When watching reviews of Picard on YouTube, one of the biggest issues that keeps coming up is the destruction of the Trek utopia envisioned by Roddenberry. Are you okay with it? Is it upsetting your enjoyment of Picard? Or is it so bad that for you it’s not even Trek any more? Some people take the stance that it’s Roddenberry’s vision and therefore shouldn’t be changed. Where do you stand on this? Well I’m here to explain that what we’re watching isn’t actually a breakdown of the Federation’s utopia (at least not by episode 5), it’s just an illusion created by the serialisation of one dark story on the fringes of the Federation, strung out over a whole season. It’s certainly not Trek, but that’s for other reasons unrelated to utopia. Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Kurtzman Trek and nor am I defending it - I hate the gore; the shallow relationships/characters; moronic language, the disrespectful attitudes to authority, and swearing, all of which denigrated the professionalism of the crew on Discovery; I prefer episodic narrative over serialisation and like best the way X-files combined the two; and I dislike the way he messes with/ignores canon. However, it’s using canon that I will seek to explain/defend the dystopian feeling we get in Picard. The reason we’re not actually witnessing a breakdown of utopia in the Federation is because (a) we’re not on a Federation vessel and (b) most of the show takes place outside or on the fringes of Federation space. When we were on Earth the worst thing we saw in terms of a dystopian vision was the F-word from an admiral, and that Starfleet Intelligence seems to have been infiltrated by the Zhat Vash. There is *no* evidence of a utopian breakdown. The worst we can say (by episode 5) is that the Federation failed to live up to its vision by resettling the Romulans to utopian standards. But it’s totally plausible that resources weren’t available to save an entire planet and in any case the Romulans do not care for the Federation vision of utopia and it moreover hates the Federation. Although it seems clear that some of top brass of the Federation/Starfleet did not care to help the Romulans (and that attitude does not live up to Roddenberry’s utopian ideals), this kind of diversion from the ideal is rife within Trek canon…it’s nothing new…it’s happened before. Cast a careful eye over TNG, DS9, movies, etc and you’ll see the cracks were always there, but they were always on the fringes of Federation space. And we only get the occasional glimpse of hard-nosed, dirty, non-utopian Federation/Starfleet decision making when dealing with Admirals. Most of the time, we were sheltered from the Federation’s dirty laundry facing Starfleet management, because we saw Trek through the eyes of the crew of the Federation flagship. Our view of the Federation has been seen through the eyes of its staff not its upper management, which gives a distorted/biased view as to the realities of how this utopia is actually run, maintained and is continually being attacked at its fringes. ST Picard puts us into these fringes and outside the federation, on a private vessel, in the thick of a conspiracy involving enemies seeking to take the Federation down. So, of course it’s going to be dark, but it’s not offering a dystopian vision of the Federation - we’re not even in the Federation - it’s showing us that on the edge of the Federation’s utopia, progress exists on a knife edge and sometimes things get rough and dirty...just like in DS9. It’s no different to how in “Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country” - Chief-in-Command Admiral Cartwright conspires with other Starfleet officers, Klingons and Vulcans to kill the Klingon Chancellor in order to AVOID peace with Klingon. ST Picard is doing the same thing in a far more sophisticated way serialised over 10 episodes and multiple seasons, instead of 2 hours. Therefore, it is reasonable and realistic for writers to show that there will be attacks on Trek utopia, so long as it’s not dismantled, but because this storyline is serialised it gives the feeling of a dystopian vision, when in fact it’s anything but. Refresh your memory with new eyes on the following episodes and you’ll see that on many occasions Starfleet took dirty non-Roddenbery-utopian like decisions. But these were single episodes and now we’re living one episode over a whole season and beyond. “Ensign Ro” TNG S05e03 - Admiral Kennelly orders Picard to escort a Bajoran cruiser to a camp, but secretly negotiates with the Cardassians to maintain their treaty alliance with the Federation in exchange for the lives on that ship...Picard is ordered to stand down while the Cardassians blow it up. “The Offspring” TNG S03E16 - Admiral Haften tries to force the separation of Lal from her father, Data. “The Search Part II” DS9 S03E02 - The Federation tries to negotiate a peace treaty with the Dominion and Admiral superbitch Nechayev excludes the Romulans from peace talks, because they’ll be irrelevant once the treaty is signed. She also reneges on a deal with Bajor by suspending its request for membership indefinitely, and agrees for the Federation to withdraw from DS9 leaving it in the Dominion’s hands, thus screwing the Bajorans whose enemy is the Dominion. “The Pegasus” TNG S07E12 - Starfleet Intelligence buries an investigation into a cover-up on The Pegasus, in which countless crew members died, because the Federation secretly broke the Treaty of Algeron by developing a cloaking device. “A Journey’s End” TNG S07E20 - Admiral Nechayev orders Picard to remove Native American Indians who settled in an outpost near Cardassian border by any means necessary. Orders come from the top of Starfleet. The tribe were previously removed from native lands 200 years earlier. “Descent Part I” TNG S06E26 - Admiral Nechayev reprimands Picard for letting the Borg, Hugh, free when he regained individuality. She said he should have used him to destroy the Borg (as well as Hugh) and orders him to do so at any other opportunity in future. “The Drumhead” TNG S04E21 - Starfleet Command dispatches Admiral Nora Satie to investigate potential sabotage aboard the Enterprise and she turns it into a McCarthy style witch hunt.