I already did a mid-season review of Star Trek Picard, but now that the show is finally over, I think we can take a look at the thing holistically and all collectively marvel at how we all just watched… whatever the hell that was. Star Trek Picard, in the end, was such a weird mashup of things, I don’t even know what to call it. It didn’t ever settle on being one thing. I guess this isn’t going to be a Star Trek Picard review so much as a disjointed rant.
It’s pretty clear that they set out to make a Mass Effect show but didn’t have the rights or something and tried to retool it into a Star Trek show and just sort of thought nobody would notice. Sure, it has a bunch of Star Trek stuff, but when you really think about it, it has Star Trek stuff in the same way that the new Star Wars movies have Star Wars stuff: barely, and only to get you through the door. This show so clearly wants to be Mass Effect and not Star Trek. It so clearly wants to be Firefly and not Star Trek.
Every sort of Star Trek thing they brought in is significantly altered to fit into this show to the point it doesn’t even recognize its source material anymore. Romulans, the powerful, sneaky rivals of the Federation? Back, except they’re poor and racist and live on some kind of ghetto planet (except when they’re not — the show is extremely inconsistent about this). Picard? Back, but he’s basically a completely different person. Seven of Nine, the intelligent, logical engineering whiz from Voyager? Back, but now she’s a freewheelin’ alcoholic space mercenary who shoots first and asks questions later. Pew pew!
Character development in this show was so bizarre. That one girl, the doctor, she murdered a guy, and two episodes later not only had everyone forgotten, they were just kind of cool with it. What’s the deal with Elnore? Why did they devote a whole episode to recruiting that guy only to use him in a grand total of like 4 scenes in the entire show? At the very end they kind of have a scene that’s like “Hey, by the way, Seven’s a lesbian now and she’s in a relationship with that drug addicted chick who just professed her love for Picard one episode ago.” Seven and what’s her name never interacted even one single time throughout the entire show. What happened to that Romulan dude who had like the 3rd most screen time of anyone on the show? Unknown. He kind of threw out this line in the last episode of being the family screwup/black sheep. Where did that come from and why are you introducing it now? Were Picard and Data lovers? The show seems to think so. Rios was the only character who seemed to get any kind of coherent character development at all.
Looking back, I can’t remember why the first 3 episodes of this show exist. Picard meets Dahj, Dahj dies, Picard assembles a crew and goes to space. Why did that take 3 episodes? Why did that Elnore episode exist? Why did Riker make a pizza for an hour? This show somehow accomplished 10% of the storytelling Firefly was able to accomplish in one season. Is that because Firefly was very structured or because this show was unfocused?
They did all these character setup episodes like it was going to have a Firefly/Cowboy Bebop kind of structure like, mostly episodic spacefaring with a few “main plot” episodes, but then what the show actually ended up being was a 10 hour movie. Do one or the other. For the movie version, they could have cut out like half the show. It just didn’t matter.
A big part of the fun of an ensemble crew is the banter and the relationships that build over time, but as far as what we see during the course of the show, these characters have essentially still just met at the end, even though the last episode pretends they all have a huge bond and they’re all best friends. Elnore is all upset in the last episode that those bastards killed my best friend Hugh or whatever. You mean Hugh, the guy you just met yesterday, barely said a word to, and knew for a couple hours tops before he was killed?
Star Trek Picard was at its best when it wasn’t pretending to be a Star Trek show at all. The main thrust of the plot was clearly a direct screen adaptation of Mass Effect, and the ending (at least the action parts of it) would have been great if it was a Mass Effect show, and if a battle had actually happened. The whole Firefly crew was a pretty cool cast of characters, if it was a Firefly show. Picard and Seven should have just been two totally new characters, because they… are already clearly two totally new characters.
Speaking of the ending, for a show that erroneously leaned into action and violence way more often than was necessary, the unexpected diplomatic nothing-burger of a climax was a big letdown.
Anyway, super weird show. Here’s my idea for next season, and it’ll be a perfectly fine show. Write Picard off offscreen, reveal that Seven isn’t actually Seven at all but Seven’s genetically altered clone named… Spleven, and rename the show Mass Effect: Firefly.
That’s my Star Trek Picard review. You can read more reviews in the Movies/TV Section. They’re… not all like this one. This one is special.