Star Trek: Lower Decks Annoys More Than Entertains, I’m Out!

The title art says it all, trust me!

Episode #8 is now out for Star Trek: Lower Decks, if my interest and excitement for the show was there, I would be watching and reviewing right now. Nope.

After struggling to find any merit behind Star Trek: Picard, I doubted the desire to ever review another live action Star Trek TV series from Alex Kurtzman.

I might make an attempt to watch the first episode or two of Strange New Worlds, if it ever sees a release date, but definitely am not a fan of Discovery. Kurtzman’s five year contract seems to have been a colossal mistake for CBS, at least in my opinion.

Basically, I’ve given up on new live action Star Trek for awhile. Am not alone, as even Paramount has — in movie form, at least. See: Paramount No Longer Making Star Trek Movies, Citing Not Enough Interest.

(UPDATE 9/24/23 @ 5:43am PT: there are disputing reports that Paramount ever said what’s rumored in the other article source (multiple articles claimed the same thing was said by Paramount, but in fairness can’t find any press release or official Paramount statement confirming this). Believe what you want to believe, I guess, but we all know right now very little movie production is happening, Star Trek or otherwise. I tend to believe the original report that Paramount doesn’t want to proceed with any more Star Trek films at the present time. They never said never and why would they? But the whole idea of Tarantino getting involved officially is a pipe dream. Why would he waste his 10th and final film — according to him his tenth will be his last ever film — on a remake of an R-rated episode “Piece of Action” from TOS?)

They need somebody else to come in as showrunner. Somebody that can mine what truly makes Star Trek great. Somebody that will do something like Jon Favreau is doing with Star Wars TV right now a la The Mandalorian (season 2 is coming next month, woot!)

What I’m missing from Kurtzman Trek is the humanity, the fantastic alien adventures that enlighten and help the crew develop their characters and interaction with each other and future stories. Heck, I’m just plain missing likeable main characters.

Currently, we’re receiving Star Trek: Lower Decks, a not adult enough animated show and I kept watching each week hoping to return to the world — at least the kindred spirit — of the original Animated Series with a modern twist. The one from the 70s that I grew up watching and rewatching (and soon will be excitingly reviewing here).

I thought maybe with a Trek fan like Mike McMahan from Rick and Morty (see: Hey Trekkies, Mike McMahan is one of you), we’d see that same spirit and energy, but with a 2020 freshness. We’d get adult themes, a la Harley Quinn, but instead we’re subjected to TV-14 weak humor that doesn’t appeal to adults and probably not funny enough for teens either. You’ll have to ask them, as all our children are grown up and the grandchildren are much too young to care about what’s going on with Lower Decks.

Instead of enlightenment, Lower Decks is a story about a woman who doesn’t want to be on a Federation space ship doing anything except bitching and moaning. She’s a terrible example of what strong women characters like Uhura or Nurse Chapell have done in Star Trek.

A piece of advice from a disgruntled viewer to Beckett Mariner, “QUIT!” Just leave Starfleet and go hang out on future earth or some alien world doing whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Why make everybody around you so miserable all the time? The Lower Decks on the Cerritos doesn’t need or want you — your own captain mother doesn’t want you there — viewing audiences certainly don’t and your “friend”, Boimler definitely doesn’t. If he were only smart enough to realize that, of course.

Boimler? Man, if there was ever a male character that needed balls, it’s him. This guy is about as spineless as Play Doh. I kept hoping in one episode he’d just tell Mariner he didn’t want to be her friend any more. How much verbal abuse can any one guy take anyway? You can choose your friends, Boimler, really, you can. Can’t always choose the a-holes you have to work with, but friends? Yes, you can choose your friends.

Rick and Morty is more fun than Lower Decks. I just feel too many producing hands were stirring the Lower Decks pot, ruining whatever stew Mike McMahan tried to cook.

A few Lower Decks episodes watched to date have had brief moments, but the two main characters, the very weak Brad Boimler and overbearing, boisterous and whiny lower decks friend, Beckett Mariner were not characters I want to spend time watching any more. Today, with so many movies and TV shows to watch — and some that are ground breaking good — it’s just not worth it following any show that becomes a struggle to watch.

There are some characters in Lower Decks I would like to watch more of, but they are bit players. Ransom, that is number one, voiced by Jerry O’Connell, stands out. Also the head of security with the itchy trigger finger. That character might seem one-dimensional, but he has potential in the Trek universe for some fantastic stories. Even the captain of the Cerritos, the conflicted significant other of the admiral, with her doomy, gloomy daughter, seems like more fun to spotlight than the broken viewer interest Boimler and Mariner saga.

I realize the series is supposed to be about the lower decks characters, but I’d rather follow any other lower decks characters than Boimler and Mariner. There are moments we do get to see other lower decks characters, and some of them have semi-meaty stories, but it always goes back to the unlikable mains: Boimler and Mariner. Sigh.

Since the new half-hour animated series Lower Decks focuses on the lowly support crew of one of Starfleet’s “least important ships”, this could be a great opportunity to add some interesting characters to the Star Trek canon just like the original cartoon did with Arex and M’Ress.

Love Star Trek: Lower Decks? Give the ’70s Star Trek: The Animated Series a try – CNET

Read that entire article linked, because it’s a shining example of what Star Trek: The Animated Series did for those of us that are long time Star Trek fans. I don’t consider myself a diehard Trekkie or anything, but love the original series and animated series and enjoyed TNG. A few of the movies have been really good (KHAN!) and some of the other TV that followed TNG (DS9, Voyager). Maybe my comparison of Lower Decks to any of this was unfair. It wasn’t the original animated series and it wasn’t as edgy or smart as Harley Quinn, it was just some sort of in between half-baked concept that didn’t work.

Don’t want to assault readers with too many episode reviews for any TV show of “I hate this” because what’s the point? If someone dislikes something and it’s not his/her job to review it, then the smart play is to bounce. That’s was Picard and now, that’s Lower Decks. I wanted to love this, really I did, but it just let me down too many times to continue.

There is another alternative for both us: find something we enjoy better. The final four episodes of Lower Decks will be labeled as NR. I’m not watching them or reviewing them, maybe never. They might be the best episodes of season one, and will likely never know. I watched episode 7 multiple times, but it kept bringing me back to Beckett Mariner being the most unlikable female animated main character I’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing. Her weak male sidekick, Boimler is right up — or down, depending on your perspective — there.

No, I’m not recommending watching Lower Decks or any other Kurtzman Trek to anyone. If someone reading enjoys Lower Decks or Picard or Discovery, that’s awesome, these shows didn’t work for me. Doesn’t mean I’m totally giving up on watching any Star Trek going forward, but can’t remember a time I’m more disinterested in the current era of Star Trek than right now. I’m going back to a warmer, friendlier Star Trek era.

CBS, fire Kurtzman and hire somebody else. Anybody else!

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E6 – Terminal Provocations ⭐️⭐️½

Badgey says crazily, “I’m gonna wear your skin!”

Season 1
CBS All Access
September 9, 2020

Episode 6 – “Terminal Provocations”

An opening scene before the title sequence is back and it’s about the lower decks crew, Mariner, Boimler, Fletecher and others whistling sounds of what they think other Star Trek ships sound warp cores sound like. Ransom comes around the corner and attacks thinking their strange behavior is hostile. No stardate log, just that attempt at humor that has zero to do with the rest of the episode and falls severely flat.

Then we get to see the entertaining, well done title sequence. Can we see that Borg cube ship battle, please?

That’s the story Trek fans want to see — and yes, it could be done with all kinds of humor. Why can’t we get that? Normally, the title sequences of a TV series will showcase actual episodes somewhere in the series. Not recognizing any of the title sequence from any of the series so far, but maybe that will change.

After the title, a stardate log from the bridge explains there is a conflict with salvagers who want to claim access to space debris. The Cerritos is there to protect Federation property. They are trying diplomacy first, but are prepared for things to escalate.

Somebody has knocked out Fletcher and stole an isolinear warp core chip.

Meanwhile, the conflict over the space cargo is heating up. The enemy ship is launching debris at the Cerritos.

Safety protocols in the holodeck go haywire and create a situation for two lower deckers and a fight with Badgey, a vengeful creature based on an officer badge. I kind of chuckled at this violent yellow badge personified. This should be a series regular, way more interesting than Mariner and Boimler.

Will the Cerritos go to war with the enemy salvage ship or solve the crisis without a fight? Will Badgey go off on the safety-protocol off holodeck? You’ll need to tune and watch to find out the answers.

Summary

Not a very good or funny episode, but it’s a significant improvement story-wise over the last two episodes and features a catchy character (Badgey!) complete with some holodeck shenanigans (old school TNG, dig it). The salvage conflict was interesting and engaging. The formula for this show, when it works, is to have an exciting bridge crew conflict — the real Star Trek, if you will — cut to some lower decks crew side stories. Any episode that downplays Mariner and Boimler activities, two of the most unlikable main characters I’ve ever seen in any animated show, ups the rating.

From the initial batch of characters, I had hoped we’d see more Ransom (voiced by Jerry O’Connell) and the security officer that’s like Worf with a severe itchy trigger finger. Although those are officers, it wouldn’t have made sense to follow them too much, but they seemed to be wasted up on the bridge out of the storylines except for brief interludes. Maybe in the final episodes we’ll see more of them.

This episode is OK and close to a recommend. It’s fun in parts and reignites some renewed interest in this animated series heading into episode 7. After the last two weeks, I was very ready to bail on this series, but this one shows there is a glimmer of hope that they can get into some better stories and (start!) having some fun.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½ 

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E5 – Cupid’s Errant Arrow ½

Season 1
CBS All Access
September 2, 2020

Episode 5 – “Cupid’s Errant Arrow”

Why am I watching this instead of at the movie theater seeing what Tenet has to offer? Have no good answer to that question. Well, yeah, am tired from working and didn’t want to drive the 30 miles to the theater tonight. Hopefully will catch that tomorrow.

But in the meantime, let’s dig that errant arrow out of my eye.

No pre title screen action for this episode, it starts with the title opening … why? Maybe that’s something considered creative to immediately start out with the title opening? Star Trek has an established formula: start with a small hook usually involving someone giving the star date, then the opening title sequence, then the first act, second act and third act and end with the customary and often humorous coda. No such format in this Lower Decks episode. Most of them so far through five episodes haven’t followed any sort of convention, really. I suppose that’s more Rick and Mortyish, but it’s not working here.

To date we’ve tried to make these reviews spoiler-free, but this one is going to be difficult not to spoil because not a lot happens beyond the basic story that is summarized below. Didn’t take any other screenshots, because why bother? If you want to take a chance on an episode that our rating deems unwatchable, the worst possible rating we can give anything except 0 stars, that’s cool. A half star rating follows along with an impossible not to spoil spoiler, you’ve been warned.

After the title opening, a diplomatic argument occurs on the bridge over the failure to detonate a moon. Beckett Mariner next meets Boimler’s new girlfriend and thinks she must be an alien. I mean, how can anybody love someone as pitiful as Brad Boimler? And so begins a Star Trek episode about a lower decks crew member, chasing around the girlfriend of another trying to expose her as something other than human.

I guess the only suspense here is … that. Argh. There is that other substory about whether or not to detonate a nearby planet and the associated diplomatic angst. Unfortunately that story happens on the main deck with the officers and is a very secondary focus of this episode. That story had more potential. At least in some of the other Lower Decks episodes there has been more crossover between the two.

For those brave few watching this episode, maybe or not you’ll find out if the planet is detonated and if the girlfriend is human.

Summary

This episode is the worst of Season 1 so far. Easily. I’m quickly nearing the frustration experienced with Picard (see: Done Watching and Reviewing Star Trek: Picard).

Not here to watch an unwatchable TV show. Will give this one more episode next week to see if something more entertaining happens (let’s get back to the excitement, although cliched, of the first episode).

So many, many great stories could have been told about the red shirts, the lower decks and this week we get a story about jealousy of a crew mate? If Mariner had feelings for Boimler maybe there would be more excitement here, but she’s supposed to be a friendly crewmate. I don’t like Becket Mariner’s character and Boimler? He’s not much better. I’d rather see Ransom get some more screen time, or that crazy security officer or, heck, how about different lower decks characters? Are we going to spend every episode with Mariner and Boimler? I’m not excited enough about either of these characters to spend five more episodes with them.

An abysmal episode. Don’t waste your time. Last week’s episode review was one of the lowest viewed posts ever on this site, so it doesn’t appear many readers care that much about this show, or at least reading what we think about it here. We won’t care either if they roll out another episode this lousy.

Episode rating: ½

Fox’s The X-Files: Alburquerque taking page from Star Trek: Lower Decks – will it be adult enough?

The X-Files ran from 1993-2018

While this might seem like the perfect topic for a FIRST LOOK, those are primarily reserved for films and TV that have been ordered, produced and are filming for release. That doesn’t apply with this project — yet — but it’s on the right track toward that end.

Adult animated series are a popular proposition in 2020 and Fox won’t be left out reminding they have deep roots — they’re behind The Simpsons after all. They are now working on an animated spinoff based on The X-Files that sounds like Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Fox is developing The X-Files: Albuquerque from Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko, writers on Netflix’s animated comedy Paradise PD and Comedy Central’s Brickleberry. The new iteration is an animated series about an office full of misfit agents who investigate the X-Files cases too wacky, ridiculous or downright dopey for Mulder and Scully to bother with. They’re basically the X-Files’ B-team.

Fox Developing ‘The X-Files’ Animated Comedy Spin-Off – Deadline

The reason Lower Decks is being referenced is that show focuses on the unsung heroes, the red shirts, the B-squad. The problem I’ve had with that show is how they don’t go far enough. They pull back on the adult nature of the animated series. My feelings are if you’re going to spoof something and call it adult, then make it adult. That means give us some Heavy Metal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ style nudity, graphic language, adult situations. Basically, with the exception of nudity, we’re talking about Harley Quinn as a template.

Here’s what makes me think this X-Files animated show could be hopelessly neutered (and for the record, hope I’m wrong!). It’s one word that starts with a D. Fox is own by the biggest D that doesn’t end with a K, Disney. The same company owns Marvel, which is behind the very adult Deadpool, but we haven’t heard a new Deadpool announced.

Can Disney go adult? Yes, through Hulu (see: Hulu is the Adult/Mature Disney+, Just ask Hillary Duff). Would like to see Disney continue to use Hulu that way.

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E4 – Moist Vessel ⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access
August 27, 2020

Episode 4 – “Moist Vessel”

The Cerritos has a mission to work alongside the USS Merced in the relocation of an ancient generation ship with crew long in disabled cryo units. They planned to use some special cargo on a dead planet to go all project genesis (Wrath of Khan alert!). Switch to the annoying Mariner yawning during a staff meeting.

To punish Mariner for being a complainer, the captain at Ransom’s recommendation assigns her the worst jobs on the ship which predictably makes her whine more. Until Mariner has an idea to make fun out of the menial tasks.

The captain decides to give Mariner even worse punishment: a promotion to Lieutenant. Now she must be do a bunch of officer tasks.

And so begins the real Mariner whining fest. She gets special treatment with the officers, including the ability to attend a poker game — and she’s emphatically bored.

When something goes wrong during the use of the tractor beam, the Project Genesis fluid attacks the ship, trying to teraform everything in its path.

Summary

Just fast forward 15 minutes into this episode. That’s when the mission really starts and chaos takes over the Cerritos. This show, albeit briefly, shines when everything goes to pieces. It is terrible when we focus on one of the most irritating characters in any animated series ever: Mariner. Sadly more of this episode focuses on Mariner than the much more interesting and entertaining teraforming mishap.

I was ready to give this a half star until the final third. That chaos saves this from easily being the worst episode. It raises the stakes from unwatchable to a bad mother-daughter story. This series would do so much better if it started in the middle of the action or at least gets there fairly quickly (within the first 5 minutes or so). Argh, just skip this one.

Episode rating: ⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E3 – Temporal Edict ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access
August 20, 2020

Episode 3 – “Temporal Edict”

The captain (why can’t I remember her name?) goes on a rampage over “buffer time” which is a bogus amount of time added to each starfleet task aboard the Cerritos by crew memberrs. She sends out a memo ordering strict adherence to time requirements as outlined in starfleet regulations.

An away mission goes awry and leads to war with an alien race because the officer required to share a gem gift was too hurried, thanks to the captain’s new mandate, and offers a piece of ceremonial wood meant for a different alien race.

Mariner and Ransom are captured by the spear-wielding aliens. Meanwhile, the aliens board the ship and start attacking.

Bolmier is the only crew member not bothered by the captain’s new procedure and continues to ask for additional tasks.

Will the aliens be repelled and the war end? Will the captain realize she caused the problem? Will Mariner and Ransom be rescued?

These questions and more will be answered if you tune in and watch the episode.

Summary

After last week’s lackluster episode, I was hopeful episode 3 would bounce back with a more entertaining episode. With so much low hanging Star Trek fruit to be exploited for comedy, with any episode I’m expecting them to break out with a gem. Was this the one?

It’s a better episode. The chaos caused by the captain’s “edict” is humorous. I was entertained and smiled on a couple occasions.

Ironically, this involves the failure to successfully deliver a gem in part of a gift mission. The alien reaction and war against the crew works effectively. It could have gotten even more crazy aboard the ship, we could have seen more carnage. They just don’t go far enough. I guess it’s all to maintain a TV-14 rating.

I wish this show was TV-MA like Harley Quinn or TV-G like the original animated episode. This in-between stuff where it’s a little edgy just seems to flatten out the humor. I’ve laughed more at Scooby Doo Wher Are You? episodes than this and it’s because too much of the humor either sets up or finishes poorly.

One of my favorite parts of the original series was the coda the very end. Often, this would end the episodes, however dramatic, on a humorous note. It’s odd that Lower Decks doesn’t have a coda. Maybe future episodes will? The epilogue truly was one of the best parts of TOS. Star Trek: Picard didn’t have codas either.

Overall, this was an entertaining episode. Perhaps slightly better than the first episode, but much better than the second. Let’s see what next week brings.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hey Trekkies, Mike McMahan is one of you

I’m more than a casual fan of Star Trek, but don’t consider myself a Trekkie. The creator of Star Treks: Lower Decks is a bigger Trek nerd than me.

Have never gone to fan event or cosplayed, I simply loved the original season and The Next Generation. I also enjoyed some of the movies (mostly the even-numbered ones, including the immortal Wrath of Khan).

I haven’t researched Mike McMahan’s career in great depth, but what little I’ve seen and read about him is that he sounds like a bigger Star Trek fan than me. In that regard, his writing, if not poisoned and diluted by too many overzealous producers, should yield at least some good Star Trek.

McMahan is the ideal candidate to captain Trek’s foray into comedy. After assistant roles on Drawn Together and South Park, he became a writer-producer on the first three seasons of sci-fi sensation Rick and Morty, then went on to create Hulu’s Solar Opposites. He was also the thumb behind the @TNG_S8 Twitter account, which blurted out loglines to a make-believe extra season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan to Star Trek purists: I’m on your side – Polygon

In fact, after enjoying so far season one of Rick and Morty and finding the first episode of Star Trek Lower Decks entertaining — not great, mind you, but entertaining (see: Star Trek Lower Decks: S1E1 REVIEW) — I’m interested more in McMahan’s other work. We have Hulu, and now even more Solar Opposites is on my radar.

I disliked episode 2 of Lower Decks (see: TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E2 – Envoys), so maybe McMahan’s committee of producers around him, possibly providing too much creative interference and influence, will be the show’s undoing.

Another dig at Lower Decks is that those who saw episodes ahead of the rest of us felt it was so bad that no other streaming companies wanted to take a chance on releasing it internationally. Netflix has the international rights and allegedly passed as well as Amazon, which licensed Picard internationally,.

This rumor I don’t completely believe is accurate. Maybe Viacom placed too high a price tag for the Lower Decks international distribution because they want to release it themselves when they release their international super streaming service (no name provided yet) in 2021. They’ve been upgrading CBS All Access, so why not when you launch your new, beefed-up streaming service, have more titles to release at launch globally. That makes more sense than them wanting to see another company release Lower Decks and then having the licensing reverting to them.

We’re in an era of heavy streaming channel competition and licensing is going to get even more prickly going forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more streamers holding onto their own originals and promoting exclusives to improve subscriber retention.

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E2 – Envoys ⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access
August 13, 2020

Episode 2 – “Envoys”

Bolmier is excited to be assigned an escort mission for a Klingon General Korin. Mariner decides to join him. Bolmier is frustrated that she seems to know everybody, including the General Korin, and they start drinking. Korin gets drunk with Mariner and then hijacks the shuttle craft, leaving Bolmier and Mariner on the planet. Now, Bolmier and Mariner have to find the Klingon and the shuttle. Meanwhile, aboard the Cerritos, Rutherford has wanderlust for other departments besides engineering.

Will Bolmier and Mariner find the shuttle and the Klingon general? Will they get the general to the event on time? Will Rutherford pick a new department or stay with engineering?

Summary

The first two viewings this episode was pretty uneventful and boring. The third viewing went a little better and I finally got through it. I don’t care much for Mariner’s character so far. She’s too much of a know-it-all and her voice somewhat reminds me of Tiffany Haddish. It’s a whining, grating voice. We get it that she’s experienced, but does Mariner have to constantly remind us how great she is?

Bolmier’s character is too much of a wimp. He needs to grow a pair and go on a mission without Mariner. Rutherford is sort of a homage to Geordie LaForge with the cybernetic implants.

My favorite scene was on the holodeck: Smorgasborg! That generated a smile and made this a 1.5 star rating just for that scene. If only there could be more to recommend here, but the story is just too bland. The mission is meh.

This episode is largely forgettable. A pretty big step down from the first episode, unfortunately. Not recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️½ 

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E1 – Second Contact ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access
August 6, 2020

Episode 1 – “Second Contact”

First day on the Cerritos for medical assistant Ensign Tendl, given tour by Ensign Mariner, who shares a unique tie to the bridge and Ensign Bolmlier. They take a tour of the holodeck, where we learn that Bolmlier desires to be on the bridge and not one of the lower decks personnel. Mariner, however, rebels against authority.

Ransom meets with the aliens on a planet and, unbeknownst to him, brings back a highly contagious alien virus that turns the shipmates into zombie-like creatures.

Mariner and Bolmlier visit the planet. Bolmlier thinks he catches Mariner illegally showing Starfleet technology to the aliens. Turns out it’s farm equipment. A spider monster escapes, pursuing them. Mariner jumps on it and rides it all Starship Troopers style.

It captures Bolmlier and starts feeding on him…

Will Bolmlier escape? Will the virus turn all the crew on the Cerritos into Night of the Living Dead?

Summary

Watched this a couple times and debated whether or not to review it. Decided in favor of it based on potential. This has a better concept than Picard. I like the animation and sound and, although badly cliched, the story shows an attempt at a complete story in 25 minutes. Also, they introduce us to some crew tension and characterization along the way.

The biggest complaint I have is it doesn’t go far enough with the edginess. It’s like Rick and Morty lite meets Harley Quinn censored with a faint Star Trek backdrop. Don’t know which one of the dozen-odd producers to blame for putting on the brakes, but blame has to start at the top.

Seems like too many hands in the cookie jar. A bunch of producers are listed, including associate producers and even at least one assistant to the producer. Yikes, that much administrative oversight and input for a 25 minute creation is dubiously helpful. Oh, and profanity is bleeped out .. why? I guess so it can have a TV-14 rating?

“Coarse language” is the viewer warning. Coarse?

So, Picard can have people launching f-bombs at him, but Lower Decks can’t say “shit”? They are going to take s**t for this. Live action trek can have more edgy language and subject matter than an animated series?

Then there is the logic behind the story, which you need to throw completely out. If the virus is so contagious how did none of the First Contact crew get infected? How can a first officer (Ransom) be so utterly incompetent? The Captain can’t veto what crew members are assigned to her ship? Why isn’t an officer assigned to supervise the lower deck crewmates on an away mission? We have lower decks in charge of … lower decks?

If you can forgive all this and just enjoy the craziness that transpires, you’ll be OK.

This is a comedy, so will give the story a bit of break logic-wise. I smiled a few times, never actually laughed. They need to make us laugh if they are going for the absurd. They have so many opportunities here to exploit the absurd. Potential is there, again, or I wouldn’t bother watching.

They also spoiled the opening three minutes via the virtual Comic Con (see: SECOND LOOK: Star Trek: Lower Decks video clip from first episode courtesy Comic-Con@Home).

Now for the positives.

I like the concept that we’re seeing a side of a Star Trek crew we almost never have seen explored. Sure, we’ve seen them. These people are usually just background, crowd noise, the extras at Ten Forward, only here on this show they are the stars. They are the ones who save the day. They aren’t just red shirt cannon fodder. The underdogs are the ones we can count on.

I’m going to try and stay with this one. Yes, I have several concerns, but think there’s a worthy concept here to explore. Star Trek is all about exploration, so let’s hope they find some original stories in the galaxy going forward.

There are a lot of great stories that can be told withing this framework. Will they execute? I’m not sure after only one episode, but am compelled enough to stick around for a few more episodes to see how it develops. Will they rely on cliches and muted edginess or tell some really fresh, funny stories?

Put all of this together and the pilot is a recommendation with an asterisk or two. If what is described isn’t the type of Star Trek for you, it’s understandable. The first episode isn’t the train wreck that some predicted. I see a side of Star Trek here that Gene Roddenberry would like. He was all about the humanity and would have enjoyed a series exploring the unsung heroes in the lower decks. Whether or not we get that series here remains to be seen, but the potential exists.

Will be back reviewing episode two next Thursday, same place, about the same time.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

SECOND LOOK: Star Trek: Lower Decks video clip from first episode courtesy Comic-Con@Home

The Comic-Con@Home version is now playing (July 22 – July 26) and yesterday there was a virtual Star Trek panel where more was revealed about the upcoming Star Trek: Lower Decks (FIRST LOOK) adult animated series coming August 6.

Star Trek: Lower Decks virtual panel starts at/around 45:00 in the video

All of the main voice actors and actresses are included. An enjoyable group discussion listening to their take on each of their character’s roles on the Ceritos. Was also glad to hear from the showrunner Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty) that while there is a lot of zany fun planned in the first season, they tried to stick close to cannon of the time period around when Star Trek: Next Generation.

They bleeped and SPOILER title tagged it, so they give enough away to tease, but don’t spoil, which I enjoyed.

A clip of one of the lower decks crew mates drunk on Romulian whiskey was also shared.

Romulan ale will give a serious buzz

I thought this clip was humorous. It’s the kind of comedy that pokes fun from the inside out. Klingons? Yeah, they are all about honor and dignity. Next Gen would poke fun at Worf from time to time, but this takes it to a different level. I liked it.

From what the voice talent revealed, this show sounds very promising to me. Without seeing any of the episodes, I’m most drawn to Jerry O’Connell’s character Ransom and the overzealous security officer, Lieutenant Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) that just goes all in (something about a security officer that wants to go nuclear on every situation offers a ton of comedic potential). I also liked the voice of the security character. Reminds me of Rip Torn’s voice on steroids.

Am more looking forward to this then Picard before seeing any episodes, because my fear of Picard beforehand was he was too old and they weren’t going to be Star Trek enough.

Neither appears to be a problem here. They are taking the light — sometimes very light — tone of the Star Trek we know and love and amplifying it.

There is a vibrance and youthful aura around this show. Will it deliver or be too much for mass appeal (after seeing Harley Quinn, I hope they go into super “too much” mode here)? I don’t know how this will turn out, but am intrigued by the idea and concept and, as mentioned in the FIRST LOOK last week that from what little I’ve watched of Rick & Morty so far, I’ve enjoyed that series, too. Mike McMahon seems to have the right mix of enthusiasm, love and respect for the older Trek. McMahon admits being more in tune with Next Gen than any other series, but I’m OK with that. I liked Next Gen. Not as much as the original series, of course, but it’s a solid second place in my Trek ranking.

The one area that concerns me is that nobody else wanted to buy into this series. It’s strictly CBS going it alone. Amazon and Netflix passed from what I’ve read. If they saw the show and it was great, logic suggests they would have bought in.

Then again, maybe the price tag was higher than they thought it was worth? Amazon and Netflix know the numbers for Star Trek streaming on their platforms — since they’ve been streaming those shows for years — and maybe they didn’t think Lower Decks would bring enough new eyeballs? Either that or the potential controversy with Trek fans concerned them (doubtful Netflix would be concerned about that with shows like 365 DNI, but Amazon might be a little more concerned about negative publicity fallout).

Whatever happens, we don’t have much longer to wait. I’m stoked, anyway. I want to review the first season, but am going to wait until after watching the entire first episode before making the weekly commitment (sorry, the Picard stain is still fresh in my memory). The timing of Lower Decks starting is excellent because Stargirl is wrapping up its first season on August 10 and I am missing watching a new adult animated TV show since Harley ended (Rick & Morty is always there, though).

What are you thinking? Does this additional teaser/promotional content make you any more or less interested in the show? Now that we know a little more, has any of this changed your level of interest?

Bonus – Star Trek: Prodigy

There is a main title reveal of the Star Trek animated children’s show in association with Nickolodean that will be officially called Star Trek: Prodigy. No trailers or anything for that. It sounds from what little we’ve been told about this series that it’s going to be more serious in tone, but of course focused on children. Will it be more like the original animated series? Perhaps.

Star Trek: The Lower Decks season 1 first episode will premiere on CBS All Access on August 6, 2020.