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Werthead

Star Trek Thread: Set Picard to Stun (spoilers)

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36 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The Federation of Picard is having a crisis of ideology/optimism and identity following the Dominion War, which is a perfectly viable story development (mirroring the USA's similar crisis after the Cold War) and also highly precedented, reflected in the Federation's previous existential crises <snip>

Mayhaps. But the last 5 minutes of that Mr Plinkett (whoever that is) video hit the nail on its head for me.
They underlined that the main problem was not one of setting or plot, but of characterization. Just showing how many times characters from Picard get drunk "to forget" is quite enough to explain the rather pessimistic/nihilistic vibe of the series. Add a couple of suicides, some gruesome murders, and it's impossible to deny that this is not the usual tone of Trek.
I'm not saying that people never got drunk on Trek (they certainly did), but the writers used the "drinking to dull the psychic pain" trope very sparingly. Why? Because this is a utopian future in which humans are better, in which most humans will know how to deal with adversity and pain without getting into substance abuse. Characters in Trek don't get drunk when things get bad. They make grand speeches about morality and humanity, about duty and sacrifice, and they fight. And even if they are down at times, they quickly get back on their feet.
They are role models not just in their time, but also for the viewers.
And ironically enough, Picard itself showed its own weakness with Riker and Troi. Here we got two characters who had experienced personal tragedy. But they didn't give in to despair. They remained true to themselves, obviously kept on self-development (Riker cooking pizza), remained generous and kind-hearted... etc.
In a nutshell, one need only compare the character of Troi to that of Raffi to see the problem. Troi is a Trek character ; Raffi is just a "standard" 20th/21st century character propelled into a sci-fi setting that is supposed to be Trek, but isn't.

To this the answer given was that Picard was exploring areas "outside the federation," "outside Starfleet,"... etc, etc. This is disingenuous. If the truly better humans are confined to Starfleet, then what is the difference with our world today? We also have institutions or organizations where altruistic educated humans gather in our world today. What Trek was selling was a world in which such people would be the norm. In the utopian future of Trek it would be exceptional to have a "broken" person reaching for a bottle of booze every time they felt down, and everyone around them would be rather concerned (just remember how people dealt with Barclay on TNG). Picard showed us at least two such characters (Raffi & Rios), both ex-Starfleet  too (*!*), and others were arguably pretty close (seven of nine).

And I must say, now that I've thought about this a bit, this is genuinely problematic. Beyond even the nerdy debate around Trek and what it is supposed to be, a show that has several depressed alcoholics as main characters is not trying to build role models or sending positive messages, and as I grow older and crankier, I tend to look very closely at the way alcoholism is portrayed in TV shows.
Take a step back. Would you show TNG to a kid, say between 10-12 yo? Yes, no questions. Would you show them Picard? I would personally think twice about it. Because the darker themes are handled poorly, and the messages sent by the show end up being rather confusing.

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Posted (edited)

@karaddin: If I have come off as as confrontational as Werthead says I was I apologize. I shouldn't think about "Star Trek" when I am already in a fairly bad mood, so I wasn't necessarily try to put you down for having opinions. Though I did chime in because I'd like to hear why you came to the messages that you perceived when what is shown in the show clearly opposes that. I hear a lot of people defending it by saying that they feel that they are fine with the messages, but that only worries me because it carries the discussion away from what is actually written and how we should judge it on those merits.

2 hours ago, Werthead said:

Picard shows that the utopian viewpoint of Star Trek is not only there, but radically improved upon in the micro sense:

I find it rather telling that while I was talking about the societal values of the utopia depicted your only defense is that their technology level is still pretty high. From that POV, the Empire in Star Wars is also an utopia because they are technologically advanced, are they not? And even your arguments are pretty weak.

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there have been dramatic improvements in transporter technology to the point that there are now transporter portals which allow people to teleport around the planet at will (even in DS9 and TNG this is not necessarily the case, with a lot of people still travelling on foot or by shuttle).

They already had transporter technology though, getting around Earth was always portrayed as a trivial matter and it was only a bit more pronounced in this show because we spent so much time on Earth in the first few episodes and those teleporter booths appear to have been a really cheap prop.

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AI is vastly improved upon

How? Because they got an army of robot zombie slaves? I'd say the Doctor had better programming.

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and certainly no-one is going hungry.

Already had that.

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The Earth of Picard is still a utopia and the arguments presented that it isn't are desperately thin, bordering on the non-existent (someone living in a trailer, despite the fact that the trailer is in one of the most prime real estate spots on Earth and they leave whenever they like and travel through space at will).

The trailer being placed in the actual place of Vazquez rocks is basically just your projection. The show did insist on the other hand repeatedly and very vocally that the angry black woman is disgraced and poor and envious of Picard's retirement home. If you fit that into how the Federation economy was said to work in previous Star Trek shows, then her living conditions are a result of her own stupidity, but that clearly wasn't the intention of the writers. Then again, I think the intention of writers ended with "look, we must make Picard feel bad about her".

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The Federation of Picard is having a crisis of ideology/optimism and identity following the Dominion War, which is a perfectly viable story development (mirroring the USA's similar crisis after the Cold War) and also highly precedented, reflected in the Federation's previous existential crises after the Borg attack (which led to kangaroo courts and, in the Defiant programme, an almost startlingly swift abandonment of the Federation's commitment to never building warships and instead engaging in a major armament programme) and at the time of the destruction of Praxis.

Sigh... this also just your projection more or less. I could counter that the Praxis incident and the entire handling of the aftermath sets a brilliant precedence in-universe for why the Federation should have worked with the Romulans unconditionally. After all, getting into an alliance with the Klingons ended half a century of constant cold war and created the longest period of (more or less) constant peace in which the Federation evolved into the sole main superpower of two quadrants. Every Federation citizen knowing their history would know that the Federation strives in an environment where weak foes get indepted through them lending a hand. And remember, THAT was the End of the Cold War analogy in the Star Trek universe.

Not quite sure what you mean with the 'previous existential crises'. The reluctance to make warships that is shown by the abortion of the Defiant program or that we see other warships only as one-episode superprototypes that are never mentioned again shows that while Starfleet itself seems to have more military minded people, there seems to be quite a severe push from the civilian side not to overstep any lines, something that forces Starfleet to do silly PR decisions like calling warships "escort ships" to save face. In Picard this seems almost reversed with random unnamed member worlds being totally xenophobe and forcing Starfleet to withdraw their support to the Romulans (which they did with gleeful satisfaction, so to speak, because everyone in this show is rotten).

But once again, half-assed fan-wanks that put far more thoughts into why the show is how it is than the writers ever bothered to do isn't really what is the issue here, is it? Heck, the Federation brexiting out of their compassion was only used as a shallow background noise to explain why everyone is so miserable, it wasn't even the goddamn main plot. They just added that to be topical and then moved completely to the Mass Effect copy-paste show.

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The idea isn't and never was that the Federation is an infallible utopia which will never have problems, but when it does have problems it will eventually overcome them, until the point that it cannot. Some fans seem to forget that in Gene Roddenberry's mind, the Federation will one day fall and be destroyed and a dark and "nihilistic" age will sweep over the galaxy, but it will eventually rise again (this being his plan for a further post-TNG spin-off that was only realised in Andromeda instead, but now appears to be the basis for Season 3 of Discovery).

If I remember correctly, wasn't the Commonwealth in Andromeda wrecked by some Yuzan-Vong-like analogy and then torn apart by a member world that was already known as the token bad guy in the team? I feel like they put more of a thought into the set-up than "fuck everyone, we are xenophobic isolationists now".

2 hours ago, Werthead said:

This is sealioning. Stop it.

I'm sorry my first post today was too sharply written, but I stand by my question in the second. This show is badly written and has problematic messaging and not only that, as someone who grew up with Jean-Luc Picard and always considered him my role model and the future something worth fighting for, I found watching this whole nihilistic torture porn outright painful. It seems I still don't understand people enough who can excuse all of this, this is why I asked. And yes, part of that is because I want to convince people to admit its flaws. "Insight is the first step to betterment" so to speak. If everyone sees that this whole era of new Trek is a callous soulless cashgrab that is also infuriatingly lazy and makes CBS see that by avoiding their stupid streaming platform, then maybe we could get good shows at some point in future again. But as it is, when there are still enough people telling themselves that they like it for whatever reason, they know that it doesn't matter how incompetent their writing is. After all, they only have to slap "Star Trek" onto it and it generates revenue anyway.

37 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Take a step back. Would you show TNG to a kid, say between 10-12 yo? Yes, no questions. Would you show them Picard? I would personally think twice about it. Because the darker themes are handled poorly, and the messages sent by the show end up being rather confusing.

Oh, good point! That aligns well with how I perceived Star Trek as a child.

Star Trek and its core messaging used to make people go into science. I wonder whether shit like Picard is even able to convince anyone into political activism like Patrick Stewart says he wants it to do. I suspect the overwhelming sense of misery would rather cause people to feel like it's hopeless to bother yourself with changing the world because the bad guys will always be back in control anyway.

Edited by Toth

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The trailer being placed in the actual place of Vazquez rocks is basically just your projection.

Or, you know, he actual on-screen chevron which says "VASQUEZ ROCKS" in pretty clear terms.

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Sigh... this also just your projection more or less.

"My projection" being the opinion and statement of the showrunner.

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"There was a crisis 15 years ago, in the wake of the costly Dominion War and the Romulan emergency, which had a negative impact on the lives of many people, including most of our principal characters, in one way or another, during which Starfleet (and by extension the Federation) did not acquit itself well - in Picard's eyes. From Admiral Clancy's viewpoint, which is likely the mainstream view, Picard's attitude was unrealistic, quixotic, and even dangerous. She may be right! They may both be right, and both wrong. But that was fifteen years ago, and the Federation is still going strong. Perhaps in the eyes of some it lost its luster, its air of invulnerability, its claim to the moral high ground, a process that began during DS9 times. That is hardly a 'downfall', though."

 

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The reluctance to make warships that is shown by the abortion of the Defiant program

What abortion? By the time of the Dominion War the programme is back in full swing and between DS9 and Voyager we see four other Defiant-class vessels in service, with the inference that there are many more out there.

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In Picard this seems almost reversed with random unnamed member worlds being totally xenophobe and forcing Starfleet to withdraw their support to the Romulans (which they did with gleeful satisfaction, so to speak, because everyone in this show is rotten).

Except they didn't. The Federation had already poured substantial resources into helping the Romulans (and as many people have pointed out, Romulus must have had a population in the billions, so only 900 million being left when the planet was destroyed suggests that most of the population had already evacuated, the problem was getting the last chunk off the planet). The argument wasn't, "can we help the Romulans?" as the answer was "yes," it was "is it now possible to help the Romulans given the loss of resources to the synth attack and the destruction of the fleet we've spent months or years building and a very short window before Romulus is destroyed?" which is a rather different question. Some of the Federation member worlds, who in very recent memory had been under Dominion occupation or been the target of attempted Romulan aggression, questioning that is less surprising.

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I'm sorry my first post today was too sharply written, but I stand by my question in the second. This show is badly written and has problematic messaging and not only that, as someone who grew up with Jean-Luc Picard and always considered him my role model and the future something worth fighting for, I found watching this whole nihilistic torture porn outright painful. It seems I still don't understand people enough who can excuse all of this, this is why I asked. And yes, part of that is because I want to convince people to admit its flaws. "Insight is the first step to betterment" so to speak. If everyone sees that this whole era of new Trek is a callous soulless cashgrab that is also infuriatingly lazy and makes CBS see that by avoiding their stupid streaming platform, then maybe we could get good shows at some point in future again. But as it is, when there are still enough people telling themselves that they like it for whatever reason, they know that it doesn't matter how incompetent their writing is. After all, they only have to slap "Star Trek" onto it and it generates revenue anyway.

This is the problem. That the show was often badly written and had problematic messaging (as did Discovery, but then so did all of the previous shows at different times, such as the inexplicable and repeated anti-Irish racism in TNG which Voyager then bizarrely doubled down on) is not really in debate. We can agree that the plotting was all over the place, the logic steps for the plot development were often hugely underwritten and the show's tone was inconsistent (Icheb's eyeball got rather graphically yanked out in the same episode that Picard put on a comedy French accent which was then followed by Seven of Nine's phaser murder spree). The effects were also weird, mostly looking absolutely fantastic but then having really cringe sequences like the identikit Federation ships in the final episode or using stock footage for the dream sequence. No-one is arguing that Picard is the greatest SF show evaaah or anything like that, and in modern SF terms it's not remotely troubling The Expanse's position as the best space opera on screen.

What is the problem is you calling it "nihilistic torture porn," when it really isn't, and "I still don't understand people enough who can excuse all of this" and "I want to convince people to admit its flaws (but only the ones I've proclaimed)" comes across as arrogant: your opinion is the only correct one and everyone else is wrong. Guess what? They're not. They just have a different view, one that comes from another viewpoint, sometimes rooted in having been a Star Trek fan for just as long or longer.

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Star Trek and its core messaging used to make people go into science. I wonder whether shit like Picard is even able to convince anyone into political activism like Patrick Stewart says he wants it to do. I suspect the overwhelming sense of misery would rather cause people to feel like it's hopeless to bother yourself with changing the world because the bad guys will always be back in control anyway.

How are the bad guys "back in control?" At the end of the series the Federation realises its mistakes and steps in to protect the synths and boots out the Romulan infiltrator (although it looks like she'd kind of run for it by then anyway), and brings back Riker and Picard to resolve the crisis. The Federation has had a bad turn but it has also come out positively at the end of it.

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Oh, good point! That aligns well with how I perceived Star Trek as a child.

This, I think, is the core of your problem. I believe I'm a good few years older than you and I grew up with TOS reruns and the OG movies. My earliest Star Trek memory is watching The Wrath of Khan at age 4 (what my parents were thinking about that, I have no idea, but there we go). "My" Trek was rooted much more in conflict resolved through idealism and in things not being perfect and the Federation being a much more flawed entity (remember when the Federation were such dicks to Kirk that he stole and destroyed a Federation starship, sabotaged another Federation starship, knocked a security guard unconscious and locked another guy in a closet?). By the time I started watching TNG when it started airing in 1987 (technically a couple of months later when they started releasing it on VHS Rental in the UK), I initially wasn't as keen on it because the "all utopia all the time, even to the point of no character conflict" vibe, which was definitely not in the original show or the movies, felt fundamentally unbelievable and it took them three seasons to get a handle on it, mainly by introducing more conflict (in Yesterday's Enterprise and The Best of Both Worlds).

And arguably it wasn't until Deep Space Nine that the writers felt able to say that the Federation - or at least Earth - being a utopia was something they could make work by interrogating it in a lot of detail. That's what they did very successfully, but Voyager was able to ignore it, and Picard is definitely following the DS9 line of "things are a bit fucked up and the Federation is not at its best right now but it can come good in the end" and doing so in a manner fully consistent with what happened in DS9 and in the Abrams movies (shite as they were).

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Would you show TNG to a kid, say between 10-12 yo? Yes, no questions.

There's plenty of episodes I'd show them, no problem, but I'd skip the hell out all of the episodes that were racist, sexist, indulged in uncomfortable stereotypes, or had Picard graphically phasering someone's face off (which eliminates almost all of Season 1 and a large chunk of Season 2 and numerous one-off episodes throughout the run).

The point that Star Trek's appeal has been multigenerational is a good one though. Neither Discovery nor Picard is really suitable for all age groups in the same way, which is something they should bear in mind for Brave New Worlds. CBS All Access's idea of separating out Trek into "adult" shows and "kids" shows (like Lower Decks and the Nickelodeon show) isn't a great way to proceed, I think.

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9 minutes ago, Werthead said:

They're not. They just have a different view, one that comes from another viewpoint, sometimes rooted in having been a Star Trek fan for just as long or longer.

How are the bad guys "back in control?" At the end of the series the Federation realises its mistakes and steps in to protect the synths and boots out the Romulan infiltrator (although it looks like she'd kind of run for it by then anyway), and brings back Riker and Picard to resolve the crisis. The Federation has had a bad turn but it has also come out positively at the end of it.

Bolded - or indeed some have also been fans for much less time. I watched voyager semi regularly as a teen, and the odd episode of DS9, but definitely wasn't a "Trek fan". I've always yearned for more serialised stories, maybe because some of my very first kids shows were anime/anime based that told a season long story, and the highly episodic nature of Trek wasn't my cup of tea.

I make no claim of ownership of Trek, and I'm always up front about that. My statement is that "I'm enjoying this, I'm part of the audience for this" with maybe a little "it might be off-putting to long term fans that are looking for new stories in the same vein and tone as the old one, I can't speak to that, but it may also be drawing in a new audience like me".

I got interested in Discovery in the run up to its release, that interest led me to watch a "best of TNG" list, then the full run of DS9 - which yes, was indeed more to my tastes with a long story being told - and I've really enjoyed Discovery. I think it's far from perfect, but I think there's a solid foundation with characters I like and I'm frankly baffled by the interpretations of the characters I see where they're just fractious assholes - clearly we parse some of these social interactions differently.

Picard was less good, I still enjoyed it overall but I would have enjoyed the story that Chabon wanted to tell significantly more. My goal in watching these shows is to try to enjoy them though, I forgive the flaws where I can and focus on the things that work.

To answer how the question of how they won, Wert has already done so but: They convinced the Federation to give a shit, had the ban on synths overturned, exposed the truth of the Romulan operation that was behind the attack on Mars, brought a new settlement of the synth "species" into the Federation, and most of the characters seemed to end on turning points in their character arcs. Yes, they had been drinking the pain away, but at the end of the season they're opening up to each other, they're forming new relationships, realising that living for revenge (Seven) and refusing to let yourself connect to and care about others (Rios) are not good ways to live. Most importantly for the show, Picard found himself. Jean-Luc Picard should not be hiding from the world on his vineyard just because he lost one fight to keep the Federation better, he should not be standing by while people engage in a race to the bottom because no one is modeling the best that we can be. He should be standing up there, demanding they be better and "making it so" even if it takes his life. Which is what he did.

Again, the season wasn't remotely perfect, but it was not a dark ending or a defeat. 

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28 minutes ago, Werthead said:

There's plenty of episodes I'd show them, no problem, but I'd skip the hell out all of the episodes that were racist, sexist, indulged in uncomfortable stereotypes, or had Picard graphically phasering someone's face off (which eliminates almost all of Season 1 and a large chunk of Season 2 and numerous one-off episodes throughout the run).

Yeah, not all episodes are good/suitable. "Honest trailers" underlined that pretty well.

BTW it's a good watch generally speaking (never fails to make me smile at least) ^^:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Zc8Co2H3w

28 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Neither Discovery nor Picard is really suitable for all age groups in the same way,

I was far less bothered by Discovery tbh. What I mean by that is that Discovery kinda made a point of having characters that were insanely selfless (and sciency ^^), to the point where it was even mentioned in an episode or two (or three, or ten?). It was even a plot point because characters that were not selfless (or as sciency ^^) turned out to come from another universe (ha ha).
And we got the grand speeches, the bright ensign, the moral conundrums... Did I mention the science?

Point is, I felt Discovery did a good job of trying to feel like a Trek show.
Am not sure it would be worse than TNG for kids (by that I mean just setting a few episodes aside should do the trick, no?).

Picard I think went in a slightly different direction. Not that this is bad in itself, but they screwed up with poor execution (poor writing), thus making it much worse in the end. Too bad, it had some good things going for it (Patrick Stewart especially).

Edited by Rippounet

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I guess a show that is mainly tendering to the nostalgia crowd of a show that is 30 years old doesn't need to be overly concerned about whether it appeals to an under 16 audience. 

Whereas discovery was mainly trying to capture old fans and fans of the current films so it makes sense it's a bit more all age friendly.

I imagine the pike show will aim for a similar audience to discovery

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I certainly fall on the side of Wert and Karradin's arguments on all of this. For the most part. I admit I actually need to watch Discovery beyond the first episode, but going into it, it didn't feel very Trek in its face.  I think, for me, the root of that issue stems from the time it's set.  Retreading into established territory and canon, but adding into it in a devil may care attitude towards what had come before.  That is my default and issue to bear, but based on what I've read, the stories would have worked just as well at 20 years after the show were off the air, though Picard likely doesn't work then...or we get a better Picard.

Picard itself was, as mentioned, feeling more like Trek, but it was still trying too hard in some respects.  I get that it couldn't work as well if the whole gang was back together, but the new characters lack heart in many ways.  Perhaps season 2 improves this.  But despite Seven seemingly joining the crew, a couple of those other roles could have easily been where you service fans some.  Would a finally promoted Harry Kim working with Picard to help Romulus worked better instead of Raffi? It certainly would have invested some fans differently in the character's arc..

 

Execution of story, also heavily covered above, is the primary sin.  The Borg and Romulan aspect are still rental fan walking.  Change them to other less established races and the whole story still works and doesn't obliterate canon.  

 

Overall, I see the elements that made me love Trek first and best.  I want it all to succeed.  The Pike show is interesting if it's worked like a older type of show, but still suffers because there is no true stakes.  

Edited by Jaxom 1974

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18 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Or, you know, he actual on-screen chevron which says "VASQUEZ ROCKS" in pretty clear terms.

God, that's so dumb. I completely missed that she is actually poaching space in a national park. Wow. Why is that supposed to be a good thing again that somehow invalidates her repeated on-screen insisting that she got a crappy life?

22 minutes ago, Werthead said:

In the same article he admits that they didn't put any of that into the show because they expected viewers to be too stupid to know that DS9 was a thing. Sorry that I'm only working with what the show gives me...

And okay, fine, so there has been some thoughts the showrunners did to explain away why everything is awful now. Though apparently we are also supposed to think that the Federation isn't bad and Picard is just biased according to this? Also this isn't supposed to be a downfall, what with Kurtzman wanting to end the future Federation in Discovery or something? And isn't the guy interviewed not the guy you said they axed from the writing anyway? I'm confused.

Anyway, I must admit that since you were the one steering the conversations towards excusing the change of political backdrop that doesn't have any impact on the story anyway, I don't even know what you want to prove anymore. Just because the writers insist that it is now like they tell it, you don't have to accept there weren't other possibilities to deal with the topics they wanted to deal with. And do so more competently anyway.

34 minutes ago, Werthead said:

What abortion? By the time of the Dominion War the programme is back in full swing and between DS9 and Voyager we see four other Defiant-class vessels in service, with the inference that there are many more out there.

My point was that as soon as there wasn't a direct threat perceivable Starfleet kept snapping back into having to justify their pet projects. That set a theme the Federation public generally behaved rather skeptical of militarization, even in DS9. You argue that hard times have changed them, but it could just as well be argued that the current political climate aligns all too well with their best periods of history, so things could have gone in the opposite way, so... you know, maybe it should have been more fitting to portray a conflict about which way to proceed instead of an old man giving up after fighting a lost fight. You know, like Star Trek used to do.

39 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Except they didn't. The Federation had already poured substantial resources into helping the Romulans (and as many people have pointed out, Romulus must have had a population in the billions, so only 900 million being left when the planet was destroyed suggests that most of the population had already evacuated, the problem was getting the last chunk off the planet). The argument wasn't, "can we help the Romulans?" as the answer was "yes," it was "is it now possible to help the Romulans given the loss of resources to the synth attack and the destruction of the fleet we've spent months or years building and a very short window before Romulus is destroyed?" which is a rather different question.

The problem with all of that is that the show never bothered to explain any of that. Was the 900 million only the last ones left or is it just a case of the writers having no sense of scale? The implication that the Federation did fuck all except with that stupid Wild West planet whose population Picard personally moved is there thanks to Picard's insistance that this was the problem. Was there a time window of years where they did fuck all or was it an extremely short timespan where nobody could do anything anyway? If it had been such a long time, why didn't the Romulans help themselves, they are an empire with lots of shipyards?

The writers purposely left all of that vague so that they don't have to answer that and instead have idiots like us go at each other because of it. I object to that as well.

But this vagueness is a sword that cuts both ways. Because of it the only thing I can argue with is not the specifics, but the messaging. And the messaging of the show is that we are supposed to believe that not helping the Romulans is the Federation's big start of darkness or something.

39 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Some of the Federation member worlds, who in very recent memory had been under Dominion occupation or been the target of attempted Romulan aggression, questioning that is less surprising.

So... let get this straight: Member worlds under the threat of Romulan aggression... threaten to pull out of the Federation... which would leave them vulnerable to Romulan aggression, would it not?

48 minutes ago, Werthead said:

This is the problem. That the show was often badly written and had problematic messaging (as did Discovery, but then so did all of the previous shows at different times, such as the inexplicable and repeated anti-Irish racism in TNG which Voyager then bizarrely doubled down on) is not really in debate. We can agree that the plotting was all over the place, the logic steps for the plot development were often hugely underwritten and the show's tone was inconsistent (Icheb's eyeball got rather graphically yanked out in the same episode that Picard put on a comedy French accent which was then followed by Seven of Nine's phaser murder spree). The effects were also weird, mostly looking absolutely fantastic but then having really cringe sequences like the identikit Federation ships in the final episode or using stock footage for the dream sequence. No-one is arguing that Picard is the greatest SF show evaaah or anything like that, and in modern SF terms it's not remotely troubling The Expanse's position as the best space opera on screen.

What is the problem is you calling it "nihilistic torture porn," when it really isn't, and "I still don't understand people enough who can excuse all of this" and "I want to convince people to admit its flaws (but only the ones I've proclaimed)" comes across as arrogant: your opinion is the only correct one and everyone else is wrong. Guess what? They're not. They just have a different view, one that comes from another viewpoint, sometimes rooted in having been a Star Trek fan for just as long or longer.

Well, good thing that we can agree to that. Like I said on the previous page, I personally think that the tonal problems and unfortunate implications in the messaging are a result of the horrenduous writing with a noticeable edgelord mindset that thinks that as long as everyone got a miserable backstory people get somehow emotionally invested. I just call it torture porn because I think that's what it ultimately is. They pick a bunch of beloved characters whose actors were cheap enough to return and make them miserable for us to feel sorry for.

56 minutes ago, Werthead said:

How are the bad guys "back in control?" At the end of the series the Federation realises its mistakes and steps in to protect the synths and boots out the Romulan infiltrator (although it looks like she'd kind of run for it by then anyway), and brings back Riker and Picard to resolve the crisis. The Federation has had a bad turn but it has also come out positively at the end of it.

Oh yeah, they told us that this is something that now happend. Because the Brexiteers in charge acquitted the Cylons as their boogieman after their initial boogieman, the Romulans, proved even more suicidally murderous than they thought they were. So they can now go back to using robot slaves, huh? Good thing they didn't find out about the Cylons' first instinct to side with the robotic tentacle monster. I guess that falls into the same category as Maddox' murder. As long as nobody finds out it's totally fine.

Like I said: The policy change of the Federation... wasn't the main story anyway... so being told that all is fine now in the last 5 minutes of the show after a nearly unrelated main plot gets resolved does ring more than a little hollow. Such strong opinions that they established don't change that easily. But again, that is back down to my complaint about lazy writing.

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

This, I think, is the core of your problem. I believe I'm a good few years older than you and I grew up with TOS reruns and the OG movies. My earliest Star Trek memory is watching The Wrath of Khan at age 4 (what my parents were thinking about that, I have no idea, but there we go). "My" Trek was rooted much more in conflict resolved through idealism and in things not being perfect and the Federation being a much more flawed entity (remember when the Federation were such dicks to Kirk that he stole and destroyed a Federation starship, sabotaged another Federation starship, knocked a security guard unconscious and locked another guy in a closet?). By the time I started watching TNG when it started airing in 1987 (technically a couple of months later when they started releasing it on VHS Rental in the UK), I initially wasn't as keen on it because the "all utopia all the time, even to the point of no character conflict" vibe, which was definitely not in the original show or the movies, felt fundamentally unbelievable and it took them three seasons to get a handle on it, mainly by introducing more conflict (in Yesterday's Enterprise and The Best of Both Worlds).

I could argue that the Federation denying Kirk a personal errant on a world that has caused all kinds of political fallouts (half of which he caused...) isn't really much of a moral issue, it's just obstruction for the plot. But I am tired of arguing and want to end it here.

Fair enough in that people expect different things from Star Trek. Though you see that idealism runs at the core of all of it. And it's that idealism that I miss in Picard entirely. A bitter old man yelling at how rotten the world has become isn't motivitating you that the future is worth fighting for. And so is Picard realizing that after a life dedicated to preserving the Federation immediately folding after a disagreement is not clever... isn't an idealistic turn of events either. But again, I am not saying they actually wanted to convey those moronic messages on purpose (mostly), I'm just thinking it's the fault of the lazy writing aiming for cheap emotional manipulation with minimum effort.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Werthead said:

This is sealioning. Stop it

I had to look that one up. The world is such a weird place that sea lions would get associated with that. 'Sealioning" deserves to be the name of a weird sex act, not that.

Anyway I have a question since someone mentioned Praxis in the last couple pages. I thought Undiscovered Country ended with peace with the Klingons. But then I thought about Yesterday's Enterprise where it's stated that the Enterprise-C's sacrifice was a big factor in the peace. I assume there were like, decades between these events (long enough for the B to have it's run) so I guess the peace achieved in Undiscovered Country didn't last? 

Edited by RumHam

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I also have to admit that, as shallow as it is, the visuals of these new shows is integral to them working for me. They did the best they could with the tech they had at the time, but it never *felt* like a vision of the future to me, and Ive always been really bothered by the interfaces on some of the older/smaller devices such as earlier tricorders and later the piles of electronic tablets in DS9. Discovery, Picard and the Pike show are coming along now the effects are good enough to sell it for me.

I think the seriousness of Trek made it harder for me to just go with suspension of disbelief, it never bothered me in Farscape but it's batshit plot and Muppets immediately put me in a different headspace where I'm overlooking the shortcomings.

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17 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

I think, for me, the root of that issue stems from the time it's set.  Retreading into established territory and canon, but adding into it in a devil may care attitude towards what had come before.  That is my default and issue to bear, but based on what I've read, the stories would have worked just as well at 20 years after the show were off the air, though Picard likely doesn't work then...or we get a better Picard.

This will always be far more of an issue for me than the tone. If not for a slight mix up between Fuller and the studio, Discovery would be set 20 years post Voyager, make far more sense technologically, and provide a perfect counterpoint to Picard (showing us the Federation and Starfleet while Picard explores the darker fringes). Anson Mount could have just as easily guest starred as another character and had a spin off, Section 31 could happen alongside it, they might have been more tempted to set Lower Decks concurrently (had they not established this ‘pull a time period out of a bag’ system for series). It’d  be a true universe as it was in the 90’s.

I’m just watching Enterprise through at the moment, and the huge efforts they went to to make it look believably like a less advanced TOS (regardless of how you feel about that aesthetic) put Discovery to shame. Communicators, phasers, sets, panels, ships, shuttles, uniforms, absolutely everything was carefully chosen to fit where it is set.

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For a series that's so rooted in the hopefulness of the future, the majority of people the powers that be let run these things can't get out of the past...

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22 minutes ago, karaddin said:

I also have to admit that, as shallow as it is, the visuals of these new shows is integral to them working for me. They did the best they could with the tech they had at the time, but it never *felt* like a vision of the future to me, and Ive always been really bothered by the interfaces on some of the older/smaller devices such as earlier tricorders and later the piles of electronic tablets in DS9. Discovery, Picard and the Pike show are coming along now the effects are good enough to sell it for me.

I think the seriousness of Trek made it harder for me to just go with suspension of disbelief, it never bothered me in Farscape but it's batshit plot and Muppets immediately put me in a different headspace where I'm overlooking the shortcomings.

:uhoh:

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I mean the most hopeful thing I got out of the Picard show was seeing all of the people who were once Borg being returned to a normal state. Shame nearly all of those people were violently murdered an episode or two after the fact. I mean it was like the show gave me a taste of hope and a better way only to take it away, because New Trek seems to need at least one person getting killed each week to be cool.

 

I mean is there even one episode of Picard that doesn't have someone getting killed? I honestly want to know, because I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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