• Benjamin Fife

WTF*, Picard???

*examples of "F" to follow...

Why must we take a good thing and make it like everything else under the sun?

If ever I have experienced outright bait & switch, this is it.

January 24, 2020 - My wife and I sit down with our brood to watch the first episode of Star Trek: Picard. We had been concerned about whether or not the new folks at the helm of my favorite Sci Fi universe would stay truer to TNG era style Trek, or if they were going to go the same route as Star Trek: Discovery. (If you're not familiar with DSC, it's a CBS productions run of a ship that takes place 10 years or so before Original Series Trek, and right off the bat, it was rated "Mature." - Therefore, I never watched it with my kids, and after 5 episodes, I gave up on it entirely - even though it had some very cool concepts & ideas). We were THRILLED at finding out that the first episode was rated "TVPG." And we were NOT disappointed. After 7 seasons, 2 post TNG spinoff's & 4 Movies, we FINALLY got an episode of Star Trek with Picard, in the "Future" of the Star Trek Universe. I'm not going to go into spoilers here, but there was a point in the show where every member of my family jumped up & shouted 'Hurrah,' in their own particular... idiom. The episode dealt with real things that we deal with today, but on a science fiction basis, ie... the best of what scifi is supposed to be.

I was rejoicing! We'd watched all 10 episodes of the Mandalorian & we were excited to be able to do the same with Picard. I was an 8 year old boy again watching Encounter at Farpoint. Growing up, I watched MOST of Star Trek: The Next Generation with my family as it came out episode by episode. It was a family event.

I'm not going to try to whitewash any of the history of Star Trek. Each series has had its strengths & failings. And there's a reason that it has usually been rated TV-PG or TV-14. There are more mature elements. There were "bedroom scenes" with Riker, and multiple sexual assault type scenarios with Counselor Troi. There were gruesome disintegrations in season 1 of TNG. Good fiction, whatever form, needs some conflict & that means there are going to be some shadier characters. That being said... You got a bit of an idea what was coming in the next weeks episode from the preview.

January 31, 2020

My wife and I sit down with our brood to watch the second episode of Star Trek: Picard. The Roku asks for us to put in the parental code to let us watch it. Not sure why, because the last episode was fine. (Yes there was a somewhat grisly death and a murder in the first (sorry -slight spoiler)). We figured it was just because we were using the CBS streaming & service & we don't normally use that. A couple of minutes into it, with everybody's favorite "f-bomb," we found out why. A Bedroom scene in underwear (not sure why they felt that they should be partially clothed, all things considered) and another f-bomb later, we were glad that we had an errand to run so we had a reason to stop watching with the kids.

I understand that sensationalism sells. I understand the bandwagon approach of "everyone else is doing it." I don't agree with either, but I accept that its a fact. What upset me was the complete bait and switch from the first episode. As we were running our errand, my wife looked up the rating, and sure enough, episode 2 was rated "mature." WHY? WHY, WHY do they DO THIS? Much of my own personal moral & ethical compass has been derived from the values instilled by watching Star Trek growing up. Every person has value. Every Life is worth it. The needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the few, and sometimes, the needs of the few, outweigh the needs of the many - or the one. Discrimination in any form is wrong.

After watching the first episode, I was thrilled because we had a series that was going to approach those subjects again. Just because someone is different, or comes from another culture, their life, their experience, is of no less value than our own. It made statements on xenophobia, discrimination, and making a stand for what you personally feel is right. It was apparent that Star Fleet & the Federation had lost their way. So this would be in part about bringing the principles back that they had overlooked & forgotten in the interest of interstellar security. Great!!!

But having an Admiral drop the F-Bomb? Is the 24th century suddenly the 21st century? And the way they did it, too, coupling the f-bomb with the word "Hubris." Apparently the F-bomb is educated in the 24th century. It was bad writing.

And if they want to jump on the bandwagon, why not jump on some other scifi bandwagons - Like Farscape? I mean, what the Frell? Or even Firefly's use of another language's expletives. Why do we need to jump on board the Rated M bandwagon of Game of Thrones?

Lets see... Words that begin with f

Fjord - that's a good expletive

Farscape - Maybe a bit to nitch

Firefly - Again, we want people to stay with the Trek Universe.

Ferengi - THERE WE GO. What the FERENGENAR?

FPhoenix - (Ok, I'm pushing here, but we're still int the same universe)

Forcas 3 - Something new from Forcas 3..


I know in Star Trek: Generations, we got our first use of the "S" word. It could be argued that was at least for humors sake. Enterprise Pushed the Women-in-their-underwear boundary as often as they could it seemed. The reboot movies followed suit there, and portrayed Kirk as much more of a womanizer than he ever was in the original show or movies. But come on, Give us something we can watch with our kids & be amazed.

Anyway... I'm not saying in the 24th century the 21st century F word will not exist, but think about where you are most apt to hear it in this century - A rated R movie that wants to get an R Rating. Any Junior High or High school in the nation's hallways - the epitome of maturity. Definitely deserving of the "Mature" rating at least for vocabulary and PDA (and sometimes violence too for that matter). And the list goes down from there. Using the F-bomb in Star Trek is bad writing & removes any and all "evolved sensibilities" of Gene Roddenberry & DC Fontana's once bright future for the human race.

In all likelihood, I will probably still watch the rest of the series with my wife, and after previewing it, I may watch it with my older kids. But, dangit CBS, Why did you have to mess so much with a good thing?

At least I'm liking the new Doctor...


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