Picard, Episode 2: Have these people even seen TNG?

I’d love to ask the writers of this show what their favorite part about The Next Generation was. For me it was the show’s optimism, and the sense of unity between the characters. Never, that I remember, was interpersonal conflict a focus of the plot on The Next Generation. Everyone treated each other with kindness and respect, and trust. This was Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of our future, one where we all work together and work to understand each other and help each other.

Watching Picard, I feel like he’s traveled back in time, and instead of being in the 24th century he’s maybe in the early 22nd century with humans still hating each other and fighting about everything, war, espionage, backstabbing. The federation is a xenophobic mess, the media are still spin doctor assholes. Everything is too familiar.

Despite their claims in some interviews I’ve seen, I don’t think the show-runners actually watched much TNG. The number of times they’ve already referenced Earl Grey tea, you’d think it’s the only thing they know about Picard. He’s just a walking teabag to them. Star Trek = tea, the borg, Data, and I guess war? Because I can already tell that’s coming.

I haven’t actually talked about the content of this episode, because it’s boring. The show opens with the androids (synthetics) destroying Mars. I felt like I was watching Dr Who with the goofy/flashy way they portrayed it. It also took me about 20 minutes into the episode to realize this was a flashback and not a new uprising of synthetics. There was literally no point to the scene except that they feel they need to have explosions and violence on screen at regular intervals.

Then we get a 15 minute long scene of technobabble and swiping at fancy floating screens so that Picard can figure out Data’s Daughter (ugh) is off-world. This information could have been conveyed in 30 seconds. That she is off-world is supposed to be a WOW shocking revelation. More evidence that the show creators have never watched Star Trek. Am I supposed to be surprised that someone is not on Earth?

Picard tries politely to request the use of a ship so he can go find Data v2, but the Federation, which is now composed entirely of assholes, yells at him and calls him a pathetic old man.

I am so bored and irritated at this point that I put on an episode of TNG instead.

I came back later to finish it, and there are borgs and Data’s daughter is being spied on, her lover is actually a bad guy, there’s some nefarious plot and I just don’t care.

The Orville is still the best Star Trek currently on TV.

I may give this one more episode, but probably I’ll be rewatching and writing about TNG instead. That is the kind of show our messed up world needs today. An inspiring, hopeful vision of a future I actually want to live in.

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