Gene Roddenberry didn’t like the lack of adventure in Family
After Captain Picard was assimilated by the Borg, he returned home to France, needing a place to get away. The second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s season four saw Picard trying to come to terms with what had happened to him and what he’d done as a result of his assimilation.
With more focus on drama and less on science fiction, it was an unusual episode for the crew that had spent the past three years discovering the galaxy. And as much as it was loved by fans, it was disliked immensely by Gene Roddenberry.
According to screenwriter Ron Moore (in Star Trek: The Next Generation 365), Roddenberry felt that there was too much focus on art and not enough on adventure. And, as most fans know about Roddenberry, he wasn’t a fan of conflict between family and the crew. So he really disliked the dissension between Picard and his brother.
Roddenberry also thought the premise of “Family” was unbelievable
Roddenberry wanted to throw out the story and the script altogether because he didn’t feel the premise was believable. He still believed that, in the future, humanity had moved past personal problems so the people in the twenty-fourth century wouldn’t have had personal conflicts. Fortunately, showrunner Michael Piller told Moore to finish the script because he would “deal with Gene.”
Thankfully, the episode was produced and is one of the most top-ranked episodes of the series. The scene between Captain Picard and his brother, in which Picard breaks down in tears, is so emotional that it was rated one of the top ten “most stunning” moments of Star Trek: The Next Generation by The Hollywood Reporter, and The Hollywood Reporter also rated “Family” the 10th best television episode of all Star Trek franchise television shows prior to Star Trek: Discovery.
Personally, it’s one of my favorite episodes, but like most critics, I think it would have been better for the entire episode to focus on Captain Picard’s struggle to come to terms with what had happened to him. Regardless, it’s an essential viewing episode, one which I consider is the “best of Patrick Stewart.”