This morning, I finished watching the final episode of the first 10-episode season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the animated entry into the Star Trek universe. It’s one of those Star Trek entries that CBS: All Access has been running for the past three years, including their flagship Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Short Treks.
Initially, when I started watching this animated series, I saw the opening trailers and thought this would be probably the worst attempt to integrate into the Star Trek universe. Like it would be a Star Trek if they were in the Rick & Morty universe.
And after ten episodes … yeah, I was right.
For those who haven’t seen Star Trek: Lower Decks, it’s essentially the adventures of four lower-level crewmen on the U.S.S. Cerritos, a ship that performs “second contact” missions where Starfleet visits new Federation planets after another ship (usually the Enterprise) visits first.
Oh yeah, and there’s a ton of Star Trek inside jokes peppered throughout the series. Some will make you laugh, some will make you scratch your head until you get a bald spot. I am reminded of one from an earlier episode, where one of the characters is instructed to implement the “Janeway Protocol,” a reference to the captain from Star Trek: Voyager. But the Janeway Protocol is met with fear and terror among the crew members, and even when they try it, the ship suffers considerable damage. It took a few days for me to figure out that their reference to the “Janeway Protocol” was that Captain Janeway usually just barreled through any problem full speed ahead. Oh, there’s a knee-slapper, right?
Even in the most recent episode, where one of the lower deck’s rebellious crewmen are outed as the daughter of the captain, there are a ton of references to the original Star Trek series (including one character referring to them as being from the “TOS” era – not The Original Series, but Those Old Scientists). Rimshot.
I understand what they were trying to do here. They’re trying to integrate this show into a brand new Trek audience. A younger audience, one that enjoys watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network or something. But, ugh. I tried. I tried throughout the entire series. And it just didn’t work for me. I’m sorry. And trust me, I have no problem reviewing trash TV and issuing snarky reviews of same. Amish Mafia, Blood Drive, all of that.
But in this instance, I can do without another season of Star Trek: Lower Decks. I know there’s a second season on the way, but … ho hum.
Besides, next week is the season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, which in itself has its own series of “what the hell am I watching” moments.
Oh, and there’s that other upcoming Star Trek series that goes all the way back to the original 1966 pilot of “The Cage,” with the return of Captain Pike, Mr. Spock and Number One in their own show.
And probably there will be a new series based on Star Trek: Assignment Earth, with the time traveling adventures of Gary Seven and his female companion. Seriously, Star Trek created their own Doctor Who ripoff.
Or maybe they can do a Star Trek series where the entire show is filmed on a studio in an abandoned strip mall in upstate New York. Oh, wait, that’s Star Trek: New Voyages, isn’t it?