Robert Picardo On The Evolution Of The Doctor

By Amy
April 22, 2001 - 7:39 AM

One of the recurrent themes on Voyager over recent times has been the issue of holographic rights, seen particularly in telemovie 'Flesh and Blood' and last Wednesday's episode, 'Author Author'. The man who plays the character most affected by this theme, Robert Picardo, recently took some time out to explore the ramifications for the Doctor.

"Well, I think that it's pretty clear that The Doctor, and Iden, and many of the outlaw holograms are sentient holograms," Picardo told TrekWeb interviewer Steve Krutzler on 'Flesh and Blood'. "As far as their rights as individual[s] and how far they extend, I pretty much agree that The Doctor is treated at the end like a computer program gone bad."

A number of fans, however, disagree, feeling that the Voyager EMH got off far too lightly. "… Janeway does say explicitly 'that you've just become more like flesh and blood, the fact that you are fallible, that your emotions can control a decision that should be an intellectual decision, makes you more human," he explained. "So, she does in fact say that The Doctor's very fallibility in these circumstances make him seem more like an organic individual than a computer program. But, he's being punished, just as an insubordinate organic officer aboard Voyager would be punished."

Continuing with the theme of the evolving Doctor, Picardo was asked what he thinks the Doctor would be like a few years down the track. "I think that The Doctor would progress along the lines that we've seen him grow in the last seven years," he remarked. "He would become more sensitive, more understanding, more of his rough edges that have been disappearing over the last seven years would have disappeared and he probably would appear to be even more human, with that much more activation. That is assuming that technologically there were no problems that developed with his program having been running so continuously for so long."

As the actor promised at last year's Grand Slam convention, this year saw the release of a CD compilation of his infamous song parodies. "I am delighted with how it turned out," Picardo said, "it makes me laugh; it's a little edgy at places, there are some racy lyrics, I have a little 'Galaxy Quest'-style fun with a Star Trek convention in one of the songs, but it's all in good fun." The CD, currently available through his official site for $20 US, contains "nine original lyric song parodies that [he has] done at conventions plus at least one that no one's ever heard live that is a Trek actor-newly-unemployed begging for his next convention opportunity in "Brother, Can You Spare a Con?"

The full interview, which also looks at the biggest weakness he sees in Voyager as a series (the lack of a long-running villain) and the actors he himself admires, can be found by clicking through to TrekWeb.

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