The Real McTeag

est 2012

UPDATED- well by cannibalizing from the end and holding off on really giving us much for two episodes the show PICARD shows its true colors – shades of earl grey. Its a poor imitation Star Trek. If this were music we would Star Trek was just it’s own Tribute Band now.

Once this show ha to start going anywhere the sheer idiocy of the story is just right in your face. There’s shortcut after shortcut in the story despite its having TEN BORING HOURS TO UNFOLD!

Its been a rough 10 years for Star Trek. So much was lost in the horrible JJ Abrams experiment. Then we saw ads for this Picard show. They were minimalistic and simply had his name and the Star Trek logo. The message from the creators seemed to be  “We finally got it together and made Finally a product worth watching.” The trailers were too minimalistic for a judgement call and that seems to have been for a reason- The show is a horrible Bait and Switch. By the end there’s NO Picard at all and though Patrick Stewart will be in the show as his own robot ghost.

Episodes one Two set the table and theres enough going that Patrick Stewarts return keeps you watching. Unfortunately they’ve remade Picard into a loser whose anything but fun to watch.

The character is first destroyed, mocked and stripped of his dignity. Then they hammer home the fact he has no clue whats going on and is a useless piece of cargo in space. Then they kill Picard in a boring way and bring him back as a weak, useless robot who is more or less a very annoying take on C-3PO.

With an interesting first 2 episodes and seeming to be trending up ‘Star Trek – Picard’ is just okay and then turns horrible. Discovery was terrible from minute one. Picard is as bad, but fools you for a couple of episodes. Then the plot- such as it is- kicks in in fits and starts. The show meanders to its end.

Episode one and two are mostly spent seeing Picard react to things from his post movies past- all of which are pretty bleak. We also spend a lot of time getting to know the superficially interesting Romulan’s who care for the aged Picard. The first episode gets by on the strength of how much we love Picard, throwing a lot at us and scattering the story around. The idea that none of this would really mean much and some of it mostly dropped wasn’t apparent, but thats how it worked out by the end.

You can read my reaction to the new approach to star trek overall here. For now lets just say Im not pleased

Episodes 1 & 2

This is a complete synopsis of episodes 1 and 2.   From Episode 3 on the show implodes and undermines anything it had built. Its truly bad. Now that the series is over, you can Fast Forward to my Final Episode Reaction if you want. Or read on to see how they fooled me for about 4 episodes.

picard2

The Picard Show DOES have one aspect seen in the Hated Kelvin Timeline. There was a Romulan Supernova in this timeline as well. This needed to be handled better and unspooled in a slower, more intelligent way. Instead we find out it just happens and that the Romulan’s ineptly lose their Primary Solar System- which seems to now be the only place the “Romulan Star Empire” had any assets.

The Romulans had always seemed the more devious adversary, and you’d think they’d be invested in other systems. We’ve always been told they were a MAJOR player in the galaxy.  The way we saw them they could lose even their best system and still be okay. So now the Romulan’s are stupid. Then they show them as refugees and want us to feel bad for them. Then, moments later they more or less tell us that the Romulan Espionage and Military are still out there. In force. Having success in most of what their doing.

This refugee crisis makes NO SENSE. Its pretty hard to feel anything for these militant ingrates. What it says that some of them were pathetic and grovelling is hard to say, this is a highly deceptive race!

This is a lot to overlook and fucks with what we knew about the world of Star Trek

At any rate the shambolic story moves on. The repercussions seem to be confined to losing Romulus Prime and its solar system.  The show would have us believe their Empire collapsed too.  We could have benefitted form some explanation and information on this major re-setting of the table. We’re left with the vague idea that maybe the Romulans sort of got cored out.

In episode 1 we find out most Romulan refugees were saved in a highly unpopular rescue operation championed and coordinated by Picard. The Romulan Diaspora – term the show is too inartful to use – seems to have taken away none of their duplicity though.

Romulans being Romulans the rescue only went just so well. It tore at the fabric of Star Fleet and almost tore the Federation apart. And of course the Romulan’s were only just so grateful. Some love Picard, and some are ready to kill him.

The writers do not handle the Romulan’s well and soon the most dangerous bad guys we used to see on The Original Series are too self contradictory to ever be frightening. Like the show itself – we’re heavily instructed to find them interesting, but any real scrutiny makes them seem inept, cruel and stupid. You start to wonder just how they ever got into space.

The Romulan’s seem intriguing but that implodes when we realize their Power level, espionage abilities, relative intelligence, military strength and sabotage ability changes in each bad episode. There’s at least one large and formidable Romulan Armada we see much later. This is a pretty badass military resource that doesnt seem to care about, help or need recruits from the new Romulan Refugee planet they get from the Federation. Why this fleet wouldn’t just grab the remaining Romulan’s and start fresh in one of their other Solar Systems is never explained- but the question hangs in the air.

In other depressing future news, it seems androids of all types are now banned and Picard is the one champion of the noble, but highly unpopular idea that the lives of certain androids are in fact equal to those of humans. This view was never really popular in the Federation, and after the Borg pull off a decent attempt to Assimilate all humanity in Star Trek First Contact, the disdain for androids is well set up. In true Kurtzman form though when we get to anything new the unaware script just wastes this part of the story.

Former Admiral Picard is now merely a guy who gravitates to bad, lost causes. His association with the Romulan crisis makes sense. Picard is enormously compassionate. The real problem is this faction doesn’t seem to need long term help. The Romulan’s are never grateful, are still causing problems and operating an armada, control at least TWO espionage agencies and have a half wrecked Borg Cube to cannibalize. This makes them seem like they could easily be self sufficient but just wont. So now the Romulan’s are Space Welfare Queens. This would be considered Racism if the events were real. The show just throws it out there. These are bad guys- except the ones who change teams for no reason at all.

Now former Admiral Picard has left Star Fleet and is a well hated retired guy. The show tells us he disagreed with its increasing militarism in the wake of a Pearl Harbor-like attack by ‘synthetics’ that destroys Utopia Planetia Shipyards and killed a lot of people. Seems the nihilistic Romulans have had a hand in it. We find out later from Admiral Clancy that this has left Star Fleet short of ships and resources (the final episode completely contradicts this).

Mars is a mess. The problem still hasn’t been cleared up. One thing I did verify was that the entire fleet of rescue ships they used to help out the Romulans was there when the attack was carried out by apparently hacked and totally suicidal synthetics. I guess this is why the Romulan Rescue just doesn’t really work out. Its the stupidest move ever to concentrate all your rescue ships at an arbitrary point rather than deploy them to help. I guess they were for all of them to be ready? At any rate the best we can do is guess they were either sitting in som hangar or all in a very low orbit and just waited for the explosion to consume them.

Episode One shows us some very enjoyable sequences of Picard’s beautiful french manor house where he’s kind of gone hermit to a degree. Then we find out he’s a;ways out there advocating for several causes he is championing as a private citizen. So this is the worlds most Outgoing and sociable Hermit. He’s passionate about his bad ideas and half measures. This Picard is pretty out of it.

We find out there is mass media and that Picard is to be interviewed. Ok, its easy to believe people are interested in what a former Galaxy Class Starship captain’s views would be.

The interview shows us this show is obsessed with current events and the political atmosphere at the very moment it was being written – specifically BREXIT and a Trumpian View of the media- from supposedly liberal media members no less. Its not interesting, futuristic or hopeful like Star Trek is supposed to be.

In the interview Picard is set up and slammed in an Ambush Interview– sort of. Whether the interview was always an ambush or Picard really is just a bit too naive is left up to you- like way too much else. The show doesn’t clear this up and we just plod forward to find out that everyone saw this as Picard being just a crazy old man. So future humans are now Un-Curious and believe whatever they are told, sort of like the Fans of this terrible Garbage!

The Hack Attack on Utopia Planetia and a nebulous media reflect right back on modern society like good Star Trek Should. It’s a little wonky but Episodes 1 and 2 seem to be going somewhere but the show CAN NOT pay anything off. Soon we’re using the same bad ideas as Star Trek Discovery. They pull the rug out from under you so many times you end up numb as we wait to experience the subversions in a story that starts to slow down in the middle of episode 2. By Episode 3 theyre just buying time- for 7 hours!

The Mars Attack part of the story revolves around some very Philip K Dick-like Replicant-type androids  Also in the mix is a half destroyed BORG Cube that’s still lingering , wherever it is. What’s left of the Romulans have some access to it as well as regular Federation scientists.

Picard, a known humanitarian and something of a black sheep celebrity, naturally draws the competing forces to himself in a convincing and believable way. It’s not forced.Nothings been jammed in. The story lines unify nicely. These are the sort of things Jean-Luc Picard was always about

None of the stink of the JJ Abrams era really affects this show.

We have some big time baddies in the form of the jerk Romulans and their constant aggressive militarism and the man who still wants to save them anyway. It took a couple of views to figure it out, but the Romulan assassins all seem to have cool new weapon, a mean spirited and super evil “Take Them with You” suicide pill (implanted in their teeth?) that allow them to spit acid as they die.  This is as good as the show gets though.

picard1

The cast is up to it and the first two episodes have so much smoke and mirrors and so much backstory to impart its easy to watch. With Patrick Stewart firmly in the center the show has no problems. Unlike terrible Star Trek Discovery this show has familiar warmth and people show concern for each other. Then Episode 3 comes around and knocks that off the table hard.

In Episode 2Admiral Clancy is well played by Ann Magnuson. Its unfortunate she’s very mean to Picard and starts a series of humiliating encounters. Right now  Picard is officially NOT a Star Fleet officer of any kind. In fact, maybe he should stay 1500 feet away from any Starfleet installations for awhile! In this sequence no one recognizes Picard. Then we’re told EVERYONE saw him on their version TV the night before looking insane and stupid. The tone is all over the place.

It’s now that Admiral Clancy also reveals the media wasn’t kidding in his poorly received interview.  Things on Mars are still just horrible, as a result they’re hard up for ships and they can’t really do diplomacy in the wake of the Romulan Supernova. So now we find out that the interview seems to showed the REAL Picard- in other words a dithering useless sentimental old man.

This is a huge moment. So many revelations are dropped. Star Fleet’s hard up? The Federation isn’t engaging diplomatically? It’s ripped from the headlines and too current to transcend changes in events or the further developments of BREXIT and the American withdrawal from the world stage without hammering it home awkwardly.

Then Picard gets a really bad but mostly unexplained medical diagnosis from someone who isn’t Dr Crusher.  He only has just so much time left as we find out in effective and appropriately Star Trek-like style. He views his newly limited mortality as just one more fact, albeit an unpleasant one. This only sort of works for Picard. We know he can be driven and hes not afraid to die for a good cause- but now he’s just going to die because ‘Time’s Up.” He spends no time considering this.

Some continuity is being preserved in Episodes One and Two but they fuck that up later. The elderly Picard in “All Good Things” might just be a better way to remember tis character though.

Just so we know for sure that Picard may not want to live on a whole lot longer, his doctor warns him against going back into Space, but then admits getting killed may be better than the disease. So whatever it is 24th Century doctors are afraid of it. Since this is absolutely now a KELVIN take on TNG you have to wonder two things- what the HELL will the Klingons look like and more importantly- why not give Picard a dose of Khan’s blood? He’ll be right as rain in a day.

Two hours in the plot is increasingly complex but unfolding nicely and makes sense. Then the show makes it to Episode 3 and becomes completely contrived and shambolic.

We can see why Picard has all of these intense traits and how he would be so interested in the things that are driving him. Unlike EVERY other New Star Trek show Roddenberry’s vision is more or less intact. Then it gets trashed worse than ever for 7 horrible hours.

Maybe the best part is the show slows down and develops things, too bad they leave that for dead and move on from every interesting thing for some incongruous short cuts. My feelings about the first two episodes have changes A LOT after finding out its not gonna go anywhere. This boring show buys time until it speeds to the end.

Again, all signs in the first two episodes seemed GOOD. Patrick Stewart reprises the role perfectly in an elaborate bait and switch. After episode 2 Picard himself really just has an extended cameo.

The story is not episodic but still so far seems to be really good – this was just a lot of nonsense though.

There’s no point in explaining whether or not this show makes it worthwhile to get CBS All Access anymore – Star Trek KILLED that service. This bad show is about to hit season 2 on new but already failing streaming service Paramount Plus. I predict Star Trek kills this service too.

Waddya Think? I want to know; Leave your comments here!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: