Picard started brightly with a decent opening episode and strong reviews. We even thought it was OK here at The Last Movie Outpost and we hate most things. It’s the long winters and limited company that makes us grouchy.
However as the show progressed it was clear something was wrong. As we got deeper into the story it seemed that this was no continuation. Sometimes even Picard himself didn’t feel like Picard, and the show frequently seemed like it was hitting us in the face with heavy-handed metaphors for 21st century social issues and opinions.
Trek fans are notoriously difficult to please. Any new approach or direction that veers to far from a purest view of Trek is always going to get a hard time from the fan base, however this was different. At times it felt as if the fan base was tricked into expecting a TNG style continuation and having reeled them in it went and pulled a switcheroo on them. As a result we, like them, have found our interest tailing off with each episode.
In defence of the makers, Patrick Stewart himself famously said that he had no desire to simply re-do Star Trek: The Next Generation and would have declined if that was the plan.
Now in an interview with IndieWire, showrunner Michael Chabon echoes that and is sticking to his guns:
“We had a commitment to telling the story of how time changes people and how twenty years can put you into a completely different place that you never would have imagined. As a fan, I share that desire to go back, and to have it be the same and to want more of what I already know I love. That sort of inherent conservatism – not in a political sense – I just meant there’s a lower-case ‘c’ conservatism in a fan’s heart that says if you already know you love something, why would you want it to be different?”
While old characters have turned up in the show, and more are planned in season 2, he says they need a reason to be there:
“Oh, we can bring back this, we can bring back that, and we’ll have Ferengi, and we’ve mentioned Janeway and all these things that fans are continually asking me about now, but the rule for bringing someone back though is each returning character has to have a meaningful story and can’t be handled in the most perfunctory way – which would be satisfying to nobody.”
Season one of Star Trek: Picard is on its home straight now on CBS All Access in the US and on Amazon everywhere else.