Pondering Patrick Stewart’s return to the franchise


Twenty years later: Short of timeline shenanigans more convoluted than Stewart’s role in the X-Men movies, the chances of seeing a future Picard that resembles the version in “All Good Things” are probably zero.

This past weekend at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018, Patrick Stewart made a surprise appearance and gradually built to the announcement that he will return to the Star Trek franchise to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard for an upcoming series to be produced for CBS All Access.

After telling a story about how he had encountered fans for which Star Trek had greatly affected them, and how that played into his mind about returning, he went on to offer up some details of what is currently known about the new endeavor — which is to say, not much so far.

“We have no scripts as of yet,” Stewart said, adding that the show’s developers have so far just been talking in terms of broad story outlines. “He may not be a captain anymore,” he said of Picard. “It may be a very different individual, someone who has been changed by his experiences. Twenty years will have passed.”

He added, “It will be — I promise you, I guarantee it — something very, very different.” But, he said, the new show will come with the same passion and love of the material as The Next Generation.

So what should we make of this?

On the one hand, it strikes me that Stewart certainly didn’t have to bring Picard out of retirement unless he felt there was a compelling reason. Stewart has consistently acted in the years since he left the franchise, and it’s not like he is or ever was hurting for work. And as he says in this very announcement, returning to Picard was something he never planned to do, never expected to do, and fully intended to decline even this time around. Something changed his mind. What was it? Did he, at 78, want to ensure he caps his career by returning to an iconic role? (I’m pondering parallels in his return for a closing-chapter role in Logan.) Did he feel a need to return to a franchise of optimism in our current world of seemingly unremitting ugliness? Was the idea of the new show just that good?

It’s hard to say. But something convinced him to come back, and with this announcement provides hope for rediscovered, nostalgiac glories for long-time fans who haven’t found it in the most recent franchise efforts — namely Discovery or the J.J. Abrams reboot films.

Or does it?

The new series will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who is already a key player on Discovery and who worked on the Abrams movies, and is now the guy who basically runs the entire Trek TV franchise. And with the big deal CBS gave him comes the expectation he will go forward and create a whole new slew of Trekkian products to be streamed/televised.

Discovery had a rough — although apparently financially successful — first season. (That’s if we’re to take CBS at its word; there’s no way of truly knowing given the black box that is the performance of streaming services.) One would think the creative energy might be spent in turning the flagship show on the fledgling streaming service into something better and maybe someday eventually great. But Hollywood does not think in such small-scaled terms. I mean, why have one new Star Trek series when you could instead have an entire Star Trek Streaming Televised Universe! (We have, I suppose, the runaway success of the MCU to thank for such infinite ambition.)

I don’t know. As always, I will withhold judgment, being neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the Picard series until there are more details — or perhaps an actual show to watch. But it seems to me that cultivating one thing (Discovery) might be more prudent than overextending into building a new empire of televised products. Even at the height of the Berman years, which arguably was the apex of Trek‘s popularity, Berman never thought it was prudent to do more than two shows at once. If Discovery and Star Trek: Picard are not even all we’re talking about here in terms of the near future for televised Trek (there are apparently more projects being drawn up), there seems to be a substantial risk of watering down the whole enterprise. There’s also potentially the very bad collateral risk of damaging Picard’s character, should smarter ideas not prevail.

Will lessons be learned from the box-office underperformance of Solo? (This is a film I still have not seen and thus can’t comment on from a creative standpoint.) In less than three years, Star Wars went from king of the box-office mountain to a cautionary tale of the risks of over-saturation — something I warned about back when all the stand-alone films were announced.

We’ll see. The plan for CBS to mine Trek so deeply and so quickly seems risky, and I wonder how much actual demand exists. On the other hand, anything with Patrick Stewart in it at least has Patrick Stewart as a principal asset.

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57 comments on this post

Geekgarious
Friday, August 10, 2018, 1:37 pm (UTC -5)

I’m curious what this will wind up becoming, but that’s about it. This reminds me of the re-introduction of the Borg on Voyager. Nobody likes our show so let’s bring back an old favorite to boost morale. Both Trek and SW are run by clueless corporate suits who have no regard for what made either special to begin with. And that’s not gonna change anytime soon, if ever.

Chrome
Friday, August 10, 2018, 2:59 pm (UTC -5)

On the one hand, I understand the skepticism. Paramount and CBS have been struggling to make a very consistent Star Trek program for years (decades if you count back from Enterprise). From a more cynical perspective, a studio bringing in a recognized actor could be seen as a Hail Mary pass to try and recapture TNG’s fanbase a la Harrison Ford in The Last Jedi.

The key difference from Ford/SW is that it looks like Stewart wants to be around for a larger and lasting role in a new Trek installment. I don’t think Stewart needs the money, and to be sure his legacy in the franchise is safe even as is. So what does Stewart want out of this? Jammer brings up some really good questions and I’m just hoping we like the answers.

Walrus1701D
Friday, August 10, 2018, 3:49 pm (UTC -5)

I admit, I totally fanboy-ed out when I first heard this news a few days ago. It truly seems like Sir Patrick is bringing the character back for the fans, and I doubt he would agree to it if he didn’t think the future producers/writers could deliver the goods.

Star Trek the Next Generation is my favorite show of all time, but I was only 11 when the finale aired. I’m beyond excited to see such an iconic character return to the small screen and hopefully remove the bad taste that “Insurrection” and “Nemesis” left for so many of us.

AR
Friday, August 10, 2018, 5:11 pm (UTC -5)

20 years will have passed in-universe, so Picard will be what, 95? I can’t see him being a ship captain, not with Discovery being the flagship. And Admiral Picard doesn’t sound like a very interesting premise. He had no kids, no love interest, his brother and nephew both died in a fire (what a stupid, unnecessary plot point that was)…eh.

I’m not a writer, far more imaginitive minds will surely come up with something for him to do, and with Patrick Stewart it’ll be well-acted, but I’m not exactly excited by this yet. Until we see some actual plot details, my interest doesn’t even rise to the level of ‘intrigued’. We’ll see.

Startrekwatcher
Friday, August 10, 2018, 7:20 pm (UTC -5)

TNG is my favorite Trek. And I’m glad to see atrek once again going forward instead of relying on TOS but with the same creative forces behind the horrible Abram films and the poorly done DIS(which I dropped six episodes in and never watched anymore)I’m pretty skeptical about what will become of the Picard series. I fear it will be more NEM than TNG seasons 3-6

Modern shows have done nothing for me. I find they’re bloated and unnecessarily complicated with ridiculously sized casts and lots of gimmicks thanks to LOST’s template.

So when The X-Files became first revival I was ecstatic hoping to see a return to more traditional storytelling But the two seasons the revival produced made me realize that those contemporary storytelling styles were going to be incorporated. So instead of recapturing some of the show’s heyday they felt more like the horrible last few seasons of TXF original run or kore of the same mediocrity churned out so regularly these days. So I can totally understand and appreciate Gillian Anderson choosing to not return for more seasons.

Same thing I experienced with other revivals like Roseanne, Will and Grace etc. they weren’t going to take me back in time like I had hoped

So I suspect those of us tuning in hoping to recapture some of the greatness of TNG will be sorely disappointed. Not only that but it seems this may be a Picard only vehicle without the rest of the TNG cast as regulars which would be further disappointment since part of TNG’s appeal was the chemistry of the ensemble and the weekly adventures they had together.

Another concern I have is the modern day obsession of grim and dark storytelling. This sounds like it could be a pretentious dark character study on Picard which is the last thing I’d be interested in watching

I think all these mediocre revivals have shown is that you really can’t go back. You can’t recapture lightning in a bottle. That said I’ll give the Picard show a chance and resubscribe after cancelling my CBS AllAccess after the sixth episode of the awful DIS

Cody B
Friday, August 10, 2018, 8:44 pm (UTC -5)

Like many others I am hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I just don’t see Patrick Stewart taking part on something that is trash but the chances of it meeting our hopes is low

Penthum Brassol
Friday, August 10, 2018, 8:45 pm (UTC -5)

“So I suspect those of us tuning in hoping to recapture some of the greatness of TNG will be sorely disappointed.”

Yeah, we should absolutely not expect this. Even hoping for it will only lead to disappointment.

“I think all these mediocre revivals have shown is that you really can’t go back.”

Yup, exactly. This MIGHT end up being a good show in its own right, but it most assuredly won’t be TNG Part 2. We’ll just have to see what it’s like, ultimately.

Cody B
Friday, August 10, 2018, 8:47 pm (UTC -5)

@ Chrome

I think you meant The Force Awakens. Harrison Ford wasn’t in The Last Jedi. Unless you meant Mark Hamill (confusing the words Hamill andHarrison is understandable)

Chrome
Friday, August 10, 2018, 9:56 pm (UTC -5)

@Cody B

Yes, I meant The Force Awakens, but I suppose you could apply it to either movie. Personally though, I thought Hamill was great in TLJ and that he brought more to that movie than Ford’s sleepy performance in TFA.

Cesar
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 10:59 am (UTC -5)

Yup. Expecting them to screw it up the same way they screwed up Luke in the Last Jedi.
But hoping for the best.

Still waiting for a movie where Kirk, Sisko, Picard, Janeway and fellow captains team up in all battle versus an enemy (Borg…)
They’re all still alive. The time is now.
I can dream, can’t I.

Ubik
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 11:20 am (UTC -5)

See, even the few comments here reveal the real difficulty in what CBS is now trying to accomplish. The people on this comment board seem to want something like the glory days of TNG back, and yet they don’t like the Abrams movies or the first season of Discovery. This, to my mind, is an oxymoron, since the main reason for the artistic failure of the Abrams movies, in particular, is the filmmakers’ attempts to recapture the glory days of a product long gone, rather than trying to do something genuinely different.

TNG was amazing, largely because they refused to be bogged down by what fans thought of as “real Star Trek.” Instead of a dashing young captain, they had a cerebral bald British guy pretending to be French. Instead of ending every episode with a fist fight, they had almost no action at all for most of its seven seasons. It’s not even an action show. It’s a drama. And a talky one, at that. This was a risk, a completely new direction for the franchise, and it paid off.

The same goes for Deep Space Nine – a stationary setting, devoid of exploration, and full of deeply flawed individuals goes against basically everything that made TNG work. The fans complained. And the writers of DS9, to their credit, mostly ignored them. And as a result, the show was largely awesome as well.

When did the franchise start to go wrong? In repeating itself. In trying to recapture shit. Nemesis was an attempt to retell Wrath of Khan. Voyager and Enterprise, both with original premises, ended up becoming lightweight retreads of TNG. And Discovery ultimately failed as a first season because, like Voyager and Enterprise before it, it doesn’t have the courage to pursue its own premise where it logically needs to go. They chickened out, and now, the trailers for next season are all about nostalgia again – Captain Pike! The Enterprise! Spock! Give me a break. We’ve been down this road a hundred times in the last 20 years. Trying to recapture the glories of past Star Treks DOES NOT WORK.

For this Picard show to work, it needs, absolutely, NOT to try to recapture what made TNG great. The powers that be have been trying, without success, to recapture what made TNG great for over twenty years (since after First Contact, I would say). They have not once succeeded. The presence of a great actor will not change that (as Nemesis can attest to.) It needs to be an attempt to tell a NEW story, provide a NEW kind of conflict, a new setting, perhaps even have a new style, new storytelling approach, new tone, new narrative structure, new everything. It needs to be as brave as TNG was, and as brave as DS9 was, without trying to emulate anything about what they did. Unless this new show is an attempt to create ART rather than provide mere product for fans, it will fail.

But who am I kidding? This is Alex Kurtzman. It’s not going to happen. The last people to run Star Trek who legitimately had a vision and the courage to do something really and truly new with the franchise and this fictional universe have long since moved on to other things.

Joseph b
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 12:58 pm (UTC -5)

Ubik:

I agree just about 100% with your post. This has to be something new or it won’t work. But I don’t think Stewart would have signed on unless the story outline presented promised just that. I eagerly look forward to the new series!

As far as “Discovery”, Jammer expressed some skepticism that it was highly profitable.

Actually — according to all reports — “Discovery” was a tremendous success from a profitability perspective for CBS All Access. And a large part of that had to do with Netflix. According to insiders, Netflix paid for as much as 50% of the production costs for the first 13 episodes. Beyond that, the series gave CBS All Access tremendous visibility as each episode of “Disvovery” was instantly analyzed on innumerable YouTube channels and internet sites. All the additional subscribers which All Access gained during this period could be considered just a bonus !

But one thing CBS quickly learned was that when the episodes ran out the newly gained subscribers started to fade away and the weekly buzz stopped dead in its tracks. So they’re determined now to eventually have some form of new Star Trek available throughout the year. It remains to be seen if this will lead to oversaturation. Right now, they consider it a risk wort taking.
Live Long and Prosper! 🖖

Trent
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 1:57 pm (UTC -5)

Ubik said: “TNG was amazing, largely because they refused to be bogged down by what fans thought of as “real Star Trek.” […] “The powers that be have been trying, without success, to recapture what made TNG great for over twenty years”

I think it’s the opposite. Almost every other great TNG episode has an analogous TOS episode, and both TOS and TNG owe a lot to early weird fiction, anthology science fiction (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, 1950s SF print short fiction) and the spirit of 1960s modernism.

What TNG initially struggled with is how to take TOS and update the aesthetics, tone, and how to make it work in contemporary times and several decades in the franchise’s future (problems of decor, not spirit). Once that was figured out, the result wasn’t something different; it was TOS with an extra layer of gloss and a stronger attempt at seriousness and sophistication.

Aside from sporadic moments, Voy, Ent, Disco, DS9, the TNG movies and the JJ movies, do not attempt to “recapture what made TNG or TOS great for over twenty years”. Their influences and TV tropes are far more mundane, generic and familiar.

To be genuinely new, modern Trek has to do what TNG and TOS tried to do, and then up the ante; be more politically and philosophically radical, draw from contemporary modernist SF novels and novelists (rather than postmodern TV), fish for writers outside of the Hollywood gene pool, and steal from cutting edge science. Then wrap that in Utopian Hornblower.

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 3:07 pm (UTC -5)

(reposted from the Disco page)

In theory, I’m the target audience for a Picard series. But given how bad STD was, and given that the same production team is helming this series too, I’m terrified they’re going to ruin Picard’s character. We can talk about the direction the show might go in, but until they get writers who can actually write it’s all for naught. Even with Discovery, the problems were so much in execution, not concept.

As for Patrick Stewart being involved in the scripts… Well, I love him as a human being and an actor, but he’s not a writer and his storytelling ideas on TNG weren’t always great. He famously kept asking the writers to give Picard more action and sex. He was all for driving that dune buggy in Nemesis. I’m sure he’ll do an amazing job bringing the scripts to life, but I’d actually prefer if he only had minimal story input.

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 3:36 pm (UTC -5)

@Ubik “TNG was amazing, largely because they refused to be bogged down by what fans thought of as “real Star Trek.””

I think TNG’s success is more about the fact that it captured the “soul” of TOS without aping the “look” of TOS. TNG didn’t simply try to replicate the Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic and changed the look of the costumes, ships, etc. It did try to tell smart science fiction stories and kept to the broad liberal humanist philosophical outlook.

The JJ Abrams films did the opposite. They looked like TOS, but they felt and sounded like generic action films. The JJ Abrams films didn’t even try to recapture the spirit of TOS.

And at the end of the day I think that’s what Trek fans really want. I could care less if the new Trek show has a familiar character like Picard or has a ship named Enterprise. I do want the new Trek to engage with important ethical and social questions and be a beacon of optimism on the TV landscape.

Chubbs
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 3:54 pm (UTC -5)

I’m really excited about this! I can’t stand the rebooted movies, but after a lot of scepticism I ended up enjoying Discovery despite its flaws. I don’t really like the idea of prequels, so for me, after Enterprise, the new movies and discovery, it’s nice to finally have a series that actually takes the show forward (time wise).

Sure, the X files is a shining example of how NOT to do a new series of an old show, but I think Twin Peaks The Return showed how to do it properly (one of my favourite shows from last year). Decline, the passage of time, these are themes that can be really poignant and it sounds like that’s what they’ll be incorporating.

I do hope this is the first of several moves forward for Star Trek, I just want more stuff set after TNG and DS9 after all the rehashed prequel stuff.

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 4:12 pm (UTC -5)

@Chubbs, I agree about wanting more stuff after the DS9 era. The fact that this new series is so closely tied to Picard worries me though. TNG made a decisive break from the TOS era, which freed it up to tell new stories. It didn’t have to worry about the continuity or baggage from the older era. It could do things like introduce new aliens or create a peace with the Klingons and audiences could accept it because so much time had passed since TOS. But with this new show, there’s still a lot of continuity from the DS9 era that will be pretty relevant. And, having seen Discovery, we know these writers have no respect for continuity. I for one am not looking to seeing how the writers contradict and retcon DS9.

Paul M.
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 5:12 pm (UTC -5)

I am very much aware that it’d be best to withhold judgment for now and see how things shape up. Sadly, Kurtzman doesn’t exactly inspire optimism in me, what with Abrams movies he was involved with, and Discovery too. While I certainly think that DIS is better than those… unfortunate feature films, that’s not a particularly high bar to cross, and Discovery barely crossed it. Honestly, Abrams and Kurtzman only perfected what Berman aimed for: to make a slick, well-oiled action machine out of Trek.

That said… Picard is Picard and Patrick Stewart is Patrick Stewart! Both of those guys are legends, and rightly so. I grew up on TNG, it was the very first TV show I religiously followed as a small kid almost 30 years ago… what, no, it wasn’t almost 30 years ago, it was MORE than 30 years ago! Man, does the time fly.

I know it’s wise to be cautious, I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up until we have something more concrete, but I can’t go against a lil ole me who loved (and still loves) that show, and this particular character, more than is probably warranted and/or healthy. I want Patrick Stewart to bring Jean-Luc to life one last time. Even if it falls short of our expectations (and, let’s be real, it probably will), it’s a cherished family member coming come for a final hurrah. That has got to have some worth in and of itself. Right?

I don’t expect Star Trek: Picard to be a long-running TV show. Sir Pat is 78, after all, and he’ll probably be 80 by the time the series airs. He’s got money, recognition, and adoration of geeks the world over. My guess is that ST:P is going to be a one-off miniseries with a clear beginning, middle, and end. At least that’s my hope. Not too long to water it down, not too short to be a cheap attempt to play up the nostalgia angle and nothing more.

Paul M.
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 5:53 pm (UTC -5)

@Trent: “Aside from sporadic moments, Voy, Ent, Disco, DS9, the TNG movies and the JJ movies, do not attempt to “recapture what made TNG or TOS great for over twenty years”. Their influences and TV tropes are far more mundane, generic and familiar.

To be genuinely new, modern Trek has to do what TNG and TOS tried to do, and then up the ante; be more politically and philosophically radical, draw from contemporary modernist SF novels and novelists (rather than postmodern TV), fish for writers outside of the Hollywood gene pool, and steal from cutting edge science. Then wrap that in Utopian Hornblower.”

This is a very good point (though we’re not in agreement where DS9’s quality is concerned). TOS and especially TNG had a distinctive storytelling approach that, as you say, owed a lot to quite a few giants of literary and televised science-fiction. They were topical, relevant, and, not to underestimate this last point, recognizable as quite a unique TV product.

The main problem that plagues both Discovery and Abrams films (and later shows and movies of the Berman era), in my opinion, is the loss of “genre creds”, the abandonment of recognizable and thought-provoking sci-fi ideas rooted both in genre history as well as politically and socially relevant issues of the day in favor of more generic plot-based action storytelling. Even when done really well (e.g. First Contact, severaly DIS episodes I enjoyed), this approach doesn’t sufficiently stand out as its own things as it’s essentially an action vehicle with Trek trappings. As a little tangent, that’s why BSG works so wonderfully as science fiction TV show: it has action, and sex, and religious mumbo-jumbo, yes, but it wholeheartedly embraces what it is, forges its own path without the need to emulate and ape someone else.

Robert
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:22 pm (UTC -5)

Look, Patrick Stewart reading a damned phone book would be entertaining. Is there any way to watch STD (not calling it DISCO, sorry) legally without CBS All Access? Cause I want this but not that.

Startrekwatcher
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:30 pm (UTC -5)

Well pretty much the point of doing a revival for a once popular program is to recapture the nostalgic feel for why we enjoyed it in the first place. Otherwise if you’re wanting to do something new or fresh you’d go out and create a brand new show with a brand new cast. Right?

So I don’t see it being wrong to expect a TNG revival to resurrect the things that made folks fans of it to begin with. Frankly we have had enough experimenting with the “ Trek model” and storytelling in general I think to see what the franchise needs is to get back to basics.

VOY and ENT failed for various reasons. You can’t pin their problems on not doing something different. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with standalone adventures of the week. Serialization doesn’t always meant better. I mean look at the slew of cancelled serialized programs from the last decade riddled with awful writing. The problem boils down to fundamentals

VOY could have outshined TNG potentially but the creativity and writing wasn’t there. They had this brand new Quadrant and instead of seeing something wondrous and new we got stale. Plus there were casting issues and weaker characters that hurt that series too. Same for ENT which thought recycling ideas from earlier Treks through a crew which hadn’t would add a fresh spin on things

Startrekwatcher
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:42 pm (UTC -5)

Re: Abrams films and DIS trying to recapture past glories

When I say recapture past glories I don’t mean recycle or plagiarize. I mean tell new stories but with the same actors, aesthetics and sensibility of the original. Neither Abrams or DIS do that. The worst thing you can do is recast iconic roles. You’re never hoping to measure up

On top of that the writing is awful. The plots are thin or non existent with a bunch of plot holes. Way too much emphasis on cons and lifting stories and passing it off as homages rather than what they really are—lazy fanboy writers bereft of any new ideas

The Abrams films are nothing but shiney sound and fury More spectacle than a solid entertains story with interesting characters

Same for DIS which from what I saw then later read was more interested in cramming in Easter eggs and cons than telling a coherent story. Most noticeably with the ADHD storytelling where they jump from one major arc to another then at the last minute back to what seemed the original arc to hurriedly resolve it.

If Recapturing the TOS spirit is the goal of DIS they sorely missed it. That show feels nothing like TOS from costumes to characterizations of familiar TOS characters and aliens like the Klingons. Heck ENT did a much better job at the TOS feel than any of the Abrams stuff has

TNG was successful and didn’t rely on nanedropping or Easter eggs. That’s the problem with television today they ignore writing and replace it with gimmicks—mystery boxes, long cons, breakneck paving, large bloated casts, etc

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:52 pm (UTC -5)

@Startrekwatcher, you expressed my sentiments exactly. I’m flabbergasted when I see people on Twitter hoping this new Trek show gives Picard “The Last Jedi” treatment by making Picard a broken man. Which is just so insipidly lazy. Star Trek is Star Trek, and Star Wars is Star Wars. Why would anybody just want Star Trek to copy the same character arc as a Star Wars film? I love both, but the franchises have different names because they ARE different. What I want, and have been waiting for since DS9, is a Star Trek show that tells a uniquely Star Trek story unlike anything else on TV.

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:58 pm (UTC -5)

@Paul M., well put with regards to what makes Trek unique. The rule of thumb I use is this: Stephen Hawking was a fan of TNG. Isaac Asimov respected TOS. NASA invited the crew of the TOS to watch the space shuttle Enterprise launch. TOS and TNG especially inspired generations of engineers. Would they like the Abrams movies or Discovery?

Geekgarious
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 9:34 pm (UTC -5)

i’m flabbergasted that anyone would *want* Picard to get the Last Jedi treatment. Sheesh. That would be more reviled then Nemesis or ”These Are the Voyages”. And I like Nemesis.

The only way I could see this new show working is if Kurtzman took a backseat to more competent writers the way Berman did with DS9. But judging by everything that’s come out with the tTrek name on it in the last decade , they either can’t or won’t hire competent writers.

Dom
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 9:38 pm (UTC -5)
Cody B
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 11:47 pm (UTC -5)

I have no problem personally with the abram’s movies. I liked the first two more than third, I felt the third movie sort of played it safe. I havnt seen discovery but from the few clips I’ve seen and what I’ve heard people say it seems to cater to this “safe space” type left which is the same problem a lot of hbo programming is having. You can be accepting of people but still not want to watch shows that preach feminism and homosexuality. Key word being preach. Once you start beating me over the head with it is when I tune out

Mallory
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 7:01 am (UTC -5)

I’ve seen great characters come back and ruin their good reputations many times. CBS really does not care, if it’s a likely financial gain, even short-term, they’ll do it. Creativity and integrity are not on the balance sheet. I’d be a little surprised if Stewart signed a contract, unless he’s been assured massive creative control.
I’ve given the later Treks a chance, but found them an assault on my spare time. I loved most of DS9, and adore TOS & especially TNG, but dear God, I wish I hadn’t wasted a second of my life on VOY or most of the other rubbish. I did like the later ENT episodes, but I think it was mostly garbage. It reminds me of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad – they run out of story but keep milking it for the cash. I’ll be optimistic and hope Sir Patrick passes away before filming starts.

Chrome
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 8:41 am (UTC -5)

“I’ll be optimistic and hope Sir Patrick passes away before filming starts.”

Not cool, man.

Geekgarious
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 3:36 pm (UTC -5)

And, surprise surprise, Internet fandoms still invariably suck.

Brad
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 7:32 pm (UTC -5)

Despite Kurtzman’s checkered creative history, I have little reason to worry about the new series just yet. Something significant convinced Stewart to return and he insists it will be something “very, very different”. I’m inclined to be optimistic. There are infinite possibilities for a Trek show returning to the late 24th century (and early 25th century potentially). I’d certainly love to see a Trek series try to recapture the sense of optimism that our world sorely lacks.

As always, time will tell.

Picard
Sunday, August 12, 2018, 10:40 pm (UTC -5)

Very happy about this news, especially that it is most likely to get back to moving forward in the timeline instead of going back (first time since Star Trek: Nemesis).

I hope it is just Picard with a different set of stories and characters, not with the regular TNG cast (cameo appearances would be ok, I guess).

I enjoyed the last three movies, as well as DIS (even with its flaws), so Kurtzman being at the helm does not bother me. The Involvements of Beyer and Duff are positives too.

Very little known so far. Couple of years, I reckon, before we know enough to say anything beyond wild speculation.

Cosmic
Monday, August 13, 2018, 2:46 am (UTC -5)

“I’ll be optimistic and hope Sir Patrick passes away before filming starts.”

Wowwww. Terrible thing to say. Worst kind of “fan”.

Mallory
Monday, August 13, 2018, 2:07 pm (UTC -5)

I was kidding about Stewart dying. Jeez, he’s probably the last actor I’d have ill wishes for. He’s a true hero, and great inspiration to many.

monstone
Monday, August 13, 2018, 4:25 pm (UTC -5)

A few questions for the group:

1. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said, in December of 2016, that “We have estimated, we expect to have 4 million subscribers by 2020.” “It’s not going to be a huge business, but it’s going to be for Millennials, the cord-cutters, the cord-nevers.” Has he changed the forecast since then? How many subscribers are there now? Does he really think a show centered around Picard is one that will appeal to, of all people, Millennials and cord-nevers? (That’s a hypothetical question).
It sounds to me like whether Discovery is profitable in part a function of how Moonves chose to define “success.” Regardless, what neither Moonves nor anyone else knows is how many subscribers will RETURN when the 4 teaser episodes/Season 2 of Discovery appears. CBS surely has access (no pun intended) as to how many people cancelled their subscriptions; if the information is not something It wishes to brag about, we may not know it. So I’m agnostic on how much profit CBS is making off Trek (The numbers matter. The level of profit will ultimately dictate how saturated the CBS Trek Universe will become). We don’t yet even know the budget per episode (if it is indeed weekly episodes) of Stewart’s show.
2. What happened to Nicholas Meyer’s involvement in Discovery? First he apparently wrote (or was one of the writers of) “Battle of the Binary Stars,” then he didn’t; then he was a “Consulting Producer…” Does anyone know if he is still affiliated with the show.

3. (Slightly off topic, I guess): Robert McNeill recently said, ““I wanted to direct Discovery.” “I met with their producing director. I didn’t know the show that well, but I met with him on their last hiatus to talk about season two. I also produce now. So, I hire a lot of directors. The last few years, there’s been a seismic shift in terms of the priorities toward female and diverse directors. That reality now has meant that what used to be normal, which was a lot of white guys, to be quite honest, has changed. …..Most importantly, it’s a wonderful thing that’s happening… Discovery does a limited number of episodes and a priority there is to get female and diverse directors, so there are fewer opportunities for people like me, which is a great thing. But, yeah, if the opportunity arose to direct Discovery and I fit what they needed and it fit my schedule, I’d love to do it.” Has the list for Season 2 directors been made available yet? How would he know he can’t get a chance to direct?

And lastly, just some observations:
As much as Kurtzman may suck as a showrunner, I find it hard to believe that an optimal creative environment existed under his predecessors Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, if the allegations against them are even remotely true. These allegations vaguely remind me of why so many people (David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana) claim to have left TNG during its early seasons. Mediocre writing doesn’t become better when the writers are verbally abused.
http://www.vulture.com/2018/06/star-trek-fires-showrunners-after-complaints-of-verbal-abuse.html

Someone noted, “The only way I could see this new show working is if Kurtzman took a backseat to more competent writers the way Berman did with DS9. But judging by everything that’s come out with the Trek name on it in the last decade , they either can’t or won’t hire competent writers.” Right now it does appear they can’t or won’t hire competent writers. But if they DID, maybe all hope would not be lost. So far, we don’t know who is on the writing staff of the new show.

J Ryan
Monday, August 13, 2018, 5:46 pm (UTC -5)

I really love the idea of Picard coming back in a mini-series or short run series. But what role role would we accept him in? He’s Captain Picard, and Stewart himself says he’s not the captain at this point. What are some thoughts on this site about this? An admiral? An ambassador? A diplomat?

Startrekwatcher
Monday, August 13, 2018, 7:19 pm (UTC -5)

Frankly I’d love the TNG crew back together on the ENT tackling some epic mystery adventure or threat. Then being together on the same ship would be no more far fetched than Scully and Muldee still working in the basement of FBI. It furthers the nostalgia factor.

But if not that I’d like Picard still a captain of a ship. Kirk in GEN stressed to Picard about never giving up his captains chair. So I could see him turning down promotions. Then maybe have the show feature a second ship maybe the ENT with a Riker as captain and Troi. Worf onboard Picards ship. Beverly on the Pasteur something like that where they coordinate their efforts on different fronts and then together

Startrekwatcher
Monday, August 13, 2018, 7:22 pm (UTC -5)

I really don’t want Picard as an instructor or admiral

The idea of gimleading cadets doesn’t appeal to me. And being an Admiral keeps himself some starbase or Earth he needs to be in the thick of things.

I just hope the series has the fun entertaining adventure element that TNG perfected. I don’t want some plodding introspective meditation crap that’s so en Vogue these days

Ubik
Monday, August 13, 2018, 9:11 pm (UTC -5)

@Startrekwatcher

With all due respect, Stewart (and Picard) will be, like, 80 years old. To have him as gallivanting around the cosmos as a Captain would be absolutely impossible to believe, and would no doubt feel exactly like what it is – fan fiction.

I can guarantee you right now that, if the show does what you claim you hope it does, it will be awful, for the same reason the new X Files seasons were awful – because people’s lives are not stagnant. To suggest that the same people would just be hanging around doing the exact same thing they did, like, 30 years ago, with the same basic ideas and opinions and values, is ludicrous. That isn’t what happens in real life, ever. The audience would sense the inauthenticity, the lies, and wouldn’t buy in.

I don’t believe the “introspection meditation crap” is “in vogue” at all – I just think that, as a human being reaches 80, that is precisely what happens to them – they become introspective and meditative. An 80 year-old doesn’t have the same urge for adventure and change that a 40 year-old does; that’s simply not human nature. Great storytellers from the ancient Greeks all the way through to today recognize that when a person approaches 80, especially one like Picard who no doubt had inestimable influence over the shape of the galaxy over his long life, they start to look back, not forward.

If this show is worth anything, it will absolutely be meditative and introspective, not to be fashionable, but just to be realistic. That doesn’t mean it can’t have galactic implications, politics, ethical dilemmas, etc. But it certainly can’t be an action show with an 80 year-old Captain Picard running through hallways with a phaser. If that’s all they plan to do, I hope to God they just forget about it.

Startrekwatcher
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 1:11 am (UTC -5)

As a viewer over the years of tv and film I’ve been asked to accept a lot of things. So I’d be willing to go along with a galavanting captain at age 80. I’d go along with it like I did the X files with Scully and mulder still agents despite that not necessarily being realistic—nostalgia. If we are doing a revival then the whole point of a revival is to play off fans’ nostalgia for the original series.

So I say don’t mess with what worked. Appeal to fans with what worked for them in the first place. There’s plenty of new shows now that does all that you describe. Let a revival like this work in its own box I say. Frankly if I had my way the series would be on the ENT-D recreating the sets and bridge the way Roseanne , for instance, rebuilt the sets of the home of that series.

But I realize that would likely not happen so next best thing was my suggestion of him still being captain on a ship. And a couple points. One in the 24th century humans live a lot longer so I don’t see an issue him being a captain at 80 or 90. Two —Patrick Stewart himself looks vital and energetic. I wouldn’t think it’d be hard to accept him as a galavanting captain. And three Picard in the series wasn’t much of an action hero. He was always more cerebral so his physical shape really shouldn’t matter

Startrekwatcher
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 1:37 am (UTC -5)

Oh and whoever writers work on the Oicard series needs to unlearn everything they’ve learned about writing from Abrams, Kurtzman, Harberts, Berg and Goldsman. Instead they need to rewatch TNG seasons 3-6 carefully. And take notes on what good writing entails.

TNG wasn’t about gimmicks the way Abrams films and DIS are. Don’t worry about namedropping, Easter Eggs, long cons, mystery boxes, headspinning pacing, bringing in every last TNG guest star or recurring character, big twists or a-ha moments. Because TNG employee none of this and was all the better for it.

Lost and Abrams has pretty much ruined storytelling. Practically every show since then got bogged down in the gaming of the audience. Shows used to not be like that.

Dan Bolger
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 5:58 am (UTC -5)

Fantastic stuff. Star trek reigns supreme.

R.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 7:04 am (UTC -5)

I’m filled with foreboding at the thought of Alex Kurtzman heading this Picard project. As wonderful as it is that Patrick Stewart has come back, the writing and characterisation should be worthy of him.

If it had been Ron D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr or even Brannon Braga (eek) as showrunner I might be feeling more enthused but alas.

Dom
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 2:51 pm (UTC -5)

@Startrekwatcher, great point. Given modern Hollywood’s obsession with reboots and remakes, it’s actually amazing to remember just how seldom TNG – and DS9 – relied on easter eggs and fan service. Sure, the shows would sometimes use the same alien races and same characters, but that made sense for a shared universe. But for the occasional guest star (i.e., Scotty on TNG, Thomas Riker on DS9), such connections never felt forced or gimmicky. None of the main characters on TNG were directly related to the TOS crew. Aside from the introduction of Worf into DS9, none of the DS9 crew had direct ties to TNG.

You started to see this slip in Voyager, which kept introducing Alpha Quadrant aliens even though the ship was in the Delta Quadrant. Enterprise went so far as to bend continuity by introducing the Borg and Ferengi decades before the Federation encountered them because “fan service.” I took over reliance on fan service to be a sign that the franchise was exhausted, and it’s not great that this new era of Trek is leaning so hard into it.

Omar
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 4:18 pm (UTC -5)

Please no SJW nonsense like with Discovery. Don’t turn Picard into a political activist.

Henson
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 4:36 pm (UTC -5)

@Dom “Aside from the introduction of Worf into DS9, none of the DS9 crew had direct ties to TNG. ”

For shame! How could you forget Miles “kill a Cardie, get a hardy” O’Brien?

Dom
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 4:58 pm (UTC -5)

@Henson, True… but he was a pretty minor character on TNG. I was thinking of the regular cast. He probably wasn’t a significant enough character to persuade a lot of TNG fans to watch DS9. He certainly was certainly no Worf.

LaSmelter
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 10:41 pm (UTC -5)

I’m encouraged by the the reason he gives for doing this. Describing the detective who watches TNG to “know we’re going to have a future” despite the cruelty he sees on his job, Stewart says that that “lies at the very centre of what I have to tell you now”.

Unless I’m wildly off-base, that means that the series will have something like the hopeful tone and vision of classic TOS and TNG.

Durandal_1707
Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 1:50 am (UTC -5)

@Omar, are you really telling me you detected no political messages at all in TNG?

Cody B
Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 4:15 pm (UTC -5)

The best case scenario would be that Picard will be in the Tarantino Trek film. No series just the film written and directed by Tarantino with complete control. Oh and an R rating

grumpy_otter
Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 9:07 pm (UTC -5)

Dom said, Stewart “famously kept asking the writers to give Picard more action and sex. He was all for driving that dune buggy in Nemesis.”

Yup. Even Sir Stewart doesn’t understand Star Trek.

I’ve been so disappointed over the years that what I am doing right now is simply enjoying that adorable video clip and not thinking about what might happen. It was fun when my social media started exploding with the news of Picard’s return–I think every person in that auditorium must have tweeted the news!–but my hopes won’t go up. I’ll check it out, but if they butcher it as they did with Discovery, I won’t be surprised.

Although it does still amaze me how many people don’t get what made Star Trek great. I am not sure where they get their inspiration, but it isn’t on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Tim
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 12:42 am (UTC -5)

In several articles (all citing the same source?) it’s apparent CBS is looking at several long running series, a short run mini-series, and a Khan mini-series. My bet is that this is the short run mini-series.

The comments above about the aftermath of the Dominion war – and the subsequent exposure of Section 31 and the seedy side of the Federation and Starfleet – this could be fertile ground for a Picard miniseries.

Trek, and sci-fi in general, does best when they take current events and issues and flip them or represent them so that we can explore and deal with them. Given our American political polarization right now, good writers could overlay our polarization onto a post-war and militarized starfleet. That could be a fascinating show to watch.

Latex Zebra
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 4:17 am (UTC -5)

Picard and Q go on a road trip.

Ian
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 4:02 pm (UTC -5)

I have mixed feelings about this.

This could potentially be a wonderful new chapter in Star Trek. Jean-Luc Picard is among the finest of all Star Trek characters. It would certainly be interesting to see him later in life. We know nothing about the setting or premise of this series but I think it’s a safe bet he won’t be a captain of a starship. Which is fine. There are lot of possibilities here. I think a lot of us just want to see what is going on with the Federation in the years after the war with the Dominion. What is going in the Gamma Quadrant? What kind of relationship does the Federation have with the Romulans? What’s going on with the Cardassians?

This new Picard series may not address these questions. It could be more of a character series which could just fine as well. If done right.

But given the largely awful recent Star Trek films and the disappointing and politically-driven Discovery series I am concerned that this new series with Patrick Stewart may also disappoint and alienate fans. I would feel a lot better if Ronald Moore was involved. I would have faith he would treat Picard and other character with respect and dignity. He clearly loves Star Trek. I don’t know what the motivation of CBS is behind all this.

Startrekwatcher
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 7:07 pm (UTC -5)

I enjoy Moore’s work on TNG and to some extent on DS9 but I kinda find him overrated as a writers. He’s definitely a step up from the likes of Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman, Berg, Goldsman, Harberts but he can be quite uneven and BSG was an exercise in excess and pretentiousness. I think having Michael Piller on TNG and Behr on DS9 oversee his writing helped those episodes

Dom
Friday, August 17, 2018, 8:01 am (UTC -5)

@grumpy_otter, agreed. It’s a bit troubling for the franchise that so many Trek fans seem to think the franchise is about nothing more than a bunch of people with funny outfits flying around in space. The new creators are missing the soul of Trek, the intellectual depth of the franchise.

Startrekwatcher
Friday, August 17, 2018, 11:07 am (UTC -5)

Yes Trek can be and should be intelligent and thought-provoking. But it was also just a fun adventure series. That’s what made TNG great—it told a variety of stories from morality plays to high concept sci fi to mystery to character stories.

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