard to believe that the Federation (and all those officers we've previously seen) would completely abandon their moral ethos in the span of 18 years.

It feels more like the writers are trying to score a political point than actually embracing realistic storytelling. At least that's the impression I got upon rewatching.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Yeah there is a difference between DS9 where the Federations goodness was tested and ST:P's Federation where it has succumbed to xenophobia and close-mindedness. This is just not the vision Roddenberry had in mind.

We also have to remember that the Federation is far more than earth or Humans. Did all the other more than 100 species like the Vulcans, Denobulans and so on just agreed that 80000 dead people on Mars and a destroyed shipyard is too much bear? Let's all just ban synthetics and abandon the desperate Romulans?
Drea
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
@Dave:

"Are we sure that Dahj's "death" wasn't some elaborate deception? This is my speculation, as I have seen nothing beyond the first episode. The kidnappers/Romulans had a transporter lock on the guy who got thrown over the side of the steps to beam him out before he even hit the ground, so we know that technology was there and functioning. Could the overloading phasor have been a cover to make Picard and everyone else think she was dead?"

Considering that their objective at the start of the show is clearly to abduct her, and not to kill her which they could have easily done, it's very strange that they would then shift plans to killing her so quickly. We don't know if that phaser explosion was as destructive as it looked--it only knocked Picard back, after all. Maybe Dahj has some shielding around her positronic brain, which the abductors now have.

I have to agree with Jammer that building connection with Dahj only to apparently kill her in the first episode was the only significant narrative misstep. It's like Picard is Dixon Hill, with a mysterious woman who comes to him for help dying at the start of the story, but she has a twin sister. It's a dime-novel plot twist that doesn't serve us well.
Elderberry
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
The Federation (or at least the Earth end of the Federation) has always been closed-minded about genetic engineering as a not particularly rational reaction to a long-ago war. Julian Bashir's story, of a child so damaged that he couldn't tell the difference between a tree and a house, being forbidden treatment, and his parents being criminalised for seeking it, is an ugly one that goes unchallenged. There's a dark heart there and always has been. I don't have a problem with that limiting mindset extending itself to synths, or to Romulans, after the wars with the Borg and the Dominion.
Booming
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
@Elderberry
That is really not the same. Bashir was just unintelligent and the parents wanted a better kid. It's one thing to say we don't want superhumans as to not turn Human existence into a giant race for the ultimate superhuman and quite another to say "Romulans are less valuable than Humans." and "Synthetics aren't allowed to exist".
Quincy
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
I'll just leave this here:

"Am I bothering you, captain?"
"No, please Mr. Worf, come in."
"It is over. Admiral Henry has called an end to any more hearings on this matter."
"That's good."
"Admiral Satie has left the Enterprise."
"We think we've come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, it's all ancient history. And then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again."
"I believed her. I-I HELPED her! I did not see what she was."
"Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged."
"I think, after yesterday, people will not be so ready to trust her."
"Maybe. But she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish – spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY."

- Worf and Picard, The Drumhead
Yanks
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Great review Jammer.

As to the Romulan spiting that green burning goo stuff... you see him bite what appears to be like the old cyanide tablets from the cold-war days just before he spits.

So many questions and a whole season of 'Picard' to reveal them!! :-)
Gerontius
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 4:57pm (UTC -6)
Defensive, Boomer? Hardly, that surely implies feeling under attack. I was merely commenting on the tendency we can sometimes have to think that gaps in what we have been told have to indicate something, when at most they leave room for speculation. It's a tendency that reading detective stories can encourage in us, and it's one of the key ways detective story writers set out to mislead us.

I liked Drea's point about how, in some ways, what we see as the fall from grace of the Federation and Starfleet in regard to the Romulan refugees still leaves them far ahead of our societies in ethical terms.

Cynicism about the possibilities of making things better may be a fashion, but in no way is it a necessary response to a recognition that in someways things might be getting worse. I'd like to hope that Picard might help in redeeming the time.
Bold Helmsman
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN
So Section 31 can run around without transparency, and there can be what, dozens of shady admirals in Starfleet but refusing to help refugees is where you draw the line about what Starfleet officers can tolerate? Those things don't exist in a vacuum, you know? If Starfleet was as utopian as people think, those shady admirals would have been drummed out long ago.

@Quincy
I was thinking of The Drumhead myself after watching that episode. I'm going to recommend all my Trekkie friends watch that one before watching Picard.
Gerontius
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
I don't understand that this notion that the Federation or Starfleet has ever been seen as perfect, which is what is evidently meant when people use the term "utopian" here.

Actually "utopian" has never meant perfect, just better. Compared to previous times the way we live today could be seen as "utopian", but we all know they are a long way short of anything like perfect ( and in some ways worse rather than better). But we have got rid of a lot of really nasty stuff that must have seemed would be there for ever. And yet, as this Star Trek reminds us that can't be taken for granted.
Dave in MN
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 7:57pm (UTC -6)
A few Section 31 officers and a dozen admirals out of how many hundreds of Federation characters over the many series?

Yeah, I'm comfortable saying 1% (or less) of all the Federation officials we saw over 700+ episodes were "bad".
Quincy
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
@Bold Helmsman

Glad someone else referred back to this. This absurd notion that the Federation is supposed to be all rainbows and butterflies and any story that deviates from that rosy picture is somehow bankrupt needs to stop.

Unless humans change fundamentally into something other than human by way of either genetic evolution or genetic engineering then these dangers of xenophobic hysteria and other stupidities will ALWAYS be with us.

Only ETERNAL vigilance as Picard indicates in TNG's Drumhead will keep it in check and prevent opportunists from taking control. It's an ongoing struggle that will never end, until humans end. Anybody claiming anything else is full of it.
ovaduh
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Nicholas Meyer recounted a story where Gene Roddenberry erupted after a screening of Star Trek VI (it may have been a different Roddenberry eruption but I can’t recall); Roddenberry was in disbelief that his beloved Star Trek characters were racist. Meyer said this is as it should be because 1) nothing in real-life history or logic suggests humans will evolve past racism; and 2) Trek itself never explained how it became that greed and bigotry were eliminated; how humans no longer succumbed to revenge; and how money no longer motivated them and instead humans just decided to work for the betterment of humanity. Picard shows that recognizable human behavior persists into the 24th century and has been criticized on those grounds. Please.
Brad Hinds
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
@ovaduh

On the contrary, I would argue that Trek has explained quite convincingly how greed has been - well, I wouldn't say eliminated because that would be a stretch, but certainly tempered. For one, the humans of the 24th century live in a post-scarcity society in which everything they could need or want is readily accessible. How would greed as we perceive it even manifest in such an environment?

@Quincy

How dismissive and myopic. Human failings are not immutable. They are not fundamentally encoded in our DNA - they emerge from the many inadequacies and imperfections of our socio-economic structures. Who are you to say that in a future as depicted in Star Trek where the nature of those structures has shifted radically would not also radically change humans and for the better?
Bold Helmsman
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in MN
Problem is, that 1% represents the very top of Starfleet, the guys who are shaping policy and have widespread discretion to do as they please. They have power that is wildly out of proportion with their numbers.

@Quincy
Amen. I really hope people will stop with the whole "Sekrit Klub" nonsense, but like those other stupidities you mentioned, it'll be with us forever, I suppose.
Brad Hinds
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Has anyone actually posited a serious argument that the Federation is or should be "rainbows and butterflies"? I find this questionable at best and reminds me of Sisko's equally specious remark in DS9 that Earth in the 24th century is a paradise.

I find it strange how some of you are quite hostile to even the faintest sense of optimism or idealism, especially the kind exemplified throughout Trek. What is it about it that triggers you so?
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:10am (UTC -6)
Have you seen Star Trek?? Do you know what Star Trek is??
Star Trek is a vision of the future created by Gene Roddenberry. In this vision humanity has grown past such things as greed or racism or serious interpersonal conflict. It was created as a positive vision of the future were our goals are technological advancements, peace and understanding.

The Federation portrayed in Picard has barely anything in common with that. Of course, you can say that Roddenberry is naive or an idiot for thinking that humanity could so fundamentally change it's ways that it basically becomes incapable of racism or other negative impulses but that was the vision he had.

What you want is not Star Trek. What you want is the fucked up version that writers whose names we don't remember developed after Roddenberry's death because they found it dumb or limiting. These writers don't have a grand vision of the future. They just want to write interesting stories.

Look at this quote from Ronald D. Moore: "By the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did 'credits' and that was that. Personally, I've always felt this was a bunch of hooey, but it was one of the rules and that's that."
He always felt that this was a bunch of hooey...

The moment Roddenberry died they started to rip Star Trek apart and turned it into some gritty reflection of the present more similar to Battlestar Galactica than actual Star Trek.

We are living in sad times when people are apparently incapable of even imagining a future were humanity has achieved a higher state of being.
Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 3:09am (UTC -6)
There is no inconsistency between hoping , or even believing, that if we could change the way things run in ways that drive us to act worse than we really are, we might escape some of the terrible ways we can behave towards each other would be less likely to emerge, and accepting that we won't be flawless.

Out ancestors died in their thousands from smallpox. The idea of a world in which it was no more would have seemed crazy, it would have been called "utopian" in the sense that it was impossible. And yet that's the world we live in. And of course that doesn't mean that there won't be other diseases to deal with, and fresh diseases.

The idea of a society where medical treatment is available to everybody for free would have been seen as cloud cuckoo land by my ancestors, and it still is in many places - but I live in a society where we have that. And of course that doesn't mean things are perfect - we have delays sometimes and people, make mistakes and so forth. When I needed a quadruple heart bypass a few years ago the one thing my family didn't need to worry about was finding the money to pay for it to be done.
Trent
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 5:55am (UTC -6)
The choice to veer away from Roddenberry's hyper-idealistic vision has always been a choice by individual writers who philosophically, politically or artistically hated or felt strangled by the vision. And its always been an unnecessary choice; any episode can make its same point without the Federation being portrayed as corruptible or corrupted.

I've always found it more imaginative and skillful to write a good, dramatic script which bought in fully to Roddenberry at his most idealistic.

Another irony is that writers who buy into Roddenberry's vision, and respect it, have a tendency to write "battle for the soul of the Federation!" scripts which celebrate this vision; so for decades now you've had the Federation dirtied up to make the point that it's cleanliness is something worth celebrating. But you don't get much scripts wallowing in this idealism, or treating it as a given, or treated as something so normal, logical and normalized as to be banal.
gooz
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 6:29am (UTC -6)
An almost perfect episode. The only thing missing, and something I'm hoping will be addressed in later episodes, is to establish as fact and canon that a divorced Keiko was living on Utopia Planitia with her new husband (Neelix) when it was attacked and that they died horrific, painful deaths. This would be a great backstory for bringing back Miles, unhampered by his annoying wife. Having the promise of no more Neelix would be bonus.

Also, super happy that no Klingons made it to this episode. I'm so over their BS culture and HONOR!, especially after DS9 and Discovery.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 7:01am (UTC -6)
"We are living in sad times when people are apparently incapable of even imagining a future were humanity has achieved a higher state of being."

For the record, apparently even Gene Rodenberry couldn't imagine it either, certainly not in the original series. There were numerous examples in TOS of greed, corruption, prejudice, being very much alive in human societies. It was only in Season 1 of TNG that we saw the rainbows and unicorns version of this with godawful episodes like The Neutral Zone or The Last Outpost. And this nonsense died with Season 1, rightly so. Indeed, now that I think of it, even in Season 1 they weren't committed to this - remind me, what species were the rape gangs on Tasha's homeworld?

And yeah, it's hooey to imagine a world where humans, who basically talk, act and think like 20th century people, absent genetic engineering, have somehow manufactured a society where "greed" and "bigotry" are abolished. This isn't just utopian; it's IMPOSSIBLE. It's akin to abolishing headaches a la that ridiculous comment by Crusher in The Battle.
Bold Helmsman
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -6)
@Brad Hinds
Speaking for myself, I have no problem with optimism in Star Trek, or in any kind of media at all. What I have an issue with people behaving as if any version of Star Trek that does not show the Federation as a utopia where humans have outgrown their baser natures isn't really Star Trek.
James White
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
@Jason R

A "higher state of being" is not the same as a utopian, or perfect, state of being. Booming's point relates to the overall vision of the future, not whether certain, imperfect components of this vision still exist. What's more interesting is whether Gene himself would gravitate to a more flawed vision of our future, were he still alive today.
Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -6)
You can't abolish having headaches. But you can stop giving yourself a headache by banging your head on the wall.

There's nothing inevitable about stuff like racism. It gets drummed into people by the society in which they live.
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 10:32am (UTC -6)
@Jason
"There were numerous examples in TOS of greed, corruption, prejudice, being very much alive in human societies."
By Federation people or the Federation itself?

" remind me, what species were the rape gangs on Tasha's homeworld?"
Turkana IV is not a Federation planet. That is kind of the point of her backstory.

@Bold Helmsman
"What I have an issue with people behaving as if any version of Star Trek that does not show the Federation as a utopia where humans have outgrown their baser natures isn't really Star Trek."

Then you have an issue with Star Trek which is universe created by Roddenberry with certain rules in mind. One of them being that the Federation is a humanist utopia. If you want Game of Thrones in space then you can call that Star Trek but it certainly has nothing to do with what the guy who created Star Trek had in mind. You can of course say that you don't give a shit about what Roddenberry wanted you just want a dark and gritty tale about a racist empire and put the label Federation on it. Let's turn the Federation into a slaver dictatorship where cannibalism is not only allowed but encouraged and the mirror universe is like old and boring Trek like Roddenberry had in mind. Why the fuck not? Apparently Star Trek can be anything and at the same time nothing.
Baron Samedi
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
This discussion shows that it's easy to get caught up in the utopia as a given but not really consider the hard work and principled stances all the show's captains had to take to make it a utopia. Someone mentioned Star Trek VI above - an excellent example of Kirk *overcoming* his bias towards Klingons. The work Kirk takes to get over his human bigotry can inspire people in our time who might be in Kirk's shoes right now. If Kirk just started out as an "I love all and accept all aliens" type of character because he lives in a utopia, there'd be no Trek message left to give.
Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
@Brad Hinds said:
"How dismissive and myopic. Human failings are not immutable. They are not fundamentally encoded in our DNA - they emerge from the many inadequacies and imperfections of our socio-economic structures. Who are you to say that in a future as depicted in Star Trek where the nature of those structures has shifted radically would not also radically change humans and for the better?"


Such a straw man. If I reference evolution that is the very definition of mutable. In any case, human failings are the TENDENCY to engage in vice and are derived from human nature. Pretty sure that if you look close enough at the DNA you'll the find root cause of every one of our tendencies. This has to be the case, because vices were around BEFORE the invention of socio-economic structures. What of socio-economic structure exists in a caveman that knocks a cave woman over the head and drags her back to his cave to rape her? What else is driving that caveman besides his instincts, which are dependent on his nature? Can we rise above it? Certainly. Why the hell would I post a Trekian quote that says:

"Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY."

If that weren't the case? What the hell would vigilance do to something that was "immutable"? Will vigilance cure you of sickle cell? Cystic fibrosis?

So when I say "these DANGERS of xenophobic hysteria and other stupidities will ALWAYS be with us. " What exactly am I talking about? Well lets look up the definition of "danger" and it will immediately be clear that I'm talking about the same thing Picard was talking about:

dan·ger /ˈdānjər/ noun: the POSSIBILITY of suffering harm or injury.
Usage: "his life was in danger"
Synonyms: peril, hazard, RISK, jeopardy, endangerment, imperilment

Human failings will always be with us. The tendency of humans to succumb to vices will always be with us, unless we become something more than human. Better socio-economic structures can provide a framework to produce better humans, who fall victim less to human failings, but "Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY" if we are to stave off the dangers that we WILL CONTINUALLY face.

So here "Who are you to say that in a future as depicted in Star Trek where the nature of those structures has shifted radically would not also radically change humans and for the better?" PICARD was the one who said it best. You need to go ask Picard this question, not me.

If you were correct, once you had your so-called perfect socio-economic structure, you could throw vigilance in the toilet and forget about it, because "radically changed" humans don't require any vigilance to keep them in check. It would be smooth sailing from then on. Tell me you don't really believe that. Picard sure as hell didn't.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
@ Bold Helmsman

Thinking back, "good" admirals still far outnumber "bad" ones. How many walk-on/bit part admirals did we actually see over the series?

As far as Section 31 goes, that was not also part of the Trek mythos during Roddenberry's lifetime .... it is obviously part of canon, but not part of the creators intention nor any of the Star Trek before 1996. Another point: Section 31 isn't is beyond top secret and the dialog has clearly stated it has to be secret because the Federation wouldn't tolerate it if it were known to actually exist.

I also question how the Federation has firmly set far-reaching legal precedents about Data and The Doctor's rights, yet somehow that's all negated when some robots go rogue (or did they? bwa ha ha!) B4 committed no crime, yet he gets turned off and disassembled because of a galactic treaty?! How is that legal or fair? How can long-lived species like Vulcans and Trill go along with such a massive realignment of what it means to be in the Federation?

One last point: the practical nature of televised entertainment is such that scripts generally aren't about "good" admiral guest characters: they make lousy antagonists.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:31pm (UTC -6)
"Turkana IV is not a Federation planet. That is kind of the point of her backstory."

Ummm, so the "evolved human" is only evolved so long as he lives within UFP borders?

I mean in most first world countries today starvation is practically unheard of. Do we draw an arbitrary line around the first world and declare the inhabitants "evolved" because they defeated hunger (while inhabitants in the third world continue to starve?)
Top Hat
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
Also Turkana IV was a “failed colony.” Evidently human colonies apparently sometimes collapse into war torn hellholes. According to Roddenberry.
Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@Brad Hinds
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
"Has anyone actually posited a serious argument that the Federation is or should be "rainbows and butterflies"? I find this questionable at best and reminds me of Sisko's equally specious remark in DS9 that Earth in the 24th century is a paradise.

I find it strange how some of you are quite hostile to even the faintest sense of optimism or idealism, especially the kind exemplified throughout Trek. What is it about it that triggers you so?"

Well, Trent just made this claim:

"The choice to veer away from Roddenberry's hyper-idealistic vision has always been a choice by individual writers who philosophically, politically or artistically hated or felt strangled by the vision. And its always been an unnecessary choice; any episode can make its same point without the Federation being portrayed as corruptible or corrupted."

According to Trent, a writer portraying the Federation as something that is "corruptible" is "an unnecessary choice." Corruptible simply means capable of being corrupted. We are to believe from Trent that the Federation is incapable of even the possibility of being corrupted, presumably because they have achieved that perfect socio-economic structure you mentioned.

How is that not properly described as "rainbows and butterflies"?

Hostile to optimism? No. Idealism? It depends. Is every Federation character on screen an idealist? Which ideals? Are there no variations left in Federation ideals? How do we even have conflict under such conditions and therefore a story? Federation vs. the Universe? Really?!?
Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -6)
"You can't abolish having headaches. But you can stop giving yourself a headache by banging your head on the wall.

There's nothing inevitable about stuff like racism. It gets drummed into people by the society in which they live."

But you'd have to have brain damage from banging your head on a wall for you to then make the claim that the fact that you quit banging your head on a wall magically made you immune to headaches.

The basis of racism is just prejudice. Prejudice exists because human beings categorize as a natural function of the way our brains evolved to deal with 1) the uncertainty and 2) the danger inherent in LIVING. If I evolved in a jungle, I wouldn't live long enough to pass on my genes if I sat around wondering if the big creature that kind of looks like the panther that tried to eat me last week were going to try to eat me, as opposed to automatically just running or hiding or fighting if necessary. The people alive today all descended from ancestors who didn't bother asking if a leopard was different than a panther or a lion. Nuance to a large degree doesn't matter in the wild.

We all have the instincts of our forebears. We don't magically lose those instincts just because we invent better socio-economic structures to live in. And since racism is derived from our instinct to trust that which is familiar and distrust that which is not, then unless you have something continuously fighting against it/ keeping it in check, then yes it would inevitably pop up somewhere in your society.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
"Also Turkana IV was a “failed colony.” Evidently human colonies apparently sometimes collapse into war torn hellholes. According to Roddenberry."

Well yes, a human colony.

The point being that if you're prepared to take a marker and draw an arbitrary line on a map excluding "failed" states from the picture then we don't need to wait for the 24th century to realize utopia - just draw a line around countries like Sweden where no one starves and everyone gets free healthcare and call it a day and say humanity has eradicated hunger and provides free healthcare to all!

I thought the whole point of the Rodenberrian vision was that humans don't let humans starve / die in wars / live in depravity. If not, then how is his "utopia" different from today, other than having a galactic map of planets instead of a global map of countries?
Top Hat
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
And one would assume that if the future of humanity is so perfect, no colony would ever fail... and if it did, the people would peacefully reintegrate into the Federation rather than telling it to GTFO.
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
@Quincy
"Human failings will always be with us."
Yes but there aren't only Humans in the Federation. It is not just that Humans have evolved and created systems that minimize negative impulses. There are also live in harmony with other species who all influence each other in a positive way. You can find that stupid but that was the vision of Roddenberry.

I mean to think that the Betazoids, the Andorians, the Risians, the Bolians and of all people the VULCANS went along with xenophobia towards Romulans?

So ok Star Trek is now about how a terrorist attack and a refugee crisis can turn the Federation into a xenophobic state with Fox news and all. So basically the USA of today. Hurray. How interesting. So relevant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H_zeJ2c3Eg

I guess I will have to like the Orville. What else can I do. Discovery is terribly written and they had that "let's blow up kronos" plot but apart from that they at least didn't mess up the core of Star Trek. That the Federation is a force for good (again not counting almost committing genocide).

I now await the new episodes.
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
@ Quincy
"And since racism is derived from our instinct to trust that which is familiar and distrust that which is not, then unless you have something continuously fighting against it/ keeping it in check, then yes it would inevitably pop up somewhere in your society."
I know that you think social science is witch craft but saying that racism comes from instincts is so far off it is basically wrong. For example. Most of European history dark skinned people weren't considered less valuable Humans. The Romans didn't consider black skinned people less and used them in almost all ranks. One of the holy wise men in the bible was described as black (Balthazar). Racism towards black people developed during the last 400 years which has certain reasons but it has nothing to do with instincts.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
To play devil's advocate here I don't think the first episode gives us enough context to conclude that the UFP has fallen into darkness to the extent that some are suggesting. While banning synthetics is worrisome there's no indication that existing synthetics are being persecuted or enslaved (or would be) just yet. For whatever reason synthetics are seen as dangerous and should simply not be created in the first place. I don't see this as radically different from the ban on genetic enhancement which is at this point canon in the series since at least DS9.

As for the Romulans that is a tougher one. We know that Starfleet was prepared to evacuate the refugees but their rescue fleet was destroyed (by the synthetics). Picard doesn't tell us the whole story in that brief snippet but we have to assume that the decision to abort the plan was as much about logistics and resources as it was some callous bigotry to the Romulans, or else the UFP would not have tried in the first place.

Bottom line I don't see anything here that fundamentally breaks the status quo from TNG / DS9 / Voyager era Trek - at least not yet. Frankly, Turkana IV from season 1 TNG is a bigger blow to Rodenberry's alleged vision when you stop and think about it!

Heck since Picard's vision of humanity from TNG season 1 was so clearly at odds with the evidence going back to TOS perhaps he is the one who was deluded all along? Maybe his disillusionment is a result of his eyes opening to what was always true rather than some new development in the last 20 years.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
"I know that you think social science is witch craft but saying that racism comes from instincts is so far off it is basically wrong. For example. Most of European history dark skinned people weren't considered less valuable Humans. The Romans didn't consider black skinned people less and used them in almost all ranks. One of the holy wise men in the bible was described as black (Balthazar). Racism towards black people developed during the last 400 years which has certain reasons but it has nothing to do with instincts."

And if his claim was that *anti black* racism specifically was inherent to human nature you'd come close to having a point.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
No Trek series ever could be called "rainbows and butterflies".

The optimistic vision of Star Trek slowly evolved and matured over 40 years, from the first baby steps of TOS to the impressive-yet-somewhat-naive view of TNG to the coming-of-age inspection of DS9 to the "let's show an intermediate step between present day and our vision" of ENT.

It was a wonderful and complicated process, and it most certainly had room for varying degrees of "grittiness" (as long as this was in a proper context). People who confuse Trek's general optimism and idealism with "rainbows and butterflies" simply don't understand what Trek used to be about.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

"I thought the whole point of the Rodenberrian vision was that humans don't let humans starve / die in wars / live in depravity. If not, then how is his "utopia" different from today, other than having a galactic map of planets instead of a global map of countries?"

The difference is that situations like that of Turkana IV are not the norm in the 24th century. One failed colony does not demonstrate a trend.

Also, remember that the planet willfully severed all contact with the Federation and threatened to attack all incoming ships. So what would you expect the Feds to do? Barge in and declare a war on the locals?

Maybe that would be the right thing to do. Maybe the fact that the Feds won't go in guns blazing and save everyone is a flaw. But it's a flaw that makes sense in the context of what we know about the Federation of that era. It makes sense that a society which is extremely pacifist and abhors conflict at all costs, will hesitate to help a colony that would openly attack them if they tried.
Cletus
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
"One of them being that the Federation is a humanist utopia."

And yet we have many examples of Federation officers, leaders and orgs not living up to that ideal, off top of head
TNG: Drumhead, Measure of a Man, Offspring, I Borg/Descent, First Duty, Pegasus, Insurrection
TOS: Undiscovered Country
VOY: The hologram eps, Equinox
ENT: quite a few but ignoring since it's pre-Fed so is often dismissed
DS9: Too many to list, but ignoring since this is often dismissed as non-trek as well.

With now every story being season-long, I view Picard 1st ep as the first 10 minutes of a traditional Trek episode. In start of those eps we usually got the bad admiral or fed directive, by end of ep we got the optimistic/cautionary message. I imagine same will hold true for PIC by end of 10th ep.

And even with this episode in isolation, it is not some dystopian "non-trek". The synth ban is hardly a surprise given trek's low view of AI in previous series. The Fed did not ignore the Romulans, but tried to help evacuate them, got blindsided by the attack, then had to re-prioritize with the new lack of resources and vulnerability. Yes Picard wanted the evac to continue, his idealism remains true to the character, and perhaps he'll re-inspire the Fed by end of season. The xenophobia and racism expressed by a sensationalist reporter does not necessarily speak for the entire Fed, any more than Kirk did in TUC - more info needs to be given on state of current society.
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason
"And if his claim was that *anti black* racism specifically was inherent to human nature you'd come close to having a point."
My point was that racism has barely anything to do with instincts. Believing that we are instinctively primed to hate people who look different has no real basis. That is just pub talk or layman logic, gut truth. I'm really not sure what the proper term is.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
"My point was that racism has barely anything to do with instincts. Believing that we are instinctively primed to hate people who look different has no real basis. That is just pub talk or layman logic, gut truth. I'm really not sure what the proper term is."

I think, to be fair, he was using "racism" as a proxy for pretty much any bigotry or prejudice against outsiders based on whatever criteria (ethnicity, language, dress, religion, etc...) and was not confining himself to whatever narrow term of art you may use in your field.
Booming
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
Well, then using the term instinct makes even less sense. If you are racist towards people who dress differently or use a different language then that has nothing to do with instinct. Isn't that obvious? Let's not get bogged down, shall we?

@Cletus
" and perhaps he'll re-inspire the Fed by end of season."
I guess that will be the theme.

" The synth ban is hardly a surprise"
Is it? It appeared to me that Synth are no longer allowed to exist. What happened with the existing ones? Were they allowed to continue to exist and if they wanted to make new ones were they not allowed. Isn't that the synth equivalent of sterilization? And if all the remaining synth were shut down Blade runner style then wouldn't that basically be a genocide because some synth committed an act of terror?

But at this point I guess I have made my doubts more than clear. I'll await the next episode were we finally will see the one thing they didn't give us in episode one.

Maybe the most important scene in Trek
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw7VVg94cAI
Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
Suspicion of strangers is indeed a pretty basic part of our human nature, and it can turn pretty ugly. But most of the time we learn to rub along, it's pretty superficial if it doesn't get reinforced and turned into a system.

The thing we call racism is such a system which has been artificially constructed over the past few hundred years and often enforced by law underpinned by a financial engine of a vastly profitable slave trade and of slave dependant enterprises, annd also of colonial empires. Nothing natural about that. As those things fade Into history it can be seen for what it was - a kind of madness.
Nolan
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
So far I've avoided diving into this debate about the State of the Federation because I think it's far to early to make any judgement calls. This episode was about where Picard is now, with only a crash course in interstellar politics to give background on the main character and mere set up for the story being laid before us. I'm sure as time goes on things'll get more fleshed out and we'll get a sense of the Federation on a wider scale.

As for the implications of what we've seen, I will say that since it seems the story is *about* the Federation and Starfleet slipping in their ideals, I don't mind near enough as I would if that slippage was just background to allow for more ruthless storytelling with none of the breadth the situation call for.

Regarding the situation itself and the in-universe time passage that has occured. Is it realistic the Federation would have fallen so far in just 18 years? I would ask that one consider our own 18 year history. 19 years ago America was hit with a terrorist attack and the world is *stiil* dealing with the rammifications of that. Tighter airport security, distrust of "the other", the sacrifice of personal freedoms and privacy in the name of security. A war that dragged on. In the last 6 years polarization, divisivness, distrust and disinformation has grown and been allowed to shape society and discourse, to lead people down a path others would strongly disagree with. Also consider that in the last 30 years the strides taken in the west for recognition of LGBTQ groups. Much has changed in the course of a rather short period of time. Would not the Federation be just as suseptible to such changes in the course of a similar timespan?

"Ahh, but," I hear you say, "the Federation has grown and developed over 200 years to rise above and overcome these behaviours, surely they'd be able to ride out such tumultuous timespans with nary a change of heart." And were they faced with the scale of problems we have, then perhaps, yes.

But consider the ground work laid. In a very short time the Federation has faced *several* calamitous galactic events, TWO Borg attacks (adding to distrust of the synthetic), a war with a tenuous ally, the Klingons (are our alliances as strong as we hope?) A full on war with the Dominion that spanned 3/4s of the Galaxy and reached back to Earth (are we as safe as we thought?) The paranoia of Changling infiltation and the distrust and paranoia that lead to (who can we trust, is what I'm hearing true?), the creation and destruction of the Maquis (will our leaders protect us, or will we have to fend for ourselves in order to appease recent enemies?) What toll would these events extract on the soul of the Federation? Would it not be strained?

Consider "Insurrection" were an Admiral, backed by the Federation Council works with a violent, hostile race in order to uproot another, all for the sake of revitalizing the Federation. Per Ruafo "Federation support. Federation procedures. Federation rules! Look in the mirror, Admiral. The Federation is old! In the past twenty-four months they have been challenged by every major power in the quadrant: The Borg, the Cardassians, the Dominion. They all smell the scent of death of the Federation. That's why you've embraced our offer. Because it will give your dear Federation new life. Well, how badly do you want it, Admiral? Because there are hard choices to be made, NOW!" The Federation has been struggling. That's where we left it 18 years ago. Trying to claw it's way back to idealism, struggling against the dark. Then Romulus exploded. And here was a chance. A chance for the Federation to be what it was... and it ended in disaster, and all the pent up worries and fears were exposed, and it seems the Federation broke after all the strain it was under. It didn't die. It just became something else. And this show Picard seems to about trying to set it right.

Optimistically, I don't see this show as disrespecting what Trek should be, but shining a light on what it had become. Whether it does we will have to see.

Is this the fun, weekly, semi-serialized/episodic Trek that I miss and think works best? Does it feel Trekkian in it's cinematography? No, not really. I would like some of that back. But for what Picard seems to be, I'm on board and intrigued with what it seems to want to say. Guess I'll have to wait for the end of the season. But if this show can present this scenario, reflecting our own and show a way back, a way to transcend it and thus our own similar current day plight, than what could be more Trekkian? If any captain could, it'd be Picard.
Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
Spot on, Nolan.
Dom
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 9:55pm (UTC -6)
@Nolan, well said. I hope you type that up on a blog so people can share. I agree with your point. I would have been more disturbed if the Federation losing its way had come across as an excuse to throw in sex and gore (which I think did happen in Discovery Season 1). I'm much more interested in a show that actually tries to grapple with how a society like the Federation can reclaim its values.

I too hope for a return to episodic, theatrical Trek. Picard doesn't "feel" like Star Trek to me and probably never will. But at least it seems like the writers have a vision for the story.
John Harmon
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:25am (UTC -6)
I really hope it’s not Picard inspiring the Federation back into being “good.” That sounds so hamfisted and terrible. And is what they already did with Discovery season 1, having Michael Burnham make Starfleet see the error of its ways.

Having the random admiral be corrupt is far different from an entire civilization being corrupt. It’s beyond absurdity to think a culture made up of 150 different planets could be isolationist and xenophobic.
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:30am (UTC -6)
@Booming
"I know that you think social science is witch craft but saying that racism comes from instincts is so far off it is basically wrong. For example. Most of European history dark skinned people weren't considered less valuable Humans. The Romans didn't consider black skinned people less and used them in almost all ranks. One of the holy wise men in the bible was described as black (Balthazar). Racism towards black people developed during the last 400 years which has certain reasons but it has nothing to do with instincts."


Since we're making assertions about each other, I know you think that social science is the be-all and end-all of reality, but neuroscience and genetic research, which some might mistake for witchcraft, might just have something to say about this topic. Environment, including socio-economic environment, is only one component of ANY type of prejudice, despite your claims. Genetics and the way our brains actually work form another component, whether you acknowledge it or not.

"Every culture names the “us” and the “not-us.” It appears to be human nature, and many studies have shown how easy it is to provoke this kind of psychological distinction between our “in-groups” and “out-groups.”"
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/look_twice

https://psmag.com/social-justice/theres-a-distinct-brain-function-behind-prejudice

Effects of intergroup threat on mind, brain, and behavior, "...recent discoveries extend existing models, which mainly emphasize effects of intergroup threat on attitudes. Critically, these shifts in empathy, perceptual judgments, and representations interact with INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN SENSITIVITY to threat and fuel discrimination and hostility toward threatening outgroups"
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54238bf2e4b068090a9b54bb/t/576d4de459cc68764643c784/1466781156390/Chang+et+al.%2C+2016+-+COPSY.pdf

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/cambridge-handbook-of-the-psychology-of-prejudice/is-prejudice-heritable-evidence-from-twin-studies/08EA6E647AF4E74A51EB37D5C70F231B

"The Great Debate: XENOPHOBIA - Why do we fear others?"
"Is our instinct to form in-groups and out-groups, such an important part of our evolutionary history, now maladaptive as we face a future increasingly dependent upon cooperation and shared responsibilities toward limited resources?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZLlvc9rviM
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -6)
@Gerontius

No. Racism in its basic form is simply one person hating or dehumanizing another person based on race. What you're talking about is institutionalized racism. In order for racism to become institutionalized, it has to already be present in some critical number of individuals. Then those individuals begin working together to spread their beliefs. Only then does institutionalized racism form. Institutional racism doesn't just magically appear one day.

As I posted above, there are biological components to prejudice. One component is the tendency of people to position themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Threat perception of outgroups is a primary contributor in dehumanization, which is a necessary component for many evils such as war, violence, hostility towards outgroups, etc. Prejudice is a primary component of racism. Individual racism is a primary component of institutionalized racism. There is a pathway of progression from the former to the latter. You don't just wake up one day in Apartheid. It has to come from somewhere and individuals with stupid beliefs are the ones making it happen.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
"No Trek series ever could be called "rainbows and butterflies".

The optimistic vision of Star Trek slowly evolved and matured over 40 years, from the first baby steps of TOS to the impressive-yet-somewhat-naive view of TNG to the coming-of-age inspection of DS9 to the "let's show an intermediate step between present day and our vision" of ENT. It was a wonderful and complicated process, and it most certainly had room for varying degrees of "grittiness" (as long as this was in a proper context). People who confuse Trek's general optimism and idealism with "rainbows and butterflies" simply don't understand what Trek used to be about."

Certainly, not, which makes statements like Trent, where he champions the notion that the Federation is supposed to be incorruptible, quite strange.

You may or may not suffer from his delusion, but you don't seem to recognize that "rainbows and butterflies" refers to fans' idealistic views on what Trek is or isn't, not to Trek itself.

Trek managed its idealism; it was more often reasonable than not. People like you and Trent don't seem to be managing yours very well. Hence your problems with Discovery and now Picard.
Booming
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 1:39am (UTC -6)
@ Quincy
Maybe you don't understand what instinct is. Instinct by definition means unlearned behavior. Saying that this group is me, creating a spectrum that means "my group" which then also defines "not my group" is obviously not an unlearned behavior. I'm just explaining why your believe that instinct is the driving force in racism is wrong.

I never said that there isn't for example in group favoritism and out group bias. That is a well established concept which can correlate with the concept racism but doesn't have to. Only because you define yourself as a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers doesn't mean that you want to exterminate the fans of the Dallas Mavericks.

I will now stop participating in this particular debate.

@Nolan
Your analysis is logical but is still in line with my argument because everything you describe happened after Gene Roddenberry died. It is just writer hammering Star Trek into something they can use for whatever story they want to tell. And while I really like DS9 I must admit that with that show the darkening of Star Trek began which more and more became the norm. I think DS9 worked so well because the vision of Roddenberry was still a very strong influence. John Harmon also has a point when he mentions that a Federation of 150 species becoming xenophobic is very odd.

As an aside. Making the Federation such an obvious mirror of the USA makes it less relevant for everybody else. It all boils down to American navel gazing. In Europe we don't have something like Fox News and 9/11 wasn't such an earth shattering thing over here. I think that they focused it so much on the USA because of CBS all access but it makes it less approachable for non Americans.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:05am (UTC -6)
@Quincy

You have this very ugly habit of distorting other people's words (like you did with Trent here) and turning them into strawmen. It's not the first time you've done that, and I'm not interested in this dishonest kind of discussion.

So I'm done talking to you.

@Booming
"Well, then using the term instinct makes even less sense. If you are racist towards people who dress differently or use a different language then that has nothing to do with instinct."

Of-course it does. Tribalism and fear of "the other" are hard-wired into the human brain. Just because the instinct itself existed before nations and languages and football teams, does not mean that it cannot manifest in those directions as well.

The question is: What do we do with this fact? Do we whine that humanity is doomed to a perpetual torturous existence because we're such flawed creatures? Or do we look for ways to manage these instincts and even focus them towards positive directions?

Reminds me of one of Kirk's famous speeches. To paraphrase: We are barabrians and killers, but we can decide that we are not going to kill today.

Gerontius was right on the mark, when he said that these instincts only pose a real danger when they're part of the system. That's one of the positive aspects of tribalism: If a person's "tribe" frowns upon these kinds of behaviors, they are far less likely to engage in them. Doubly so, if they've been taught from a very young age that curbing these instincts would make a better world for everyone (including themselves). After all, it's for the benefit of the tribe, isn't it?

And the reverse is also true. If people live in a society that believes humanity is sh*t and there's nothing we can do about it, this may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is the reason that the current cynical trends scare me so much, and also the reason why - despite that fear - I'm not willing to abandon hope that the future will be better.
Booming
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:37am (UTC -6)
@Omicron
"Tribalism and fear of "the other" are hard-wired into the human brain."

It is Human instinct to form groups. That is it. That is were instinct ends and everything that comes after that has nothing to do, to speak in laymans terms, with our monkey brain. There are tribal societies who are very open to "the other" there are tribal societies who are not. The Persians, the Romans and so on were very open to other cultures and included many elements into their own. There are countless examples in human history were societies do not show any fear of the "other". So tribalism is a result of human instinct in the sense that we form groups but seeing "the other" as bad or good is a societal construct that a tribe can have or not have.

In your last two paragraphs you more or less make the conclusion yourself.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:39am (UTC -6)
@Nolan

You've convinced me... partially.

I loved your analysis, which could be a strong starting point for a new Trek series.

But I'm still skeptical as to whether ST:P is really going to follow this route.

The blunt way the issues were handled so far, leaves me worried. Why even go to yet another 9-11 allegory, when the events of DS9 were already enough to serve as a starting point for such a story? The entire Mars attack background story leaves me cold.

Not to mention that everything here, with the exception of the always excellent Patrick Stewart, doesn't exactly scream sophistication. If this is what they chose to show us in episode 1, are they really up to telling this kind of complex story?

Seems doubtful.

But like Nolan said:

"Whether it does we will have to see."

Indeed.
Karatasiospa
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 8:30am (UTC -6)
After so many painfull yeats star trek picard is back to the star trek ethos and storry tellimg and universe. A little mote dystopian more on the line of DS9 than TNG ΒUT STILL TREK IN THE OPTIMISM OF THE OUTCOME. i wish they would cancel the absurd Discovery and the abomination of section 31 show and give us more episode of picard.
Trent
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 10:05am (UTC -6)
"Our business here is to be Utopian, to make vivid and credible, if we can, an imaginary whole and happy world. We are to turn our backs for a moment upon the insistent examination of the thing that is, and face towards the freer air, the ampler spaces of the thing that perhaps might be, to designing upon the sheet of our imaginations the picture of a life conceivably possible, and yet better worth living than our own. That is our present enterprise.

It is no doubt an optimistic enterprise. But it is good for awhile to be free from the carping note that must be sounded when we discuss our present imperfections, to release ourselves from practical difficulties and the tangle of ways and means. It is good to stop by the track for a space, put aside the knapsack, wipe the brows, and talk a little of the upper slopes of the mountain we think we are climbing, would but the trees let us see it.

But for all that, we must needs define certain limitations. Were we free to have our untrammelled desire, I suppose we should follow Morris to his Nowhere, we should change the nature of man and the nature of things together; we should make the whole race wise, tolerant, noble, perfect—wave our hands to a splendid anarchy, every man doing as it pleases him, and none pleased to do evil, in a world as good in its essential nature, as ripe and sunny, as the world before the Fall.

But that golden age, that perfect world, comes out into the possibilities of space and time. In space and time the pervading Will to Live sustains for evermore a perpetuity of aggressions. Our proposal here is upon a more practical plane at least than that. We are to restrict ourselves first to the limitations of human possibility as we know them in the men and women of this world to-day, and then to all the inhumanity, all the insubordination of nature. We are to shape our Utopia in a world of uncertain seasons, sudden catastrophes, antagonistic diseases, and inimical beasts and vermin, out of men and women with like passions, like uncertainties of mood and desire to our own. And, moreover, we are going to accept this world of conflict, to adopt no attitude of renunciation towards it, to face it in no ascetic spirit, but in the mood of the Western peoples, whose purpose is to survive and overcome. So much we adopt in common with those who deal not in Utopias, but in the world of Here and Now.

And much of the essential value of all such speculation lies in this assumption of emancipation, lies in that regard towards human freedom, in the undying interest of the human power of self-escape, the power to resist the causation of the past, and to evade, initiate, endeavor, and overcome." - HG Wells
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -6)
@Booming

"The Persians, the Romans and so on were very open to other cultures and included many elements into their own."

Empires that conquer and stomp every nation in their path are hardly good examples of tolerant societies. Not sure were you got the idea that the ROMANS (of all people) were somehow free of prejudice or dehumanizing those they conquered. They weren't any friendlier to their own citizens who practiced minority religions, either. Feeding non-pagans to the lions is hardly a behavior that we should try to emulate...

And I've yet to hear of ancient tribes that accepted everybody as their equals. In the harsh ancient world, such behavior would have been suicidal. If there were such a tribe, it would not live long enough to leave a mark in history.

Of-course today the opposite is true. Given the power that technology gives every single person on this planet, we better learn how to work together and accept one another, or we'll literally destroy ourselves.

With TNG-level technology, the pressure to correct our old ways would be even greater. Can you imagine the chaos that will ensue, if we gave present day humans the power of replicators and transporters? Yikes.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -6)
'Picard' setting streaming records for CBS All Access. (not surprising)

https://winteriscoming.net/2020/01/28/star-trek-picard-helps-cbs-access-set-new-record-streaming/?utm_campaign=FanSided+Daily&utm_source=FanSided+Daily&utm_medium=email

... and Critics 95%/Audience 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Cletus
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 11:19am (UTC -6)
@Booming,

"It appeared to me that Synth are no longer allowed to exist. What happened with the existing ones? Were they allowed to continue to exist and if they wanted to make new ones were they not allowed. Isn't that the synth equivalent of sterilization? And if all the remaining synth were shut down Blade runner style then wouldn't that basically be a genocide because some synth committed an act of terror?"

Again, lots of reasonable questions, but also lots of speculation because we haven't been given enough info on current state of society or just what exactly went down between Picard and the top brass, which is why the cries about "this is not my optimistic star trek!" because of what a sensationalist reporter said to provoke Picard seem premature.

But I'm surprised you think "genocide" of synths is somehow completely alien to Trek - we have holograms being used as slave labor in VOY, androids being treated as co-optable property in TNG even after Measure of a Man in Offpsring, forcible relocation of people in TNG with Journey's End, and actual planned genocide of a species in TNG with I Borg/Descent and DS9 with When it Rains.

@John Harmon
"I really hope it’s not Picard inspiring the Federation back into being “good.” That sounds so hamfisted and terrible. And is what they already did with Discovery season 1, having Michael Burnham make Starfleet see the error of its ways."

Burnham and S1's ending were completely unearned was the main problem with that. The message that ideals have to be continually fought for and good men can't do nothing, the fed "utopia" cannot just be taken for granted, did not come across as hamfisted in the top-tier episode Drumhead for example - it's a good optimistic Trek message.

"Having the random admiral be corrupt is far different from an entire civilization being corrupt."

The point of the admirals, cadets/captains, and even Fed Council itself, being corrupt is to give some context to the oft-repeated claim that the Fed is just some utopia and humanity has moved beyond all vices and cynicism, and that anything that even approaches humanity and fed not being perfect is "grimdark non-trek".

"It’s beyond absurdity to think a culture made up of 150 different planets could be isolationist and xenophobic."

I agree, which is why I hope we get more info in later eps on the broader state of Earth and the Fed. Right now we just have an exchange between a sensationalist reporter and the idealistic Picard. I imagine the truth will be more nuanced and lie somewhere in the middle.
Elliott
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this overall, which I wasn't sure I would.

One thing I appreciated is that all of the overt references that many seem to read as fan service (and to a degree, they are) allude to episodes of TNG that are thematically linked to this story.

--Measure of a Man
--Pegasus
--The Offspring

all deal with Picard standing up to some aspect of Starfleet/the Federation on moral grounds. While I have no idea who saved the banner for Captain Picard Day after the D crashed, that artefact represents what makes Picard Picard. It reminded us (and Riker) what a moral compass looks like before being challenged by an unethical edict from Starfleet.

The other major thread from TNG that I thought was interesting to have picked up on was from "Birthright"/"Phantasms." It's been established that Data's subconscious transmutes anodyne information into seemingly fantastical imagery.

I enjoyed this much more than I have Discovery so far. It's possible "Picard" is able to deliver on the cynical Federation angle in a more convincing/less frustrating way than DS9 did. Curious to see where things lead.
Yanks
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
Elliot,

How does 'Pegasus' relate?

The movie 'Insurrection' does for sure. (Picard renouncing his Star Fleet rank)
Elliott
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

Yes, I forgot the Captain's Yacht from "Insurrection" is seen in model at the Starfleet archive.

In "Pegasus" (is it "the Pegasus"? I can't remember), Pressman was working with Starfleet Intelligence to resurrect the phased cloak, violating a treaty with Romulans. He told Picard that he'd be risking his command and his career by opposing him or snooping around. The teaser to that episode was Captain Picard Day.
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

Just one peace of evidence I posted is for the biological/neurological basis for 1) Dehumanization (critical component of any type of discrimination: threat response IS AN INSTINCT) 2) biological/genetic sensitivity to fall victim to this type of threat response that fuels discrimination. There's a genetic component that predisposes some to react worse than others. Without the innate ability to dehumanize there couldn't be any such thing as racism as it is practiced today. There is also a biological component to the us vs them, the herd mentality, and to obedience to rulers, which factors heavily into how things like Nazi Germany happen. I didn't post this last one, because it was already a wall of text, but it's well known. You quite literally don't know what you are talking about. I really could care less if you acknowledge what's on the screen or not.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

I had already assumed you weren't talking to me, when you out of the blue distorted my use of the term "rainbows and butterflies." You quoted it specifically for the PURPOSE of misrepresentation, so your projection of your own guilt on to me is laughable. If you hadn't done that, I wouldn't have said anything more to you AT ALL since you never responded earlier.

I quoted Trent exactly the first time I mentioned him. Not going to keep quoting a whole paragraph, but I paraphrased him pretty well. He claimed that a writer makes "an unnecessary choice" when he portrays the Federation as corruptible or corrupted. That's what he said. There was no straw man. That is indeed a rainbow and butterfly approach to Trek.

Everything is corruptible. For something to not be corruptible it would have to be perfect. Nothing is perfect. No incarnation of Star Trek, including those when Roddenberry was alive, has portrayed the Federation as perfect, or not "corruptible." In other words, even while Roddenberry was alive Starfleet was corruptible. TNG: The Drumhead's Air date was April 29, 1991. Roddenberry died October 24, 1991. Was he too sick in April to speak up about Picard being full of it That's a rhetorical question; no need to answer.
Booming
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
@ Omicron
"Empires that conquer and stomp every nation in their path are hardly good examples of tolerant societies. Not sure were you got the idea that the ROMANS (of all people) were somehow free of prejudice or dehumanizing those they conquered. They weren't any friendlier to their own citizens who practiced minority religions, either. Feeding non-pagans to the lions is hardly a behavior that we should try to emulate..."

Please don't twist my words. The Romans and the Persians weren't peaceful but yes very tolerant. You can be warlike/militaristic and tolerant even accepting. And just to mention it sure most people remember only the wars but significant parts joined the Roman Empire peacefully. Pergamon, Egypt, Greece (minus Macedonia) and so forth.

They were tolerant when it comes to religion. They had problems with the Christians but only because Christians refused to venerate the Emperor. If they had existed during the republican period there would have been no problem and the whole Lion thing at first happened because Nero used them as scapegoats after Rome burned down. But apart from Decius and Diocletian there was no widespread prosecution of Christians. They could even become powerful in the imperial administration. Let's not forget that Rome integrated hundreds of religions peacefully. You dismissively lump them all together as pagans but these are all fully formed polytheistic religions. Only the Christians caused problems.

The Jews thrived for more than a hundred years under Roman rule (Judaism was legal) until the radical elements took over and they rebelled which was then crushed by Titus.

But for almost 500 years not a single person under Roman rule was persecuted for their religious believes.

You don't seem to know that much about Rome. It is a hobby of mine. I actually did quite a few courses about republican Rome at my alma mater. Just for fun.

"And I've yet to hear of ancient tribes that accepted everybody as their equals."

Again you are twisting my words. I said that there were tribes that were very open to people who are foreign/different/the other. I don't know why you equate being welcoming to foreigner with being weak? Being welcoming doesn't mean that if a guy throws a spear at you that you just stand their and say: That's alright buddy. Try again, please.

The Europeans during their explorations encountered numerous welcoming native tribes. Or let's get back to the Romans. The Romans were very welcoming towards foreigners often incorporating hundreds of thousands of refugees into their realm. Only during the late 4th and 5th century Rome became less and less capable to integrate refugees.

I think this has been going on long enough now and is barely a tangent to the show anymore.

So as to finally get back to ST:P. Helping the Romulan refugees would provide the Federation with a highly trained work force and what resources would be needed for them. Living space and food? Does the Federation not have basically an endless supply of both and more?
Booming
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
@ Quincy
Most people here ignore you because of your "interests" and behavior. I'm now one of them. :)
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
Lets get back to Picard. The only mistake for me in this episode was in killing off Dahj as Jammer noted. I was just getting into her character when she was summarily dispatched. It's cheap and nonsensical the way she was just brushed off and replaced by her "twin" as Picard's MacGuffin. That was really annoying.

I for one was satisfied with the action. I didn't see Jammer complain about it like he usually does. Perhaps his action allergy has abated? I know some others complain about the action, but do you really want Picard to travel back to the days of him casually sidestepping phaser fire AFTER the phaser was actually fired, like in "Conspiracy"? Or to the Kirkian double hammer fist? It's super effective!!!

Say what you want about NuTrek. That's one thing it got right. Kirk can't go toe to toe with Kahn, even if both their names begin with the letter K. If some are worried about action taking over the series, I doubt you have grounds to worry. Picard is OLD. He's not going to be running and jumping and throwing haymakers upside Riker's head. The series focuses on him, so that should keep out a lot of the action that would otherwise be featured. Whatever Dahj or her sister do is to be expected since they're Cylon style androids. We got the same from Data.

I didn't like the opening theme song. They really missed the mark. If they wanted to really be nostalgic as the title of the series suggests, they should've just used the Star Trek 30th Anniversary Orchestral Suite from The Inner Light. The theme was 1:38 long. I'm sure they could excerpt a section out of that. Nothing more nostalgic than that. They would've hit the fans right in the feels, me included. It doesn't fit with the main title sequence visuals, but that was pretty lack luster anyway. They could've done much better with a Voyager style opening. Go back and play the orchestral suite, while watching the Voyager main title sequence on mute. A couple of sections of it worked pretty well. I tried the TNG title sequence, but it didn't fit at all. I think Voyager's style worked better.

Since they named the series Star Trek Picard (I cringe every time I say it) what happens if Sir Patrick Stewart dies? He's getting pretty old. It looks to me like he's really deteriorating. I pray he has a good number of years left, but I don't think he has too much time left for doing stuff like this. He is one of my favorite actors, but I don't want him to shorten his lifespan pleasing fans. That scene with he and Dah running up the stairs, I don't think he was acting.
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
@Booming

That's much appreciated Booming. I didn't know you were that considerate.
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
One thing I forgot to mention, they really messed up when they decided to tell part of the backstory in a comic book. One, the comic is kind of terrible, although it does explain the Federation's abandonment of the Romulans. Let's face it, the Romulans are life sized dildos. Two, many fans don't even seem to be aware of its existence and probably wouldn't read if they were, even though it's supposed to be canon. I haven't heard anyone mention it here. They should've left everything to the series. Let it stand on its own.
Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
It's great to see Brent Spiner back to help launch the series, and even if it's true that he will not appear again in the series in Season 1 at least, it's a lovely couple of scenes and I for one think they did a fantastic job of de-aging Spiner as best they could without going to far to make it look too jarring.

The Romulan attack scenes were the least interesting to me to be honest, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully the show goes from strength to strength going forward.
Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
"what happens if Sir Patrick Stewart dies? He's getting pretty old. It looks to me like he's really deteriorating"

Really deteriorating is not really an appropriate suggestion to make considering, like you say, he's 79. He's not going to be action Picard from the 90's now, of course not.
He's in fantastic condition compared to the average 79 year old!
Actors die irrespective of age and chances are Stewart will be fine, but there are no certainties for any of us and you cross that bridge, if, god forbid, you have too. The show would go on regardless!
Gerontius
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
We've had some interesting discussions on this thread, and I look forward to more after later episodes.

I hope people can keep the arguments focussed on the things we are discussing, and the issues they give rise to, and avoid getting into personal arguments. That can spiral in a most unpleasant way. Disagreeing about ideas needn't mean getting annoyed or slighted or becoming disagreeable. Jean-Luc Picard is a excellent role model in such matters. However angry that interviewer made him the most cutting comment he made about her was that she had no idea what Dunkirk meant.
DataMat
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
The Romulans were referenced in ST FIRST CONTACT when Picard informs the bridge crew of his orders to stay away from the battle with the Borg cube and go to patrol the Neutral Zone, in-case the 'Romulans decide to take advantage of the situation'. Now at face value this can be taken as simply a random excuse to keep Picard away from the battle, but perhaps there is a little more to it than simply just that.
Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
@Matthew Burns

I hope you don't think I was taking a dig at Sir Stewart. As I said, he is one of my favorite actors. What I meant is that he seems to have deteriorated from the last time I saw him before all this Picard business began. I don't think that's a controversial thing to say. And yes I know that none of us are promised tomorrow, regardless of age.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 1:50am (UTC -6)
@Booming
"I think this has been going on long enough now and is barely a tangent to the show anymore."

I actually think this question is highly relevant to the topic of Star Trek's optimistic vision and how realistic/unrealistic it is, and therefore it is also relevant to the issues that some people have with ST:Picard.

But I don't see the point in pressing issue. It is highly unlikely that either of us is going to convince the other, and the conversation itself is no longer enjoyable. So let's agree to disagree, before this degrades into something that will cause Gerontius to start yelling at us to behave ourselves ;-)
Booming
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 2:18am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron
Fair enough. Sorry if I come off as condescending. When I dive into Roman history I completely lose sight of anything else. Let's not startle Gerontius too much, his name literally means "old man". :)
Karatasiospa
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:39am (UTC -6)
Omicronthetapin
It is not dystopian yes some bad things have happenned but that was allways true in star trek and life in general but here is picard and some others to save the future! And to hell the show about section 31!!!!!!
Gerontius
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 7:59am (UTC -6)
"Sir Stewart" - no such person. He's Sir Patrick, or Sir Patrick Stewart. And he is in no way "deteriorated", though his physical condition presumably has in some ways. I'm sure he wasn't acting when he got puffed going up the stairs.

I was glad they left it in, rather than faking it the way they do with a lot of much younger actors racing around in chases as they are made to do. Swallowing the impossible in a scifi story is all very well, but in other things a touch of realism helps.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 8:45am (UTC -6)
@Booming

Your enthusiasm for the topic didn't bug me at all. I just wished you would realize that no matter how knowledgeable you might be on a subject, there may still be point of views that you haven't considered. Once our discussion degraded into a "I'm right, you're wrong and that's it" kind of debate, it was neither fruitful nor enjoyable for me, which is why I decided to bow out.

And please don't poke fun at Gerontius. He is quite right that we should keep civil around here.
Booming
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 9:54am (UTC -6)
@ Omicron
I'm sorry that I spoiled the fun. I was hesitant to write the "You don't seem to know Rome that well" line. I hoped that you would come back with some cunning remark about how you know so much more than I could ever hope for because of boom bam tschabang.
Just imagine me smiling and laughing while writing. I'm essentially a Disney princess. :)

I'm mostly hugs and kisses or how was it called in another context a while ago rainbows and unicorns. I also meant no disrespect towards Gerontius. The name is actually derived from old man and I used the word startle because of this episode of South Park. Since then I just love to use the word.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHAgFhNGbo0
Booming
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -6)
ps: I also would have accepted this video as an answer from you. :)
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2c5bif

(Sorry for OT everybody but this video has to be shared)
Quincy
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -6)
@Gerontius

Ok. This is my last word on the topic. I was NOT insulting Patrick Stewart. What the hell else would I be talking about BUT his physical condition? I'm concerned about his health. How the hell is that controversial? Also, I don't know anything about British naming conventions. I thought Sir operated similar to Mr. or honorifics like Dr. Clearly, I was wrong. Shoot me.
Yanks
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
@ Quincy

"Lets get back to Picard. The only mistake for me in this episode was in killing off Dahj as Jammer noted. I was just getting into her character when she was summarily dispatched. It's cheap and nonsensical the way she was just brushed off and replaced by her "twin" as Picard's MacGuffin. That was really annoying."

Annoying? .... dramatic yes, but annoying? We are still going to get the same actress,etc... I think it deepened the story to come.
Marg
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
Long time fan of Jammer's reviews and reader of the comment section. First submission of my own response. I've read the review but not yet the comments so to avoid influence. But I will certainly read all carefully.

The first episode of ST: Picard is beautiful. The opening brought tears—the stunning space view, the Enterprise, Data and Picard. The poker game is a nice bridge from "All Good Things." Immediately I felt relief: the production team members care, know what they are doing, and have the funds to do it well.
The pace is refreshingly measured. I love the shots of Picard's aged, worn face, showing his emotional and physical vulnerability after years of loss and despair. We are given time to experience the various landscapes--the idyllic rural Chateau Picard, cutting to the Bladerunner / Mass Effect–esque cityscape of Boston.
The visual, futuristic details are exciting! Little things like the glasses forced on Dahj, her Minority Report view screen, the interviewer's earrings, the hovering camera, and Picard's weird tie knot all make this a very interesting world. Yet, these whimsical technical innovations are set against human frailty. It's impossible to ignore that Picard had trouble climbing the stairs and could not help Dahj battle the Romulan attackers.
The ghost of Lal is certainly in the background. Like her, poor Dahj's synth existence begins and ends in one episode. I hope Dahj's sister is as intriguing.
Other details: I chuckled to see that Number One is so obviously in tact. The future promises all good things for dogs. I enjoy the callbacks of Earl Grey (decaf!), Capt. Picard Day, and the name Maddox. Ahh, we are home again.
I look forward the next episode.
Marg
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
After reading through the comments:
@Jon Smith: "contemplative"
Yes, that's the word I needed. I, too, have missed Data and Picard. We so need this now.
@Jor-El and Jason R: re Data aging.
Someone mentioned Data has an aging program. Doesn't Data have a striking grey streak in "All Good Things"?
@Gerontius: re Picard "puffed out"
My comment mentioned that, too! And I also thought about Kirk. He would have toughed it out!

On science fiction and politics: as a long time Philip K. Dick fan, my understanding is that the best SF extrapolates current issues. As stated above, TOS dealt with the Vietnam War in at least 3 episodes. ST:P will surely address issues of immigration, systemic racism, and corrupt government, and may do so in a disturbing manner--while pointing to a positive Roddenberrian solution. After all, Picard is back!
glodowam
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
@Nolan

"Consider "Insurrection" were an Admiral, backed by the Federation Council works with a violent, hostile race in order to uproot another, all for the sake of revitalizing the Federation. Per Ruafo "Federation support. Federation procedures. Federation rules! Look in the mirror, Admiral. The Federation is old! In the past twenty-four months they have been challenged by every major power in the quadrant: The Borg, the Cardassians, the Dominion. They all smell the scent of death of the Federation. That's why you've embraced our offer. Because it will give your dear Federation new life. Well, how badly do you want it, Admiral? Because there are hard choices to be made, NOW!" The Federation has been struggling. That's where we left it 18 years ago. Trying to claw it's way back to idealism, struggling against the dark. Then Romulus exploded. And here was a chance. A chance for the Federation to be what it was... and it ended in disaster, and all the pent up worries and fears were exposed, and it seems the Federation broke after all the strain it was under. It didn't die. It just became something else. And this show Picard seems to about trying to set it right."

THIS. What I miss about TNG and DS9 allegories were the close look at BOTH sides. It seems modern shows quickly decide who's right and demonize the other. I will gladly see the Federation's reaction to Romulus challenged as long as it is also understood. I think that's the only real way to have an interesting discussion about the fictional event - and any real-world situation. The Federation's actions have to make sense and be justified to a certain extent. They can't just be "bad" or "mean" because reasons.

I hope the writers see this way you do, I would be interested in seeing that.
Late to the Party Girl
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
New poster here - I have never posted before but was happy to see a Jammer review and comments for Picard. Call me crazy, but to help manage stress I watch the old Star Trek series (except DS9 - never could get in to that one). Love to read Jammer's reviews and all the comments - how phenomenal are these reviews! Some of the comments go back almost 20 years! Thanks so much, Jammer - I hope you get all the credit and thanks you clearly deserve!

I enjoyed Picard but, like many others here, found the music far too intrusive. It got to the point that I turned on closed captioning - just to make sure I got all the dialogue. Patrick Stewart is as impressive as ever. I got a bit choked up when I saw the "Picard Day" banner from Pegasus. I'll have to watch again, but the opening scene did not seem like 10 Forward to me - way too stylized. Was one area where I felt the production hand was too heavy on style over content.

Also, I have not seen "Nemesis" - clearly that has to be corrected - I don't think I grasped some of the nuances because I was lacking some of the back story.
Eamon
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
haven’t been on your site in years Jammer and its great to see you’re still at it and that there is still a vibrant community. What I’m a bit surprised to see is how warmly you’re taking to this show. So far, I’ve found it to have all the hallmarks of Kurtzman and Abrams, and relatively few from Trek.

Between this and episode 2 we can already see that what could have been an exploration of a man who was once a “great” person deal with the devil of time and aging being quickly replaced by SCI FI MYSTERY PLOT. You know, the type that skips past any real meditative evaluations on philosophy and humanity (you know, Trek stuff) and runs us full speed ahead to MYSTERY!

And I 100% guarantee you that they are going to crib Battlestar Galactica and that the new Borg will be fully humanoid. Hell, maybe this is the launch pad for the new BSG reboot.
Dom
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
@glodowam, yep. Later seasons of TNG and DS9 did a great job engaging with questions and exploring multiple sides of an issue, even if the the show ended up on one side of the question or the other. TNG and DS9 weren't value-neutral, but the better episodes helped you understand the other side. DS9 did this spectacularly well with the Cardassians. I don't think it ever suggested that the Cardassians were right, but they weren't just a stereotype of space Nazis.
Jeff Chapman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
It's nice that there are writing and production teams that are still trying to hold the flag of Star Trek high. It's a worthy franchise.

I'm sure it's also quite lucrative for them as well. They deserve to make a living for their work.

That said, with both ST: Discovery or ST: Picard, I find none of the story lines so far to be memorable. The visuals are terrific, but the story line is seriously wanting.

The obvious emphasis in both ST:PIC and in ST:DISC is on serial story arcs, and even those arcs are now generally so absurd that they fail to evoke an emotional reaction. Week after week, the absurdity builds, and we keep hoping for substance over style. Eventually, the writers face a big blow-out at the end (as they did in the first and second seasons of DISC), but they fail to make us care.

After all, it's not us up on that screen... and that is the problem. We don't feel we are there. We are simply being entertained, and it has no relevance to us after it's all over.

It's not working.

I continue to watch ST:PIC and Discovery mainly out of the hope that the writers will actually do something to redeem the story and make the best use of the characters. At this juncture, I'm beginning to feel that my lunch breaks would be better spent on reading an actual story that means something.

I feel that with the ST franchise now, there is a constant battle being waged between "jerking the viewers off" with a temporary thrill via the presentation of astonishing and expensive special effects (eye candy), versus actually telling a gripping and believable story that we can relate to and want to see again. The best film and TV work should do both.

I've wanted to watch quite a few episodes of ST:TNG, DS9, VOY and even ENT over and over again, because much of that work represented a real effort to write good stories. So far, I haven't even felt the need to go back and rewatch a single DISC or PIC episode. Quite frankly, my feeling is that there isn't much rewatching value there so far. The wrriters aren't telling stories that make me feel anything at all.

Big, bold themes are wonderful and welcome in works of science fiction and all visual, musical and literary art. The problem that I see now with ST:PIC is that the viewer is dragged along with each episode, without getting a payoff in terms of seeing the characters at their best, in a storyline that actually challenges the characters and poses interesting moral, ethical and intellectual questions for the viewer. The stories of both PIC and DISC seem to just endlessly plod on forward, never showing any sense of growth, resolution or progress in terms of character development. The villians are detestable, the heroes are predictable, and we never really know why, what really motivates them, and how it relates to us.

It's just a show and I mean that in every sense of the word. A "show," meaning a fanciful display. Peacocks strutting their feathers. Same-old stories told with fresh new packaging and dollops of babble. The strict adherence to the serialized format makes the whole thing more detestable.

In the end, I want to be entertained, but I also appreciate seeing some humanity in the whole thing. The second episode of ST:PIC contained a huge proportion of glib technobabble and forced political intrigue that became painfully dull to watch, at least for me. Cool little effects like the transporter doors or the virtual "knobs" on the wall panel displays at Utopia Planitia are briefly entertaining, but they do not hold the story. None of the characters are being used to best effect so far, and too many tired sci-fi cliches are becoming tedious as well. Patrick Stewart is doing his best with his role, but the fact is that the whole balance between effective story-telling and giving the watchers a thrill is terribly off.

In short, I think the writers have a story and plot that stretches too little content, too far. The special effects, post-coitus scenes with hot young actors/actresses, dramatic murders and occasional foul language are then used to fill in the gaps of the lack of substance.

Let's hope for better. I'm beginning to think that this franchise is not capable of it anymore.
Jeff Chapman
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
It's nice that there are writing and production teams that are still trying to hold the flag of Star Trek high. It's a worthy franchise.

I'm sure it's also quite lucrative for them as well. They deserve to make a living for their work.

That said, with both ST: Discovery or ST: Picard, I find none of the story lines so far to be memorable. The visuals are terrific, but the story line is seriously wanting.

The obvious emphasis in both ST:PIC and in ST:DISC is on serial story arcs, and even those arcs are now generally so absurd that they fail to evoke an emotional reaction. Week after week, the absurdity builds, and we keep hoping for substance over style. Eventually, the writers face a big blow-out at the end (as they did in the first and second seasons of DISC), but they fail to make us care.

After all, it's not us up on that screen... and that is the problem. We don't feel we are there. We are simply being entertained, and it has no relevance to us after it's all over.

It's not working.

I continue to watch ST:PIC and Discovery mainly out of the hope that the writers will actually do something to redeem the story and make the best use of the characters. At this juncture, I'm beginning to feel that my lunch breaks would be better spent on reading an actual story that means something.

I feel that with the ST franchise now, there is a constant battle being waged between "jerking the viewers off" with a temporary thrill via the presentation of astonishing and expensive special effects (eye candy), versus actually telling a gripping and believable story that we can relate to and want to see again. The best film and TV work should do both.

I've wanted to watch quite a few episodes of ST:TNG, DS9, VOY and even ENT over and over again, because much of that work represented a real effort to write good stories. So far, I haven't even felt the need to go back and rewatch a single DISC or PIC episode. Quite frankly, my feeling is that there isn't much rewatching value there so far. The wrriters aren't telling stories that make me feel anything at all.

Big, bold themes are wonderful and welcome in works of science fiction and all visual, musical and literary art. The problem that I see now with ST:PIC is that the viewer is dragged along with each episode, without getting a payoff in terms of seeing the characters at their best, in a storyline that actually challenges the characters and poses interesting moral, ethical and intellectual questions for the viewer. The stories of both PIC and DISC seem to just endlessly plod on forward, never showing any sense of growth, resolution or progress in terms of character development. The villians are detestable, the heroes are predictable, and we never really know why, what really motivates them, and how it relates to us.

It's just a show and I mean that in every sense of the word. A "show," meaning a fanciful display. Peacocks strutting their feathers. Same-old stories told with fresh new packaging and dollops of babble. The strict adherence to the serialized format makes the whole thing more detestable.

In the end, I want to be entertained, but I also appreciate seeing some humanity in the whole thing. The second episode of ST:PIC contained a huge proportion of glib technobabble and forced political intrigue that became painfully dull to watch, at least for me. Cool little effects like the transporter doors or the virtual "knobs" on the wall panel displays at Utopia Planitia are briefly entertaining, but they do not hold the story. None of the characters are being used to best effect so far, and too many tired sci-fi cliches are becoming tedious as well. Patrick Stewart is doing his best with his role, but the fact is that the whole balance between effective story-telling and giving the watchers a thrill is terribly off.

In short, I think the writers have a story and plot that stretches too little content, too far. The special effects, post-coitus scenes with hot young actors/actresses, dramatic murders and occasional foul language are then used to fill in the gaps of the lack of substance.

Let's hope for better. I'm beginning to think that this franchise is not capable of it anymore.
Quincy
Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks
"Annoying? .... dramatic yes, but annoying? We are still going to get the same actress,etc... I think it deepened the story to come."

That was just my emotional reaction. It's not like it's some sort of objective fact. It was to me like the authors said here's this promising character we just introduced! She's competent, capable, feisty annnnnnnnnnnd... dead. But wait... there's more!

That was the sentiment that annoyed me. It may not have annoyed anyone else.
Mal
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 4:46am (UTC -6)
Picard: I'm a role Model.
Admiral: I'm sure you are.


Question: is it time to back and rewatch all of TNG for the seventy-eleventh time???

Magic 8 ball: Signs point to yes!!


https://youtu.be/JiKwAS1qaCk



Blue skies :-)
Sarjenka's Brother
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
My sister, Sarajenka, was Data's special friend. She's all grown up and ready for her close-up!
Bryon
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -6)
Someone is missing at Chateau Picard: Jean-Luc's sister-in-law, Marie. I wonder if the show is just going to overlook her.
Daniel
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
The acid spitting: what it looks like is he bites a suicide capsule of sorts. It being acid, he still manages to spit some on her to get her as he himself dies. Not the clearest of scenes tho, I had to watch it two times to get it.
Springy
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
Just a quick hi to say: I enjoyed this first ep! An intriguing, nicely done start that makes me want to watch the next one. Good choice to hook us with Picard-Data relationship.

The sweeping cinematography was wonderful. And I liked the feel of the dream sequences.

Have only seen one "Picard" and have been so busy I had to put my TNG rewatch on hold.

Have missed my ST interactions on this site and hope to get back to them.

Also: Patrick Stewart. Hasn't missed a beat. Just great.

I have high hopes (high apple pie in the sky hopes).
Marg
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
@Late to the Party Girl: "Call me crazy, but to help manage stress I watch the old Star Trek series."
Me too! When I need some calming, I put on TNG in the background while puttering with house stuff.
Chrome
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 9:22am (UTC -6)
@Springy

Good to see you posting again. This show is probably as you expected much different than TNG, but Patrick Stewart definitely helps makes it work.
Nigel
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, thank you. I first came across your site while watching DS9 and your reviews have greatly enhanced my viewing of Trek of all kinds. So glad to see you’re reviewing Picard and that there’s such a vibrant community on these boards.

I’m in agreement with Jammer’s comments and see lots of promise here. Liked the setup and loved the interview scene. I know they’ve got more exposition and story setup to do but I’m intrigued. I’m looking forward to more!

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