Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Picard, season 2, Episodes 7, 8 & 9

Are complete and total garbage, written by mentally deranged lunatics for suckers willing to be mulct by sleazy and immoral degenerate charlatans who obviously get paid by the kilo.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The state of decay of modern Star Trek

I appeal to you in the name of civilization, make the Kurtzman nightmare era of Star Trek come to an end. 

Picard episode 6, Two of One is one of the most egregious displays of stupidity in modern Star Trek, in the history of the franchise, thus far. And it’s probably only going to get worse. I’ve had an interesting journey with this show. Season 1 was such a total disaster that after it ended I cancelled what was then CBS All Access and stayed away from the service until just before Picard season 2 started up.  So I missed Discovery season 3 and 4 and Lower Decks 1 and 2. I binged Discovery to catch up and was catatonic by the end of it. I’m only a few episodes into Lower Decks and haven’t seen any of Prodigy.

As season 2 of Picard opened with The Star Gazer. I thought, oh, this could be interesting. Terry Matalas seems to have corrected a number of mistakes from season 1. Picard is no longer a pariah ensconced in the Chateau full of “total fucking hubris”. He’s now a respected elder statesman running the academy and now Admirals come to his house when there’s a problem instead of him sheepishly crawling to Starfleet Command. Rios, no longer an alcoholic bemoaning evil Starfleet is now captain of one of their newest ships. Raffi, no longer a drug addict, teaches at the academy and has taken the murderous head chopping crazy Romulan kid under her wing and mentored him as a cadet. Even goofy Agnes Jurati hand waves away her murder of Bruce Maddox as not guilty by reason of alien inflicted insanity.  

So it seemed like Terry Matalas was trying to right the ship as best as he could. 

But unfortunately that was all an illusion. 

Episode 2 we find ourselves in fascist land, but thankfully we don’t stay there long. Though I’m certain that’s the kind of environs Kurtzman likes. Though maybe if our intrepid crew had stayed longer in fascist land they would have seen the holographic statue of Adam Soong in SF Bay, but they didn’t so they flew to 2024 without knowing what they had to fix. That would be like Kirk going to 1986 without the idea that he needs to find humpback whales to go tell that probe what to go do with itself.  

So by ep 3 we are in LA goofing around. A few mentions of Sanctuary Districts to show they had heard of DS9.  

But by episode 4 I was getting enraged at the stupidity. I felt like setting myself on fire like a Buddhist monk protesting the Vietnam war. I was embarrassed for everyone involved in this show. Redletter Media has been spot on with this show from day one. Episode 4 explicitly tells us Star Trek 4 happened because Kirk Thatcher on the bus recalled getting the FSNP by Spock in 1986. While at the same time telling us that Times Arrow never happened and that Guinan never met Picard. But I feel like Kathy Bates in Misery here, yelling at the kids at the Saturday morning serial.  We saw Picard meet Guinan with our own eyes. They met in 1893.  

And Guinan in 1893 wasn’t some grumpy millennial complaining about everything going on. No, she was in her Victorian mansion hosting Mark Twain with oysters and cocktails. She didn’t have a single complaint. If fact, upon meeting Data she thought he had been sent by her father. “Tell him I’m not done listening yet, and that I’m not ready to come home.” 

I don’t mind recasting Guinan so much.  It’s just that she’s so Un-Guinan, lacking in Guinan’s aged old sage like wisdom that comes from centuries of listening. So of course in Kurtzman Trek she’s an angry millennial who thinks this is the worst time ever. When I was a kid in the 1970s the school would cancel recess because we couldn’t play outside because of Stage One Smog Alerts. Something these millennials have never ever experienced. Yes, we have plenty of problems. But whinging about them doesn’t make them go away. Come up with solutions. (And if you want clean energy build generation IV nuclear power plants quickly.) 

And yes, the Trek team dragged out a Trek novelist with goofy charts and graphs to claim their time travel scenario makes sense. Except it doesn’t make any sense at all. And by their own logic, if time gets restored and things return to Times Arrow having happened, that means everything we’ve seen in season 2 in Los Angeles 2024 didn’t happen, and can’t happen. It will be totally erased from history. Just like how I wish I could erase it from my mind. Make it so!

So then we get to episode 5 and find out that the watcher is Laris, who is now for some as yet unknown reason, Tallin. 

When people were speculating who the watcher would be I knew it would be Laris, because I found a simple way to make good predictions for this show: Just imagine what the stupidest thing possible would be, that it’ll likely be it. 

By episode 5 the show became like a slow dull dental drill plowing into one’s jaw without novocaine.  

However the apex of the whole farce was episode 6. I thought the worst possible episode was the season one epic when the crew donned goofy outfits, Rios as a pimp, and ventured to Bejazzeled’s tavern and Seven murdered everyone. I didn’t think that foolishness could be topped.  

But when Jurati arrives at the Biltmore’s parapet to belt out Shadows of the Night I realized this show is just not to be taken seriously. It’s a farce. It needs a laugh track to go with it for it to underscore the total nonsense. Picard gives his ancestor a pep talk and now everything is fine. Nutty cloner Dr. Soong runs over Picard, but apparently that wasn’t an emotional set back for Renee Picard, because she went into flight quarantine and is fine. She didn’t stay with this old dude who set her right? She wasn’t traumatized by what she just saw? No one called cops or an ambulance? Why do they take Picard to the doctor at the Maripsosa (watch out for butterflies) clinic? If he’s a robot or Golem or whatever shouldn’t they have taken him to B. F. Goodrich or Midas? The writers are inept or insane. They have no idea how write with any realism or dare I say, verisimilitude. 

Predictions: Rich from Redletter Media said that Tallin must eventually become Laris and her assignment changed to watch over Jean Luc in the future. That made me question how she watched over Picard during TNG. 

Again, think what would be stupid and the answer becomes obvious: During all of TNG Laris was on the Enterprise as Livingston, Picard’s fish, watching him closely from his ready room the whole time in her tank. 

In the new teaser ad for season 3 revealing the return of the TNG cast Matalas had them use Star Trek II Wrath of Khan music cues, and he has Picard wearing glasses. He has said season 2 is ST IV, so season 3 must be ST II, showcased especially in the way he wanted the uniforms to look and he even showed the bosun’s whistle prop from ST II on his instagram.  

And he’s said there is a villain.  Who could be Picard’s Khan?  Again, think stupid and it becomes obvious: Daimon Bok is the villain in season 3. I foresee it. (Hat tip to Redletter Media for making lots of Bok jokes.) 

As Picard said in season one: Unmitigated disaster.  

Let’s move on to other horrors…. Strange New Worlds.

Since Christopher Pike learned his fate he should change it. Or he grimly accepts it. Or Spock does the “forget” mind meld he once did to Kirk. But why not let him change destiny and set this series in an alternate timeline? It would be the best solution to the stupid choice to show him his destiny in the first place on Discovery season 2.   

Unlike some I’m not too concerned about the sets, props and costumes. They have done fine updates. Far more in keeping with the originals than the JJ movies for sure, and I’ll take that small victory. I just want good stories. But, if this Enterprise has a roller coaster turbo shaft, then I’m out. That’s a bridge too far.

I am a bit concerned about that huge crew lounge now at the top front of the Enterprise saucer. If the producers haven’t named it the Acapulco Lounge, then they clearly are missing the boat. Just imagine Charo singing the Love Boat theme there as a nightly act. And if Spock and Uhura don’t get their band together obviously named “I Am Not Herbert” and sing their hit duet, “We Reach” they are missing a golden opportunity. (They did cast a Broadway singer as Uhura so I think my dream is alive.)  And when Kirk arrives in season 2 he must go there for karaoke night and must sing “Elegy for the Brave.” I have it on good authority that Paul Wesley is learning the lyrics as we speak. Ethan Peck must be working on The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins as well. 

Speaking of the quintessential devil in these matters, behold the renegade and terrorist…. Oh, wait, that’s Alex Kurtzman.  

But on the new James T. Kirk… I won’t pass judgement until we see him on the show… but let’s look at this footage from when SNW was shooting in Toronto: 

It shows Paul Wesley in 20th or 21st century clothes making out with La’an Noonian Singh on the streets of Toronto that probably are set up to represent a different contemporary city. (Some speculation about it being set in Chicago.)  

So Spock knows La’an. And Kirk really gets to know La’an. But by Space Seed they have both totally forgotten about her.  

But, again think like the idiots at Secret Hideout and you can come up with the most stupid thing, and that’s probably what’s happening in this scene: Henry Alonso Meyers has confirmed there is time travel in SNW, boldly going where they’ve gone before.  

I predict that in this episode while lost in the past, Kirk and La’an have a splendid romance, but then they find out that only one of them can return to their present, in the future. La’an, because she’s an orphan decides to stay in the 20th century so Kirk can go back to his career as a captain in Starfleet (they show him with captain braids but a different ship insignia than Enterprise, perhaps the USS Republic.) So, she will stay in the past, but she’s pregnant, with Kirk’s child: Khan. Khaaaaaaaaaaan!

Kirk is Khan’s father. You heard it here first. (I hope I’m joking.) 

An episodic show like SNW should be seeking out top freelancers. Why don’t they get top SF novelists to write episodes. Like Harlan Ellison, Sturgeon, Block, Spinrad, Matheson, George Clayton Johnson did for TOS. Get the modern day versions, the top names in SF literature. Get Dayton Ward and David Mack writing for SNW. Why don’t they ask Melinda Snodgrass to write for SNW? Get the top writers in TV doing one offs: Matt Weiner, Vince Gilligan, J. Michael Straczynski, Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr, Marc Scott Zicree, Manny Coto, get writers who worked on BSG and The Expanse. How about Walter Mosley? I bet he could write some damn great Star Trek Strange New Worlds episodes. But they can’t and won’t because it’s all being done by the insular Secret Hideout Clubhouse. 

In closing, thank goodness we have Star Trek The Motion Picture Director’s Edition in 4K. Watching that on Paramount+ made the service worthwhile. It was a profoundly spiritual experience. Why can’t Star Trek be like that again?  Thoughtful, adult, and intelligent.  Those were the days.  

Someday, Star Trek will come back.  I hope I live long enough to see it.