Interview: Mike McMahan On Legacy Character Cameos And Comedy In Starfleet On ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’

The new adult animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks was born from a meeting when Star Trek: The Next Generation superfan and Rick and Morty writer/producer Mike McMahan pitched his dream job, and got it. TrekMovie had a chance to speak to the show creator about his Star Trek inspirations, character cameos (both big and small), deep cut Trek jokes, and more.

Every good show is dependent on developing good characters, perhaps even more so with comedy. For the four main ensigns of Lower Decks, did you draw any particular inspiration? Possibly from other Star Trek characters?

All four of them are based both on Star Trek characters, on myself, on people I know, and a whole kind of mosaic of different things combined but with the headline being: Do they feel Starfleet? Could you believe that these are characters that love exploring and serving on a ship and would be in Starfleet?

The four ensigns of Lower Decks: Tendi, Rutherford, Mariner, and Boimler

I would say that Mariner is a bit of a combination of many, many types of Star Trek character… The challenge for Mariner was: How do you get a character who’s comedically vibrant and causes friction but still feels like she would fit into Starfleet? So partially she’s based on elements of Kirk and Janeway and Picard, where she knows what she’s doing and it feels like she kind of has an understanding of the galaxy. She knows the rules, but also sometimes feels like she should bend them because she knows better. And it’s that intimate knowledge of knowing everything, but then deciding how you’re going to express it that makes Mariner feel new to me.

What I used to say is that she’s kind of like Maverick in Top Gun, like he’s great at flying a jet but he also buzzes the tower. And her story is kind of based in watching a character who knows everything but who just doesn’t fit in, and seeing how she slowly finds her place in Star Trek.

Beckett Mariner, inspired by Kirk, Picard, and Janeway

And then her foil Brad Boimler is partially based on Sam in the “Lower Decks” episode from TNG. I wanted to take that sort of character but then expand it to a place where I’ve been before, where maybe I know everything but I’m so getting in my own way and I’m so busy trying to follow the rules that I’m not letting myself and my instincts speak to the situations and different jobs that I’m in that would have helped me.

Brad Boimler is a great Starfleet officer, but he’s just so dedicated to trying to rank up and he’s so careful about everything that he doesn’t get to be Kirk.  And that’s kind of slowing him down. And that’s also why when he’s around Mariner all the time, that they have such friction. And even though they support each other, they’re a bit of like an odd couple in Starfleet in a way. And they’re also not a couple. [Laughs]

Brad Boimler is inspired by Sam Lavelle from the TNG episode “Lower Decks”

Tendi actually came from when I was first talking to [Alex Kurtzman’s production company] Secret Hideout about this and they were like, “We would love a character who, in the pilot, it’s their first day on the Cerritos. Just so that we get a great baseline of somebody else’s view of the ship.” And I totally agreed. And it made me realize that I just really love writing characters that are all silver lining. That they find a way to love everything. And what’s fun about Tendi is that if I got to serve on a Starfleet ship, I’d be Tendi too! There’s like literally nothing on the ship that she doesn’t get excited about.

Having that passion and having that voice of enthusiasm and a character who just wants to know everything and wants to consume all things about the ship and learn and grow in there and who loves the technology. That’s a perfect character for me to have as an ensign, as a lower level officer, who we will also watch grow throughout the series.

D’Vana Tendi is a new audience surrogate point of view character

As for Rutherford, he’s kind of like my Geordi a little bit, but not really—which is one of the reasons he has a half-VISOR, in a way. And the VISOR is one of the few things which kind of bends Star Trek’s rules, because we all know that Starfleet and the Federation sort of frown on altering yourself with technology. And that’s something we explore with him a little bit more in season two. But I just wanted to have an engineer on the ship that was not the classic definition of an engineer that you’ve seen before, which I think Star Trek does well. And that he’s kind of an early adopter. He loves new tech. He likes trying new stuff out.

And he’s not a Scotty or a Geordi in that he’s still learning.  He’s really great at what he’s doing, but he’s not able to solve everything at the end of 40 minutes, because he’s not the chief engineer on the Enterprise. He’s a low-level ensign engineer on the USS Cerritos. I love that with science you’re not always right all the time, but you’re actually testing and we learn from getting stuff wrong. Rutherford started there, but his friendship with Tendi—they’re kind of the Geordi and Data of the show. Watching them be friends and just geeking out over Star Trek stuff is…  it’s such a joy to write.

Just a quick clarification on Rutherford. So his cybernetic implant is a choice? It’s not to fix something, he wanted to have it.

We say in the show that it’s a choice. Yes… I would say if the cybernetic implant seems odd to somebody who knows Starfleet stuff, then they are not wrong.

Sam Rutherford is inspired by Geordi

So you have confirmed that we will be seeing some legacy actors and characters in season one, right?

Yes… I would love you guys not to expect anything so you can shriek in delight when you see stuff. But I would say that a real pleasure of the show is that I do love TNG and obviously it’s a dream to get to work with these legacy actors. But there also has to be a reason that they would be on the Cerritos in 2380. And that’s, that’s not an easy task to accomplish unless it really means something. So I would tell an audience don’t expect legacy actors to just be showing up to wave and say hi and pick something up off the ship and then make their way. They’re there for important reasons when they do show up.

But can we also expect to see some minor characters return? The Mot the barbers of this world?

Yeah… I love on Lower Decks where we can take something or somebody who is a standalone episodic character from TNG and let them sort of bubble to the surface again and get more from them. Because our ship is all about second contact, it just felt very organic to go back and look at the standalone episodes of TNG, and of other Star Trek shows, and be like, ‘Okay, it was standalone for them, but what if it’s not standalone for our guys?’ Like what if they will encounter characters or species that might have only seen once or twice but for Lower Decks, they could become recurring.

There were some jokes on the show that were so rapid-fire, I wondered if you were doing them just to amuse yourselves. There is a moment with a Vulcan in the first episode where he looked like Mirror Spock. Are these brief glimpses real jokes, or am I reading too much into it?

I would say that we are designing episodes to be rewatched. I love when I watch an episode of something and I really like it because the story is fun and the jokes are fun but then every time I watch it again you’re finding something new. It’s kind of not my job to police all the little things that we hide in there. Nor are we trying to create something that is hard to watch once because you feel overwhelmed. But we want it to feel rich and we want it to feel like we are having fun when we’re making it. So yeah, we do put a lot of jokes in there and I’m ready to enjoy watching as people pick it apart and find little favorite things that people haven’t noticed.

There’s actually something in the clip we released of Boimler in the closet in the beginning of the first episode. There is something in that closet nobody has pointed out yet. I think only [CBS Consumer Products VP] John Van Citters has noticed it. So I’m excited to see people find that stuff.

Look closely to see Nomad propped up on the left. (We increased the brightness to help.)

You have talked about how important it is for these characters to feel like they belong in Starfleet. But so much of comedy comes out of characters making mistakes or even being stupid sometimes. Is it a challenge to have these characters be heroic Starfleet people, but also be making decisions that create funny situations?

For me, it was a priority to never have somebody in Starfleet be stupid or dumb. Nobody in the show is like Morty from Rick and Morty or like Jerry from Rick and Morty, who’s a character I really like to write. I would say that Starfleet officers can make mistakes. They can have their own pastiche of personality that causes them to want things that are not what other characters would want. We don’t have as much interpersonal conflict as much as we have people who are excited and focused on different things. And that kind of gets in the way of each other.

But also, because this is the Cerritos and not the Enterprise, I wanted the human beings to feel human. Q is always testing humanity to see if we have what it takes. And most of the time humanity is found to be worthy because we have emotions. It’s what Data is always wanting about us. It’s what Spock was always grappling with. And so having characters that have real emotional texture to them is something that feels hand-in-hand intrinsic with the experience of watching Star Trek. For every episode where they are going to a morality play-type planet, there’s also an episode where Worf is demanding an honorable death because he broke his back. It’s like, “No man! Just get the back healed, let’s go!”

I think to find the comedy in these characters and their relationships with each other, we’re never leaning on them being stupid or being or being mean-spirited. Really, it’s coming from them loving each other, and how much you can drive people around you crazy when you love them. Because the last time I checked, I love everybody in my family, and they’re constantly driving me crazy. But at the end of the day, we’re all supporting each other. So, Starfleet ships are like a family. It’s a pretty easy one-for-one comedic point of view for me to draw.

That brings up something for me that was perhaps my biggest surprise. And don’t take this the wrong way, but the show kind of feels like a traditional family sitcom. There is a literal family with the captain and Mariner. Is family a theme, and do you see it as kind of a family sitcom, in a way?

It’s interesting because it sort of straddles the line. Sometimes it feels like a family sitcom. Sometimes it feels like a workplace comedy. To me, the way that I kind of distill that all into one focused area is the B-stories from TNG. The A-stories from TNG always had the same sort of Star Trek exploratory and mysterious tone. But the B-stories got to be a bunch of different stuff. Sometimes it was workplace stuff. Sometimes it was family stuff. Sometimes it was romance and dating. Sometimes it was little mysteries. Sometimes it was comedy.

All I’ve tried to do is everything that you could do in a B-story in TNG I’ve tried to grow. And those are our A-stories. And my favorite things about TNG were the elements of the crew feeling like a family. But they were all working together and that they were extremely good at what they did. So the Cerritos crew is the same, they’re just not as functional as a family. [Laughs]

The Star Trek: Lower Decks family

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As a TNG fan, I’m in love with this show. Mike McMahan is a genius.

Tendi is a favorite of mine. She is just like me.

Last edited 1 month ago by Faze Ninja

And as a TNG fan, I say it’s like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

100% with you. Paying visual lip service does not a Star Trek series maketh. Nothing is truly alive when it is missing heart. I bet even Vince McMahon could write something with more intellectual and moral depth than this drivel.

It’s been one episode guys.

💐

Precisely. I mean, I was unimpressed with the first episode but geez…. Kinda harsh I think.

Very well said, the mugging in this show is exhausting.

And excellent point about Vince McMahon; is this a “genius” the bar has been lowered a lot.

To be fair, the Mona Lisa would look pretty good with a mustache. That might not be something that we should take seriously, but it would be pretty funny.

As a TNG fan who was there from day one, I don’t see any mustaches on any Mona Lisas here.

A stache on the first couple of seasons of TNG would be an upgrade.

I agree.

Also very well said. Any enthusiasm for this show does seem to be transparent and promotional.

Do they feel Starfleet? Could you believe that these are characters that love exploring and serving on a ship and would be in Starfleet?”

An ensign who:
– gets drunk on duty, impaling another crew member with a deadly weapon (drunk driving ain’t so bad, I guess)
– steals equipment from an international (interstellar?) development project and diverts it to her friends
– refuses to call for beamout in a dicey situation (who needs teamwork in the military)

Yeah, sure. Exactly who I can see in Starfleet.

The military is an up-or-out institution, like McKinsey. Can I see some who fall through the cracks and flounder, like Barclay or the “Good Shepherd” characters? Sure. Can I see some who are wantonly negligent getting a pass over and over again? Not so much. Dishonorable discharges are a thing.

Even on MASH, Hawkeye never, ever, got drunk on *duty*. The still was his off-hours schtick. And MASH wasn’t trying to convince us that the “regular army” was an honorable institution to idealize. Starfleet is.

And all that is before we learn that Starfleet made her *mother* her CEO. And people complained because Wesley Crusher was nepotism? Wesley Crusher was at least *talented*.

*applauds*

So true.

Mariner was NOT on duty. They made it clear they were on shoreleave. She literally says it in that scene. I don’t understand how that got missed?? And how many times do we see officers getting drunk on these shows? They drink all the time, especially on DS9 and TNG. We just rarely see them outwardly drunk.

Thanks gain Tiger2.

Temarc: Military may be up-or-out, but Starfleet is quasi-military with a much more complex mission.

Science-based organizations always seem to have some very bright people with good values but authority issues. It’s pretty established with a literature that goes back to the heyday of Bell labs. Some of the best make great and innovative leaders but lousy followers.

Mariner’s rebelliousness makes sense at her age and (demoted) rank, but she would be on her last chance to find a way to conform enough or wash out at re-up. It just seems that as a Starfleet brat she doesn’t believe that she could actually have to leave, can’t imagine a life outside Starfleet, and is too busy fighting to actually face her choices. I wonder if the comedy format will allow for that coming-of-age realization.

Mariner and her rebellious attitude towards Starfleet is a typical coming of age story. Tendi holds a soft spot in my heart. She doesn’t care about rank. Starfleet bureaucracy is not important to her. Leaving Starfleet is not an option.

…except that Wesley Crusher came of age when he was 14. Mariner (on her fifth assignment post-academy) is at least a decade older, likely more.

When we’re citing Wesley Crusher as an example of something done right on Star Trek, you know (to channel GWH Bush) you’re in deep doo-doo.

(Maybe this explains why Wheaton is so eager to promote the series, come to think of it!)

There’s zero evidence that Mariner learned anything or matured in any way at the end of the episode. She wraps it up by screaming “Lower Decks! Lower Decks!” at the top of her lungs in Ten-Forward or wherever. (Because “screaming=funny” in McMahan land, I guess.) Even in the insipid INTO DARKNESS, Kirk learned that Starfleet has rules for a reason.

Mariner and her rebellious attitude towards Starfleet is a typical coming of age story.

Last edited 1 month ago by The River Temarc

She wasn’t screaming. She was hollering; maybe even bellowing. Screaming is an entirely different thing.

Couple of things… First, very few liked the Wesley Crusher character. He was weak and, well, just a waste of a character. Not Wheaton’s fault. The character was pathetic. He was very badly presented.

Further, being older gives Mariner a more realistic look at the political side of the Star Fleet. Wesley was a child. He saw it as pure wonder. Almost like Tendi. But even more naive. Both of Mariner’s parents were pretty high on the ladder. Her father was very likely a Captain at least and her mom perhaps just below that. So growing up she would be privy to far more politics than Wesley ever was. That kind of perspective could easily sour someone to the entire organization. Especially a 16-19 year old. She is still young enough to hold on to certain perceived issues with the organization that employs her parents, and now herself.

And here I am not liking the first episode yet I’m defending it. Wow…

Actually I never had an issue with Wesley. They probably made a him a bit too smart but always liked him.

As with me and The Voyage Home, that opinion puts you in the clear minority. Which is not to say you are wrong. It’s obviously subjective. I’ve always known there had to be some who were fine with the character. :)

“Is Starfleet military” is an old debate within fandom. I’m not fully rehashing it now. But what is clear is that it shares with the military a low tolerance for repeated fuck-ups. Do you get to make mistakes? Absolutely. But you’d better learn from them.

Oh, and if you think Starfleet is a humanitarian organization rather than military: do you really think that if you’re a USAID contractor, you get to divert a bunch of agricultural equipment to your friends, because no one keeps track of it? Dude, it’s called “fraud, waste, and abuse” in government work for a reason.

Finally, I’m surprised you think that the real-world military isn’t a “science-based organization.” Ever heard of the Air Force Research Laboratory, the old Phillips Lab, the Naval Research Lab, the Army Research Lab, and any one of the scientific missions of the Coast Guard? All of them produce world-class, peer-reviewed science. People stationed there would be proud blue shirts in Starfleet.

Temarc: Military may be up-or-out, but Starfleet is quasi-military with a much more complex mission.

In a universe with near limitless energy and matter replication, no one is missing some shovels. The bigger issue is with the dereliction of their actual subspace transmitter mission. But you know we’ve never had a bounced around, insubordinate ensign on Trek before… something something… Ro Laren… blah blah… Tom Paris…

Well, in DS9 “Shakaar,” the entire planet of Bajor nearly went to war over a couple of pieces of farm equipment. So it is clear that interstellar development projects still exist in the 24th century and that scarcity is part of them. The federation can’t replicate ships, as we have seen in multiple episodes, including in PICARD.

Ro Laren was demoted and put in a stockade. Tom Paris was drummed out of Starfleet and put in a penal colony. Both were very lucky in that they had a unique skill set required for a highly specific mission, which reactivated their commissions. The same was true for Michael Burnham.

None of them were placed under the command of a parent, but instead under the watch of highly experienced officers (Riker and Janeway/her original exec, respectively) who took their duties seriously, instead of farming them out to a new ensign charged with “tattling” his peers, Stalin-style.

In that penal colonies (not prison’s) do exist in the Trek universe, that would suggest there are plenty of individuals who get an all expenses paid trip for some Federation reprogramming.

We still need to get over the idea that replicators are sci-fi perpetual motion machines. If a starship can replicate a thousand tons of material a day, there has to be a thousand tons of raw material stored somewhere. Plus the ability to generate enough energy to accomplish the task. There were miners working the universe in TOS, and scarcity was frequently shown in TOS and TNG. Physics is still physics.

Temarc, I think you’re getting side-lined here.

My thoughts were based on the premise, and it’s well documented, that there are generally issues of organizational culture and authority in scientific research organizations within bureaucracies. Smart organizational researchers at leading schools have put in a fair bit of time studying the issue and proposing solutions, none of which work.

To your point, I agree that great research takes place in military science establishments, in the United States and elsewhere.

But I would also argue that military scientists (both civilians and serving military) are at one of the furthest extremes where a scientists enquiries have to be subordinated to organizational priorities. Public health would come close. Then there is a whole continuum of government scientists and scientists in large bureaucratic corporations.

Bell Labs in New Jersey was a major source of cutting edge research, but it also had a lot of tensions and challenges between corporate priorities and researchers’ interests. So, it was a focus of some of the early organizational culture research in this area.

From a Star Trek perspective, the question is whether we are willing to accept that, even in an idealized society, some of these thorny or ‘wicked’ problems in management in science-based organizations are likely to persist.

I’m willing to go with it, but I can understand that others might not.

So, they’ve given her “one last chance”….by making her mother her CO. Gotcha.

Mariner’s rebelliousness makes sense at her age and (demoted) rank, but she would be on her last chance to find a way to conform enough or wash out at re-up.

I agree it’s weird Temarc.

However, it’s hard to imagine a viable fleet where dependant children aren’t posted with their parents. Roddenberry made a reasonable choice putting children on TNG’s Enterprise-D, but I think that we all struggle with what that would mean for kids growing up on ship.

We’d have to go back to the 18th century to think about that and how that would play out. A U.S. example would be the USS Constitution, a large warship that sailed with the gunners families on the gundeck.

So, in a Starfleet with good psychologists and a highly promising young officer who can’t separate her unresolved parental authority issues from her organizational authority issues, perhaps the HR advice would be to put her on her parents’ ship and let her sort it out for herself.

it’s hard to imagine a viable fleet where dependant children aren’t posted with their parents. Roddenberry made a reasonable choice putting children on TNG’s Enterprise-D, “

Big disagreement there. It’s monumentally easy to imagine not only a viable fleet, but an efficient and strong one. GR absolutely made a mistake including families on the ship. I think it was done because they thought it would open up more story opportunities. But they didn’t use that element as often as I thought they would. And by the time they moved on to the E-E, it seemed like Star Fleet wisely dropped the concept. Maybe some ship went into combat and a bunch of families got blown up or something….

I suspect the USS Yamato put an end to it, quick. 1000+ dead people, maybe 20-25% of them children who didn’t chose to be there, due to a design flaw.

Nah, recall the ill fated USS Odyssey put in to DS9 to offload civilians prior to heading off to engage the Jem Hadar

However, it’s hard to imagine a viable fleet where dependant children aren’t posted with their parents.

A 25 -26 year old commissioned officer is a dependent? I mean, I know the kids today are called the “snowflake generation,” but this is ridiculous. :)

Getting drunk must be a normal thing in Starfleet. Alcohol should be banned so people don’t get distracted so easily.

It almost seems like actual alcohol in Star Fleet, or perhaps even the Federation, is a controlled substance. They prefer synthahol.

Somehow, I doubt anyone prefers synthahol.

LOL…. Probably true.

You’re in uniform, roaming the halls of a ship, and handling dangerous equipment. You’re de facto on duty and certainly engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer. There will be consequences if you start horsing around and injure someone with said dangerous equipment.

Scotty wasn’t on duty during the bar fight in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” He still got a good dressing down.

Mariner was NOT on duty. They made it clear they were on shoreleave. 

The bar fight actually caused serious problems to Kirk’s mission. I’m sure that T’Ana just ran a light over Boimler’s leg and he was fine. He didn’t even seem upset about it anymore by the time the theme song was done.

She was lugging her shore leave contraband man. not hauling anti-matter! And when did it become a rule you can’t drink while in uniform? 90% of the time we see people drinking at Quark’s or Ten-forward in uniform. You’re looking for any excuse now. Yes the Bat’leth incident was rather unfortunate but he looked like he pulled through in the next scene and filed no charges so it was all good.

And I imagine if you start a bar fight with your biggest foe in the middle of a sensitive diplomatic mission, you’re going to get a dressing down every.single.time. On duty or not!

This just sounds like it’s not going to be your type of show. It’s a comedy, that has to be emphasized.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Scotty always seemed to be grabbing a bottle in the midst of a crisis.

I always had a feeling if they still had some form of AA meetings during that time, Scotty has probably been to a few.

Yeah… As I said earlier it really sounds to me the real issue here is the fact that it is animated, comedy or both. Everything else is just an excuse to avoid that attitude.

Could be wrong, of course. That’s just me reading between the lines. If I’m misreading, so be it. I’ve been wrong before.

Never said otherwise. I don’t look to Star Trek for comedy, which it’s mostly failed at delivering. I agree with the Rolling Stone’s review, which said that Star Trek fundamentally feels at odds with snarkier humor. I think CBS’ business folks have made a terrible strategic blunder in greenlighting this series, one that they’re going to come to regret in a couple of years.

Yeah… As I said earlier it really sounds to me the real issue here is the fact that it is animated, comedy or both.

I’m of the opinion that if CBS comes to regret the show it will be because the comedy failed. Not the concept. If done well, it has the potential to be a great show. I do not see the Trek IP as something that only has to be done in one tone and in one tone only. A show that is flat out comedy is different from a dramatic show that throws in a lighter episode from tie to time. And for the record, the TNG era light toned episodes didn’t work because what they tried to pass as comedy (the Ferengi on DS9 and Troi’s mom on TNG) was just not funny. It was facepalm inducing. What did work was Q. But only when he was presented in a non-serious way. He only worked when presented as a clown. When he got serious, he was just lame. And, of course, the gold standard, The Trouble with Tribbles. DS9’s Trials and Tribblations worked almost as well, too.

What are you talking about? Lwaxana and the Ferengi were some of the best characters on TNG and DS9.

LOL! Good one!

Funny, I just rewatched “Menage a Troi” yesterday! Always loved Lwaxana and honestly it was Majel Roddenberry best role in the franchise. She was a real character with a real personality and background. And her and Sirtis had such great chemistry together. They really did feel like a mother and daughter.

I never liked the Ferengi much until Quark showed up. But yeah that show really did change the image of Ferengi for the better.

I figured someone would address that. Yes, she was OFF duty. Her drunkenness was exaggerated but she was most certainly off duty.

I will, however, admit to her giving equipment to the farmers. That was a matter of her heart being in the right place but the action has a very high chance of creating major problems with relations with the UFP. (And for the record since this is a COMEDY I give them a lot of leeway with their stories.) I guess we are supposed to chalk it up to a bad thing done for humanitarian reasons. And she supposedly will learn better as she continues her Star Fleet life.

And finally, Star Fleet has high ideals but don’t always live up to them. We’ve seen that time and time again. She has grown up in a Star Fleet family so it seems reasonable that she has seen this first hand as many of us fans have.

IMHO, these complaints do not reflect the posters actual issues with the show so far. My guess, and this is a GUESS, is this is one of the posters who simply has a problem with animated Trek, comedic Trek or both.

Yeah, somehow I’ve never imagined all the junior officers and enlisted in Starfleet greeting each other with their stuffy english accents with “You have a due-tee” or “Good morning, we’ve eee-volved today”…..having lurked around on a couple of Navy social media pages when my son was in the service, getting back from leave a couple of hours before departing, reporting in totally hammered, wasn’t uncommon for a group of people aged 18-25. It’s best to remember this is a show about the kids in the service, not the gray haired ambassadors in training. Kids are gonna have fun, and probably not spend their graying years regretting it.

Exactly. And it’s also canon that young Picard was a handful.

Yeah young Picard almost seem like a nightmare lol. I completely forgot about that until you brought it up but Picard was not always the revered character that believed in duty and honor as we know the older Picard did. He was the guy getting drunk, starting fights and always trying to get laid. He believed in Starfleet but he didn’t exactly live up to its standards early on either.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

You do realize your commercial pilot in Europe (where airlines don’t recruit so much from the military) is likely to be 25 years old, particularly as a first officer?

If you brush off this behavior because “she’s young”….enjoy your next Lufthansa flight. Starfleet is now an organization filled with Andreas Lubitzes.

The older I get, the more likely it is that everyone will be younger. Damn it, those kids are on my lawn again.

Troi was pretty wasted in First Contact, and I am sure you love that movie…

Yep, and as I mentioned earlier, Scotty was clearly a high functioning alcoholic.

“Clearly a high-functioning alcoholic”? Name one time he got drunk on duty. One. The Kelvans don’t count.

The character we’ve seen get drunk on duty is Raffi Musiker. She was summarily dismissed from Starfleet, although we admittedly don’t know if the alcoholism became a problem before or after she left.

Completely different context. She got drunk in an effort to bond with Cochrane. Scotty got drunk on duty in “By Any Other Name,” but again, that was a deliberate attempt to bring the Kelvans’ human emotions to the forefront..

The nerve potion McCoy cooked up in the Tholian Web had Scott running off to find the perfect chaser.
Pretty sure he was throwing a few back on leave on The Trouble with Tribbles as well, despite orders to keep out of trouble.

Scotty running off to let them know if it made a good mix with scotch was the only time his boozing felt truly inappropriate. From my point of view I sort of blow it off as a comedic moment.

As opposed to Picard who starts fights with Nausicaans for fun and gets stabbed through the heart for his troubles? Finnegan was in the academy in TOS too. Not exactly a shrinking violet either. Really? You’ve never seen this on Star Trek before?

You’re missing the *entire* point of “Tapestry” (and “The First Duty”). Picard learned from his mistake; it shaped him into the officer he became. Post-surgery, he didn’t proceed to the bar, grab a Cuba Libre, and lead everyone in a rousing chant of “lower decks! Lower Decks!”

Young Picard may have gotten hot under the collar. Nonetheless, he didn’t do the stabbing, and it was his *own* heart that got impaled. If he had grabbed a knife, lunged at the Nausicaan, and accidently impaled Marta Betenides? Bet your bottom quatloo that his career would have ended very, very differently.

“Picard learned from his mistake; it shaped him into the officer he became. Post-surgery, he didn’t proceed to the bar, grab a Cuba Libre, and lead everyone in a rousing chant of “lower decks! Lower Decks!””

Haven’t missed the point at all, Temarc. The point of Tapestry is to show us Picard gleaned wisdom and responsibility from his encounter with a Nausicaan dagger. It’s not exactly rocket science. My reason for bringing it up is because Mariner has not yet had the same moment of enlightenment Picard had after his tussle with the Nausicaan. We’re introduced to her at a point where she’s still very much out of control and hasn’t yet grasped the consequences of her actions (although one could make the argument she’s partly – albeit inadvertently – responsible for saving the crew of the Cerritos due to exposure to the creature that carries the antidote) or the weight of maturity and responsibility. I would imagine she’ll gain some of that wisdom in some form before the ten episodes are done. I’m fine with that. I don’t need my characters arriving in a show fully formed. It gives us an arc to follow.

I agree, Mariner would be quickly removed from Starfleet with that behavior. It doesn’t make sense.

Maybe not. In a multiple post Borg excursions/Dominion War society perhaps perhaps dicipline standards are a bit more relaxed.

Very True.

Man, he just gets it. Show me an interview from the showrunners of the live-action shows that emanates an ounce of the same love, respect and understanding of what makes Star Trek work properly.

They say the right things sometimes, but you can tell by the shows they actually make that they’ve been coached, or are just trolling people.

McMahan walks the walk. With a comedic skip in his step, granted; but that’s proved thus far to be fine by me.

Yes, just SAYING things to appease the viewers is one thing. It is nice to hear but if they say all the right things and then give us something like Discovery, it really gives one cause to doubt what they say. Sure, it’s possible they do have reverence for the material but circumstances meant we ended up with inane plot twists, billions of holograms and Marvel level time suits… But that is enough for fans to legitimately question their claimed reverence for the source material.

“Sure, it’s possible they do have reverence for the material but circumstances meant we ended up with inane plot twists, billions of holograms and Marvel level time suits…”

And still one of the best damn Trek shows imho. Way better than Voyager or ENT by a damn country mile.

Forced to disagree. Voyager and Enterprise were both light years better than anything Secret Hideout has produced thus far. And Discovery is the bottom of the barrel by far.

Isn’t arguing subjective things fun?

Uh…no. Discovery is sadly my least favorite Trek show still even though I liked season 2 more. I would take those shows any day of the week over it.

Okay, I’ll ask the buzzkill question….
Why would a copied (presumably deactivated) relic spaceprobe with genocidal tendencies be squirreled away in a storage locker on a support vessel a hundred years after it had been recovered?

Retcon away, folks….

But that’s why it’s funny, well humorous. It’s outrageous… Makes no sense. Only a moron would do that. One must never forget that humor is subjective.

Clearly its deactivated and no longer works. And why its there because its suppose to just be a fun easter egg 90% of people would never even see if it wasn’t pointed out to them (like me), nothing more than that. I remember saying a few weeks ago we shouldn’t take this show so seriously, but I also knew I was kidding myself. ;)

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Just targets for the phaser rifle range.

Repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show, I really should relax.”

Also, this show follows the rules of comedy, so a little gag like that is totally fine.

If it makes you feel better, its not really Nomad. Its just a piece of equipment that looks kind of like him.

Yeah. That’s the other option.

24th century Roombas’ ….

or it’s a non functioning replica. You know, like a model. Even Picard liked to have models around to look at

Agreed. Sure, it’s fun to see Nomad in the closet. But why? First, didn’t Nomad self destruct? Why would there be a replica? Nomad was a hybrid with an alien probe anyway. So what’s the point? I chalk that up to things like the tribble cameo in Search for Spock. Fans can say, “Hey look! Tribbles!” But I think, what the hell were Tribbles doing in a bar? Have they been fixed in the last 20 years? Fun but really nothing more than a distraction to the story.

Bar food?

Fried tribble with sweet & sour sauce. Yum.

But those tribbles were alive. Are they better raw?

I loved this interview. Thank you TM. I love everything he said here, especially the bit where Mariner is a bit of Kirk, Picard and Janeway all rolled into one. I think we know where she gets her rule breaking and defying orders streak from lol.

I just really like the idea of this show so far. No it wouldn’t be my first choice…or my second but it’s nice to do something a bit different and still feel like Star Trek. In some ways more than the newer shows. I’m really looking forward to episode two now.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Tendi is the most relatable character on the show for me personally. Mariner is the right kind of crazy. Good points. Tiger2 always gets the right thing to say.

Yeah Tendi is great. We need someone just optimistic again and full of life; especially with so many people depressed, angry or bitter like we saw in Picard and Discovery. She is going to be fun to watch.

Not sure why but Tendi’s naive enthusiasm draws me to the character. For some reason this 2-D character feels to have far more depth than her 3-D counterpart on Discovery. Maybe the fact that she’s animated makes the trait more palatable?

After one episode not a fan of Mariner or Boimler. I think I see what they are going to do with them but here at the start…. Not a fan of either.

I have to admit I liked both Mariner and Boimler from the start. But yes obviously Mariner is going to be the more divisive one both being the ‘star’ and not exactly represents the best of Starfleet (and proud of it ;)). For me though, I really like this angle but yes I know she came off highly annoying for others. And again I think that’s the character, she’s suppose to be annoying.

Boimler comes off the opposite and a try hard but I love how much he wants to succeed. They couldn’t be the more opposite lol. Maybe there is a future romance brewing between them, that’s how this usually works in a lot of comedies. ;)

Eh, I really can’t see Mariner/Boimler happening unless it’s like way, way further down the line and they’ve both undergone some heavy character development. Even then I think they would be better off not. She just clearly doesn’t have that kind of respect for him. She treats him more like a baby brother. And he would be pretty darn intimidated by her I think. Neither of them would enjoy it much. But you are right, that is how these things sometimes go.

Boimler/Tendi on the other hand would make some sense to me. But they seem to be laying the groundwork for Tendi/Rutherford based on the ending of the first episode.

Last edited 1 month ago by Zinc Saucier

I don’t see a romance here. If they do it would feel like a trope. I would hope they are more clever than that.

They are more like Oscar and Felix. But rather than the two learn to appreciate each other I think they will both help each other become better Star Fleet officers. They obviously both have more of what the other character lacks. I get this is just their characters starting points and I get they are trying to go more for the yuks than anything. But that doesn’t mean I have to like their starting points. And perhaps that is the goal. They become better people in the end.

Not really a fair comparison because it is not a comedy but I didn’t care for Bashir when I first saw him. But the character did grow to be more interesting and even likable.

Even in the animated world, they’ll need to be careful with that. Ensign Tilly’s naïve enthusiasm quickly became a caricature on Discovery. It’s dragged that production down a notch or two. (I’m speaking as someone favorable to the show, please spare me the Disco hate).

This is now the 9th (and counting) article on this site by show creators trying very hard to convince fans that Lower Decks is wonderful. I don’t know what metrics are being used to measure the audience numbers but I have a sense the creators are feeling a bit worried about how voluminous the bad reviews on the internet have become. It is an expensive production and wonder how it will be decided if it’s making a profit or not.

Truly shocking that a Trek site would give this much coverage to a new show. They must be desperate, alright!

A Trek site making articles about a brand new Star Trek show and the only new show currently on? I’m guessing the Chinese are somehow involved.

You need to stop buying into the doom-and-gloom genned up by the Fandom Menace.

Whoa, it’s a total conspiracy. I bet they’ve never done this in the past with the launch of a brand new show!

(It also costs a fraction of the live-action shows to produce so doesn’t need the same profit margin.)

I’m not aware of any streaming services that are turning a profit yet.

Thank you for presenting a fact.

Hmmm….. Sounds like TrekMovie is in bed with Putin. He truly does seem to have the power to rule the world! Now he wants Americans to LIKE Lower Decks! He’s trying to rule America!!

Groundless speculation. Nearly every new show has a press blitz. Every new Star Trek show certainly does.

This site has just amalgamated various interviews.

Facepalm. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️

Douglas, when the professional reviews are great but longtime fans are unhappy, folks like you seem to feel that TrekMovie should ignore the reviews.

But now the professional reviews are mixed, but many longtime fans are delighted or at least intrigued, and you are concerned that TrekMovie is bringing us all the updates.

I understand what everyone is saying in response to my post and agree. The snark is also understandable and funny. However this show feels different in its treatment of Trek’s aspirational themes. In a very rough world through the years Trek in reruns and then new stories, has been something to turn to for vague comfort and hope that things will get better. Sometimes even warm and funny memories of watching Trek with friends or family members that have passed on. Also the legacy of so many people going into professions depicted in Trek. I tend to be a more serious person so the hopeful concepts resonate highly with me.
As for Trekmovie, I have valued greatly the previews and scoops about Trek from its inception when we only had films years apart to look forward to. They have even had a Trek writer post things from time to time. I don’t know of any other site that can make that claim. I don’t feel Trekmovie has any nefarious collusion with the creators of Trek and have even read some criticism of shows in their reviews. Trekmovie has stuck with it for years with little Trek news to report, to the huge amount of news we have now. I know they love Trek and want it to flourish. I know Trekmovie posts every bit of information and valuable interviews they are offered by the creators of Trek. That’s why we visit this site so often. I am very grateful for the connection to Trek they have given me through the years. I have nothing but gratitude for the role they play as fans themselves.
My feeling with Lower Decks is that it’s very uncomfortable to watch with so many sarcastic lines and angry mean dialogue. Star Trek means so very much to me. Since so many here like the show I will keep an open mind and watch some episodes again. I respect the widely varying points of view of the many smart people that take the time post here.

“My feeling with Lower Decks is that it’s very uncomfortable to watch with so many sarcastic lines and angry mean dialogue.”

Between two seasons of Discovery and one of Picard we’ve had cannibalism, cold-blooded murder, rape, f-bombs, graphic violence, graphic gore and (Klingon, anyway) nudity. Did all those plug that hole for comfort and the hope things will get better? Or is Star Trek being presented as an animated comedy that’s – at worst PG-13 – really more offensive?

Last edited 1 month ago by blackmocco

Yeah, I don’t understand this point at all? What’s funny is I liked the first episode of LDS so much because it didn’t involve a war or uber-villains quest to try and destroy the Federation. It had the most simplest story we seen in a very long time, but in a good way. We saw them doing what Star Trek is famous for doing, some actual exploration. I just liked they were on a planet talking to the natives. We’ve had 3 seasons of PIC and DIS, not one episode involved that.

Yes we seen them beam down to planets and talk to people but it was never under the guise of exploration or diplomacy. It was just ‘we need to go here to stop so and so or find this guy before the galaxy is wiped out’ type of plot lines. I think sadly why so many people soured on these shows so quickly, because they are not set up for striving for a better future, just from stopping a more bleaker one from happening. And to be fair every Trek show has worked on that level too, the difference is this is ALL we seen of PIC and DIS so far.

LDS won me over in it’s simplicity, that they are out to meet strange new worlds (even they aren’t the first ones there ;)) and find ways to build a future relationship with them. We have two seasons of Discovery and I still can’t tell you what that show is actually suppose to be about lol. With third season feeling even crazier than the other two hopefully it will create a premise and stick with it the rest of its run. But at the moment it seems to be something new every season.

But LDS just feels like a welcome change to me in so many ways. The fact not a single person died in its opening episode was a nice change of pace. LDS might be the most optimistic show we had since Enterprise (pre-Xindi ;)).

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

I also forgot to mention the live-action shows featured an intergalactic war, a homicidal sentient machine that wants to destroy humanity and– well, another set of homicidal sentient machines that want to destroy humanity. And the galaxy.

I’m exhausted after rereading my own initial post so yeah, if all LDS deals with is four undisciplined newbies trying to learn the ropes in simple and familiar story formats, I’m A-OK with all that.

It does feel different because none of that was framed as comedy.

I love the show! But the real bottom line is that this is the ONLY Trek my kids will watch with me.

I will watch with my young brother. My parents will love it too.

Last edited 1 month ago by Faze Ninja

You are lucky. I tried to get my kid (although he’s nearly 18 and starting JC this month) to watch “Second Contact” with me. He’s just not interested in Trek. Even comedic Trek. I told him an R&M writer was involved. He paused… Then opted out. He’s just not interested in Star Trek like his old man is. Such is life.

I actually like it. TNG is a great set up for a situational comedy.
Perhaps because I never took TNG seriously as a real sci-fi about the adventure and challenges of space exploration/colonization past the age of 18 I am more apt to enjoy the comedy?

Last edited 1 month ago by Cmd.Bremmon

For similar reasons I always felt that TNG was rife for comedy. The Orville did it in their first season. (Sadly not the 2nd). And that proved to me it could work. And there are just so many things in TNG they could joke with. Really hoping they go there. It is very possible to POKE fun at TNG without MAKING fun of TNG. Family Guy managed it in their Star Wars parodies. Hopefully this show will too.

Yeah. I liked when the Orville leaned more into the comedy, too. Although, I was still a fan of the more serious second season (it’s still one of the best Trek shows on TV, and I include reruns of the originals).

Maybe I should try Orville, kind of surprised how much I like Lower Decks (though disliked TNG). Brannon Braga did horrid awful Star Trek, but maybe does good comedy?

Last edited 1 month ago by Cmd.Bremmon

Just look at the first season. They were probably 25-33% comedy on that one. But the next season it went to perhaps 5% comedy.

I’ve always tried to live by the mantra that you’ve only ever really experienced something when you’ve been on both sides of the experience. With that in mind, it’s quite a jolt for me to be on these forums actually defending something after having three seasons of mediocre (at best) and dreadful (at worst) shite foisted upon me with the live-action shows and treating them accordingly. I certainly recognize the bile and venom being fired at LDS as I’ve used enough of it over the years on here (and have a giant reservoir of it reserved for Discovery S3 if it’s needed…) but I really don’t understand it in the case of this show. Damn. What a shame. I’ll concede LDS requires a bit of a leap to navigate the shift in medium and style but it’s kinda tragic to see how hard it is for some fans to make that leap. It’s not meant to be high art, it really is just a cartoon, folks. That’s all it is. It’s not designed to scratch the same itch as the live-action shows (although if Picard scratched that itch, you should probably head to the nearest ER – you got problems) or movies, it’s not meant to stand up to the same level of scrutiny. It’s just a comedic love-letter to the series that’ll either work for you or it won’t.

In that case, it ought to be funny, not a bunch of people screeching like owls. SPACE FORCE was funny.

It’s not meant to be high art, it really is just a cartoon, folks. 

And that’s where we’ll have to agree to disagree, my friend. I found Space Force about as funny as a funeral. Humor – it really IS a difficult (and subjective) concept.

I’m tending to agree. With both comments. I too am a bit surprised by how many people are unable to make the leap from the live action dramatic presentation to comedic animation. But you like what you like.

And I did not find Space Force all that funny at all. There was one episode that landed some good gags. And there were a couple of funny moments dropped here and there elsewhere in their short run. Overall I would call that first season a dud. But there have been bigger comedy failures….

It seems some people are only interested in personal ridicule of others with differing opinions. That is not a discussion. That is Trumpian behavior. I was warned about posting and now I have seen the result. I have no interest in hominem attacks.Time to basically be a reader of Trekmovie news.

I have a feeling I might like this show after I get to know the characters. I don’t like the show right now and never laughed once during the pilot episode. Even with TNG, the B storylines are not at all interesting if you are not invested in the characters, and that takes time. I understand why CBS did not release all the episodes at once, but in this case, maybe they should have.

Even with TNG, the B storylines are not at all interesting if you are not invested in the characters,”

Boy, you aren’t kidding. Since I never got invested in the characters all of that character stuff on TNG I found to be monumentally awful. You need to CARE about them for that kind of story to work. Honestly, I’d rather sit on hold with nothing to do for 20 minutes than watch a story about how Geordi tried to teach Data how to tell a joke.

Interesting.

The only thing that really jumped out at me was he said sometimes the B story on TNG was comedy. I’m wondering… When was it ever comedy?

There were plenty of goofy Data B-stories.

Ah… So he meant attempted comedy. Got it.

Lol Those were some horrid B stories though were great in contrast to anything holodeck.

Holodeck centered plots were one of the situations on my list that pretty much guaranteed a garbage episode.

I would have to watch these episodes again. the way it looks now I can’t see this series going 2 seasons. I went into this expecting noting ,no ideas one way or the other. To me it comes off as a Saturday morning cartoon show, Star trek the animated series was a lot better. I hope I get use to this new one, but I doubt it.

It got a two season order in the beginning and McMahan said he just finished writing the finale for season 2 last week so it’ll go two seasons minimum for sure.

I could enjoy this show if the voice acting wasn’t so super broad. And the animated character acting wasn’t so basic. And the characters weren’t so shrill and unlikable. And the animation wasn’t so clunky. And the jokes were funny.