Star Trek: Lower Decks

"No Small Parts"

3 stars

Air date: 10/8/2020
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Barry J. Kelly

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

I'm noticing a pattern: I get a lot more mileage out of Lower Decks' darker comic impulses (more so than the abundant Easter eggs like the opening visit here to deal with Landru taking over civilization again). In an early scene of "No Small Parts," the brand-new USS Solvang is on a routine exploration mission. Its captain says she wants to keep the new ship pristine for as long as possible, and notes the plastic wrap still on her armchair monitor pad. Moments later the ship is attacked and completely destroyed. Stakes raised: check. Ironically telegraphed sick joke: check. I'm game.

The cat is out of the bag immediately about Mariner being Freeman's daughter, due to Boimler's inadvertent broadcast. This allows some new dynamics and comedy to play out (mostly involving bribes and sycophancy directed at Mariner to curry favor with her mother), which perhaps justifies why Mariner and Freeman kept this secret in the first place. Meanwhile, Tendi has an exocomp shadowing her as a new crew member, but it can't do a lot of things because it doesn't have arms. (I guess things progressed for the exocomps after "The Quality of Life.")

But soon it's down to business when the Cerritos answers the Solvang's distress call and arrives to find the ship destroyed and the attackers to be the … Pakleds? Look, the Pakleds were never one of the great inventions when it came to Star Trek aliens, but I guess there's a certain logic to using them again in a cartoon show, since they were already cartoons on TNG. Their ambush leaves the Cerritos crippled and unable to escape (one of the nacelles is pulled off), forcing the crew to consider more desperate options.

"No Small Parts" is an action-heavy outing that plays more like a traditional Star Trek episode, except much faster paced and with the requisite Lower Decks jokes. As such, it's a fun ride, nothing especially fantastic, but pretty good. Befitting a season finale, the plotting is much bigger: There are callbacks (including the use of Badgey to help save the day in an unlikely scenario); characters who face new career options (Boimler may be getting promoted off the ship); a notable regular character death (the sacrifice of Lt. Shaxs); a major potential change to another character (Rutherford loses his implant and all the memories associated with it, including his friendship with Tendi); and some stunt casting and franchise crossover (Captain Riker and Commander Troi warp in with the USS Titan to save the day; Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis continue to expand their list of guest roles on Trek shows).

In the end, the day is saved, the bad guys are defeated, the Cerritos is repaired, and life goes on. Boimler is promoted to lieutenant J.G. and posted to the Titan, raising the question of how that will work next season. Tendi and Rutherford take solace in starting their friendship all over again. Riker strolls into the room and says, "I'm sorry I'm late. I was watching the first Enterprise on the holodeck. You know, Archer and those guys? What a story. Those guys had a long road, getting from there to here." It's the groan line of all groan lines, referencing two of Enterprise's worst-ever-received things in one breath. But after the last couple episodes Lower Decks closed out with, I'll allow it.

Previous episode: Crisis Point
Next episode: Strange Energies

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73 comments on this post

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Pere
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
"It looks like they're not a joke any more."

Hmm. This finale was a pretty complete, mostly serious episode of Star Trek. With development and apparent consequences for major characters!
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Pere
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
I mean, it's full of jokes. But the plot is a pretty straight Trek drama.
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Booming
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
@HaveGun_WillRiker
"No one actually said that. Did you watch the episode?"
No.
BUT I have these quotes from the "real" character *cough*
- You'll be fine. Want me to clean up those disgusting scars?
- Congratulations, you look like a *bleep* scratching post.
- Is he *bleep* serious?
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dccWrg2VtYk

I rest my *bleep* case.
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Trent
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
I've not seen the final episode, but it seems to be annoying people...

"Only the Star Trek: Lower Decks season finale can turn the mass slaughter of sentient beings, and deaths of the mentally deficient, into some wacky comedy. But who cares, as long as we get some nostalgic cameos, endless knowing references and wacky comedy, right? Just offensive." - Robert Meyer Burnett

...what exactly happens in the episode? By "sentient beings" does he mean exocomps?
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Galadriel
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
So then, this is the finale “No Small Parts”. I found it great. Great enough to be a very good TNG episode, which is more than I thought possible for the 27 minute animated format.

The episode is thrilling, epic and violent — we start with a mass casualty and end with the loss of a main cha­rac­ter. There are high stakes, and this does not always mix well with the co­me­dy. So, LD suf­fers from the same pro­blem as the first season of The Orville, and while both shows have ma­nag­ed to find a better ba­lan­ce over their first seasons, it’s still a fly in the oint­ment spoil­ing a small part of the othe­rwise ex­cel­lent sea­son finale.

There is a TOS reference (“those old scientists” — LOL!), Mariner’s family secret is blown by a stu­pid Boimler, we see Star­fleet’s most in­com­pe­tent cap­tain hav­ing her ship blown apart by a group of me­nac­ing rogue Pakleds, Badgey is back (and still as evil as Clippy ever was), and the never-seen-be­fore U.S.S. Titan com­man­d­ed by Wil­liam Freaking Riker (who is of course friends with Mari­ner, be­cau­se how could it be else­how) saves the day whi­le being scored with the TNG the­me song. That alone would have made a good episode.

The subplot with the sentient exocomp did not work at all for me, another fly that un­for­tu­nate­ly wastes a lot of screen­time. Came out of no­thing, did no­thing, went into no­thing — why should I care? And frank­ly, there are bet­ter TNG epis­odes that “The Qual­ity of Life” to follow on.

Yet what makes the episode great instead of good was the cha­rac­ter de­ve­lop­ment, be­cau­se every­one ex­cept Tendi gets a boost. Ma­ri­ner and her mo­­ther come to terms and ap­pre­ci­ate each other’s strengths. Boimler gets what he al­ways has wish­ed, though he should re­mem­ber the say­ing “Whom the gods want to de­stroy, to him they grant his wishes”, I feel there is so­me­thing ap­­proach­ing to haunt him in sea­son 2. This is also a cru­cial epis­ode for Ru­ther­ford, al­though I am not sure I like the direction.

Looking back, i see that much of the sea­son was care­fully craf­ted to lead into the fi­na­le. Ma­ri­ners re­la­tion to Free­man, which was frus­tra­ting­ly me­an­der­ing for the most part of the sea­son, now en­ters a new phase; on the other side, the two had been at near­ly that point be­fo­re (“Moist Ves­sel”), and then re­ver­ted back to Un­heal­thy Nor­­mal. Yet the last two epis­odes co­oper­at­ed nicely to bring them to a bet­ter un­der­stan­ding of each other. It felt na­tu­ral and earned.

I particularly appreciate that after all the bloody action se­quen­ces, the epis­ode de­vo­tes more than 5 mi­nu­tes of its pre­cious screen time to re­flec­tion and dis­cus­sion and con­se­quen­ces (sort of BoBW and Fa­mi­ly in one, al­though not nearly at that le­vel). The cha­rac­ter pie­ces there were par­ticu­lar­ly effective.

I am not at all a NuTrek fan — I found the first two movies really bad, and the third just en­ter­tain­ing. I am an out­spo­ken critic of DIS, al­though I plan to watch again next week, if only out of cu­ri­o­si­ty what they are go­ing to f…up this time. PIC I did like in parts, but there is still a lot to cri­ti­ci­ze. With LD, I just hope the next sea­son ar­ri­ves soon, an will be lon­ger. I have faith in the heart regarding this pro­duc­tion team.
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Galadriel
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
@Trent: No, the exocomp thing is just a disposable C plotline.

The „mass slaughter“ refers pro­bab­ly to the loss of the U.S.S. Solvang, a Cali­for­nia-class ship that gets blown up with all hands by a com­bi­na­tion of Pakled pirates and her cap­tain’s spec­ta­cu­lar stupidity (which is played for laughs just seconds before the Pak­leds show up). That in­ci­dent takes place just at the be­gin­ning of the 1ˢᵗ act, yet the Cer­ritos ar­rives later in that place and has to deal with the Pakleds; at the end, the Cerritos crew manages to destroy the really big and impressive Pakled vessel (again, with all hands on board).

TNG probably would have spent some time with the crew of of the Enter­prise show­ing shock and com­pas­sion about that mas­sive loss of life; in the more hectic and hyper­tachic (is that a word?) LD format, there is no time for such som­ber mo­me­nts. It did feel so­me­how jarring, but I don’t consider it a big pro­blem. At the end, we also get a short me­mo­rial ce­re­mo­ny for a lost crew­mem­ber, so the epis­ode has not for­got­ten that life is valuable.
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Cody B
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
Does this mean Riker and Troi will be permanent parts of the show now? Only other choice is to write off Boimler which I wouldn’t mind.
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Yanks
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
"No small parts" - S1, E10:

I really enjoyed this once they got past the "hard" bit... not my cup of humor in Trek. Other than that, this is ANOTHER fantastic episode!! Landu?! ... TOS (Those Old Scientists)... HAHA!! So I think we all knew that Boimler was going to reveal the mother-daughter secret. Quite funny watching Mariner become all squared away in an attempt to get a promotion and get off the ship so she can be a nobody again. I certainly wasn't expecting the Pakled but I think it played well here. Nice to see Freeman and Mariner team up again and I like the fact it appears they will be working together in the future. I really got a kick out of Rutherford in this one. His flipping through the different modes was hilarious. I hope they find his or they get another implant thing for him. What's not to like about Tendi??? ... EVER!! She is the most positive thing I think I've seen on TV in, well forever! Ritherfod loses his memory and she makes a positive out of it! I was kind of happy they left the X-comp (Peanut Hamper :-) ) floating in space... I wasn't expecting it to choose not to help for sure. So Rutherford gets to revive Badgy which I think was fantastic and Shaxs of course plays the aggressive stud and delivers him to complete his mission. I was really surprised and shocked to see Shaxs die!!! Damn!!! Bummer, I think the show will be missing a bit of its identity without him. Then we get the Titan with Riker and Troi?!?!?! I didn't think it was possible to keep a secret like that nowadays!! Well done! TNG theme music!! I'm quite disappointed that Boimler got the promotion and now is on the Titan?!?!?! He's got to return, right?!?!?! Good lord, I'm a little long-winded here, but all this happened in 28 minutes!! This series was AWESOME!! HUGE kudos to the creative staff, they really hit it out o the park! I have to give this 4 our of 4 stars! (again!)
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Patrick D
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 1:43am (UTC -5)
"I'm going to feed you to an Armus!"-- Mariner
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Sxottlan
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 2:37am (UTC -5)
Such an incredible season finale. One of the best in ages.

Best first season of Trek after TOS S1. Please give it a try.
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Tom
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -5)
In 2380 all the Federation ships look the same.
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Patrick D
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 7:05am (UTC -5)
WOW! What an amazing way to wrap up the season. The show really came into its own these last 2 episodes. I started watching this show with a morbid curiosity and expecting to hate it, but it won me over. "No Small Parts" is a solid 4-star outing and feels like actual Star Trek with witty, Futurama-style humor. The humor and drama balance each other nicely in a way I haven't seen since Joss Whedon's heyday. I'm really looking forward to the next season (hopefully they'll be a next season despite the pandemic).

Jammer, I totally recommend this to watch even if you don't review it. This is great stuff!
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Cody B
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Some of you guys are really laying it on thick. This show can not be compared with any other Trek series. It’s a different animal in every way. Saying it’s the most successful first season of any trek show and giving every episode three or four stars? Come on. It’s a silly cartoon. None of the 25 minute episodes of this cartoon will ever come within a mile of real classics of some of (real?serious?) Trek’s first season masterpieces. The Devil In the Dark, City On the Edge of Forever, 11001001, The Long Goodbye, Vortex, Duet. Not one episode of this cartoon came close. Really it’s insulting to even try to say. Of course opinion is subjective but I think giving most of these episodes three or four (!) stars damages your credibility. Or maybe you guys type out your takes immediately after watching and are in a sort of happy afterglow and not really digesting what it is you’re saying. I will say lower decks is better than what it appears to be if you only saw the trailer and I think a lot of the people writing it off would like at least two or three of the episodes but again lower decks is just such a different thing you can’t compare it to the older shows
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Maya
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Overall, Lower Decks got the strongest first season since TOS. Pretty solid. They knew what they were doing and were very careful on details. Season finale was awesome! Titan kicking some Pakled butts with the TNG theme song on background was a sight to behold. Great episode. My favorite is still Crisis Point, but this one comes close second.
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 1:13am (UTC -5)
While the show is smarter than expected (I still cannot get past the animation) simply being clever is not enough to sustain a new series. a new Star Trek should CHALLENGE the old Star Trek.. and they should do it IN UNIVERSE.. not in a way that is dependent on the audience recognizing that they are being had. Like in LD they make a Roga Danar reference that was clever. But "The Hunted" was FAR more than Roga Danar.. in a sense "The Hunted" set up DS9 long before they even thought UP DS9. Think about it. At the end of that episode there is a battle.. teh soldiers are gonna swarm the capitol.. and the Prime Minister James Cromwell begs Picard to call his ship for help, and Picard says sure, and just beams up.. and the Enterprise leaves.. not knowing if the government will survive. DS9 challenged this whole thing by doing something similar and having the Crew STAY.
I guess I can say it this way.. when I was growing up you could always find like 30 Trek books you've never seen before for every episode that had come out. Go to a used book store and shelves are lining up with these books. these are new adventures.. someone imagined. If Trek was just a show that got off on referencing itself than it would not have inspired so much love to create NEW stories like this. Now.. some books probably got off on referencing as much as they could from the shows to seem smarter - the Rise and Fall of Khan duology especially.. those two books used almost every episode and all the little "plot holes" to explain how Khan ruled the entire planet and we never saw it happen.. but even with all those references it was actually telling a story.. or at least trying to. I am not sure if Lower Decks is interested in telling a story. Maybe (and this is not all bad) it's using story to "tell characters".. or using story to "tell why Trek is old and doesn't work anymore" (to understand that last sentence use the Plinkett voice in your mind when he said "[Orson] Welles used special effects to extensively tell a story, and Lucas used a story to extensively tell special effects" (with regard to the prequels).. so my question is WHAT ARE THEY GETTING AT with this show? the stories are not bad.. and would make good episodes.. but the writers are clearly not interested in the stories themselves.. they don't care about the stories themselves.. they are just hanging their gags, references and characters on those stories.. and I fear that is wrong with many franchises that are getting past thirty years old
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MossBoss
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 3:00am (UTC -5)
Hey folks, long time lurker, first time poster here. I notice a lot of non-regular posters tend to only jump in to make a snide remark or powerfully opinionated statement and then just vanish back into the ether never to be heard from again. So I'm going to avoid being that and aim to approach from a position of mutual respect and fandom camaraderie. While I generally feel much of what needs to be said has been said (in ways much more eloquent than I can manage) about the vast catalog of Star Trek episodes, I hope be able to participate more in the conversations for the new shows from here on out.

@CaptainMercer
Secret Hideout is working on seven some Star Trek shows. While it can be debated if it's actually good for the franchise to have so many shows going on at once, even Kurtzman acknowledges that each show will have to be doing Trek in a very different way. I agree that the first new Star Trek show from them should have been challenging the old Star Trek, and they would probably claim that's what they did, even when very few people liked it. But with seven shows, do they really ALL need to be challenging the other older shows? Or perhaps by being new they inherently challenge all that came before? I'm beginning not to understand what challenging even means here.

I started off as very critical of LDS. The trailer made it look horrendous. The first couple episodes seemed to confirm my fears, but it was Star Trek so I had to keep watching. And by episode four I was won over. Season one of Lower Decks turned into a decent show. If the comedy doesn't land with some people or they don't care for animation, that's fine: they can watch a different show. LDS is not what Star Trek has become. It is one offering among a slew of offerings that are purposely crafted to be different from one another and not appeal to the entire audience.

I think we need to remind ourselves that LDS is NOT the new direction of Star Trek. It is an animated comedy spin-off show made by people who clearly care about Trek and seemingly (read thankfully) has very little involvement from Kurtzman. It's the first thing from Secret Hideout I actually like and I am happy about that. Let's hope their future offerings are similarly decent.
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Patrick D
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 5:17am (UTC -5)
@MossBoss

Seconded. Lower Decks might be an animated comedy, but despite its irreverence, it actually FEELS like TOS/TNG--they're *actually* exploring the universe--what a concept! (This goes for The Orville as well) In fact, it's the only Trek show under Kurtzman that's halfway respectful to the mythos. The humor gets wittier as it goes along (especially the last two episodes) and the characters are finally beginning to get some actual depth (especially the last two episodes). Believe me, I've had antipathy to most everything post-TNG, DS9 was great television despite it taking a wrecking ball to Gene Roddenberry's vision ; Voyager had it's occasional stand-out episode despite it being a borderline disaster of a series; Enterprise was the most mediocre Trek show in history; the Kelvinverse movies are appalling; and I couldn't get into Discovery or Picard (and when a hardcore TNG fan can't get into Picard, there's something wrong). I went into Lower Decks expecting to hate watch a flaming train wreck of a series. Instead, it also won me over! Lower Decks is an ANIMATED COMEDY. Don't go into it expecting "The Inner Light" or "Duet". It's not really canon and it still has more respect for the Roddenberry mythos than most anything that came after Enterprise. It's a romp. It's a lark. It's FUN--something that Trek hasn't been in decades (at least for me). I say: bring on season 2!
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Mike
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Well... I could go with "decent". It's the first new show that, however borderline unwatchable it is for me because of the frenetic pacing, also has the first piece of character development that I could relate to, in the character of Mariner. Having to share space with an overbearing mother while trying to maintain a respectable image and the temptation to self-sabotage? Shit, I've been there. I've liked other characters, Pike and Saru, but not much was done with them.

It probably should be noted that this isn't exactly the highest praise. The sci-fi of all three shows has been universally forgettable, the visual style unattractive and video game-ish and a lack of inspiring ideas all round. The comedy works for me probably less than 25% of the time. And the other characters aren't much. But it's something to build on.
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BRIAN
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
I was very skeptical of this show. I didn't want to like it. The trailers looked terrible.

I ended up giving it a chance and it was pretty good! Not quite *good* but decent enough. I have to admit I enjoyed it.

It felt like Trek. It got better as it went along. The characters are pretty good.

The cahracter of Mariner could use some workshopping still. She started out terrible when she was just a Rick from Rick and Morty clone. I think they must have realized she was off putting trying to copy Rick because they started to fit her with character flaws but the end of the season.

Overall, miles away the best of Kurtzman Trek. Watchable. For me it was as good as Orville. I hope this is a sign of the things to come, although Im not exactly holding my breath.
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Trent
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 8:44am (UTC -5)
A lot of people raved about the finale, so I watched it to see what the fuss is about. IMO all the same problems, apparent in the early episodes, are there. I also didn't like how, like Discovery and Picard, the show resorted to another last moment character walk-on to hook audiences. Spock, 7of9, Enterprise, Riker...the way nu-Trek dangles this stuff to generate fan-chatter reeks of cynicism.

I noticed this episode makes the same mistake Discovery and JJ Trek makes. Warp is treated like the hyperdrive in Star Wars, ships "dropping suddenly out of warp" and then "shocked" when they suddenly find themselves nose-to-nose with an enemy or amidst wreckage, which they must quickly dodge.

That's not how warp and sensors traditionally work. When in warp, you know where you're going, what's ahead, you can detect ships and stuff light years away, and can course correct well in advance.
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RABUJOI
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
I watched and reviewed all ST:LD episodes, which you can read here:

rabujoi.wordpress.com/category/non-anime-2/star-trek-lower-decks/?order=asc

IMO it was the first Nu-Trek that most aligned with what I want from Trek: optimistic outlook, episodic adventures, a healthy knowledge of the lore, and that lovely lived-in slice-of-space life. I don’t want to live in the worlds of Disco or Picard, but I would love to live in the land of Lower Decks.
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@MissBoss

I'm sick of the "it's animated filler and only 22 minutes" as an excuse for the problems when they stamp the Star Trek logo on it ... The show irks me. It's written for people "of today".. its sensibilities are all wrong and it will date itself once you get past all the references and how clever it is and down the road everyone will realize they've been had and buy that time Trek will never be able to tell any story without winking at the 21st century audience
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CaptainMercer
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
I don't care how long it is.. or what medium they chose... it should still be Star Trek. It should still be aspirational. I kind of wish that when I see a new Star Trek show, I'm seeing some real effort put forth to put out a vision. like I won't watch much of S1 of TNG anymore aside form a few episodes.. but they worked overtime to create the E-D, the idea of "technology unchained" (merging technology with quality of life) and they IMAGINED the future and the stories that would that would happen there. Now like Star wars, when you get three generations removed from source the writers forget that actually creating STORIES that are both created and solved in-universe should not just be referencing that you've seen the old stuff
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Yanks
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
I find it hard to compare this to any other Trek... #1, it's only 10 episodes and it's an animated humorous spin. I put it into its own drawer. A thoroughly enjoyable ride. You can't really compare this season closer to something like AGT or Endgame, you just can't. I also have a hard time comparing DSC and PIC to the complete 1st seasons of all the others too. Different all around, in the number of episodes and in storytelling format.

It's really incredible what they did in ten 1/2 hour episodes. I've grown to enjoy all the characters and looked forward to what they had to deal with every week. A great example of this is the huge character growth of Mariner. She's gone from selfish and hiding, to joining her mother as a valued member of the bridge crew.

It was just alot of fun to watch. Can't wait for season 2!
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Zed
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
For me, I think it’s more fair to compare this show with TAS. I think that, compared with that show, LD does a better job of pacing out the short episodes. Sometimes TAS episodes feel unfinished because it was like the TOS writers were trying to cram 50 minutes into 25.

Personally, I think it’s a matter of taste. There are some people who name Voy or even Enterprise as their favorite Trek. Other people (like myself) won’t even give Picard the time of the day because they dislike the character. When all is said and done, I would much rather have “too much Trek” on the air than “not enough Trek”. It’s like they’re making up for all the times the show went on hiatus for a decade or more.

Speaking of cartoons, does Jammer simply dislike cartoons? I noticed that the only other Trek he hasn’t reviewed is TAS.
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Yanks
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Wolf 359 was an inside job... changlings arent real and the Dominion War never happened!! ... lol
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Chris Lopes
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
LD is entertaining enough for what it is. It's not the greatest thing since Raktajino, but it's fun.
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MossBoss
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 4:45am (UTC -5)
@CaptainMercer
Robert Meyer Burnett summed up his dislike for the show as simply coming from the fact that he takes Trek very seriously. I think what he really means is he takes it too seriously. He takes it so seriously that there really isn't room for an animated comedy in his conception of what Star Trek is. So when an entire ship is destroyed and everyone dies, even if it IS mourned and taken seriously in the show, it's still a comedy show and that drama is surrounded by too many jokes. It's OK when a ship is destroyed in TNG because, while similarly taking the time to grief over the tragedy, that drama isn't sandwiched with jokes. The jokes are heavily outnumbered by the moments of drama and the day-to-day. If you take it very seriously then it's easy to get hung up on details like that and not enjoy the ride for what it is.

Or pehaps it's just the brand of comedy that doesn't sit well. I agree that the style and humor, of which some is admittedly cringy, do have a very current-era feel to them that probably won't stand the test of time. Not a lot of comedies age all that well. While I also love the Orville, I wonder if that show would receive the same kind of criticism from detractors if it was labeled Star Trek: Orville, even if the jokes are cleverer and it has a more even comedy-drama ratio.

I take Star Trek seriously as well, that's why I don't put up with the lazy writing in Star Trek Picard. Picard also showed me Icheb getting his eye ripped out. That's infinitely more offensive to me than a ship blowing up in a cartoon comedy or the overuse of contemporary vernacular both in Picard and LDS.
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Startrekwatcher
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 6:33am (UTC -5)
I don’t know why people are arguing. All of Trek with Abrams and Kurtzman has been utter shit. Incoherent. ADD pacing, laying on gratuitous namedropping with no subtlety or organic integration to story itself, convoluted storytelling, low brow humor.

Even at its worst VOYAGER and ENT were light years ahead of PIC, LD, DiS
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Ruth
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -5)
I was really pleasantly surprised - I enjoyed it pretty much start to finish. And any little bits I didn't like were far easier to overlook than the various misses of the older Trek series, because it's just a silly cartoon (so, Mariner carelessly nearly killing Boimler is not really on the same level as anything like that awful medical/evolution/Prime Directive episode of Enterprise, because I don't feel any obligation to take it seriously)

I found Mariner a very engaging & likeable main character. I really wanted her to get back on track. I thought the Vindicta stuff was excellent (as well as being an entertaining send up of all the Trek films). Her arc was great for what is fundamentally a silly Trek-parody cartoon - so much better than anything in DIS or PIC (though that's not saying a lot, unfortunately). And the other characters were all great, too. I liked the mix of new, new-on-screen and revisited characters/locations/aliens/ships/etc. - it's exactly what I'd want in a short animated series set shortly after VOY

Jammer, if you have some free time, I really think you should give it a go! I'd love to read your reviews if you feel up to it, but even if you don't, I think you'll enjoy just watching it! It takes a few episodes to lay out its setting and settle on its tone, but it really picks up after that. I was really gripped by the finale!
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Booming
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Yeah, like some have said, it would have been better if they just called the show Lower Decks but we all know why they didn't.
https://fw-d7-freedomworks-org.s3.amazonaws.com/field/image/The_Money_Bin_by_vikung_fu1.jpg

It seems to be on the same level as the Orville but I can more easily overlook the shortcomings of the Orville because it isn't taking a huge dump over one of the very few positive sci fi universes.
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Chrome
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Well, this series wrapped up in a dramatic fashion bringing an end to the first animated Trek series in decades. It was overall a low-key satire of Star Trek with both the positive and negative connotations that infers. First, I'll go into the positives. Most of the voicework was superb with Dawnn Lewis (a Simpsons veteran) and Tawny Newsome in an energetic and perhaps breakout animated role. The guest actors like Jack McBrayer were delightful and of course the Trek actors themselves cameo at times. In terms of content, the majority of the episodes were very optimistic in tone which added to the levity needed to make a comedy Star Trek work. True to Kurtzman-Era production values, the animation was spectacular - particularly in the finale. Though most episodes seemed inconsequential, the later episodes did well to move the story forward. In fact, they shook things up so much I worry that Season 2, Episode 1 is going to have a teaser where Boimler is promptly removed from the Titan -- reversing what progress the finale made.

Despite these strengths, the show would've benefitted more with some straightforward character arcs; Lower Decks only started getting semi-serious in the last two episodes. The show is trying to be episodic and satirical, but that shouldn't mean Lower Decks must settle for 25 minute popcorn munchers soon to be forgotten. Take The Simpsons, for example, with a vibe satirically similar to Lower Decks. The main difference is The Simpsons focuses entirely on satire and it hits the mark on contemporary commentary most of the time. Oh, and the Simpsons is actually funny. It's hard for a show to succeed with satire alone if it can't land the jokey references it's making. To be fair, Lower Decks did have its comedy moments ("The Galaxy is a small place! I'll hunt you down and feed you to Armus!"). But if the satire is going to work as the primary focus, we need more hits like that!

Lower Decks also doesn't quite succeed as a sincere story-based series like DuckTales. In a way, Lower Decks is trying to achieve the same greatness as that show - i.e. take a product of mostly 80s nostalgia and repackage it for Zoomers. Contrary to Lower Decks, DuckTales refuses to venture down the low path of source-tainting crass humor. Instead, it proudly shows that animation can be edgy and different with old material and still tell a sincere story. Lower Decks is probably somewhere in the philosophical middle of Simpsons' satire and DuckTales' sincerity but it only adequately succeeds with either.

So, it wasn't the best Star Trek or even the best contemporary animation series, but no one ever said it needed to be. While I tentatively give this a positive rating, the competition shows that contemporary animation can be a lot better and maybe we should expect better for our $5.99/month.
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Mertov
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
I got back on board CBS AllAccess since Discovery Season 3 is about to start, and my daughter (who is with me for the fall) and I watched the last two episodes of Lower Decks. This is my third and fourth episodes of LD watching, and I enjoyed even better than the first two (eps 5 and 6 - see above for my comment after watching those). The finale was 4 stars (I think Yanks said it above, and I agree with everything he says), well done, thoroughly entertaining.

As several have said, this is not a show to be compared to any other series of Star Trek, has a different target audience. My daughter who is not a fan of any Star Trek series before DS9 enjoys it very much, saw the whole series. I will only watch it with her or another Trekkie, that is as far as my love for animated shows go. But we laughed our butts off watching the last two episodes, especially the finale. Well done by showrunner McMahan, at least in three of the four episodes I watched, whose love for (along with his team's) Star Trek squeezes through every frame.
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bhbor
Tue, Oct 13, 2020, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
I'm a hardcore TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT fan and I despise the Abrahms and subsequent DIS and PIC "new trek" that's all pew pew lasers and dark forboding story lines that crap on everything that a lot of of cherish.

That said, I liked Lower Decks- like wayyyyy more than I was expecting. Tonally it holds to its source material well and in the context of a comedy it works in a way that normal Star Trek comedies have not. I don't think its reviewable under Jammer's paradigm but if I knew the man I would deffinitly recommend it to him and to anyone else who also enjoys "old trek".

I didn't laugh out loud very much but I gotta say the sequence with the Paclids really cracked me up, "oh no, another Enterprise! Make it go!" hahaha
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Idolwild
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Wolfstar: I saw several people referencing your original post so I had to look for it and I’m glad I did - in a few paragraphs you managed to nail how I feel about the newest incarnations of Trek. Bravo sir.
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Yanks
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Thought I'd share my STLD Season One ratings, then I ranked all the ST Season One's for the hell of it.

Episode Name / Rating / EP#
Second Contact / 2.50 / 1
Evoys / 3.50 / 2
Temporal Edict / 2.00 / 3
Moist Vessel / 3.00 / 4
Cupid's Errant arrow / 4.00 / 5
Terminal Provocations / 3.50 / 6
Much Ado About Boimler / 3.50 / 7
Veritas / 2.50 / 8
Crisis Point / 4.00 / 9
No Small Parts / 4.00 / 10
Total points: 32.50
Average points per episode: 3.25 (my highest numerical rating for an season of Star Trek. (I haven't done TOS yet)

S1's:
1. TOS
2. STLD
3. ENT
4. VOY
5. STD
6. TNG
7. DS9
8. STP
9. TAS

STLD was such a success at what it set out to do I think it's earned the high spot on my list.

What say you?

On a side note, if someone could please let me know how to get tabs to stay in this posting environment I'd appreciate it.
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Startrekwatcher
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Best to worst
TNG
TOS
ENT
VOY
DS9



PIC
DIS
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Henry O.
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
You thought TNG had the best Season 1? That's a ballsy choice.
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Patrick D
Sun, Oct 18, 2020, 11:19am (UTC -5)
I'm a hardcore TNG fan, and even I'm like, "TNG's first season is the best? REALLY?"

I'd rank the classic shows' first season thusly:

TOS
DS9
VOY
TNG
ENT
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Mertov
Sun, Oct 18, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
I'd agree that TNG's first season is a hard pass, it gets even worse over time with each viewing. In good competition with ENT's first season.

First seasons for me (only saw four episodes of Lower Decks):

1) TOS
2) PIC
3) VOY
4) DS9
5) LD
5) DSC
6) TNG
7) ENT
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Startrekwatcher
Mon, Oct 19, 2020, 5:35am (UTC -5)
To each their own.

I thought tos TNG and Ent had the most consistent and best first seasons. All three did a great job introducing their respective century and setting and introducing new races. The casts immediately clicked with me

Tos is a solid season but it is a tad uneven. Some good episodes and some not so good episodes

I like TNG best cause I enjoyed more episodes, the sense of awe and wonder, the action adventure mixed with high concept sci fi

I enjoyed Naked Now, Datalore , when the bough breaks, last outpost, where no one has gone before, the neutral zone, conspiracy, heart of glory, coming of age, 1100101. Even the lesser episodes I find watchable even code of honor. The only true weak episodes I thought there were big goodbye and we will always have paris bI won’t go into why I like these episodes. I commented in detail why in their respective episode threads

For all the bashing ENT takes I find it had the right idea and tone in season one. And more of a confidence in what it was doing than voyager or DS9 or Kurtzman “trek”. It told simple standalone stories from the perspective of a novice crew experiencing what other crews saw as commonplace. The stories were simple. Some recycled. But held my attention and were entertaining—broken bow, fight or flight, Andorian incident, civilization, breaking the ice, cold fromt, fortunate son, dear doctor, shuttlepod one, detained, acquisition, fallen hero. I appreciated that things were small and intimate. The most epic it got was with the Temporal Cold War. While TcW would lose its center here it was at its most eerie and intriguing. I think of they kept doing this in season two but punched up the plot and introduced more ToS aliens even as just aliens of the week like on TNG it wouldn’t have gone off the rails as it did

Up until discovery and PIC I thought ds9 was worst freshman season Ds9 relied way too much on TNG speaking as a TNG fan. A lot of stories were awful and could barely sit through—the storyteller, the forsaken, battle lines, of wishes were horses, q-less, move along home, personae etc

I do finding myself enjoying it more now than originally and in retrospective its first season truly felt faithful to the idea of an outpost on the unexplored wild frontier. After the first season it felt like Ds9 was in the middle of well explored space surrounded by well knowns. It did have some good standalones in the vein of TNG—the passengee, Babel, a man alone, past prologue, dax, vortex, and its season finale was strong and made the bajorans and prophets very mysterious and alien. Sadly as the series went on that mystique was lost which was a disappointment

Voyager was mediocre. It had an excellent pilot. One of the best trek episodes ever. But then that sense of wonder and strangeness was rarely experienced rest of the season. Lot of mediocre episodes like the cloud, Jetrel, learning curve to name a few. I will say the ensemble and the characters were at their best here before everyone but janeway seven and the Doctor had their characters assassinated or reduce to cyphers

There were some good episodes like the phage, time and again, state of flux,, faces. And I thought the Vidiians was one of the best new trek races conceived. But in season ones favor, due to Michael
Piller being involved it and season two felt the most trek like of voyagers seasons which was a good thing even of writing hit or miss

Discovery was just a hot mess. Unlikeable characters, convoluted storyline, dramatically flaccid klingon war. Mediocre payoff

Picard started out with some promise but by the end all the good elements introduced in the beginning were squandered in such a criminal fashion, the Borg, a possible tie between Borg origin and Romulans, Seven of Nine. Hugh treated like a plot device unceremoniously killed off by the demands of needing a shocking demise. An abrupt and underwhelming season finale which couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to say something about the essential ness of mortality and dying via Data’s death scene only to be undermined by a most un Picard like decision to chest death in an artificial body. Totally gutting whatever point the writers were trying to make as well as wasting what could have been a series spanning arc surrounding Picard’s final days years and saying goodbye to those in his life along the way ievTNG cameos
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Neelix's spots
Mon, Oct 19, 2020, 5:49am (UTC -5)
Okay, I'm going to give this ranking thing a go. I also thought ENT had a strong first season. It was later on I got bored with the Xindi and time travel stuff. And I absolutely loved VOY's first season, the potential was staggering and only when you think about how they wasted it does the show sink in my estimation.

1. VOY
2. DS9
3. ENT
4. TOS
5. TNG
6. LD
7. DIS
8. PIC

It's been way too long since i've seen TAS but I like the animation better than LD so I'd probably put it just below TNG.
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Yanks
Mon, Oct 19, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -5)
I went back and took a look at my numbers and I need to change things a little but. DS9 had the worst rating average over the first season (I almost quit watching it). I haven't rated TNG or TAS yet.

S1's:
1. TOS
2. STLD
3. ENT
4. VOY
5. STD
6. TNG
7. PIC
8. DS9
9. TAS

It's interesting to see the diversity in opinion WRT to these season 1 rankings. I honestly wasn't expecting to see that much of a difference.
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Chrome
Mon, Oct 19, 2020, 9:03am (UTC -5)
@Startrekwatcher

Yeah, I think TNG has a pretty good first season as far as first seasons go for Star Trek. Even the "bad" episodes like "Justice" and "Skin of Evil" are iconic and memorable in their own right. The only downright bad episode is "Code of Honor", but it's infamy is more for aesthetic casting reasons whereas the story itself had an interesting ending that flipped the script on the classic Harem trope.

I can't really rank each series, though DS9 and TOS are remarkable for having some series highs in them. PIC was great in my opinion, but I get that it's also wildly different than other Trek shows.
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Patrick D
Mon, Oct 19, 2020, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

I never thought "Skin of Evil" was that bad an episode. In fact it was a pretty compelling story. Sure the ending with Tasha's funeral is maudlin, but it was otherwise pretty solid, though campy.

I agree with you though, season 1 of TNG is unfairly maligned for the most part. Episodes like "The Big Goodbye", "11001001", "Heart of Glory" and "Conspiracy" acquit it well. And there's a sense of wonderment in the first season of TNG that no other Trek series that came after can come close to touching.

Star Trek: Enterprise's first season was so appallingly mediocre and forgettable, that it was the first Star Trek series that I gave up on watching.
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Tommy D.
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 3:14am (UTC -5)
I think time, streaming services, and binge watching resulting in many repeated viewings have become very kind to a lot of Trek's mediocre and poor outings. Not that I think thats a bad thing in any way, but its just more of a personal observation when I read across different boards.
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John
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 3:51am (UTC -5)
I would have expected the opposite, and it surprises me that anyone becomes a new fan of some of the older Trek shows anymore. I don't know anyone who hasn't already seen the whole of, say, Voyager or Enterprise, would have the patience to sit through them today. At the time when they were released you had to wait for the weekly episode, there were slim pickings when it came to sci-fi TV. The weekly anticipation was a big part of why you watched them - you set aside an hour of your schedule at a certain timeslot each week and generally stuck to it. If I was streaming Voyager today for the first time, by season 3 at the latest I'd be such saying "screw this, there are better things to do/watch". It's highly likely I wouldn't have got past S1 of TNG either.
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Yanks
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Well John, I've seen both VOY and ENT all the way through (DVD's and binging) at LEAST 6 times. Thoroughly enjoyable each time.

In fact, I find the MOST enjoyable Trek to re-watch is Voyager. The least is TNG.

And in case you need to know, I've been a Trek fan since the 70's.
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Patrick D
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 10:54am (UTC -5)
This is purely anecdotal, but the Trek show--indeed the TV show, in general--that I've had the worst time talking people into watching was Deep Space Nine. All the people I've tried to talk into watching the show are deeply intelligent people with otherwise good taste, but there's never been a person who seemed enthusiastic about watching it and some have voiced disdain. In some ways it's the most critically acclaimed Trek show, but it is also a HARD sell.

On the flip side, Firefly was the easiest show I've ever got many people to watch and love. Go figure.
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Chrome
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -5)
It just goes to show the diversity of Star Trek's content and consequently the diversity of the fanbase. "Lower Decks" is actually a really a great example of a show that will divide the fanbase. On the one hand it's absolutely got some familiar Trek aspects like episodic space aesops, the TNG-styled ships/uniforms and a plethora of alien planets. But on the other hand, it's an animated series loaded with edgy humor which understandably turns off some fans regardless of the quality of the show.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -5)
"This is purely anecdotal, but the Trek show--indeed the TV show, in general--that I've had the worst time talking people into watching was Deep Space Nine. All the people I've tried to talk into watching the show are deeply intelligent people with otherwise good taste, but there's never been a person who seemed enthusiastic about watching it and some have voiced disdain. In some ways it's the most critically acclaimed Trek show, but it is also a HARD sell."

I love DS9 but I never watched it on its first run and didn't discover it until it was off the air. This is odd because I grew up with TNG as a child of the 80s and DS9 came right off TNGs success at the height of the Berman era. I also did watch Voyager when it first aired for several seasons even though I disliked it almost immediately yet continued to watch.

So why is DS9 such a hard sell even to fans of Trek?

Some will say the first season was weak but that is a cop out - Voyager's was even worse. I remember hating Voyager's first season especially the dreary Kazon who I never wanted to see again after Caretaker but kept coming back. But I just kept watching anyway, week after week!

Trying to put myself back in my younger self age 13 when Ds9 came on the air? The word "dark" comes to mind, but not tonally - I mean aesthetically.

I think DS9's hard sell is due to a couple of very superficial factors: the title of the show and the art design. The title has a certain hard scifi edge to it that I think puts people off. It reminds me of Moon44. It is gritty. It is utilitarian. It sounds like an Interstellar bus terminal.

The art design is very "dark" with an ugly utilitarian Cardassian designed Station. The opening sequence is just this ugly station round and round - it is dark and monotone.

Note I am not taking issue with the opening or the space station design insofar as I don't hate them on an artistic level - quite the contrary - but the off the cuff feeling you get could be slightly offputting and alien / uncomfortable. It is anything but warm and fuzzy.

Compare this to Voyager which was a simple uncomplicated title and a sleek pretty space ship design that evokes optimism and wonder. The Voyager opening showing a pretty iconic Trekkian style starship sailing through pretty alien vistas with its booming orchestral notes evokes wonder and optimism and "light" - the total antithesis of DS9's opening.
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Mertov
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
@John said: "I would have expected the opposite, and it surprises me that anyone becomes a new fan of some of the older Trek shows anymore. I don't know anyone who hasn't already seen the whole of, say, Voyager or Enterprise, would have the patience to sit through them today."

And you would probably be right John. The viewing habits have changed, as well as the audience.

In my observation of interacting with multiple dozens of college students every semester through a decade now (and the first thing they know about me is what a Trekkie I am :)) ) what I notice immediately, when it comes time to talk media consumption habits in the US vs internationally, and I bring in the Star Trek topic, is that none of them cares to sit through the Original Series or TNG. It's simply not in their area of interest. For them, they are shows that their parents watched so they caught some of it in "the living room" with them. I have yet to see a college student become a Trekkie today because of TOS or TNG. They think much of it is corny and cheesy. I have been able to convince some to give DS9 a try and had some success with it, but the biggest trend I have noticed over the last 12 years of being around them, in terms of becoming a Trek watcher, is the impact of Voyager, Star Trek 2009 movie, and Discovery (not so much Picard, again, they are reluctant to watch it due to the TNG background of the main character). For example, I even had a few who were telling me about the third season premiere date earlier in the semester and expressing their excitement for it. Not a single one is even remotely interested to hear me every time I say "hey, you should start / try out the Original Series / The Next Generation first."

I see frankly where they are coming from, I like rewatches of all Trek shows (except Enterprise, I tried it two years ago and it was painful, as painful as the first time around), but I agree that many of the TOS and TNG episodes (and DS('s first two seasons) are now hard to sit through - and some downright terrible, not getting better with time either like DS 9 is for example. You can criticize these youngsters or attack today's audience for being "superficial" or "stupid" or "dumb" if you wish, but I think anyone who does that would be advertising their self-centered nature for thinking they belong to some intellectual higher ground over a whole generation of bright people (and yes, they are bright).

The viewing habits and audiences have changed. Two long-time Trek novel writers had a podcast about that and a fruitful discussion on how they have evolved themselves as viewers too (I can't remember who, one of them was David Mack I believe, but I could be wrong) and that they like the old series for what they were at the time and that they enjoy still watching them because they bring back nostalgia and how they felt when they first watched it, but they do not believe they would make good viewing as a first Trek show for today's audience including themselves. I found myself agreeing with them too. And that is what John also says below, if I understand correctly:

"If I was streaming Voyager today for the first time, by season 3 at the latest I'd be such saying "screw this, there are better things to do/watch". It's highly likely I wouldn't have got past S1 of TNG either."

With Voyager during its original airing, even I was beginning to get tired of the formula by its 6th and 7th seasons, and maybe that is also why I was probably never truly captivated by ENT (same formula again, never mind that it rehashed old stories with boring narratives, and had ridiculous acting moments by multiple main-cast members) although I stuck with it (during its original airing). It was "meh." But when I tried a rewatch a couple of years ago, it was even worse I skipped some episodes to even make it bearable to finish a rewatch (never again).
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Tommy D.
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
@John

I really think the format of old or "classic" Trek lends itself really well to streaming and binging. And while it may seem surprising that someone would latch onto a random Trek this way, I think we're likely biased from having watched them in order of appearance, rather than starting at a random point.

Personally, I've enjoyed VOY and ENT far more upon rewatch than I ever did when they were running weekly. I'm far less critical of them than I was 20 years ago. I can watch blocks of DS9 no problem, but I am less enamored with TNG than I was as a kid. I rarely watch TOS anymore, but will watch the movies from time to time.

@Jason R. and @Patrick

I have a friend who absolutely refuses to watch DS9. Went from TNG right to VOY and ENT. Hates that it takes place on a space station and doesn't like The Defiant. Also a big fan of Bakula and Picardo. Tough sell indeed.
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Mertov
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Tommy: "I think time, streaming services, and binge watching resulting in many repeated viewings have become very kind to a lot of Trek's mediocre and poor outings. Not that I think thats a bad thing in any way, but its just more of a personal observation when I read across different boards."

Yes Tommy I agree, Imagine if we had some of the early TNG episodes air today and people had a full week to dissect on multiple youtube shows, podcasts, and message boards an episode like "Code of Honor" or "Aquiel" or "Justice." Oh the insanity :)
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Mertov
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Yanks:
"Well John, I've seen both VOY and ENT all the way through (DVD's and binging) at LEAST 6 times. Thoroughly enjoyable each time.

In fact, I find the MOST enjoyable Trek to re-watch is Voyager. The least is TNG.

And in case you need to know, I've been a Trek fan since the 70's."

Yanks, for what its worth, like you I have been a Trekkie since early 70s also. Pluto TV has been showing reruns of TNG's first couple of seasons (mostly) in a loop on one of their channels, and it's the first time in my life I believe that I no longer have Star Trek reruns on the background as I am doing things around the house. In the past, if a TV channel had reruns of Trek, I would always have it on unless there was something else specific that I wanted to watch on TV elsewhere. But those early episodes are just not aging well. In fact, BBC America is showing reruns of TNG's late seasons and DS9 on selected times and I have those on all the time, if I am not watching anything else in particular. Those are good. That is why I believe DS9 has great staying power. Voyager reruns ahve not lost their magic for me either, if a channel had them on reruns, I would also put it on.
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Patrick D
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
I guess I'm alone in this arena. I've been watching TNG for decades and I still love it. Even seasons 1 and 2 are more watchable *to me* than most of of Voyager and Enterprise. Part of it might be nostalgia. Part of it might be than I know that some of the weaker episodes of those early seasons (like "Hide and Q" and "Datalore") lead to bigger and better things down the road. Even at its worst, TNG strived to be a thoughtful show (with exceptions like "Sub Rosa" and "Genesis").

I don't need Trek to be ultra-jaded like The Sopranos and I don't need it to be paced like a Fast and the Furious movie. Just let it make me think, feel, experience something unique and wonderful and help me see the world in a different way. And would it kill Trek to be cultured, inspiring and humanistic again? Can't they give us one new spin-off in the true spirit of the first two Roddenberry-created Trek shows? Just one?
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Tommy D.
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
@Mertov

I agree. I think it would be difficult for a lot of episodes to withstand the 24/7 cynicism and scrutiny we see today.
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Startrekwatcher
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
I think DS9 is hard to get into because it jettisons for the most part the action adventure and high concept sci fi.

It is more dense and political a series. I enjoy DS9 but it’s increased reliance on romance and comedy hurts it. I don’t tune in to trek for episodes like Family business , Fascination, meridian, let he, change of heart, crossfire, Melora, second sight, looking for parmach in all the wrong places or Dax/Worf, Kira/Bareil, kira/shakaar, Rom/Leeta, moogie/Zek

Also some of the main cast is weak like dax and bashir. The more interesting characters on the show weren’t main players and only came along halfway through the series. Then when the series hit it stride with the dominion war it spun its wheels after occupation arc til
The the start of the final Season
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Startrekwatcher
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
As far as rewatchabilty I find all five trek series rewatchable. I’ve seen most episodes 40-50 times.

I actually like the episodic format. The way it treats the viewer to a new story. You never knew what each episode was going to be about as opposed to an ongoing arc. It also allowed viewers to see how the episode would take shape and it forced the writers to provide a payoff rather than dragging it out which I think made for better payoffs in the episodic shows than the modern mystery box programs like lost, bsg and discovery/Picard
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Ben Sisko
Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Has anybody here actually watched all 10 episodes and still doesn't like it?
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Mal
Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
No @Ben Sisko, we're far more efficient than that - I decided the show was garbage after just 1 episode, and some people decided it sucked without watching it at all :-)
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Chrome
Sat, Oct 31, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
I'll tell you this: after three doses of Discovery's puzzle boxes, I sure miss having this show around.
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Paul M.
Sun, Nov 1, 2020, 6:17am (UTC -5)
Okay I just watched the first 5 episodes of Lower Decks and man is this show a blast. I started watching because hey it is Trek so I kinda have to, but it surpassed all my expectations by a mile. Funny, steeped in Trek lore, oozing love for the franchise out of every line of dialogue, positive and optimistic... A joy to watch!

On to episode 6 I guess!
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Sxottlan
Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 2:54am (UTC -5)
Enjoy! The show gets stronger and stronger in the second half of the season.
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nickf
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
I watched the first episode of Lower Decks tonight over at a friend's house, and I have to say I found it to be juvenile nonsense, and painfully unfunny. It was a real struggle to make it through the episode. If you're entertained by it, good for you. I won't be watching again.
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Latex Zebra
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Just burned through 3 episodes on Amazon and this is very silly, a little annoying, but fun. I'll definitely see out the series based on this.
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Daniel
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
I watched the first 8 Episodes on Amazon so far and I am absolutely loving every minute of it. I enjoy the references and find the humor great most of the time.
My favourite animated series right now and one of my favourite Star Treks shows. Also, it gets better and better.

You are missing out, Jammer.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, May 9, 2021, 3:12am (UTC -5)
Ah, I forgot we could comment on Lower Decks here.

After what NuTrek has wrought upon us, I was initially sceptical to Lower Decks - well, outright hostile, in fact. An animated 'comedy' series? Good grief, no. The trailer was woeful. No, no, no. It felt like the spore drive, Icheb's eye and Admiral Fucking Hubris all over again, only played for smug laughs this time. After JJ, DIS and PIC I simply couldn't bear any more wanton vandalism of the essence of Trek. So I decided to simply ignore Lower Decks.

But then I increasingly noticed over time that reliable sources were suggesting that Lower Decks was actually knowledgeably and lovingly done, respectful of Trek continuity and the Trek ethos, well-written, plotted and voiced - essentially the polar opposite of JJ Trek, DIS and PIC. So a few months ago I reluctantly took the risk and watched all of Lower Decks in one go.

I was impressed, I admit it. While Lower Decks takes a couple of episodes to settle and the humour isn't always funny, it is definitely put together by people who fully understand and love pre-NuTrek Trek. There are endless, surprisingly detailed and obscure references that are all very skilfully done and offer very rewarding viewing. The cast does well, although as an animation series Lower Decks is a little brasher and breathless in its characterisation. But overall Lower Decks a great, if lightweight, effort that is far far better than its trailer and style might suggest. It isn't a world-changing series, but it is a worthwhile watch.

So if you're looking for an antidote to DIS and PIC and NuTrek in general (and who isn't?), Lower Decks certainly goes some way to recapturing the feel of true Trek. Give it a go.
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Chrome
Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Wow, I was just randomly clicking through and I see this. Really great to hear your thoughts on these, Jammer! It looks like you also went to the trouble of curating the single comment section into a section per episode. Nice stuff and it's always a pleasure having some new reviews of yours to read.
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Bok R'Mor
Sun, Jul 4, 2021, 6:40am (UTC -5)
Delighted to see LDS reviews and comments. Thanks, Jammer.
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HaveGun_WillRiker
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 11:52am (UTC -5)
I have to say, reading through these reviews it was kinda fun to see Jammer seem to warm up to the show over time. That first episode review read as like "yeah yeah I really don't want to be here but fuck it, here I am and this was pretty garbo" to the middle being like "hey ya know they really laid it way too thick with the references but it really was ok" to E9 being "you know that was actually pretty good."

I really enjoyed that ride, haha. LD's endearing side got a hold of me too :)
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MidshipmanNorris
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
(Cough) Uhm...

Well, I'm gonna let Uncle George give me a preamble here, with a quote from Star Trek: Movie Memories, by Wild and Willy Shatner (Edited by Chris Kreski, Paperback Edition, ISBN 0-06-104329-7, pp. 211-213.) This is regarding Star Trek III.

"The script came and I was reading it, and I really liked it, and when I got to the scene where Kirk and Sulu break McCoy out of the hospital I was pleased to find that my character had a really nice bit of business. Sulu enters the scene, and when he sees that the security guard on duty is half-asleep with his feet up on the desk, he asks the guy, 'Keepin' ya busy?' At that point the big guy replies, 'Don't get smart, Tiny.' And later as we're making our escape, Sulu ends up shoulder-tossing this guy to the ground and saying 'Don't call me Tiny.'
I have to admit, I just didn't get it. I mean, I had never imagined Sulu as being tiny. So I got on the phone right away with Harve and I said: Harve, it's a wonderful script, I love it, except I think we need to rewrite this one scene where Sulu throws the big guy--I think it's a great bit of business, but this reference to Sulu as 'Tiny' just doesn't make sense. And now Harve says 'Well, I don't know what you mean.' And I said, 'C'mon, Sulu is not a tiny man.' And Harve says, 'Of course not, but what you've got to understand is that this security guard is a giant, I mean he's a Viking.'
And I said, 'Well, that may be, but Harve, I know how the fans see Sulu. They don't see Sulu as tiny--he's a hero and mustn't be referred to as tiny.' Oh boy, my ego was really invested in this, so I strenuously tried to talk him out of that tiny reference. On the other end of the phone, Harve is now saying, 'I can't believe this! I can't believe what I'm hearing! George, it's a charming, delightful scene and you come off fantastically. You're the activator in this scene.' And I said, 'Yes, I know, and I understand all that. I don't think you're quite hearing what I'm saying. This reference to Sulu as tiny. Fans will not buy it, they will not accept it. Believe me, Harve, I go to ten zillion Star Trek conventions and I know the fans. I'm speaking for them, they will not buy that!
Well, the long and the short of it is we did it. Harve says, 'Can we make a compromise? Let's shoot it both ways and see how it plays, will you grant me that?' And I said, 'Well, I'll tell you all right. I will grant you that, but when you guys get into the editing room, I know which one you're going to use, and believe me, in a million years, you're not going to want to use that one with 'Tiny,' it will fall flat on its face, the fans will not like that, but all right, we'll shoot it.' That just goes to show you how much *I* know.
When I first found out that the 'Tiny' scene was actually going into the finished film, I was angry, upset, and I told Harve again, 'The audience won't go for this, you've made a big mistake.' But then, when I first saw the film with an audience, I was amazed, because as Sulu flipped the guard and said 'Don't call me Tiny,' a raucous cheer went up inside the theater. Until that point, I was still absolutely convinced that Harve was wrong.
And when that cheer went up in the theater, I knew I was going to have to give Harve credit. So I called him once more, and I said, 'Hello, Harve, you know what I'm doing right now? I'm eating crow, and it tastes delicious."

...Likewise, I am also having to prepare myself a big fat plate of crow to eat, because I watched the rest of Lower Decks, and while yes it does have several "ugh" episodes, a lot of this is very very good. It's goofy and hyper, yes, but when the jokes land, they do land, and the aspect of psychological examination of the characters (who are very strongly written for this type of show) surprised the hell out of me.

This is actually quite good; I was capital w Wrong. Hats off to the Lower Decks animation team, too... I just can't believe it. I guess I was just in a bad mood when it first came out.

Thanks again to Jammer for reviewing the show; I would not have known that any of it was good, indeed, if Jammer hadn't tipped me off.

As Uncle George before me, I am eating crow, and it tastes delicious.
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Yanks
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
Hey Jammer, glad you reviewed this show. Always love reading your reviews.

A thoroughly enjoyable ride once I learned to "keep up".

Can't wait for August 12th and season 2!

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