REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME | RELEASE DATE: JAN 22nd 2021
Star Trek is no stranger to the world of animation. The original show found new life in animated form back in the 70s and it’s much easy to have cool aliens and weird special effects in the animated form. Star Trek Lower Decks, however, is a different beast; primarily a comedy show that focuses on the normal crew of a starship, rather than the heroic bridge crew.
On paper, Lower Decks should be a disaster. Star Trek needs to take itself seriously in order to sell the sillier parts of the show’s premise and many fans enjoy its faux hard sci-fi style. Surely poking fun at The Federation is just going to weaken the whole thing? Apparently not; Lower Decks is a show made with a deep amount of geeky love for the franchise.
Part of its charm is the characters; Tawny Newsome is the voice of Beckett Mariner, an ensign of USS Ceritos who has all the talent and absolutely no ambition. Opposite her is Jack Quaid as Brad Boilmer, who has none of the talent and way too much ambition. Rounding off the main cast is the deeply nerdy medical specialist D’Vana (played by Saturday Night Lives’ Noël Wells) and Sam, an unlikely cyborg performed by Other Space regular Eugene Cordero. It’s a mixed bag of talent that really works well together; the main cast have obvious chemistry and because they’re having fun, it makes the show funny. The characters are all obviously flawed but still Starfleet. The comedic conflict here is that they’re all very competent but don’t realise this so make dumb choices.
This is very effective because we buy into their stupidity and laugh both with and at them. Thrown into this mix is a razor-sharp wit aimed squarely at Star Trek’s long and complicated lore. This is a show written by the fans for the fans, though it’s funny enough that casual viewers will also get a giggle out of it. The comedic shout-outs to old shows are balanced with genuinely funny sit-com style plots; it’s a show that laughs with Star Trek fans, lovingly laughing at the show along the way.
Star Trek Lower Decks could easily be the best Star Trek show we’ve seen in recent years. It’s a fine mix of nostalgia for the franchise, brilliant humour and plotlines that are pure Star Trek. If you haven’t had the chance yet then you are in for a treat.