What made Patrick Stewart so perfect as a starship captain?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by ReadyAndWilling, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. ReadyAndWilling

    ReadyAndWilling Fleet Captain

    Jul 30, 2009
    So I was watching TNG earlier and Picard is perfect. I'm watching him right now just sitting in the chair and everything is perfect. It was almost like Stewart was born to play the role.

    The other captains were good, too. I'm not saying they were terrible and he was the only one. Kirk seemed too smarmy with his 'acting'. Sisqo had some weird, 'I've got a chip on my shoulder' or 'I'll show you I can do it'. Janeway seemed better and Archer just seemed really bad for the role.
  2. Picard Alpha

    Picard Alpha Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 30, 2004
    I believe you've developed a fondness for Stewart's portrayal of Picard. Stewart displays experience, charisma, aged persona, and a very 80s style of leadership. Who wouldn't want Picard to be your boss? He's able to solve real problems, and commands with excellence. Stewart played him like a fine wine. Really all of the ingredients were ripe, which is why you may get the feeling of "role of his career". In the series, the writing was typically spot on as well as the direction and his approach to the character. Later, the only thing that saved the movies was his ability to read lines.

    Shatner's portrayal of Kirk is probably next to best, especially in the movies. You have to forgive the nature of how they shot the show in the 60's. Often times the scripts were delivered so late Shatner was unable to memorize his lines, which reportedly created "The...Shat...As..We Know It!"

    I actually thought Brooks really developed with his character throughout the duration of DS9. Some call it over the top, some say over acting, but I've always been fond of Ben Sisko. I'm not sure any other actor could have done as good of a job in this role. The only thing I cringe at is that "Wow" moment in the pilot on the beach with Jennifer.

    If you can get past Mulgrew's voice you'll love the Janeway. I think Mulgrew single handily saved this series. She's a class act.

    I've always been a huge fan of Bakula. I was so excited when Enterprise was announced with him at the helm. I think that's the reason I hung on to this show for so long. Honestly though, I blame the weak episodes and writers that made his character so wishy washy. Season 4 was a vast improvement for Archer.

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

    Nov 26, 2008
    To be fair, his portrayal of Picard was a bit wooden at times during season 1 and parts of season 2 as well.

    But I agree with most of Picard Alpha's points.
  4. Satyrquaze

    Satyrquaze Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 10, 2010
    In his defense, he wasn't convinced TNG was a real job until halfway through season 1.
  5. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

    Jan 23, 2010
    I think Picard's intelligence and good analytical skills was the character's redeeming quality. And Stewart pulled this off well. Picard seemed to me to be a character whom you would have full confidence in his ability to reason out/suss out a situation. He's kind of like a wise father/grandfather figure one can look up to.

    Picard was not the only well acted captain though. I think Brooks on the whole played Sisko well, since Sisko is a person who does let anybody mess with him.
  6. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

    Jun 22, 2009
    Starbase Houston
    It was the actor not the character.
  7. ALF

    ALF Commodore Commodore

    Mar 12, 2005
    Being British while playing a French character.
  8. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

    May 7, 2010
    being an awesome actor probably helped
  9. JoeFromEarth

    JoeFromEarth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 29, 2009
    Dayton, OH
    Didn't Patrick Stewart say that all his acting experience was just to prepare him to be the Captain of the Enterprise?
  10. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 19, 2010
    east coast U.S.
    Stewart's Shakespearian acting training and growing into the role by season 3 he was comfortable.

    I still remember before NG premiere fall 1987, some of the cast were preparing for it to be a failure by being guarded about Roddenberry being able to do another successful version of Star Trek, particularly Frakes was very defensive.
  11. braveheartlion

    braveheartlion Ensign Newbie

    Oct 10, 2010
    What's w/ ppl calling him too stiff in the beginning? In most work environments it takes ppl time to get to know each other and warm up. It would be unrealistic to expect him to take his post by the steers and start commanding confidently from the very beginning. Yes I agree that his Shakespearian training had a great deal to do with his style of acting. Many great actors have a Shakespearian background, and I find it refreshing when someone has a commanding presence. Especially given the fact that Stewart isn't the most imposing-looking person in the world. He is all character. He's the judge everyone wants to have. Completely impartial, sensitive to all sides; and above all, fair.
  12. brandomack

    brandomack Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Nov 8, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    in short:

    Four Lights.
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Dec 13, 1999
    NJ, USA
    Picard had presence and a great voice.
  14. Listener4

    Listener4 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 2, 2010
    Patrick Stewart is completely convincing as a wise, experienced, honorable, trustworthy leader.
  15. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I echo everything you said, even down to Mulgrew's voice. They were all very good for their time and place. It's so difficult to really know what went on behind the scenes, unless someone credible can tell us and even then it's just one person's perspective. Shatner wasn't a bad actor... actually pretty good. But as you say, the schedule for TOS was really rough. Scripts were often late to the game. And there was a real script deficit going on. They got some seriously crappy scripts in Season 3... and everyone's acting took a hit.

    I wouldn't call Stewart wooden or stiff... he was certainly unpolished in the first few seasons. It took everyone time to settle into their roles. Stewart being the seasoned Shakespearean actor that he is brought a great depth to his role. Nobody is perfect, but he's still my favorite captain of all the series.

    Bakula took a while to get into his groove. They all did. Actually, I found a number of the supporting characters a bit stiff... which I don't know if it was the acting, directing, the scripts, or all three combined. It wasn't until the 3rd season that they started to get things going, but by then it was too late. Bakula was getting very comfortable with his characterization--I was really starting to like him. Very sad he didn't get to finish the mission.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  16. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 27, 2002
    True, but surely that shouldn't excuse any wooden-ness. Even if you think your job is only short term, you'd do your best. After having said that, I can't really recall whether I thought he was wooden or not in the first season.

    To answer the OP's question I think he learned a lot from all the Shakespearian leader-types he'd played and studied and brought that to the role. It worked well.
  17. scottydog

    scottydog Admiral Admiral

    Jul 17, 2004
    Let's not underestimate Stewart's baldness. In virtually every movie and TV show, the bald guy is either an extreme hero or an extreme villain. The lesson is clear: Don't mess with the bald guy.
  18. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 27, 2010
    Excellent points.
  19. Keith1701

    Keith1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    Warner Robins Georgia
    That was nice element for sure.
  20. Praxius

    Praxius Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 9, 2009
    Melbourne, AUS
    As I see it, his stiffness in Seasons 1 and 2 were on purpose (Not Actor-wise, but Character-wise) due to having to set the bar for the Flagship of the Federation, not being too fond of children, trying to separate himself from the crew and keeping private.... he came off as stuffy and crabby... yet he also knew his stuff and at rare times, he opened up to a few crew mates due to one thing or another.

    Even his heart condition he tried to keep private and away from the rest of the crew, almost to the point of dying..... in the later seasons and leading up to the final episode of the series, they show this evolution and growth of Picard through the series.....

    From being stiff, stubborn and detached from the rest of the crew as he thought he needed to be, hating children, not understanding why they'd be on board a starship in the first place and just barking out orders and attitude....... to being a more personal, kinder, more open Captain who knew how to deal with the crew on a personal level, but still maintaining professionalism at the same time, he eventually revealed the story of what happened to his heart and opening up details of what he used to be like, which led to why he was the way he was...... learning how to deal with children and figuring out that they're not that bad..... to finally sitting down with the senior staff to play some poker, which he admitted he should have done a long time ago...... and then later learning that his nephew/uncle and his brother & wife all died in a fire, making him realize that not only was he the last of his family's line, but that his nephew/uncle was the closest thing he had to a son of his own.

    Picard grew and evolved probably the most out of all the other captains..... though Sisko evolved either just as much or a wee bit more.... it's a tough call between the two.

    But also in my opinion, the pivotal moment that made Picard change gears was right around the time he was assimilated by the Borg..... once his humanity was stripped and he was used as an instrument of humanity's destruction, he began to see what he was taking for granted, he began to have a new view towards not just humanity in general, not just his position in life, but how he viewed and treated those around him by keeping his distance. They did after all, risk their lives to save him, where if he was still in command, he probably wouldn't have allowed such an order to be given (which was Riker's advantage)

    Him finally opening up with his brother back on Earth and expressing how he felt when he was assimilated, to me, was the moment he changed from the distant & defensive Picard everybody knew, to the Picard we know now.

    Sure he told the story about his heart to Wesley which was before he was assimilated, but due to what happened to his Father, he felt responsible and due to his additional feelings towards Bev, in a sense, he looked at Wesley as his own child while on the Enterprise...... and even when he was explaining the story to Wesley, it was all still in a "Matter of Fact" explanation, and he was still pretty distant.