How 'Picard' Is Successfully Remixing The Best 'Star Trek' Stories
This week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard gave us a glimpse of the dystopian alternate timeline in which our characters now find themselves, seemingly caused by Q altering past in some way. Now Picard is a brutal, authoritarian warlord, Seven of Nine is President of an imperialistic, human supremacist Earth (with a real jerk for a husband) and … Patton Oswalt is the voice of a virtual cartoon cat? Sure, just because the world is a depressing hellscape doesn’t mean we can’t still have what amounts to the 24th century equivalent of a Tamagotchi.
It’s also becoming clear that this season of Picard is consciously cherry picking narrative highlights from previous The Next Generation stories. For starters, the idea of an alternate timeline in which Starfleet is a more explicitly militaristic force was explored in the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” – which weirdly gets namechecked by Q, who seemingly has used his God-like powers to determine that he’s living inside of a mid-budget television franchise.
Of course any story in which Q sends Picard careening through time inevitably recalls some of the best episodes of the series, including the beloved finale.
But perhaps most overtly, Picard and his crew are now attempting to travel back in time to Earth’s past (but our near future) in order to repair Q’s Marty McFly-esque meddling, ultimately re-working the premise of Star Trek: Contact (with shades of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) which found them chasing after the Borg Queen into the past – but now, they need the Borg Queen’s help get them to the past.
Even Picard’s central romantic subplot, fans have pointed out, recalls his long-running relationship with Dr. Crusher. Or he just has a bizarrely specific type.
Fortunately, so far, Star Trek: Picard hasn’t been content to simply restage past storytelling successes, instead it's liberally adapting them, and hopefully reshaping it all into something that will feel wholly new.
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Top Image: Paramount+