Star Trek: Picard went down a different path, but it was always wrapped in Star Trek ethos.
Star Trek: Picard has had its detractors. I’m not one of them. In fact, I’ve quite enjoyed the series and its differences from other Trek series. To that end, my opinion differs from that of Chad’s who recently wrote about how Picard had distanced itself from a Star Trek staple and how that hurt the show.
This staple refers to every Star Trek series having a captain and a ship. That was included in Picard, just in a different way. Captain Rios led the La Sirena which played a large part in the first and second season of the series. Shortly after the show began, Admiral Picard realized he needed a ship, and that’s what brought the La Sirena into play. No, the ship didn’t have a big crew like the Enterprise did on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it was a crew nonetheless.
Patrick Stewart had a lot of input into the premise of Star Trek: Picard
Back in 2019, Alex Kurtzman told ET that Patrick Stewart had made his feelings very clear. He did not want to repeat what he’d already done.
"“Patrick was very clear to us in the beginning: He did not want to repeat what he had already done. And by the way, it’s been 20-plus years so he couldn’t possibly be that same person anymore. So the question becomes: What has happened to him in that period of time? Have there been occurrences that force him to reckon with choices that he’s made in his life? How do you hold on to being the person everybody loved when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically? Those are the big questions that we’re asking.”"
So the choices to move Picard in a different creative direction were established from the beginning as Stewart wasn’t going to put on the Starfleet uniform and step aboard the Enterprise again. So the powers-that-be came up with a unique way to get Picard back aboard a ship and, essentially, in charge, as it didn’t take long for Captain Rios (and everyone else) to begin following Picard’s command.
While the second season of the series had the crew mostly off the ship, with the exception of Dr. Jurati, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home utilized almost the same format, and it worked. So one might say the second season of PIcard was a ten-hour-long movie, and the way it wrapped opened the door for Star Trek: The Next Generation crew to return in the series’ final season.
As far as the length of the series, both Stewart and the show’s producer Akiva Goldsman, did confirm in an SFX Magazine interview [via dapsmagic] that the series was never meant to run beyond three seasons. Both men confirmed that three seasons was always the plan. If Picard wasn’t considered successful, then there would be no discussion of a potential spin-off series, an additional Star Trek: The Next Generation movie, and/or passing the baton to further the Star Trek franchise.
This was made clear when Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled after four seasons. There was never any discussion of the series continuing in any format. There were no spin-offs or even discussions of spin-offs, and the door was effectively closed on star Trek projects until the Star Trek movie in 2009. So while Picard might not be as successful as other series, it certainly can’t be considered a flop. In fact, given its success, it’s no wonder Patrick Stewart might not be ready to hang up Admiral Picard’s uniform for good.
As I said at the start, I like Star Trek: Picard. Do I like everything about it? No, but then, I didn’t like everything about any other Star Trek show. It’s rare not to have some nitpicky gripes about a show. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying each and every one. I don’t feel Picard jumped the shark or went down the wrong path. The series just traversed a different path, and it was still very much Star Trek.