Star Trek: Picard never should’ve been this grim thing.
Sometimes you have to wonder if Star Trek is still Star Trek anymore. Sure, you have shows like Strange New Worlds and Prodigy that embrace what made Star Trek great. A brightness in the universe shows that brings people together and creates a unifying idea. Then you have shows like PIcard that embrace a dark, twisted, antithesis of what Star Trek should be.
Picard has been a dark journey through some of the more depressing elements of the show, and when it’s not trying to be a grim-dark journey through the human experience, it’s butchering the franchise’s best assets, like the Borg.
The worst part is how many people seem to enjoy the darkness that Picard is wading into. Sure, it may seem like a fun romp, but the world is dark and awful enough already. We don’t need our entertainment trying to be as dark as our reality, it has to be something more. Something that we can find joy in.
Picard isn’t a fun reunion, and it was never intended to be, which is why it’ll ultimately fail in the long run.
While Star Trek can be anything, it is always Star Trek
There are defenders of this darkness that Trek embraces. This Logan/Game of Thrones-like pursuit of being “edgy” and “mature” has created a lot of snobs in recent years. It’s like taking the main characters of High Fidelity and making them Trek fans. The constant need for making everything heavy, the leaning on gore and violence, and the chronic nihilism that the show has embraced has worn many fans down.
The cute Star Wars-like cameos can only carry a show for so long. We saw what happened to the Star Wars and Jurrasic Park franchises when they only ever leaned on what came before. Picard will forever be remembered as a show that wanted to be heavy and dark, and devoid of what made Trek great.
That’s fine, but that isn’t Trek. Trek has a formula and a purpose, and when you deviate from that path, you lose what makes a show Star Trek. As long as the goal is unity, optimism, and hope, you can make a Star Trek show be anything else you want. But the minute you start to get away from that and make it cynical, and judgemental. When it starts preaching that you can’t trust anyone, even those closest to it, then you lose the identity that made Trek so grand.
I hope this trend of dark and broody nonsense ends with Picard because Trek can’t survive much more of it, because we as a society can’t keep embracing the darkness.