Therin of Andor wrote:
We'll never know Frakes' directing abilities because they didn't give him a script to work with in the first place.
Well, we do know Frakes' directing abilities, from his work on things like "The Offspring", "First Contact" and "Insurrection". He is able to draw out warmth between the main characters, while Stuart Baird seemed unable to do so.
I doubt any director could have fixed that script, no matter what tricks he used in instructing the actors, fiddling with the ending, and fixing it in post production.
The biggest problem is that words mean things. Nemesis has a definition and it isn't just "evil counterpart". Nemesis is an avenging spirit sent to punish people for the sin of hubris. At no point, even with his pontificiation of all things humanity has become, does Picard actually get so arrogant that the gods, such as they are, decide to slap him down. And Shinzon just doesn't do anything besides say "you had it good while I suffered. I'm going to destroy Earth. That'll show you."
In my mind, a better approach would have been for Picard to have to deal with someone he wronged who decides to take everything from Picard one piece at a time. Think Ben Finney writ large or Khan with patience. Maybe the Romulan version of Picard, a man of culture, intelligence, an appreciation for art and archaeology, and who just simply is brutal at times because of his own ego and quest for glory. Think Belloq versus Indy. They go after some MacGuffin and the anti-Picard uses Picard's own assests against him: his reputation as an explorer, his ship, his crew, everything Picard holds dear.
Instead we get Khan II with less hair.