Star Trek: Picard: Remembrance
January 23, 2020 3:15 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

[Series Premiere] At his vineyard, retired Starfleet Admiral Jean-Luc Picard and a mysterious young woman have an encounter, and she makes a fair point.

Except where otherwise noted, background information for this and subsequent PIC posts comes from the authoritative Trek fan wiki Memory Alpha:

- The Daystrom Institute, referenced multiple times in Star Trek since TNG (The Next Generation), is first seen in this episode.

- Picard's vineyard is established as being in La Barre, France in TNG: "Family."

- Michael Chabon (Picard writer, executive producer, and showrunner) is an accomplished novelist and also the writer of the Star Trek: Short Treks episodes "Calypso" and "Q&A". Chabon commented: "One of my favorite episodes of any Star Trek ever is the episode of Deep Space Nine, "Far Beyond the Stars"... [It] squarely takes on the subject of race and racism in America, not in the future, in the past, in a really interesting way, but in a way that also clearly resonates on many levels with science fiction fandom as it currently exists or as it existed when that episode of Deep Space Nine was made. You know, that's what Star Trek's for, in addition to all the other things that it may be for".

- [Wikipedia:] Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati) had prominent roles in Milk (2008), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), The Pillars of the Earth (2010), The Newsroom (2012–14) and American Horror Story: Cult (2017).

- Harry Treadaway (Narek) starred with Shazad Latif in Penny Dreadful.

- The character Bruce Maddox appeared in TNG: "Measure of a Man," which concerned Data's personhood.

- The first season of Picard will be ten episodes long.


Poster's Log:
Oblige me as I get real here for a second. TNG (The Next Generation) means…kind of a lot to me. It reassured me that nerdiness was OK when every other element of my life did the opposite. Its run corresponded with my adolescence, teaching me stuff I'm probably not even aware of. Possibly the very last positive memories of habitual togetherness I have with my family are of our weekly TNG viewing appointments, from its pilot through most subsequent seasons.

In short, TNG means something to me in a way that no other TV show does. It's strange to think about, really, because objectively, TNG is often very flat, unemotional, and, well, beige.

One thing I like about PIC so far is that it absolutely, genuinely honors TNG but also clearly has a heart. A few minor gripes aside, I'd call this a damn good pilot.

I freely admit to being one of many who predicted (not without premature schadenfreude) that CBS All Access would be a short-lived and disastrous experiment. It hasn't yet outlasted UPN, of course, but given what we're being told about CBS's future Trek plans (see also the Supplemental section below), it's very possible that All Access or something very like it is here to stay.

If so, I'm glad we have Picard. In this era of reboots, reimaginings, and the general devaluation of stuff mattering or having meaning, somebody had to be the indefatigable standard-bearer of "what Trek really is"—and who better than Sir Patrick? I mean, it might've been nice for Picard to come back to us before a bunch of J.J. movies, but that's not the timeline we ended up with. (Oh to be Annorax… er, wait, nevermind; that would suck.)

Case in point: Picard employing Romulans at his house (refugees, perhaps?) is absolutely in character and in keeping with the TNG philosophy. As was his attitude during the interview. TNG-Picard was always at his best when he was calling out perpetrators of injustice.

Prior to the pilot airing, the official word was that this show would have a more personal focus and leisurely pace than other new-Trek, particularly Discovery (of course, I have to assume that even the Fast & Furious movies have a more leisurely pace than DISCO). I was concerned about this—and whether a contemporary TV producer's definition of a slow pace would match mine. So far, this strikes a nice balance—it's talkier than the average prestige/action/genre show these days, without a doubt, but not talkier than TNG.

IMO, Data's uniform in the first dream sequence looked like a fan made it—by which I mean, it was accurate, but something about the fabrics looked off.

I sort of guessed that the thing with Dahj would be a River Tam kind of deal, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I didn't guess at what would happen to her at the end of the episode. (And I hope they hint at an actual reason for the twin requirement.)

Harry Treadaway's performance—a head movement or two, his eyes—reminded me of Castillo from "Yesterday's Enterprise".

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Wil Wheaton to Host Star Trek: Picard After-Show "The Ready Room" (Treknews.net) [Ed.: This writer oversimplifies Kirk's characterization in TOS, IMO, but in the same way that lots of people do. OTOH, it's a fine selection of must-see episodes.]
Everything You Need to Watch Before Star Trek: Picard [Wired]
Star Trek: Picard Officially Renewed for a Second Season [Treknews.net]
"'Star Trek' Warps Into the Wine Frontier with Château Picard" [Space.com]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (169 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, I loved this. Stewart is shouldering a lot of the weight, but he's doing it extremely well.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:16 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Ahhhh it's so good! I could pick a few nits but honestly, it's just tremendous to see Patrick Stewart as Picard again – and so lovely to have a Trek series – or movie – that is taking its time to breathe and explore big ideas.

This ep had just the right mix of nostalgic references, talking, and pew pew; and while it seems we might be heading into another "Federation is bad" storyline, I have confidence that it'll be more subtle than usual, and sadly, more reflective of our xenophobic times.
posted by adrianhon at 5:54 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


I like it a lot, and I'm very glad there's a big focus on righting the wrong of Data's untimely death. Having Bruce Maddox (who I remind you is the guy who argued against Data's personhood in Measure of a Man but seems to have become friends with him later in life) be the guy who carried on Data's legacy is a nice touch. Also, the implication that after the Federation banned synthetic life forms Maddox went off to be an old scientist man living on a planetoid to pursue his research (with only his hot young wife as company) is extremely TNG, there's at least a dozen episodes about weird horny old scientists that the Enterprise has to help.

One thing I don't like is, like Discovery before it, the show doesn't want to explore how radically different life in the Federation is from today. I get that this is probably an intentional choice, but TNG was a lot more interested in depicting how people fill their hours in a post-scarcity Utopia. It was often a lot of weird recitals and community theater but it was a genuine attempt to show something other than modern life. Instead, we have Picard sitting down to do a very 21st century interview that apparently just gets broadcast out? In a world where you could ask a computer to make a perfect holographic recreation of Picard and ask him whatever you want?

I'm not opposed to the idea that only Starfleet gets access to all the nice utopian accoutrements and if you don't toe the Federation line your life is notably less perfect, but that's so far from what Roddenberry envisioned that it's barely recognizable as Star Trek.

Also the answer to "Could someone make a sentient android out of flesh and blood?" Is "Uh, you mean like a clone? Or, uh, a baby?" I feel like making a synthetic life form out of flesh would be way, way easier than pretty much anything else you could make it out of.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:40 AM on January 23 [10 favorites]




(please note I really like the show. I nitpick because that's how I show affection for Star Trek)
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:23 AM on January 23 [9 favorites]


What I really love about the show is how it honours Picard's fierce compassion while keeping him very grounded as a human. He believes Dahj – he doesn't demand proof of her story. He respects all life, not just Federation lives. He rejects the false dilemma. He cares, and that's not a sign of weakness, it's a symbol of strength.
posted by adrianhon at 10:26 AM on January 23 [22 favorites]


So I pretty much loved it and teared up a couple times. I could pick at it, but why?

No fucking way Maddox isn't showing up by the end of the season.

The one thing I'm unsure about is all this talk of "rogue synths"... like... what? Androids were never called "synths" in Star Trek before and why append rogue to it if they all escaped from the Daystrom Institute? It's not like there are a bunch of non "rogue" synths walking around. At first I was thinking all of the EMH Mark I mining slaves attacked Mars.
posted by Automocar at 10:54 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


I'm not opposed to the idea that only Starfleet gets access to all the nice utopian accoutrements and if you don't toe the Federation line your life is notably less perfect, but that's so far from what Roddenberry envisioned that it's barely recognizable as Star Trek.

I think the vision of what the Federation is, and what life is like under it, will always change with the times; Roddenberry's conception came about at a time when there was large social and technological change, and a vision of a tech-driven utopia seemed possible, but also driven by the Cold War in terms of how it depicted the Klingons and the Romulans. TNG largely kept that tech-utopian vision, but was more willing to explore inner lives as well as be open to how relationships with former adversaries can change towards friendship, as well as continuing to place the Federation generally as the enlightened saviour/benefactor. Now, it looks like the series is setting up to model our times - the power structure of the Federation is suspect; it dehumanizes beings who aren't a part of it; the values it espouses are hollowed out by a lack of action on them. So I'm not surprised that life on Earth will be depicted as not perfect, because it is part of showing us that the kingdom is flawed because its leadership is flawed.
posted by nubs at 11:14 AM on January 23 [10 favorites]


In a lot of way the early (S1/S2) TNG vibe is the outlier. No other Star Trek show has leaned as heavily on "Gene's vision" (biiiiiigggg quotes around that, for the record) as early TNG, and every other episode featured some rogue admiral who wanted to turn the Federation into a military dictatorship.

Utopia isn't valuable if it's self-sustaining. The Federation works because everyone is committed to making it work. And it's not surprising to me that a Federation rocked by the Borg, then the Dominion War, then the destruction of Mars, would be entering some challenging times.
posted by Automocar at 11:19 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I love this a lot, despite a lot of nits that can be legitimately picked.

OTOH, there are a lot of details that I absolutely adore, though. Jean-Luc sleeps with as many pillows as I do, he carries a pocket knife, he takes Earl Grey in decaf now sometimes. The cane. Sir Patrick is definitely doing some heroic lifting.

Damn, I teared up hard when Jean-Luc was going all "you're dear to me." The "So there's another one" did not work for me, at all though.

I don't like the "synth" thing at all*, but I can see prejudice shaping the public consciousness adopting "synth" as a pejorative. qv Jean-Luc choosing to use android to describe Data - although it's inconsistent (describing Dahj as a synthetic to his household staff). Dr. Jurati also uses android and synth interchangeably.

The fashion - I'm digging it. Jean-Luc's tie had a non-standard knot; is it a real knot or a fake one?

The law enforcement and IT infrastructure and surveillance is all kinds of pants.

The preview for the next episode(s?) has me absolutely rivetted.

*the pseudoscience not-even-pseudoscience is even more terrible than usual, like absolutely terribad and the writers should feel ashamed
posted by porpoise at 12:00 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I goddamn lost it at seeing he kept the Captain Picard day banner.
posted by danhon at 1:15 PM on January 23 [35 favorites]


*the pseudoscience not-even-pseudoscience is even more terrible than usual, like absolutely terribad and the writers should feel ashamed

Yeah that's one of the many nits I have to pick, like, seriously, geez, at least pretend you're trying. Recreating Data's essence or whatever through a positronic neutron whatever? Seriously?

The exposition via the interview felt ham-fisted as well as the bit-too-overt racism towards the Romulans.

The whole synth retcon just does not sit right with me, but this is just Star Trek being Star Trek.

I really liked River Tam, sorry, Dahj and killing her off so soon, despite having a twin felt off.

Also, Old Data is just, really, really weird and a bit creepy and not the way they intended. I know Brent Spinner isn't gonna get younger, though.

Now that I've picked all my nits... It was okay? It's really just getting started and I'm still excited for the rest of the season. Bring on the Borg stuff! Give us as much Seven of Nine as possible! Romulans with swords! More Earl Grey tea! Let's assemble the ragtag group of misfits and save the universe.
posted by KTamas at 1:18 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


(This review covers the first three episodes so avoid it if you want to avoid small spoilers)
Can Star Trek: Picard recover from its bafflingly bad premiere? (ew.com)

First off, this is the same reviewer that watched Episode 1 of The Witcher, skipped to Episode 5, then complained in their review that it didn't make sense, so already I suspect their judgement. I don't agree with much of what they're saying, especially with regard to Sir Patrick Stewart's performance, but one passage jumped out to me:

It’s possible that Kurtzman’s response would be a variation of an opinion I’ve seen elsewhere: Well, times are tougher now, so Star Trek should be tougher. As if the late ’60s were all peace and quiet. Picard feels narratively stuck in its own past ... but stylistically, it’s the lamest sort of modern.

This, more or less, sums up what I dislike about the modern incarnation of Star Trek. It's lost sight of what made Star Trek so special to begin with: It was a serious attempt to depict a better future. Discovery and Picard both feel very contemporary, and I think that's going to hurt them in the long term. Is there anyone out there that willingly goes back and revisits 24, dripping as it was in 9/11 cultural fears? These shows will feel just as lame and dated. And don't tell me a brighter future isn't worth imagining. Folks in the late 60s were afraid of nuclear war, folks today are afraid of climate change. Both make imagining a bright future hard to do, but that future is the reason people fondly remember Star Trek today and it's what's so sorely missing from the new Star Trek shows.

Sure, every Trek has its contemporary foibles, like original Trek's Romulans and Klingons for Russians, and TNG's preaching the benefits of a benevolent colonial American superpower, but they did a lot more than take contemporary issues and dress them up in jumpsuits and phasers. They imagined a world where we got past contemporary issues, to uncover exciting new issues that are LIKE contemporary issues but different in some way like this alien is black on one side and white on the other. Then we as humans feel good for helping someone else get past the issue we used to have. Is there any point in Picard where I'm going to think maybe humanity isn't so bad after all? I doubt it.

Anyway I'm very glad they've announced a second season to Picard so I don't have to spend the whole first season worrying he's going to die at the end.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:23 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


This, more or less, sums up what I dislike about the modern incarnation of Star Trek. It's lost sight of what made Star Trek so special to begin with: It was a serious attempt to depict a better future. Discovery and Picard both feel very contemporary, and I think that's going to hurt them in the long term. Is there anyone out there that willingly goes back and revisits 24, dripping as it was in 9/11 cultural fears? These shows will feel just as lame and dated.

As much as I enjoy DISCO overall, I think you put this very, very well, Mr.Encyclopedia. That being said I didn't feel this as much as with DISCO as I do right now with Picard.

I rewatched TNG/DS9/VOY last year and they don't feel dated the same way this *will* feel dated in, say, 15-20-25 years.
posted by KTamas at 1:34 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Is there any point in Picard where I'm going to think maybe humanity isn't so bad after all? I doubt it.

My sense is that the larger theme/arc of Picard is going to be the point that it is possible to stand outside a corrupt system and be for what is morally right, and that taking such action can help others to also stand for what is right, whether they are inside or outside said system. That a line must be drawn. That there are four lights.

I could be wrong; it could be that this is just a story of Picard's last adventure in a universe that doesn't care about an old man and his moralistic crusade. But whatever the depiction of the universe, to place Picard's moral certainty about the equality of lifeforms at the center of the show is where I see it holding true to the spirit of Trek. Maybe that won't be enough - but I like to hope that it might be.
posted by nubs at 1:42 PM on January 23 [34 favorites]


nubs: I think that's exactly right. It's the exact kind of utopian thinking we need right now, that people can still be good – that it's still worth being good – within a system that is evil. I recently watched A Hidden Life and while it's set during WW2, it harbours a similar message.
posted by adrianhon at 1:58 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


ST: TNG was my Star Trek. My dad is a big sci-fi fan, and he was 21 when the original hit the airwaves in '66. I was a freshman in college in '87, when TNG took flight, so it belonged to me in a way that the original (and all subsequent) really didn't.

I adore the character of Jean-Luc Picard and would (and will still) follow him anywhere, but... this pilot was so... placid? Just, like, sitting there, dum-de-dum, oh ho, a parallel to "illegal" aliens, and a Mystery to be solved.

(Also they're really going all in on Nemesis as a basis for reference, which, why. No one wants to revisit that. It's easily the worst TNG movie and very nearly the worst Star Trek movie.)

I know to hang on for more than three episodes when it comes to new television (and especially new SF takes a while to find its rhythm), so I am, and I'll wait, but even with the teasers for the rest of the season, I am massively, massively unhappy with the casting.

#PicardSoWhite.

Star Trek, at its best, has always been about human rights, equality, justice. I counted seventeen speaking parts in the pilot, and only two of them were played by people of color. One was immediately killed off, as per usual. The moment he appeared on screen I was like, oh, you're gonna die (plus they doubled down on "have PoC play aliens and you kill two birds with one stone"). The other was the nasty, lying, inciting antagonist-lite (and a woman: another two-birds scenario).

I'm depressed, but not surprised, that it's so, so white. 50 years down the line. The Future. In Space. And it's still just a whole bunch of white people.
posted by tzikeh at 2:25 PM on January 23 [16 favorites]


Did the people complaining that this feels too contemporary ever, like, watch the original Star Trek? They did episodes on contemporary politics and social issues constantly! It was kind of their thing.

It's not like they tried to be subtle. They literally did an episode where the dudes with black and white faces were racist against the other dudes with black and white faces because it was mirror imaged.
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


I'm depressed, but not surprised, that it's so, so white. 50 years down the line. The Future. In Space. And it's still just a whole bunch of white people.

Yeah. As optimistic as my comments above have been about the show, I should add that I do think there's a problem with making the moral centre of the show a white male.
posted by nubs at 3:20 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


About the “modern” Star Trek that’s like 24, etc. DS9 leaned heavily into this and is getting I feel a ton of re-watch respect for eg the Bell Riots. I am optimistic that Picard will show how it is important (and doable) to keep an, uh, inner light alive for humanity’s capacity for good.
posted by danhon at 3:39 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Petit de live-blogue, maybe more considered consideration later

Those glasses, les verres du thé, in the dream. Where on earth did they score them? Nice. Long ago I had a set.

FROM SEATTLE? Low blow, show.

He’s totes right about the knot.

OMG I’m in, Chabon.

The solar panels on the bridge.

Data’s fucking head! “B-4” ha ha ha

The MoPop Trek show incorporated a display case of Data’s head as buried and found in San Francisco. It was beyond weird to look at him through the plexi, between my feet.

Twins again? What plot BS is this?

I am watching, and probably rewatching, this on the day I learned that my birth mother’s partner, my literal father, passed away in June of last year. Given what Mike’s been telling us about the show, I am bracing.

Post show preview: BIRD OF PREY yes yes me likey
posted by mwhybark at 4:11 PM on January 23


FROM SEATTLE? Low blow, show.

?

The solar panels on the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge getting solar panels - I'm almost certain I've commented about that, almost certainly from another Trek property. Very 'Appleseed' Olympus city.
posted by porpoise at 5:10 PM on January 23


HI I LIKED IT
posted by sugar and confetti at 5:39 PM on January 23 [16 favorites]


The Golden Gate Bridge getting solar panels - I'm almost certain I've commented about that, almost certainly from another Trek property

They were shown in Discovery but replaced with train tubes by TMP. Apparently they were useful/historic enough where they were reinstalled after the Breen came in and wrecked the joint. The Golden Gate Bridge was also shown i in TNG, DS9 and VOY but only at a low angle where you couldn't really make out what was on the deck of the bridge.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:49 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I'm a little mad about the bait-and-switch. I genuinely liked Dahj, her vulnerability and absolute trust in Picard, and to have her just killed like that... ouch. But I suspect what I really like is the actress, and as stupid as "I have a twin" is as a plot device at least it means it'll be the same actress. And yeah the River Tam thing is way, way close. Time for a moratorium on that particular collection of character tropes.

I'm not sure what to make of Patrick Stewart in this. He's a great actor, and I love Picard, but somehow this all feels a bit like watching him reprise the role for the local community theater. Maybe it's because he's playing the feeble old man so much. The moments he shows backbone (ending the interview, deciding to go off on A Mission) feel more like the character I love.

Really curious how the rest of the season goes. From the teasers it looks like some ensemble of irregulars aboard someone else's ship. That is not going to be comfortable for Admiral Picard. Also the idea of the Romulan refugees picking over the remnants of a Borg Cube, that is absolutely brilliance. I hope they go somewhere with it.

I feel like I missed a Star Trek movie somewhere.. The Romulan supernova is introduced in the 2009 Kelvin timeline reboot, right? Is there anything filmed or written about Picard's role during that crisis? Is there anything much at all about it? I get confused; that was just the backdrop of events for the 2009 movie, right, and it's Vulcan that's actually destroyed in the film?
posted by Nelson at 6:03 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


(Just after posting this I read this Den of Geek article which brings us up to speed on the Romulan supernova. It is from the 2009 movie, but basically not explained in any detail, and Picard is picking up the awkward plot and making it new. There is a tie-in comic being published now called Star Trek: Picard: Countdown that fills in some details.)
posted by Nelson at 6:10 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Nthing how tired the River Tam trope is, and I was vaguely horrified at the strange...replaceability of Dahj. I understand the intent is that Picard is just relieved there's another like Dahj, but it plays more like there's a spare daughter -- whew! Which really only works if the twins aren't people, but things. And that's...the total antithesis of the entire show! I fully expected the twist to be that Dahj's brain is downloadable, a la BSG; since that doesn't seem to be the case, then this person (I think I speak for us all) we immediately liked a lot and were kind of attached to actually died horribly for no real reason, and I don't think the show is really dealing with that and its implications. Instead, we have this very Steven Moffatt-y thing where there's a Cool Twist that basically gives us the character back and we're just supposed to run with it because, hey, cool twist! even though emotionally this all feels very weird, and the only reason it doesn't feel weird to whoever came up with this idea is because, I guess, they've never met a person in real life.

Short version: This show feels a lot like a show co-written by four different people of wildly varying skill levels.

That said, I basically loved everything other than this incredibly vital plot point, which I don't like, at all. Patrick Stewart is so good. I can't even handle how good he is in this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:31 PM on January 23 [13 favorites]


Justinian: Did the people complaining that this feels too contemporary ever, like, watch the original Star Trek? They did episodes on contemporary politics and social issues constantly! It was kind of their thing.

I can't tell if this is aimed at me, for writing "oh ho, a parallel to "illegal" aliens." If so, please note in the next few sentences I do say that I am all aboard Star Trek as a contemporary allegory and that it has always been about contemporary social, racial, and political issues.

If it wasn't aimed at me, who are the people complaining that it's too contemporary?
posted by tzikeh at 6:37 PM on January 23


Why didn't the masked bad guys just teleport her into a jail cell or something?

(I really liked the show, but doing hand-to-hand and having stormtrooper level accuracy phaser blasts when you have teleportation capability has always irked me about ST. Hence all the workarounds and forced obstacles to disable teleportation.)
posted by mephisjo at 6:40 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


feeble old man so much

Valid and relevant. I write it off as the writers congratulating themselves over the "waiting to die" line.

The previews show JL still doing action-hero JL Picard. My focus coming into this is what Trek thinks medical science can do for people in their 60's/70's.
posted by porpoise at 6:49 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I goddamn lost it at seeing he kept the Captain Picard day banner.

I can't believe it survived the crash of 1701-D.

Awesome fun, seeing the Picard in action again.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:51 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I do like it when they do that thing where the fight choreography has me spotting several distinct techniques from various martial arts styles. I think the best example of this was the church scene in Kingsmen. But I especially like it when one of them is good old fashioned wrestling!! I also saw Thai and Chinese and Japanese and Filipino and maybe some silat (Indonesia) as well in there. and the sweet suplay of course.

I agree with the spare daughter thing, it landed kinda weird for me.

The twins thing was kinds hokey but I explained it to myself that they were talking about some positronic genetic memory thing which is kind of cool as long as you don't think about it too hard.

so riffing on the genetic memory idea we have the double helix which is very symbolic of genetics and so of course you need a PAIR of strands to make a double helix thus pair = twins.
posted by some loser at 7:17 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


According to the recap on Space.com, Picard the character is 94 years old. Thank goodness for 24th century medicine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:25 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


When he got winded running up the stairs I thought, "finally an action hero I can sympathize with."
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:29 PM on January 23 [44 favorites]


I really appreciated Stewart's performance in the interview and when comforting Dahj. The android cloning nonsense was pretty bad though.
posted by demiurge at 7:33 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


SEATTLE ... ?

I live here! She's a daughter of my city... except not! ergo, low blow.

Nelson re: Romulan Supernova

Right there with ya, crewman. I have been prepping and refreshing about this plot point because... I kinda don't really remember it making an impact in viewing, or maybe even remember it at all? I'm not really resistant to it being such a plot fulcrum here, as mentioned it seems to be an attempt by, uh, Chabon, I guess, to foreground a planetary-scale extinction event, a holocaust, which was lost in the noise of a not-good film.

I still feel like I'm missing something, or wasn't paying attention, or something, about this specific plot point.
posted by mwhybark at 7:52 PM on January 23


I'm absolutely on board with

1) we dunno how to make Data-like androids
2) but we could grow a new one if we got a bit of Data's brain
3) ergo this one was probably grown from a bit of Data
4) and therefore probably has a bit of Data's memories

and they lost me at
5) oh, and there'd have to be two of them because ????

Also, the future Paris looks awful. They just took Paris traffic and... put it 10 feet off the street, so people are whizzing by at 3rd-floor window level? Did I see that right?
posted by BungaDunga at 7:58 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I like the stylistics and mood of this and most of the ideas, too. But I have the same problem with it that I did with early episodes of Discovery which is that the pacing is all sorts of weird. It feels like we're just rushing along through backstory to get us to the zoom zoom space crew adventures and there's so much that can be developed here. Dahj was an interesting character--could we linger on her having fake memories for a lil bit? Or, like, being dead? No? well, we hardly knew her, anyway.

It's odd to me because old star trek was so incredibly deliberately paced around the commercial breaks and all--it's one of the things that's so soothing about it--and it's not integrated into here at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:01 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Sudden urge to go catch up on The Orville, actually. Which is funny because I'm not sure I really like the Orville (I never am) but I keep watching it because the pacing feels like Star Trek.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:01 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I am excited to see what comes after with the Romulans and all though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:02 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Instead, we have Picard sitting down to do a very 21st century interview that apparently just gets broadcast out? In a world where you could ask a computer to make a perfect holographic recreation of Picard and ask him whatever you want?

Well, no. Your hologram would depend on a) what was known about the subject to the programmers and b) whether the program had sentience, and given the ban on AIs in the Federation, b pretty much makes a pointless. (And thinking about that makes me worried about the fate of Voyager's EMH, one of the two crew members (we've already seen the other one) that I really care about.)

#PicardSoWhite.

Well, except for Michelle Hurd, whose participation has been known about for months.

Generally, it's the continuation of the prime timeline that we've been waiting for. The bit about the Federation cancelling the salvation of nearly a billion Romulan refugees because of an orders-of-magnitude-less loss of Federation lives is sadly relevant, and I'm really wondering where they'll go with Dahj's twin being involved with, I'm guessing, deassimilation of the drones. (Also, I'd caution people about assuming that Dahj is dead. The would-be kidnappers were previously quite intent on kidnapping her, not killing her, so seeing her burned and then completely obliterated in an explosion is, well, a little implausible.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:05 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


So I grew up on Star Trek. TNG started before I was born, and my parents are old enough to have watched TOS when it aired. But I was a baby in a play pen while my parents watched TNG, and once I was old enough I was allowed to watch ONLY PBS and Star Trek that they had recorded on VHS. The reason DS9 is so dear to me is that it is the series I was old enough to remember watching all the way through not on VHS even though I was 4 when it started. But Captain Picard... Picard... I used to sneak out of bed and put on TNG VHS's so I could see the scary borg episodes my parents said I couldn't watch until I was older. (they were right.) Of course we all watched Voyager when it was on as a family and then Enterprise... though the bloom was well off that rose. And then it stopped. The movies just weren't the same- though we saw all of them. We all watched reboot 2009 together... but while I saw the sequels, at that point... maybe my parent's caught them on TV but we weren't watching together. And to them- who'd been raised on 1960's TOS... it just wasn't their Kirk. To actiony too sexist too racist why was Khan white and why was Dr. Marcus naked? Where was the philosophy? My dad met Roddenberry once, he had opinions. "Guy was a real bum but he had some good ideas!" Disco... well, we weren't going to pay for another streaming service. And the reviews said it had the same problems as the reboot movies...

Today, Me and my parents watched the first episode of a star trek series together for the first time since I was a child. And we loved it. We spent as much time discussing it afterwards as we did watching it, and now we might try Disco as a family too. After all if we could suffer through Enterprise, Disco just can't be that bad! Just like the old days when I was a moppet in front of our old TV as mom cued up Star Trek IV on VHS so she could de-tangle my hair while dad pointed out all the places in the movie we'd been to as a family- "That's the Monterrey bay aquarium!" "That's a MUNI bus!" "That aircraft carrier is the sister to the one I served in during Vietnam!" Then if my hair was still a mess (it often was) She'd cue up a TNG episode- "How about this one, its a Klingon episode, your favorite!" "This is the one you like with Data!" "How about the two-parter with Spock!"

I'm not sure how much time with dad I'm gonna get. But god. Oh god- let him live long enough to see the end of this series with me and mom. He was in his Spock Pajamas while he watched with us. Science Blue.

Yeah, I can see the flaws, no doubt the next couple of threads I'll nitpick them too. But you have no idea how important this is to me, to be able to watch this like my parents, just like when I was a little kid. Them, me, and Captain Picard.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:37 PM on January 23 [36 favorites]


me: #PicardSoWhite... I counted seventeen speaking parts in the pilot, and only two of them were played by people of color. One was immediately killed off, as per usual. The moment he appeared on screen I was like, oh, you're gonna die (plus they doubled down on "have PoC play aliens and you kill two birds with one stone"). The other was the nasty, lying, inciting antagonist-lite (and a woman: another two-birds scenario).

Halloween Jack: Well, except for Michelle Hurd, whose participation has been known about for months.

...wow.
posted by tzikeh at 8:49 PM on January 23


OK, she wasn't in the pilot. She's definitely on the crew, as witness the preview of S1 immediately after the pilot.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:00 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


As a POC, I don't care whatsoever with the "#ohsowhite" casting, beyond historic observations.

Non issue.

Not a complete non-issue, but I'm getting some bad faith vibes from people overly pursuing that.
posted by porpoise at 9:09 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I don't care what they have to do to bring back data. Look, they're saying the memories can survive in one positronic nueron. Why not? It seems to work with biological beings (ok, I can't find the article, but memories can be injected in brains, worms cut in half BOTH remember things, butterflies remember things they learned as caterpillers even though the metamorphisis process supposedly practically liquifies than resolidifies them).

Anyway, I also thought the pacing was weird particularly toward the end of the episode, but that interview was Jean-Luc at his best. I hope this series ends up being more mature reflection and less shooty-shooty-fighty-fighty, but have full confidence that Jean-Luc and Patrick Stewart will make it so.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:09 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Well it helps that Sir Patrick is too old for shooty-shooty-fighty-fighty himself for like, liability reasons so he can moralize and sermonize while the young-uns do that and be all delightfully upright in the face of discrimination and prejudice and... god remember the speech from the Drumhead?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:16 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Eh.. if I have to put on an apoligist's hat... what they're arguing - in the best possible light - is that positronic sentient matrices are fractal (holographic) and infinitely "backed up."

A fragment of the memory, when placed back in the correct matrix, could restore the entirety of the memory matrix.

They shut down B4 because it could only hold a portion of Data's positronic matrix and most of it was lost resulting in fatal errors when responding to input (stimuli). If the writers had any coherency/ consistency, B4's going to get mined to create an end-stage Data-level intellect but without any specific memories.

The science in the above is complete nonsense, but based on popular misconceptions/ fantasy that I've been exposed to. Especially the holographic nonsense.
posted by porpoise at 9:19 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


I was just charmed that apparently Lime Point Lighthouse still exists in the 24th century. 25th? I forget.

Not so charmed that apparently people are still cropping pitbulls' ears. (Sigh.)

I wanna know what Dahj's parents knew. And how many Vulcans are about? And what form does the Romulan refugee community take? More world-building please!
posted by suelac at 10:07 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed it. Star Trek, even when it has been at its best has always been uneven, so I don't expect this show, in its first season, to somehow pull off what no other Star Trek show has managed - which is a strong and consistent first season.

As far as it goes for a pilot, it captured my interest. There was enough lore to keep a Trek fan happy, and enough seeds planted to make for an interesting continuous story line.

I really liked the way Picard immediately believed Daj and understood this was important, and there wasn't the usual filler of disbelief and orchestrated drama. This is so rare.

I love that Picard has kept his values and morals after decades, even after seeing the reality that is Starfleet (which WAS the reality of Starfleet and the Federation even during TNG - the Admirals were always the worst!).

I did not feel a weird lack of people of colour, yes probably in contrast to Discovery this is true but the actor that plays Daj/her twin, is Asian-American, we had the interviewer, the boyfriend, and we had the twins mom (although agree an absolute shame that the boyfriend was the first one to die) - in an episode where not that many people actually spoke. I am also optimistic that we will see more of this as the show progresses.

I sipped on my Chateau Picard bottle of wine that I won at a Star Trek convention auction a few years ago and I enjoyed my goddamn nostalgia of seeing Picard and Data play cards.

I hope it can pull the story off, I won't be surprised if it doesn't stick the landing. But I'm going to enjoy what time we have with Patrick Stewart reprising this fantastic role for as long as we have him.
posted by liquorice at 10:10 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


So the pit bull ear crop thing is something that always bothers me- but Sir Pat fought for the dog to be a pit bull because of his own pro-pit bull activism and unfortunately most rescue Bulls who act in 2020 have cropped ears so I’m willing to have some suspension of disbelief that in the 24th century the reason number One’s ears were cropped was an unfortunate winery machinery accident when he was a pup and not deliberate.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:15 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


Gosh, my people. Nice to see you here. I haven't met some of you. Hi. Glad you are here.
posted by mwhybark at 10:24 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]


I am on board with the unfortunate winery accident!
posted by suelac at 10:25 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Is anyone watching The Ready Room? It's hosted by Will Wheaton and the first episode they interview the director of the pilot, Hanelle M Culpepper and Michael Chabon. It's a little informative piece fleshing out the making of the episode etc, I would recommend if you want some more and also just to admire Chabon's fashion sense.
posted by liquorice at 10:32 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


now hang on a minit here

What are the implications for document and artifact preservation where a mechanism for primary-source document retrieval appears to be based upon transporter technology, which we all agree involves the essential dissolution of source materials, living or inert, before essentially arbitrarily reinstantiting the object or organism at the transporter delivery point?

It means a) the source has been destroyed and b) a copy has been instantiated, at a minimum, yes?
posted by mwhybark at 10:36 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


I... try not to think about that re: transporter tech in the context of star trek. It works it’s not like that urrrrgggg my brain hurts...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:53 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I know it’s a small detail, but I really loved Picard speaking French.
posted by corb at 11:18 PM on January 23 [13 favorites]


> Is anyone watching The Ready Room?
Yes, that was really lovely! The affection that the creators have for the source material and for Picard’s character is really charming. That comes through in the show, but it’s fun to see them talk about it.

In addition to the excellent interview, there was a fun little bit on the orchestration of the theme music. They mentioned that the little piccolo line at the beginning and end of the theme was meant as an homage to the Ressikan flute from “The Inner Light”, which is a really nice detail. (The orchestrator did mispronounce “Ressikan”, but I'm slowly getting over that.)
posted by Syllepsis at 11:26 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


i want the tv series to be about jean-luc solving murder mysteries around his vineyard with good boy number one
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:28 PM on January 23 [22 favorites]


Picard speaking French was cool, but he definitely has an accent. But maybe that's kind of the point?
posted by KTamas at 2:29 AM on January 24


His non-native sounding French was hilarious in the context of what he said to the pitbull. I forget the exact wording, but something about asking if he even knew how to speak French.

I wish more of the show were humorous like the beginning, when he tells Data that he is manipulating his pupil "ostentatiously, I might add." I already have Discovery for my grim dark Trek. Since this is going to be about humanity's response to a planetwide extinction event, however, it might manage to be even darker. Darker but more hopeful.

I have faith in Chabon, especially after reading how much Trek meant to him and his family.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:41 AM on January 24 [6 favorites]


suspension of disbelief that in the 24th century the reason number One’s ears were cropped was an unfortunate winery machinery accident when he was a pup and not deliberate.

Oh, so what you're suggesting is that perhaps #1, as an overeager and headstrong young pup, underestimated the danger of a situation and got himself injured for life because of it?

No wonder he's Picard's dog.
posted by neonrev at 5:45 AM on January 24 [22 favorites]


What are the implications for document and artifact preservation where a mechanism for primary-source document retrieval appears to be based upon transporter technology,

Various people have suggested over the years, with varying degrees of seriousness, that the transporter is actually a murder machine when used to transport people, killing the original and creating a duplicate.

But, rightly or wrongly, this does not seem to be the attitude within the world of Star Trek. Even noted transporterphobes (McCoy, Pulaski, Barclay) never went so far as to claim they were being killed every time they are transported.

Given the general attitude that a person post-transport is the same person they were pre-transport, and not merely a duplicate, it's reasonable to assume the same attitude applies to documents and artifacts.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:56 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


So I think (in fact, I declare) that all reasonable people can agree that Data should never have died.

But I was just thinking about how I know I'm the nutjob with death issues who's opposed to all death, and yes, that makes me a nutjob, but surely THIS ONE I should have been allowed to have. He's an android and thus is plausibly immortal. It's fiction and thus unconstrained by many of the chance annoyances of reality. I should get this one.

And then (now I can't remember who this ties in to why I should get this one) I was thinking that what would have REALLY made this whole thing more Star Trek is if a human had given their life to save Data. I mean I realize Picard would have been the obvious choice in the moment and that's obviously unacceptable*. But...oh, I dunno.....could O'Brian have come back to the enterprise? Someone who s a real character (not a one-episode extra) but who I don't care about too much. That would be the way to show that Star Fleet -- or at least that portion of it aboard the Enterprise -- really recognized and valued Data's personhood.

*OK, possibly acceptable and THE ULTIMATE PICARD SHOW OF CHARACTER if Piccard had shown himself willing to sacrifice his life for Data, but not actually died. The not actually died is hte important part. Like he transported data off and then the Romulans had somehow grabbed him in the last millisecond and transported him to their ship.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:05 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Well, no. Your hologram would depend on a) what was known about the subject to the programmers and b) whether the program had sentience, and given the ban on AIs in the Federation, b pretty much makes a pointless. (And thinking about that makes me worried about the fate of Voyager's EMH, one of the two crew members (we've already seen the other one) that I really care about.)

This is explicitly not how the holodeck works. The computer is perfectly capable of generating a holographic copy of a person with near lifelike sentience. Recall for instance the Leah Brams hologram that Geordi creates and falls for after the computer incorporates her personality profile into the hologram, or the sentient dangerous Moriarty the computer makes when Geordi miswords his request for an opponent that could challenge Data, or for a later example the simulated Janeway that tricks the personification of fear long enough for him to release his hostages, she even knew she was a simulation and was lifelike enough to gloat.

Now, you could say that your average federaton civilian wouldn't have access to enough about Picard (or enough computing power) to make a useful simulation of him, but then that's not very utopian, is it? There doesn't seem to be any limitations on using someone's likeness or personality for your own private purposes, Barclay's pervy holodeck fantasies are proof enough of that. I'm not saying it's right or it makes sense, but the shows have been pretty clear about how easy it is to make a simulated intelligence in a holodeck.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:38 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Nice to know the Prime timeline wasn't "cancelled" by the Kelvin timeline, but somehow branched off as an alternate route. But, when the Discovery travels into the future for season 3 (please oh please Star Trek, give time travel a rest...), is that future the Prime timeline or the Kelvin timeline? Would their presence in the future create a new branching timeline there just as Nero did? And once they return to the past, would their experience in the future create a further branching timeline in the past based on their experiences in the newly created timeline in the future? [Head explodes.]
posted by jabah at 6:45 AM on January 24


I wonder which unlucky holodeck technician has this job.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:04 AM on January 24


I wonder which unlucky holodeck technician has this job.

Can't they program a hologram to clean the holodeck? Which just gets us deeper into the whole problem of how Star Trek deals with AI and synthetic/android lifeforms.

Also the idea of the Romulan refugees picking over the remnants of a Borg Cube, that is absolutely brilliance. I hope they go somewhere with it.

Were they picking it over, or using it as a base of operations to recover things from the destruction of Romulus? Or maybe both? I suspect it's something to tie into the whole "synthetic revolt" thing that happened. Maybe the Romulans are using what they are gaining from the Cube to work on/with synthetics which is why they are so interested in Dahj and Soji? I suspect Maddox is somewhere on that Cube. There's also the fact that the Borg are the source of Picard's great trauma, so the presence of the Cube can be used to drive some character things for him as well.

So...I have a couple of ideas about the "twin" thing. First off, I found it interesting that the first abduction/assassination attempt included the Romulans asking "where are the others?" and worrying about her "activating" (which implies to me that they've dealt with this type of situation before). In the opening poker scene, Data's hand is five queens. I think there's a real possibility of there being more than just Dahj and Soji out there.
posted by nubs at 8:04 AM on January 24 [15 favorites]


Recall for instance the Leah Brams hologram that Geordi creates and falls for after the computer incorporates her personality profile into the hologram, or the sentient dangerous Moriarty the computer makes when Geordi miswords his request for an opponent that could challenge Data

Two very different situations, as Moriarty is explicitly a step beyond previous holodeck characters. And, and it pains me to have to repeat this, the Federation has explicitly banned all artificial intelligence creation, even for research purposes in a tightly controlled environment like the Daystrom Institute (named after this guy, who had his own problems with rogue AIs). They're not going to let someone whip up a Picard AI just because the original is a bit touchy about being interviewed.

There doesn't seem to be any limitations on using someone's likeness or personality for your own private purposes, Barclay's pervy holodeck fantasies are proof enough of that.

In fact, both Barclay and La Forge (and later, Quark and the EMH) got grief for doing that; it may not be hard-wired into the holodeck systems as a prohibition, but there's a considerable social stigma against it. And I'm still baffled that you think that anyone would accept an interview with a holo-Picard as if it were the real, er, McCoy. Holographic characters are not magically exactly the same as their flesh counterparts; in fact, that's precisely the point of the recreations of Troi, Brahms, Kira, and the Voyager crew--in the first three cases, they go for guys that the real ones wouldn't, and in the fourth, they behave according to the EMH's jaundiced view.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:27 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Also, there is no holodeck jizz mopper; the built-in replicator systems dissolve it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:29 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Maybe the Romulans are using what they are gaining from the Cube

excuse me those Romulans were totally gleaming the cube
posted by COBRA! at 8:41 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Also, there is no holodeck jizz mopper; the built-in replicator systems dissolve it.

…I notice you left out the part about subsequently recycling it. TECHNO-UTOPIA, YEAH RIGHT, YOU CAN'T FOOL US
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:41 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


One of the most uniquely Roddenberry-ish things about TNG, IMO, is how rarely episodes were about defeating the bad guys. Yes, everybody remembers those episodes, the Romulans, the Borg, the Duras sisters, Lore; TNG had some great bad guys - but as a percentage of episodes it was actually pretty small. A lot more of the episodes, the plot was driven by logistical challenges, or even more frequently, just needing to understand something weird you encountered that you didn't understand. (The best, most genuinely Trek-y episodes of Discovery have also been about trying to understand mysteries, IMO. I'm hopeful that S3, due to the setting shift, will have a lot more of that.)

That's why I'm optimistic about this show after the first episode, despite some stylistically very modern, Discovery-ish sensibilities; it's still my Captain Picard. When he meets Dahj he doesn't think of what's going on with her as something that needs to be fought, but something that needs to be understood. He doesn't grab a phaser rifle and heighten security on the vineyard; he goes to do research. Even the background issues with the destruction of Romulus aren't about armed conflict, say a war with the Romulans (I'm lookin' at you Disco S1) but about a massive logistical challenge that decades of conflict just made more difficult to resolve. Even the synths that blew up Mars, as much as that obviously still troubles Picard, his reactions at the Daystrom Institute make it pretty clear he views that disaster as something that called for understanding what went wrong instead of just shutting things down.

I have no doubt that there will be flashy space ship battles, and phaser battles, and I have no doubt that, as was frequently the case with TNG, it's all that stuff that will get highlighted in the previews. And I have equally no doubt that part of Picard's arc here will be from crotchety old man back to indomitable action-hero Picard. But he is still the Picard who views ignorance as the root of every conflict, who thinks violence is a disappointing last resort when all other options have failed and understanding couldn't be reached. That's important, and all-too-rare, and I hope we will continue to see it prominently on display here.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:50 AM on January 24 [23 favorites]



>Also, there is no holodeck jizz mopper; the built-in replicator systems dissolve it.

…I notice you left out the part about subsequently recycling it.


Protein resequencer
posted by nubs at 9:11 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


One of the little things I love about DS9 (in addition to all the big things) is that they'll occasionally cite waste reclamation as something that they do, even if it's usually in the context of someone being assigned the duty for punishment.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:39 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


And, and it pains me to have to repeat this, the Federation has explicitly banned all artificial intelligence creation, even for research purposes in a tightly controlled environment like the Daystrom Institute (named after this guy, who had his own problems with rogue AIs).

I think part of the problem with this discussion is how fast and loose Star Trek plays with the idea of Artificial Intelligence. Data is hailed as an incredible and unreproducible achievement, but they're constantly encountering intelligences in various forms that make a dude-shaped intelligence seem tawdry in comparison. There's an episode late in TNG (Emergence) where the Enterprise itself creates a "child" intelligence that briefly messes everything up until it's sent off to New Verteron City or whatever to live an independent existence and everyone just sort of shrugs about it. Where does that fit in with a ban on all synthetic intelligences? If that happened in the time of Star Trek: Picard would they be required to capture or kill this new life?

Long story short, the idea of the Federation banning AI is wildly outside what Star Trek is about, but I don't think this is actually a problem because it also seems like Picard thinks it's not Star Trek either.

Also, I'm not saying people would watch an interview with a holo-picard, I'm saying it's wild that televised interviews are still a thing in a utopian world where information is readily available enough that you could look up Picard's service record or make your own private holo-picard to talk to.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:42 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


If that happened in the time of Star Trek: Picard would they be required to capture or kill this new life?

That's not only a very interesting question, but one that really, seriously needs to be answered. I'm hoping that it will be, or at least mentioned somewhere in this series, if not this season. (I would die if they walk past a WANTED poster with the EMH's face on it.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:20 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Comrade Doll and I will watch this tonight, most likely. We represent something of a double sided test. She's seen and enjoyed every bit of TNG and I only know it in passing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:56 AM on January 24


I enjoyed the pilot and will watch the next episode so its done its job but I'm really not a fan of the realistic fighting. I'm not saying they have to use the double fist hammer punch but things like that always signaled to me that the show was saying "isn't it funny how even in the 24th century we're still settling things with our fists" in the same way that battle between ships was less dogfighting and more seeing damage accumulate on the bridges and engineering areas of both ships.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:24 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Let's not forgot that the Federation also has a blanket ban on genetic engineering (for something that happened 150 years before the Federation was even founded), so it's already been shown to be pretty risk-averse when it comes to its civilian population.
posted by Automocar at 12:31 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Nice to know the Prime timeline wasn't "cancelled" by the Kelvin timeline, but somehow branched off as an alternate route. But, when the Discovery travels into the future for season 3 (please oh please Star Trek, give time travel a rest...), is that future the Prime timeline or the Kelvin timeline? Would their presence in the future create a new branching timeline there just as Nero did?

Why would the Discovery heading into the future be the Kelvin timeline?

The Prime/Kelvin split was solely a solution in search of a problem and runs counter to how time travel has always worked in Star Trek, so I wouldn't worry about it. The Kelvin timeline is:

Star Trek
Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek Beyond

Everything else is in the same continuity that's been around since 1966.
posted by Automocar at 12:42 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


But he is still the Picard who views ignorance as the root of every conflict, who thinks violence is a disappointing last resort when all other options have failed and understanding couldn't be reached. That's important, and all-too-rare, and I hope we will continue to see it prominently on display here.

This. So much this. I am so happy to have a show where the lead character is not wildly flawed or an antihero, but is instead a good person who experiences disappointment in not fully living up to his own higher expectations of his character and moral fiber.

Romulan lives.
No, lives.

O captain, my captain.
posted by bfranklin at 1:00 PM on January 24 [24 favorites]


Let's not forgot that the Federation also has a blanket ban on genetic engineering (for something that happened 150 years before the Federation was even founded), so it's already been shown to be pretty risk-averse when it comes to its civilian population.

Yes, and when Julian Bashir was discovered to have been genetically enhanced as a child, they threw his dad in jail, even though he'd created a cure for a Dominion bioweapon and saved literally an entire planet's population.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:04 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Comrade Doll and I will watch this tonight, most likely. We represent something of a double sided test. She's seen and enjoyed every bit of TNG and I only know it in passing.

I’ve had a few friends come to me asking whether there’s anything they should pre-watch before starting this episode. I don’t think it’s mandatory, but I do think it is desirable as there is a lot of assumed knowledge within the episode as witnessed above to all the references to things that happen in the past. I think the story will still be well understood but maybe some things will have less significance. Regardless I did end up appreciating doing a recent rewatch of particular episodes in the past week including The Measure of a Man, Offspring and Family.
posted by liquorice at 1:27 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Technically, the event that spawned the Kelvin timeline happened in the Prime timeline.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:44 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's something in the way they've mixed the audio or just my own home audio setup, but it seemed like all the WHOOSH and FWOOM sound-effects were really, really loud while the dialogue was so quiet it was hard to hear. I didn't like that. (I don't usually watch the sort of tv/movies that have that kind of sound-effect so it could be just my stuff and not the show)
posted by Daily Alice at 1:55 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


No, same here, Alice. It made it awkward to watch this in an apartment building where nobody else was gonna be awake yet.

I can only assume that some sound engineers believe it to be more "cinematic" 9_9
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:58 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I’ve had a few friends come to me asking whether there’s anything they should pre-watch before starting this episode.

The Short Trek, "Children of Mars," is not required, but it was written as an explicit prequel. Viv and I watched the suite of Short Treks that were released since the end of DIS s02 last night immediately following the this episode. She especially liked the animated episodes.
posted by mwhybark at 2:01 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I’ve been keen to see the more recent short treks but they don’t seem to be streamlining legally anywhere in Australia yet. Hopefully Netflix drops them before season three of Discovery premieres.
posted by liquorice at 2:17 PM on January 24




Live-bloggy thoughts:

- I'm really enjoying the score (celli!)
- Number One is a great name for a great puppy
- I love Picard complaining about the silly knot (it was maybe a trinity knot? definitely one that I associate with dudes who are trying too hard) before the interview
- the interviewer looked really familiar to me in a deja vu kind of way, and eventually I realized it was because I had recently seen the actress (Merrin Dungey) in Once Upon a Time playing Ursula, at which point she looked really familiar to me because I had previously seen her playing Sharon Jeffords in Brooklyn 99
- I have a lot of warm nostalgic feelings about both Patrick Stewart and also Jean-Luc Picard, and also it is nice to see an old dude feeling pretty old while starring in an at least kind of action-y show
- I was not expecting Dahj to explode, and (as many other folks have already said) the replacement twin thing feels a bit off
- I wonder if there will be any queer folks in this show
posted by Vibrissa at 4:05 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


This and the last few episodes of Discovery seem to have embraced the lens flair approach that characterize JJ Abrams films, and I'm surprised more people aren't annoyed (or at least aren't commenting) on that making its way into the better timeline.

I will continue watching this, but I was a little disappointed by all of the action. Stewart seems too old for it and even though they made a bit of a joke of that in the episode itself with him trying to run up the stairs, I feel like that isn't the best environment to thrust him into. I get the folks who say that each Trek is a product of its times, but what a depressing view of the future. For me the appeal of Star Trek has always been about optimism and competence, and i want more of that and less flying scissor kicks.

Also, I don't know if calling the dog Number 1 is a slam on the dog or Riker, but it's a bit too precious for my tastes.
posted by willnot at 4:35 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


We’ve been talking about the pilot since we watched it yesterday, so thought it was worth a second watch. Stray observations this time around:

- so many executive producers on this show, just like for Discovery. I don’t know why this makes me uneasy but it does
- give me more of Picard speechifying like during the interview, please, I could listen to him forever
- all the shots of the vineyard are gorgeous, I hope we don’t lose that entirely as this moves into space
- I wish futuristic apartments were more interesting, Dahj’s apartment wouldn’t be out of place in a show set today
- thanks show, we get that the necklace is MEANINGFUL, it doesn’t need that much attention
- I’m extra sad that we spent this time getting to know and see Picard connect with Dahj and then she dies but it’s ok because there’s a twin!
- I do love all the human conversations being had though, and the minimal action, I hope this continues
- seeing Picard in the TNG show uniform made my heart sing a little
- the current day uniforms (which you can see people wearing in the background at Starfleet archives) is seemingly little changed from TNG period, which I find interesting given the uniforms changed so frequently between DIS, TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY.
- I do get the River Tam vibes but also appreciate that Dahj/twin are not so emotionally broken...yet, which makes me realise, I guess there’s no reason why Dahj can’t be remade maybe given she’s an Android? But I guess if there’s no download of her memories...

Also as I was googling the director, came across this nice piece:

Famous for its history of diversity, ‘Star Trek’ gets its first black female director
posted by liquorice at 5:17 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


I would also like to say I'm hoping for a surprise visit from John DeLancie. They could even include him saying he's made himself appear older to match Old Picard, but he looks pretty great for his age so it would come off as classic back-handed Q compliment. I feel like a little bit of that sort of TNG silliness would go a long way for the modern tone of the show so far.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:08 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


Is anyone watching The Ready Room? It's hosted by Will Wheaton and

Just your regular reminder that Wil Wheaton is now older than Patrick Stewart was when TNG began.

And I echo the vague letdown that a few others have expressed above: Dahj has been called merely a River Tam expy, but I have been well over amnesiac superassassins driving plots since somewhere around the third Bourne movie.

As well: if memory serves, the seventh episode aired of the original series (“What Are Little Girls Made Of?”) was the first time we saw an android in Star Trek. Somehow in the 761 instalments of Trek between October 1966 and today*, we have never heard the term “synth” used; suddenly it seems to be the main referent for them. Weird. It makes me feel like the moment when Dawn appears in Buffy and we are suddenly led to understand, “No, she was here all along.”

*I tell a lie; I think it came up in an onscreen display in the most recent Short Trek.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:09 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Eh, the "synth" terminology is one of those things where, in the words of MST3K, I repeat to myself it's just a show, so I should really just relax. Like Star Wars and everyone suddenly throwing the word "Sith" around. Trek has added or dropped shit before, and it's really fine. Romulans don't lean into being caricatures of Ancient Roman soldiers anymore. The Borg seemingly don't procreate and raise children in a "Borg nursery." We didn't hear about Denobulans, one of the founding species of the Federation, until the sixth Star Trek franchise. The "synth" thing is weird but it ain't that weird. Maybe it'll be explained, maybe not, I'm not worried.
posted by sugar and confetti at 3:53 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


The "synth" thing is weird but it ain't that weird. Maybe it'll be explained, maybe not, I'm not worried.

Language changes in 20 years. New slang arises. There’s really no explanation necessary beyond that. Data was unique. Then they made a bunch of androids, so they needed a term for them.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:06 AM on January 25 [16 favorites]


Omg of course! Q! Q could bring Data back!

Should I contact the writers or do you think they've figured it out?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:16 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't be altogether surprised if it emerged that artificial lifeforms consider the term "synth" to be a slur. Which would help explain why we never heard it before.

thanks show, we get that the necklace is MEANINGFUL, it doesn’t need that much attention

Also: why such obvious Mastercard product placement? Kidding…I hope
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:19 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


synth ban(d)

possibly motivated by fear of reproduction? An, ahem, Tainted Love?

No keytars in this Federation. Although, they did use Peter Gabriel as the soundbed on Children of Mars, so possibly the rule has varied application.

Let us take careful note, one the primary manufacturers of keyboard synths in our contemporary time stream is... wait for it... wait...

KORG

That’s right, an unholy union between Klingon and Borg!

I have to imagine that there are underground trading networks where teenagers swap quantum drives full of forbidden Soft Cell and Bronski Beat, where the name Kraftwerk is uttered in hushed and furtive tones... Where bands dress up as androids, wearing rubber masks and jumpsuits and perform in secret rooms...
posted by mwhybark at 10:17 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


That interview seemed long-awaited, but the interviewer broke the only rule mentioned within minutes, so, way to go future media.

"Picard, averter of genocides" is a helluva hook.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:32 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Omg of course! Q! Q could bring Data back!

Honestly? If they were brave enough to do something this stupid I would be extremely impressed. Pure "I'm not even mad. That's amazing!" territory.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:37 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure what you're saying mr. Encyclopedia, but like I said, I want Data back at any cost.

And the cost here would be virtually nil. I mean it would require no alterations to the known rules of the start trek universe. And it could be done without time travel and all the problems that entails: q just arranges for every atom that was part of Data just before the explosion and causes it to appear and reassemble at Chateau Picard.

And hey speaking of averter of genocides... He'll have to hide Data, of course. And the twin if he finds her. And there are probably others. Maybe for season 2. Data can return in the season1 finale.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:22 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: Just your regular reminder that Wil Wheaton is now older than Patrick Stewart was when TNG began.

You shut your filthy mouth
posted by tzikeh at 12:12 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


and he won't be older until July so nyah
posted by tzikeh at 12:28 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Ever since TNG, the opening graphics have been one of ST's strong points--beautiful, cutting-edge F/X of space. I don't think the graphics on this show lived up to their predecessors. I'll have to pay more attention to them next episode, but on first impression, they felt like a low-rent James Bond opening pastiche, and not something I expect from Trek and certainly now what I expected from this show. I understand not wanting to emphasize space and make them represent things more personal to Jean-Luc, but they just felt off to me.
posted by sardonyx at 1:04 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, I am glad I'm not alone on that. The opening graphics were not great and seemed very generic, especially considering the flowering of opening sequences in the last few years.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:16 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what you're saying mr. Encyclopedia, but like I said, I want Data back at any cost.

I'm just saying that Q appearing and bringing Data back to life would be so out of tune with the darker grittier tone they want to set that it would be both amazing and hilarious.

Anyway my headcanon is Data's daughter Lal was actually a huge success, but Data correctly deduced the knowledge of making Soong-type androids would be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands (Or Soong himself hid something in Data's programming to make him want to hide any successful experiments). So Data faked Lal's "death" and took her to a barren planetoid deadly to any non-android life forms. There, he and Lal built up a new colony of their kind that eventually became a civilization called the Children of Soong. This, incidentally, is also where Lore ended up after disappearing in Descent part II. When Data died in Nemesis so too died knowledge of the secret location of the Children of Soong.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:48 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


We didn't hear about Denobulans, one of the founding species of the Federation, until the sixth Star Trek franchise.

Denobula is not a founding member of the Federation, which are: Andoria, Earth, Tellar, and Vulcan. Denobula was a founding member of the Coalition of Planets, the direct precursor to the Federation. We don't yet know why Denobula opted out of joining the Federation when (presumbably) the Coalition of Planets was dissolved.

Also, I'm sorry.
posted by Automocar at 2:37 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


Oh, don’t apologize. Well-informed geekery is always called for in a Star Trek thread.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:59 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


I haven't seen Children of Mars so I'm not sure if it explicitly states why "rogue synths" decided to target the Romulan rescue fleet, but you know what would make a lot of sense? If the order to attack up the fleet came from an android who has reasons to want revenge against the Romulans, like, for instance, they killed his brother.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:06 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


Of such ideas are endless Star Trek fanfic sites created.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:22 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


If the order to attack up the fleet came from an android who has reasons to want revenge against the Romulans, like, for instance, they killed his brother.

Digging into Trek lore, eh?

Also I want to find out that Q has been dropping in on Picard’s vineyard for years now just to annoy him. He eats grapes off vines and tells Picard about all of the fascinating interstellar events he’s missing pouting around on the farm in an attempt to kick him in the pants back to exploring space where he belongs.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:41 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


I watched the episode once, late at night on Friday, and with perhaps less wakefulness than might be ideal. Something I have been puzzling over is the sheer scale of the Attack on Mars. In the TOS era, the understanding was that the Enterprise was one of a dozen top-of-the-line ships in Starfleet. Certainly* the only other Federation starships we ever got a decent look at were slightly redressed models (that is to say, sister ships) of the Enterprise. Shockingly, it was not until TWOK in 1982 the the Reliant** gave us our second Starfleet ship to look at.

By the era of TNG, there are a few more ships as eye candy, although a lot of Excelsiors seemed to be the backbone of the fleet (at least until the CGI got cheap enough to churn new designs out). The overwhelming catastrophe at Wolf 359 is presented as a body blow to the Federation, and that canonically resulted in 39 vessels lost.

Twentyish years later the rescue armada destroyed at Mars involves the loss of what Picard says were “ten thousand” ships. This is three orders of magnitude up from a calamitous loss a couple of decades earlier. It seems... strange. I mean, the surprise attack is surely meant to resonate with 9/11 for viewers, but it also more strongly echoes Pearl Harbor. The attack there sank ten vessels and damaged about fifteen more. This is like an alternate history scenario where after diverging from our history somewhere in WWII, an author tells us that a later action circa 1960 saw the US losing four thousand ships in a single incident. Strains the mind a bit, don’t it?

* For Desilu budget reasons, of course.

** Incidentally, Star Trek: Picard was announced at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention in 2018. The day before the announcement, CBS registered several trademarks for the possibility of future use. Some of them, like Star Trek: Destiny, could be anything, but I get a tingle from their having registered Star Trek: Reliant.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:03 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I assume we're not talking ten thousand starfleet cruisers bristling with sensors and weapons, but something more like ten thousand warp-capable boxes that can vacuum up the population of Romulus before the supernova.

It sounds like a staggering number, but jumping off your WWII analogy over 1500 merchant ships were sunk during WWII and in 4 years the US produced 2710 Liberty Ships to provide wartime aid to Europe. I imagine the industrial output of the Federation is quite a bit larger than 1940s USA, but I do agree the idea of 10,000 ships being built simultaneously at one shipyard stretches the imagination.

Utopia Planitia always struck me as the sort of facility that's designed for one or two big projects at a time, not thousands of simpler projects. It'd make more sense if Picard got shipyards all across the federation from many different federation cultures in on the action, considering even facilities of limited means could probably put together something meant for one humanitarian mission.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:18 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


I also assumed 10k ships included volunteer/ conscripted civilian and commercial transports/ shipping.

Utopia Planitia might be just the largest/ most prestigious of Martian shipyards. Nothing preventing any number of smaller shipyards (and attendant industry) scattered all over the planet.

That the atmosphere is still on fire (?!). I'm kinda hung up on that bit.
posted by porpoise at 7:09 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Looper goes into the easter eggs of the first ep.

I liked the opening sequence with the shard of the apparent visible world falling like a tear through the layers of history and elements of the show.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:07 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


i liked the opening too. I enjoyed that Looper thing, although I am old enough to harrumph at stuff that’s relevant literary context being called “easter eggs”. Whatever, language changes.
posted by mwhybark at 10:38 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


(Agreed and it’s totally from clickbait language dissembling.)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Running Measure of a Man, brb, FF has it i betcha
posted by mwhybark at 10:42 PM on January 25


hmm... I can’t put my hand to it! are we shy a TNG rewatch here? I thought I had contributed some a few years ago. Hm. Closer searching.
posted by mwhybark at 10:46 PM on January 25


I... I guess we are?
posted by mwhybark at 10:47 PM on January 25


Huh. That episode is well regarded for good reason, and at the same time, there is a lot to unpack from today’s perspective.

I mean, outside the episode proper, I watched it from an iPad that I wandered off from as I made a snack, and one for Vivian, and then back to the kitchen, where a prop from a Star Trek production displayed video and the surround rumble of NCC-1701-D sounded in my noise-reduction bluetooth headphones.
posted by mwhybark at 11:32 PM on January 25


Here’s a primer on the history and destruction of the planet Romulus, which was useful for this 2%er Trekkie who couldn’t recall which movie/show that happened (TNG 4 life) who is here mostly for Stewart and future atmospherics.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


After a Wil Wheaton Ready Room Episode 1 watch, I am reminded that my profound trust and affection for Michael Chabon as a writer and creative is due to his truly amazing the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, the plot of which - surely this cannot be seen as a spoiler at this late date - intimately involves both the genesis of Superman in a teenager’s mind on the lower east side of Manhattan and the covert transshipment of the Golem of Prague to roughly the same place in the same era. Goddam Mikey, you are the man for this job. Don’t fuck it up. Don’t let them fuck it up, I mean.
posted by mwhybark at 1:00 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


On the 10,000 ships destroyed.. Picard or the reporter explicitly mentions "warp ferries", which while a term new to me from the Star Trek universe is fairly clear in meaning. Presumably Starfleet has zillions of utility ships that we seldom see. (Also, according to Discovery, Starfleet now has enormous fleets of small combat drones on its ships. Surprise!)
posted by Nelson at 5:52 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


I also assumed 10k ships included volunteer/ conscripted civilian and commercial transports/ shipping.

A ragtag fugitive fleet, fleeing the Cylon synth tyranny. Hunh.

I also reckoned it to be lots of assorted civilian ships pressed into service, mothballed ships hastily reactivated, and so forth — going by Picard’s Dunkirk analogy, it suggests a heterogeneous bunch of ships. It is, again, the faintly absurd scale of the undertaking that beggars belief. (Same issue as with the most recent Star War and here’s your thousand-ship armada hiding out of sight.) Ten thousand of anything is a lot. The logistics alone are daunting. Say a ship arrives at the rendezvous point every twenty minutes; it’s still about five months to get them all assembled.

It reminds me, Trekwise, of nothing so much as in first season TNG when they mention [checks Memory Alpha] Starbase 718. I have read that the production staff decided after that that Starbase numbers shouldn’t go much over 500 or so (for what it’s worth, my recollection is that in the TOS era, the numbers didn’t go above the mid-twenties). The Federation is big, but it is not The Old Republic or The Culture.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


One could also do star base numbers the same as house numbers in the US. There may not be a hundred of them per block (or sector in ST's case), but they start over at the next hundred every time.

I am not watching the show and I have not kept up on other stuff out there, so hopefully someone can answer this for me. Romulus was wiped out by the supernova and now there are Romulan refugees working for Picard. Has there been any exposition on what's up in the rest of the Romulan Star Empire?
posted by Fukiyama at 9:40 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Does Romulus get wiped out in all timelines?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:15 AM on January 26


> Does Romulus get wiped out in all timelines?
Romulus was destroyed in 2387 in the main (“prime”) timeline that TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, and Picard take place in.

I don't believe we have any information on whether it gets destroyed in any particular parallel timelines. In particular, we don't know anything* about what happens in the Kelvin/Abramsverse/Nutrek timeline beyond 2263 (Star Trek Beyond), and we don't know anything* about what happens in the Mirror Universe beyond 2375 (the chronologically latest Mirror Universe episode was in DS9 season 7). I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "all timelines", but I imagine those two are the alternate timelines you might care about.

*Not anything canon, anyway. Likely there's Expanded Universe stuff.
posted by Syllepsis at 12:08 PM on January 26


Thought: TNG has sentient holograms. Voyager not only demonstrated that non sentient holograms (the EMH) could become sentient given the right programming and time, but they brought back mobile emitter technology.

So super intelligent artificial life is already possible and demonstrated with Federation tech and you don’t even need to build the hardware. So what’s up, Daystrom Institute? Why are you even bothering with positronic androids?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:38 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Given that supernovae are natural phenomena, I can't see how the one that takes out Romulus isn't happening in all timelines so to speak, unless they eventually reveal the one in the Primeline was artificially induced.
posted by Fukiyama at 3:26 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


On the other hand they have substantial warning now, even if the supernova happens the same, they'd have cleared out by then.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:37 PM on January 26


TNG has sentient holograms

Illegal underground synth band, keytars and all, but it’s six instances of the Doctor, and they only ever play Addicted to Love.

(I may be far too amused by my own joke.)

Also, this as good a place as any to note that the Doctor is, (er, will be?) and is likely to remain, the longest serving member of Starfleet. One hopes the Disco dudes will encounter him.
posted by mwhybark at 3:42 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


mwhybark, those cups are made by Bodum. I had a set that I weirdly got in the clearance room at IKEA, which threw me off the scent for some time.
posted by rikschell at 6:14 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I'm just really excited that my great-uncle Borg will be on Star Trek again.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:02 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]



Illegal underground synth band, keytars and all, but it’s six instances of the Doctor, and they only ever play Addicted to Love.


The vocalist Doctor insists on using too much operatic vibrato.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:06 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]




As a not particularly big Star Trek fan, I enjoyed this. TNG was the Trek I grew up with, and I was always a fan of Patrick Stewart.

I wonder which unlucky holodeck technician has this job.

>Also, there is no holodeck jizz mopper; the built-in replicator systems dissolve it.

Blue Stripe: The Life and Times of a Holodeck Janitor

I also assumed 10k ships included volunteer/ conscripted civilian and commercial transports/ shipping.

Same, after all Picard did compare it to Dunkirk.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:46 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Romulus was destroyed in 2387 in the main (“prime”) timeline that TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, and Picard take place in.

I don't believe we have any information on whether it gets destroyed in any particular parallel timelines.


Wasn't the plot of the 2009 film based on Nero being a bit put out about Kelvin timeline Romulus being destroyed in the future he came from? Both Nero and elderly Spock say Romulus was destroyed. I guess that might not happen if something happens to change it as a result of Nero and his crew travelling back. Is that what you are saying?
posted by biffa at 3:52 AM on January 27


I'm very frustrated that we are supposed to accept that Picard spent 20 years "waiting to die" and not talking about his break from the federation. A triumphant return to values, adventure, and exploration is definitely appealing from the point of view of a show's pilot, but it is unearned in this context because why would he shut himself into a winery for 20 years? That feels very inconsistent with his TNG character and i hope - but sincerely doubt - that some trauma or something in that interim is revealed to explain it.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:49 AM on January 27


The Blade Runner/Battlestar Galactica tropes jumped out at my household as we were viewing.... in particular there are some interesting similarities with the pilot of the BSG reboot (things happening on an anniversary date, the revelation of a twin, an old Admiral getting pulled back into action).... but hey, Ron Moore was a Star Trek dude first! So it's all full circle.

On how those two Romulans came to be living with Picard:

I could imagine it went like:

Federation administrative folks: "uh you are a refugee from a former enemy, would you like to .... live on a colony somewhere?"

Picard: "Look, I know these two folks, they can stay with me."

Federation: "OK, as long as you're responsible for them..."

Picard: "Shut up, they'll be fine."

Romulans: "A, we aren't just going to sit around all day and do nothing, and B, you are an OLD MAN and don't feed yourself properly and need nudging, so we're going to be doing some things around here and so should you."

On "synth" -- my spouse suggested that "synth" is potentially meant to be an umbrella term that covers both androids and sentient holograms.

On the setting: a few clues my spouse put together:

1) the not-so-great replicator interface
2) the way shuttlecraft operate in lanes (like the joke in the Futurama opening) instead of, as we're used to seeing in TNG/DS9 shots of Earth, criss-crossing and navigating more freely
3) the grungy alleyway Dahj ducks into -- is that graffiti-y paint on the metal door?
4) the PADD storefront where Dahj first sees the broadcast of the Picard interview (my spouse finds this dystopian-seeming/feeling on sort of an aesthetic/visceral level)

may tend to imply that -- ever since the Utopia Planitia attack (which killed so many scientists and engineers) and the synth ban (and perhaps other restrictions on science/tech, and AI-type work in general?), the Federation's had some decline in quality-of-life.
posted by brainwane at 7:29 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


(When he said "Dunkirk" my subconscious expected a BWAAMMMMMM on the soundtrack because I saw so many trailers for the Christopher Nolan movie Dunkirk that had a BWAMMMMMMM sound. Am I alone?)
posted by brainwane at 7:31 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Instead, we have Picard sitting down to do a very 21st century interview that apparently just gets broadcast out? In a world where you could ask a computer to make a perfect holographic recreation of Picard and ask him whatever you want?

What? You think the News would be replaced by people just asking random figures questions whenever? There's too much going on in the world today to know all what's going on, the news is one way to curate and find relatively notable events to inform the public about. I'm really confused what you think this alt-news would be. Am I just supposed to call up random white house officials and be like "yo, what's the haps in government today, you guys still openly corrupt and lying to our faces?" How would I even know what events to look into if the News doesn't broadcast, just know the right communities of people from all over the world (or galaxy) sort out the interesting stuff they witnessed or heard about?
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:44 AM on January 27


mwhybark, those cups are made by Bodum.

I have those cups too and every time I see them in Star Trek it throws me off.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:25 AM on January 27


I think that's exactly right. It's the exact kind of utopian thinking we need right now, that people can still be good – that it's still worth being good – within a system that is evil.

That's...not utopian. That's not even close to utopian. That's pretty much every "good people in an evil system" depiction of dystopia outside of the 1970s.

It's kind of sad that the best we can think of is "Yeah, the system is always going to be evil, but at least there'll be good protagonists." And worse, people seem to be so enthusiastic and happy about it. *Yay! Starfleet is evil! It's all I ever wanted from Star Trek! "
posted by happyroach at 9:30 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


I'm very frustrated that we are supposed to accept that Picard spent 20 years "waiting to die" and not talking about his break from the federation.

This is an excellent point. And along with it, where are all the people Picard and his senior staff mentored and influenced over the years? If we go by TNG alone, Picard was captain of the flagship of the Federation for seven years. Serving aboard the Enterprise was a great honor. It was a ship of go-getters. Some of those people must have reached some rank or position of influence within Starfleet, right?
posted by Fukiyama at 10:02 AM on January 27


I got the impression Picard has spent some of his time since his resignation from Starfleet writing history/archaeology books and giving lectures about history/archaeology.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 10:27 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


What? You think the News would be replaced by people just asking random figures questions whenever? There's too much going on in the world today to know all what's going on, the news is one way to curate and find relatively notable events to inform the public about. I'm really confused what you think this alt-news would be. Am I just supposed to call up random white house officials and be like "yo, what's the haps in government today, you guys still openly corrupt and lying to our faces?" How would I even know what events to look into if the News doesn't broadcast, just know the right communities of people from all over the world (or galaxy) sort out the interesting stuff they witnessed or heard about?

First, this is an interesting argument given that even today, at this very second, newspapers and news programs are losing viewership due to pressure from social media and other online sources. The news is already getting replaced, and it's mostly by people becoming their own primary sources and putting out information directly to those that are interested. Algorithms do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to surfacing information we find interesting, imagine how much more powerful these algorithms would be with the semi-sentient computers of Star Trek.

Secondly, I'm not saying news programs shouldn't exist, but I am saying there's little evidence for them existing in Star Trek. I admit there's not a lot of information about how average citizens of the Federation get their news, but there's certainly very few examples of folks being interviewed for public consumption or watching a public broadcast. There's really a massive lack of screens period in Star Trek, as if television in general has been deprecated as a medium.

Jake Sisko famously wanted to be an investigative journalist, but he was mainly a writer, not a videographer. Generally in Star Trek when people need to find out what's happened or what's going on they either watch a live feed from a non-journalist directly involved, or they review video logs from a non-journalist directly involved. There's no centralized social media like we have today, but it seems like Star Trek, especially TNG, made a pretty good prediction about how people might share information in the future. If people have personal logs, it's reasonable to assume public logs are also a thing.

Lastly, no I never said you could call Picard and ask him yourself. Remember that Star Trek is a world where benevolent computers are constantly monitoring you and are quick to provide whatever assistance you desire. You don't need to ask Picard, just ask the computer why Picard left Starfleet and it will look at publicly available data and give you an answer. It could even speculate based on secondary evidence about Picard's service record and events surrounding his departure as to likely reasons. And it could create a lifelike simulated holographic copy of Picard who could tell you in his holographic simulated own words. Nobody in Star Trek seems to mind that computers can do this, or cares to think about how this sort of thing could be used in bad faith, because the conceit is that humanity has evolved beyond such behaviours.

It's kind of sad that the best we can think of is "Yeah, the system is always going to be evil, but at least there'll be good protagonists." And worse, people seem to be so enthusiastic and happy about it. *Yay! Starfleet is evil! It's all I ever wanted from Star Trek! "

Yes, this, exactly. I'm not asking for "there are no interpersonal conflicts between humans" like Roddenberry wanted, but it would be nice if Star Trek still depicted a system that was fundamentally good and worth defending.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:59 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


I’m not sure that it ever did, at least not during large parts of TNG, let alone the series that came after. Perhaps I misspoke in my previous comment about utopias but I’m reminded of what Iain M Banks told me when I asked him why there weren’t more stories set in utopias: because they’re boring. And while the Culture has one of the best depictions of a utopia in any form of sci-fi, our viewpoint is always from its very edge.

I’m not convinced that Starfleet is out and out evil in Picard. It might be, but we only have one episode to go on. In any case I don’t mind seeing a world where many of the material comforts are incredible by today’s measure, where the day to day life is probably miraculously good for the vast majority of people with their replicators and magical medicine - but the human tendency towards unwarranted fear and tribalism still rears its head.
posted by adrianhon at 1:41 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


To some extent, the boldness of the Federation in TNG was... a lot. Just cruising around and waiting for Q (or whoever) to come bother them, and it got the Earth almost eaten by the Borg, several times! They might argue they'd have done better staying at home. Same reason why some people on Earth today think we should stop beaming "hello" messages into space.

I can see how a utopia with no need for conquest would turn inward. Why bother searching for new life? I could imagine a utopian society becoming extremely risk-averse.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:10 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Can I just say that after fifty years of Trek where with a very few exceptions (Scotty, Chekov, Trip) everyone speaks with Midwest American or Estuary English accents, that I am delighted that there are Irish Romulans.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:12 PM on January 27 [18 favorites]


> Wasn't the plot of the 2009 film based on Nero being a bit put out about Kelvin timeline Romulus being destroyed in the future he came from?
The future Nero came from is the main/prime timeline; it was prime-timeline Romulus that was destroyed. The new timeline Nero created by travelling back in time from that event is the Kelvin timeline.

As Fukiyama says, supernovae are natural phenomena, so it seems likely that the same event would naturally happen in the Kelvin timeline. But with a century of advance warning, maybe they’ll come up with the technology to prevent it (or perfect the technology that Spock tried to use to stop it).
> I never said you could call Picard
This discussion about calling Picard reminds me of this scene from “The Neutral Zone”, in which a 20th-century capitalist brought out of cryostasis demands to speak to the manager, and eventually figures out how to contact Picard through the comm panel.
PICARD: Those comm panels are for official ship business.
RALPH: If they are so important, why don’t they need an executive key?
PICARD: Aboard a starship, that is not necessary. We are all capable of exercising self-discipline.
posted by Syllepsis at 9:04 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Also, there is no holodeck jizz mopper; the built-in replicator systems dissolve it.
…I notice you left out the part about subsequently recycling it.


So then everyone on the ship ends up eating it? That's disgusting. "Earl Grey, hot and creamy."

Speaking of goo...I will be very disappointed if the tubes of red and blue goo do not make an appearance. You don't remember them? Four Plexi cylinders, 'bout a foot or so high, foot in diameter, lined with red and blue lighting gels, shittiest sci-fi prop ever? They were in more episodes than Jean-Luc, mostly splitting their time between sick bay and the bar (could never figure out if they were Slurpees or space blood) but sometimes on Borg ships or colonies...spotting them was our drinking game and we ended up drinking a lot. Good times.

Also you guys are being silly. There were like 20 transporter events in that fight scene that totally didn't end up on the security footage at all? Yeah, I don't care how big that explosion was, there is like 0% chance that that robot got blowed up. We will see her again.

Are we totally assured that this is the 'prime' timeline? That Borg cube could kind of mean anything...like is this another origin story for them? (which I gotta say I like...like, no matter what, their origin is inevitable...makes them scarier)
posted by sexyrobot at 4:07 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


the reason number One’s ears were cropped was an unfortunate winery machinery accident

Surely he got them stuck in a mechanical rice picker.
posted by hanov3r at 5:13 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


There were like 20 transporter events in that fight scene that totally didn't end up on the security footage at all?

“Transporter events” is perfect as the phrase that would be used in 24th-century bureaucratic reports to describe someone beaming in or out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:13 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


As Fukiyama says, supernovae are natural phenomena, so it seems likely that the same event would naturally happen in the Kelvin timeline. But with a century of advance warning, maybe they’ll come up with the technology to prevent it (or perfect the technology that Spock tried to use to stop it).

Also, the lead-up stellar conditions to supernovas are obvious for millennia, from hundreds of light years away. So basically, from before the founding of the Federation, everyone with a telescope has known this star was going to supernova, and basically sat on the info. So I'm not surprised it turned into "We have a year! We need to do something!"
posted by happyroach at 10:55 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm also wondering what the proto—Romulans were thinking, colonizing something in the kill radius of a supernova:
"Aw, that star won't go supernova for a couple thousand years. This planet is fine."
“But our decedents will have to deal with it. Can't we go another 50 light years and - "
laser sound effect
" Anyone else have any objections? No? Let's land. "
posted by happyroach at 11:03 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


We really can't delve too far into the whole Romulan thing without breaking the suspension of disbelief. Aside from the "they would have seen it coming long before," there is also the problem that I asked about above. Romulus is just one planet in the Star Empire, the capital world, but still just one planet. I am really finding it hard to believe the Romulans are hurting for living space for refugees within the bounds of their own empire.
posted by Fukiyama at 1:14 PM on January 29


I'm also wondering what the proto—Romulans were thinking, colonizing something in the kill radius of a supernova

Surely this can be attributed to the rejection of Surak’s principles by the Vulcan emigrés who founded Romulus. Choosing such a planet is, after all, completely illogical.
posted by mwhybark at 1:50 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


I am really finding it hard to believe the Romulans are hurting for living space for refugees within the bounds of their own empire.

Here you are. (Warning: TVTropes)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:45 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Also, the lead-up stellar conditions to supernovas are obvious for millennia, from hundreds of light years away. So basically, from before the founding of the Federation, everyone with a telescope has known this star was going to supernova, and basically sat on the info. So I'm not surprised it turned into "We have a year! We need to do something!"

I'm glad that could never happen in our universe.





*looks around at everything burning-melting*
posted by curious nu at 4:58 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


It's kind of sad that the best we can think of is "Yeah, the system is always going to be evil, but at least there'll be good protagonists." And worse, people seem to be so enthusiastic and happy about it. *Yay! Starfleet is evil! It's all I ever wanted from Star Trek! "

But Starfleet has always been evil. Or, if not actively evil, then at least a bureaucratic nightmare run by amoral sociopaths. TNG and Voyager trip over this constantly: Starfleet is either a lumbering monstrosity that can't get out of its own way, or is conspiring against the Klingons or sandbagging on rescue operations or being infiltrated by brain parasites. They abuse the Prime Directive like it's going out of style, often for no real reason other than plot expediency. When they do observe the Prime Directive, it's often shown as casual indifference to a pre-warp civilization being destroyed. Remember the Voyager episode where they run into the Federation ship that casually committed genocide against a species when it discovered it could grind their bodies into warp core fuel?

Star Trek is a utopian show about starship captains with lofty morals and noble intentions, but it's set in a dystopian hellscape where those captains and crews are the exception rather than the rule. The rest of Starfleet looks way more like DS9 than the enterprise: post-scarcity, but rife with political conflict and people fighting against the cold empty void of space. Picard flew aboard the U.S.S. Lollipop, and when he left Starfleet and returned to Earth, he very quickly remembered what the rest of the universe is like. So he holed up in his bucolic vineyard for twenty years with his dog and his Romulans and tried to pretend that his time commanding the Enterprise was representative of what Starfleet was all about, only to be yanked back to reality in the pilot of Picard.
posted by Mayor West at 7:11 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Right? There are damn few Starfleet admirals who didn't turn out to be utter shitstains. Cartwright worked to undermine the Federation-Klingon peace talks (including multiple assassinations) and nearly succeeded. Nechayev reprimanded Picard for not committing genocide against the Borg, and ordered him to do so if the opportunity arose again. Kennelly conspired with the Cardassians in an attempt to wipe out a Bajoran resistance outpost.

Plenty of awful captains, too. It's not hard to find examples. There's the guy who went on a killing spree in Cardassian space amid an unstable truce, killing civilians as well as military; the guy who sought to singlehandedly undermine a Federation-Romulan alliance with illegal cloaking tech; and of course, plenty of people who weren't corrupt or evil, but were total dicks, like Jellico.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:41 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I was able to watch this for free on YouTube a week later but I'm really here to say, yes, “television in general has been deprecated as a medium” in the Star Trek timeline.
posted by channaher at 4:36 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


BungaDunga: Also, the future Paris looks awful. They just took Paris traffic and... put it 10 feet off the street, so people are whizzing by at 3rd-floor window level? Did I see that right?

Maybe it's as brainwane and spouse theorized: ever since the Utopia Planitia attack (which killed so many scientists and engineers) and the synth ban (and perhaps other restrictions on science/tech, and AI-type work in general?), the Federation's had some decline in quality-of-life.

But my first thought was "I'm sure their infrastructure lasts a lot longer, what with the flying cars and all." /transportation planner geekery ;)

And then I got grumpy about the hovering water-wasters over Picard's vineyard. Think of all the water wasted through evaporation! Why no smart drip system? (Maybe this is another failing of the synth-free future, where hover-waterers are easier to manage than intelligent watering systems?)


suelac: Not so charmed that apparently people are still cropping pitbulls' ears. (Sigh.)

It might have been a mechanical accident, as theorized by others, or I was thinking Picard adopted Number One from a Pit Bull rescue program, where it was already clipped by someone else.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:59 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. mwhybark, this looks like it's some S1E2 stuff, so it needs to go in that thread, not here; let me know at the contact form if you need the text of the comments and I'll send 'em your way.]
posted by cortex at 2:16 PM on January 31


Thanks, man. Inbound.
posted by mwhybark at 9:42 PM on January 31


And then I got grumpy about the hovering water-wasters over Picard's vineyard. Think of all the water wasted through evaporation! Why no smart drip system? (Maybe this is another failing of the synth-free future, where hover-waterers are easier to manage than intelligent watering systems?)

Potentially worse - I think they are spraying pesticides.

I also was uncomfortable with the big shrug about Dahj's death. My only explanation for it is that what Picard really wants is a way to get to Data, and the sister will work just as well. But that still seems out of character for him. "One of Data's two children died, oh well, still one left."
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:14 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


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