We ended up not watching Star Trek: Discovery when it launched because we didn’t want to add another streaming service at the time. Same with Picard. Sometime during the last two years we ended up adding Paramount+ (or whatever it was called at the time) for some reason, and earlier this year we decided to start watching some of the newer shows.

Warning: If you plan on doing the same, stop reading Memory Alpha until you’re caught up! Katie and I each got spoiled for different twists in Discovery from headlines on things like the list of popular articles of the day.

We started with Discovery season one, then interleaved season two with the first season of Picard.

We grown-ups liked the first season of Discovery, liked, well, parts of the second season, and had mixed feelings about Picard.

J. really enjoyed watching Discovery but had no interest whatsoever in Picard once he’d seen the first episode. Fair enough — people like different things, and Picard is a different type of show, a bit less action, a bit more thoughtful at times, and it works best if you know the returning characters (and their relationships to Data) already. And while he’s seen a handful of Next Gen episodes, he’s never connected with it.

Interleaving Discovery S2 and Picard S2 was kind of weird when we saw them hitting a lot of the same beats with the plot.

sorta spoilery
Not just the overall powerful AI wants to wipe out all sentient life arcs, but sometimes specific beats. The weirdest was when we watched two episodes where a compromised character sacrificed themselves at the end of the episode to save their crewmates from the entity they’d been compromised by.
Also, the emphasis on “sentient” life in both, while I was reading the classic novel Little Fuzzy which uses the more accurate term “sapient” (as in Homo sapiens) to refer to thinking lifeforms.

We watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home last night. It holds up better than I thought it would. At the end, I found myself trying to imagine the conversation between the whales and the probe. Probably something like this:

— Hey! We’re still here! Or, we’re back, anyway!
— Oh, good! What happened to you? We’ve been trying to reach you for ages.
— Apparently the humans killed us all.
— Wait, they did WHAT?
— Well, some of them did. But some of them brought us forward through time to make up for it. They won’t kill us now.
— They’d BETTER NOT!
— I think we’re OK now.
— *sigh* OK, good to know. We’ll go report back. Keep in touch.
— Thanks!

And I also imagined their reactions at the end, as they frolic in the 23rd-century ocean:

Wow! We’re in the open sea! And we talked to aliens! And the humans have stopped hunting us! And they’ve stopped polluting the oceans! This is AWESOME!

Well, except for the whole thing with us being the only humpback whales on the planet. But it’s not like we were really able to talk to much of anyone from the aquarium to begin with.

Seriously, though, it’s encouraging to know that, decades after the ban on hunting went into effect, the humpback whale population has rebounded so successfully that most populations are no longer threatened by extinction. I found articles citing a worldwide population of “over 80,000” and “just under 100,000” in 2016 — an order of magnitude more than the less-than-10,000 that were left in the 1980s!

Remember the opening from the 1980s Flash Gordon, where the villain has a dashboard with buttons labeled with various disasters? He used it like a sound effects board: Press the Earthquake button and it would trigger an earthquake. Press the Hurricane button and trigger a hurricane. Press the freaking Hot Hail button and it would trigger a fiery hailstorm. (seriously).

I kinda feel like “Murder Hornets” is another button on that patch board.

For what it’s worth, the Smithsonian has a more…measured take on them: No, Americans Do Not Need to Panic About ‘Murder Hornets’

The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to Smithsonian entomologist