Podcast: All Access Grades ‘Star Trek: Picard’ And Considers Enrolling In ‘Starfleet Academy’

All Access Star Trek podcast episode 134 - TrekMovie - Lore

[Picard episode review starts at 17:09]

Tony and Laurie have fresh news! There’s been an official series order for the new show Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, plus new seasons of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Prodigy, and Lower Decks, and even an airdate for season 2 of SNW. They round up the latest comments on possible new projects and spin-offs from Alex Kurtzman as well as the Picard cast, plus point listeners towards an Easter egg round-up and an interview with the Picard composers.

The rest of the podcast is dedicated to their review of the newest Picard episode, “Dominion.” They discuss the great, emotional performances from LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner, Beverly and Jean-Luc’s moral compass failure, Vadic’s motives, Jack and Sidney’s budding romance, and more. Then they wrap up the pod with a retro game and a wise tweet from Prodigy EP Aaron Waltke.


BREAKING: ‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series Officially Announced

‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ And ‘Lower Decks’ Renewed; Summer Release Dates Announced

Alex Kurtzman Says Star Trek Announcements Coming Soon, Hints At Character-Focused Miniseries & Movies

‘Picard’ Stars Back “Star Trek: Legacy” Spin-Off Idea

Interview: ‘Picard’ Season 3 Composers On How They Are Reviving Classic Star Trek Music

Daystrom Station And Starfleet Museum Easter Eggs From The ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Episode “The Bounty”

Dave Blass gives more details (Twitter)

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Vadic Boss Theory Update: New Clip Offers Intriguing Clues

Lois Lane talk-sings her inner thoughts in 1978’s Superman


Tony: Super Star Trek meets 25th Anniversary

Laurie: Aaron Waltke tweet: “Starships have always moved at the speed of plot in Star Trek”

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.

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I think:

“The Face” IS Vadic. Like a rogue personality. A side effect of the experimentation. Maybe the scientist’s identity was absorbed during that attack.

There’s more to PICARD’s plan and somehow they are going after Deanna and Will.

Deanna will telepathically connect to Jack and that will save the day.

There’s a changeling inside Jack Crusher. … Beverly doesn’t know!

Interesting theory. And though I’ve heard it’s due to scheduling conflicts with Marina Sirtis, the absence of Troi may be a smart move, story-wise, as having an empath would definitely make it easier for them to detect changelings and discover what’s up with Jack, which as you say, could be how that’s resolved.

Unless I’ve simply forgotten it Betazoids were never shown to be able to detect changelings during the Dominion War. So either the DS9 writers didn’t think of it or they decided that it didn’t work (for obvious plot reasons).

We never actually did get a scene of any telepath attempting to uncover a changeling. I suppose they could have just explained that Changelings couldn’t be read, which might even make some sense since they don’t technically have minds… but because Jack does, it makes more sense that Troi might be able to “read” him.

I think the Face is a Kelvan. At some point Matalas has stated that a TOS alien will play an important role in this season. So far I haven’t spotted any apart from the mutant Tribble.

Kelvans are my most likely candidates for their shapeshifting abilities. And for some reason, Jack seems to be able to tame the Kelvan inside him by drinking, hence the frequent visits to Ten Forward.

Is the Irumodic Syndrome actually a Kelvan DNA imprint of sorts that’s been dormant in Picard’s family for generations? The reason for his mother’s madness and suicide? The reason why René Picard Jr may have become a firestarting arsenist killing himself and Robert in that fire mentioned in GEN? Something René Picard picked up on Europa back in the day?

And why does a family of Kelvan sleeper agents run a vineyard? To calm their inner demon?

This might even explain Shinzon’s descent into raging madness and may be the reason why his DNA rapidly destabilized in NEM.

Maybe it coud even explain Picard’s ability to break free from the Borg and his Locutus identity. Borg nanoprobes were able to assimilate the man Picard but not his inner Kelvan.

And why was Armus so intimidated by Picard when we clearly dominated all the others like chess figures?

And why was Q so drawn to Picard if he was just a man?

Do Kelvans dwell in the Upside Down? Okay, now I’m losing it :-)

Garth, this is interesting! The Kelvans; hmmm. Maybe. Matalas has said so many things about the season. As a fairly serious superfan I have tried to listen as closely as I could. For example, someone mentioned the

Enterprise-D bridge being seen, which I am guessing is in “hanger 12”
. There have been so many of these little clues that I cannot keep up.

I have to say, I think I would prefer the connection not be a new/old Borg threat. Even if they use something from the Borg and the villain is something else, I would prefer that. In the end though, if it’s well constructed, well performed, and moves and intrigues us… I will enjoy it.

I also like the idea that the irumodic syndrome is not what they always thought it was. I don’t want Star Trek heroes to be superhuman/villains (e.g. Kirk, Spock, and Khan in Into Darkness), which is alluded to by Kyle Sullivan of Trekspertise in “¡Mando vs Disco!”. I would not mind it if at some point during the run of TNG Picard was infected/insiminated with something that laid mostly dormant and looked like irumodic syndrome. That being still resides in his original body and has some connection to his offspring, Jack Crusher. Or it now resides in Jack. It would have been interesting if it was the key to the new Changelings establishing a new Great Link, explaining Vadic’s interest and the loss of the Great Link as an explanation for her/their pain and insanity.

LeVar acted out of his mind and delivered his best performance since Roots.

I know from a story perspective, they wanted to get Vadic on the Titan so she could provide exposition and backstory, but from an internal logic perspective, since our heroes had connected that the bad guys needed Jack in order to deliver an attack on Founder’s Day, the obvious strategy to me would be to continue to hide and deny them Jack for just a few more hours until Founder’s day was over. That would be our heroes best and most effective weapon.

Again, it does not serve the story, but why couldn’t they have dropped force fields on the entire boarding party when Vadic first arrived? Why set up a chase through the ship and expose Jack to any deadly phaser fire?

That all aside, I think I have missed it – what is the reason that both Ro and Vadic insisted on “no transporters – use the shuttle”?

I don’t think we have had the transporters thing explained yet.

Ro didn’t want to use the transporters because she didn’t trust the crew of her ship. They easily could have had her replaced that way, or killed her and blamed it on a “transporter accident.”

I noticed an interesting thing… I watch the episodes first in English and then in Italian with my wife, and when I watch it in Italian Vadic’s soldiers have subtitles with dialogues. why aren’t they in english?

There should be subtitles for Vadic’s soldiers in the English version as well. At least I’m getting English subtitles when they talk in those clicking noises.

Regarding Section 31 and whether they are part of Starfleet or not, rewatching the seventh season episode of DS9, “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”, it is made clear that Admiral Ross is actively working with Sloan to accomplish this mission on Romulus on behalf of Section 31. Regardless of what Sloan was telling Bashir, this episode made clear that Section 31 and Starfleet did work together on missions, so what we are seeing here in season 3 of Picard is really not a change to what we have seen before.

You’re right. But as an aside, I always took that moment as proof that Starfleet wasn’t as in the dark as their first appearance implied. Seemed like Admirals and above were well aware, if not involved.

Now that the news of the Starfleet Academy show has marinated a bit, it’s more clear this is aimed at the YA audience. It’s also leading me to believe that some Michelle Yeoh lead S31 content will finally see the light of day, with foreign markets being the primary audience. If management is finally moving to bring in different demographics it only makes sense to get one of the hottest international talents on board. The angry old white man contingent won’t like it, but they haven’t been happy since 2009….

Yes, this is what I expect too.

We may also get official announcement that one-offs, limited series and direct to streaming movies are coming, with perhaps the announcement of one or two specific projects.

A 25th century show is still likely to serve the niche of older, mostly white guys, as well as it shows ability to draw them to other Paramount+ offerings (like the Yellowstone franchise) as well as hold the interest of other core fans.

What so don’t expect really is any kind of quick announcement of a 25th century, Titan or Legacy show. The metrics that only the streamers see will be scrutinized deeply, and the show will be rebalanced to exploit what worked best in the back door pilot. An announcement by Star Trek Day in September is ambitious.

I also think S31 could be one of those miniseries’ or TV movies they recently talked about. Would certainly help solve the scheduling problems with Yeoh that have slowed it down.

Haven’t been happy this whole century …

I guess I would into the category of your ‘angry old white man’ group, Phil, but I have liked PRO, SNW and PIC s3. So, perhaps refrain from generalizations. Cheers.

Edit – *fall* into the category…

If you’re not angry, then you don’t fall into that group, do you?

I don’t buy the “Michelle Yeoh is now an international superstar” that will bring in flocks of new audiences just because she won an Oscar. The Oscar is a rather obscure event that celebrates mostly arthouse movies that are far too niche to reach a massive audience. Even EEAAO is no Marvel blockbuster.

Michelle has been on DSC for three seasons already. She has been on that show from day one and her being part of it hasn’t turned the show into a mainstream juggernaut. Her storyline was weak and muddled and if she continues to play the same character, nothing will have changed. The Emperor will not turn into a more accessible character because the actor playing her has won an Oscar for an obscure niche flick only the Oscars can celebrate.

Sorry, I just don’t buy into that. It’s a baseless narrative.

I have to say, I think you’re wrong on this one. She was already an international superstar, but until now, she was not an American superstar. Winning major awards, winning an Oscar, being on magazine covers, appearing on mainstream shows… she has absolutely crossed over into a different level of stardom. The fact that she’s working nonstop is a great indication of how her status has changed. I don’t think that makes Georgiou any more accessible, but it makes a show she stars in much more appealing to the people looking at what money there is to be made. I also think Everything Everywhere All at Once is definitely NOT an obscure niche flick.

Tony- Vadic found the Titan because they unblocked the Captain’s distress code and allowed Vadic to find them. This is the idea for a plan that Picard alluded to at the end of the scene when he was talking to Jack in the ready room as a way to flip the tables on Vadic.

Agree that Janeway is cited so much I would expect her in the finale. The only way I could square that with Terry saying she wasn’t – is if we see Mulgrew as a Janeway-changeling. Which would make sense if the Changelings have any hope of orchestrating an attack they would need someone in authority to create the vulnerability. She is ordering the entire fleet to one location for Founder’s Day- why would the real Janeway ever do that?

After Picard overcomes them, we’ll hear that the real Tuvok and Janeway and others were rescued off screen.

And the last scene with Shaw will be him quietly listening to jazz…

I think it’s possible we’ll see her, yes, but I don’t for a second see the references as proof. I think it’s just as likely they are namedropping her because they know she’s popular. It could also be they’re setting her up for a miniseries/movie, having decided she’s now head of Starfleet, or something like that.

Great thought. On that subject of Star Trek universe planning – I wonder how aligned Terry’s and the cast’s campaign for Legacy is with Kurtzman’s plans? I just get the feeling their comments are a little organized insurgency to develop popular support to force Legacy on to the official development planning docket.

More likely they are all trying to raise interest in some sort of continuation amongst viewers and potential viewers to boost the number of streams of Picard and the amount of social media engagement about Picard. This, more than anything else, will convince Paramount to authorize some type of continuation. I don’t think it is anything like being forced. They all know they will go where the revenue is, and Kurtzman and co. will go with whatever specific direction Paramount decides to go.

I think it’s in between… I think it’s likely Paramount and Kurtzman and Matalas have been in talks for a spin-off for a while, and they’re pumping it up now to help both. The pubic push is just good PR. For Picard and for a potential spin-off.

I don’t think a spin-off has been greenlit, but I think it’s possible that actor option deals have been signed, and a general series outline is in place, and they’re just waiting for the final numbers for S3 to make the final decision. They may even announce before the season is over.

They’re playing it like they are because the more fan buzz that gets going, the more attention it gets, and it’s just good marketing.

It’s a fair question, but I have to imagine they were having those discussions while filming. I also doubt that Terry’s drumming up of support is any kind of “insurgency.” More like PR. Strange New Worlds was pretty much a done deal before the end of Discovery Season 2, yet Mount and others all went out on social media telling fans to demand a spin-off. It’s good press, it gets it out into the ether ahead of time.

It’s smart, because now, while Picard is STILL airing, and actors are CURRENTLY on the press tours, you can have them talking about a potential “next” show that probably already exists, but maybe isn’t ready to be announced for business reasons.

BH23 I think you’re missing the mark significantly.

Secret Hideout, and more crucially Paramount, have cleared Matalas, the production team and the actors to promote this season of Picard as strongly as they can during Picard’s final season.

Paramount has been very controlling of all non-official promotion of its shows since the merger. The amount of information being released through panels at major events has really dived.

There seems to have been much tighter control of social media in particular since 2019. The Discovery writers room Twitter that was super active before the merger basically shut down in late season two.

Social media however is also one of the key ways to promote a show and official accounts just aren’t adequate. The intensity and magnitude of social media engagement is one of the metrics that the executives, the advertisers and the investors are considering.

So, it looks like, during the launch window all promotion towards a positive narrative is being not just allowed but encouraged. This seems more of a change in overall Paramount policy back towards taking advantage of more opportunities engagement than a campaign specifically by Matalas and company.

Looking back, Akiva Goldsman in particular was fanning the flames of fan interest in a Pike-led series even before season two of Discovery, but in May 2019, as the SNW-related Short Treks were being made, there was suddenly radio silence.

Season three of Picard is a transparent back door pilot for something more. Paramount allowed that to happen to gauge the potential to bring back grumpy classic fans while holding newer ones.

It’s completely unsurprising to me that the legacy actors, new actors, Matalas and his producers are all taking advantage of the more open communication situation to promote spin-off. It’s in their own interests.

In the end though, Paramount will greenlight shows that attract and hold subscribers, but also the shows need to lead subscribers to look at other Paramount+ content. No matter the social media hype, if nostalgic fans don’t subscribe, watch AND then stay to watch other Paramount+ shows, they won’t get their Legacy Trek content.

Thanks again for the podcast and discussion of the Episode. I greatly enjoyed “Dominion” although several commentators have also remarked that 7 and 8 are best watched together.

I was floored by the opening with Tuvok and did not see this coming. The production team have done an amazing job keeping this and other “surprises” secret and I’m intrigued as to how they managed to keep it so quiet. Perhaps once the dust has settled on the season “All Access” could hold interviews with some of those behind the scenes to discuss this and other aspects of what is proving to be a landmark season for Star Trek. Here in the UK, Picard is currently #1 on Prime and only slips to #2 just before the next episode comes out, so it’s certainly getting an audience.

I suspect we will see Janeway at some point as she’s been mentioned so frequently, which for me as a big Voyager fan would be fantastic. The scene in last weeks episode when 7 was reminiscing about her rebirth while on board was pitch perfect IMO (including a wonderful arrangement of the Voyager main title), and had me in tears.

I really do not understand this sentiment that “Janeway has been name-dropped so often she MUST be showing up!”

She may indeed pop up. But she’s been mentioned what, twice? She was name-dropped last season by Seven, too. Sometimes name-dropping is just a fun way of reminding people of the shared universe.

So yes, she may pop up, but I doubt the writers were sitting around thinking “let’s drop her name in a few times as clues!”


Great Podcast!

I am excited about Starfleet Academy. I want them to create new aliens, see new technology of the Federation after 900 years, and hopefully get inside an Angelou or Eisenberg Class ship. The designs are weird, funky, and I totally dig them.

I really enjoyed the episode. I enjoyed DS9 and Voyager for the moral ambiguity. Both Sisko and Janeway had instances of crossing the line, bending the prime directive, and it made those shows interesting. Terry has brought that moral ambiguity to these characters and I love it. I love seeing this “dirtying” of these characters who came off in TNG as pompous and pretentious. It was nauseating. Thank you Lore for pointing that out. I was ready to watch Picard and Beverly cross the line by shooting Vadic and they almost succeeded. Even the best of us can turn towards darkness.

I’m a big fan of S31 because I find it more interesting that this utopia was created with a covert (or not-so-covert in modern trek) intelligence agency that tips the political balance in favor of the UFP and Starfleet. That has been made clear in DS9 and Disco. Humans aren’t so evolved after all. But, it does give an opportunity for our characters to rise above it or make everyone listen to their better angels, even the same organization who sanctioned Proteus. I think that is why I dig Insurrection. How far will the UFP go to keep their political advantage? The answer is torture and experimentation on alien beings. I am not sure I like the UFP anymore and I thank the brilliant writing of Terry Matalas and his staff.

Give this man a show Paramount+ Now!


I think it’s so funny that you like our podcast so much and we have such opposite views of what we like about Star Trek. It’s great, in fact… surprising and wonderful. (I hate Section 31 and think it goes against the grain of what Trek is about, I love the TNG characters and found them life-affirming vs. pompous and pretentious. To each their own… amazing we can come together anyway. I dig it.

It’s not inconceivable that the first federation facility that was compromised was Daystrom station given that’s where Vadic was forcefully evolved. Maybe not enough that Vadic could just take whatever they wanted but enough that they could implement a compromised security system in the form of Data. While I don’t think it was their original plan, they knew there was a high possibility Picard & crew would plug Data in. That’s what they did with B4 and he was Shinzon’s trojan horse. And it is highly likely that Vadic knew what a chaotic element Lore would be if he had access to the computer. There might have been similar complications with with Daystrom implementing the “M5-10” system.

Not sure if this was brought up before, but did Jack use a TOS phaser in the fight with the Changeling? It sure looks like one

He’s using the old civilian-model phaser he had on the Eleos.

He’s not Starfleet, let alone an officer, and hasn’t been issued a Starfleet sidearm.

I can imagine the Trek-consistent optimistic resolution includes Picard and Crew helping the Changelings heal and reintegrate. If it ends that way, I can accept Picard and Beverly Crusher wavering in Episode Seven only to find their way back to their own positive values by the end, renewing our confidence in the Roddenberry vision. This would be consistent with the serialized story telling that stretches out the story-telling over a season. The stakes for a 10-hour movie have to be large enough to include major moral quandaries, e.g., Section 31’s immoral torture and genetic manipulation of Changelings, comment on Federation/Starfleet unwillingness to give them the cure at the end of the war, and (at the deeply personal level) two parents willing to do ANYTHING to protect their son. By the way, that premise was also alluded to by Rocker in Episode 3 when flashback Riker tells Picard he was amazed by discovering that he would “burn the world” down for his son.