This really rubs me the wrong way.
Forbidding Federation members from deliberately interfering with less advanced cultures is a totally reasonable concept. Otherwise, cultural contamination and colonialism would destroy those cultures.
The idea is to keep cultures from being destroyed, to allow them to continue to develop on their own.
It is absolutely beyond ridiculous that the Prime Directive prevents advanced cultures from saving primitive people who are otherwise completely and utterly doomed by impending natural disaster.
In Homeward, the atmosphere of planet Boraal II has spontaneously decided it would be fun to completely dissipate into space for some poorly-defined reason. This is bad news for the pre-industrial civilization of Boraalans on the surface, who require the atmosphere in order to breathe as they go about their pre-industrial business in neat little multi-racial villages where they live.
So, Nikolai uses the ship's technology to save one small village of Boraalans by tricking them into thinking the Holodeck is their own backyard, while the Enterprise races to find them a suitable new planet to live on.
Picard self-righteously opines "This is one of those times when we must face the ramifications of the Prime Directive, and honour those lives which we cannot save."
I am calling bullshit on this entire affair. This is not reasonable.
While I cannot calculate the hypothetical "risks" associated with cultural contamination represented by a pre-industrial society having first-contact with the Federation, it seems that whatever hypothetical risk cannot possibly exceed the 100% certainty of death and extinction represented by the impending natural disaster.
This is a moment where Federation policy should be for specialists to dress up like the locals, come into the village bearing gifts, and explain very politely "We come from a distant home among the stars. Normally it is our law not to communicate with you, but we have seen that a natural disaster is coming and that your home will soon be destroyed by forces that are beyond control. We do not have the power to prevent the disaster from coming, but we are willing to save you by bringing you to a different land under a different sun."
Accusations of godhood could easily be addressed with the explanation to the effect of "we are not gods, we are simply people, like you, with very advanced tools." Use the analogy of the village's well as a technological improvement over going to the river for water, etc.
Contamination? Yes. They will know spacefaring races exist. They will learn that stars are other suns, and that other suns have lands. But they will survive. It won't imbue them with knowledge of weapon technology they're too young to handle responsibly, or anything like that, it would only alert them to the fact that their planet was hopelessly doomed and that there are other people in the universe who cared enough to save them.
Once Nikolai's deception is made clear to the crew, instead of coming clean to the Boraalan people, they continue the charade on the holodeck.
Then the pool of water in the holographic cave starts to shimmer and dissappear as a result of the convolutitron particles interfering with stability of the holodeck's plot matrix, or whatever. GREAT opportunity to gather them all together and explain what's really going on. But no. Worf tells EVERY SINGLE LIVING BORAALAN that it was A MAGICAL OMEN, setting back their philosophy, science, and metaphysics by thousands of years. Way to go, Worf.
This whole situation is just stupid.