Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) and Star Trek: Voyager’s Robert Picardo (The EMH) were guests this week on a Trek doctor-themed episode of GalaxyCon Live. The wide-ranging conversation included discussion of Star Trek: Picard.
Picardo sees Picard taking Star Trek into the 21st century
Robert Picardo understands how some fans may have been taken aback by how different Star Trek: Picard is from previous Trek shows, but he feels change is necessary:
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 a number of off-network shows.
Let’s face it, for Next Generation and Voyager most of the storytelling was self-contained in a single hour… 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.
In general, Picardo is impressed with Picard:
I feel the new show is great. I think the storytelling is very well plotted and thought out. I love the way they have incorporated the characters from Next Gen, and my beloved colleague from Voyager, Jeri Ryan, and Jonathan Del Arco from the Borg side of the storytelling. And I also love Marina and Jonathan’s presence in the show. It gives a sort of gravity and history base that I think the fans find gratifying. And seeing Patrick Stewart and seeing Picard back, it’s like The Lion in Winter in science fiction. I just think the show is doing a really great job of bringing Star Trek and the 24th century into the 21st century.
Robert Picardo portrayed the Emergency Medical Hologram for seven seasons on Star Trek: Voyager, and that experience drew him to one particular aspect of Picard:
I thought it was particularly clever that not only do they have an Emergency Medical Hologram, they have an Emergency Engineering Hologram, Emergency Navigational Hologram, and it’s all played by Santiago [Cabrera]. It’s very clever notion and a tremendous showcase for him as an actor… and I just thought that was a very clever kind of wink at technology.
McFadden thinks Picard skeptics will come around
When asked about critics who don’t see Picard as a Star Trek show, Gates McFadden urged those fans to keep an open mind:
Some people embraced it right away. It is a wonderful show, a really beautiful show. I think it is really awesome. But people are like that with anything new. There is a whole group of people for who it is not familiar, yet. So, they are sort of holding on to something they really feel comfortable with. In the Star Trek world you soon become comfortable with something… So, I think it is good to stay open to things. I encourage fans to stay open to things… I think give it another year and everyone will have come around.
The actress also echoed Picardo’s view that a new show has to be done differently:
It’s so complex and the sets are breathtaking. It’s really like a major film, it is so beautifully done. I think the script and the storylines are wonderfully different than what we on Next Gen had, but we were on a time when people were watching one channel on their television sets and it wasn’t like it is with Netflix and whole different medium now. I think it makes sense to have a story that keeps evolving. It’s absolutely the way to go. Our show was very different as was Voyager, but it’s just not what’s happening now. You need something that engages you in a different way.
McFadden and Picardo think coronavirus could change the future of conventions
As GalaxyCon Live is focused on conventions, the pair got into how the coronavirus lockdown has had a big impact. Picardo noted how he and other Star Trek: Voyager stars are feeling it:
This year was going to be a very busy year because it’s Voyager’s 25th anniversary so there were plans to go everywhere in the world. Now that the world has been changed, all of that has been wiped off the slate. So, how do we reach out and make contact? How do we try to some sense of normalcy in a very crazy time to give people the comfort, I guess, of something familiar?
If you are a science fiction fan and if you fulfilling all of your social responsibilities and self-isolating and taking care of your family and trying to flatten the curve and keeping the spread of the disease down… don’t you deserve to have some familiar things, some comforting things in life? We are all mindful of the fact that we want to reach out and say hello to the fans. We are glad you are healthy and well. We are sorry…it is likely we won’t be seeing you in person for some time. But we are happy you are still interested. We are happy you are still watching the new Star Trek shows and reviewing the old ones we are in, and we are looking forward to a day some time in the future when we can call be together again in the same big room. I just don’t know when that is.
McFadden suggested this may be an opportunity for change with cons:
I think it is a time where we have to reflect about how we can [reach out to fans]. And maybe it is great to rethink how conventions will be. Why not? Let’s be positive. There must be ways we can do cool things.
Full discussion with Picardo and McFadden
The full virtual GalaxyCon Live discussion is available on Facebook and can be watched. below. Star Trek: Enterprise’s John Billingsley was also a guest, but dropped out due to tech issues.
3 Doctors of Star Trek: Gates McFadden, Robert Picardo, and John Billingsley join us on GalaxyCon Live Thurs April 16th at 7pm ET.Gates McFadden is Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Robert Picardo is The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager, and John Billingsley is Doctor Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise.Mark Your Calendar and Get a Reminder for this one-of-a-kind event.7pm ET | 6pm CT | 5pm MT | 4pm PT
Posted by GalaxyCon on Thursday, April 16, 2020
The full first season of Star Trek: Picard is available now on CBS All Access. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can get a free month: CLICK HERE to try CBS All Access FREE for 1 month. Use code ALL to redeem.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.