“Every part of that guy that’s not ego is rampaging id.”
Star Trek, as a property in 2020, has a philosophical problem. If I knew more about what was going on over there, first- or second-hand about what happens in meetings and the writers’ room, and whatnot, I might be tempted to write they have an existential problem. Seems to me, nobody in the Kurtzman regime knows what Star Trek has been or has a very clear idea about what Star Trek should actually be.
Anybody who has dipped their toe into the various shows knows “The Trouble with Tribbles,” and shouldn’t be surprised there’s a Mexican Han Solo in this latest. He has antecedents with Cyrano Jones… and Harry Mudd, for that matter. Star Trek was always great with world-building through character that suggested a whole other thing going on. Frankly, I’m surprised at the kids who balk at Rios as being “non –Star Trek,” because that guy’s the most Star Trek thing in the show. While Raffi is a former Starfleet lapsed into a life of vaping and functional alcoholism, Rios is former Starfleet who applies the regimen of discipline on his Van Halen ship with physical training and cigars and whiskey shots and random boning.
Most fans know that TOS was the future where JFK got two terms. The stewards of the property in the past… Harve Bennett, Nicholas Meyer, Berman, Behr, Jeri Taylor; fill-in-the-blank on your favorites… put their stamp on it. Give it up for JJ, too. You may not like his take, but it’s identifiably Star Trek. Boldly going, the galactic scope revealed in the personal, infinite diversity, etc. The guy on the fifty cent piece: this place is a mess, but we’re going to strive for the castle on the hill. We can admit that we’re killers, but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes: knowing we’re not going to kill… today.
The thing about the Kurtzman regime writing Star Trek is like if DC hired me for Batman and I kept writing comics about Batman’s Bad Day and how he kept tripping on his cape and peacefully slept all night and his deductive powers kept failing him so he turned into the world’s worst detective and even Alfred abandoned him.
I mean, you could do it for contrast but to keep doing that as The Relaunch Batman eventually turns Batman into something else so why bother? If you don’t understand the underlying philosophy of the property, what are you even doing? These guys don’t understand that Star Trek is the shining beacon on the hill. Striving towards the shining beacon on the hill.
Kurtzman and his fellow guitar-stealers think putting a few bars of the Alexander Courage fanfare at progressive complications will smooth everything over and make the kids think this is Star Trek, but it’s a cheat. It’s like the scene in Beverly Hills Cop III when Foley is in the elephant suit in the park and there’s a cartoonish version of the Axel F theme. There’s reference and borrowed interest, and then there’s cheap, unearned nostalgia. John Landis is cashing a check on Tony Scott’s bank.
Star Trek: Blade Runner makes about as much sense as Donkey Kong: Will and Grace. Sure, Karen is Donkey Kong and Grace is the Princess to be rescued, and Will is Mario and Jack is the flaming barrels. Archetypes be archetypes, and playing with them makes a certain amount of sense, but you aren’t really getting a pure sense of the magic. My issue with Star Trek: Picard is that it’s hard to reconcile “More Human Than Human” with “The Human Adventure is Just Beginning.” And, honestly, the atonal juxtaposition of those two themes is what’s giving everyone fingernails-on-a-chalkboard. The Kurtzman regime is trying to thematically have it both ways, and that’s not Star Trek. The reason the property has lasted all this time is because it is the shining castle on the hill. Sure, there’s intrigue and betrayal and conflict and whatnot and we all admit that we are killers.
But we’re not going to kill… today.
That’s the bit these guys don’t get.