I just posted this in my favourite Trek discord but I am going to post my ramble here as well for posterity 🙂
I still haven’t seen this weeks episode of Picard. Give me a couple of hours.
BUT I have seen some gifsets and it appears the era appropriate Enterprise returns. Between that and the ready room scene I am half convinced that getting those fanservice shots of “look they are back together just how they were!!!” is the only point of the season and whatever crap they had to fling at the wall to get those shots didn’t matter to them.
Anyway I would like to propose an alternate season 3 pitch that would achieve those exact same shots.
It’s Frontier Day. Between the synth ban reversal (and now being a synth! The first human to synth?), and of course the new Borg showing up/narrow averting the Galaxy catastrophe of the season 2 finale Picard’s star is on the rise again. He is enjoying a resurgence in reputation. Therefore it’s only natural, especially with Geordi in charge of the museum that as a special show (for the kids maybe as some kind of living history?) they put the Enterprise-D crew back together. It is supposed to be a performance. Perhaps for StarFleet recruitment even. A little reenactment of one of their famous missions.
But then. Something plotty happens like maybe the Borg watching over the new wormhole thing sound the alarm as “something is coming through” duh duh duh. All hands on deck. No time to change ships. Picard isn’t about to sit this out so they warp into action. More plotty stuff like maybe to beat whatever comes through they need to understand it, so to explore/negotiate etc. they go through to learn things.
Anyway the Enterprise-D and crew are on mission. Alone in a strange new part of the Galaxy dealing with this new threat.
So stakes are high check. Have to work as a team check. Everyone is back and on the Enterprise check.
A plot like this would have
a) allowed the characters to express discomfort at having to adopt roles that haven’t been theirs for 30 years. Show how they have grown, but also allow for nostalgia and what remains the same.
b) drawn on previous seasons of Picard, for better continuity
c) who has experience in a Federation unknown part of the Galaxy? Seven from her time on Voyager allowing her to both have her own nostalgia trip, and also have something really concrete to contribute.
d) allowed for some interesting conflicts because if Seven and Raffi had been deployed as the “starfleet officers kinda ‘in charge’ as they are active StarFleet and none of the Enterprise crew really is (they got the gig due to working with Picard so closely before) then with this unexpected adventure what’s the chain of command? What’s the protocols? Especially if said regulations had changed over the years.
e) finally it would break some new ground and give future Trek new plots to explore. Maybe introduce a whole new alien type. It could also do some heartwarming Federation stuff about ruefully acknowledging past mistakes, at the same time as trying to do better and show these new people the best of who the Federation can be
Worf and Raffi could have still teamed up for ‘away missions’ as two of the fittest/most able crew members. I still remember what Riker said about his knees 😂
Riker and Picard still could have butted heads over how to handle stuff. Like I said with the discomfort of having grown away from the roles they are now being forced back into.
Deanna’s abilities could have been vital. I’m sure all of them could have had a chance to shine.
The only kinda question mark as to whether this could have fitted in somehow is Data’s resurrection. I guess perhaps they could have rebuilt him and then ‘unveiled him’ as part of a “look a Federation hero has returned” as a Frontier Day celebration cue Picard’s horror that they are treating Data like a prop not a person, that they had revived him potentially against his wishes, and maybe even allow Data to consider his future and what he wants from his newfound life. Does he still want to be StarFleet/their poster boy synth? Does he want to explore other aspects of life? Will they let him go if that’s what he wants?
I just had another thought. In the above scenario a member of the crew, I am not sure who would be best for it, maybe Beverley? Could be irritated at being dragged back for Picard’s ego boosting grand standing. But then as part of the journey they perhaps say that they wish to be known as more than just “Picard’s CMO/whatever” as they have a life and accomplishments of their own outside the Enterprise. But that really this was harmless PR and that it gave them time with friends, and getting everyone together with all the different schedules is impossible normally, and hey “one last time to save the Galaxy” who can pass that up? 🙂 so there is like conflict but also the syrupy nostalgic love in the end
I think Deanna might have fitted into that role – like, maybe Riker was all stoked to go dashing across the stars once more, but hey, my man, you got a home here and a daughter and a wife, whatcha off gallivanting for? Beverly was the head of Starfleet medical for a while – Deanna got that kind of career only in beta canon (novels) IIRC. She could conceivably complain about her achievements being overshadowed by being seen as Picard’s counselor. (Just like on Betazed she’s always only ever seen as her mother’s (halfblood) daughter)
Anyway I think something like this could have ticked the boxes and egotistically I think it’s a better premise than the season 3 we had. So thought experiment time!
If you were a Trek writer how would you have written season three? What direction would you have gone given the parameters of the nostalgia TNG focus?