Star Trek: Picard has just ended its first season, and even though I liked it as a whole overall, I also can’t say they were exactly firing on all thrusters in their freshman year either. The character work and acting from Sir Patrick Stewart and the entire cast was impeccable, and there were several standout moments over the ten episode run. But the finale episode of the season quite frankly felt like a rushed series finale, not a season finale, and has me scratching my heads as to just where the heck this show goes next. But as a lifelong Trekker, I have some ideas on just how to proceed going forward.
SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season One!
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No More “Mystery Box” Storytelling
The whole “Mystery Box” approach to genre television has been a trend since Lost first hit 15 years ago. Season two of Star Trek: Discovery leaned into the season-long mystery arc, and the first season of Picard followed suit. Ultimately, Picard‘s mystery proved to be something of a rehash of ideas seen already in Blade Runner and Battlestar Galactica. We don’t need to force a season-long mystery just to keep pace with other prestige television series. The new season can have an overarching theme for sure, but part of the appeal of Trek is that it should have different sci-fi concepts and stories introduced into each episode.
Explore the State of the Galaxy
One of the most exciting prospects of Picard was the opportunity to see the state of the galaxy, and of all the different alien races, some in the 20 years since the end of Voyager. And we did see a few things here and there, but nowhere near enough to give longtime Trek fans a clear idea of what this era really looks like. What is the status of Starfleet now? Who captains the starship Enterprise? What became of the Klingons, the Bajorans, the Cardassians? I certainly wasn’t expecting to see all of that in season one. But it’s time to create a true sequel to the era of Star Trek that expanded the Trek canon anew and produced three very successful series.
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A New Purpose for Jean-Luc
Jean-Luc Picard began season one as a man who had lost his sense of self, and ended the season having found a true purpose once again. His character journey was ultimately one of the more satisfying things on the show, but now that he’s been reborn (literally and figuratively), it’s time to see Picard take charge again. He needs to get reinstated in Starfleet and to bring the Federation back to what it’s supposed to be (as opposed to just complaining about how it’s no longer what it once was). Maybe he won’t be the captain of the Enterprise again, but he needs to become a force for positive change in the universe once more.
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Only Keep the Cast Members That Make Sense
It’s going to be very hard to imagine how the entire first season cast of Star Trek: Picard remains intact in season two, given the way season one’s storyline surrounding the synthetics and the Romulans wrapped up with a neat little bow. Both Rios (Santiago Cabrera) and Raffi (Michelle Hurd) could technically reactivate their Starfleet commissions and join Picard on a new mission, or even on a new ship. But what about characters like Soji and Elnor? They’re not even in Starfleet. They could do a time-jump of a few years and say both characters went through Starfleet training, but that’s pushing it a bit. As much as I liked the cast for season one, not everyone needs to stick around.
Of course, it goes without saying that we want to see as many Star Trek cast members from yesteryear as possible. None of that would make Picard a better show necessarily, but we still want to see it regardless. Hopefully, it’ll be handled seamlessly and have a real story point when it comes to those characters’ returns.
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More Positivity All Around
A few people have complained that Picard was too dark and depressing, and that it showed a far more dystopian future than Gene Roddenberry ever envisioned. But that’s not really accurate. As far as we can tell, the Federation was still the peaceful inclusive utopia we’ve always seen, even if some of those at the top have less than honorable intentions (which is itself a Star Trek staple). Still, we do need to see more of the Federation’s more positive aspects going forward in season two. If everyone in the future is a broken person and suffering from extreme mental anguish, as most of the main cast of Picard is, then it shows the future isn’t quite a place to look forward to, doesn’t it? Less of that, and more positive outlooks going forward please.
Picard still has all the makings of a great entry into Trek canon. Here’s hoping it truly lives up to its potential in the coming season.
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