We are now midway through the second season of Picard on Paramount Plus — the further adventures, if you will, of Jean-Luc Picard, Admiral, Retired, fourteen years after he left Starfleet and twenty or so since we last saw him aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
My impressions: this second season is better than the first: this is typical of episodic television, for it takes the writers (and their actors) some time to settle into the groove of their characters. The Picard writers had a head star: known quantities, more or less, in Picard himself and in Seven of Nine, but they still had twenty years of backstory to catch up. The writing is tighter, the story is better, and the CG “scenery” is less distracting than it was during Season 1, where the virtual control panels of La Sirena (and every other starship, Borg cube, and laboratory in the galaxy) called far too much attention to themselves by their mere presence: actors putting their hands up to mime actions that will be filled in later, twisting nonexistent knobs and pushing nonexistent buttons.
Because this is the age of binge watching, and because I could, I went back and re-watched Season 1: both to remind myself how we got here, and to refresh my memory about what I disliked about it. Surprise: it wasn’t as bad as I recalled. The plot made more sense the second time around, the virtual reality controls were less distracting, and I could appreciate the story arc in ways I did not a year ago. I was, as I said, pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful (as I had remembered it).
That said: here’s a note for all you writers and producers, and aspiring writers and producers: If I have to watch it twice through to really appreciate it, you’ve failed. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t think I should have to work that hard for my entertainment. Things should be clear the first time — sure, a second viewing might increase my appreciation, or reveal little Easter eggs that I hadn’t theretofore noticed; but it shouldn’t be a requirement.