So. "Picard"

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So. "Picard"

Post by DerGolgo » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:08 pm

I keep seeing claims that Picard somehow "failed".
That it is an egregious example of "New Trek", and that all of "New Trek" must be condemned.
Often enough, along comes the suggestion that the only "real" Star Trek show right now is The Orville.

So I watch "New Trek".
And, quite frankly, I like "New Trek". Discovery had the problem that in season one, a massive, sweeping arc was dragged out over a season by show-runners who, unfortunately, aren't very good at handling season-spanning character arcs.
Just one example. We were introduced to Lt. Cmdr. Airiam. In the very episode she tragically died. Yes, we had seen her earlier, and the whole cyborg/computer-virus thing had been hinted at in an earlier episode. But we are only introduced to the character at the beginning of that episode. We are treated to a pretty interesting idea, actually - a human, her body and, apparently, parts of her brain destroyed in a terrible accident. So that now, she has to decide which memories she keeps, and which she doesn't, her cyborg brain having limited long-term memory.

I fucking LOVE her entire premise! What happens to someone so badly injured, even 23rd century medicine can't heal them? And if they become a cyborg, what is that like? BRILLIANT ideas!
It's just that they would have been a lot brillianter if we had learned about Lt. Cmdr. Airiam a few seconds earlier. If her very cyborg specific behavior had been planted earlier in the season.
FFS, one of the memories she decides to keep is about spending time with other crewmembers whom she appears to consider her personal friends. And who include Michael Burnham. Like, the central character of the entire show. They are personal friends.
And we learn that from the info dump in the first act while, in the third, she sacrifices her own life to save everybody else.
Which I think shouldn't make all that much sense.
She is a cyborg. She appears to be only a part of her human brain, with an otherwise entirely mechanical body.
And she works in space. Military or not, she is a mostly mechanical contrivance, working in the hard vacuum of space.

Why the floating fuck does a cyborg get dead from being spaced?
Yes, with a human brain, or part thereof, she'd still need some oxygen, etc.
But she works in space. She wasn't on a weekend trip around the moons of Neptune. She is a commissioned officer in starfleet. Squishy humans must surely practice emergency drills, so they know what to do when the stool hits the rapidly rotating air-motivations contrivance. Like we saw in the first episode, or maybe the second. When Burnham must jump through the vacuum when she got cut off from the rest of the ship in the middle of battle. She must exhale, so that the vacuum doesn't rip apart her air-filled lungs.
Unlike the squishy humans, a cyborg, even a 23rd century cyborg, will be made from metals, plastics, all kinds of things. Soft tissues with blood vessels? Not so much.
So even if she still needed oxygen. How the flying fudge should a cyborg, who is a commissioned Starfleet officer, not have a little emergency supply of oxygen? If part of her brain is all the human bits she has left, she wouldn't even need a lot. When a human gets spaced, and assuming she exhaled right before getting shoved into the vacuum, they will take a pretty long time to die. I recall reading of some physicians estimating it might take more than a minute.
Oxygen deprivation, aka Hypoxia, will do irreparable brain damage when it extends to more than 30 seconds. Considering that her cyborg body only exists to specifically keep what's left of her brain alive, and to let it interact with the rest of the universe. It's quite frankly ridiculous that getting spaced should have killed her.
One complaint I've heard about Picard was "Aaaah! LENS FLARES! THAT IS NOT STAR TREK!"
No, not kidding. Friend, orders of magnitude more trekkie than I, wrote off Picard just from the first teaser trailer, when that had come out. The lens-flare effect was enough to prove that the show could not have any merit. Just like Discovery.

"Old" Star Trek, the Rick Berman era, beginning with TNG, would have a pretty formulaic structure for scenes with dialog on ship.
Wide shot, to establish the setting, some closer shots to introduce all characters, then cutting between headshots, as dictated by dialog.
There weren't a lot of dolly shots, or any, most of the time. Sci-fi shows like TNG were popular, because they would only very rarely shoot on location, and most of it was shot on the same sets. Perhaps with very minor modifications.
Overall, a lot cheaper than, for instance, a cop show that needs at least one car chase per episode, and is shot mostly outside.
Heck. When a sci-fi show has scenes in the outdoors. Often enough, the flippin' great outdoors would also be shot on a set. "Doesn't look right? What the fuck do you know, it's an alien fucking planet, how the fuck would you know what looks right about it?!"

Now, the Berman era ended 15 years ago. While the sfx were good enough, the rest of Enterprise hadn't really looked all that fresh. For one, Starfleet ships had still been equipped with a generous supply of alarming rocks. That, during battle with another vessel, would fall down and alarm everyone that there's a battle going on.

Over the past 33 years, since laying down the visual formula for Star Trek in TNG, a lot of stuff has changed. A LOT.
Much of the technology that would have been inconceivable (and, yes, I do think that word means what I think it means) back then is not just mundane now, but almost, if not wholly, boring.
"Dolly shot? Oh, man, you know how many guys it takes to just set that crap up? And we'll spend half the day trying to get the framing right, and in the end, there will be a shot, there's always a shot, where we have to digitally remove some rails. Can't we just use a drone? We're already set to process seven hells out of the audio, so..."
So the idea that a modern show should look like a show from 33 years ago. Should be shot in the same manner, should ignore visual elements that today are today common (like lens flare), and help just make stuff look more like stuff. What the fuck?

I gather that, when TNG came out, a mere twenty years after the end of TOS (not counting the animated series here), a lot of fans were wailing and crying about their sacred thing being soiled. That it didn't look like, or sound like, what they had decided was the undeniable essence of Star Trek.
Bit difference: outside of conventions, fan-zines, and a small number of commercially produced magazines, the only way a Trekkie of 1987 or so could find out about TNG was by, well, watching TNG. There were no fansites on facebook, there were no youtube channels with semi-professional production values to tell us what we are allowed to like and what we aren't.
That is to say, the funnel through which the bad stuff can reach any one fan was comparatively small. The discourse could only get so far. A passionate fan would attend how many conventions in a year? And how many where there, and how big where they?
Apart from that, the discourse consisted of journalists, pros or fans, telling everybody what they were allowed to like, and maybe responding to letters to the editor. Nobody could retweet a screenshot of the horriwful lens-flare a thousand time.

Of course, it wasn't like showrunners could just do as they pleased.
But they didn't have to deal with 37 hours of youtube videos dissecting the latest 37 minute episode (not counting advertising breaks) getting published before the second advertising break. They didn't have to deal with cult leaders ordering their followers to hate the apostate show, and would actually get the attention of thousands and thousands of people the world over.

What I'm saying: the discourse on the subject now may seem more significant, will drag out longer, and may do more damage, simply because of the media it happens through, and which hadn't existed when Star Trek's "real, true fans" had condemned TNG.
So even while the problems people have with either "New Trek" show may be of lesser significance, the platforms they are addressed on may give them a whole different lifetime.

I like Discovery.
It is flawed as heck. But I've watched worse Trek.
I love Picard.
He's the captain. He is >still< the captain.

And anyone complaining about the Federation and/or Starfleet coming across like the bad guys.
Yah. How many episodes of TNG and DS9 dealt with a nefarious cabal trying to take over Starfleet, to institute military rule?
And anyone complaining about enslavement and subsequent prohibition of synths. Starfleet wouldn't do that.
Bruce Maddox, fairly important character in Picard. Remember how he came in?
The Measure of a Man is considered by many to be the best single episode of any Star Trek.
In it, commissioned Starfleet officer Commander Bruce Maddox tries to sue for the right to deactivate and dissect Data.
He dwasn't able to get through with it. But it's not like he had been unwilling and opposed to the idea in the first place. The idea that he would have been the only person in the Federation, and/or in Starfleet, with no sympathies for the personal rights of synth lifeforms. Someone who outright denied the reality of their sentience. The idea that nobody else would have thought like him.

If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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