Why does TNG Picard report to a different admiral every time?

In a universe as big as this one star trek, with a plethora of different programs and films written by different people, it’s only natural that there would be a few inconsistencies along the way. There are big ones that irk long-time fans, like the dilithium continuity errors found within Discovery. There are others that can happily be ignored, like the various scientific explanations for how transporters work. There is often variation between different shows with different casts and stories that forget the specifics of the narrative that others have set up in different shows. However, there is an inconsistency that runs through the whole thing Next Generation Series: There never seems to be the same commanding admiral for Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew.


Like many explanations for questions fans have about the shows, the answer lies both in-universe and out-of-universe. The non-canon reason is that the producers had trouble simply finding actors for the roles. They needed an actor who would be comfortable with the occasional supporting character, but who would not overshadow the lead cast’s authority. They should command, be superior to the protagonist captains, and technically have the power to tell them exactly what to do. However, the writers wanted them to be forgotten or easily ignored to justify moments when Picard or other major captains decided to defy their orders and do as they saw fit. In the end, the captains should still come across as more powerful characters than a pencil-pushing admiral with little to no real-world experience. If anything, the franchise has consistently shown that it’s often the worst captains who blindly follow orders rather than question them.

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That’s why the TV character “Admiral of the Week” came into play, but also because the writers wanted to avoid putting a tangible face to the orders of a faceless conglomerate like Starfleet. Giving them recurring characters made them relatable or recognizable, even understandable, and drew attention away from the lead actress. When they needed a more specific gravitas for all the commands coming from above, the show brought back a familiar face or two. The recognizability of these characters suggested that everything they did there mattered. However, for the majority of admirals who only gave orders, the actors kept changing. There were of course exceptions to this; However, these were more likely due to specific plot points, such as: B. Admirals who were secretly evil, traitors, or just plain crazy.

How many others star trek Decisions made for behind-the-scenes reasons, there are some very good canon explanations for them too. After all, star trekThe writers of always wanted the show to feel as realistic as possible. For the ever-changing admirals to whom Picard would report, this was vaguely explained by the nature of the legendary Enterprise ship and how its purpose was to explore new worlds and civilizations. It was designed to move around a lot, and whenever a plot-related issue arose that needed to be addressed by an admiral, those issues often arose in very different areas of space. The franchise had shown over the years that there are many Admirals but also a large amount of Federation space. The federation is so big that it is likely to be split up and “admired” by different people. No one could command such an area of ​​space. So when Picard talks to the episode’s new admiral every time, it’s because they’re the ones in command of that area. It’s as if each state of America has its own individual police force, each commanded by the laws and regulations of the entire country, but with individual jurisdiction over different areas.

The show has never revealed Picard’s specific commander. While it’s safe to assume he had one person who would be responsible for him for want of a better word, it’s a good thing the show never revealed that information. It portrayed Picard as the king of his ship, and in many cases he was the person making all the tough decisions. The orders he received from the changing faces of the admirals were taken more as suggestions. Although they were often literal orders, Picard often chose when to obey them and when to do what he thought was right, a mistake or not. If the show had featured a recurring “boss” for the captain, it would have completely undermined his authority and power, making him less of a powerful character and more of a lackey to whoever held his rule.

MORE: Star Trek: This Deep Space 9 episode explores the emotional fallout of the cast Why does TNG Picard report to a different admiral every time?

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