Picard: Is it really that dark?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by Charles Phipps, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I have the suspicion that a lot of Picard's visceral reaction from a minority of fans is actually Patrick Stewart's age.

    Like the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, seeing a hero of their youth treated as a old fool is something that evokes powerful negative feelings. We don't want to be reminded that even a legendary hero can be dismissed by the public just for their age.
     
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  2. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's almost always from outside of the heroes. The heroes struggling is not allowed to continue on past the end credits.
    Again, that's not the heroes.

    And, yes, I agree with your larger points that these things do occur in TNG. And I agree with what others have noted that Picard isn't some new nihilistic take on Star Trek-it simply is taking the recent events and exploring those consequences. It isn't that dark but because of the fact that these things are occurring to the heroes, rather than them reacting to them, like with Data or with corrupt admirals. It isn't the heroes failing and it always ends on a positive note.

    Picard does this too-but it challenges the heroes extremely personally.
    This is probably a fair observation of how people are reacting.
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    While the eyeball is visceral and seeing poor Soji murdered, I think one of the most memorable "dark" scenes is Captain Picard showing up at Starfleet and not being recognized even when he says his name.
     
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  4. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Adult of Dubious Maturity Premium Member

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    That was a rough scene and worse for being realistic.
     
  5. King Bob!

    King Bob! The King of Kings! Premium Member

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    Since when? Star Trek is entertainment and goes where entertainment trends go. Jean-Luc Picard was the loyal boy scout until it was no longer fashionable to be the loyal boy scout.
     
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Since always? Also, his character development was part of Patrick Stewart's desires for him. Because he preferred being a more actiony-hands on captain.
     
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  7. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    This is darker than anything we've seen on Star Trek Picard, and it's not even a competition. And that includes the eye gouging scene.

     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, he did covert ops missions, led more and more away teams, was captured several times, and even on vacation did adventures.
     
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  9. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Adult of Dubious Maturity Premium Member

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    GAH! I totally forgot about that scene! :barf2:
     
  10. Ianburns252

    Ianburns252 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the reason that it doesn't get seen as being as "dark" or "gory" as some of the stuff such as Icheb's death is due to it being relatively corny as the same time.

    The stop motion bug crawling up his arm, the monster that looks like something from Red Dwarf - thing is, it is just a matter of budgets and advancements in what can be done with make up and effects.

    Similar to when people talk about the Enterprise being redesigned for Disco - TOS and Conspiracy were filmed for these tiny square TVs with pretty poor resolution.

    Stick it on a 60in 4k TV now and the scale of the image alone almost necessitates a change.

    Also, you can't say that the Ent in TMP didn't look vastly different (again, big screen, different ratios, better res) so why is it wrong for Discoprise to be updated and not for Motionprise?

    Pretty sure as well, going back to gory/dark in old Trek, that things like the Phage, all the crewmembers we saw set on fire over the years, the stuff with Neelix and that virus that killed loads of his people was all equally or more, due to being younger when I saw it, graphic/grim (to me at least) than the Icheb scene
     
  11. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just mostly dull. :)
     
  12. Lakenheath 72

    Lakenheath 72 Commodore Commodore

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    I am okay with darkness. Many of the shows I like, ex. The Boys, The Umbrella Academy, The Witcher, Money Heist, The Expanse, and The Doom Patrol, have elements of darkness.

    No, my reaction to Picard and the other modern Star Trek shows is that I am not feeling anything for the characters. I have been binge watching The Doom Patrol over the past few days and I have felt more emotions for those characters than I have for any character from the modern Trek. I have watched them grow and change as individuals and as a family.

    Using a quote from an earlier Trek episode, there is a mile wide emptiness between me and the characters in modern ST and I can't reach across it.
     
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  13. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Adult of Dubious Maturity Premium Member

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    Interesting. I watch all the shows you mentioned, except Money Heist, which I've not heard of, but I really connect with most of the characters, especially Raffi and Aramis, I mean Rios. :)
     
  14. ThreeEdgedSword

    ThreeEdgedSword Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think I connected with most of the characters, particularly Seven, Raffi, Picard, Hugh... But it was less due to the writing and more to their acting skills. One of the few instances that made me really feel the characters and that felt real was that scene with JL and Soji in Broken Pieces, I think. IOW, I hope the writer will flesh them out more and better in s2.

    Most of these people were in a pretty dark place, and the Federtion is a bit darker than TNG, too - though not as dark as some fans seem to think. The darkest and most violent places were outside of Federation space.
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I feel like a lot of people were upset at the premise starting in a bad place that they don't care about where it ends.

    I was actually kind of surprised they had the Federation do such a 180 and stand up for the androids even at the price of war with the Romulans.
     
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  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. The fact that Picard started where he did at all was enough to declare it "grimdark" in a gross misappropriation of that term.
     
  17. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The cinematography of Picard is light or dark depending on the location. Overall, it's not that dark, except inside La Sirena, but Rios likes it looking like that because he's dark and mysterious, and he wants the interior of his ship to reflect that. But exterior shots are always lush, colorful, and vibrant. Except at night.

    Wait a minute. That's not what the OP meant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  18. SJGardner

    SJGardner Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It always struck me as odd that a lot of Star Trek fans would see a story starting in a – relatively – dark place and ending up on a hopeful note reaffirming the positive values as a dark story overall. I've seen a lot of people express the view that Star Trek's optimism is rooted in the fact that the positive outcome has already happened in the backstory, and any kind of threat to that positive outcome inevitably robs the setting of its optimism. And considering how some people went ballistic over the Federation being shown as weakened due to a galactic catastrophe in Discovery's far future, it also feels like some Fukuyama-esque "end of history" thinking is at work here, which is quite understandable due to the geopolitical environment TNG was made in. Unfortunately, this means that the utopian future of the Federation is often not only treated as the prerequisite backstory of the setting but also as its inevitable endgame – with utopia having already been achieved, all problems have irrevocably been solved forever and there's nothing more left but to expand our horizons, never to worry about what's back at home. Because of this, any kind of examination of how this utopia can work, and also any kind of threat being shown to it, whether external or internal, will be seen as attacks on the very fabric of Star Trek itself, even if they are practically always averted by the actions of the heroes at the end.

    That being said, the Federation not being shown as a utopia is nothing new to Star Trek; TOS definitely wasn't one and despite Picard's speeches in TNG about how humanity has left every kind of societal ill behind permanently, the TNG era shows themselves didn't shy away from showing it wasn't exactly a flawless and perfect place either. Of course, it was quite easy to disregard that fact when the stories always focused on Starfleet crews, and even when they went to peripheries where people still struggled, they still had their safe havens in the form of their starships (and, by extension, Starfleet itself behind them) that shielded them from most of the adversity that defined life for the people of that frontier. This series simply follows a group of people who don't have that luxury. None of this means the future hasn't always been portrayed as an optimistic one, however.

    The main difference, in my view, between the TNG era and the current one is that unlike TNG, modern Trek consistently argues that utopia cannot be taken for granted. We can't just sit back, declare all problems to have been permanently solved and expect everything to stay perfect forever. Just like how our own political apathy has led to a world of extreme political polarization that snuffs out any meaningful attempt at reform as well as the constant encroachment of authoritarianism worldwide, Picard shows a Federation wounded by all the wars of the last twenty years which has led to a general mindset of averting risks and focusing inward, preserving what they still have left instead of risking they lose it by overextending their hand again. Utopia has wavered because the people haven't been working to preserve it, and now Picard has to remind the Federation and its people what they are truly capable of. However, at the start of the series, he himself is like a Fisher King whose own emotional state reflects a Federation that has similarly given up. He has to find his own resolve and faith again before he can help the Federation do the same. At the beginning, he goes to Clancy with a mindset of "I'm the only one willing and capable of doing it against a Federation that doesn't listen", with predictable results, and by the end he's recovered enough to be willing to sacrifice his own life to remind the androids and the Federation that our values are always worth fighting for. He's back to his old self and the world finally listens to him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  19. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Adult of Dubious Maturity Premium Member

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    YESYESYES! If I didn't have a cold, I'd be jumping up and down. :hugegrin: Discovery and Picard are all about not taking values for granted and losing ground because of apathy or complacence.

    Plus, you mentioned The Fisher King, so I totally love you. :adore:
     
  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This appears to be the prevailing attitude, which I often refer to, tongue-in-cheek, as "no happily ever after." But, your point is well put, because it basically is a zero sum game that Star Trek has to play with. You can't start at a dark place, and you can't end there. Now, go create drama.
     
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