The lack of romance in the third season of “Picard” apparently stemmed from scheduling and plot needs. Matalas built the season like a feature film, adding much more action and plot-based elements (as opposed to character or philosophy). There were sinister plot threads involving devious Changelings, and a mystery about Jack Crusher’s developing X-Men powers. Raffi and Worf (Michael Dorn) spent a few episodes delving into the criminal underground to find out who had stolen a super weapon from a Starfleet black site. Additionally, there were several episodes dedicated to fan service and nostalgia; if you’re prone to melancholy, look away during any of the show’s many Starfleet Museum sequences.
Squeezing all of that into just ten episodes left little time for much more. Lamenting the lack of love, Matalas said:
“As for other things I wish I’d done better, I think I would say, looking at some of the reviews across the board, I’d say it’s a decidedly unromantic season. There was no real room for romance, whether it’s Picard and Crusher. , Seven and Raffi, Jack and Sidney had a flirty moment. Even Riker and Troi are mostly dealing with the tragedy of a couple losing a child. I wish I would have wrestled longer for some extra scenes with those characters. I think everyone fans would have wanted more romance at all times.”
Romance was rarely the central focus of “Star Trek,” largely because the characters tend to be co-workers in a professional setting; fraternization is not always appropriate. With “Picard,” however, everyone was finally off the clock. Unfortunately, adding a romance would have meant subtracting another plot thread.