Star Trek: Lower Decks

"Second Contact"

1.5 stars

Air date: 8/6/2020
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Barry J. Kelly

Cast: Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid (Ensign Brad Boimler), Noël Wells (Ensign D'Vana Tendi), Eugene Cordero (Ensign Sam Rutherford), Dawnn Lewis (Capt. Carol Freeman), Jerry O'Connell (Cmdr. Jack Ransom), Fred Tatasciore (Lt. Shaxs), Gillian Vigman (Dr. T'Ana)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Preface: My change of course on Lower Decks

Lower Decks comes out of the gate literally swinging away with aggressively framed "jokes," featuring a drunken Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) playfully attacking Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) with a bat'leth as she teases him mercilessly for making an overly officious "captain's log" in embarrassed private. It ends with her accidentally slicing into his leg with the sword and both of them screaming in horror before cutting to black, har har.

"Second Contact" is a busy and creaky pilot that has to establish characters, setting, plot, and tone — which is never an easy feat in a single episode — and if there's one thing that especially worries me here, it's the tone. This is waaaaaay too manic and madcap, with the volume, pace, and kinetic energy cranked up to 11 in a feeble attempt to paper over the fact that the jokes just kind of sit there and die. I didn't laugh at this once, because none of it is funny. Oh, it's self-confident. It has the rhythms of the certainty of hilarity, but doesn't genuinely land even a single joke.

They do cram a lot into 22 minutes, however — including a virus that turns the crew into violent zombies; a budding would-be romance between engineering Ensign Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and a young Trill officer who just isn't that into technical procedures; and the first day on the ship for Orion Ensign D'Vana Tendi (Noël Wells), who is green both literally and figuratively, which I suppose is this show's idea of clever. Also, a slapstick bit where Mariner and Boimler are attacked by a giant, angry spider creature, which pushes really, really hard into pure annoyance. The sheer glut of material may explain why this is executed at such an unrelenting fever pitch, but even though there's a lot here, none of it does much beyond showcasing a buncha crazy (but not funny) stuff happening. As animation goes, it's purely functional.

Oh, yeah — the commander of the USS Cerritos, Capt. Carroll Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), is also Mariner's mother, who is watching over her following her most recent disciplinary demotion. Mariner is a cheerfully cynical rogue who doesn't especially care about her career, whereas Boimler is a stodgy stickler for regulations. Freeman asks Boimler to secretly keep tabs on her daughter, which is sure to bring about a betrayal plot between the two friends at some point later in the season.

Lower Decks is set around the TNG years, which is a welcome change of pace for Kurtzman-era Star Trek, and takes its title and perspective from the TNG episode of the same name, focusing on the lowly grunts who don't get the glory of the bridge crew. But it's got a very long way to go to live up to that classic episode's premise, even as an alleged comedy. Mike McMahan, the creator and showrunner, is a writer/producer who hails from Rick and Morty, acclaimed by many, unseen by me. Star Trek and comedy are not incompatible, but it takes the right touch and sensibility; based on this first outing, it appears the writing staff has their work cut out for them.

Can I fault a show for trying too hard? Sure I can, when the effort is all in its hyperactive execution and excessively loud voice acting, rather than solidly constructed writing or amusing wit. I'll put this on par with the Orville pilot. Hopefully this show can grow as that one did.

Note: The comments that were originally posted before the show premiered can be found on this general discussion page.

Next episode: Envoys

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154 comments on this post

Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Just watched Lower Decks "Second Contact ". Painful. Hard to watch. Hated the story and the animation. I mainly hated the voice acting. People speak two sentences, literally one after the other, not even a breath between words or pauses. It annoyed me.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Gave this a watch just now, and i would like to hear the opinion of this forum:

Who is this made for?
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -6)
Personally, I thought the first episode was genuinely good...much better than the trailers let on. Very different in terms of tone/composition from DIS and PIC. I'd rate it three out of four in Jammer's rating system, and say it was one of the better Trek pilot episodes.

The show is not - as some feared - about a crew of mean-spirited fuckups. Both the bridge crew and most of the ensigns are well-meaning, hard-working Starfleet officers who are doing the best they can to come up with collective solutions to difficult problems. The one main exception of course is Ensign Mariner. The backstory they've given her is interesting - she's the daughter of the captain and an admiral, who has had a relatively long amount of service, but keeps getting demoted. She's basically stopped trying to live up to her parents expectations, and despite her obvious intelligence and skill, is lazy and insubordinate. But she still can be a classic Starfleet officer when the situation requires.

The comic tone is fine. There were some genuinely funny jokes (unlike the trailers) which fortunately mostly revolve around absurd circumstances or jarring changes in tone. I wouldn't say I laughed out loud, but I smiled in more than a few cases. Certainly it was better than the humor in the first season of The Orville.

My biggest issue with the episode is I think it failed as a pilot. The other two "mains" - Rutherford and Tendi - were not introduced well enough for it to work as a true pilot. Rutherford gets an entire B plot, but what we apparently learn about him is...he's nice and he's boring? And Tendi is just portrayed as overeager and wide-eyed. Similar to how one-hour dramatic trek often has two-hour pilots, I think that this series could have done with a one-hour premier which padded out their own story elements a bit.
Troy G
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Mini-Reviews on Lower Decks and the other three so-called Star Trek shows:

The Good: Good visuals, Saru, Stamets, Pike.
The Bad: Nothing is period-correct, confusing and rushed plots, aimless seasons-arcs, magical Spore Drive

The Orville:
The Good: looks and feels like a continuation of the Rick Berman Trek years, light and breezy tone
The Bad: Un-even early episodes, Mercer/Kelley

The Good: the first episode
The Bad: foul language, contemporary speech, the show generally doesn’t feel like a continuation of Earth and Star Trek Voyager, silly nonsense such as androids learning Vulcan Mind Meld

Lower Decks
The Good (so far) Visually fits the canon Universe,
sometimes made me laugh, episodic structure, funny opening credits, good comic timing
The Bad (so far) it’s not canon Star Trek nor should it be seen as such

It’s one episode in, but I don’t hate what I’ve seen in Lower Decks
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Well, that was interesting...

The music made me think of Stargate.

Not bad, maybe even better than I was expecting.

I'm still tuning in...

What crowd is this aimed at? After one episode I would guess teenager to early adult?
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -6)
I watched the first episode. I liked the TNG decor, and the fact that the franchise once again has a nautical feel: you get the sense of a big ship, a vast organization, with its various departments and hierarchies.

I thought the episode was far too busy, its short running time busily zipping from its A to its B to its C to its D plot. I thought most of the dialogue was bad, too manic and snarky, too "contemporary cool", the ADD-inflicted characters all hopped-up on cocaine. I liked the lead duo in theory - essentially Tom and Harry Kim, only now with Tom as a girl - but they're far too zany.

The big cast may become a problem. Juggling all their stories may lead to something more manic than even RICK and MORTY, which worked because it tended to focus on a smaller group, and a literal sociopath. Rick acting nonchalant, fast and deranged made sense - he's a super-smart, murderous Dr Who/Doc Brown - but Trek characters spouting rapid-fire craziness, while pretending to be "normal" and "utopian", just makes them seem like meth-heads.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
Having slept on it a bit, I woke up still not liking it. Still it had a story and plot that was at least as serviceable as the Orville pilot, and ine that was solid, unlike Discovery .. it just moved way too fast.
STORY: Ed takes command but has to work with his ex wife, who cheated on him. She put his name up for the position, actually.
PLOT: Bad guys want MacGuffin that Orville has.
STORY: Ensign wants to play by the rules but is told to report on misbehavior on the ensign who doesn't, as she is the captain's daughter.
PLOT: strange disease/ cure plot

I actually respect the attempt at simple straightforward storytelling here. If it was 46 minutes and live action it would gave been solid , if not classic, Trek episode
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 1 “Second Contact”

Mal’s review

* 1/2 (one and a half stars) out of 4

“Did I eat flesh?”

- Commander Ransom asks after being cured of the Zombie virus.

A Star Trek show about four young ensigns on a starship sounds like gold. Who wouldn’t want to see a show that revolves around someone like Chekov, a 19 year old Ensign with a bright future? Or how about Ensigns Nog & Dax, maybe sent off on an away mission before Ezri’s promotion came in?

Over the 50 years of Star Trek, we’ve been treated to a whole host of wonderful young junior officers - teenagers - from young acting Ensign Wesley Crusher, to sweet Ensign Sito. From fresh from the academy Ensign Harry Kim to cynical and broken Ensign Ro Laren. Ensigns have been a rich vein for Star Trek lore.

Anyone expecting something remotely like that from Star Trek: Lower Decks will be sorely disappointed.

The first episode follows a roughly A & B story pattern.

The “B story” revolves around the crew turning into zombies, spewing black vomit on each other, and eating human flesh. It is literally as bad as it sounds.

The “A story” betrays everything that Star Trek holds dear.

I suppose it does this for laughs, but honestly, I didn’t find any of it amusing.

Ensign Mariner violates regulations and gives Starfleet technology to some farmers belonging to a newly admitted race, because she feels Federation bureaucracy might take too long to approve the technology transfer. The “joke” is that the technology is a shovel and a hoe.

Why is the Federation giving membership to a race that does not have shovels and hoes?

You’re telling me that Bajor was not ready for membership when Kai Winn and Shakaar were fighting over reclamators (see DS9 "Shakaar“), but 10 years later, this backwater world - without shovels - has been granted membership?

No wonder Star Trek Lower Decks cannot be considered canon.

The “A story” gets worse. When one of the farmer’s animals starts inflicting excruciating pain on a fellow Ensign Boimler, his crew mate Ensign Mariner refuses to stun the animal and render it unconscious because that might spoil the flavour of the milk. And so she allows Ensign Boimler to suffer for many, many more excruciating minutes. When the animal finally tires of inflicting pain, poor Boimler is hurting right down to his very bones. This too is supposed to be funny.

I’m not laughing.

I cannot imagine Nog and Ezri on an away mission where Ezri allows Nog to suffer excruciating pain just because stunning the animal causing the pain might ruin the milk. That would be insane, and a violation of everything we have seen Star Trek stand for over 50 years.

There are a few other vignettes in the short first episode. A young Orion Ensign who works in sickbay is covered with black vomit which is sprayed on her repeatedly by her boss who has been turned into a zombie. She is assigned to pump the heart of a ailing lieutenant, but she does so without any anaesthetics, so the lieutenant calls out in pain “That’s my heart, it hurts when you pump it!” The green Orion Ensign continues to pump it. The lieutenant continues to cry out in pain. This is supposed to be funny.

Finally, a cyborg Ensign and a Trill Ensign are on a date as the crew descends into chaos, turning into zombies, shooting each other, attacking each other while the two Ensigns continue to chat and flirt, without making any effort to stem the violence or save their crew mates. “So, where are you quartered?” he asks as the phasers fire around them and the ship is at red alert. “Deck nine, by the squash courts,” she answers as a medical officer exclaims that “this is happening all over the ship.” The two Ensigns continue to smile obliviously and chat about playing squash sometime, while the medical officer darts away to tend to the emergency. This is supposed to be funny.

Will the next episode be any better? The preview tells us that one young ensign will recommend evasive pattern 88. The Chief Medical Officer will reply, “is he fucking serious?”

There are so many insults to the viewer’s intelligence packed into these 20 odd minutes, that is almost not worth listing them. So let’s just take one example: the Starfleet briefing officer down on the planet cannot pronounce the name of the race that has just been admitted to the Federation. He mispronounces the name of the race right in front of a representative of the race - actually struggling to read the race’s name off a padd. All the years we saw officers prepare and practice alien names and greetings to make them feel welcome and appreciated - all of that up in smoke - for a “joke”.

So will I be watching next week? Are you fucking serious?
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
I think some of you guys will have to come to terms that not everything is made for you. Judging this show by TNG standards doesn't make sense for a animated comedy spin-off targeted at teens and twenty-somethings.

The actual anger in here at a literal cartoon is just staggering to me. A lot of you really need to take a walk and decompress. If you don't like it, just accept it and move on as Jammer has done preemptively. The people that hate-watch these shows just to spew vitriol are letting the writers live in their heads rent-free.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
To elaborate a little more...

I don't look at this like a normal trek episode.

I like the "A-plot" being conducted in the background as these characters are kind of watching from below. My animated reference in Trek was 'The Animated Series', so I had to "catch up" with the speed of it, but when I did I kind of enjoyed it.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Honestly I got bored about halfway through it, none of it seemed funny to me, the jokes were all dumb and I hated how hyperactive everyone was. I'm really tired of this Family Guy style animation too. Nothing about it seemed like Star Trek to me, at all. They're obviously just milking the name, it really could have been called "Wacky Space Tales" or anything else and nothing would have changed. I probably won't bother watching next week.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
I thought the first episode was fun. Nothing amazing, but I laughed a couple of times. The crack about the crew's quarters inexplicably being musky, despite the showers being sonic, and the joke about the Klingon stealing the girl's shoes just to be a dick were both pretty funny. I see potential in these characters, though I do wish the pacing wasn't so breakneck. It's an online show, so I don't see the need to cram everything into 26 minutes, and I think the overall episode would be better if it was a bit longer and had more time to breathe.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -6)

maybe the people you are putting down here actually care about the franchise as a whole, that it was created with the intention to be better and more forward-thinking than other shows, and not be acceptable along side the shows meant for the lowest common denominator. Surely the people you are bashing have no passionate hatred to Barney the Dinosaur.. they might not watch it, but they know it's targeted to toddlers. This is using the name and nomenclature and maybe even the canon of one of the most forward-thinking mythologies of our time, and it is a canon people care a lot about. Don't put them all in the "haters" group.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
People can obviously like whatever they wish, but in basically every way, Lower Decks is nothing like Picard or Discovery. It's episodic while they are serialized. It has very normal, Berman-Trek era shot composition while they attempted to be "artsy" with wobbly cameras and quick cuts. It focuses on low-stakes character drama while they focus on galactic-level threats. It hews incredibly close to TNG-era design while they purposefully tried to "update" things. Mariner aside, all of the characters on this show are very much normal Trek characters we could have seen on any earlier show, who work together to attempt to solve the problem of the week - while they featured casts with high drama who were often at one another's throats.

Basically the only thing you can say they have in common is they're both chasing more contemporary trends in TV. Those trends are, however, very different. Saying you don't like either, when they are very different (and comedy aside, Lower Decks is very, very much like a Berman Trek show) suggests you basically just don't want anything new done with Trek.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman
This is nothing like TNG. TNG actually focused on drama, acting, dialogue and line delivery. Even the lighting. This is "let's speak two lines of dialogue without ever taking a breath" hyper. This is not allowing anything to sink in. If anything.. what you described is what Orville is to a T, and that is because Seth was clearly a fan of the Berman era and got many of the same people BTS to work on his show.

To even put Lower Decks on the level of TNG is an insult
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 5:30pm (UTC -6)

Mike McMahan is a huge TNG fan. He's said it's his favorite show of all time, and it's clear it's not bullshit, since he was behind the "TNG Season 8" project on Twitter. He said in a recent interview what he loved the most about TNG were not the high-stakes drama episodes, but little "slice of life" moments like Geordi trying to explain jokes to Data. His goal with this show was to turn these little bits of "Piller Filler" into the core plots of the show, relegating the "normal Trek adventures" to B, or even C plots.

I think the Orville is better than Lower Decks, but I'm not sure I'd agree that it was better at comedy. I think it became a much better show in the second season when it embraced that it was basically a drama with a little bit higher humor quotient than normal. I certainly found the jokes here more amusing than in the first episode of that series anyway.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
I like the Pillar Filler stuff, the life on a starship stiff, and I think Seth does too. If Lower Decks was an hour long live action show I can picture it working on that level as well. The story wasn't the problem. It was too fast. Pwople speak two sentences in a row with no pause, not even to breathe. It tries to cram too much in a frame. Trek needs to breathe. That's how the drama.. and the comedy, succeed. What i find funny in Orville are the bits most people don't even think are funny, like the holodeck (environmental simulator) announcing "YOU WIN" after a game, or Mercer saying to "take him back to his stupid lab". Why is "stupid" funny here? It's probably not to most people, but I laugh every time I play that scene
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Good news! You no longer need a Jammer Review of Episode 1 of Lower Decks!

Here's mine, and trust me; you don't need another one.

"Crashingly unfunny. Zero stars."
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
I think Gene Roddenberry would have hated having his name on the opening credits of this mess.
Tommy D.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
If Gene Roddenberry would have hated this then it has a punchers chance at coming out okay.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
@CaptainMercer, I'd go even beyond your comment to note that many of us who are critical of new Trek do like other modern shows. The Expanse is a great sci-fi show on TV now. Heck, there are plenty of kids shows that I respect, like She-Ra, even if I know they're not made for me. I know what good writing is. I know what good Star Trek is. I know what good modern TV is. Disco and Picard just aren't. And as Trek fans that's fine to admit.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
I don't believe some of you have ever laughed at anything in your entire lives. Did Thatchers' government privatise humour while you were growing up?

Fucking relax, unfold your arms, exhale, cease the tooth-grinding and stop repeating the mantra of "I expect to hate everything, therefore everything deserves to be hated" in your head for a while, and your quivering* narcissism might dissipate long enough for you to actually enjoy yourselves for the first time in your lives, you toxic shower of bastards.

There was a lot of fun stuff here, some great easter eggs, and a lot of core Trek values on display if you'd actually bother to look for them.

*Probably literally as well as figuratively...
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -6)
Haters gonna hate, regardless.

I, personally, liked. I liked the visual, I liked the spirit. I liked that it felt like a genuine Trek show to me. Looking forward to next week!
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Sumple fact is that I didn't laugh. The Orville pilot had a similarly standard story, the difference was that I laughed. Humor is all about tinibg and delivery. If this episode was an hour long and allowed scenes to vreathe, then maybe the hunor would have worked.instead it was all on 2x soeed. If a character spoke two lines in a row not a single breath was taken between the lines.

Also hated the animation. On love action you have lighting, and talented actirs that have to gold the sfreen. Here its stick figures.

This story's plot, such as it is, might have been better than the time doohickey of the Orville pilot, but they squandered a better plot for cheap and hyperactive animation.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
Okay first episode is now out. I’m going to write my thoughts as I’m watching.

Teaser- This is as bad as I feared. Fast talking girl is drunk and trying to get a guy who is making a fake captain’s report while in a closet to cause trouble with her. She grabs a bat’leth and says she doesn’t know the name of it but starts swinging it around and cuts the wanna be captain. Generic “fun girl” doesn’t seem to have much hope I hate this character two minutes in.

Intro and music- This is cool they did a great job I have nothing bad to say about it

Another character is introduced. A green skin girl idk if she’s supposed to be Orion. I think she might have said her species but they talk so fast and plus I don’t care. She meets fake captain who is assigned to show her around and they say how they love science. “I love science. It’s so sciency!”. Oh how hilarious. Is this supposed to be comedy? Fast talking girl then enters the scene and makes it irredeemable. She says how she hates the idea of being higher ranked and wants to remain on lower decks forever. Okay.

We meet a new character named Rutherford who has a tiny robot mask thing in his head like Kano from mortal kombat or the phantom of the opera. He says he has a date but his cybernetic implant makes him not nervous. Fast talk girl fiddles with it and he starts fast talking and saying “oh I’m nervous now!”. Comedy. He runs off. Wannabe captain explains they all have to sleep on the hallway in little coves like on a tour bus. People are walking around naked with towels covering them because the showers are right off of where everyone sleeps and lives. That’s just ridiculous I hope that wasn’t supposed to be funny. Fast talker wants to show green skin the holodeck.

Fasttalker chides a beach for the holideck. Green skin chooses Orion (guess she is a Orion), and wannabe captain chooses for the holodeck to show them the ships warp core. We are supposed to lol such a nerd I guess. Wannabe is called to the bridge and tries to flex like he’s important

Okay wannabe captain is named Brad. He is told by the captain he might have potential and if he ever wants to be captain his first assignment is to spy on fast talker and immediately report anything she does wrong. Fast talker name is Mariner and the captain telling Brad to spy is obviously a older relative to her and using Brad.

We jump to Rutherford’s date. It’s going good until his cybernetic face thing malfunctions and he says things like “you’re not being logical!” to his date (who has Trill spots). It’s played like he has tourettes. It’s not funny. Someone has got a virus and is killing everyone in the room while being shot at So Rutherford and his date continue on under a upturned table with chaos raging around them. Again this is supposed to be comedy.

Brad spies Mariner giving boxes to the species they all just made first contact with (and presumably where the virus came from). He jumps out and accuses her of selling starfleet weapons. It’s just farm equipment. The aliens run off scared and release a giant spider (?).

Brad and Mariner have a huge argument while hiding from the spider. Mariner says he needs to remember she’s been on five ships and is only on lower decks because she was demoted. Tells brad to not question what she does. She forces him to strip and so does she and they make a scarecrow out of their clothes for the spider to attack.

Green Orion girl works in medical and we are supposed to laugh when she ordered to pump a dying guy’s heart by hand as he screams everytime she pumps. Oh the lulz

When Brad and Mariner get back to the ship they see absolute chaos from the virus. The doctor says the slime he is covered in from the spider is the cure to the virus.The day is saved.

Brad decides not to tell on Mariner. We found at that yep the captain is Mariner’s mother. And her father is an admiral who calls the mother to basically tell her to chill out and not be hard on Mariner.

Orion girl asks Rutherford how his date went and he says he will never see her again because she wasn’t interested in some technobabble. Orion girl says omg how could she not find that interesting. So looks like Orion gurl and Rutherford could have budding romance

We end with Mariner finding out Brad didn’t tell on her and she does some of the worst fast talking “lul so random” sayings of the episode. She babbles off a bunch of famous Trek characters asking brad if he knows of them. Sulu. Kirk. Word. Deanna Troi. I guess we are supposed to find this relatable or something. Instead it’s annoying.

Overall I’d say this show comes close to being as bad as everyone feared. Watch it if you want there’s a lot of Easter egg sort of stuff with different species from all the series as background characters but also if you choose not to watch it you’re not missing a whole lot.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:21pm (UTC -6)

"Humor is all about tinibg and delivery. If this episode was an hour long and allowed scenes to vreathe, then maybe the hunor would have worked."

The humour did work, just not for you. And I suspect that was because you went into it not wanting it to work. That's just confirmation bias.
There was no reason why the show needed to be any longer than it actually was - in the time it had, it introduced all the characters and the ship, established their role within Starfleet and managed to tell two main plots, one planet based, the other ship based, and throw in a sub-plot as well that also got resolved. It seemed to me that it achieved exactly what it set out to do in the format it has.

"On love action you have lighting, and talented actirs that have to gold the sfreen. Here its stick figures."

Are you actually trying to explain that animation and live-action are different things, as if people would otherwise not have realised? What response are you expecting to that, other than "No shit, Sherlock?"
The voice actors on this show did a damn fine job with this episode, they have talent in spades. I mean, it is their job after all. They didn't get the gig through a lack of understanding of charcacter, pitch and intonation did they?
And this animation style is far from "stick figures" - it might not be your personal cup of tea, but don't do it a disservice by describing it as "cheap" when it is anything but. That's just plain dishonest. Expert colour, fluid motion, consistent character design throughout. It wasn't like some churned out anime serial where there's a noticable drop in the quality of character design and animation even from one scene to the next.

"they squandered a better plot for cheap and hyperactive animation."

I don't think you understand how budget, animation and writing work as seperate concepts, let alone in concert with each other. What process do you think they follow when developing a show of this kind? The writers work to what their budget is, the animators then work to within the limits of what they are budgeted for, over the lengthy period of time it takes to pull off such animation. It's not the other way around, they can't animate first and then write the plot of the episode later.
Have you even bothered to look into how much money it takes to create a show of this nature, between writing, storyboarding, animating, colouring, the 3D ship animations, the voice actors' wages? "Cheap" is the last word you could use to describe this.

You disservice the obvious hard work that has gone into this, and I recognise these things despite the fact that I have never worked in animation, voice-acting, or writing of any kind.

Hell, I laughed quite a few times at this, and I'm sure I'll grin just as much when I rewatch it looking for all the easter eggs, while still being aware that my opinion of the plot and humour could vary enormously on the next episode, and then pivot back to praising it by the third, depending on their subjective content, but I'll never shit all over the hard working people who have clearly worked their asses off on the visual side of things, even if they let the occasional goof through (of which I saw none) because the other 99.99% of it will still never look as if it's been knocked up in under a week as a Flash movie.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:28pm (UTC -6)

The humor didn’t work. The one time a joke almost landed was when all that chaos is going on during Rutherford’s date and they say “let’s get out of here” and spacewalk on the outside of the ship while everyone inside is killing each other. The humor is that “lul so random lul so funny. Me talky fast!” style which just isn’t funny. It’s not well thought out jokes and I don’t think you can even argue they are.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -6)
Man, was that ever stupid. Certainly tried to cram an awful lot into half an hour with every character talking at warp speed. The pacing was on steroids. The whole thing is an insult to classic Trek. I didn’t laugh once even though this is supposed to be a comedy.

As for the characters — can not even one of them come across as a normal person who could conceivably actually belong on Star Fleet, serving in something like a military or diplomatic capacity on a star ship?

And who is this show intended for? The show gets a warning for violence, nudity and mature subject matter so it can’t be intended for kids.

But it’s not quite fair to compare Lower Decks with classic Trek as it is an altogether different product being just half an hour and animated. It can’t tell in-depth standalone stories and can’t have stellar acting performances. The acting was actually terrible. It is basically a gimmick to profit from the rich heritage of the Trekverse.

There are some classic Trek episodes that I believe have done a massive disservice to the franchise and that should not have been produced. I tend to rate those episodes zero or 0.5 stars and so that’s where “Second Contact” would rate if I applied the same criteria.

One its own, if I think about the story told, the characters, any interesting themes or premises touched upon and what STLD is trying to achieve as a product, I still find it extremely disappointing. I suppose there are some seeds being planted like what to do about the Mariner character, Boimler’s and Tendi’s development and getting promoted. But should the senior officers and captain really come across as such jerks?

It’s only one episode, but what is particularly disappointing is that STLD doesn’t seem to have the respect and appreciation of what came before it and instead has as its modus operandi to use the Trekverse as a basis for cheap humour. That, to me as someone who has a deep appreciation for classic Trek, is just awful. I can’t identify with this style of humour. It’s like when I watched the ORV pilot I felt that the show was not my cup of tea -- granted I hear it has evolved from the mainstay of locker-room humour into something more thoughtful and classically Trekkian. Will STLD be able do that? Being animated and half hour in length work against achieving that laudable objective, but perhaps if the pacing slows down and we get less gore, there might be a drop of merit to be found. But so far I see none.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:56pm (UTC -6)

"The humor didn’t work."

Again - it did work, for me. Which is why I laughed, several times. For differing reasons, depending on the situation.

I laughed at the 'blink and you'll miss it" moment in the shuttlebay when the name of one of the shuttles, (all named after Trek filming locations!) was partially obscured so the word "Valley" was hidden, and the shuttle appeared to be simply named "Death" and I immediately thought of "The Gallileo Seven".

I laughed at the moment of horrible realisation in the first officers' tone of voice when asking if he'd eaten flesh - that's dark, morbid humour, and I liked it. You might not - I did.

I laughed at the Admirals' manner of signing off to Captain Newsome, because it was a personally relatable moment of current day method of speech juxtaposed with the style of Trek where you wouldn't normally hear it - sometimes, it's the incongruance of things that makes me laugh.

I laughed at "That's my heart, it hurts when you pump it!" and I laughed at the fact that they had that operation taking place without any explanation of how the guy ended up having open heart surgery in the middle of that Rage Virus situation just to really throw poor Ensign Tendi in at the deep end on her first day.

I laughed at "Banana, hot." I don't really see the necessity of launching into an explanation of why I did, but I most certainly did.

"It’s not well thought out jokes and I don’t think you can even argue they are."

I appear to have just done exactly that. People on this board seem to have an utter inability to process the notion that other people might have a differing sense, or even range of senses of humour than themselves.

Fuck, I'll say right here and now that Commander Shax has already said "Detonate The Warp Core" enough for my ears after one episode and I hope it doesn't become a catchphrase, but I'm not slating the entire episode because of that one minor thing.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Jokes I genuinely smirked at:

* Banana hot
* "Computer show us the warp core"
* Rutherford and his Trill date attempting to try and continue their date small talk/flirting in the midst of the "zombie virus" thing was in general hilarious.
* Boimler getting attacked by the spider cow thing was also pretty funny...I mean "It will spoil the milk?" Watched the scene a second time and it still makes me smile.
* "Everyone, protect this slime!"

A lot of other jokes fell flat for me - particularly the opening and closing. But the show had "heart" in a way that I feel Discovery and Picard have not.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
I understand the criticism that the bridge crew in LDS seem like jerks. However, IIRC, in the TNG episode Lower Decks we see our favorite characters from the perspective of the ensigns, and they come across as intimidating and even a bit jerkish. I think that's the point - not that they're objectively jerkish, but that the lens we see them through is that of the ensigns. They are authority figures, not our peers, and thus can be treated the same way that the average Trek series treats admirals.
Obvious Stunt Double
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
Making a genuinely appreciative, positive comment on this board seems to be the equivalent of throwing a hand grenade into an unnecessarily boiling septic tank, so it's nice to see a few people's nicer opinions bleeding through, who obviously didn't go in with a pre-conceived hatred.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -6)
@Obvious Stunt Double

This conversation has been had many times. People are allowed to dislike a show. People are allowed to SAY they dislike a show. I don’t see anyone who says they liked it being attacked do you? Your line of thinking of calling people’s comments “a boiling septic tank” and “pre-conceives hatred” (I’m not seeing “hatred” at all. I’m seeing thought out points of view though) could be reversed to the opposite and one could talk of the people who always toe the Trek company line. Ready to praise whatever comes out of the conveyer belt no matter the non coherent plot or hastily slapped together shoddy comedy. If you like the show that’s great tell us why. If you don’t like the show please do the same.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
Let's not be disingenuous here. If I looked at the first Clone Wars movie and said that the animation made all the characters look like wood cuts would I be wrong? I say that despite what talent the animators had or did not have the characters in Lower decks are drawn to look like stick figures you'd see a fifth grader do. That was how they wanted them to look in the final product so me saying that does not diss their talent. In fact, it would not matter if it did. Most critics never make films, but they still call many films terrible just as a way of criticizing the work.. it's fair game .. they might even say a filmmkaer is a talentless hack when that filmmaker has at least MADE a film and the critic has not . To say I'm giving a disservice to the "hard work" that went into this is being disingenuous. It would be like me saying you are or doing disservice to all the hard work that went into the Orville because you did not like it and therefor did not watch all the episodes

As for the voice acting.. clearly editing was happening as people that would normally take a breath between two or three consecutive lines of dialogue would need to breathe and I would bet anything that those breaths were edited out in post, much the way a good editor like Jeremy Jahns can make his quick cut movie reviews where he does not SEEM to pause work. I find this style abhorrent for star trek. If you like it that is fine. I also felt that since set up and timing of jokes is often as important as the jokes themselves, the short run time did not offer the most comic potential that this episode has. Sure they cna keep it at 26 minutes, but instead of setting up and paying off the humor, they often rushed through it. It wound up not being funny to me. I guess maybe that is me. I laugh at Ed Mercer because the character seems like a human to me
Randall Graves
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -6)

Seen you repeatedly use the phrase "stick figures" for some reason - are you seriously suggesting that this:

is in any way comparable to the art style of Lower Decks?
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
@Randall Graves I know that is the traditional stick figures, but your question is rhetorical. these are fifth or sixth grade human designs
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:14pm (UTC -6)

Agreed. I hope those comments do keep bleeding through, and I hope people have not been terminally cowed from making them. When the preconceived hatred started, I don’t know. The goalposts for what counts as “good” are moved as necessary to make sure that hatred of Amy new Star Trek is The One and Only Legitimate Reaction. 2+2=Alex Kurtzman sucks. Hang whatever Orwell metaphor on this hatred (which, alas. Is not limited to two minutes a day) you wish to.

In 2020, we are still debating When Star Trek Stopped Being Star Trek. The fact that the posters on this site who believe they are Our Betters cannot agree on an exact or even rough date shows there is room for disagreement as to what is good TV and good or “real” Star Trek.

The level of hatred for everything Star Trek filmed circa now...The attitude that “I say so, therefore it IS so...” it’s depressing. It’s a bummer. It sucks the air out of a room. There is no joy in it, and not much creativity (I used to love coming to this site for the creative commentary on actual episodes. Now, calling Alex Kurtzman “ghetto” or “rich boy” is considered Algonquin Hotel-esque, Moliereian wit). People are entitled to it, however informed or uniformed their opinions are, however spoken or unspoken their biases are. I respect, tolerate, and understand their arguments. They call people who disagree with them, brainwashed morons - based on nothing more than the fact the alleged morons have a different opinion (as opposed to trying to make an argument, which requires climbing down the steps of Mount I’m Right You’re Wrong, Moron, and engaging others’ arguments - an undignified task, I guess?) . This is uncalled for - especially with the degree of certitude with which it is proffered. It is not enough that these people have to be (and in their minds ARE) right, always. Everyone who disagrees with them must be name-called into oblivion and mocked to the Other Betters.

Having seen “Second Contact” (a claim half of the people who gave it no stars might not be able to make), I thought it was mostly a mess - like a record of greatest hits played at hyper speed. The only people who are likely to get all of the jokes are likely to find them uninspired. The mere utterance of the word “Bat’leth” is actually not funny. That having been said, I don’t think the show is or will be irredeemably bad. Maybe it will be, maybe not. I don’t have precognition, whether borne of confirmation bias or otherwise (or post-cognition, as in “somehow, I just knew it would be bad once I actually committed the slumming sin of ...watching it). Second Contact is one episode, which I evaluated by listening to and watching what was actually in front of me, with my ears and eyes instead of my mouth. This approach to criticism seems to have fallen out of favor, but I like its simplicity (simplemindedness?)

I’d like to know what the people who pre-hated the oven for this show actually find funny. Are they afraid to say, for fear they will be mocked for having a “sophomoric” or less-than-perfect sense of humor? Not only do they lecture on what is good Trek; now they lecture on what is and is not funny. Well, give me some examples from outside of Star Trek. Name a movie or TV show that whose humor was such that it made you laugh with it, not at it.

Someone once said, “vulgarity is less self-destructive than snobbery.” I believe some people on this site would actually do just that - self-destruct - rather than admit they were entertained by something vulgar, something that was trashy fun - Star Trek or anything else. Once you admit to having actually enjoyed something , to finding it honestly entertaining, vulgar or not, you admit that your superior judgment (I really like hearing the latest in arrogance (“arrogant presumption”’-posing-as-humility peroration: “Well, we are complaining because we see something we loved that stood for progressivism and for a positive future has been trashed” - The equivalent of a 24th-century courtroom speech by Colonel Brady, of Inherit the Wind) except delivered with hate)... is guided by the same (gasp!) thought process used by mere mortals.
Other Chris
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:39pm (UTC -6)
I turned it off halfway through. The ADD-induced style of comedy comes off as obnoxious. This wasn't made for me, and that's ok.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
I just love how this show is so amazingly great, that it's biggest defenders aren't even interested in talking about the show itself.

What's even funnier, is how these warriors always talk in superlatives and absolutes. Like, you either hate a show with all your guts, or it's the most wonderful greatest thing ever.

Not sure where all these guys come from. Are they payed shills? Bored kids who come to troll and raise a reaction? Genuine fans who misguidedly think that this kinds of exaggeration and aggression is needed to show their "allegiance"?

Dunno know. But whoever these guys are, they are making a terrible impression.

Thankfully, we've also had plenty of genuine positive comments by people who enjoyed the premier and just came here to talk about the show. Hope we'll see more of these in the future, and less war-mongering garbage.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:55am (UTC -6)
I thought this was great. The colors, the acting, style and storytelling. If you enjoy suffering, you will love this.

And to the people defending this product I just want to say that the first part of this vid is for you and the second part is for "the hater rest".
Randall Graves
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -6)
"I know that is the traditional stick figures"
I don't think you do?

Unless you've been talking about some "non-traditional" form of "stick figures" all this time and just didn't bother to provide any other comparative examples of whatever that might look like.

"but your question is rhetorical."
It really wasn't rhetorical, I genuinely wonder how you can repeatedly make such a comparison when there is no logic in doing so?

"these are fifth or sixth grade human designs"
You keep saying that, but it's just manifestly, demonstrably not true?
I mean for a start, it's an art style that would have been chosen by a committee of adult working age artists from a range of probably many different concepts, then ok'ed by the equally adult show-runners, and the probably at least somewhat older than "fifth or sixth grade" people in charge at CBS?

It's like you've found what you think is a phrase that works, obvious factual innacuracy be damned, and are intent on repeating it in the hope of it becoming a popular soundbite among detractors.

I mean if you want to see a simple art style closer to "stick figures", take a look at Space Argument:

Again, made by a team of adults, for adults, in an intentional style despite the fact that they could have chosen another.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 3:02am (UTC -6)
This is going to be a boring take, that leaves me looking like I don’t want to pick a side, but I thought it was...not bad, but not great. Like, say, 2.8 stars on Jammer’s 4 point scale.

I definitely laughed several times. But the joke density was a little low, and at least as many jokes missed as hit. I like the characters reasonably well and I was not bored.

But I want to say for anyone who assumes that, since this creator was a writer on Rick and Morty, that they have an idea of how good that show is. They definitely do not. Rick and Morty is pretty much four stars every time, although you would probably have to give some episodes 3.5 just to indicate which ones are your favorites.

I will probably not continue with the show, but not because I dislike it. There are just way too many good TV shows and movies out there, plus a lot of other aspects of life to live. If I were in a doctors waiting room and there was the typical assortment of TV shows on but also this, it’s likely this one would win out. But if I had the nearly unlimited choice of everything else on various streaming services, then it would not. Even if I had just CBSAA, I might be more likely to catch an episode of The Good Wife (I’m still in season five) or Young Sheldon (I have only watched four or five episodes of that and I’m starting to realize it’s actually a really good show).

So, TLDR: shrug emoji.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 3:11am (UTC -6)
I thoroughly enjoyed “Second Contact,” more than the pilots of the last two series. Most of the humor landed for me. “Banana, hot” was wonderfully absurd and got the biggest laugh.

I already find myself caring about most of the characters. Mariner was kind of annoying, but there is also clearly the most developed back story of the show with this character that we’ll get to eventually.

The pacing was indeed an issue. So rapid fire. Not necessary. I don’t know why this has been a hallmark of CBS All Access Trek. However, it was also the pilot. Lots more info the convey. I hope that calms down.

I adore the ship. The attention to detail is fantastic.
Tommy D.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 3:41am (UTC -6)
I do love the ship. I hope they release it in STO or at the very least I wouldn't mind a Hallmark Ornament.

Yes, I collect those :)
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -6)
I won't pass judgement just yet, it's too early, but a few impressions...

-It looks very nice. I like the design aesthetic much more than the other recent series.
-I hope the characters develop more distinct personalities. Yes, on paper, there's the rebellious one, the underling ensign who looks up to his superiors, the tech nerd who's more interested in science than romance. But they all talk the same way, and when a character's supposed to be say nervous or afraid, they don't talk like they are. I would say it's the actors fault, but somehow I think it's intentional and I don't think the creators care.
-I feel like I watched a highlights reel. There's no buildup to anything, just bam bam bam one thing after another. This applies to the theme music as well.
-Yes, everyone talks too fast, excess is the rule, and nothing is subtle. Again, intentional.

I think people generally want this kind of show. It's Rick and Morty Trek. It's not what I particularly want, but I have to accept that expecting Trek to go back to the TNG era is like expecting classical music to become the best selling music genre again. No big deal. If I don't continue watching, at least I'll save a bunch of time to spend on other things.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 6:38am (UTC -6)
Sure, it was made by adults for adults. Sure, but the drawings still look like kid drawings.. intentionally. I mena I love Ren and Stimpy and they look like kid drawings.. but if you have watched and Stimpy there is an extra edge to the art style that was most certianly unique, as shown by the closeups. This looks possiitively cheap. This is just my opinion, by Star Trek is, at its base a drama.. in fact the reason Star Trek comedy episodes work is that they subvert the fact that it is a drama at base.. it's a relief from the heaviness, often shot in the same style as the heavy episodes. That's why it's funny. That's why I objected to the gimmicky editing (the swoosh pans accompanied by sound effects, and the sound of beeping horns) in the original Orville trailer, because the actual show does not have that kind of editing. Star Trek doesn't either.. how it is shot and filmed is very much an important aspect of the show. In one half an hour, so much happened here that my eyes started to glaze over. I guess it's just not for me. Thinking about it, my favorite joke was the "Sulu" reference with regard to maneuvers
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 7:33am (UTC -6)
In case others didn't see. Discovery S3 is premiering on OCTOBER 15th.
Karl Zimmerman
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 7:53am (UTC -6)
The animation style that Lower Decks is done in is very popular now. It's thin-line animation, sometimes jokingly called "CalArts." Examples include Adventure Time, Stephen Universe, Gravity Falls, etc. You could go broader and say it's part of the same "family" of western animation used for The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, etc.

Honestly thinking of a modern 2D animated series which doesn't use this style (other than those heavily influenced by anime, and series explicitly created to be retro like Archer) is difficult.
Guiding Light
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -6)
Amazing start to a sitcom. Knows its Star Trek and dares poke fun at it while still being clearly Star Trek. It's great to have something genuinely fun in these trying times. Say what you will, but between Discovery, Picard and this we're living in a golden age of Star Trek.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:08am (UTC -6)
I guess my problem with LDS is that i just don't care for the type of humor on these adult animations of the past decade. I'lle give the exception to South Park and Rick and Morty, wich are on a whole different level from Family Guy and such.

But i am happy to say that it is not bad, it's just not for me. At least it doesn't insult my intelligence like DIS or depresses me like PIC does.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -6)
Mainstream reviews dont seem to be too kind.

James said: "I think people generally want this kind of show. It's Rick and Morty Trek."

"RICK AND MORTY" has Dan Harmon, creator of the excellent "COMMUNITY", showrunning it. Both shows were fresh, inventive and broke new ground. Meanwhile, you sense that Trek, once a trailblazing franchise, is now constantly playing catch up, emulating other shows and tropes rather than being its own thing. Kurtzman-Trek in particular is a grab-bag of other people's ideas - done better elsewhere - recooked. A kind of mediocre dabbler in
all areas, master of none.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -6)
Well, since Star Trek has given up entertaining me with new material, I've gone and had some fun with the old stuff:

Worf: Tell me what you think.

Dax: Okay, but you're not going to like it.

W: Tell me.

D: I think this situation with [Lower Decks] is a symptom of a bigger problem. [StarTrek] is dying. And I think it deserves to die.

W: You are right. I do not like it.

D: Don't get me wrong, I'm very touched that you still consider me a [trekkie], but... I tend to look at the [franchise] with a little more skepticism [...]. I see a [franchise] that is in deep denial about itself. We're talking about a [sci-fi series] that prides itself on maintaining [decades]-old traditions of [optimism, betterment, equality, thoughtfulness] and integrity. But in reality, it's willing to accept [nihilism and greed] at the highest levels.

W: You are over stating your case.

D: Am I? Who was the last [showrunner] that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to [ignore the undercutting of Trekkian principles, meaningless violence and reductive, tawdry & shallow writing in new shows] because you were told it was for the good of the [franchise]? I... I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept [series] that you know are [of mediocre quality]. [Lower Decks] is just the latest example. [Trek fans], you are the most [passionate, thoughtful, intelligent, caring, optimistic and hopeful people] that I've met. And if YOU'RE willing To tolerate [shows] like [Lower Decks, Picard and Discovery], then what hope is there for the [franchise]?

To be honest, that exchange has been ringing in my head since mid- season 2 of Discovery. Alas, how sad Ezri's speech in "Tacking into the Wind" has become a metaphor of the franchise itself... ah well, at least it made me chuckle while writing it... and then practically cry at it's accuracy once I finished.

Also, here we again have new Star Trek showing how diverse it can be and yet again making the female black woman protagonist a purposely annoying screw up who mocks people with aspirations, and only got where she is through nepotism and not because she's smart, determined or driven, which frankly is not really a great role model for anybody. New Trek is 0 for 3 here.

Do you guys realize that there hasn't been a Trek since Enterprise where one of the main characters wasn't just HANDED authority despite having hardly any merit? (And though I AM an Enterprise fan, Archer has shades of nepotism as well) Despite previous series showing just how incredibly hard it was to even get into Starfleet Academy?

I'm so sick of having to hear the people in charge of this franchise talk about how great it is when the truth is, this is just s paycheck for them, and they end up writing shows that have the veneer of Trek but ultimately that sheen only goes as deep as shallow references and mere lipservice to the values Trek used to espouse, while in reality ignoring all of them, and often doing the opposite. Add on top the covoluted and nonsensical writing and I just find myself absolutely bewilder that people actually LIKE this stuff. I mean, more power to ya, but I just don't understand as I don't see any quality in these entries to the franchise, either as Trek series or even as shows. (Although I admit, if Lower Decks wasn't associated with Trek, and therefore what Trek used to be, it may be passible - Futurama IS one of my favorite shows, and that DEFINITELY has that Trek parody DNA in it, so I'm not adverse to the concept - so long as it doesn't undercut the meaning of Trek.)

As it is, Ezri is right, Trek is dying. It gave up what made it strong and significant, and sure it may have entered an era of remarkable expansion, but without the core tenents that have guided Trek for 50 years, that expansion is untenable in the long term, and I fear the franchise will crumble quickly.
Guiding Light
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:54am (UTC -6)

"Mainstream reviews dont seem to be too kind."

If you want to focus on the people who are paid to be negative. There are tons of reviewers who loved the show. I don't think that what reviewers think tells you anything about a show, it just tells you about the reviewers. And the ones you linked seem a sorry, joyless lot.

Reviews that are much more objective:



"Add on top the covoluted and nonsensical writing and I just find myself absolutely bewilder that people actually LIKE this stuff. "

I'm sorry that modern Trek isn't for you, but that's not Trek's problem. This is Trek that catches an entirely new audience and it should: Trek cannot be just for men who are 50 and older. This new Trek is quirky, vibrant, diverse, fun... and most of all: It feels like these are real people acting like real people would. Whereas the old Trek captains and crews always felt stocky and unrealistic.

What I want to say is: This is a franchise that is at this point at an all-time high water mark in terms of quality and being recognized by wider audiences. So why should the producers change that, just because a tiny fraction of the 'old guard' of fans cannot cope with change?
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 10:04am (UTC -6)
"Also, here we again have new Star Trek showing how diverse it can be and yet again making the female black woman protagonist a purposely annoying screw up who mocks people with aspirations, and only got where she is through nepotism and not because she's smart, determined or driven, which frankly is not really a great role model for anybody. New Trek is 0 for 3 here. "

I want to comment here. After 26 minutes it would be unfair to assume we know who Mariner is, but so far she seems both smart, determined and driven, but also cynical and mocking - most likely because her mother is captain (which leads to the question why she chose that ship, although it's a possibility she was assigned there).

If that is where they are going with the character, there's room for exploration there. Whether they will go there, or whether they are even interested in exploring characters rather than just using them as a comedic vehicle, is yet to be seen. I don't know if I have the patience to find out, but maybe it shouldn't be ruled out so soon.

What I think I can say after 26 minutes is that this isn't a show that's worth my time to watch just for the laughs. The comedy isn't my cup of tea, and frankly it's pretty awful. If there isn't any typical Trek content or themes to go with it, then I don't see myself sticking with it.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -6)
@Guiding Light

... I'm only THIRTY. And old Trek captured my mind just fine when I was 13. It didn't have to be "made for me."

And frankly, I find a strict adherence to "relatability" to be something too many shows try and fail at. Sure, I DID relate to Geordi because he also had vision problems, but that was it, so it obviously plays a role, but it's not the be all end all. Geordi didn't encounter the same issues as me, and he didn't behave like me. He was better than me. He was an ASPIRATIONAL figure. He showed me who I could be. Who I should strive to be. And he did that by NOT coming down to my level. The same is true for every Trek character of that era. Trek was ALWAYS about striving to be better, not just accepting youself and being fine with it.

And old Trek was also quirky, vibrant, diverse and fun... Check out TOS's "I, Mudd" for all that in abundance. It's a comedy episode too.

You also clearly skimmed my comment, as you would have noted my assertion and critical opinion that the writing of the current shows LACK quality. Need I point out the jumbled writing of Picard's plot, the inability to successfully juggle all it's sub-plots and dropping many of them, the weak character motivations, the unearned emotional beats that are only momentary and carry no thematic weight, and rather obvious and transparent narrative cheats. So we obviously disagree on this fundamental point.

And frankly "recognized by wider audiences?" You mean the audience made up of pay-to-view streaming service subscribers? Who wouldn't be paying unless they already wanted to watch the shows? There's plenty out there that still don't give a toss about Star Trek, and no amount of genre bent shows are gonna bring them in. As for those that ARE interested, they're already invested in geek culture and would've likely ended up checking out the old shows eventually anyway, and would've gotten a better sense of what Trek was about. The only impetus they have to check Trek out now is because there is new stuff being advertised, grabbing people's attention and the producers didn't need to change what Trek was to do that. But that would've been harder than just doing their own thing and slapping the Trek brand on it, so they didn't.

And of couse, we don't know about viewing figure numbers because streaming services don't release that info publically, so you're "fraction of the 'old gaurd'" assertion is as likely a result of your filter bubble and echo chamber (real academic terms, FYI) as my saying that hardly anyone likes these shows would be.

What WOULD be nice, is if they shoved all this new stuff into its' own continuity, kept making it, then got someone else in to make a more true to Trek show that better represented the values of Trek. There'd probably be a lot less inter fandom bitching that way.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -6)
Putting aside the whole debate of what is and isn't Star Trek (because it quickly becomes circular and rarely leads anywhere productive):

Guiding Light... you know, there are lots of women who dislike "modern" Star Trek too. And most of my gay male friends still say Voyager is their favorite series (mine's DS9) and that they prefer it to Discovery. About half of my gay friends (all millennials) like Discovery, half dislike it, and all but one of them disliked Picard (a couple really liked it at the start, but thought it was terrible by the end of the season). The female characters of Voyager and DS9 are far better written than those in modern Trek. The writing for women in contemporary Trek is atrocious. B'Elanna, Kira, Seven, Ro, Winn, Guinan etc. were vastly better-written and far richer characters than any of the women in any subsequent Trek property. I'd say the same too of the slightly less-strong female characters like Crusher, Troi, Jadzia/Ezri - although they didn't get many good standalones, they were used excellently as part of the ensemble. Compare that to contemporary Trek - Burnham is barely given room to breathe or develop naturally as a character because all of her actions are determined by the needs of the plot which utilizes her as an avatar for the viewer (Discovery being a "ride" show). Mirror Georgiou is a one-dimensional pantomime villain, Captain Georgiou was great but they killed her off in the pilot. (Imagine the rich female characterization and wonderful performance we'd have been denied if DS9 had killed off Kira Nerys at the end of Emissary then made the Intendant a main character in her place - that's essentially what Discovery did to Georgiou). Tilly was promising when first introduced but ever since has basically been treated as Neelix- or Rom-style comic relief (except without even their backstory and development). Airiam got one great episode and the rest of the bridge crew are almost completely undeveloped two seasons in. The Abrams films reduced Uhura to a love interest for Spock (Beyond thankfully utilized her in a more professional capacity), and Picard made its only African-American character an embittered drug addict living in a trailer. The writers of the contemporary Star Trek series can't write women because they can't write people - these shows are not interested in character. I don't care about the optics and semantics of whether they are or aren't Star Trek, whether the Klingons look right or whether the technology is too modern, I care about the fact they're bad drama. (Or in this case, bad comedy.)

As to those reviews being "objective" - both Collider and Trekmovie are notorious shills, Collider in particular have been mocked and called out for it numerous times (mainly in relation to Star Wars) - they won't negatively review major studio properties because they don't want to lose perks and access. Same goes for Trekmovie. If you want to get an overview of how Lower Decks is being received, look at the professional reviews collated on Rotten Tomatoes (by writers who review TV for a living, most of whom aren't Star Trek fans).

"Trek cannot be just for men who are 50 and older" is no argument because it's a statement that's impossible to disagree with. Of course Trek can't be just for men who are 50 and older! Everyone knows that - in fact, far from the rhetorical specter of the stale male gatekeeper you're invoking here, a huge part of the reason many people (women and men of all ages) dislike modern Trek is precisely because it's no longer a family show, one that kids can grow up with and that three generations can watch together, due to the use of sensationalized violence and gore as titillation. I know there are a lot of TNG/TOS nostalgists out there (I'm not one of them) and I very much agree that modern Trek series shouldn't try to be TNG/TOS - that conservative studio approach led to diminishing returns on Voyager and Enterprise, so the fact that the modern series are at least taking risks and trying to do something completely different is great, were it not for the fact that the writing quality has been largely abysmal (with the exception of Star Trek Beyond and about 4-5 Discovery episodes across two seasons). The fact that the modern series aren't TNG/TOS isn't most people's problem with them - it's that they're vulgar, chaotic and violent, with poor characterization and no ideas. They're not about anything, and any topics they do address are either terribly handled (partly due to the shows' poor internal consistency, owing to inexperienced writing teams, behind-the-scenes recutting and changes in showrunners) or are so barely developed that they're essentially window dressing. As to modern Trek being "diverse", to pick out one example, many episodes of DS9 articulate different aspects of the African-American experience in rich, nuanced, complex ways in a future sci-fi context (both filled with hope and fraught with difficulty) with a quality and legacy that remains unparalleled within Trek. Sisko is a hero to a lot of people to this day for the richness of his character, his arc, Brooks's superb portrayal, and the depiction of his family life, just as TNG Picard is a hero to so many people for being the opposite of a conventional gung-ho captain/action hero - instead reserved, thoughtful and someone who leads by listening to others and taking action based on consensual decision-making - an absolutely fantastic role model for men in our present era of political strongmen. So in relation to Sisko and Picard in particular, I won't hear it said that "captains and crews always felt stocky and unrealistic". The new series have absolutely no idea how to approach diversity. On earlier Trek series, diversity was baked into the fabric of the show - TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY understood that diversity was just a starting point, a necessary tool for good storytelling, whereas now, the show creators seem to think it's an end point, an achievement in and of itself. Diversity and representation have been placed on a pedestal to the point that some writers and creatives increasingly don't think *beyond* them: they think representation alone is enough, that as long as you tick all the right boxes, viewers will automatically be happy at seeing a member of their identity group on-screen and will enjoy the show merely on that basis - to see themselves represented - so you don't have to bother with decent writing, characterization or storytelling, or to properly flesh your characters out and give them depth, relatability and compelling motivations. The new Treks series seem to think it's enough to create a cast with female, non-white and LGBT characters, then give them almost no character development and consistently show them as unprofessional, impulsive and irresponsible. I would trust Sisko, Kira, Geordi, Beverly, Guinan, Seven, Tuvok etc. with my life. I wouldn't trust Michael Burnham or any of the Picard or Lower Decks characters to make me a cup of tea.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -6)

"It feels like these are real people acting like real people would."

What world do you live in?

Could not disagree more with you on this.

These are characters on steroids in a show on steroids trying to cater to the lowest common denominator.

It's a shame the appreciation for real acting, solid writing, intelligent ideas and premises seem to have vanished from this new iteration of Trek. Just because it's an animated half hour show doesn't mean this is how it has to be.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Some of you really should get that stick attended to. Also, the part of your brains that determine "what is and what isn't Star Trek" seems to have ossified. I have news for you. It's all Star Trek. All of it. You who consider yourselves the arbiters of what is and what isn't proper Trek are growing more irrelevant every day, along with those who write ever-more caustic, sarcastic and arrogant reviews. The rest of us out here are enjoying this ever-expanding Trek universe. Some of it is good, some not so good, but it's all "Star Trek", and I welcome each new iteration.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Is it just me or do a lot of these Nu-lings sound like PR people?
But would a 30 billion $ company really hire a huge number of PR people to post positive reviews everywhere and harass anybody who isn't in love with the new stuff?
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Disagree. just because someone owns an IP and can slap the logo on something, doesn't make it that thing.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
"Is it just me or do a lot of these Nu-lings sound like PR people?"

Hmmm....probably because they say things like this:

"This new Trek is quirky, vibrant, diverse, fun... and most of all: It feels like these are real people acting like real people would. Whereas the old Trek captains and crews always felt stocky and unrealistic.

What I want to say is: This is a franchise that is at this point at an all-time high water mark in terms of quality and being recognized by wider audiences."

Same dude on 1985:

'This New Coke is quirky, vibrant, delicious, fun... and most of all: it tastes like a real soda for real people should. What I want to say is: New Coke is a soft drink that is at this point at an all-time high water mark in terms of quality and being recognized by wider audiences."
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
Ok, so it isn't just me. Yeah there are quite a few sentences that sound like typical PR speech.
Guiding Light
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
If there are people out there who enjoy these shows and like that Star Trek has firmly arrived in the 21st century, they *have* to be corporate PR shills?

That's conspiratorial thinking par excellence. But you do you.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Guiding Light said: "Reviews that are much more objective..." isn't "objective". Their reviewers adore everything from "Nemesis", to "Picard" and "Disco's" goofy finales.

Guiding Light said: "it just tells you about the reviewers. And the ones you linked seem a sorry, joyless lot. "

But one can equally flippantly claim the opposite. That they get more happiness and joy from the better writing they've seen elsewhere.

Guiding Light said: "It feels like these are real people acting like real people would."

This is a bizarre claim. A lead character commits A COURT MARTIAL-ABLE OFFENSE within the first 5 minutes. The rest of the episode is clearly not attempting to portray how real professional crewmen and command staff would act.

Guiding Light said: "Whereas the old Trek captains and crews always felt stocky and unrealistic."

The captain on "Lower Decks" is literally a stock archetype; a Zapp Brannigan/Kirk-esque matinee idol pushed to comedic extremes. Are you arguing that this is realistic?

Or are you trying to take pot shots at TOS and TNG, which went to great pains to add a degree of verisimilitude, was oft written by those with experience in the military and/or on ships, and which did well to pepper their episodes with nautical minutia?

Guiding Light said: "This is a franchise that is at this point at an all-time high water mark in terms of quality and being recognized by wider audiences."

To claim Kurtzman-Trek, and the pilot to "Lower Decks", is the ALL TIME HIGH WATER MARK of TREK is laughable and nonsensical. And whilst "popularity" rarely dovetails with "quality", the popularity of Kurtzman-Trek has typically lagged behind the older shows...

Guiding Light said: "So why should the producers change that, just because a tiny fraction of the 'old guard' of fans cannot cope with change?"

Surely it is Kurtzman-Trek that cannot cope with change, and which bends over backwards to drag in the Enterprise, Pike, Talos, Spock, 7of9, Picard, Data etc etc. It cannot conceive of anything new. It parasitizes upon itself and rips off others, aesthetically and narrative-wise. Whilst Roddenberry and Berman Trek were radical in the context and TV-landscapes of their times, Kurtzman Trek is not.

Booming said: "Is it just me or do a lot of these Nu-lings sound like PR people?"

Whether that is true or not, the "arguments" from those who adore Kurtzman-Trek are always similar: old Trek had lots of bad episodes, old Trek was stuffy and boring, and Kurtzman-haters are old, afraid of change and/or Alt-Right bigots.

Good writing is good writing. Great writing is great writing . Bad writing is bad writing. You don't need to drag ancillary issues into it.

"Picard's" magical-ipod thing, its incest-Romulans, and "Discovery's" various shenanigans (particularly the whole spore-drive-space mushroom-camouflage -fungus-to-avoid-decomspoision thing), are bad writing. An aversion to that is not a failure to embrace change, its an unwillingness to praise bad writing.

James said: "If there isn't any typical Trek content or themes to go with it, then I don't see myself sticking with it."

It has big shoes to fill, in that it lives in the shadow of both "RICK AND MORTY" and "TNG", both of which could cook up a very clever SF hook. The showrunner for "Lower Decks" has written at least two "RICK AND MORTY" episodes which I consider clever, so fingers crossed. The issue is whether the kind of nihilism and violence common in "RICK AND MORTY" suits the Trek ethos. This pilot was awash with crewmen stabbing and gunning down fellow crewmen, all played for almost sociopathic laughs.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
Karl said: "....thin-line animation, sometimes jokingly called "CalArts."

Yeah, the Cali Institute of Arts is to animation what like MIT is to engineering. You go there, and you're instantly employable, their "favored" clean lines aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to animate quickly.

The style always reminded me of old 1950s cartoons, meet classic Tintin (minus Herge's elaborate landscapes/backgrounds). IMO it's quite suited for TNG's equally minimalist aesthetic.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
Wolfstar said: "Most of my gay male friends still say Voyager is their favorite series"

I wonder what the gay-appeal of "Voyager" is. It has a big gay male and female fanbase (Janeway and 7 were heavily shipped by early fans). I know I started watching "Voyager" because of Elliot's defenses of the show many years ago, one of the gay posters* on Jammers boards, and who I enjoyed reading.

*sounds weird typing that. Elliot, if you're reading this, I'm sorry to have reduced you to the Gay Voyager Dude.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@Guiding Light
"they *have* to be corporate PR shills?"
I wouldn't say have to be.

"That's conspiratorial thinking par excellence."
par excellence is maybe a little much.

And maybe you are right, I mean why would one of the biggest media conglomerates on the planet use it's gigantic financial reserves to turn it's extremely important streaming project into a success.

Now tell us more about the wondrous, inspiring and diverse story opportunities that a more modern version of Trek can bring children and people young at heart. Tell us of how many amazing vertical integration possibilities this thoughtful franchise universe provides. And Let us thank all those hard working people who poured their hearts, and yes, souls into this project to create something really special, that hopefully inspires many generations to reach for the stars. Thank you. *applause*
Then Commander Riker makes pizza.
Tommy D.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -6)

Krad has always given fair Trek reviews.
Guiding Light
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
Booming, if you need to believe that CBS actually pays me to write that I like the show, because you cannot cope with people having different opinions, go ahead. I'm sure that's a healthy and normal reaction to the fact that people dare enjoy something...

It's also, by the way, Trent who brought up the fact that some people here sound extremely like the alt-right, not me. But, hey, build your strawmen. I'll be over here enjoying the new iteration of Star Trek that's accessible for everybody.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -6)

You probably know this, but the term you're looking for is "astroturfing."

Per Merriam Webster:
"organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation)

Classic astroturfing is the practice of disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion. … The term itself appears to have been coined in 1985 by then Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, who noted that the mountains of letters he received about legislation on insurance originated with insurers. — New Scientist, 10 Feb. 2007

The modern form of astroturfing uses the Internet, and corporations, religious groups with a social agenda, and public interest groups can flood an in-box in an hour with e-mails that may come from a single source using many accounts.— Alan Boraas, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2009"

Now, I'm not necessarily saying anyone is being a part of this here... but it's an observed, recorded phenomenon (there are several cited examples on wikipedia if anyone is so inclined to look) and therefore isn't out of the realm of possibility that it's occuring within Trek fandom.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
@Guiding Light
"if you need to believe that CBS actually pays me to write that I like the show"
I don't need to believe that. It just makes so much sense. Live long and prosper (That is from Star Trek) ;)

" I'll be over here enjoying the new iteration of Star Trek that's accessible for everybody."
If you really talk like that then maybe you are not the best person to judge who is normal. Oh and by the way it is not accessible for everybody, isn't it.
And by the way you came here to insult people. Let's have a look at your very first post:

- inbred community of nerds (a good start)
- I know people loved TNG in the 1980s, but it was always a silly and honestly pretty bad show. (Seems like you hated Trek)
- And shows like TNG, with their disregard for the views and interests of minority communities, with their baseless techno-utopianism are what made Trump and Brexit and all the other things possible that happen today. (oh, so TNG is responsible for Brexit and the Trump presidency and "all the other things")
- Picard goes into a preachy rant about "humanity" that is obviously intended to mock the high-faluting speeches Picard gave in TNG. Because that's all he did: Give speeches and then never act, never help those in need. (Yeah Picard was a total armchair admiral. Sitting in his ready room, filing reports, sipping tea)
- Punishing those who need punishment. (Kill those that you think deserve it. Nice)
- SHE is the moral center of this episode while Picard still is a nostalgic old fool who has to learn that he and his speeches are part of the problem, not of the solution. (Murdering your former lover in cold blood and being the moral center as well. Groundbreaking. How much more leftist could you be than turning her into a female Dirty Harry killing all the baddies)
- And I just hope we get a spin-off show of Annika Hansen travelling through the galaxy and making people pay who deserve it. (Sorry but at the end of Picard Seven said "that she now understands that killing people just because it feels right is bad". Powerful stuff)
- . This is Star Trek for a modern age and I'm glad it makes people uncomfortable instead of just feeding priviledged fourty and fifty-year olds the same comforting lies they have been fed by this franchise for 50 years. (I'm not even 40 and part of a minority. I have probably eaten more shit then you can even imagine)

All these quotes are just from your very first post.
It seems like you really hated Trek and somehow think that Star Trek is responsible for the rise of the alt right and crumbling of western democracy.
I have a degree in political science so let me assure you, that is not so.

@ Nolan
Yeah. I think most people have not the faintest idea what legions billionaires or mega companies can field. And these people talk like PR people.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
I can't believe nobody noticed...

No lens flares!!!!

Guiding Light
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
Boomer, actually I came here to say that I love that Star Trek is finally doing new things and is willing to question the very problematic foundations it is built upon. (Colonialism, machismo, a mostly white, mostly male, mostly straight, mostly binary world-view.)

I'm sorry that this makes you mad, but I certainly don't hate Star Trek. Otherwise I would hardly be so positive about all the wonderful shows we've been getting in the last few years and the shows they're still working on (Section 31, New Frontiers).
Dave in MN
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
I haven't watched it (yet), so I haven't checked the comments stream in a couple days. I'm trying to be as fair as I can and avoid spoilers.

I had to scroll down to find the comments box (you know how it is) and I'm surprised by all the names I didn't recognize.

Either this show is bringing in a while new crowd of commenters or there's some kind of organized campaign going on. It'll be fascinating to find out which logical possibility is the truth. (If Lower Decks does actually suck, then that's my consolation prize: at least here, the comment section drama is guaranteed to be entertaining/hilarious).

I'll try to watch it tonight.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
Just want to add one personal reason to the many great reasons noted above for not watching this show: there is a zero chance that this show’s timeline will intersect that of Keiko O’Brien, missing the opportunity for the show to do some fan service by killing her off.

I’d subscribe to CBS all access if they create ST:OB (O’Brien), where some terrorists kidnap Keiko, and Miles and Molly get commissioned by star fleet to save her. They spend the first few episodes trying to find her, then realize they’re happier without her, and use that star fleet resources and ship to go exploring the universe. Each episode would start and end with shots of Keiko wasting away in a dark, dirty cell, getting skinnier each episode, while Miles and Molly create fake progress reports to headquarters.

Miles would have to shape up and lose a whole lotta weight, though. I don’t think anyone wants to see some fat dude stretching out his uniform episode after episode (was hard enough seeing fat Riker in ST:P).
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
I’d watch ST:OB
This place still sucks
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
Bummer y’all can’t enjoy shit. The first ep was fantastic fun. Absurdist humor in the Trek universe is a fantastic angle to take and lends itself to a lot of fun “what if?” scenarios I’ve wondered about watching Trek for years.

Such a sad, miserable existence y’all have, or Jammer for not even being willing to check it out.

Dave in MN
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -6)
If I don't like something, I'm not upset that others like it.

So .... why do you get worked up that others dislike what you like?

I never understood that thought process: "They don't like this?! How can this be? Why ... there must be something wrong with them. Maybe they have no soul or no joy? Hmmm, yeah,, that's it. They're bad human beings, I bet! Now, armed with nothing but that assumption, I should vocally denounce them (while also attacking the man providing the space for debate)".

Ad hominem attacks might be trendy right now, but I don't think people are impressed by them anymore.

Anyone can be rude as fuck, just saying.

Must be a very polarizing episode. I'm dreading this, haha.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
Frankly as far as ST pilots go its probably top 30% imo

Under "The Emissary" and "Where No Man..."

I'd put it over Caretaker, Farpoint, The Cage, and probably Broken Bow

And if nothing else it was easily the most endearing of the bunch. I think I'm sold on modern cartoon ST, even if I'm in the minority. Very excited and I wish I could just binge the series now.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 1:16am (UTC -6)
This comment section has been an even better read than normal. Wolfstar, I want to particularly give your comment a shoutout because although I didn’t necessarily agree with everything you said, it was extremely thought-provoking and very well written.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 3:11am (UTC -6)
I second that; I feel like I should never comment on new Trek again because I could never top that post.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 3:24am (UTC -6)
I laughed until my feet hurt and I couldn't inhale.

But somehow, in only 26 minutes (which felt like 8) this episode managed to also convey the grandest parts of 55 years of Star Trek world-building, while also poking justified fun at nearly all of it, nearly all the time.

Possibly the most innovative take on the franchise ever.

Definitely the cutest Star Trek series.

A near perfect premiere.

...People with poor social skills will probably hate it.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 3:26am (UTC -6)
P.S. @Lee: agreed
Guiding Light
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 3:55am (UTC -6)
@Lee: I don't get it. It is Star Trek and this is a Star Trek review site. By not reviewing it, Jammer - involuntarily, I'm sure - just needlessly opens up the "what is and isn't Trek" can of worms. I wish he'd reconsider and maybe find somebody who reviews the series so that it is represented here on the site properly.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 4:00am (UTC -6)
Maybe the Nu-Trekkers should just move to some reddit safe space. You come in here insult people, insult the guy who made this page just for not reviewing it, and then say that your life was changed forever by this stuff.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 4:43am (UTC -6)
Maybe the reason some posters have suspicions of the new posters who have suddenly appeared with high praise for the episode, is from comments like "it appeals to a wide audience". That is how executives and corporations think. And what's with all the personal attacks? I can't think of a single reason to be so defensive about the first episode of a show you have no investment in.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 4:52am (UTC -6)
Yeah, I thought us Classic Trek Only fans were supposed to be the entitled, never pleased, angry and rude crowd. While the nuTrek fans were accepting, always pleased and understanding? What the heck guys, don't assign us a broad stereotyped view and then walk all over the turf you just gave us. I mean geez. Pick a lane.

Jammer's had a busy life since before the Kelvin movies. This is a HOBBY for him, one that he finds hard to make time for. It's his choice and his site. Ya can't bully him (yes, bully) into reviewing the show you like because "but it has Star Trek in the title." That's not how the world works. Just because something is labelled a certain way does not make it worthy, worthwhile, or good. It has to have the credentials and have done the work to back that label up. Plenty obviously think that Lower Decks, and even nuTrek as a whole, doesn't have much behind it's label.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Funny how things have changed. "You have no social skills" and "you have no sense of humor" and "get a life" have all been used to attack Trek fans in decades past.

Which makes you think.. maybe things haven't changed much at all?
James White
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 7:59am (UTC -6)
Haven't been here for awhile. New show, corp shills, us vs. them bullshit. Kurtzman is still terrible. Nothing has changed. Except Jammer finally took a stand. The man with some of the best Trek commentary ever has said "I'll pass" to this dreck.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -6)
Jammer hasn’t been relevant since he submitted half baked mostly lifted scripts to the voyager writers. He’s been in some bullshit mode of half hate for almost 3 decades. This site is a high school reunion of old writers, staff, fans, and alcoholic wreckage from prior times. It reads like the left over cheerleaders from your highschool yearbooks. Being stuck T a reunion 25 years later at one of their tables as they make fun of anyone successful.
James White
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -6)

I'm extremely successful, and I find Jammer's reviews both intelligent and fair-minded. Most of the people that comment here are extremely intelligent. And most do not resort to petulant name-calling. Since you called out Jammer, why don't you tell us specifically what works you've published or were adapted to TV/film. Provide your name and give us some means to verify it independent of you.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -6)
Don't bother that guy is clearly a troll.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -6)

"...People with poor social skills will probably hate it."

Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
OK so I watched it a 2nd time while doing laundry... and I have a more nuanced take than my initial impression.

I think the key thing about STLD is that it needs to be understood as a parody primarily, though I don't think it was marketed as such -- at least that was not my expectation when I first started watching it. Strictly as a comedy, it does not work for me. When observed through this parody lens, it's better than a zero-star experience for me even when evaluating it like I would classic Trek, though that's where I was leaning after my first viewing.

I could see a non-animated parody of Trek being successful provided it was still done with a measure of class, which STLD isn't. Nevertheless, I still feel this type of show isn't good for the Trek franchise given its ethos and I think on its own merit as a parody, I think 1 star is an appropriate rating -- still pretty terrible.

I definitely think they went way overboard with the rage illness and medical response and the characters on steroids. For example, did we really need to see the Orion chick pumping the guy's heart? No. Did we need to see infected crew furiously spewing black stuff all over? No. The couple dating was pretty forgettable. And the bit with the giant spider attacking is again way overboard.

As for Mariner going off on her own to help the alien farmers and circumventing Star Fleet bureaucracy -- that's a good idea to show. The macho camaraderie between the commander and another senior officer -- that's fine as well. The captain taking credit for curing the rage illness and not crediting junior staff was also good from a parody standpoint. But the idea that a miracle cure is found in the nick of time -- that much is typical classic Trek.

A couple of other comments would be that I noticed the episode title and credits are in the same font/color as TNG -- so that's a nice touch. At least we get an episode title on the screen, which nu-Trek shied away from. Why I don't know. And as for the animation, some of it was pretty cool -- like the ship's panels and the ship itself -- some nice details. But I don't get why the animation for the characters is so simplistic. Pros and cons to the animation.
Peter G.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 1:01pm (UTC -6)
@ Rahul,

"I think the key thing about STLD is that it needs to be understood as a parody primarily, though I don't think it was marketed as such -- at least that was not my expectation when I first started watching it. Strictly as a comedy, it does not work for me. When observed through this parody lens, it's better than a zero-star experience for me even when evaluating it like I would classic Trek, though that's where I was leaning after my first viewing."

The thing about parody is that to be one it would need to do some very particular things. Spoofing a genre, and in particular one show in a genre, requires some pointers towards actual details in the original that you're making fun of. A good example of a TNG parody - probably the gold standard in my book - was MAD Magazine's TNG special back when TNG S1 was on the air. They include several vignettes making fun of TNG, including a funny segment lampooning Justice where a monster is eating the crew and Picard says that they can't interfere with its local customs and so have to let it continue. Not just anything silly or stupid can be parody, it has to actually parody *something*. Just doing anti-Trek in the style of South Park isn't a parody or a spoof all by itself; the content must be pointed. Otherwise it's just a zany childrens' version of the show, not while I would call a parody making mock of the actual content.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.,

Hey, I never said it was good parody. Fully recognizing that parody is what STLD was going for (at least in "Second Contact"), I'd still only rate it like 1*.

As for being pointed about what it wants to parody, I think it was done more generally in this pilot -- not targeting a particular episode but rather broad topics like the underlings' views of senior officers, senior officers being obsessed with covering their asses and taking credit for underlings' work, miracle cure etc. So there were definitely specific aspects of Star Trek that were parodied -- at least the wheels in the minds of the showrunners were turning as to what they wanted to spoof. But any intelligent spoofing was lost amid the furious pacing and excesses which I already talked about.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
Saw this just now, it wasn't bad. One thing I'll note is this is geared for people with short attention spans; there's a joke or graphic scene every other second. So, basically this is tailored for Millenials and that's fine.

I do like how it takes place in the TNG universe and uses familiar technology/races from the Berman era. The jokes themselves were pretty run-of-the-mill or extremely over-the-top. The animation and voice acting on the other hand is really polished -- and I think that helps keep this ship in orbit. I may watch Lower Decks on occasion, but I have the feeling it's not really made for me.
Louis B
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
STLD was awesome. You're missing out, Jammer!
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
STLD was laughably bad. Like lowest common denominator waste of time.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -6)
@Nolan, great post ;-)

Lower Decks really is a symptom of a much more fundamental problem.

Star Trek was never able to transition into the 21st century. It's been running on auto-pilot for the past 20 years.

I suppose that is a testament to capitalism.

You can make a boatload of money putting out mediocre drek year after year, decade after decade. People will buy pretty much anything. I hear The Bachelorette is in its 15th season.

Why bother working hard, with passion and integrity, to put out one of the most aspirational shows ever made by man?? It's far easier to slap together some garbage, throw on the name of some established IP franchise, pump out the promotional PR, and sit back and cash the checks.

We seem to be further from Star Trek's future than ever.

Twice before we've appeared on that track for that future. Twice before we were able to come together to create the greatest of great Star Trek.

Once as man was racing for the moon (TOS).

And then again at the at the end of the Cold War when the hope was we could once more turn our gazes back to the stars (ST VI, TNG S4).

TNG laid the groundwork for DS9, and VOY provided the cover fire so DS9 could do its thing. But once DS9 was gone, and Ronald D Moore was gone, and Joe Menosky was gone, Star Trek was dead.

But Star Trek has died before (after S3 of TOS). And Star Trek has been debased before (TAS). And Star Trek has had false re-starts before (TNG S1, ST:2009). And Star Trek has come back from the dead before (TWoK).

So let the current string of debasement (Lower Decks), and false re-starts (Discovery, Picard) burn themselves out. Eventually there will be a, er, um, Restoration...

And then maybe we'll be able to do the impossible once again.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 2:02am (UTC -6)
You guys are wrong. It's a great show. Christian Blauvelt's review on IndieWire says it may be the most Trek series ever.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 2:11am (UTC -6)
Well, it definitely wasn't funny. As I suspected, the humor is very hyperactive and fast-talking but lacks any actual wit; it's the way """"quirky""" white people act in TV commercials. Also I thought we learned from Family Guy that references alone do not count as jokes.

That said, I didn't completely hate it. It looks really nice. I kinda like the dynamic between Mariner and Bueller, the green girl and the cyborg not so much (see above). I like the cat doctor, kind of a Bones-y vibe.

I like that there's a plot that's spread out between an actual cast of characters, instead of everything revolving around a fucking Micheal Burnham. I like that it's a serialized format that doesn't hinge on taking a massive dump on established canon and characters like STP, though there's plenty of time for that.

I definitely don't like many of the comments I've seen from people who like the show. Anyone who doesn't like it "lacks social skills"? What a petty, childish thing to say.

Anyway for a comedy show the humor falls completely flat and as a parody it mostly boils down to "hey remember WORF!?" so that's a pretty terrible foundation for a Trek show. I'm willing to concede that there might be a couple of legitimately good episodes tucked away in the season but I sure as hell wouldn't pay to watch it.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:04am (UTC -6)
"Anyone who doesn't like it 'lacks social skills'? What a petty, childish thing to say."

Well, we're Trekkies, aren't we ;-)

We are also snobbish nerds who never laugh at anything, live in our parent's basement and need to get a life.

Seriously, though, these remarks tell you everything you need to know about the current state of the franchise, doesn't it?

@Dave in MN
"Either this show is bringing in a while new crowd of commenters or there's some kind of organized campaign going on. It'll be fascinating to find out which logical possibility is the truth. "

It's probably a combination of both.

But who cares, really? Either way, it is obvious that the vast majority of these commenters is not interested in an actual discussion. 80% of their stuff is personal attacks and the other 20% of their stuff is empty praise of the kind of "this show is the greatest thing evar!!!!!".
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:22am (UTC -6)
"We seem to be further from Star Trek's future than ever."

Star Trek always postulated that things need to get far worse, before they will get better.

So now things are getting worse. Which just means that it's even more important to remain hopeful and remember Trek's original vision for humanity's future.

After all, in the Trekverse, humanity suffered through a Eugenic War, an economic collapse, Sanctuary Districts, The Bell Riots and World War III, yet everything ended up okay in the end.

If they could make it to the bright future shown in TOS and TNG, so can we.
Karl Zimmerman
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -6)
I do not understand the argument that Lower Decks is "not canon" or "not Star Trek."

First, there's of course the distinction to be made between canon and continuity, which people often confuse. Canon just means whatever the licence holder says counts. This is why Star Trek books have never been canon, and TAS became non-canon during the TNG era (and seems to have slowly been embraced once again). A story can make logical sense within the Trekverse continuity without being canon. Elements of the Trek timeline also outright conflict due to writer error (like say Chekov knowing Khan in TWOK) but it doesn't screw up the canonical status of either work, Or I guess you could bring up the entire Kelvinverse, which clearly isn't in the Prime Timeline, but is still part of canon.

So the real question is if Lower Decks is within the continuity of earlier Trek shows. I don't see an issue here either. Unlike say the Short Trek Ephraim and Dot there is no Looney Toons style physics on display. I didn't see any breaking of the fourth wall either. It's a bit silly, but is it any sillier so far than a giant amoeba that eats planets, meeting the literal god Apollo, a giant glowy hand in space, Rumpelstiltskin, etc I don't see what stretches credulity here.

Unless, I suppose, people are angry at how the crew acts. I find this aspect of the show completely believable however. Comparing the show with TNG in terms of crew competence is not fair because The Enterprise was/is the flagship of all of Starfleet, and thus should have the "best of the best." The Cerritos is purposefully made out to be a smaller, fairly insignificant ship, so having a crew which is a bit less exemplary is understandable. Add to this that the show is from the POV of the ensigns. Much like the TNG episode Lower Decks recast the crew we love as distant and somewhat intimidating figures, we're not seeing the bridge crew here (yet) at their best. The ensigns themselves are assuredly not nasty or nihilistic people either. They have personality quirks, but they're competent and do the best they can to support one another.

So yeah, I can understand how someone would not enjoy the show for its pacing, or humor. I can't understand saying it's "not Star Trek."
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:53pm (UTC -6)
McCoy: "Jim, I think I liked him with a beard better. It gave him character. Of course, almost any change would be a distinct improvement."

Kirk: "What worries me is the easy way his counterpart fitted into that other universe. I always thought Spock was a bit of a pirate at heart."

Spock: "Indeed, gentlemen? May I point out that I had an opportunity to observe your counterparts here quite closely. They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, every way, splendid examples of homo sapiens. The very flower of humanity...I found them quite refreshing."

(Spock mans his station)

Kirk: ...
McCoy: ...
Kirk: "I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted."
McCoy: "I'M sure." >:/

... Which is an actual, layered, written joke. Unlike Lower Decks, which is just 25 minutes of people being idiots and doing stupid things and saying stupid things.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:56pm (UTC -6)
It's not Star Trek because Star Trek is actually about something it's a bunch of different departments working very hard to bring a story that actually really attempt to examine the human condition while having some fun and action and drama along the way lower deck is a cheap cash grab a desperate Creator in a desperate studio just hoping to quickly give some good numbers to the investors. You can call it starts like all you want because have a name and logo plastered on it but that means nothing
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
If the show was called Star Trek: Lower Ducks and it starred a bunch of anthropomorphic ducks in Starfleet uniforms, it would be no more canon than this shit show
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:44am (UTC -6)

In my view, the question of how enjoyable Lower Decks is, is totally different from the question of whether we should accept it as part of the main continuity.

Here are my problems with accepting this show as part of the main continuity:

1. Enjoyable or not, it's a silly animated comedy. Can you imagine adding events from Lower Decks to any "serious" Star Trek timeline? I mean, if the show doesn't take *itself* seriously, why should we?

2. If, as you say, the science realism level is on par with giant starship-clutching hands and planet-eating space amoebas, that's not a good sign. Just because TOS did it in the 1960's, doesn't make it any less goofy. Trek has marched forward in the following 40 years, and the standard we've expected from it have risen accordingly.

3. We've already had two new series that don't fit the established continuity at all. To put it bluntly: The trust is gone, so accepting new material as "official history" is no longer the default.

If TPTB want us to reopen our Trek history books and add new material, they'll have to give us a compelling reason to do so. And let's be honest: a light goofy cartoon is not a compelling reason.

I'll admit to one thing, though:

Unlike DIS and PIC, LDS at least feels like it is set in the Star Trek universe. It's a goofy animated comedy set in that world, but there's no doubt about the setting.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:05am (UTC -6)
Thanks SlackerInc and Sen-Sors, appreciated.

Trent, I think it has quite a lot to do with Kate Mulgrew's slightly camp, 1940s-influenced acting style - she plays the role like she's in a Sirk melodrama. Plus the general lightness of the show and the focus on "fun" from season 3 onwards, as well as the female soap-opera villains (Seska, the Borg Queen). The lesbian fanbase for Seven (and Janeway) is self-explanatory, but I think for gay guys, the fact that (certainly in my case) we never noticed or thought about Seven's body or outfit made it easier to appreciate the character and performance. The narrative of Seven recovering from trauma and carving out her own identity on her own terms is also very appealing and resonant.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -6)
At least TOS' giant hand in space served a purpose: it was an exploration of Arthur C Clarke's idea that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Apollo's power in the episode came only from his race's technology, and they were worshiped by ancient Greeks for it, with Kirk's crew still in awe of what he could do. The whole idea was for it to appear scientifically impossible, for it to appear as magic.

In the first episode of Lower Decks, we have a disease turning people into bile-spewing zombies, and a giant spider which attacks a crew member. For what purpose? Presumably to acquaint us with the crew. That doesn't make it a good use of the sci-fi premise. There's no reason it couldn't have been done in the Stargate or Firefly or Battlestar universe, or any other fictional universe.
William B
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 10:34am (UTC -6)
@wolfstar, that makes sense to me re: Voyager. I think that viewing the show as a Sirkish self-aware melodrama enhances it. It reminds me that Angel/Firefly writer Tim Minear has said that he and Whedon had discussed the Mutant Enemy (Buffy/Angel/Firefly/etc.) house style as being Sirkish, stylized, colourful, grandiose, a bit cheeky, and that's another set of shows with a big queer following.

In terms of classic Hollywood movies with a queer following, I was just thinking about Suddenly, Last Summer and I can somewhat imagine the Voyager-era Melgrew, Ryan and Picardo in the Hepburn, Taylor and Clift roles. I'd sure like to see that.

It will probably come up at some point in the discussions surrounding Elliott's commentary (when he gets back to it), but the differing responses to Voyager are probably worthwhile to check into. I feel like I'm kind of on the edge of appreciating Voyager's pleasures and being put off by its numerous, well-documented (c.f. Jammer's reviews, Ron Moore essay, etc.) flaws.


"In the first episode of Lower Decks, we have a disease turning people into bile-spewing zombies, and a giant spider which attacks a crew member. For what purpose? Presumably to acquaint us with the crew. That doesn't make it a good use of the sci-fi premise. There's no reason it couldn't have been done in the Stargate or Firefly or Battlestar universe, or any other fictional universe."

I don't know about Stargate, but I can't see this happening in Firefly or Battlestar (at least the modern iteration), at least not in the way it sounds. I guess if it's a specifically engineered virus (by the Alliance or by the Cylons) and a...robot giant spider, maybe, but both of those universes were deliberately excavated of alien elements and tended not to do the "wacky disease" trope too much. Both are precedentedly Trekkish though, which is not to say that they are good Trek tropes.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 11:02am (UTC -6)

While I admit historically exploration of the human condition was core to Star Trek, I'm not sure I'd agree that it was core to Star Trek comedy.

The best Trek comedies are either from TOS (Trouble with Tribbles, I Mudd, and A Piece of the Action) or DS9 (Little Green Men, the Magnificent Ferengi, In The Cards, Our Man Bashir, Trials and Tribble-ations, etc). I think TNG had humorous moments, but no true comedy episodes, only "lighthearted" ones. VOY's few attempts were awful (Bride of Chaotica was okay, but not really funny), and ENT really lacked them entirely.

When I think about the best Trek comedies, I really don't see a deep exploration of themes and character. I'm not saying it can't be done - comedy can be deep and incisive. But that's not what Trek has done typically. If anything the standby in Trek "humor" tends to be to try and take references from some other setting (mobsters, James Bond, 1950s B movies, Flash Gordon, etc) and work them into the plot somehow, even if the explanation is ridiculous. And honestly, this makes sense, because the key component of humor is something being out of place. People have to either act in an unexpected manner, or have something unexpected/absurd happen to them.

Regardless your argument seems to boil down to "I don't like CBS, and therefore it's not canon." This is silly, because fans can decide what they like or don't like, but fans cannot decide what counts or doesn't count. Canon was after all originally a term for official religious texts which had the sanction of authorities. CBS gets to decide what is canon, not you. You can just decide what you want to watch.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 11:15am (UTC -6)

Going through each of your concerns.

1. The tone doesn't really matter to me. It's pretty clear to anyone who watches it Star Trek is not intended as a literal documentary of the Trekverse. The Universal Translator probably doesn't automatically fix the mouths of aliens so they are speaking English - and shouldn't be working when no humans are around. Recast roles don't mean the individuals got plastic surgery between episodes. The sometimes stylized lighting and sountracks don't exist within universe. Some episodes outright explore the question of an unreliable narrator. And of course there's the extremely lo-fi effects of TOS. The way I have always taken Trek is the events show onscreen actually happen, but the visual depiction of them cannot be trusted to be literally true. Thus one could see Lower Decks as a comedy simply because we're seeing a "cut" of reality which focuses on the few funny moments which happen over the course of a day.

2. The actual science-fiction part of this episode was honestly not that outre. I mean, a zombie virus and a giant plant-eating spider? What's that ridiculous about that by past Trek standards? Regardless, even if you discard TOS, there is plenty of crap which wouldn't be considered to be "hard sci-fi" by any means in all eras of Star Trek.

3. I had major problems squaring away Discovery with the existing Trek timeline, as would anyone with half a brain. It seems to have suffered heavily from Fuller initially wanting to do a total reboot, then getting shitcanned, then developed by committee as it lumbered forward Frankenstein-style since CBS was dead-set on new Trek. Picard made some questionable calls, but aside from some concerns with visuals, I don't see how it outright conflicts with canon (particularly since it's not a prequel in any way). As you noted, this series looks/feels like a Trek show, which makes sense, since the showrunner is a gigantic TNG fanboi.

In order to presume this isn't in continuity, you basically have to give me something concrete that they fucked up. And aside from maybe the argument that we wouldn't have fuckups like these in Starfleet, I'm just not seeing - so far - what it could be.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman
"Regardless your argument seems to boil down to 'I don't like CBS, and therefore it's not canon.' This is silly, because fans can decide what they like or don't like, but fans cannot decide what counts or doesn't count."

Sure we can.

You're not seriously suggesting that the fans should give CBS an absolute authorative power over us when it comes to Star Trek, do you? We're intelligent consumers of entertainment, not members of some cult.

So yes, when CBS decides to throw everything that made Trek "Trek" and start making offensive garbage like DIS or PIC, we most certainly *are* allowed to say "no, I'm sorry, I can't accept this sh*t as canon".

Among other things, I don't accept a war criminal (Burnham) becoming the savior of the universe, Unklingon klingons, Starfleet planting bombs to kill mourners, Starfleet threatening mass genocide for absolutely reason, Icheb being tortured to death, Seven becoming a serial killer, the Federation just forgetting about the Dominion war yet still managing to collapse into a dystopia, pineapple-only replicators, and Picard ending up as a gibbering idiot that everybody love to ridicule.

And while Lower Decks isn't (yet?) as offensive as the above examples, I don't see any particular reason to accept it as canon either.

In short: I personally love pre-2009 Trek too much to contaminate it with this stuff. If you feel otherwise, that's perfectly fine. You, too, are free to view Star Trek in any way you see fit. It's a TV show, for God's sake.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman

Star trek is a drama/ adventure.. and the reason those comedy episodes work is that they are a relief form the drama.. and often times they seem to start out and play like regular episodes.. and then you realize that they are using all the tools they have used for dramatic storytelling to make these comedies.

I would argue that the best Trek comedy that you did not mention is "House of Quark".. a perfect comedy because it actually compares and contrasts two different cultures by smashing their idealisms against one another.

Please don't lump me in a category.. even if it is "I hate CBS".. because I have not done so for you. I think Pike is a good captain on "Discovery" and seeing him got me invested in the show. i like Picard MORE than I hate it, as it beautifully shot,, produced and acted and did a lot of challenging things. I just don't see what the point of LD i except to copy another show (Orville) which is copying (or, in my mind, continuing in all but name only) Star Trek. The key tom Orville's success is the same as what I mentioned above, it's really a drama starring good characters and facing real dilemmas.

With Lower Decks, we see htat philosphy being betrayed.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -6)

Stepping outside of Trek for a second, let's talk Game of Thrones. I was a big book fan prior to the series, and the first four seasons were some of the best TV ever made. And then D&D famously ruined the show, completely and utterly, once they no longer had GRRM's books to work off of and had to write without a net.

That sucked for me as a fan. It almost sucked enough to invalidate the enjoyment of the earlier seasons. But that doesn't mean I get to say that the seasons didn't really happen. They did, and it ruined the series. Reading occasional (much better) alternate season outlines from fans is a fun exercise, but it doesn't change what happened. Reality is reality, unless HBO says "nope" and reshoots the damn thing - which isn't gonna happen, because I'm not entitled to anything from HBO.
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -6)

First, I'm sorry for putting words in your mouth. I don't think we disagree that much about DIS and PIC, to be honest.

The one thing I'd push back on is there's a very clear character focus/arc in the first episode, which deals with Ensign Boimler.

Boimler starts the episode being the perfect Starfleet nerd/suckup. All he wants to do is impress the Captain and the senior staff and make a good impression, so that he can eventually reach command. He begins the episode loathing Mariner, and rightfully so. But when the captain doesn't know his name - and doesn't recognize that anyone other than the senior bridge staff took any of the credit - he decides not to tell on Mariner, deciding that camaraderie with his annoying coworker is better than sucking up to an uncaring boss. He becomes slightly more cynical in the end.

Now, you can argue that this character arc is an inversion - perhaps even a perversion - of anything Trek has shown before. I'd argue no however, it's just that normally our window into the Trekverse is captains, so the Admirals are the ones who are insane and/or evil when you want to introduce conflict in the ranks. Either way though, it is a relatable character dilemma, and shows something is there beyond just goofy jokes.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimerman I don't totally disagree with your assessment of the Lower Decks 'character" though I think it speaks to just the opposite of what Trek is usually about, seeking scientific and personal truth and not protecting lies or misdeeds (as this short short video points out

My problem is that the show is frivolous in its approach, filled with unfunny gags instead of actual drama.. and the terrible art style doesn't help.
I mean it literally is, guy gets bit, turns crew into zombies, but spider on the surface has the cure. That's literally it. This is what Star trek is now after 50 years of trying to create a kind of verisimilitude in the franchise, after many years of characters trying to solve problems, it's all now a big joke?
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmermann
"But when the captain doesn't know his name - and doesn't recognize that anyone other than the senior bridge staff took any of the credit - he decides not to tell on Mariner, deciding that camaraderie with his annoying coworker is better than sucking up to an uncaring boss. He becomes slightly more cynical in the end."
But isn't that another sin not unlike what STP did? STP basically said that what we saw on TNG (or DS9) was one side of the coin, the ruling class, the elite, who live nice lifes doing meaningful things, while there are poor people with shitty replicators with high risk of getting shot by creepy robots. Let's not forget, that were the workers at the most important shipyard in the Federation. Can you even imagine how a worse post would look like...

Now this show makes this even more extreme. It says, hey guys it is really just the bridge were power hungry glory hunters try to secure their claim stomping on the lower ranks.
As you say:" He becomes slightly more cynical at the end."
And isn't that Star Trek is really about. :)
Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
As I said, I could see considering Boimler's arc an inversion/perversion of what we are trained to expect from Star Trek. However, in another sense it's the same as older Trek.

Trek, after all, has always basically said "respect the chain of command - unless it's someone higher up who is an antagonist, in which case, feel free to flout the rules, or openly defy them." From Decker in TOS, to Satie in TNG, to Leyton in DS9. Hell - wasn't the whole point of the TOS movie serialized arc from TWOK through TVH that Kirk chose comrades over duty?

Regarding the issue of the "simple plot" that CaptainMercer brings up - it's sort of baked into the concept of the show. If you follow around a bunch of ensigns they aren't going to be "saving the day" every week. Frankly I find it refreshing after two seasons of Discovery and a season of Picard with ridiculously high states (save the entire multiverse, then all life in the galaxy, then perhaps all life in the galaxy again) we have a show with very low stakes interpersonal drama instead.

Regarding this episode in particular, the zombie plague thing was really the c-plot of the episode, after Boimler's personal arc and Rutherford's date. And the spider slime thing was one of the funniest elements of the entire episode, because it was directly spoofing how frequently pat solutions to problems (often via technobabble) are suddenly discovered in the third act of Trek episodes.
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmerman
I guess I could go with that. It had a cohesive plot and a cohesive story. But I think if it was allowed 45 minutes to breathe.. and if it was filmed live action.. hell it would have been a passable episode for me. The aesthetic presented here.. like all tripped out on FunDip so everyone talks superfast, doesn't really HELP the humor for me. And it might be personal, but it is hard to take these drawings seriously. Yes, even in comedies, you gotta take the people on screen at least as seriously as you can. haha

Sure, I grew up with Bugs Bunny, tom and Jerry and I loved Ren and Stimpy, but I think I just can't "connect" with the art style or the frantic vocal style here. It's like watching those YouTube channels where they do lots of cuts to eliminate pauses. I hate it, even though movie critic Jeremy Jahns is so good at it that it works for his channel.. any time he pauses or takes a real breath he cuts that out of the final video.. it's like they edited out any signs of people breathing in this show. That means - to me - that they are not human. So I become disconnected.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:37am (UTC -6)
In the military (of at least western democracies), and I speak from personal experience, it is not only allowed but encouraged to disobey if you think an order is unlawful. Disobeying Leyton (coup), Satie (crazy) would be fine even today (don't know about Decker). You are right about Kirk and one could argue that it destroyed his career. To me it looked like Starfleet command let Kirk keep his old ship because he was such a popular figure. He saved the Federation half a dozen times and still retired only as a captain. Any half reasonable person would have become a four star admiral.

But here it seems it is just about the superiors being douchebags. As you say it is a perversion. I find it all only justifiable if you say that it is just a silly comedy show that uses the name as a prop.
Karl Zimmerman
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
As I said upthread, I do think this should have been a "double feature" like most Trek pilots (meaning around 45 minutes or so). After all, the point of a pilot is to introduce you to all members of the main cast, and I think this episode failed at that, really only giving us insight into Mariner and Boimler.

Regarding the pacing, I felt it was a bit too rapid fire in a couple of situations as well. The opening cut with Mariner didn't work at all, and I wasn't really a fan of the ending of the episode either. That said, it's the pilot, and series typically get better as a season builds up steam. Hell, the first episode of The Orville was pretty painfully unfunny and one of the weakest episodes of the entire show.

Regarding Booming's point about the characters being kinda douchey - I agree. But if you want to show character growth across a series, you need to have them start in a somewhat unlikable place. Look at how Bashir and Kira were pretty unlikeable individuals for the first few seasons. So far the command crew seems competent, but with personality quirks and distant/uncaring about the individual ensigns (which makes sense, considering a fairly large crew and frequent crew rotations). I don't think we can say yet if they're going to stay douchebags or they will come to work together. I'd guess eventually they'll pivot to the latter, because there's only so much comedy you can get out of a static interpersonal dynamic.
Luiz Castanheira
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -6)
Jammer does what he wants with his free time...

I neve quite understood why he reviews Orville though... That one I think is a dreadful show... If I want Berman Trek I will watch the hundreds of episodes on Streaming... Orville makes no sense at all to me..

Why not review The Expanse instead?

Why not review Ricky & Morty?

Why not review ... ?

I can go on forever and never think of Orville... Strange...
The Chronek
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:51am (UTC -6)

So, I'm a Kurtzman apologist simply because I enjoy the new stuff? Am I a paid CBS shill, too?
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -6)
I guess there is the possibility that somebody could, under certain circumstances, enjoy this product and not be motivated by other sources. :)
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
@Luiz Castenheira
Maybe because Orville is a good show, and it's Berman Trek in all but name.. even the same people are behind the magic. It can poke fun of a few things that didn't age well, while in most other ways it handles themes and ideas much in the same way without worrying about smearing legacy characters: the nostalgia is about the types of stories being told and how they are told, not the individual characters involved. so, while I might convince you to like it, to be dismissive of it out of hand is a bit odd.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
"I never quite understood why he reviews Orville though... That one I think is
a dreadful show."

Because Jammer reviews everything Trek and the Orville is close enough.

I'm sure he would have reviewed Lower Decks as well, if:

1. CBS didn't insist on throwing us a completely new Trek show every year, turning the notion of "reviewing every Trek series in real time" into a complete nightmare.
2. He didn't have to pay specifically for it in order to watch it, and therefore to review it.
3. Items #1 and #2 weren't a part of a long-term trend which sucks all the fun of watching and reviewing Star Trek.

On the other hand:

1. The Orville is a single show that has about 15 episodes per season, and is in no danger of spawning a gazillion spin-offs that might overwhelm a reviewer's time.
2. First two seasons were free on broadcast TV. 3rd season is on Hulu which Jammer probably pays for anyway.
3. Jammer actually enjoys the Orville, as you can plainly see from his reviews.

Does that answer your question?

@The Chronek
"So, I'm a Kurtzman apologist simply because I enjoy the new stuff?"

You enjoy the new stuff? That's news to me.

So far, you're sole contribution here was to storm in, call us "douchebags", tell us to "get a life", and then storm out. As for the actual show, which just premiered last week, you haven't said a single word.

So tell me: What exactly are we supposed to think?
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
I'm pretty sure Jammer would have reviewed Lower Decks if it was an hour long show.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
When those "Roddenberry" shows like Andromeda and Earth Final Conflict came out, they were just not itneresting to me, and not just because Roddenberry had literally nothing to do with them despite the name. They just seemed a bit flat to me, but I never minded the fact that they aired or that Jammer reviewed them.

Also, if Orville came out in the 90s I wouldn't put it in the same category as those shows.

But Orville literally has the same premise as Trek, only it's let loose from the ever-convoluted shackles of canon. It is let loose of having to figure out where the timeline we are, or whether it is an alternate universe, or whether it honors the significance of the legacy characters. In my mind, Trek has gotten so big and so OLD that it forgot how to be Trek. Imagine a show about cops, where the cops originally chased down bad guys, had short gunfights, and did the cool stuff.. but then that show lasted for many years and the original characters were being brought back constantly and the stories just seemed to feel less exciting as it went along. Instead of being about the cool cop action stuff, it is more concerned with it's own legacy or subverting that same legacy. That's where Trek is... but with the Orville I can watch episodes where:
- one type of society lives on a planet
- where the non human character looks again at humanity
- where an alien culture holds a trial for the someone's rights
- where the crew interferes an creates a religion
- they mediate a dispute between warring factions
- the crew must rescue someone
- a time traveler is trying to trick them
etc etc. all the reasons I loved to watch hour long Star Trek episodes is back on the Orville, instead of these new so called Star Trek stories as released by official IP holders, which features everything from sacrificing babies to incest, and depends on ever more convoluted storylines that can never be satisfying . it's like going back to anew cop show that is simple again, about the chases and escapes
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Great, description, CaptainMercer. I was really sceptical of the Orville but came to love it in spite of myself.

There seem to be two groups of Star Trek fans when it comes to the Orville:
Those who have seen more than a few episodes and think it's a decent show.
Those who have seen one or two episodes at most and dislike it.

I await the day I actually find a Trekkie who has given the Orville a real chance and still dislikes it.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -6)

"I await the day I actually find a Trekkie who has given the Orville a real chance and still dislikes it."

It happens. There are a couple of examples higher up on this page.

And it's okay. The Orville has several unique features which might be deal-breakers for some Trekkies. Some don't like the somewhat-goofy crew, and others are simply bored to death by all the sitcom-style drama.

Personally I love these things. I think they serve to make the show unique and fresh. But others may disagree. It's a matter of taste, and there are perfectly legitimate reasons for Trekkies to dislike this show.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
Thanks @ Tomalak
I'm not saying that "Orville is BETTER than Star trek.. (though it is better than 3rd Generation Trek.. It just has the kinds of stories and conversations I want to see when I turn on my TV. It just seems to "get" 90s Trek
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
@The Chronek

I was seeing a lot of accusations of that upthread thrown at people, that accounts they didnt recognize liked the episode were possibly/probably outside actors

I think people need to realize this is a, uh, fairly niche corner of the internet and odds of a CO-ORDINATED MARKETING ATTACK (tm) seem kinda low.

The real reason for the new faces might be, i dunno, a new Star Trek series and people looking for a place to discuss it.

CBS spending money trying to co-opt this board would be a waste of time anyways. They should know better than to think they can sway any of you curmudgeons ;p
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -6)
"The real reason for the new faces might be, i dunno, a new Star Trek series and people looking for a place to discuss it."

Easy way to tell the difference:

New faces who come to discuss the show, discuss the show. To all these new guys and gals: Welcome aboard.

Those who come here for other reasons, do.... well, other things. Whether it's attacking the old fandom or voicing empty superlatives that are devoid of any actual content. Somehow, these people never find the time to actually talk about the show they claim to be a fan of.

In short: If you sound like a marketing bot, don't be surprised when you're treated like one. It's really that simple.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -6)
I just don't like Seth Macfarlane's style of humor. "A Million Ways to Die in the West" pretty much ended any shot of me tuning in to anything he produces.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
I am not a huge fan of it wither, but he reogned it in after the first two episodes of the Orville. For example, in family guy and his Family Guy Star Wars spoofs, he mastered the art of the prolonged joke.. something that starts as kond of funny but he thinks it will be funnier by virtue of it lasting longer than its breaking point. He only teies this ONCE in Orville, in the first minites of the second episode, when Ed's parents call him from an alien ship. I think that is still the kind of humor from the pilot. After that point, the humor in the show overall becomes much much smarter
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 12:29pm (UTC -6)

The Orville is completely different beast from anything else McFarlane has ever produced, though.

I personally can't stand any of his other stuff, but he really toned down both the humor and the irreverent tone for the Orville. To me, it was toned enough to be an acceptable evil in the first few episodes, and later on it actually became a positive spice on an otherwise decent story.

So you might want to give the show another chance. It just might surprise you.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
Yeah I am another one here who really doesn't like Family Guy or find it funny - but likes the Orville, including for its humour.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Seth has written almost all of the Orville's episodes, and has only written about 3 episodes of Family Guy, so maybe the former is more indicative of how he prefers to write.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
I didn't know that! What I've seen of Family Guy is a lot of absurd, over the top and often out of context jokes delivered in dream sequences.

Whereas the Orville is more full of subtle amusing moments - like the subtle reactions of crew when the interim security chief was eating smelly meals on the bridge. Not crazy funny (then again FG isn't crazy funny either) but finding humour in a realistic, relatable way.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:19am (UTC -6)
Even if Seth didn't directly write most of the epsiodes of Family Guy, he was a very active show-runner for many years, and he set that show's tone.

Many avid Family Guy fans say that when McFarlane stopped doing that (which was years ago) the show lost its way. Lost its edge, if you will.

Kinda like the Simpsons. Or Star Trek, come to think of it.
Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 5:37pm (UTC -6)
Ten new reviews posted.
Sat, Jul 3, 2021, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for writing these, Jammer. For what it's worth, I agree with your big picture points completely. Lower Decks was mostly painfully unfunny and Mariner was a rubbish character - but the cartoon still had its merits as you suggest.
peter swinkels
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 4:58am (UTC -6)
people who enjoy Star Trek, but don't take it, or themselves, too seriously.

target audience
Andre Rhine-Davis
Mon, Jan 17, 2022, 9:21am (UTC -6)
So I've just started watching this, yes I know I'm late to the party.
I tried to enjoy it, really I did, but various things in the episode kept breaking my suspension of disbelief and just coming across as unrealistic. Yes I know it's a cartoon and that it's comedy, but I'm still watching it expecting characters to behave and react realistically, that's how I'm trying to engage with the show, and I just can't do that when I keep being taken out of the show by things which just seem bizarre to me.

For example,

- In the middle of the cyborg guy's date with the trill girl, the officer who was infected with the virus starts going crazy and becomes a zombie, and everyone in the bar starts shooting him and it turns into a crazy emergency situation. But what do our main characters do? They just try to continue their date while hiding behind a table, just ignoring all the commotion going on. Never mind that there's a zombie virus outbreak and a firefight all around them, they just ignore it all and keep asking each other casual questions about each other. This just would not happen. If you were sitting in a bar on a date, and suddenly a zombie virus outbreak was happening all around you, you would either freak out and go into a panic, or run and hide, or start shooting the zombie and trying to take charge of the situation, or *something*. You would react appropriately to the *seriousness* of the situation. You wouldn't keep being all calm and blazé and joking about dating while there was a serious crazy emergency like that going on. Look, I love comedy and jokes, but it has to be in an appropriate context. If something serious happens and the characters don't even react properly to the seriousness of what's going on, then the show stops being believable to me. I can't take the threat seriously or the stakes seriously or the characters seriously when they're not going to behave like any reasonable people would. It's just so... unrealistic, and it completely breaks my immersion.

- Similarly the scene where the Orion girl is in the medlab and she is covered in black goo and has to hold and squeeze the *actual beating heart* of one of the patients in open heart surgery. This is just cartoon physics. Or well, cartoon medicine, more precisely. Once again, completely takes me out of the show, because it's just completely unrealistic to how medicine actually works. Also, the doctor should have clearly seen that she is covered in black goo and not wearing gloves and not in a position to participate in the surgery. Similarly, when the Orion girl is told "this is the nurse guy you were supposed to work for" and he is lying there frothing as a zombie, she goes up to him and talks to him like he's a normal person and shakes his hand despite the fact that she can *see* him frothing as a zombie. It's like... why would anyone behave like that?

I guess my point is that I love star trek and I love comedy, but I need my star trek comedy to be grounded in realism. It needs to follow the basic rules of cause and effect and it needs to have the characters acting realistically and the world acting realistically. There are so many possible avenues for humour and light-heartedness in star trek, but I can't take Lower Decks seriously as a star trek show in the star trek universe when it starts going into this absurd comedy where its characters stop behaving like real people would.
Tue, Feb 15, 2022, 6:24am (UTC -6)
A friend recommended it so I finally relented.
Well, I guess the writers were paid by the word...
What else can I say, maybe one thing.
It sucked!
Tue, Feb 15, 2022, 9:11am (UTC -6)
Come on Booming... it different, give it awhile. You'll begin to enjoy the characters.
Tue, Feb 15, 2022, 12:05pm (UTC -6)
hmm ok. I chuckled about the intro. The warbirds fighting the borg cubes and the ship just flying away.
Fri, Oct 7, 2022, 11:48am (UTC -6)
Can't believe people are watching this $#!%. I came here because I've literally binge watched all the oddly interesting sci fi, like Dark, and there's nothing left to watch but reruns. The ladies of the house are OD'ing on Handmaid's Tale, like it was fentanyl, and I almost broke down and watched it, but decided to come here instead. Massive human error. I've seen better animation on YouTube. I forgot the plot while I was watching it as soon as I watched it. The characters were biohazards. The "humor" is asinine. Switch the genders on the opening teaser scene and see how many people lol. I dare you.
Fri, Dec 16, 2022, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Just watched the first episode of this show and I think it's fantastic. I'm gonna consider this show to be comedic retellings of actual canon events, and no one can stop me.
Sat, Mar 25, 2023, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Why does everyone have to SHOUT and constantly freak out on this show? Especially the main character. No chill. Annoying.
Sat, Mar 25, 2023, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Well, the main character wasn't freaking out because she's the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues.

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