“To say you have no choice is a failure of the imagination.”
Boy, that’s about the worst insult you can lay on a synthetic lifeform, isn’t it? You know what the worst insult you can lay on a writer? Meh. Your story is pointless. Devoid of meaning. All that running around, all that money spent. All that Sturm. All that Drang.
All in service of… nothing. You gave the audience a story that means nothing. And not in a cool, post-postmodern way of “nobody learns anything and everybody dies” sort of way; nope. This one was “Everybody runs around and nobody dies” and what’s the point of that? The only part of the human condition this illuminates for the audience is that Hollywood will never kill the golden goose, missing the moral imperative of Aesop’s fable.
The only way this convoluted mess of unresolved subplots and pointless references to better shows and cotton candy idiocy could redeem itself is to utilize the sublime acting prowess of Patrick Stewart and have his character, Picard, burn so brightly, emote so strongly, chew up the mess around him so hard and shit out Starfleet-uniformed rainbows so perfectly in service of hope and optimism and humanity is flawed but the point is to be better and and and
…and instead we get: Hey, this story doesn’t matter, there are no ramifications to our actions, there is no price to be paid. Sure, man plays God and there are no repercussions. Sacrifice yourself to save your friends? To prove a point? An offering? An atonement of some kind? Who gives a shit? Have this spare body we had lying around; it’s no problem to make it look exactly like you and ensure that it survives as long as the actor portraying you does.
But first, a few words about format. You can’t tell me this ongoing, one-story-per-season format is a sustainable thing. It just isn’t commercial, and I am flummoxed as to why CBSAA thinks it is. If you don’t care about the one story being told, you have every excuse to not watch. You are limiting the appeal to the audience. It reminds me of what happened after the success of The X-Files at the turn of the last century: every new show had an episodic “monster of the week” show for folks to jump into as a sample and a B-story of a season-long “mythology” that reward long-time fans who were keeping track, and flowed at a longer pace. Tune in for the charismatic leads solving a mystery, and stay for the larger conspiracy. Best, as they say, of both worlds.
The next step of the evolution was the success of Lost, which, frankly, was just The Prisoner with prettier people. It begat all sorts of imitators like Flash/Forward and Defying Gravity and Revolution and Manifest and a hundred different shows that even EJ and I don’t remember because the studios took away the wrong lesson. It’s not the ongoing mythology that is responsible for the success; it’s the charismatic leads on a quest of epic scope.
So, speaking of a quest of epic scope, the reason this idiocy is happening is because the suits at CBS looked at Game of Thrones and thought, “Let’s do that, but with Star Trek. I mean, that show is basically Star Wars with regular swords, right? And Star Trek is basically Star Wars. It’s so simple!”
Except, you know, Star Trek is its own thing. This Discovery/Picard Kurtzman/Chabon crap is so far away from what Star Trek is, it’s mind-boggling. And it’s not that grumpy old men in the audience aren’t embracing the new; it’s that CBS hired line cooks to heat up Salisbury steak frozen TV dinners to feed us when we had gotten used to executive chefs preparing us filet mignon. Time after time, the original show, the movies, TNG, DS9, ENT, the JJ flicks… whoever is hired to extend the size of the moneybag has at least had some idea of what Star Trek is: the future where JFK got two terms. Hope and optimism in a world that has crass humanity in it.
At base, it’s a pretty simple fairy tale that allows an infinite amount of permutations, shining a light on a moral compass with room for cautionary tales.
The issue now is the current stewards of the property do not understand what the audience, young and old, expects from the Star Trek fable, and are producing what they want instead of what the audience needs.
Honestly, the Kurtzman reign would make a pretty good Star Trek episode about Icarus, but those guys are so far up their own asses they would never see it.
The world needs fairy tales, especially now, and these boneasses want to turn optimism and human hope into an endless stream of grim-and-gritty DARK KNIGHT RETURNS episodes in space. I mean, look at this season finale: Seven of Nine became Borg Queen Annika at great personal cost for about 90 seconds and it is never mentioned again. A Romulan fleet of 300 ships show up to sterilize the planet in the fifth way they have to sterilize planets and then they just leave when Riker asks them nicely. Agnes murdered Bruce Maddox and it is never mentioned again. Data’s consciousness is still alive in Maddox and Soong’s iTunes collection, extrapolated from a single neuron. This is like making a local bakery from an apple seed. Con Air makes more sense than this show. Half-senile old human Picard couldn’t pilot La Sirena two episodes ago, but just watched Rios wave his hands around his Expanse controls and et viola! Check him out, making it so.
This wasted show, this missed opportunity. When Allison Pill started puking a few episodes back, I thought, “Hooray! Synth baby morning sickness!” Put Picard’s brain into that and have a twelve year old kid running things in Season Two with Sir Pat doing the voiceover. I mean, this is science fiction, right?
Oh, well. Maybe we’ll get a good Star Trek show, again, eventually.