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A caveat: At time of writing, the sixth episode was just released this morning so it's too early to review the series as a whole. This is my review and perspective.
As a whole, the universe of "Star Trek" is about a future that could be. A world (not the galaxy, and certainly not the entire universe) where humanity (and other species) live without poverty, war or despair. Not only that, but being equals regardless of who or what you are. However, it's not a world that just came to be overnight. A lot of time, blood, sweat and tears went into building that world. What the people who worked hard to achieve, their descendants have taken for granted. That has led to problems, which is the setting of the series "Star Trek Picard".
When we see Admiral Picard again, he has become disillusioned and out of touch. He's no longer commanding a starship and no longer exploring the galaxy. Instead, he's tending to his family's vineyard. It's hardly a wonder then that when he's interviewed he gives a very blunt answer about why he left Starfleet. Though Starfleet had a very compelling reason to back out of the rescue, that's still no excuse. He's hardly blameless as he finds out throughout the subsequent episodes. His ultimate decision, giving up, has resulted in other consequences from old contacts at Starfleet giving him the cold shoulder to sword fights with bitter refugees.
What this series is about is someone realizing how badly he screwed up and doing something—anything—to make up for his own bad choices. But even then, he's stumbling because he's grasping for any help he can find. Any connection to his late friend. Which has lead to more trouble. But that's not as unbelievable as you might think. How many times have we been fooled into giving money or falling for a scam? Picard is portrayed as a flawed human being who makes mistakes and blindly trusts when he shouldn't. We've all done that.
Ultimately, "Star Trek Picard" is a mirror of what's happening in our own world today. We're divided and we're bitter. Some of us have done as Picard did and given up, while others haven't and continue to do work that's considered "hopeless, pointless and exhausting". Yet they keep going. Others, like Picard, come to realize how wrong they were and try—even if it means failure or even death—to do the right thing.
Like in reality, even when people try to do the right thing, they don't quite get it right. But they don't let that stop them. There's no doubt that Picard is going to have learn a few hard lessons and have reality slap him in the face more than a few times before he finds his footing.
In the meantime, enjoy the journey because the episodes are fun and fast-paced. Regardless of how you view this series, what Star Trek is ultimately about is making people think, inspire and debate. This site is proof of that.
The series is not about exploration or finding some higher level of being, but a story about people who are good at their core and at least try to make things better for others. There's no cut-and-dried completely good or completely evil or completely perfect characters here but people. Something that I think we've forgotten about at one point or another.
Of course, like any character in the show, I could be completely wrong.
The simple question is... whom was this series made for? If it was for the old fans who wanted a sense of the old star trek back, with Picard acting as the diplomatic and intelligent captain, they will be sore upon seeing that everything was changed for a darker and edgier tone, Picard delivering speeches without thinking of consequences and so on.
If it was for new people to get interested in Star Trek, it would be impossible to see the first episode alone without knowing a great deal of not only the Next Generation, but also all series and movies.
The biggest issue with the series isn't the old battle between old x new, (I could make a whole paragraph about how the Starfleet is supposed to be utopic and problems that plague us today should be made into external problems to be deal with, this way it tells us that the problems that we deal with today can be done if we improve ourselves, etc), it's how literally everything that happened seems to be done in a way to maximize amount of drama disregarding potential backlashes and results, both from the universe itself, and the fans. (heavy spoilers ahead for obvious reasons)
Picard as a character was, originally, a diplomat. He first and foremost sought to understand the situation from the eyes of those who opposed him, in order to get the whole picture, yet here he will gladly trust newcomers blindly, don't allow allies to investigate said newcomers, and gladly chastise seven of nine in a different situation from the point of view of a starfleet officer. His whole quest is to find information about an android that knocked on his door, but he won't seek her mom (whom she talked to him about) nor the family of her boyfriend (who might have offered clues as to where they met originally and so on). And he is still traumatized by the Borg, because to the writers this seems like the only 'impacting moment' for him and, of course, ThereAreNoTherapists.
You can guess who will betray whom not on a logical basis, but what would be seen as the most 'shocking', even if it wouldn't make sense. For example, a doctor is introduced, she spent her whole life studying synthetics, but only needs one moment with the bigbad to be shocked, betray her beliefs and turn into a mole, killing a source of info, and Picard won't question her further than a bit, not seeking logs or an autopsy. And of course the infamous intro of the 5th episode, that was more fitting for a grindhouse movie than Star Trek, where a character from the past series is brought solely to be butchered on screen in graphic detail. Why? Torture scenes happened before and were handled with the proper gravitas, Star Trek never needed cheap gore scenes to deliver its message, why now? For Drama.
The problem isn't changing the scenario or themes (or else I wouldn't have liked DS 9), it's demolishing everything and blaming ME for not liking the mess they made.
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