Two days after I binge-watched Star Trek: Picard, the most interesting thing about it is how utterly forgettable it was.
Let me start with the disclaimer that my identity does not revolve around any franchise, be it Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Marvel, or any other. So if your identity is in any way wrapped up in Star Trek, you may not want to read on. And if you’re wondering why I spent the time, you can blame it on the COVID-19 scare and the allure of a free month of CBS All-Access. It turns out that you do indeed get exactly what you paid for.
What do I remember about this?
Stupid writer trick #1: Open with a dream sequence.
Yup, if you don’t already know it, opening with a dream sequence is one of those writer-no-no’s that will get your manuscript rejected. It’s only slightly less bad than “it was all a dream” ending. BTW, that is why publishers want a synopsis. That way they don’t have to read your entire manuscript to find out it was all a dream and they can reject it outright without too much of a time investment.
Stupid writer trick #2: Start with action.
In this case we have a woman and man making out and then all of a sudden, they are attacked. He is killed. She kills the attackers. Aaaaaannnd… we don’t care. We don’t care because we have no idea what this had to do with Picard’s dream (at least with him we might nominally care because we like Picard from previous shows/movies) or Picard or anyone else for that matter. Thankfully this was a short sequence rather than some extended fight-bore-a-thon so there is that.
Stupid writer trick #3: Amended flashbacks.
Yeah, cause if flashbacks aren’t enough to make you want to stop reading/watching, we’re gonna go ahead and give you a second flashback of the same exact scene, but the second time, we’re going to add information we withheld the first time. Why? Well, because we didn’t want any tension (you know that stories are about tension, right?) in the story. We thought it would be oh-so-clever to withhold relevant information from you because we have to work our way through the stupid writer trick checklist. Honestly, if you’re going to have a flashback in the first place, do the whole damned thing. This story would have benefited from the tension of us knowing that Dr. Jurati wasn’t who she was pretending to be. Withholding that information did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the story but hurt it.
Notice how the first three things I remember about this are all things that annoyed me? That’s not good. So what did I like about it?
It had a pitbull. I have a soft spot for pibbles and Number One (LOL!) had far too little screen time. Saving grace, nothing bad happens to the dog.
It was nice to see Troi and Riker’s HEA, but that part was woefully short given the rest of the 11 episodes.
My interest was piqued by the Borg. They are some of my favorite bad guys so I stayed to see where it would go. Which was really nowhere much. Time to watch First Contact and scrub out the lingering memory of this.
Now, like all Star Trek (yes, all!) you have to suspend your disbelief on the science. And this was one of the big difference I saw between Picard and the rest of the ST franchises, i.e. Picard was far more character-driven. Yes, the pacing was slower, but the story required it. And the “science”? Well, it’s as scientific as WWII dog-fights in space.
The ending itself was disappointing even though they (mostly) avoided the potential deus-ex-machina climax with two carefully planted plot devices (i.e. that Riker was on active reserve and that Dr. Soong was working on a golem). Stupid writer trick #4 (deus-ex-machina) avoided.