Picard: An Introduction

I plan to write a series of articles about Picard. This is the first in the series and stands as the introduction. Please enjoy:

 I am unsure who thought that we needed Picard. As a Star Trek fan, I honestly felt like we had mostly had enough. There was a definite case of diminishing returns in both TV shows and movies.  By the time we got to Enterprise it seemed clear that Star Trek had gone as far as it could in long form entertainment. I gave up on that execrable mess of a show just a few episodes in. The recent attempt to move Trek into grimdark territory, Discovery, did nothing to alleviate my concerns.

On the movie side, the Next Generation based movies started out bad and got progressively worse. The J.J. Abrams reboots started out pretty well, then immediately nosedived with the badly conceived Into Darkness.  I my never forgive J.J. for what he did to Khan.

All that is a lot of lead up just to say that I was dubious at best about another Star Trek series. I put off seeing Picard for quite some time.  I am glad that I waited, but not for the reason that you might think. Rather, the wait gave me meant that I got more time in my life before Picard was over.  Now that I have seen it, I am sad that I cannot see it again for the first time. 

Star Trek Picard is elegiac. It is a tale about damage, regret, missed chances and lost causes. It looks at how failure, even in a good cause, taints not just the things that come after but the memories of what came before.  It’s a show about aging, about looking out at your life and understanding that nearly all of it is behind you, but also seeking to make good use of the small part that still lies ahead.

At the outset of the story Picard is in retirement. He lives quietly with his regrets.  There are ways in which his experience mirrors that of the audience. We look back, as does he, at his days aboard the Enterprise as the grand old days. The years between then and now have been pretty terrible (need I mention Enterprise and the badly miscast Scott Bakula?). We, like him, feel that the earlier days are tainted by the things that followed him.  Then, he is invited into an adventure. We are also invited. We are given hope that this new adventure can make up for the failures we regret.

And it does.

Even more, it transcends. It informs, and lifts, and improves.

Picard  is lovely, and touching, and smart. And right up until the ending it is perfect.  I will get to the ending a bit further down the road. For today, let’s leave our discussion there.