My skeptical eagerness for Star Trek Picard

I think I’ve written on here before about how much I’m looking forward to Star Trek Picard hitting the ether: in february 2012 I was full of anticipatory glee when I got wind that James Bond would appear in the London olympic opening ceremony; and equally excited when I heard, in 2014, that the Monty Python guys were reuniting to perform again. The return of my favourite Starfleet captain, however, probably has me even more excited. This is Jean-Luc Picard, after all: probably my favourite character in all fiction; the character I wrote so much about in my Masters, and who we all assumed Patrick Stewart had long since put to rest. As awesome as Happy And Glorious and Monty Python Live 2014 both were, I think Star Trek Picard trumps both in the anticipation stakes.

Yet it occurs to me that there are differences in the circumstances this time. For starters, the olympic opening ceremony and Monty Python Live were both stand alone, one-off events: both lasted two or three hours, and were then over. They were singular events, whereas Picard will be a series of multiple episodes. This gives it a phenomenological difference. We could predict that Monty Python live would be a re-performing of the old classic sketches, and that Bond’s meeting with the queen would likely be a brief film which wouldn’t have much of a relationship to the Bond franchise proper. Both were a matter of an evening. In the case of picard, however, instead of a single event there is an entire series of programs to look forward to; possibly several seasons which we’ll be able to watch multiple times: a hell of a lot more to get into, go over and analyse.

That also means, of course, that there is much more room for something to go wrong. The possibility that Picard could fail to live up to our expectations is what worries me, and my eagerness is tinged with concern. While I was slightly cautious about getting overexcited upon hearing about the previous two, this time I can’t help but fret that disappointment is almost inevitable. Star Trek The Next Generation will always be a part of my childhood; I’ll forever associate it with Wednesday nights and lovie.

The problem is, from the look of the trailers, the new series will be very different: the Captain, no longer a captain but an admiral, has apparently left Starfleet and seems to be set to appear as some kind of renegade. Now, if Star Trek Picard was a single, two hour film, they could get away with it. Films are stand alone in nature, so fans could more easily forgive any veering from the character we grew up with. It would be a singular event like Monty Python Live. A series, however, unfolds over several episodes and possibly seasons, making it more prone to criticism and error. Thus as much as I liken my enthusiasm to watch Star Trek Picard to my anticipation for the olympic opening ceremony and Monty Python Live, this time I also feel much more skeptical.

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