Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 1 – Debuted Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Barry J. Kelly
With a strong debut episode, “Second Contact” feels like Star Trek, while taking the franchise into an entirely new genre: adult animated comedy. Starting with Trek’s formula and turning it on its head, this pilot introduces us to a set of ensigns as our guides to Lower Decks, each of whom is interesting, distinctive – and most importantly – funny. This is due to rapid-fire comedy writing by creator Mike McMahan, with a big assist by the voice cast, especially the two leads: Tawny Newsome as Mariner and Jack Quaid as Boimler.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
This pilot episode tells you almost everything you need to know in the opening teaser, as it first lulls you into a sense of Star Trek security with a ship docked at a Starbase and a captain’s log narration. We see a bridge crew of 24th-century heroes only to be snapped out this reverie by a drunk Ensign Beckett Mariner returning from shore leave. She busts Ensign Brad Boimler recording what turns out to be a fantasy captain’s log in a utility closet.
We learn this show is set on the USS Cerritos, and its mission is to handle “second contact.” This less glamorous Starfleet duty includes getting the spelling of new alien planets right and finding the best places to eat out. Our first adventure will send the crew to the Galar system.
With Mariner and Boimler we have our Kirk and Spock for this new show, with a strong helping of Oscar and Felix mixed in. Beckett plays by her own rules and has an affinity for contraband, Klingon lore and weaponry, and Romulan Whiskey (apparently just as potent as their famed Ale). Brad hasn’t met a protocol he doesn’t like, is obsessed with promotion, and sees beauty in warp cores.
You get all that in less than two minutes before the opening theme rolls. This teaser sets the pace for a rapid-fire episode jam-packed with jokes, action, character moments, and Star Trek references (did you notice Nomad propped up against the wall in the closet?). Everything for the Star Trek: The Next Generation era looks just right, even down to the typeface. Oh, and Mariner totally stabbed Boimler with a bat’leth too… but it was an accident.
The Cerritos Bunch
The rest of the first act introduces us to the other two main ensigns and nicely sets up the foursome’s character dynamics. D’Vana Tendi, a fresh-faced eager Orion medical officer, arrives on board, allowing the audience to take a brief tour of the ship through her starry eyes. Not even a jaded commander going meta by dismissing her as “lower decks” or getting a bunk next to the musty sonic showers can tamp down her unbridled enthusiasm.
We soon meet the fourth lower decker ensign, Sam Rutherford. He is a nerdy engineer (is that redundant?) struggling to get his brand-new cybernetic implant to stop glitching, and gets a little help from Mariner, showing she has some skills too. The tour ends in the holodeck, which Tendi – of course – is amazed by, reminiscent of Riker’s introduction to the Enterprise-D holodeck in the series premiere of TNG. While all this is happening we get more insight into the characters, especially Mariner. She relishes in poking fun at Boimler, reveals she has been demoted (proudly), and she thinks senior officers and everything going on the upper decks is “super lame,” except for the bar, of course.
The show seamlessly flexes both sides of its humor with broad gags like Rutherford’s anxiety mini-meltdown as he realizes he isn’t ready for his big date, to Boimler’s for-Trekkies-only joke about how the ship layout just has “a ton of ops.”
For the middle of the show, our ensigns break into pairs, with Boimler and Mariner heading down to Galar to work on installing a communications array for Chief Engineer Billups (voiced by Paul Scheer, who didn’t get much to do in this first episode to show his comedy skills). Boimler has also been given a secret mission by Captain Freeman: to keep an eye on Mariner and make sure she stays in “lockstep” with protocols. What could possibly go wrong?
With this pair, it is clear a whole lot can go wrong, really fast. Mariner sneaks off from the group to meet up with some Galardonian farmers, only to be confronted by Boimler at phaser point, accusing her of selling weapons. Turns out she was on the ship that made first contact with the planet before her demotion and met these farmers and just wanted to give them some basic equipment without going through all that annoying Federation red tape.
The kerfuffle involving some dueling Starfleet regulation citing and minor phaser fire results in the locals running off and accidentally releasing a monstrous spider-thing. Brad sums the situation up well, saying, “It’s shooting butt webbing at a tree; it looks pretty pissed.” Mariner’s plan involving dressing scarecrows up in their uniforms to distract the beast doesn’t go as planned, with Boimler paying the price by being violently “suckled” by the herbivore. While he bemoans “my bones” and being covered in a purple goo, Mariner dismisses it, quipping, “You’re fine, Doc will wave a light over it.” And that is how you make Star Trek funny without making fun of Star Trek.
Even with all this action and humor, we continue to learn more about this odd couple, with her having served on five ships, “I have seen stuff!” and him only having been to five planets, and that’s counting Earth and Vulcan! And for all her rebellious bravado and dismissal of senior officers only wanting glory, she embodies the ideals of the Federation in her concern for the aliens, even down to not wanting to spoil the milk of the domesticated giant spiders. As for Boimler, he still idolizes those officers and all this lack of protocol has him ready to write her up.
I Dream of Zombie
Back on the Cerritos, Tendi and Rutherford are our entry point into what would be the A plot for a regular Star Trek show. First Officer Ransom was bit by some alien bug before beaming back up, but he wasn’t worried about the growing purple welt on his neck so he and a buddy headed to the bar, where Rutherford is actually doing pretty well on his date with Ensign Barnes.
Amazingly, the continuing glitches in his implant didn’t derail Sam’s date, nor did Ransom turning into a purple-veined zombie and zombifying every bar patron he could sink his teeth into. Without skipping a beat on their adorkable flirting, Rutherford and Barnes go into red alert action mode, complete with a lovely stroll across the hull in space suits, bonding over a shared love of the “ancient music” of The Monkees. Sadly, the love connection was severed after Rutherford was overtaken by a burning desire following their first kiss, and that desire was to run a diagnostic on the maintenance hatch doors. Bad timing, buddy.
Tendi’s introduction to sickbay is a real trial by fire, or more accurately, by puke… gross. Chief Medical Officer T’Ana has no time for pleasantries as she assigns the young ensign to strap down the infected, including D’Vana’s supervisor Nurse Westlake. Even his spewing some black stuff on her barely dents the Orion’s frenzied eagerness, as she replies, “I’m looking forward to working with you!” Tendi also shows she is ready for the job as she manually pumps a heart that really should be inside one of her patients, but she dutifully follows the orders of the caustic Caitian CMO, who hisses out, “Nobody is authorized to pass out!”
Mariner Knows Best
Our family of ensigns is reunited when Boimler and Mariner return from the planet to discover the chaos on the ship. Captain Freeman and Dr. T’Ana are losing the battle against the growing horde of crew zombies. We get our only insight into the Bajoran Security Chief as Commander Shaxs’ only suggestion at this point is to detonate the warp core, so yeah, he is a little intense. But hope lives in the form of that purple goo covering Brad, and the small group of still-sentients rally behind the inspiring call to action, “Protect this slime!”
As this is a half-hour show, there is no time to waste on sciencing, as within moments T’Ana has analyzed the slime and turned it into a gas, curing the crew. Ransom is the first to be revived, mainly concerned with how much flesh he consumed while under the influence of the “rage virus.” He and the rest of the senior officers focus on self-congratulations, leaving Mariner ignored as she speaks up for the role the lower deckers played in saving the ship, “This guy saved your asses, Ensign Brad Boimler, put that in your paperwork!”
All of this does seem to have an impact on Boimler, who bookends the episode through watching Freeman’s real captain’s log lay all the glory on the higher rankers. And so something snaps inside the nebbish ensign, as he chooses not to rat out his friend Mariner, and even borders on being insubordinate. “Maybe that goo that saved the ship messed with my memory.” Dismissed.
We also learn why Captain Freeman was so concerned about Ensign Mariner. It turns out they are mother and daughter. Plot twist!
“Second Contact” wraps up neatly, with the gang bonding some more at the ship’s bar, which has been cleaned up pretty quickly. Tendi and Rutherford show a spark as they geek out over why “a red alert overrode maintenance hatch 70’s access protocols.” While Boimler shows some growth by accepting that Mariner is good Starfleet, even if she is a bit “unorthodox.”
When Mariner learns Boimler didn’t report her complete disregard for protocol she has a whole new view too, declaring – whether he wants it or not – she will be his mentor, and he will be her cha’Dich, a double-whammy Star Trek deep cut and a callback to the opening scene and her drunken ramblings about Klingon honor.
This all put a nice bow on a tight, fun, funny, exciting series premiere as we fade out to some over-the-top meta moments of “Lower Decks!” chants and Mariner’s scatter-gun references from Mr. Spock, to space whales, to Sulu’s sword, to Deana Troi’s outfits. How could someone who expressed disdain for officers obsessed over history books be so excited by all these historical greats? As she said earlier, she’s complicated, thank you.
Having fun with Star Trek…
When assessing an adult animated comedy, the most important criteria is the humor, and Star Trek: Lower Decks is funny, bordering on uproarious. The humor on the show works on a number of levels, with sight gags, character moments, and witty dialog. And the jokes keep coming, with Mike McMahan trying to pack as much funny as possible into this premiere; some may even think it is too much and he should slow down the pace.
The comedy should work well with Star Trek super-fans, casual fans, and even those new to the franchise. This leaves some elements as a bit of special bonus for those in the know, although at times the show has flirted too much on the meta, dangerously tapping on the force field of that fourth wall.
With any good comedy, much of this comes down to the characters. And in one short episode, Lower Decks has crafted some unique individuals with our four ensigns, especially Mariner and Boimler. They are believable as members of the crew of one of Starfleet’s least important ships. They are interesting, sympathetic, and funny. Voice actor Tawny Newsome is a true standout, adding some unexpected layers to Mariner. We are still getting to know some of the other characters, including the senior officers, some of whom are starting out somewhat one-note in this premiere. Hopefully given time, they too will have more nuance, and more opportunities to provide some laughs.
One surprise is that despite McMahan’s pedigree as an Emmy-winning writer on the irreverent sci-fi comedy Rick and Morty, his Lower Decks feels more like a traditional sitcom, with elements of both the family variety and workplace variety. There are a handful of gross-out moments and bleeped words, but Lower Decks has a very strong heart, with some good old-fashioned feel-good lessons learned.
…while not making fun of Star Trek
Some may think that there isn’t room in Star Trek for a comedy, but humor has always been an element of the franchise, going back to The Original Series. And for those that can find room in their beating fan hearts for an adult animated comedy, the reward will be some impassioned Star Trek. Lower Decks is clearly made by people who love the franchise as much as any fan engrossed in the details of starship nacelles or the history of the Beta Quadrant.
A lot of attention to detail has been made to fit Lower Decks into the TNG era. The show is made to be part of the canon of Star Trek, and the creative team for this comedy are taking that very seriously. Inside and out, the USS Cerritos fits the part as a ship dedicated to the less-glamorous task of second contact, and the crew manifests the diversity that makes up the United Federation of Planets. Even in their cartoon forms, the Vulcans, Andorians, Benzites, and others are all recognizable. The episode is also worth a re-watch, as there are lots of little Trek details and gags you may not even notice your first time through.
Even the crisis-of-the-week with the crew being taken over by an alien virus feels straight out of the Trek trope handbook. While it might have been a bit clichéd as the plot of a live-action drama, it worked perfectly as the B-story for an animated comedy focused on the ensigns.
Although it is an entirely new genre of show, Lower Decks also fits many of the conventions of the TNG era shows, including the tone, style, and episodic structure of the stories. It is ironic, but this animated comedy feels more like traditional Star Trek than the darker and highly-serialized Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.
Making it so
The 2-D design of Lower Decks provided by Titmouse Animation (perhaps best known for the Adult Swim show The Venture Bros.) fits the tone of the show well. Deceptively simple, the animation has a lot of detail and is certainly light years ahead of the franchise’s first animated outing, Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Composer Chris Westlake’s score strikes out on its own, rarely paying homage to Star Trek tradition, and for the most part, this works. But the main title score may need to grow on you.
Lower Decks! Lower Decks! Lower Decks!
The bottom line is: Star Trek: Lower Decks is a delight. It’s funny. It’s Star Trek-y. What isn’t there to like? It’s just what 2020 needs to cheer us Trekkies up.
Team coverage on Lower Decks and “Second Contact” to come
There is more to discuss for this season premiere and so keep an eye out on the site in the coming days for more, including looking at all the easter eggs and references in the episode.
And the TrekMovie Podcasting Network is giving full team coverage to the Lower Decks premiere. It will be the focus of Friday’s episode of our new podcast: All Access Star Trek, which will include interview clips from Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan. The next episode of our long-running Shuttle Pod will also focus on the new series, with insights from Matt, Kayla, and Brian.
All Access free month promo
CBS All Access also announced a one-month free promotion. For a limited time, try 1 month FREE!
And keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.
I thought it was hilarious, and I was someone who had doubts about it based on the commercials. Bravo, CBS. This show is wonderful. May it last for years.
It is a lot better than I expected. My mom, also a trekkie, doesn’t like animated comedies, but we both enjoyed the first episode, and can’t wait for the next. As was said above, this feels more like real trek than Discovery, and far, far more than the disaster that is Picard. Live Long LDS!
Hey! Cetacean ops is canon now!
They better show it.
On “The Ready Room,” Mike McMahon and the director said that there will be a few more references this season (such as a character showing up dripping wet because they just got back from Cetacean Ops), and they’re trying to find a good reason to show it in the second season.
What the hell is “Cetacean Ops” and why would there be one on a Star Ship? Except to make a goofy joke out of it?
It was mentioned in TNG in Yesterday’s Enterprise IIRC
And in the Perfect Mate.
It still sounds like a joke. All I have to say is if we really see this on LDKS then we HAVE to see a VW Beetle on the shuttle deck and the afore mentioned hamster on the wheel running engineering.
And Geordi mentions dolphins in the Perfect Mate.
Back when they worked on TNG, Doug Drexler and Mike Okuda (I think) had an idea that since it’s been established in Star Trek that whales are sentient, maybe dolphins are too, and maybe some dolphins had joined Starfleet. I believe the idea was that perhaps, due to their intrinsic abilities of echolocation, dolphins were natural-born navigators. So when they released the blueprints with the full deck layouts of the Enterprise-E, they included an area labeled “Cetacean Ops”, complete with air/water airlocks and specially designated escape pods for the dolphin crew members.
They never exactly got around to confirming the existence of Cetacean Ops in the TV show proper, but there were a couple of throwaway lines that hinted at it. (It was mentioned in a voiceover on the alternate universe Enterprise-D in “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” but you can barely hear it, and the subtitles insist that it’s “station ops,” not “Cetacean Ops.” Geordi also mentions dolphins on board the Enterprise in “The Perfect Mate.”)
Anyway, whether there really were dolphins on board the Enterprise-D or not, it seems that there definitely are on the Cerritos.
(Aren’t you glad you asked?)
It sounds to me like it’s just a big joke. It has to be. Like the hamster in the wheel on the graphic. I don’t expect to see a huge hamster running a wheel powering anything on the E-D.
Well, yeah… on one level, it’s all a riff on the dolphins from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (you know, “so long, and thanks for all the fish”).
But it’s not *completely* absurd. There is some evidence that dolphins are intelligent and self-aware. If they are, why not let them join Starfleet? :^)
I’d think the sentient dolphin characters from David Brin’s “Uplift” novels (_Startide Rising_ 1983, et seq) would be a more direct inspiration. Have the relevant artists ever said, one way or the other?
Wow you really know your Star Trek! :)
I do think its a cool idea. Maybe seem a little too loopy for some but JUST remember people, we have a show that had a large size tardigrade navigating a starship through an interdimensional network via fungi….so yeah not that crazy anymore. ;)
And I would like to think in 400 years we have broke through some form of communication with dolphins.
I’m almost embarrassed to say this but I never knew about this until just two months ago when I saw a video on Youtube talking about all the known facts about the E-D.
And that’s the beauty of animation, they can TOTALLY show it since budget is no longer an issue and it would fit right in with something as quirky as this.
Yeah! It reminds me of the original animated series episode “The Ambergris Element” where Kirk and Spock go underwater on planet Argo. Hopefully we’ll see those magic belts again that allow them to breathe under water. Lower Decks is the perfect chance to finally explain some of the tech behind that stupid episode!
I had always wanted the Life Support Belts to show up on TNG.
To this day I’ve never seen TAS, but I do know about the magic belts. That sounds like something that would fit on this show.
Only live action TV an movies are canon
Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.
Seriously, it is. And it’s wrong. CBS, which owns Star Trek, has the right to determine what is and isn’t canon, and they say that the animated series and Lower Decks are canon too. All 13 movies and all 10 narrative TV series, baby!
Have to confess: that was fantastic. And I was NOT expecting to type that. First of the CBS shows to get it right.
I absolutely agree with you. That was brilliant.
While I loved how great Picard started, I have to say I was surprised by this. It just got everything right and it did it by showing Star Trek can have a sense of humor about itself while still feeling very much like Star Trek. I just love being back in the TNG era….for the second time ;). But this time on an actual starship again!
Y’know, Picard took a looooong time to get to its point and by the time we got there, I was already done so it’s a jolt to suddenly have an episode of a show that manages to do all of its world-building in 22 minutes flat and make it work. Streamlined storytelling for sure, but also an important lesson I wish these live-action counterparts would consider: less is more.
True! And that is the biggest difference between an episodic and serialized story line. Episodic stories everything has to start and end there so you really have to get across the characters and story in that time. With serialize story you can…..take……your…..time. And sometimes its great when it’s building up to something good or amazing. But when it isn’t…
And it’s why I think people are harder on DIS and PIC versus the older shows because its the first time Star Trek is so serialized and when everything you feel about a show is all bundled up by just the ending of a season and not just by individual episodes like the others, people can be much harsher about it.
IMHO, I don’t think the serializing is why people are harder on Discovery and Picard than other shows. I think it’s the fact that the shows are short seasons with near feature film budgets. They had nearly no deadlines to meet. They had tremendous freedoms standard over the air 20+ episode per season shows never got. Further, we all had to pay specifically to get these shows rather than pick them up over the air or get them on a service we were paying for already. It was fair to treat them like a movie because that is what they had more in common with than TV. With all those advantages many found it inexcusable to get off to such a tremendously bad start. For any of the shows.
Its not the ONLY reason. All those are valid too. But I mean with serialized shows, SO MUCH of your enjoyment really does come down to how much you like the main story and especially its ending. If it ends badly then sometimes the entire show can be ruined for you. I saw someone here on another thread make that point giving examples like GOT, LOST, etc. And sadly they are right. Those are both AMAZING shows with a lot of great characters and story lines. I watched them both, but sadly have never wanted to watch either again because of how they ended.
Fact is a lot of us here was really into Picard for most of the season. I know you were more conflicted but I honestly liked most of the season until the last few episodes and then it just put a bad taste in my mouth. I still like the show but I’m not as excited for it as I was. Sadly because of just how it ended. It’s hard to go back and just rewatch an episode like I would for TNG/VOY/etc.
So there is definitely a difference. But I also agree because we are paying for it (although MANY people has always had to pay for Star Trek if you lived outside America) so of course you will be more critical. BUT it’s also why I think Discovery got so many changes so early on too because they know it’s a lot harder to get a paying customer back versus someone who is watching it for free. I highly doubt it would have so many changes this fast if people probably weren’t dropping their subscriptions so there are some positives to that.
But yes its not any ONE thing but I do think the serialization aspect is a big hindrance if you’re just not happy where the stories went. Not like episodic stories where you can just pick and choose the ones you like and watch those over and over again.
That’s a very astute observation and I’m ashamed that I didn’t realize that was WHY I wasn’t tense after the end of this episode. We know everybody! Just like the premieres of every other Trek show after TOS.
Hell, we didn’t even know the name of the ship until halfway through Picard, and unless you read about it beforehand, doubtless some people were wondering “Who’s this Sirena everyone’s talking about?”
The phrase “Welcome aboard my ship, La Sirena” would have squashed this. But no… the audience is just supposed to know.
Quick! Name the CMO and Chief Engineer of Discovery! You can’t, can you? Sigh. For that matter, name the captain. Not only do we have no idea about anyone in the bridge crew except the Ops officer is a recovering Luddite, we also don’t know who’s running the damn thing after two years.
Lower decks gave us a very solid Trek foundation in half the time of a normal Trek ep. Hell, most of the premieres had two hours to get all of the introductions out of the way. Very well done. And ended without a cliffhanger, too. Just like real Star Trek.
If you can’t name Discovery’s bridge crew without looking it up on the internet as we’re about to start season 3(!!), that is a show that has big problems to fix. (I can’t, by the way. Nor do I care what their names are or what they do, even better. Good job!) Not suggesting the same rules apply to an animated sitcom as a serialized drama, but storytelling is storytelling. Take your time unpacking the story? Sure, but even with slowing the pace down, you’re still supposed to put some flesh on the bones, not kill time because you realized too late you don’t have enough of a story to fill 13 episodes.
I have to disagree with the review. It perhaps wasn’t quite as catastrophic as I feared, but this is not a show we’re going to be looking back fondly on in 20 years. I LOVE LUCY it isn’t.
The show had its moments, mostly when it parodied existing Trek (“I want my honor!!!”, the end references to Spock and Sulu, etc.), more than when it tried to break new ground. Yes, it’s clear that the animators and writers adore TNG and its design ethos. We finally see a Sikh character in the background (and a Starfleet-regulation turban). I don’t think these moments add up to a masterpiece, however.
First, there’s the dialogue. I haven’t seen much of Rick and Morty, but you can clearly see that this shares something in common: fast dialogue, almost too fast to digest. A frenetic commotion can be funny, as the first scene in the corridor showed. But after 30 minutes, it got to be too much Johnny-One-Note humor.
The main characters? Ensign Mariner was thoroughly unlikeable (and sorry, but just because you’re dealing in black market farm equipment rather than weapons doesn’t make it right; some other farmer didn’t get his crops planted because of Ensign Mariner’s wheeling and dealing). As for the command staff, It’s an extraordinarily poor leader that has crew spying on one another; it reflects on Starfleet even more poorly that they’ve let Mariner keep up these shenanigans rather than gifted her a dishonorable discharge. Frankly, some of the criticism that folks have unjustifiable lobbed at Michael Burnham (she’s a Mary Sue, she’s been given a free pass in the name of political correctness, etc.) actually ring true in the case of Mariner and the captain.
The doctor came across as a gruff human. M’Ress clearly was an alien. This is an angry human voicing a cartoon character that looks like a cat.
And the clincher, that Mariner is the captain’s daughter? Ugh. You do not want relatives in the chain of command, especially not parents and children. You don’t insert staff in the middle of parent-child conflicts. This whole setup makes the organization look incompetent. Wesley Crusher was nepotism enough, but at least he was a prodigy and didn’t report to his mother.
I suppose all this matters a lot less in the context of a comedy. (Real-life characters don’t have bulging eyes, so why do we care if their behavior would get them a dishonorable discharge in a real-life Starfleet?) But…it’s not particularly *funny*. Not in the way that, say, Benson or Yes Prime Minister was when they parodied politics, or MASH was when it parodied the military, or when even Space Force parodies…the Space Force. This show *wants* to simultaneously parody TNG and be a love letter to TNG. I don’t see how it resolves that tension.
I had high hopes for Star Trek: Lower Decks and it did not disappoint. It was hilarious and original take on Star Trek. There were doubts about it but after watching the pilot episode, Lower Decks is worth it.
Lower Decks is so funny it’s too much. Star Trek can work as an adult animated comedy and this proves it. The two lead characters are fun people to hang out with.
If I was serving on the USS Cerritos, I want to be around Ensign Brad Boimler and Ensign Beckett all the time. Don’t mean to disobey Starfleet protocol sorry.
Second Contact was a really good episode. It was fresh and the characters are interesting. Everyone turns into zombies. That was fantastic!
It was entertaining, it produced a few smiles but was it laugh out loud funny? No it wasn’t.
Agree, but it was way better than Discovery and even Picard.
Yep. Sorta entertaining. Had a small chuckle and s few smiles. But really funny? No.
And yes, it was still better than Discovery and Picard based only on that one episode.
I respectfully disagree. All three shows are wonderful for different reasons, in my opinion. And that is totally fine.
I laughed out loud numerous times.
I genuinely laughed out loud when Boimler used the holodeck to visit the warp core.
Just to comment again, it really isn’t a parody at all. It’s a bona fide Star Trek show, definitely heavier on the affection for its own franchise than the others and definitely leaning into the humor of some of the situations we’re used to seeing on these shows, but there’s no breaking of the fourth wall, no jokes made at the expense of Trek, and the character interactions and drama are played straight, not for laughs. Any worries about it being too “adult-y” and not family-friendly can be dispelled too. It pushes the boundaries a little but there’s no blatant Rick and Morty-style zingers here. They keep it sporting. I really thought I was going to hate this but even as a comedic sitcom format, it gets everything right that the rest of the live-action shows have missed by a mile: optimism, likeable characters, bright palettes and a vibrant sense of curiosity and exploration. I’m happily eating crow for breakfast. I suspect some of you on here will too. It’s a nice feeling to be wrong sometimes.
Yeah, in terms of “adult content” (so far) I’d compare it to Futurama. They even bleeped the profanity (the same profanity we heard in Generations!), so looks like they’re putting some limits on what they’re doing, which I personally appreciate.
In terms of the humor, feels somewhere between Futurama and Galaxy Quest. Good balance.
They’ve decided to bleep the profanity to call attention to it.
I wasn’t expecting much, either, and like you am happy to be wrong. Some people have this weird idea that those who are critical of modern Trek just *want* to dislike it. For me, nothing could be further from the truth; if I’m expecting it to be bad, I hope I am ALWAYS wrong about it.
Granted, there’s only been one episode of Lower Decks so far. For all I know, I’ll hate the next nine. Somehow, I doubt it.
I’m critical of the new shows *because* I want them to be better and I’m disappointed they’re not. A perfectly valid reaction.
And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence Lower Decks feels like a Star Trek show but has a different creative team than the other drivel.
You mean a team that actually IS creative, and which also happens to actually like Trek for what it is, rather than feel they need to make it something it isn’t?
Nah, couldn’t be…
And I’m with you — that’s a perfectly valid reaction to disappointment.
You might be the exception not the rule. Plenty of fans in my own little Trek community can’t even explain why they dislike DSC or PIC. They simply hate the fact the shows exists and refuse to even consider another pov. Sadly, I’ve seen that happen elsewhere. Including here.
Well, I’ve had the opposite effect. I have found the bulk of those who do not like STD or STP have had specific reasoned explanations for why.
They’re badly written. Easy.
Sorry but I don’t know if I really buy that. All one has to do is spend ten minutes online (or simply right here) and read the multitude of posts from people like here where they had an issue with both shows. I for one had high expectations for Picard but sadly let down at the end. A lot of fans did because unlike Discovery they were already in love with the character.
There are certainly going to be people who hate a show or film no matter what. One of my best friends back in the day refused to watch Voyager. He’s seen five episodes it was enough for him and never bothered again. Another never liked DS9 because they think being on a space station is boring. It doesn’t take a lot for some people unfortunately. But in their heads their reasons are valid. They are just TV shows at the end of the day no matter how much we obsess over them and not all of them will be a priority even if they are fans of the franchise itself. And these newer shows are a lot more divisive than the older shows IMO.
OMG this exceeded all my expectations and the great thing was that this feels as authentic as ‘serious’ Star Trek. I cannot wait to see more!
Seems to me like Lower Decks is going to prove something that ought not to have needed to be proven: there’s no need for a Trek series to be serious in order to be legitimate Trek. Based on this one episode, it looks to me as if the people making this show take Trek seriously in a way a couple of others recent shows do not; they’re just using humor to get their points across. I suspect the fan reaction to this show is going to be tremendous.
Partha, just asking, you are not my friend Parthagenon, right?
I’m seriously gutted that living in Ireland I can’t see this. I haven’t even seen the short treks that preceded disco season 2 or Picard. Why is Europe and the rest of world out with N.America being left out? I won’t be able to check out trek based websites or YouTube channels that I like for fear of spoilers. It’s really unacceptable
Yeah it’s sad you can’t see it with us. Europe and other countries around the world should see it at the same time as Americans and Canada. I feel bad for you, Lower Decks is amazing.
You live in Ireland. That’s awesome, would love to visit Ireland.
Rest of the world isn’t being left out for malice. International broadcasting rights are complicated. Most of Europe didn’t get The Mandalorian til months after it aired in the US due to Disney+ trying to figure out the same issues. But I agree, it sucks. Luckily, I’m Irish AND live in the US so at least we’re being represented… Haha!
CBS All Access could expand to Europe in the future. International expansion should be a goal for CBS to achieve in the coming years.
Disney+ is already available in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and other regions.
You’re right, the international broadcasting rights are complicated. It depends on the country.
Thank you, and yes, it is sad for me. I have Discovery in Netflix and Picard in Amazon Prime. I was sure I was going to have Star Trek: Lower Decks…and it did not happen.
CBS needs to prove its business model in the US first, before it starts expanding internationally. Many’s the business that has been killed by overly fast expansion.
And proving its business model in the US means developing world-class non-Trek content. It’s not even clear that we’re getting world-class *Trek* content (Picard aside). CBS needs the next THE AMERICANS or OCCUPIED, not reruns of MacGyver.
You have a point Temarc, but American-centric isn’t a successful model anymore. People around the globe don’t just want to pay for a service that’s exclusively American. And Americans are increasingly welcoming content that isn’t targeted for the American market.
Netflix, Amazon and Disney are making content worldwide and paying independents and national co-productions outside the United States in order to build a portfolio of diverse content.
If anything, ViacomCBS’ needs to get its head up and trust its branch operations outside the United States to lead the development of new content.
Instead, they seem to be stuck in the 20th century American branch plant model. It’s been well studied and was on the decline by the 1980s in many industries. The problem is that if a multinational keeps research, development and creative control in the United States then they not only stifle the growth of their best minds and employees outside the United States, but they lose them to competitors because not everyone wants to move to the United States to move up. More, branch plants can fail to adapt their products to different global tastes and different approaches because TPTB back in the United States tend to squelch innovations outside their comfort zone.
In Lower Decks, despite McMahan’s desire to make it international, the show still feels very American. I was disappointed that Boimler is from Modesto, California. I really like the show, but these guys need to get out more and really challenge themselves to work with people from other countries and cultures and empower writers who aren’t from their society.
I liked that he was from Modesto. He’s a dull guy from a dull place. That was the gag. Someone watching in Perth, for example, probably isn’t going to pick up on that joke but it’s a regional joke. If they chose some dull place in Australia or England no one outside of those places would get it either.
Yeah I been to Modesto….and no reason to ever go back lol.
The pandemic pushed schedules around – this show was rushed to air rather than coming out as planned around when Discovery will be starting now. That would have given them time to sort out the rights for a simultaneous release.
You could clear that up with a VPN and a subscription to CBS All Access.
That’s what I did to get US Netflix,change the VPN,lol! I’ll probably see this over the weekend,even though we get nothing here in Norway. Well ok,we get SOME things,but far from enough and not what we actually want. Lame country.
Thank you Faze Ninja, Blackmocco and Ian. Maya be when some sort of normality resumes we can all watch in Ireland together! 🖖🏻
Since you fellow sceptics liked it so much, unexpectedly, I will have to check this out!
Funny…. The skeptics seem to like it but someone like me, who was really looking forward to it was really disappointed. To use TV references, it was more than Last Man Standing but less than Modern Family. I was hoping for more like early Simpsons or South Park. But it seems that was just too much to hope for. It feels like the show is so afraid of ticking off fans that they stop short of trying to be really funny.
That said, it’s still better than Discovery and even Picard. Granted those are still pretty low bars but Secret Hideout is improving, I’m forced to admit.
I knew five seconds in that this was a Star Trek show for me. I could carp about a couple of mild things — I wish it were a little more kid-friendly, I wish some of the dialogue didn’t sound like it was from the year 2020 — but am not seriously tripped up by them. Everything else, I pretty well loved.
LOVED IT! This show has the heart of Star Trek. Can’t wait for next week.
The episode is as fun as I thought it would be, but the dialogue is so rapid-fire to my old ears that I had to turn on closed-captioning for an immediate rewatch. It did let me catch up on minor details like one woman in the bar wearing a VISOR.
Looking forward to the next episode! :-)
Yep, boy was the dialogue super fast. The need to slooow down. This could be fun if they weren’t in such a rush.
At some points it felt like they wanted to squeeze a full hour into half the time by just making it faster.
Definitely, they have a full hour episode of plot in that one.
There were two women in VISORS actually. One blue shirt who was on the away mission with Boimler and Mariner, and one gold shirt who was aboard the ship during the rage virus.
Which I felt was weird. By then even Geordi had abandoned it in favor of implants. What, are the implants only for senior officers? Can regular folk not afford them? Not available on the lower officer’s Star Fleet Medical plans? In fact, that could be a good thing to have a joke about right there!
The implants might just require a more invasive surgery that not everyone wants to go through. I think the implants were offered to Geordi pretty early on in TNG but he initially decided not to take them.
Hard to recall but I seem to remember in the first season the doctor asking about that but there was some reason why he couldn’t take them. Obviously by FC those issues were ironed out.
I recall Burton wanting him to have implants because he claimed he couldn’t see anything wearing that prop!
My only complaint was the bleeped swear words. Let Dr. T’Ana be Dr. T’Ana!
It is kind of annoying. The bleeps just feel out of place in Trek. Especially after we’ve gotten used to Admiral Clancy on Picard.
I’d rather lose Admiral Clancy.
That was abuse of power and position. If the genders were reversed it would have been more obvious, but it was not appropriate. And yes, I’ve worked with the military and have known senior officers.
Yeah, but at least with bleeps, this isn’t something I’d be guilty to show kids. I’ll never get used to Clancy. I swear like a sailor, but we went from “double dumbass on you” and “no ma’am, no dipshit” to “sheer fucking hubris” in 100 years?
How many expletives from the 17th century have you used recently and been taken seriously? It just doesn’t track. Look them up and see how many are still in circulation.
Just in general the way that they speak should be almost incomprehensible to us after 300 years. But Trek characters have always used modern language, because using made up future English would just get annoying.
Of all of the Star Trek iterations in recent years, this was the most . . . human.
I liked it. There is real Star Trek, here. And I like the humor. My only real (minor) quip is that everyone talks too fast and has way too much energy. Slow it to impulse. ;)
I think I am going to enjoy seeing where this goes.
I wasn’t as impressed as the writer of the review. Yes, there were some funny moments and lines. But nothing really made me laugh out loud. Certainly not to the point where I had to pause the show while I roared in laughter like I have done on many occasions for Rick & Morty and for early Simpons and Family Guy. This premier episode was merely…. OK. Nothing special. It was soft comedy on par with your typical NBC, ABC, CBS family sitcom. Because it was animated it came across as a little frantic. Which is not a complaint, mind you. But since most of the jokes didn’t really work it felt like too much. R&M is pretty frantic but many of their gags are pause-worthy funny. Which gives one a little break from the cacophony going on.
The story arc they started, about Mariner being the captain’s daughter, was a little eye-rolling but I suspected something like that when the Captain asked Boimler to spy on Mariner. When we cut to the communication with the admiral before one word was said, we saw it. I honestly don’t think that sort of side story is needed. But there it is. I’m not a huge fan of Mariner at this point. After one episode she comes across as an irritant. Not really liking Boimler either so far. He’s just too much of a schmuck. But supposedly he’s going to grow I guess…Tendi’s enthusiasm is adorable, however. A far cry from Tilly. Rutherford… Not a fan of the cyber stuff, myself. But the jury is still out on him. We shall see. There are 9 more short episodes to go.
Something tells me this is the kind of humor the show will be going for. Nothing really super funny. Just some light chuckles here and there with some old timey Trek references for for fans to go, ‘hey did you see that thing?’ IMHO, they really should have done more to make fun of some of the Trek stuff. I did like the “Doc will wave a light over it.” line. It was clever and I smiled. But didn’t laugh.
“they really should have done more to make fun of some of the Trek stuff”
Oh please. Then people would have complained they weren’t treating Trek with enough respect. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk but they pulled it off. It doesn’t have to be so funny you shit your pants, it just has to be an entertaining romp through Star Trek with a creative team who’ve actually watched it before, which it is. If they cancelled all the other garbage shows and put these guys in charge, I’d be stoked. ARE YOU WATCHING, CBS?!
Gee… Forgive me for wanting a comedy to be, you know, funny.
I admit I set a higher bar than I guess I should have. But it would have been good to have at least ONE gag that produced more than a small chuckle. Even The Orville in their 2nd season managed to do that.
You are right… Doing a Trek comedy is a tricky tightrope to walk. But they took up the challenge. Was it entertaining? Well… that’s tough to answer. But then, watching a train wreck and be entertaining, too. So not sure that is the right goal. For me, this is labeled as a comedy. Bottom line, was it funny? The answer… Not really…
In other words, it’s a lame sitcom that would be cancelled after 8 episodes if it weren’t set in the Trek universe.
That’s not a smart way to treat your crown jewel franchise.
Their crown jewel franchise has been raked through the mud for damn near a decade, and rightly so. If the worst offense this show has committed was that it’s not funny, it’s a grand slam compared to pretty much everything that’s happened since Trek 2009.
I don’t think it’s been ‘raked through the coals’ but its a great example of how divided the fanbase is, especially these days. I know LDS will probably be divisive for some people, but honestly probably no more divisive than the Kelvin movies or Discovery has been either.
It just proves we’re not a monolith. I don’t know if I’m going to really love LDS but I have to say for me it feels refreshing to be back in this specific era again and to actually have a show that’s about exploration even if it’s littered with a lot of silly jokes. It really feels like the people making it truly get Star Trek, but like everyone are putting their own spin on it, in this case a lot of broad comedy.
But others will probably see it as a stain against the franchise. It will probably take a season to see where the consensus is on it but I honestly think the first episode went a lot better than I thought it would. Most people seem to at least like it, if not love it. And for the people who hated it, their concerns are valid too, but I hope they at least watch it a little more before they deem it as blasphemy.
I’m not so sure… There have been a lot of lame sitcoms that lasted for quite some time.
I agree with a lot of what you said, however, it is only one episode. Nonetheless, I really couldn’t stand the crystal-meth-addict delivery of the dialog and I didn’t find anything laugh-out-loud funny. Disappointed.
“Red Dwarf” is a below decks comedy – this isn’t. Maybe the writers and producers should have read “Red Shirts” and the seen the Star Wars short about the stormtroopers, janitorial staff, and cafeteria staff doing their jobs while the death star was blasting Alderan – that is comedy that reflects intimate understanding of the original material, comedy writing, and sticking to the concept of the show…
Another hit! CBS is on a roll with their trek shows!
I’m shocked. I’d set myself up to hate this but it won me over. It was funny and I liked the design. It also didn’t ridicule Star Trek but poked fun at the existing tropes. All in all good fun
See, I think they could have poked fun at existing tropes without ridiculing Star Trek. I think the Family Guy Star Wars parodies managed to poke fun at SW but never made fun of it. I was hoping Lower Decks might have tried the same thing. They came kinda close with their joke about the Doc shining a light on the injury. Would have liked to see more of that but funnier.
Just watched and enjoyed . ( Is it me, or does anyone else get a nostalgic lump in their throats when hearing those old TNG sound effects put to use again?) Will the new
show attract new fans? That remains to be seen- but if they’re looking for younger fans- let’s cut the profanity—- Sorry,don’t mean to be ‘a dick’.
Do younger fans not use profanity? #Confused
Actually, we do our best to tone down the profanity and bad manners our kids are picking up from media.
We won’t be stopping our kids, who are heading into their teens, from watching LDS, but my spouse isn’t happy with the words like “pissed” or “dick” being modeled.
This isn’t language that’s appropriate for the workplace or even a high school classroom. So, they need to be able to regulate themselves not to say it most of the time.
By younger fans, I’m assuming you’re referring to under ten. By the time most kids hit junior high, they’re swearing like sailors…..
I dunno if it will attract new fans; it’s entirely made for existing Trek fans, and the nerdier types, too.
OK this was great. This felt like classic Trek in so many ways, minus some of the crass humor and cursing but honestly I think this is going to be a great show for us hardcore fans.
Just hearing the TNG transporter sound alone brought me back to my childhood. Love all the references and the characters seem like they are going to be a more layered than I thought. Liked all of them so far! And yes Tendi is so infectious with her enthusiasm a (also nice to see Orion girls represented beyond just mere sex objects and actual people with goals, intelligence and ambitions ;)). She actually reminded me a bit of how excited Bashier was when he first came to DS9.
And it was just great to actually go down to a planet, meet different aliens and do Star Trek stuff again. Things both DIS and PIC almost tried to avoid like a pandemic. The second contact idea is just brilliant and we are going to get tons of exploration out of it.
Loved all the shout outs at the end from Spock to Troi. Mariner is basically ALL of us….especially her love for the holodeck lol.
Speaking of holodeck, yeah this show is definitely not for kids. ;)
As far as how funny it was I lol twice and that’s enough for me. Oddly I don’t care that much how funny it is, just how good of a show it is. And that it just feels like Star Trek again. And to be back in the TNG era in this way is a dream for so many of us! It truly got the look and feel for this era completely right, even for a cartoon (take notes Discovery…or SNW now I guess ;)). And I can’t wait to see which TNG era character shows up first.
Strange, this show may turn out to be the truest spirit to Star Trek out of all the current new shows and I’m now very excited for it!
Really? I found the holodeck scene harmless. Smaller kids will probably not get the joke at all. If they’d shown frontal I’d be more inclined to agree that this may not be for kids but not the way they did it. Or did I miss anything?
I tend to agree, Diginon. This show is for sure suitable for many as young as 8 or even 7. In fact, I obviously haven’t seen Prodigy but something tells me that LDKS may end up being be more suitable for the Prodigy target audience than Prodigy itself.
It begs the question, do Starfleet safety protocols’ not allow for holodeck programmings where morals, ethics or privacy clauses in the service would be violated? I recall the TNG episode where Barclay (again!!??) had created a program where the female bridge officers were fawning all over him, and Troi reacted like she’d been violated. It was always implied that Quarks holosuites were for mature audiences only.
That is the one weird thing about the holodeck that is crazy to me too Phil. These people can basically be having sex with simulated images of their coworkers off duty. It seems weird that would be allowed. I guess it comes down to personal freedoms and all of that but you would think on a starship there would be strict rules of at least not produce images of the people you serve with because it may make things really really awkward once they find out.
With Quark holosuites I imagined anything went until Starfleet showed up. I imagined those were used for nothing else except brothels most of the time.
Holodecks certainly open the door to new sets of privacy questions. Extrapolating from current European privacy regulations I would guess that someone else should only be able to create a holodeck version of you with your consent. That’s not what was shown in the TNG episode with Barclay.
In any case, holodecks but also other artifial intelligences like androids open up a moral can of worms. Which actions that would be illegal if committed against real people (e.g. murder, rape) would be considered acceptable if committed against artificial people?
You may argue that it’s okay if Picard shoots a holo-villain in one of his Dixon Hill adventures. But would it be okay if an ensign went on a rampage against holo recreations of his superiours? Both are not real. Where do you draw the line?
Let make me this clear. I don’t think it was offensive or anything. And I was born in Compton, I seen and heard it all by the age of seven. Nothing I seen on Star Trek up to this point I would deem offensive for kids at all including cursing ( and I have zero issues with). I have a niece, her favorite show is GOT and she’s 12. So yeah I agree with you on that.
But you just said it yourself, smaller kids wouldn’t get the joke at all. That’s what I’m saying, it was a mature joke clearly designed specifically for adults or at least teenagers. I think a lot of the jokes are so fast and heighten though I think most of it would just go over kid’s head. I think the show, again at least the first one, is fine for kids to watch but it’s clearly not really for them either like I imagine Prodigy would be. But maybe the season will prove me wrong.
Kurtzman did say the show was for people 8 to 80 so maybe it will bare that out.
Okay, I thought you suggested that the scene was inappropriate for kids. If you just meant that it’s not for kids because kids wouldn’t understand it that’s different. It seems to me that many animated family movies have elements that everybody can understand and enjoy while also often featuring some humor that only adults and older kids may get.
I don’t have kids myself so I can’t judge what type of humor is suitable at which age. Suitable here means that they can appreciate it.
No, that’s not an issue at all for me. Star Trek is very very tame. They may have upped the cursing lately but that’s also pretty tame for most kids too, especially where I’m from where language just flies off the handle.
But it’s clear it’s an adult comedy and not aimed at the under 10 crowd. The way Mariner talks is clearly meant for adults. I laughed hard the way she said ‘bitch’ in one scene. I think that’s a first for Star Trek as well. So they are pushing the envelope a little more but yeah nothing you don’t hear or see in most sitcoms, at least in the adult ones.
“Loved all the shout outs at the end from Spock to Troi. Mariner is basically ALL of us….especially her love for the holodeck lol.”
100%. The best thing about this crew is that, in their own ways, they all represent the affection that fans hold for the franchise, from Mariner’s belief in the Federations ideals (if not its red tape) to Rutherford’s exhaustive attention to the ship to Tandi having stars in her eyes just to be on board, and so on. And it’s just so damn refreshing for a show aimed at nerds to actually draw the humor from the fact that most knowledgeable and devoted fans are in on the joke, as opposed to the supposed target audience being the butt of the joke. Had a great time, big thumbs up.
Well, let me start of by saying that I am with ML31 on this for the most part. While I enjoyed the episode there wasn’t anything that made me ROFL. Mariner just needs to tone it down a notch I think but we might understand her better in the upcoming episodes. One thing that definitely rubbed me the wrong way was the treatment of the commanding officers. Almost all of them seemed like one-note dicks, shouldn’t Starfleet commanders be the best in their departments? The captain just seemed petty, Shanxs was nothing more than a grunting heavy and the first officers basically came off as a brainless buffoon. I loved the fact that this seems to be a direct continuation of TNG, even with the usage of the typeface. There is definitely heart in this shows and it is definitely more Trekky than what we got from the other shows. Just goes to show how when Mr Kurtzman leaves people to do the work, the results can be good. Despite my minor criticisms I see a big potential for this show to continue to improve in the coming episodes.
I think that it’s intentional that the senior staff come across as more… two-dimensional, if you’ll pardon the expression, than our lower-decks protagonists. We’re seeing the senior staff the way they seem to the ensigns. We’ll probably get a somewhat more rounded picture of them as the series progresses, but for now, they seem like jerks for the same reason your boss seems like a jerk.
You can tell the people who made this LOVE Star Trek, especially TNG. The writing is surprisingly clever, especially with its use of canon. This show is completely at ease with its universe, as if if were written by fans. This first episode is entirely character driven which is what makes this feel especially similar to TNG. So many great characters with interesting personalities. It’s nicely animated and sounds great, I especially love the TNG sound effects and the TNG credit font. This show is doing things that the other shows simply couldn’t pull off so I’m really into it.
I don’t entirely disagree with this. The two mains were pretty unlikable but I think the point is for them to grow throughout the course of the series and become better people. But other than that not bad points to make and it’s tough to disagree with much of it.
But… Where the show really comes up short is… The Comedy! It’s supposed to be a comedy. Meaning, there are supposed to be laughs. There was cleverness. There was a little chuckle here and there. But nothing that caused outright laughter. So the main goal of the show was supposed to be funny. And that was the failure in my book.
It’s only been one episode. Maybe others will be more funny. I laughed though.
That is the hope at this point. But if the first episode truly sets the tone then that does not bode well for the other 9. Fingers crossed it gets better….
OK… Just watched the Ready Room for the first time ever. The clip they showed from next week had more laughs than the entire first episode! So there is hope!
Yeah I lol too. I assume that alien was a reference to something we seen on another show but I don’t know what.
I didn’t see it as a reference to anything but a generic non-corporal malevolent being. And they made a joke about it not really being that powerful. AFAIK, there is no reference to anything specific in Trek lore beyond that.
Wow so true Michael!
You hit the nail on the head, it really does feel like a character piece, so much more than DIS and PIC. And of course that’s probably because it has gone back to the classic Star Trek mode of story telling where it’s more episodic and we have A and B stories again. In this case people have pointed out A, B and C. It just allows us to get to know the characters a lot more. And since they aren’t trying to stuff us with information or mystery boxes every 5 minutes we can just get to know the characters and how they go about their days.
Sadly I really miss this a lot in Star Trek. Just episodes of watching characters going on about their lives, interacting with each other, etc. McMahan made this clear that’s what the show will be about, the B plots you find in the other shows. Other people find this part boring but like him, I really like those stories a lot. And you got them plenty in TNG/DS9/VOY.
And I love just how immersed we are in the TNG era again. It really feels like we are back in that universe, only animated. And I think if we’re being honest, people probably was hoping Picard would be like. Not necessarily on the Enterprise or anything but just doing exploration stuff and feel a bit closer to the era. I was personally fine with it, but I think this show will satisfy TNG era fans a lot more if it’s good.
Sure. If your idea of a character study is “hapless character who breaks every rule in the book.”
Corporal Klinger she was not.
Well I wasn’t just talking about Mariner. But it is funny how she seems to give zero fucks. ;)
I don’t think we’ve ever had a character like her before, at least not a main one. I’m really interested to see where they take her but I know she might be controversial for others.
She’s annoying, but she holds all the Star Trek / Federation values close.
The good-heartedness is what makes her likeable and redeemable.
McMahan and the writers have dug deep to give Mariner a good reason for her “type-B” personality to find rebellion. She clearly was raised on ship, with a childhood coloured by her parents’ ambition as command officers at a time when Trek values were stretched in the Dominion and Klingon wars. For Mariner, Starfleet is family and her society, and she’s all to conscious of its blind spots while still holding its best close inside.
I’m not entirely on board with her being posted to a ship where one of her parents is the captain, but I can see them doing that to underscore the point given this is comedy.
Yeah I agree. I actually ended up liking Mariner pretty quickly because although she shuns upper Starfleet status and allllllll the rules that it involves, she clearly does believe in Starfleet/Federation values or she wouldn’t be there I imagine.
I think it’s interesting to see a character like this who as you said has very ambitious parents and probably raised on all things Starfleet her whole life but still doesn’t completely buy into that life herself. Maybe she saw all the things her parents had to give up just to get to those positions. Or maybe she just had a very strict childhood and started rebelling. That happens a lot in military families.
And yes it’s easier to buy a character like this when its a comedy. I doubt she would last very long on the Enterprise, but as this show also makes clear the Cerritos is not the Enterprise. They are not misfits or anything but they are all probably considered B level officers. Mariner seems to like that status because it gives her the freedom to be herself but still be in Starfleet and explore the galaxy. And yes, probably lots of holodeck privileges lol.
As for being on a ship with her parents, I think there is a big back story there they are going to reveal. No one seems to even know the captain is her mother (and why doesn’t she have her mother’s last name?) so I think there is something more to it. Probably nothing too crazy but something.
BTW… I personally have never been a fan of having an A story and a B story. Why not just have the one story? Those always felt to me like they didn’t have a good enough idea to warrant a 45 minute episode.
That’s pretty much most of TV though, at least episodic TV. And it’s always done in comedies/sitcoms.
Not necessarily. I really don’t recall as it’s been a while since I’ve seen a dramatic show that was not part of a season long story arc. But I do recall seeing it on TNG. A LOT. It’s not a bad ploy once in a while. But TNG dipped into that well far too often. It felt lazy to me. And often one of the two stories was vastly inferior to the other one. Which just irritated me as a viewer. “Stop attacking the A story with the B story!!!”
All I can say is pretty much every show I watch that is episodic there is usually an A and B story. Certainly most doctor, lawyer, police and forensic shows for example. I’m not talking serialized shows as I said. Although ironically LOST did this the most although it was heavily serialized. Every episode had some big crisis on the island, but then a smaller character or some side story every week. But less and less as that show went on
But all the Trek shows had it minus TOS, which did it some of the time but not a lot. DS9/VOY/ENT they all did it as much as TNG. I mean what am I missing? Sure you can find a few episodes that focused on one main story but for the most part they all did it constantly. You may not like it but that’s how they were structured. DS9 did it a bit less the more serialized it became but the first four seasons all had an A and B story too.
That’s the entire point of this show. If you watched the latest Ready Room, McMahan specifically said they rewatched tons of TNG/VOY/ENT/DS9 to watch all the personal/B stories that were going on to get them story ideas for this show.
Maybe it’s because the overall quality of TNG wasn’t all that good. The other shows were all better so perhaps it wasn’t noticed as much? Maybe it’s because the B stories on TNG were just so monumentally dull and uninteresting that they stood out while on the other shows they maintained an interest? Just rewatched seasons 1 & 2 of Enterprise and do not recall there being all that many B stories at all, though.
Well we agree to disagree as usual. McMahan certainly disagrees lol.
I love those stories, but yeah some were definitely boring.
He did say that he liked the innocuous side tales of Geordi and Data learning to tell a joke… That sort of thing. I never did. But there you go…
For hour long shows I think an A and B stories are needed, but for half hour shows I think A and B and even C plots might be an overkill.
The single biggest predictor of the quality of a TNG/VOY/DS9 era episode is whether there’s a straight A-story, or whether there is an A and B story. Think of episodes like “Measure of a Man,” “The Defector,” “Darmok,” “The Inner Light,” “First Contact,” “Frame of Mind,” “Face of the Enemy,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” etc. All pure A-stories, and that’s because in a 45 minute show, that’s all you really have time to develop.
Occasionally yes, but as a steady diet, single plot stories don’t hold one’s attention.
And as we’ve seen, trying to hold an audience’s attention with a single plot, tends to lead to a “the end of all life” or “destruction of the galaxy” level stakes all the time. Or, the descend into scenery-chewing lurid melodrama to “get the feels” .
I’d rather take some time to follow other characters though complementary minor plots that parallel the main plot (as we had in LDS’s premiere and many excellent TNG episodes). This gives us insight not only into the main plot, but also makes us believe that the ship has more than 7 people on it.
I wouldn’t say that. There were plenty of single story episodes that had nothing to do with the dire destruction of the galaxy level consequences. Maybe I’m too old but my attention span is still pretty good if they have a compelling story for the episode. It’s almost as if the producers decided, “Hmmm… This main story isn’t good enough to stand on its own. Come up with something to parallel it with so the rest of the cast can earn their paycheck and keep the more ADD audience engaged.
Rubbish. None of the examples I cited above (possibly excepting “Yesterday’s Enterprise” involved the “destruction of the galaxy.” Some other examples include “The Pegasus,” “The Drumhead,” “I, Borg,” “Sins of the Father” and its progeny, etc.
The B-plot episodes usually feature masterpieces such as Lwaxana Troi and Worf’s kid taking a mudbath.
I had low expectations but I’m happy to see the reviews leaning to positive. I don’t have All Access right now but will be checking it out in the future. Thank you all for your reviews.
The reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are killing it..
Imbd 6/10, this show is dead, they did not know it yet
Well, I gave the episode a 4 on IMDB. It just wasn’t very funny. Clever, yes. Funny? No.
I saw the Rotten Tomatoes score. That’s why I avoid Rotten Tomatoes.
It seems like those who like to put in knee-jerk negative reviews got on early.
6/10 is actually a lot of improvement from 2.6/10 after it was streaming for just 6 hours.
Seriously, there seem to be a group of people who get on early to make a bad score before most have had a chance to review any new Trek.
I take Rotten Tomatoes with a grain of salt anyway.
Have you met the internet? Haha!
LOL blackmocco, I’m old enough to remember it in its earliest precursor form.
But I do notice that there is a group of usual suspects (even if the aliases vary) that are committed to being up in the middle of the night just to post horrid reviews.
I’ve had my moments of exasperation with SH Trek, but these folks seem to be keen to pull potential fans in to their dark nights of despair regardless of the quality of the content.
Just wanting to say that I really liked it.
I’d give it at least an 8/10 and expect that my rating will go up with future episodes.
As usual, I find my recollection of the trailer and the publicity stills distracts me when I see a premiere. So, I look forward to seeing more content with fewer preconceptions.
I’m not paying too much attention to the critics. This show is trying to do something fresh and innovative, and most of the professional criticism seems to be about how Lower Decks isn’t fitting well into one stereotypical box or other.
I really hope that this show does well and has great ratings. It would be fantastic if it confounds expectations.
Post Covid entertainment can be expected to be as different as pre 2020 content as the post 9/11 was than the 90s. If Star Trek tries to fit pre-Covid grimdark and profane dark
humour or even 90s colonic irrigation, it will not only be looking to where the market was, it will miss where the audience will be and fail to be true to its own brand.
Even when Discovery first came out, a lot of people were putting it at ‘1’ before the premiere even started, so you can’t take these reviews that seriously. And I thought season one sucked too but c’mon?
I like the voice acting for the lead character, but I could only make it through the first 10 minutes. I didn’t care for the pacing, and I didn’t feel the humor landed. I don’t think it was meant for my demo, so I hope it succeeds.
Humor is subjective, so I’m happy for all those who found it funny. I didn’t. I think the show cannot decide if it wants to be Star Trek The Office, or Star Trek Rick and Morty. I think their is a huge amount of fan service here, which I’m not convinced helps the show. The gold standard for Star Trek humor to me is still TOS The Trouble with Tribbles. Sight gags, witty banter, insults. Even the fact the the approved initials for the show are LDS is just more evidence of fan service. Maybe it will improve, indeed except for TOS all the Trek series needed 2 or 3 seasons to fully mesh. I’m pretty sure that Lower Decks needs to generate buzz pretty fast or their won’t be a season 2. Both Rotten Tomatoes and Rolling Stone are not being kind to it. Not a great start.
Overall, I agree with you. Hopefully it finds humor soon enough.
I agree that the gold standard is TTwT. But… I don’t think that kind of tone would work as well with an animated show. It worked well for a light episode on a dramatic series. But for a straight comedy to work it has to either be firing jokes like a machine gun looking for something to land (like Archer has done from time to time but most of them DID land) or the jokes are spaced a little further apart but those HAVE to land. Sadly, very few of the gags worked and the ones that were clever were only able to generate a small chuckle. There was not one laugh out loud gag. There are nine episodes left. I’m hoping we will get something worth while here. If not, it would be yet another swing and a miss for Secret Hideout produced Trek.
I understand the tone of the show but jesus I hope they tone down her completely obnoxious character after this episode. She’s literally unlikable even for a satire cartoon. Wonder how soon I’ll be seeing her on DeviantArt
I didn’t really hate it but so far I’m not a fan. It just wasn’t funny and it lacked common sense! A senior officer gets stung by an alien insect, yet he ignores it and goes back to the ship? And nothing detects the infection? The crew is all infected and attacking each other but the away team beams back somehow not knowing about it? These things simply wouldn’t happen and it’s too much of a stretch to buy that they did. How is Boimler such an annoying wuss and Mariner such an annoying bitch? Tacking all those Trek references on in the last minute was just overly obvious fan service. I’ll try watching it again but hopefully they tone down the negative aspects I mention and actually do something funny, if it’s a comedy. I love Star Trek, but I don’t just accept everything by default because it bears the name Star Trek in its title.
Plot issues like the bug bite don’t bother me in this. The show is supposed to be a comedy. It’s OK to blow over some plot elements so long as the jokes work. The real problem for me was the jokes didn’t work. And yeah… Tone down on the fan service. It’s too late for the first 10 episodes. Those are all in the can already. But the next 10 I would hope they learn. Fan service can be fun but we don’t need to hear them list off every Trek character who came before them….
Given ow many times things went wrong with the holodeck tech in the 90s series, it would be logical for Starfleet to take them offline permanently.
Or, looking back, how many times did one of the bridge officers incorrectly assume that the biofilters on the transporter would take care of anything serious.
Nothing unusual for Trek, but a show is finally taking note and recognizing the humour.
Yeah but they didn’t play that up for a laugh. Pointing out how dangerous a holodeck with safties you can turn OFF really is could be a source of a good joke. In that sense you are poking fun a Trek trope without making fun of it. As I said, the Family Guy Star Wars episodes did this well. Like when the troopers are complaining about how there is no railing and the other guy said he brought it up with management but he was told they would “just lean on them all day.” Or when they didn’t fire at the escape pods with the droids. “What are we being charged by the laser now?” I was kinda hoping we might get some gags like that for Trek. Things like the silliness of how the holodeck was presented and that sort of thing. But I’m thinking we won’t because the writers are deathly afraid of looking like they are making fun of Trek. Which I feel is a bad place to start the writing process for this show.
“How is Boimler such an annoying wuss and Mariner such an annoying bitch?”
Uh, that’s a fairly sharp word to describe a cartoon character.
The best parts were the exterior shots of the ship docking at the station with that music. It made me miss the best of Star Trek.
But the show was pretty good over all.
I could go on but there’s really no need. I loved everything about this show. EVERYTHING!!!!
Just saw this on my Youtube page but The Ready Room is back with Wil Wheaton covering Lower Decks this season. YAY!!!! Kind of surprising since it was never mentioned anywhere. That will be cool!
Sure TM will throw it up at some point, but here it is if you want a watch:
It’s very much as I expected. The only serious drawback worth mentioning is the voice acting. As the trailer hinted, the voice acting is loud, grating, and lacking nuance. Understand, I am plenty familiar with the likes of Adult Swim. Even the voice acting in Rick & Morty is subtle compared to the incessantly blaring yammering of Lower Decks. Here’s an entry-level tip for directors of voice acting- if the situations and characters of a cartoon are already outlandish and fantastical- the voice actors needn’t go out of their way to be wackily high-strung! An example- Roger from American Dad: he’s a flamboyant drama queen and an alien in hiding. But consider how many of his lines are underplayed or delivered deadpan. See, in proper comedy, the situations convey the humorousness- the voice actors don’t need to constantly remind us of the wackiness by doing unceasingly loud wacky voices! Nonstop, obvious silly voices are the domain of children’s entertainment! Understand the difference?!! !!!
I agree. Everyone shouting at a high volume and pitch could send this series off the watch list for many. I had to lower the volume several times in consideration of neighbors in attached apartments. This show felt like I had just gotten a whining screechy room mate I couldn’t wait to get rid of. In this case, for the episode to end.
I hadn’t noticed this myself, but I do know what you mean when you refer to hyper, loud, fast-talking YouTubers.
They often sound like carnival hucksters or auctioneers.
They definitely don’t have professionally trained “radio voices” .
Sometimes, I wonder if they have poor tech. But, it’s more likely that they have no voice and breath control training. I’d hate for it to become a norm for professional productions.
Yes. I tend to agree. I saw is a frantic but once again, someone is able to be more concise than I can be. It feels like the actors were panting when they finished their recording sessions.
Exactly. You nailed it. (“Rick and Morty” features endless shouting, too. Seems to be a trademark of these writers.) Shouting lacks all the wit of deadpan delivery.
Roger or Sir Humpy Appleby it isn’t.
Star Trek: Lower Decks was descent but not laugh out loud funny. That’s not a bad thing.
Yet, further up the thread you said “I absolutely agree with you. That was brilliant.”.
If you’ve changed your mind, prefacing a contradictory comment with I’ve changed my mind adds clarity. That’s not a bad thing.
@Phil Is the condescension necessary?
Being from north of the border, my attention was focused on the NHL playoffs, but I did turn the channel to take in the series premiere. I have to admit I was not expecting too much and on the surface and in many ways, Second Contact was just about what I expected. Not exactly my cup of tea (or Earl Grey) or my sense of humour. I could also do without the swearing and animated holodeck nudity haha, but this is supposed to the be 24th century when such things are probably not a big deal, so not a major complaint – unless some thought this was a kid’s show.
On second glance however there were enough good things that will make me watch again. Most notably, the characters actually have some depth to them, at least more than I expected. All the little things like the sound effects and references to other series were also a nice touch.
Hey… A few of us south of your border enjoy the Stanley Cup playoffs too!
But, alas, my team sucks so hard they aren’t involved and given other elements of the set up I’ve opted to skip this year’s version.
Haha yeah I know what you mean. I lived a long time in San Jose so the Sharks have been my team for the better part of two decades and they didn’t qualify for the bubble. Now that I am back in Toronto, of course I am watching the Leafs again.
Unfortunately I had to find a pirate download to watch it because I’m in the UK but I’m glad I did because I genuinely enjoyed it.
It felt like a genuine love letter to Star Trek. Not a parody of Star Trek, not a joke version but real Star Trek. The humour was less than I was expecting and I’m glad about that. Can’t wait for the next episode.
The NY Times review of lower decks said:
There are several Prime Directives being violated there, one having to do with lazy joke writing.
Ouch. Not good.
Not exactly sure who is the audience for Lower Decks, not for me except to occupy time during quarantine. The animation is of high quality which was a nice surprise. However, the dialogue spews out much too fast to even have time to react, much less understand. I had to watch 2nd time with closed captioning to get the dialogue. So many angry characters it becomes overkill. The captain and her daughter are so very angry and sadistic. Very uncomfortable. I will give more episodes a viewing but so far it’s too frantic to enjoy. It felt like homework I had to get through so I would know what other Trek fans are talking about.
I’m surprised by the number of comments about fast dialogue.
In fact, dense dialogue has been a characteristic of Trek up until Discovery and Picard.
I recall back when 90s Trek was in first-run that the need to rewatch an episode a couple of times to catch everything was seen by my friends as a feature and not a bug. Replaying on the VCR to check did they say this/that was what kept us going until the next new episode.
Yeah, everyone seems to have wiped out paragraphs of meaningless technobabble from their recollections.
It wasn’t meaningless blackmocco.
All that verbiage was a really accurate representation of smart people actually working a problem. The scientific accuracy was less important than the way the characters showed bright, competent people focusing, collaborating, brainstorming and creatively finding and executing solutions.
That’s what science and engineering looks like at an intense pace.
Check out an engineering competition at Caltech or MIT and it will look like that. It’s all part of the learning by “drinking from a firehose” experience.
What it won’t look like is someone bursting out with “that’s the power of math people” or “I like science” .
You have a very good point TG47. Thank you.
The fast dialog is pretty common for animated shows geared towards teens and above. Archer, R & M, etc, all have fast quick lines. The thing is, those shows I fear I am missing great jokes because I’m laughing so hard and I pause it. This gives me a break. Because of this I never really noticed the fast talking and pace. But if the jokes don’t work, like LDKS, then the fast talking does become a bit of an irritant.
I didn’t know that about current animated shows. It explains why the creators & producers set up a pace like this. They want to be competitive with that demographic audience. It’s great to get a deeper understanding of Trek shows through postings and replies. IDIC is more relevant than ever.
Just an observation: My oldest son spent eight years in the Navy, I learned, as young sailors tend to really enjoy their shore leave, it wasn’t uncommon for sailors to report for duty on their return sporting a five alarm hangover, or perhaps still a bit….impaired, depending on when the rideshare got them back to their ship. Good to see Ensign Mariner enjoying her time off….and a Trek character that’s actually human.
Not off to a great start…. This isn’t Star Trek.
I like the characters. The plot isn’t very deep though. Only now did I notice Dr. T’Ana is basically Grumpy cat. Do you reckon the writers team call her that? “How much meat did I eat??” is funny…And yeah, I think this show is too fast for me.
Many negative reviews around the internet from various YouTube channels.
YouTube recommends channels based on browsing information. It suggested Star Wars Girl to me, I’ve never heard of this YouTube channel before but it has thousands of subscribers. Here is a link to the show on that channel which was recommended
It is not for children and has curse words throughout but the criticisms are interesting. She is ferociously angry at Lower Decks but says she loves Star Trek as much as Star Wars. The comments below this show are also interesting as to how Lower Decks is being viewed.
Mariner is hot.
“Olympic Nude Training Program?” Seriously? Ugh.
Have enjoyed the slapstick comedy. My only complaint is that you bleep out damn and others because they are viewed as offensive to the viewer, so why is g_d damn not bleeped?
I find it offensive as I am sure others do.
I get that pepperoni pizza is very popular, but when I order a sausage and mushroom pizza, I expect a sausage and mushroom pizza.
When I sit down to watch Star Trek, I expect Star Trek. Maybe people like this, just as people like pepperoni pizza, and so they’re happy with it. But everyone who ordered sausage and mushroom and was given pepperoni and told to just shut up and eat it is not happy with it.
You can’t throw olives on a pizza and expect someone who doesn’t like olives to enjoy it.
You can’t take pepperoni off a pizza and tell someone who really wanted pepperoni on their pizza that it’s the same thing, so they should enjoy it just as much.
They took Star Trek, a very cerebral show for nerds and dumbed it down for frat boys.
That’s like taking the pepperoni off the pizza so that a four year old can enjoy it.
They could have made this generic, dumbed down SciFi show, and got the frat boys to watch and enjoy it, without slapping Star Trek on it. They’re certainly not fooling the Star Trek fans into watching it, and in fact, it’s like throwing anchovies on the franchise. Some people love anchovies, good for them.