Robert Picardo Is Having a Lot of Fun With His Star Trek Legacy

Robert Picardo on his YouTube channel.
Robert Picardo on his YouTube channel.
Screenshot: Robert Picardo/YouTube

Robert Picardo played the prickly, arrogant, but wonderfully realized Doctor AI on Star Trek: Voyager, and in recent weeks he’s been having some fun with his legacy.

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In early July, he posted a video to his YouTube channel, a bluesy lament called “Spent My Life an Actor,” which turns from a life history quickly into a tragic story of what it’s like to be the Star Trek AI actor who isn’t Brent Spiner. It’s a funny, playful little take on playing second fiddle to a really iconic character, even if the Doctor is great in his own right.

And this week, in an extensive interview with TrekMovie.com, Picardo expounds on his ongoing passion for the franchise, his willingness to go back to be the Doctor under the right circumstances, and his love of Brent Spiner.

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When we were making this somebody asked if Brent would possibly be upset by this. I said I don’t know, but I do know that he can take a joke so why couldn’t he take a joke at my expense,” Picardo told TrekMovie.com. “It’s very complimentary for him. To prove my theory correct, he had one of the first responses. I got a like and very nice response from him on Twitter, then we chatted back and forth in private messaging. So he thought it was very funny.”

As for his time as the Doctor, Picardo doesn’t really imagine himself a second fiddle. But it’s a good gag.

“I’m very proud of our show,” he said of Voyager. “And literally when I say, ‘We both played AI, but my show capsized,’ while his went big screen from TV, that’s all just the gag about the fact that they are the one franchise after The Original Series that got to do feature films.” 

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He certainly doesn’t resent the treatment Voyager got, and he is still a fan of Trek, expressing enthusiasm for the way Picard handled Seven of Nine, a character who formed a close relationship with the Doctor over the length of Voyager.

“Needless to say, it would be great fun to play the character again,” he said. “I’m sure The Doctor would be just as shocked and impressed with the now fully human Seven as I was!”

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Would the Doctor fit, tonally, with the type of Trek stories Picard wants to tell? I’m not sure. But I think they should consider having him back anyway. After all, didn’t you hear that lament?


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

ambaryerno
Ambaryerno

I think it’s IMPORTANT to establish what became of the Doctor in light of the AI ban.

We know that the Federation still makes use of holograms, but we don’t know how sentient they actually are. How did Starfleet react to the Doctor when Voyager returned home? What became of him after the Ban?