I debated covering this series on the blog since it is such a departure from the Star Trek we know and love. However, I figured since I have been reviewing every other series (and yes I will eventually get to the original Animated Series, give me time), I had to cover this one. So, Let’s talk about the latest new iteration of the Star Trek Universe in LOWER DECKS.
Captain’s Log Stardate, uhm, 57436.2 Second Contact
It’s the first day on the ship for Ensign Tendi (an Orion officer fresh out of the Academy) and she soon runs into the other Ensigns aboard the USS Cerritos who give her the ins and outs of life on the Lower Decks of a…not so important Starship.
Is it a ‘Good’ Episode?
This episode is basically the episode establishing that this is NOT the Star Trek series you are used to. In fact it is not the Star Trek series anyone is used to. For the first time in Trek history, we officially have the first comedy series for the franchise…and it is actually canonical. What? you ask. Yes, Lower Decks is not only an animated comedy series but is set in the post Voyager timeline depicting an era of the future we have only glimpsed during the Picard series.
Until now we have only really seen the best of the best on the other series. From the Enterprise to Discovery, the crews we have witnessed have been the highly trained and serious members of Starfleet who, even though they have fun at times, usually keep things pretty tight knit. However, we all know that not every ship in the fleet can be the best of the best and not every officer can be the absolute best, there are some ships that they assign to simple tasks and missions, the one’s that no one else wants…that’s where the USS Cerritos and her crew come in. From the top down this ship is filled with people who, well are just not flagship material and certainly would never be asked to join in on the front lines.
The episode itself is a frantic and energetic rush following Ensigns Tendi, Rutherford and Bards during an outbreak on the ship while Ensigns Mariner and Boimler find themselves on an accidental mission that leads them to face a giant spider creature. Somehow the episode is able to compress the story of a full hour long adventure into a 30 minute rush of humor, action and insanity.
This is certainly not a show for everyone and certainly not a show for Star Trek purists, but if you can allow yourself to accept the low brow humor that has become popular in series such as Rick and Morty, then you will find a fun series that somehow works. Fully aware of the universe it exists in, this series manages to balance on the edge of a bat’leth never slipping too far into absurdity while remaining fun and light hearted. Landing somewhere in between the funnier episodes of Deep Space Nine and the fantastic humor of Red Dwarf, this series has potential.
Frankly, I am very happy that CBS is taking chances with the Star Trek franchise. For too long the series has taken itself far too seriously and this shows that it’s okay to have fun sometimes. Give it a go, and, if you do, dont go in with any expectation, just learn to have fun. Plus, if this is what it takes to get a new generation into Star Trek, then who am I to argue?
Gleanings, Questions and cool bits: (slight spoilers here)
- We learn that Ensign Mariner is in fact the daughter of the Captain of the USS Cerittos Captain Carol Freeman and Captain Freeman is not happy to have her there.
- I love that they include additional aliens in this series including a Caitian Doctor. The last time we had a Caitian as a regular was on the original animated series so it is pretty great to see one again.
- Seeing that this takes place in the Post Nemesis timeline, AND is canonical, you can bet we will get some fun timeline fill and maybe even an appearance by Picard himself. I mean, Patrick Stewart is known for doing voice work….plus heck, any of the old cast from any of the series can come back because it’s ANIMATED!
- I do find it interesting that the logo for the series incorporates the Original Series font instead of STNG or beyond….
Thanks for reading the SciFi TV Review I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you!
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 8/10/2020
and of course….some images of things to come… Looks great! Can’t wait!