Thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks

Thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks

Video source: CBS All Access

I recently watched the first episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks and have mixed feelings.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, watched the movies and reruns of Star Trek. I played Star Trek games (one of my favorite FPS game of all time is Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force), read the books, comic books and anything else I could devour. 

So I was a little bit disappointed when I watched Lower Decks. The idea, in theory, sounds kinda cool: an alternative look at the side of a starship we hardly ever see in the franchise in an animated show designed for the streaming generation. To its credit, the show is colorful and is animated well.

The problem I have with the show is that it doesn't feel like Star Trek. The humor in the show is something which doesn't work - yay, drinking and acting like an ass. Yay, extreme bouts of violence. How very Rick and Morty. Problem is that this isn't that kind of franchise. Star Trek, has never really been about that. You can shove that stuff into it and make it work. 

The other major problem I have is that the characters aren't very likeable. The second in command is a bro and extremely annoying, the security chief is a dumb as a rock meathead and the chief medical officer is a typical creepy alien (who is predictably a genius). The captain of the U.S.S. Cerritos, Carol Freeman, lacks presence and serves to serve up potential drama for future episodes (as you'll see in a minute).

Then there are the ensigns. Think cliched, think poor characterization. Beckett Mariner, the smart yet rebellious one is the captain's daughter, is annoying and a poor attempt to create a mature character. Brad Boimler, the wannabe commander who loves following the rules, feels poorly written. D'Vana Tendi, the obligatory alien ensign feels flat and a little two dimensional. Sam Rutherford, the ensign with a Vulcan cyborg implant, is like a rubbish version of Cyborg added to make the show feel relevant to a comic book loving audience.

The problem with all these characters is that they feel like what the writers expect Star Trek fans want. We have the one who follows the rules, the rebellious one, the uncertain one and the cool one. Whatever happened to the idea of just creating memorable characters that work?

I was hoping the premise of the first episode would be a chance to bypass the misgivings I had with the characters. I was wrong. It was a mess, with a subplot of an alien virus inter-meshed with the goings on the planet below and the hilarious setup of some stolen farming equipment. Oh dear. It wasn't very funny at all and lacked the charm and humanity seen from other Star Trek franchises. 

I'm not sure I can bring myself to watch another episode. This feels like a missed opportunity and I hope it can be rectified. 


Post a Comment