Review: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Powers Up For The Season Two Premiere “Strange Energies”

“Strange Energies”

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2, Episode 1 – Debuted Thursday, August 12, 2021
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Jason Zurek

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

Lower Decks returns with a funny, strong episode that finds time to explore our characters as well as the fallout of the season one finale.

Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner and Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman in “Strange Energies”

WARNING: Spoilers below!

The torturer will see you now

Season two confidently jumps right in the middle of some Cardassian secret base action complete with a sadistic interrogator, scary implements with names like “excruciator,” and of course… four lights. Beckett Mariner is her usual unfazed self, using the experience as an opportunity to work out some of her never-ending mommy issues, as she catches the audience up with where things left off at the end of last season when Captain Freeman and Mariner were exposed as mother and daughter and then united in a new cause of off-the-books side missions.

As she effortlessly runs through an exciting and entertaining escape routine she also works through her abandonment issues with her BFF Brad Boimler, who quickly reveals himself—and therefore everything we’ve seen—to be a hologram. Once again, Beckett turns to the holodeck for therapy, this time in the form of an unorthodox exercise regimen. Fake Brad makes a good point when he calls her out on how maybe she pushed real Brad away by intimidating him—so shut up, holo-Boimler!

Unfortunately, before Mariner can have the real breakthrough she needs, her true nemesis appears. Jennifer the Andorian wants to do some yoga, and Mariner has been summoned by the Captain, leaving her to rush through the rest of her escape with a little help from a classic ship. You didn’t think you could get through a Lower Decks opener without cracking a few Easter eggs, did you?

Okay, okay, there are four lights.

Some sci-fi stuff

Like the season one opener, the USS Cerritos is on a Second Contact mission, but this time Mariner’s side mission to spread some non-Starfleet regulation good is done in cahoots with the Captain. Apparently, this kind of thing has become their routine during our time away from the show, evidenced by a box of mementos the captain is keeping for all the good work they have done in a poetic echo of Mariner’s box of contraband from “Second Contact.”

This new dynamic with the Freeman family has Ransom feeling like the odd Number One out. His orders are to wrap things up with the people of Apergos, a simple job of picking their preferred subspace frequency while escorting Mariner to show the aliens the benefits of power-washing. Yeah, Jack is not cool with that. His only consolation for all this sanctioned insubordination is the loyal support of Lt. Cmdr. Stevens, who has moved from his season one chest-bumping bro to a level of sycophantic toadie that would make Waylon Smithers implore him to dial it back.

Things get complicated when Mariner’s beautification project exposes some ancient building features that power up enormous strange energies—by the way, that’s the title of the episode. Showing that he is first and foremost a Starfleet officer, Jack rushes to Mariner’s aid but gets blasted by the aforementioned energy in a big way. Dr. T’Ana beams in for the diagnosis. Yep, he’s got a bad case of godlike powers, and he is going full-on “you mortals tire me” Gary Mitchell. Of course, being Ransom, he uses his godly power to start transforming the planet into his personal gym. This episode is literally all about working out all the leftover issues from season one.

The Apergosians are not cool with any of this, as Ransom-on-the-mount vanishes their moon, transforms historical architecture, and starts converting the population into “Ransomites.” But all of this classic Trek superbeing fun has a purpose as it cleverly exposes the underlying tension between Mariner and Captain Freeman, who can’t agree on a plan of action. Dr. T’Ana suggests Kirk’s dropping of a boulder as a tried and true remedy.

And this is where things get weird in a very Star Trek way, with Jack’s head detaching and heading into orbit, growing to match the size of his ego. But while being a deity appears to be going to his head—yeah I said it—The Ransom is the only one actually seeing clearly and speaking the truth. He knows both Mariner and mom are faking their newfound convivial collaboration, and he just wants to be her Number One again. To prove his point, he starts chewing the ship. “You’re both fakers and now you’ll pay the ultimate price!” he proclaims.

Head alert

Okie dokie?

While all this craziness is going on, Tendi and Rutherford are also working out some issues from the season one finale, namely that Rutherford’s cybernetic implant was reset and erased all his memories of the past year. He is still his upbeat self, taking getting periodically lost on the Cerritos in stride, but Tendi is concerned—very, very concerned—about what she sees as profound changes. His sudden affinity for pears is the big piece of evidence she latches on to, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that—in another bit of episode one poetry—he is dating Ensign Barnes, and it is going well. Nope, D’Vana is totally cool what that.

Diagnosing Rutherford with the scary-sounding, brain-leaking disease of Synthetic Memory Degradation, Tendi hilariously tries to fix him with some friendly high-voltage electroshock along with some convivial pain therapy. (The surprise WWE-style hit with a folding chair was a particularly nice touch.) When all that doesn’t work, she brings out the big gun, which was actually a big gun, to shoot him with some kind of “medical venom” which she deploys during his date. Would it be racist to say she was green with envy?

Regardless, all this tender care escalates to Tendi chasing poor Rutherford around the ship, demanding to extract his brain for his own good. The irony of all of this is the only person in this episode who seems to be happy—at least until his friend went crazy and started hunting him—is the guy who can’t remember any of the events of the last season. The poor guy just wants to go swimming with the girls of Cetacean Ops.

Remember that totally accurate dog I created last year, so you can trust me

Back to normal

With God Head Jack exposing Mariner and Carol as “fakers,” they admit he is right, and the pair return to the traditional squabbling. The captain stumbles on a way to get him to stop chewing up the ship, through stroking his ego of course. “I can end this with praise!” As his head starts to actually shrink she runs into a snag as Jack now wants to be captain, inspiring Freeman to possibly find her elusive catchphrase: “Full stop mister, this is my ship!” It took a team effort to get it all sorted as Mariner deals with the body on the ground by applying “concentrated pressure” to his “neutral zone” and T’Ana sealing the deal with her Kirk-inspired boulder.

As for Tendi and Rutherford, their crazy chase through the ship has them oblivious to the giant glowing Ransom head biting the ship right outside the windows. Their friendship is far too important for that nonsense as they both soon realize, in one of the heartwarming moments that this show has proven itself capable of. Bonding over science is well and good, but yeah… Rutherford, just stop dating Barnes, okay?

With a subspace code for Apergos selected, off the Cerritos goes to their next adventure. Mother and daughter return to their classic dynamic, and Mariner’s sent to the brig, but this time with love. All that’s left is for three of our favorite ensigns to ponder what kind of life their friend Brad is having with his dream assignment…

Two lieutenants just for me? Oh, mom, you shouldn’t have

USS OMG

The biggest hanging thread from last season was Brad Boimler’s promotion and assignment to the USS Titan, under the Command of Captain William Jonathan T. Frakes Riker. But Brad’s Cerritos pals were wrong about him having the time of his life, unless they think screaming for his life is what he’d been striving for.

The smash cut to the Titan in the middle of a Pakled battle has Boimler deeply out of his comfort zone. With Jack Quaid delightfully conveying his terror, poor Brad can barely hold on as Riker and his crew of cool cucumbers relish in the battle mixing jazz terms and technobabble in a strange Starfleet symphony.

As they boldly head into a “gluonic disruption”—whatever the hell that is—Riker is literally loving his job. As for Brad—perhaps telegraphing how he will be reunited with his Cerritos buddies—not so much.

Does Riker’s ship have to be at “Red Alert!” all the time, contractually?

ANALYSIS

Same ol’ Lower Decks

Lower Decks literally hit the ground running for season two. Seeing no need to make big changes or course-correct, showrunner and episode writer Mike McMahan shows a level of trust in himself, his cast, and the audience. This is an animated Star Trek comedy and if you are cool with that and liked how they did it in season one, then you are going to like this too. There is even an element of a reset button in “Strange Energies.”

McMahan promised that season two would “pay the bills” left over from season one and it seems like he is trying to cut those checks in a hurry. The episode may have spent a bit too much time exploring and then resetting some of the character dynamics seen at the end of season one, but the humor is just as sharp, with the fun Trek-ific plot deftly woven around some key character exploration.

One way this season opener made up for the time is by cutting down on the references and Easter eggs that the show is known for and can sometimes overindulge in. And the references come with a purpose. Look past the “Chain of Command” homage in the cold open and you see an exploration of Mariner’s struggle to be real with real people, only exposing her inner self to her holographic Cardassian torturer, ably voiced by Missi Pyle.

For what I got to do to Ransom, this is totally worth it

Star Trope

While McMahan clearly worships at the altar of Trek, especially TNG, this show also comments on some of the tropes of the franchise. This is a welcome element of a series that should not be afraid to explore or expose things that may not make sense—or might even justify some ridicule.

This episode exemplifies Lower Decks‘ ability to find the humor in Star Trek. Mariner’s comment about knowing Starfleet crewmembers aren’t supposed to have interpersonal conflicts even though she openly hates Jennifer is a good laugh at the issue of the TNG-era’s “Roddenberry Box” that disallowed conflict for the crew, and frustrated writers’ rooms. And Stevens running around with a literal stack of PADDS—each apparently even unable to scroll down a list of numbers—is a subtle jab at Trek getting the future concept of the tablet almost exactly right, except for the absurd notion that you need multiple PADDs like you need stacks of sheets of paper.

Again, now that they know they have the audience’s trust that they’re here to celebrate and not denigrate Star Trek, they can have a bit more fun with the franchise’s foibles.

All that being said, this show can have its own ponderables. Why did Riker wait until shields were down to 30% before utilizing his catchphrase, “Red Alert!”? Hey, it’s Riker. We’ll allow it.

You can fly faster than the speed of light but can’t make a tablet that can hold a list longer than a piece of paper?

Final thoughts

A strong season opener that weaves character moments with plot and humor satisfyingly quenches the thirst after a drought of new Star Trek that began in January. Lower Decks is as good as ever, without fixing what wasn’t broken. Having Jack Ransom out front in a big way was a welcome difference, with Jerry O’Connell stepping up in a big way to carry much of the episode. Noël Wells also delivers a fun performance that showed some range rarely seen in season one.

Fans of season one should be happy with this opener and maybe some who ding the show for being too reliant on references will welcome the character-based humor of “Strange Energies.”  Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Permission to freak out, captain?

MORE BITS

Random stuff

  • Fred Tatasciore is still named in the main credits, despite Shaxs having died at the end of season one and not appearing in this episode
  • The opening credits now feature Pakled ships, joining the battling Romulan and Borg ships from the original credit sequence
  • The new Pakled ships are called Battle Harpies
  • The USS Cerritos has had a few minor cosmetic changes after being repaired following season one finale battle
  • Carol Freeman’s admiral husband’s last name was finally confirmed to be Freeman, leaving where their daughter got her last name of Mariner still a mystery
  • Admiral Freeman’s pet name for his wife is “Carol bear”
  • Among the items stored on Brad’s bunk is the bag of T-88 scanners Tendi and Rutherford stole in season one
  • Rutherford’s implant is waterproof
  • Mariner has added a castle drawing with her name on it to the wall of her favorites, with two check marks on it, perhaps denoting season two?

Laugh lines

  • “Words can hurt just as much as torture equipment.”
  • “We’ve got some sci-fi stuff happening over here.”
  • “It’s easy becoming a god, the trick is staying a god.”
  • “Hey, don’t transform my constituents.”
  • “Captain there’s a giant head approaching the ship” and “He’s growing hands. Brace for grabbing.”
  • “You are trying to eat the ship, sir. I had to apply concentrated force to your neutral zone.”
  • “F*** pears.”

I’m a doctor AND a forklift driver

More to come

Every Friday the TrekMovie.com All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network. And on Saturday we will post our weekly analysis of Easter eggs and references for this episode.


New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on Amazon Prime Video internationally on Fridays. It will debut in Latin America on Paramount+ in September.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

Subscribe
Notify me of
120 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

At the risk of being a bit of a downer for the new Star Trek, I thought this episode was just alright.

I thought Tendi’s half of the episode was a little flawed. She basically stalks and tortures Rutherford. She is also an ensign. How in the H E double L hockey sticks does she get access to all of this medical equipment and not one other medical staff member look at her and say, “WTFudge are you doing?”

Also (an observation), is it LDS’ vision to mess up Ransom for each season premiere?

I was fine with the rest of the episode.

It’s a cartoon

When Rutherford said LSD, I had a pang of ‘ooh missed opportunity’ to say ‘LDS’ instead

I thought Tendi’s psychotic snap was way out of character and way out of line, even for this show’s broad comedic stylings.

It’s not, she doesn’t get that she’s in love with Rutherford but her actions lined up with her OCD behavior. You have to remember the show falls more in line with American Dad and Rick and Morty. It works in that context.

Probably my favorite Lower Decks episode to date. I was just settling in to enjoy it and it was over. The running time flew by. It feels like it’s been too long since we’ve had new Trek.

“The running time flew by.”

Um, yea, because the eps are just 25 min long? ;-)

Just posted this over at TrekCore’s review; I’ll repeat it here:

I enjoyed it. It doesn’t quite hit the heights the last episode of this show did, but then “No Small Parts” is pretty fantastic, so that’s to be expected.

I can already hear the objections to some of the more comedically over-the-top behavior in this episode, from both Tendi and from everyone dealing with Ransom, existing in the same fictional universe that has given us some much more tonally serious (not to say realistic) stories over the years, and I think at this point it’s clear not every Trekker is going to respond to this show the same way. And that’s… okay. Personally, it works for me, given that this is the same fictional universe that for decades has counterbalanced serious parables about race relations, complex political conflicts, and deep explorations of what it means to be human with ones about alien pleasure planets, a Scottish alien sex candle ghost, a giant Spock clone, Rumplestiltskin, warp 10 turning people into salamanders, a stolen brain, space hippies, transporter accidents that do every weird thing imaginable including turning people into children, and on and on and on. To me, this is a show that gleefully acknowledges and embraces the goofier side of Trek, and I’m fine with that.

I did like the character work in this episode re: Tendi, and re: Freeman and Mariner’s relationship. Other observations:

– Very glad to see Fred Tatasciore is still considered a series regular even after the loss of Shaxs. I knew he voiced other characters on the side throughout S1 in addition to his main role, but until seeing the opening credits (nice update of those, BTW!) in today’s episode, I didn’t know if he was staying with the show.

– I wonder what a number of the ship enthusiasts who’ve been wondering and speculating and all about the Miranda-class USS MacDuff NCC-1877 over the last few months, ever since it was first revealed in the initial teaser, are going to say about it now that it’s been revealed to be just (?) part of a holodeck program. Is that really all it is, or is there more to it?

– Will every season premiere for this show have Rutherford on a date with Barnes while some crazy sci-fi thing imperils the ship? That’d be kind of an odd but neat tradition…

“and I think at this point it’s clear not every Trekker is going to respond to this show the same way.”

So true. And I really wish I could react in a more open-minded way but it seems to be going against my very programming… It’s not logical…

“with ones about alien pleasure planets, a Scottish alien sex candle ghost, a giant Spock clone, Rumplestiltskin, warp 10 turning people into salamanders, a stolen brain, space hippies, transporter accidents that do every weird thing imaginable including turning people into children,”

Even the worst plot device done in an in-world serious way holds more merit than that sort of mindless fourth-wall cracking we constantly get on LDS. I must now: I am myself very much a ridiculous person but I tend to take myself absolutely seriously all the time.

I don’t think all those plot elements are necessarily bad, just goofy (and certainly different tonally from the same shows that gave us “The City on the Edge of Forever”, “The Best of Both Worlds”, “The Inner Light”, “Far Beyond the Stars”, etc.). And while I also don’t think breaking the fourth wall is inherently bad (though it would certainly be new ground for Star Trek), Lower Decks doesn’t really crack it so much as tap it, bump it, lean against it, etc. So far, anyway.

Someone else said of this show that it doesn’t take itself seriously, but it does the Star Trek seriously, and I think that’s exactly right – in fact, it takes Trek so seriously that it takes even the goofy stuff seriously, and is only too happy to bring it up and cheerfully put it on display for all to see, even when the other shows try to sweep it under the rug. It’s why this show will bring up stuff like those things I mentioned earlier that came up once and that were never mentioned again in the show until now, when this show enthusiastically brings up just one after another.

Well, I don’t see how anything LDS does even comes close to taking Star Trek seriously. Yes, it has identified some silly stuff from other shows and exaggerates on them in such an overdone way they become outright laughable.

Look at yesterday’s episode. It’s WNMHGB meeting Who Mourns for Adonai, two episode that could be called cheesy, campy, even outdated. But when you watch them through a Trekker’s pair of glasses, they still are very much serious outings. We didn’t have to justify liking goofy stuff.It was what it was. It was goofy to the outsiders but we didn’t have to discuss it with outsiders.

But with LDS it’s dfferent. Now I can’t even force myself to take it seriously enough to even remotely enjoy it. Because it destroys every ounce of willing suspension of disbelief. The silliest episode of TOS, every cardboard planet, every silly pink lit wall… I used to be able to make myself belief it. With LDS as a canonical contribution to Trek, it’s just not possible.

It brings down Trek to the level of Simpsons, Family Guy etc… But that’s the stuff the outsiders watched to make fun of US. The comic book guy, he was there to take a laugh at us. Now we made the comic book guy a canonical part of Trek. But who assimilated who?

I guess you’re just not seeing it the same way I do. To me, it doesn’t destroy any of that at all. I see it not as dragging the rest down, but as elevating the goofier stuff to share equal footing with the serious stuff. Your mileage may vary, though, and apparently does. But if that’s the case, how did you look at the franchise’s inclusion of things like “Threshold”, “Spock’s Brain”, “Move Along Home”, etc. before this show came along?

Then again, I never found the artfully-lit walls of TOS silly to begin with; I always found those sets and the stylized colored lighting gorgeous (and honestly I prefer both it and the later style(s) of the TNG / DS9 / Voyager era to the lighting and cinematography of Discovery and Picard). You find them silly? :(

The stylized colored walls are okay on the Enterprise and other FED facilities. But as soon as that same style is used for Klingon ships, Romulan ships and alien facilities, it becomes a tad unrealistic. Why would they share the same aesthetics?

Out of the three episodes you mentioned, I like “Threshold” and I absolutely love “Move Along Home”… “Spock’s Brain” is quite obviously a weaker outing. But all three of them take themselves very seriously. There is no tongue-in-cheek nature to any of them. Only in retrospect fans began to disrespect some of these eps. I don’t mind that at all. To each his own.

“…but as elevating the goofier stuff to share equal footing with the serious stuff.”

This is where we differ. For me it feels like an inside job to ridicule Star Trek as a whole by overexposing some arguably sillier moments and elaborating on their silliness to an extend it hurts. It feels like an enemy within poisoning the well using Trek’s own lifestock as bait,

Trekspertise did a good but sad review on LDS on YouTube and I have to agree with everything he has to say about LDS… though I completely disagree with his stance on the state of Star Trek as a whole.

While I have some issues with certain creative choices of DSC and PIC, I like those shows fair enough not to color Star Trek dead. My issue is with LDS and LDS alone…

The stylized colored walls are part of the overall aesthetic of the series, transcending the look of individual vessels and facilities. It’s just part of the show’s visual identity.

Yeah, I saw the Trekspertise review. I commented on it months ago, pointing out some assertions in the review with which I don’t merely disagree but which in some cases are just plain factually wrong. My comment is still there under essentially the same screen handle (just minus the hyphen), if you’d like to read it there (I already make excessively lengthy posts here, so I won’t quote myself from there as well, when I’ve already copied and pasted my TrekCore comments here).

That’s not to say he is necessarily wrong about the show’s overall merits (though obviously I disagree with him and you on that point, but at least there there isn’t a definitively correct answer). I think this is just one of those things where we simply disagree, and… there it is.

I think it’s unfortunate; I think there’s a lot of heart in this show and a lot to reward the viewer, but I guess it’s just not for you, and that’s all there is to it. If it’s just not for you, it’s just not for you.

I see it not as dragging the rest down, but as elevating the goofier stuff to share equal footing with the serious stuff

There’s only 24 hours in a day. I have better things to do with my time than watch shows that “elevate the goofy stuff.”

Okay, but I see value in this show’s embrace of the goofy stuff. If you don’t, that’s unfortunate but okay, but I don’t see why you see a need to try to suck the joy out of the show for the rest of us. Why do you not have better things to do with your time than *that*?

Only that IMHO it does NOT “embrace” the goofy stuff, it exposes it for the purpose of ridiculing it. It exploits it for cheap laughs at the expense of the franchise.

And it doesn’t stop at the goofy stuff. It also takes the VERY serious stuff and handles it with utmost disrespect: Chains of Command, Darmok… that’s golden Trek at its best dealing with serious issues that don’t deserve to be revisited in such a tasteless way…

Showing a Horghan or an alien from TAS… that’s nostalgia-driven fan service. But making fun of Darmok or torture? Really?

What’s next? Ridiculing The Inner Light? Debasing Far Beyond the Stars? Measure of a Man? City on the Edge of Forever?

Just look at how they handled the exo-comp issues last season. So tasteless, so thoughtless…

See, I just don’t think it’s doing that (disrespecting “Darmok”, “Chain of Command”, et al.) at all. It’s not like this show is going back to those episodes’ timeframes and showing more scenes from those storylines, revealizing the TNG characters engaged in goofballery in between the scenes we already know from these serious episodes. This is just using the lore of the universe, like the fact Tamarians exist or that Cardassian interrogators exist.

I’m not sure what you mean by the Exocomp “issues”. “The Quality of Life” established Exocomps as being sentient, sapient beings, and not just the mere tools they’d initially appeared as and had been believed to be. From that point, other characters in-universe see them as people, which makes it a natural, logical progression for one of these little robots to decide to join Starfleet, the same way a member of an intelligent biological species like Klingons or Ferengi or whatever might decide to join Starfleet. That an Exocomp might decide to join the service, and have a rank, a uniform and everything like any other person in Starfleet, actually affirms the point the original TNG episode makes about them, rather than undermining it. If you mean the fact Peanut Hamper ultimately opts to abandon the rest of the crew in their hour of need, that’s just her as an individual being a lousy officer, and not really relevant to her being an Exocomp. The show isn’t saying “all Exocomps are untrustworthy bastards”, it’s saying “Exocomps are just another Star Trek alien, or in other words, basically they’re people” and also “this particular officer turns out to be unworthy of the uniform, because she’s an individual who makes her own choices”, with a side of the show employing comic misdirection (in that the fact she’s an Exocomp makes her perfectly suited to do what needs to be done to save the ship, so naturally the other characters all turn to her to do it, only for her to let them down).

It’s idiotic. The idea that a captain would report to her *husband*, and that an ensign would report to her *mother*, is laughable. It wouldn’t wash in anything other than family businesses in the private sector, much less in the military.

I watched this episode. “Same ‘ol Lower Decks” sums it up. It had the small virtue of at least acknowledging how demoralizing all the nepotism would be to those not born to clan Freeman, but nothing *really* changed.

We don’t agree a lot here, but WELL SAID !!!

I don’t understand how someone who clearly knows Trek history as well as you do could so consistently not grasp this show’s depth.

…with ones about alien pleasure planets, a Scottish alien sex candle ghost, a giant Spock clone, Rumplestiltskin, warp 10 turning people into salamanders, a stolen brain, space hippies, transporter accidents that do every weird thing imaginable including turning people into children, and on and on and on.

“This serious echoes the worst episodes of Trek Evah!” is…quite the ringing endorsement.

This show isn’t simply repeating that; it’s acknowledging that, and gently poking a bit of fun at it as part of a greater embrace of Trek in general.

Though as long as we’re on the subject… while I might agree these episodes are silly, crazy, and ludicrous (and sometimes just plain stupid), they’re not actually the worst. “Spock’s Brain” is ridiculous to the point of embarrassment in its execution, but whatever else one might say of it, it’s not *boring*; it has a certain energy that pushes it along. It’s not a dreary slog like “And the Children Shall Lead” or a muddled mess like “The Alternative Factor” or as problematic as “Mudd’s Women”. For all “Spock’s Brain”’s faults, it’s not as bad as those others; neither is “The Way to Eden”, IMO. Similarly, “Sub Rosa”, seemingly silly though it may be, is in no way as bad as “Code of Honor”, which is outright offensive. The unifying thing of all these episodes isn’t that they’re bad; it’s that they’re goofy, crazy, out there. Some of them are even kind of good, or at the very least entertaining. And I’d argue few of them are really actually the worst of their shows.

Aw, man, we’re never going to actually see Cetacean Ops, are we?

I bet this show will indeed show us, possibly this season.

Is that where all the hot dolphin chicks hang out?

“Again, now that they know they have the audience’s trust that they’re here to celebrate and not denigrate Star Trek, they can have a bit more fun with the franchise’s foibles.”

I don’t see where this “trust” should be coming from. S1 has done nothing but constantly “denigrating” and ridiculing Trek. The more familiar races, planets and plot devices are brought back or referred to on LDS, the worse it gets. Nothing’s sacred anymore, they “have fun” blasphemously slating every iconic moment that has been cherished for decades.

This happening from within the franchise itself and not from an outside spoof source is truly confusing. Quite obviously I cannot elevate to that metalevel of self-inflicted disgrace to make any sense of embracing such vicious disrespect.

Looking at Boimler’s facial expression on the Titan bridge… This is exactly what I must look like while watching LDS…

Oh, for crying out loud. So STOP WATCHING IT and drop the false drama.

False drama? It’s real-life drama! After all this is Star Trek and Trek is the only reason I have survived the last 30 years. And now that I’ve lost almost everything, my parents, my home, my sense of purpose, I certainly don’t need you or anybody else telling me “It’s just a TV show”! Shatner didn’t convince me of that more than 30 years ago. There is no “just” that makes any sense in that sentence.

No, I won’t stop watching. I will go on feeling bad about at my prerogative. But it’s still Star Trek. And if this universe wants to punish me through this series, I have to live with it.

I get where you’re coming from; though we disagree on this particular show, I know full well what it’s like to absolutely not care for a particular new Trek production though you dearly want to love it.

Mostly, though, I want to extend my condolences on your losses. I don’t know your exact circumstances, but I’m very sorry to hear that, and I extend to you my sympathies.

Thanks. Well, mostly old age… and with their death came the loss of my childhood home that we had to sell… So yeah, Trek and some other genre franchises are the only thing in my life that’s left from my old life and I certainly won’t stop watching just because I don’t like LDS.
It’s destiny or fate that this show is being made and it’s my duty to keep watching, even if it is just televised purgatory for me. If so, then I deserve that.

“And now that I’ve lost almost everything, my parents, my home, my sense of purpose,”

I rest my case.

And this IS fake drama. It’s hilariously over the top:

“Nothing’s sacred anymore, they ‘have fun’ blasphemously slating every iconic moment that has been cherished for decades.”

This is Star Trek, not a religion. The word “blasphemous” is hysterically out of place in this discussion.

Please stop this Gatekeeping. Not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid for this show like you.

I’m going to assume you don’t know what the term “gatekeeping” means. My post was in no way an example of it. On the other hand, claiming that those who like the show are “drinking the Kool-Aid” IS gatekeeping. In any case, my post was neither pro- nor anti-Lower Decks since I said nothing about it, so your entire point is moot. I suggested that a person who dislikes a show should simply stop watching it instead of resorting to melodrama. That’s common sense. It’s not gatekeeping. How unfortunate that you don’t recognize the difference.

Lighten up, it’s a comedy. That’s what they do!

And comedy shall do exactly that, from an outside POV. Galaxy Quest, Orville, Futurama, Big Bang Theory… none of that is Star Trek canon so it is perfectly alright with me.

Let’s think Life of Brian for a moment. Christians felt offended by it. But it came from without the “franchise” so it was fine with me. I’m not a faithful Christian but if I was I wouldn’t have any issues with it.

But if the Church decided to add a fifth gospel to the scripture based upon the Life of Brian, now THAT would be offensive. And that’s exactly what’s happening here. They decided to make Trek’s version of Life of Brian part of canon, part of the Holy Scripture.

Well said. If CBS had not rammed this down our throats as canon, and just came out and said it’s a teenage-level spoof of Star Trek (which is exactly what it is), I would enjoy it more. But we are suppose to take it as legitimate Star Trek.

See? That is also melodrama. And it’s absurd.

Maybe this is the reason I prefer the melodramatic crying orgy that is DSC a lot over that “lighthearted” version of superficial fun called LSD. I’m a very sad, emotional person. I cry a lot. Michael’s tears feel very real to me.

But none of the LDS characters do feel real to me. They are flimsy, fickle caricatures I simply cannot relate to at all. They are the Simpsons in space.

Why is melodrama so underrated? And why is having fun so overrated?

I am honestly sorry that you are sad a lot. No one should have to go through that, and I’m sorry that you do. I mean that sincerely, and I hope you eventually find a way out your current emotional turmoil and are able to enjoy things again. That being said… melodrama is not underrated. In my humble opinion (your mileage may vary), there is never a need for melodrama. It’s cringey and often rings false; it’s the reason “reality” TV (in quotes since there’s nothing real about it) is so often mocked. And having fun is not overrated–having fun is precisely the reason for enjoying ANYTHING. Embracing melodrama and decrying fun just seems like an odd stance for any person to take.

Maybe it’s because I feel nothing but pain? Not just personally (my life used to be happier but that’s not it)… but I empathize a lot with real-life issues and moral dilemmas,

This is why I simply cannot enjoy comedy based on torture, suffering and death. Classic Trek took those issues very seriously. Yes, there has been more than one odd joke in many movies and TV shows. But did they ever debase torture and death?

TNG’s Chains of Command was a serious effort at dealing with torture. And torture is no laughing matter. Why on Earth do so many fans believe it is okay to make fun of it? Not only does that stamp on the original episode itself but on every victim of torture in real life. It also debases psychotherapy by making torture a viable part of it on the holodeck.

Trek was always about provoking deeper thoughts. But when you start thinking about LDS and the deeper meaning of its jokes, there is little else to do than starting to cry about the state of humanity.

Gatekeeping? Have I told anyone not to speak his or her mind? I’m just phrasing my in-depth criticism of LDS. Maybe I’m a bit too emotional momentarily. But gatekeeping? What does that even mean with regards to my posts?

Anyway, if you want to get rid of me and my opinionated take on this show, just say so and I won’t be annoying you with my posts anymore…

Second point taken. Okay, so I’m spamming. I did’t know there was a limit that I had to take into account. But I assure you. You don’t have to bother about THAT ever again.

“you do not get to decide what is “Real Star Trek” or not.”

So that’s gatekeeping? Giving MY opinion about what’s from my POV is “real” Star Trek supposed to be or not, giving an overabundance of very good reasons along the way? So if that’s gatekeeping, I’m guilty… unprovisionally.

So basically you are saying that I’m not entitled to an opinion on what I don’t want Star Trek to be like? I have to be okay with everything they do even if that does involve making tasteless jokes about torture and dying children?

How many bad jokes does it take before it becomes wrong, Admiral Pascale? Before I’m allowed to say that it is wrong by you? How many?

Being the owner of this site, it is your prerogative to silence me and I don’t question that, Admiral. So I respectfully hand over my freedom of speech and depart in agony, sparing you all my “false drama” and “gatekeeping” efforts. I was only trying to do the best I could for the dignity of the franchise You can take my voice but you will never take my love for Trek. LLAP. Signing off.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

The only thing I can laugh at are puns. That’s the only humor I understand. And I love to use those ad nauseum… ad nausicaaneum.

Seriously I like humor. But it’s the dosage that matters. The joke density of maybe TVH or TFF… that’s okay with me… but this show is just being a joke 24/10…

Yea, and I find the jokes more annoying than funny in any case.

Except that this show is more annoying than funny. I guess while you are laughing, I am mostly cringing. Whatever, to each his own.

“Blasphemously”?

You know, when Futurama had Star Trek turned into a religion, they were joking…

Thank you for pointing that out! I vividly remember when I and some of my friends watched that episode some 20 years ago. I didn’t watch Futurama, but they wanted me to watch this particualr episode. Man, was I angry. I felt offended back then and I feel offended right now. Only now the bullying is coming from within the franchise…

Of course Star Trek is my religion. It is more than that. It can contain any religion. It can create religion and deconstruct it again. And if that is the case, then LDS is my very own personal purgatory…

Yea, that show made fun of Star Trek and its fans, and the people laughing the loudest were comics/animation fans who look down upon Star Trek fans.

Yet CBS pronounced LDS as “canon”, which is term derived from religious dogma.

Don’t shoot the messenger here — CBS proclaimed LDS in these terms, and no, they were not joking.

This is the comedy side of the universe. It takes the sillier side of Trek that has always existed and runs with it.

Only that the sillier, campier side of Trek was never silly to me. It still made a lot more sense than your reality of madness… The cynical emptiness of this world makes Spock’s Brain a creation of ingenuity… It’s a bad episode but even this one is a whole lot larger than life… If I had to chose between Trump, Biden, a h00ker and Spock’s Brain… I’d most certainly chose Spock’s Brain…

Yet Trump would choose a h00ker and Spock’s brain would chose Biden. ;-)

Are you for real. It’s a cartoon.

Right, because cartoons are never serious or sth

TAS is a cartoon…
Clone Wars is a cartoon…
Rebels is a cartoon.
Bad Bunch is a cartoon
Avatar is a cartoon.

Are YOU for real?

Bad Batch, sorry…

Please stop the gatekeeping.

If you think this show is denigrating or slating the show, there’s a fundamental disconnect somewhere. Maybe it’s between the makers of the show and you, maybe it’s between them and me, maybe it’s between you and me, or some combination thereof, but… the thing is, I don’t agree at all that the show is doing those things. Very much the contrary – to me, the show is pretty clearly celebrating the franchise’s races, planets, plot devices, and iconic moments. I think the makers of this show love and adore Star Trek, no are joyously having fun with it. Frequently it comes in the form of poking fun at it, like gentle teasing between friends, but I don’t think it’s at all intended to denigrate the franchise. I could well be wrong, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that if you asked Mike McMahan what his intentions were with this show, they’d be much more like what I’ve described than what you’ve described.

Mariner is still using her movie-themed holodeck program as therapy, this time in an escape from Cardassian torture. I had a feeling this would be a holodeck program, and I was relieved. It seems like Deep Space Nine gets forgotten a lot of the time, so that often means that even when elements of DS9 crop up into other shows, there’s a reversion to a pre-finale status quo. Worf abandons his ambassadorship to return to Starfleet, stuff like that. But, if we do check in on the Cardassians in a post-DS9 series, I’m hoping we find out they’ve rebuilt themselves as cultural center, and finally thrown off the shackles of fascist military dictatorship. Plus, it was cool to see not only a Miranda-class ship, but one that featured a movie-era bridge.

Regarding the movie era bridge and the beautiful Miranda Class starship: yes! I love how Lower Decks embraces the visual continuity of what has come before!

I love that as well.

I will also echo Eric Cheung’s thoughts on reversions to status quo. I’m hoping that if Lower Decks (or any of these other post-Voyager shows – Prodigy, Picard, whatever) spend any significant amount of time with any of the civilizations that saw major societal upheaval in DS9 – the Cardassians, the Ferengi, whoever – they remember that in the new shows.

(Actually I’m kind of hoping Lower Decks drops in on Grand Nagus Rom and Leeta at some point.)

I thought that was clearly an homage to TNG’s “Chain of Command”, not DS9. Holo-Boimler even mentioned the three lights.

The holodeck sequence doesn’t make much sense. The holodeck shows virtual reality from the POV of the beholder. Mariner is inside the station and then on the bridge of that ship. Showing space sequences makes no sense at all. From whose POV are they seen? Again, LDS doesn’t respect Trek lore as soon as it’s in their way…

Yea, that was absolutely pathetic and bothered me even more that the ep last year where the entire starship was shaking from some music in a single crew lounge???

Nothing about the whole bloody show makes sense. Tendi is trying to get Rutherford to take some medicine while a GIANT HEAD OF THEIR CO is outside the window trying to destroy the ship. It’s not supposed to make sense.

There has never been an official Academie Trekaise that makes official rules about what is and isn’t “canon”; it’s just that TOS, TNG and its progency, and ENT were by and large excellent shows, so we were able to overlook the occasional turkey like “Threshold.” (Even then, you got people who wanted to de-canonize TFF, for example.) That’s no longer the case; the thought of Star Trek as a coherent canon has sailed, probably as far back as ST09 and its alternative timeline. I’m personally inclined to view everything ENTERPRISE, maybe except for PICARD, as apocryphal.

There are external ship views in basically every single episode of Trek. Unless we see space on a viewscreen or someone is looking out of a window those shots are never from any character’s perspective. It’s a meta view we get as the audience. If you have a problem with that you would have to give up on all Trek (and most TV and movies taking place in space).
Also, all of Trek is almost never shot from the POV of a particular character. That goes for scenes taking place inside as well as outside a holodeck. We may get individual shots from one character’s POV, but then the next shot may be a wide shot that’s not from anybody’s POV. Trek has always treated its audience as an outside observer, not as a character that is part of the action.
Showing space views of action that takes place inside a holodeck makes as much sense as showing any other external space view that isn’t viewed by a character.

I gotta say I really enjoyed that episode.

I really liked it. And this from a fan who didn’t care for Galaxy Quest. I liked the nods or Easter eggs to previous episodes over the different series. I found myself drawn into the story and I didn’t want it to end.

Wait, wait, wait – putting Star Trek: Lower Decks aside for a moment, there are Star Trek fans who don’t like Galaxy Quest?!

I like Galaxy Quest. I love The Orville. I even liked the Black Mirror USS Callister ep. Those are fine spoofs / pieces of homage to Trek. And they are so good because they employ an outside POV. Therefore they are able to put a spotlight on Trek’s arguable shortcomings without devastating the narrative coherence of the franchise. Because they aren’t Trek lore themselves, they can do whatever they want without hurting anyone’s feelings beyond repair.

LDS does exactly that. It teases me like those school bullies used to. And it gets thunderous applause from large parts of the fanbase for that. Again, this is happening from within the franchise, an inside job, protected by the very IP it devastes on its course. I just don’t get how something like that could happen. But then again, after Deadpool, being a serious geek has become… quite… demanding… quite challenging to say the least.

I like Galaxy Quest. I love The Orville. I even liked the Black Mirror USS Callister ep. Those are fine spoofs / pieces of homage to Trek. And they are so good because they employ an outside POV.

I agree with this; one of the more ennobling aspects of Star Trek is the idea that it’s a history of the future.

“one of the more ennobling aspects of Star Trek is the idea that it’s a history of the future”

Yea, and LDS reduces this to teenage comedy with fan service canon gimmicks.

LDS reduces this to teenage comedy with fan service canon gimmicks.

Please. You insult teenagers.

EXACTLY !!!!!

It doesn’t seem like Blondie-Wan get’s the difference???

Honestly, I love the season two opener of LD.

This was an interesting episode, but… um… it wasn’t really all that funny. The only times I really laughed were for the “giant boulder” jokes, and Boimler’s exasperation at the end (although we’d already seen that in the teaser.)

Anyone else think this show should just dump the “comedy” and play it straight? I mean if they can’t regularly pull off the ‘funny’, why bother?

I said the same thing about Patricia Heaton’s “Carol’s Second Act” a couple of year ago. A show that was painfully unfunny, but could actually have been a pretty decent drama if played straight.

I think it’s always at least amusing if not necessarily hilarious. Even as someone who loves it, I will admit it doesn’t usually make me guffaw uncontrollably or anything like that (the way some of my favorite TV comedies sometimes have), but it always makes me smile. It would definitely lose something if it went totally straight, I think, and I wouldn’t want them to even try.

I do think it might benefit and become even better if they explored different styles of comedy, though. What would happen if they added a few writers who do things like, say, Frasier (for example), to add some zest to the dialogue? I also wonder whether they might benefit from having someone who’s done comedy in this franchise before – David Gerrold, say. I think it might be amazing if there were a creative voice like his in the writer’s room, collaborating with the others on this show. But even without any such contributions yet, I think the show has already been better and better succeeded in its goals so far than most Trek shows have in their first seasons.

I do think a number of episodes also work well purely as sci-fi action / adventure / drama, though, even aside from the humor they still have. “Moist Vessel” could easily have been reworked as a very solid TNG episode (assuming the budget allowed for all the ship terraforming effects), and “No Small Parts” I honestly found both *the* most exciting and emotionally resonant finale to any first season in the franchise, even while also successfully playing things for laughs.

OMG. Why are you trying to suck the fun out of everything?

I expect comedies to be funny. So sue me. :-) Don’t you think it curious that the Lower Decks episodes that seem to be widely regarded as the best (and by far) are the ones that really aren’t all that funny, such as Crisis Point and No Small Parts?

Oh, I don’t know about that. I mean, I agree comedies are supposed to be funny, and I also agree “Crisis Point” is one of the best, but I also think it is indeed one of the funniest (which is part of what makes it one of the best, for me). “Crisis Point” is legitimately hilarious, to me.

Similarly, I also think both of the same two things are true of the episode preceding it, “Veritas” (i.e., I think “Veritas” is one of the funniest and one of the best). YMMV, of course.

Obviously this is subject to change as the series progresses, but if I had to rank the beat episodes and the funniest episodes out of the eleven that have been released so far, “No Small Parts” would be the best, while “Veritas” and “Crisis Point” would be the next two best, though I’m not sure which of the two I’d put at #2 and which at #3; possibly they’d be tied. At any rate, they’d both be in the top three for “overall best”, and they’d also be my top two for “funniest”. “No Small Parts” is the only one for which I feel like there might be a significant difference between how good it is and how funny it is; it’s easily the best episode so far, while it’s not the funniest… though it is still funny. Right now, I think humor-wise I might put it at around #4 or so (behind “Crisis Point”, “Veritas”, and maybe “Cupid’s Errant Arrow”, though it gets hard to rank these after those top two).

“Strange Energies” I do enjoy, but it’s definitely the first episode that I enjoyed significantly less than the one before it – not so much because I hate “Strange Energies”, though, or think it’s terrible or anything like that, so much as simply because “No Small Parts” is so good.

OMG (groan!)

Yay, kicking in the balls. That’s what Star Trek has become. What a powerful message.

Star Trek VI says hello from 1991.

One tiny little scene against the very conclusion to the entire episode…

It’s not the fact they include such stuff that hurts. It’s that they ONLY include such stuff. The dialogues are bare of any intelligence, any wit. It’s just a neverending line-up of overacted high-pitched voices that have nothing substantial to say, loads of mad action comcepts and very very low bar jokes. They take every funny, campy, goofy idea from Trek’s past and turn it into a meaningless empty shell. The density of silliness is the issue…

You will find hours of silly moments in 750+ episodes and 13 movies but they try to cram all of those into a 25-minute episode every single time.

Humor on normal Trek is like a cold beer after a stressful day. LDS humor on the other hand is like downing a cheap bottle of fake vodka…

Star Trek VI says hello from 1991.

Context is for kings, as someone once said.

‘Twas me… Fortune cookie?

It needs to return to the high brow era of 1966 with extreme close ups of women’s butts.

LOWER DECKS, LOWER DECKS, LOWER DECKS!

I enjoyed this episode tremendously and I am soooooo happy that Lower Decks and new episodes of Trek are back! And this time we can enjoy and discuss the episodes with our american friends as they premiere just a day apart! I loved the “rock-solution” to the godlike powers! That was canon-related fun at its best! I am really looking forward to this season! Set your Phaser to fun! :-)

Frank, I’m German, too. And it hurts so much not being able to join you in your rejoycing here. It would be wonderful to be able to celebrate new Trek with our American, Canadian or Rigelian friends. But when it comes to LDS this is the first time ever I simply cannot do so.

I’ve defended various incarnations of Trek against overwrought criticism. Back in the day I used to write letters to the editor in our good old printed Trekworld magazine objecting anyone who tried to shred DS9, VOY or GEN to pieces. I even loved TNG S1 or TOS S3. In the early aughties, I defended NEM and ENT against those full-time naysayers online and later I always spoke in favour of the KT movies, well two out of three at least.

And while I had some quibbles with the graphic violence on DSC S1 and PIC, I also did my best to embrace those new entries to Star Trek lore. I am so much looking forward to PROD and SNW.

But with LDS, I’m just not able to do the same. It’s probably my dislike for that particular subgenre called animated comedy. I was never a huge fan of The Simpsons or Family Guy and I couldn’t get three episodes into McMahon’s Rick & Morty. Shows like that are normally there to make fun of society and real life.And reality deserves that A LOT.

But Trek always had been both, some sort of escapism into a better future and also a mirror for current issues. With LDS it falls victim to the same form of disfespectful treatment. And that hurts.

The thing I don’t get is that the producers tend to say LDS is all about laughing WITH Trek and not laughing AT Trek. Quite honestly it doesn’t feel like that at all to me. For me it’s the complete opposite… The Orville and Galaxy Quest, those were honoring Trek from without the franchise! Those were actaully laughing with Trek! But LDS… it’s all about jokepicking the franchise to death. And lots of people even don’t realize it. A matter of taste? Sure. But I cannot help feeling the way I do.

Garth, big respect that you defended Trek series for overdone critism. I really understand your logic and problem with Lower Decks. For me it feels just like a funny nerd party and I like it! I also did like Futurama which sometimes reminds me of Lower Decks. So it is all about fun, geeking out and enjoying nerdy canon references. If you don’t like this kind if animation, humor and you are looking for a little more serious version I can understand why you didn’t like it. I loved Galaxy Quest but it really did hurt Trek by pointing laughing the fingers on many Trek things. It wasn’t about geeking out and making fun references but its message was mocking a tv series, its (otherwise unsucessfull) actors and its fans that take itself and themselves much to serious. That always left a pale taste in my mouth while otherwise loving Galaxy Quest and is for sure quite different from Lower Decks humor and style.

…isn’t it great that we now have so manny current Trek series so that anyone can pick a favorite show or one which he/she isn’t so fond of? That is luxury and makes me happy!

“I loved Galaxy Quest but it really did hurt Trek by pointing laughing the fingers on many Trek things.”

Well, it did point out some arguable weaknesses but that happened from outside POV. It’s not Trek canon. And not being animated, it wasn’t completely over the top.

I totally agree with your last point. I so much wanted Trek back for over a decade and I’m glad it’s back big time and yes, I absolute WANT to like all new things Trek.
It’s just that I cannot embrace that ugly duckling that is LDS… If I didn’t care I wouldn’t be wasting my (and your) time to comment on it in depth.

I still hope that I’ll ne somehow able to make this show work for me, finding some “reconciliation” after all. But momentarily I’m banging my head against an invisible wall trying to get connected to it.

GQ may have started it out as a spoof of that milieu but transforms into a ‘trek’ like adventure that praises its characters and the fans who loved the crew of the protector.

I just love the detail they put into the artwork!
the info screen about Gary Mitchell has him drawn in the style of the original animated Trek

Yeah was one of my favorite gags from last season. When they used TOS Animated Spock and Kirk on Ransom’s pad.

So… I still don’t find this show funny, at all, BUT I still do enjoy the hell out of Lower Decks. Keep up the good writing and I shall keep watching.

Huh? You don’t find it funny but you like it? Is there anything in that series that’s not supposed to be funny? Whether it’s funny or not I cannot say because I don’t get the humor but I do realize the attempt at being funny 99% of its screen time. It’s definitely not serious enough to be enjoyed as “real” Trek. It’s weird, just weird and confusing…

Gonna politely disagree with you there, Garth Lorca…. I consider LDS more “real” Trek than some other “real” Treks. It’s called personal taste. Yours just differs from others, as does mine. As does everyone’s. Maybe embrace the infinite diversity a little more and stop trying to squeeze everyone into a Garth Lorca-shaped box by defining shows as “real” Trek and “not real” Trek.

You’re probably right about IDIC. I wish I could live up to it regarding LDS.

I just feel so burnt by it. For decades fans have complained time and again about the tiniest little inconsistencies on other Trek shows, nitpicking their way through the galaxy. They can’t do this, they can’t show that because technobabble mumbo jumbo and yeah, in episode Such and Such it was mentioned that something like that doesn’t work, so Vulcan has no moon while it has ten and Warp 10 can never be reached… And was that decision of Janeway’s or Archer’s morally acceptable or not? What a cartoonish character Neelix was… yawn! So I had to argumentatively shoot my way through those naysayers for ages!

But lo and behold… Here comes LDS… Nothing makes zero sense. The characters are decals of Starfleet officers, morals have been replaced by corruption and selfishness, everything is so cool… slicing up aliens, blowing up stuff, breaking the fourth wall, not caring about the smallest bit of logic… Torture is so cool we include it in holodeck programs now. Dead children are so cool, we make jokes about it in our training routine, no f***s given.

Now, if all of this is part of REAL Star Trek now, there must be something utterly wrong with it. But if all of that doesn’t matter because it’s “just” animated comedy, than this Trek isn’t “real”, is it? The choice is yours. But the one thing I won’t subscribe to are double standards.

“…and stop trying to squeeze everyone into a Garth Lorca-shaped box by defining shows as “real” Trek and “not real” Trek.”

Real Star Trek doesn’t make fun of torture. It doesn’t make fun of children dying in battle. It doesn’t take a laugh at alien cultures. It isn’t a line-up of debasive maneuvers shaking the very foundation this franchise was based upon.

Do you know how many people fall victim to torture and war every single day? In Belarus, in Afghanistan?
TNG’s Chains of Command took that issue seriously. And LDS takes a dump on this effort for the sake of cheap laughs…

I’m with the Emissary here…. I don’t always chortle aloud, spewing Sluggo cola out my nose at every joke, but I enjoy the hell out of this quirky show, even in repeat viewings.

An observation — It seems like many fans here are trying really hard to convince themselves that this first ep of Season 2 was a really good one in line with how they felt about most of the eps of Season 1 — but they are not coming across as very convincing.

The issue with this show is the fact it’s been proclaimed canon by TPTB. But if it’s canon, it has to hold up to a certain level of scrutiny.
Let’s forget about those “soft” issues in style and values I have with the show for a moment…
Let’s forget about the overacting, nonsensical unnatural behavior of every single crewmember.
Let’s forget about the elitarian nepotism and corruption in all that career obsession, transfering to other departmens, ships etc, something that no Trek show has ever tackled.
Let’s forget about the moral indifference and disrespectful name calling by some of the crew in S1.
Let’s forget about those illogical, inexplicable, over-the-top breaking-the-fourth-wall moments with a ship full of easter eggs reproducing at a Tribble’s ratio.

But even some of the hard-on details don’t make any sense.

How can there be space sequences within a holodeck simulation that is defined by the user’s POV? Who is looking at those ships and stations from outside? Certainly not Mariner!

How can Ransom survive a huge rock placed upon his torso after having lost his abilities, making a full recovery by the end of the episode?

And those are details that you cannot generously overlook from where I’m standing. Trekkers have been nitpicking on far smaller issues for 50+ years now. And now that it’s an animated comedy, logic and common sense don’t matter at all anymore?

You’re right about what you’ve said above. This show should have never been announced as a canonical contribution to Trek by the IP owner. THAT and THAT alone makes it impossible for me to enjoy it. Because it is now the weakest link within Star Trek canon. It’s there and it cannot be unseen.

And for me, “head canon” isn’t a thing. I have to accept that it’s an official in-world incarnation of Trek. And this is exactly where it fails me.

Methusalah and Garth Loca, you have summed up my feelings towards this show perfectly.

I’ve been a staunch supporter of all things Trek, and have not had any issues with DSC or PIC, but I’m sad to say I won’t be tuning into Lower Decks any longer.

I stuck through season 1 and was hoping season 2 would be better but it’s more of the same. Maybe I’m too old (even though I love animation) but the show is firstly just way too frantic and silly for me, and then also for the very reasons stated by Garth – whose points I agree with 100%.

That’s probably for the best, and I wish I could do that. I love Lower Decks myself, though, and in my case it’s the only thing produced in the franchise in the last fifteen years that I’ve really enjoyed much. I’m still committed to watching everything produced under the Trek banner at least once, but alas, Picard isn’t really for me (a great disappointment, considering the hopes I’d had for it), Discovery (despite having a few aspects I greatly admire) isn’t really for me, the Kelvin movies are absolutely not for me, and I don’t think SNW is really going to be for me, either (though I still intend to watch it, and am hopeful for the underlying stories even if I’m not crazy about the trappings and framing elements). But I’ll watch them all anyway, out of a sense of fannish devotion and obligation, kind of like doing chores.

I’m still hopeful and optimistic for Prodigy, though. And Lower Decks? I hear and read the complaints you and others have with the show, and though I don’t agree with them all I do get them, and in a handful of instances I even agree with certain criticisms, and can envision certain ways in which it could be made (even) better… but for all that, I still love it. I think there’s some truly great stuff in it. I honestly love it more not only any of the other “nuTrek”, I love it more even than some of the older “classic Trek”. I think it’s better not only than Enterprise, a flawed show I still like, but better also than Voyager, a flawed show I still love. I enjoy it perhaps roughly comparably to how much I enjoy TAS and the TNG movies, perhaps a little more; the only parts of the franchise I really like more than Lower Decks are TOS, the TOS movies, TNG, and DS9. While it’s obviously risky to judge the overall merits of a show that will presumably run for several seasons based on just its first eleven episodes, on the whole I think it’s currently the best thing produced in the franchise since the end of DS9, and that’s kind of a big deal to me.

This wasn’t my favourite episode, but it had its moments.

The nepotism seems such an affront to any kind of values, let alone the Federation values Mariner claims to hold close.

So, that wasn’t working for me.

A LOT wasn’t working in this episode and that entire show… Fans seem to be getting their kicks out of little details like the four lights thing in the Cardassian torture room. How cool seeing that room again, how cool having Holo-Boimler mention the lights… What a love letter to Star Trek!

Wow, just wow, Chains of Command was a very serious take on a very serious real-life issue… torture is not fun… it is not supposed to be part of a recreational program, let alone psychotherapy.

This tiny little scene alone shows how little respect this show has for the true nature of classic Trek and the real-world problems that inspired it! How many people fall victim to war and torture every single day? But yeah, let’s feel great about it… Because it’s cool… a true love letter!

Coming next week: turning a serious, heart-breaking, tragic and iconic challenge of diplomacy and intercultural understanding into a walking joke… how cool, including this species again, while ridiculing and debasing alien cultures … They really get the true meaning of Star Trek.

I’m beginning to feel a lot like in TNG’s “The Game”… Everybody seems to love this silly show and I am the only one who can still see what it is…

Fun episode, and lots of great Easter eggs!

I want to start off by saying l did enjoy S1. I do not dislike lower decks. However, I didn’t enjoy this episode. I felt that this episode was making fun of star trek, rather than being a part of star trek. It was cartoony (more bugs bunny than trek) for an adult comedy, Mariner was annoying, and the Tendi/Rutherford subplot was uninteresting. I laughed maybe once. But, it just isn’t right for a captain to give preferential treatment to her daughter over her Exec. The captain is unprofessional. It just didn’t work for me. I hope this is an anomaly and the other episodes are better.

The episode was exactly like 95% of the stuff in S1. LDS has always made fun of Star Trek. Every single crewmember has always been shown as incompetent, selfish and unprofessional caricatures of Starfleet officers. It has always hand-selected treasured classic Star Trek moments and turned them into empty, shallow jokes. It is bare of any morality other than making fun of moral concepts.

The Tendi/Rutherford subplot wasn’t just “uninteresting”, it was downright evil: Tendi employed dangerous medical devices on her crewmate out of mere jealousy! She tortured him just to make sure he doesn’t date another lady. C’mon… This isn’t fun, it’s brainless cynicism.

Garth has a point about season 2, episode 1

Great review!

A typo you might want to fix: You call Mariner “nonplussed,” but that word means “surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.” Mariner is exactly the OPPOSITE of nonplussed; she takes EVERYTHING in stride and copes with it with aplomb.

I’m pretty sure doing that kind of thing is a fine old convention tradition! :-)

For what it’s worth, I’m not going to restart my subscription to P+ until next month. Normally I would have started it a day or so ago to only have to pay for 2 months…. But this show just isn’t worth that. Even Star Trek Discovery I still subscribe for two months rather than wait till half way through their season. (at least so far). So no comments from me on the episodes until I see them beginning on Sep. 15. Some I know are very happy about that.

For those that love it, enjoy!