Did you know that everybody’s ideal father, Jean-Luc Picard himself, has written an autobiography? We’re guessing not because let’s be real. Anybody who did know would have read it already, right? Here’s the skinny about Picard and a host of other TV legends, straight from the mouth of the captain’s ghostwriter, David A. Goodman, himself:
by Adam Dileo
David A. Goodman is, among other things, a Star Trek TV writer and a lifelong fan. He’s also written for shows like The Golden Girls, Futurama (he wrote the great Star Trek episode “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”), and Family Guy, where he was also the head writer for years. But now he has a new book out, The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, which serves as a follow-up to his James T. Kirk “autobiography” from a couple of years ago.
I jumped on the phone to speak to Goodman about the Picard book, and along the way we discussed the parts of Picard’s life not depicted in the show and movies, the captain’s greatest achievements and biggest regrets, and even the merits of the latest descendants of Trek on TV — The Orville versus Star Trek: Discovery.
IGN: You’ve written for Star Trek: Enterprise in the past and now you’re working on The Orville as an executive producer and writer. Have you been watching Star Trek: Discovery?
David Goodman: Yes, I think it’s great. They clearly have a reverence for the canon and Star Trek has gone through a lot of iterations and I appreciate what these writers are doing. I think this is interesting; these are really smart, talented writers and a great cast doing something really interesting. I’m enjoying it.
IGN: Some fans who are not thrilled with Discovery so far have been saying things on the internet like “The Orville is the closest thing to Star Trek on TV right now, not Discovery.”
DG: The older Star Treks, The Original Series and Next Generation, were obviously enormously popular with Star Trek fans but they were also television for general audiences. You could turn on those shows with no knowledge of Star Trek and jump in and understand what was going on and enjoy it. And that’s what The Orville has in common with those shows. Fans are actually picking up on something but it’s not the idea that it’s just like Star Trek. It’s that it’s a show in this vein on a spaceship, which has some similarities, but that is also meant for a general audience.
IGN: You’ve written three Star Trek historical fiction books: Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years, The Autobiography of James T. Kirk and now The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard. What’s your approach to creating these stories?
DG: In the Kirk book it was about his father and being a father. And in the Picard book it was his relationship with his father and brother and then his longing for Beverly Crusher, which was only mentioned in a seventh season episode, that he was in love with her….