Star Trek alums Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Crusher in The Next Generation, and Robert Picardo, who played The Doctor on Voyager, recently detailed their thoughts on Star Trek: Picard.
McFadden and Picardo revealed their opinions while appearing on GalaxyCon’s Facebook livestream.
But before they got to their thoughts on Picard, Picardo detailed his interaction with the Star Trek fan base.
Picardo heaped praise on the fan base saying, “I’ve had really, 99.9% great experiences with the Star Trek fanbase and the Science Fiction fanbase writ large.”
He continued, “What I think is really great about Star Trek fans in particular is that they care about what we care about. If we bring a cause to them, a charity, a non-profit that means something to us, they’ll always listen and are always supportive. And that’s certainly been the case.”
“Early on I raised quite a bit of money for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation at Star Trek conventions and then more recently I’ve been very focused on the space advocacy non-profit founded by Carl Sagan called The Planetary Society. So it’s great that they are anxious to hear about it, to learn why we are passionate about it, and to check it out. I think that’s great,” Picardo explained.
Around the 16 minute mark, host Mike Broder asks about fans who have critiqued Star Trek: Picard specifically fans who have described the show as lacking in the Star Trek department.
McFadden initially responds questioning, “You are kidding? People say that’s not Star Trek?”
Broder then points to one criticism of the show being its long-form storytelling.
McFadden responded, “Some people embraced it right away. Let’s be honest. It is a wonderful show, a really beautiful show. I think it’s really awesome.”
She adds, “But I think that people are like that with anything that is new. There is a whole group of people for who it is not familiar, yet. So, they are sort of holding on to something that they really feel comfortable with.”
McFadden continues, “But in the Star Trek world you soon become comfortable with something because there is so many of us. Star Trek is the ubiquitous Star Trek. There is some sort of ship around. And I think it becomes a friend as well and people embrace it.”
She then adds, “So, I think it is good to stay open to things. I encourage fans to stay open to things.”
McFadden then discusses how talented all the actors on the shows are and how much she enjoys meeting her fellow actors at conventions and on cruises.
She then returns to Picard saying, “I think give it another year and everyone will have come around.”
Picardo, who played the famous emergency medical hologram, then opened up on his thoughts initially saying he was shocked at the language used in the show.
He explained, “It was a shock to hear the f-bomb on Star Trek. That surprised me. It’s not like I don’t hear the f-bomb on any number of off-network shows.”
He then points to the differences in the structure of storytelling between The Next Generation and Voyager and Star Trek: Picard.
Picardo elaborates, “Let’s face it, The Next Generation and Voyager most of the storytelling was self-contained in a single hour. Each individual 43 minute episode had a beginning, middle and an end. Deep Space Nine did a lot of experimenting with long story arcs.”
He then compares the shows to Picard, “But Picard is very much like modern television shows that tell an entire story arc over a season and often over multiple seasons. I think if they had done the classic structure of a beginning, middle, and end in a self-contained episode, it would have seemed extremely old-fashioned.”
Picardo then revealed his opinion on Picard, “Like Gates I feel the new show is great. I think the storytelling is very well plotted and thought out. I love the way they’ve incorporated the characters from The Next Generation and my beloved colleague Jeri Ryan from Voyager, Jonathan Del Arco sort of from the Borg side of the storytelling, and I also love Marina and Jonathan’s presence in the show.”
He continued, “It gives a sort of a gravity and history base that I think the fans really find gratifying. And of course seeing Patrick Stewart, seeing Picard back it’s like seeing the Lion in Winter in science fiction.”
“I think the show is doing a really great job of bringing Star Trek, bringing the 24th century into the 21st century,” Picardo added.
McFadden then praised the show for its complex story and its breathtaking sets.
“When I saw the first three episodes on the premiere night it was so complex and the sets are breathtaking. It’s really like every major film. It’s so beautifully done and rendered,” she stated.
McFadden continued, “I think the script and the storylines, it’s wonderfully different than the way we on Next Gen had it, but then we were at a time when people were still watching one channel on their television sets and they had DirecTV or something else and it wasn’t at all like Netflix; it’s just a whole different medium now. I think it makes tremendous sense to have a story that just keeps evolving. It’s absolutely the way to go.”
“Our show was very different as was Voyager, but it’s not just what’s happening now. Now, we need to have something that engages you in a different way,” McFadden explained.
Picardo wraps up the conversation about Picard praising Santiago Cabrera’s Cristóbal Rios and the way his holograms are used throughout the ship.
“I think it was particularly clever that they not only have an Emergency Medical Hologram, they have an Emergency Engineering Hologram, an Emergency Navigation Hologram and it’s all played by Santiago, by the same actor. It’s a very clever notion. A tremendous showcase for him as an actor.”
What do you think of Gates McFadden’s belief that critical fans of Star Trek: Picard will come around to the show? What about Robert Picardo’s views on episodic storytelling today?