- First appearance: “Encounter at Farpoint”-Star Trek: The Next Generation (S1 Ep. 1 & 2, September 28, 1987)
Jean-Luc Picard as portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart OBE has become iconic. That would not be an overstatement. Fans have come to look up to him and what he stands for. But is he worthy of being looked up towards now?
I was at first not enamored with the idea of Jean-Luc Picard. First of all he had the same hair as my dad did and somehow watching on a weekly basis a space-age version of my dad didn’t seem appealing. I can’t say I ever viewed him as a better captain than Captain Kirk as some have but he wasn’t a bad captain. He could lead his crew to victory and solve any issue but lacked the flare of Kirk.
Picard was a passionate individual but had that beneath a stern exterior. An intelligent man he was not given to flying by the seat of his pants. He would rather talk things out than pull a phaser and start shooting in an intelligent way. He was a distant leader that kept those around him at arm’s length even those he was attracted to like Beverly Crusher.
But at heart Picard was an explorer moved to the stars by the dreams he had as a child. He was a scientist and an intellectual and I’m guessing even a fish lover but I don’t think I ever saw him once feed the fish in his ready room. Seriously. Would it have killed the writers to once in seven years have Picard replicate a little bit of fish food to feed them?!
And then the TNG movies came along and he was a bit more of a man of action despite for seven years sending Riker off to do that. And yes I know Riker insisted on going on the away missions rather than the Captain but you get my meaning. It was a rare moment that he got active.
And then Star Trek: Picard came along. Having invested seven seasons and several hours in the theater watching this character I felt the need to pay him a visit there as well. What I got was not the Picard of TNG or even the movies.
When Star Trek: Picard came around I’m not even sure if the people watched TNG at any point. In TNG Picard was uncomfortable around children. In Picard he was practically grandpa Jean Luc to Elnor (Evan Evagora). Originally he did not hate kids but did not how to deal with them.
Gone was the stoic and commanding figure who had the respect of even his enemies. They replaced that with a frail old man repeatedly put down or belittled by those he assembled to help him. Nobody respected him. Gone was the strong figure who was willing to push for what was right. He was replaced with an individual that thought resigning in protest was all that he had to do and couldn’t figure out why it did not work. What an ego to believe your loss was enough to change minds. Gone was the strong moral leader and replaced with a weak person.
What a waste of a character and a loss for those that may see him as an ideal. We need strong moral leaders. We need ideals to work up towards. We don’t need our heroes to be more like us but rather we need to be more like them. While he was at work of fiction he provided a template that people could attempt to emulate. Be a great explore. Be an intellectual. Stand your ground and fight for what was right. Do your duty.
Removing those characteristics or severely muting them and making him weak is a disservice to the character. Not only is it a disservice to everything the character has done but it’s a disservice to the actor playing him even if the actor supports those changes for some reason. While at one point he was something more now he is so much less. He is disrespected and unable to lead. He is a joke and unable to accomplish anything. He is written by small people that think others cannot become better. They made him as small as they view themselves.
Picard was once a great character but by dragging him out of retirement for one last round they have made him so much less and that’s a loss for Star Trek and the fans. Gone is something to look up to and replaced by something that the writers feel is so much more capable and just like (how they view) us.
2 thoughts on “Just Some Thoughts On…Jean-Luc Picard”
The writers of these shows seem to think their ignorance of the mythology is a strength. The audacity of it leaves me speechless.
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I often believe they do a weak Google search and try to fake have detailed knowledge.