Scott Hardie | January 26, 2020
Is anybody else watching this new series? What do you think of it?

I have plenty of thoughts and reactions after the first episode, but foremost among them is how nice it feels to have a show built off of my Star Trek for a change. I was never a big fan of the original series, so to have the original spinoffs and Discovery and the JJ Abrams movies mine that original series for nostalgia over and over again got a little tiresome. At last, here's a series that revisits the 90s era for nostalgia, the era that I loved most, and it feels great. If we somehow get a Deep Space Nine continuation, I'll be in heaven.

Erik Bates | January 26, 2020
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Scott Hardie | January 26, 2020
Yeah, it's kind of unfortunate that the new show is stuck dealing with the little-loved and mostly-forgotten Nemesis, since that movie left the characters in such specific places. It reminds me of when The X Files was revived on television and had to spend time picking up on story threads from the final two years of the original series, after viewership was well in decline. I'm sure a lot of people who only remembered the peak years of the original were scratching their heads.

Picard moralizes; it's pretty much his defining trait. And it's boring when he adopts a popular opinion, so it's better when he takes the moral high road against the popular opinion or conventional wisdom, as in Insurrection and "The Drumhead" and "The Measure of a Man." This new series doesn't dwell on it, but I couldn't help but notice the modern-day political implications of Picard's position in that TV interview: He treats Romulan refugees as people deserving of humanitarian aid and shelter, even though most of the Federation rejects them. Is it me or is Jean-Luc Picard better qualified than most characters on television to make such a moral stand? I don't think the writers could have found a better vessel for that particular argument.

Erik Bates | January 26, 2020
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Scott Hardie | February 24, 2020
Halfway through the first season, here's what I like:
- Patrick Stewart IS a treasure, as Erik said. Every scene he's in is better for his presence.
- I love the moral complexity of the characters and the world. There are far more shades of gray (uggh) than there were in the original TNG.
- Much like Discovery, this is a show that loves its twists. The audience cannot get comfortable because you never know what's going to happen next.
- The callbacks to earlier Treks are fun to catch. I keep noticing subtle ones, like Kirk's Rock in the background when Picard is trying to recruit Raffi, or Soji making head movements like Data when she's curious.
- The special effects are really well done, especially in Freecloud. I look forward to seeing the show do something really big on Discovery's scale. (I continue to be amazed by how good Discovery's visual effects are on a TV budget.)
- The mysteries in the unfolding storyline are compelling. The writers are smart to leave the audience with new questions in each episode.

What I don't like:
- The reclamation project subplot with Narek and Soji is boring and generic, like a SyFy series. Every time the show cuts away to it, I roll my eyes and start counting the minutes until we get back to Picard.
- The villainous overacting of the Romulan spies is so bad. It's like the Mirror Universe; something about the role just brings out the worst, hammiest, broadest overacting. The aforementioned moral complexity goes out the window.
- Devoting the prologue to a flashback that sets up the rest of the episode is becoming a trope, and a show five episodes in shouldn't have its own trope yet.
- The nickname "JL." Not working for me.

So far, I'd give it a B, or a B+ if you're a superfan able to catch the callbacks. But we're only halfway in, and I look forward to seeing where the back half goes.

Scott Hardie | March 6, 2020
Amusingly (to me anyway), the opening theme music has some intense string notes near the end that sound like a carbon monoxide alarm going off. I know this because Kelly has a smart device in our house that apparently listens for a carbon monoxide alarm and sends a notification to her phone if one is detected, and it notifies her when we watch the show. (Not that I'd watch the show without her, but even if I wanted to, I guess she'd know!)


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