Star Trek: Lower Decks is a new animated Star Trek comedy series in the vein of Final Space and Futurama taking the settings, tropes, and silliness of the Star Trek universe and running with it. The series centers around a group of ensigns on the starship Cerritos, a ship tasked with Second Contact with alien worlds. They’re not the heroes that save the universe, they’re literally the grunts that fix the replicators and clean the biohazards out of the holodeck.
I know what you’re thinking: “Star Trek is officially dead! I can’t believe they’ve sunk this low!”
First of all, shut up.
Second of all, shut up.
“Second Contact” is the strongest pilot episode that Star Trek has produced since the original series.
You heard me.
This is the strongest pilot of any Star Trek series with the possible exception of the original series and, even then, it’s neck in neck.
You may think that I’ve fallen off my rocker, but honey, that happened years ago. I’m just telling you how it is.
Despite being only 22 minutes long, “Second Contact” beautifully handles the unenviable task of not only introducing a new crew and new starship, but also manages to put a new, never seen spin on a universe that’s been around for almost 55 years. Seeing the way that low-ranked ensigns view their ship, their universe, and even the senior officers was a lot of fun.
Add to that, the boundless possibilities of animation lend themselves very well to Star Trek as was demonstrated not only in the very corny Star Trek animated series of the 1970s, but also in the animated installments of Short Treks that premiered last year. Budgetary restraints, iffy special effects, limited soundstage space is simply not an issue. I mean, come on… this first episode featured a giant spider monster and it fit into the episode perfectly because it was all so cartoony.
What’s more, Lower Decks is completely different that what I was expecting which was something dumb and satirical and, while it does contain quite a bit of satire, it also has the heart and humanity that you would expect from a live-action episode of Star Trek. The characters grow, change, and learn and the show has several exciting and surprising plot tidbits that promise more development in the future.
Simply put, imagine your best case scenario for this show and multiply it by three. Yeah, not all of the jokes land, but the ones that do leave a crater. The characters are likable, the casual situations around a shipwide emergency are a lot of fun, and I especially love the fact that the bridge crew who aren’t the stars of the show act like they’re the stars of the show.
Star Trek: Lower Decks puts the fun in the final fun-tier!