In the animated television series, “Star Trek: Lower Deck,” we see the more mundane side of the “Star Trek” universe.
Following up on a surprisingly stellar first season, “Star Trek: Lower Decks” continues to tell classic “Star Trek” adventures with a comedic twist midway through its second season. The past few years have seen a bit of a renaissance in terms of “Star Trek” television, with the often underwhelming “Star Trek Discovery” reaching four seasons so far and “Picard” going on its second season, soon to be joined by the upcoming “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” We have no shortage of “Star Trek” content to enjoy.
Being somewhat of an homage to the classic “The Next Generation” (TNG) episode, “Below Decks,” “Lower Decks” tells the story that very often goes untold within “Star Trek,” the story of the average crew member. With this series you get to see the less glamorous but often still adventurous side of the star fleet and its away missions. The show revisits great events or storylines from Trek’s past like TNG, bringing back some excellent classic villains like Q, Armus, the Pakled and the Ferengi. It also includes classic cameos like that of Will Riker, Tom Paris and many more.
As with the first season, “Lower Decks” follows the story of a group of Ensigns一Mariner, Boimler, Tendi and Rutherford一as they travel the galaxy on one of the Federation’s least important ships, the USS Cerritos. This ship, being captained by Ensign Mariner’s mother, is often tasked with “second contact,” one of the less adventurous and glamorous jobs in the Federation. These supposedly standard outings often end up going sideways due to the comedic dysfunctions of the Ensigns. Each of the Ensigns has their own quirks and traits. Ensign Mariner, played by Tawny Newsome, is an extremely talented badass, but she has trouble following orders and is constantly getting reprimanded and thrown in the ship’s brig. Boimler, played by Jack Quaid, has aspirations of reaching the rank of captain one day, but is a stickler and follows the rules too much. Tendi, played by Noël Wells, is a big star fleet nerd and one of the first of her people to join star fleet. Rutherford, played by Eugene Cordero, is a genius engineer, who struggles with the quirks of his new Cyborg implant.
Halfway through the current season we have already seen the loveable misfits fight a god-like first officer, survive a dead collector’s killer collection and many other hilarious adventures. One thing that this show gets so right is how it makes fun of the “Star Trek” universe. I was very worried that it would be too mocking of the classic “Star Trek” series, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the comedy and poking fun they do at Trek fans and classic storylines is actually very respectful and funny. This is due in no small part to the passion and creative skill of head writer and showrunner Mike McMahan, who many might know for his time as a writer on the highly popular show “Rick and Morty.” A self avowed “Star Trek” fan, McMahan’s passion and love for the “Star Trek” series really shines through all the jokes and storylines. The connections with “Rick and Morty” can easily be seen with the mix of comedy and sci-fi blended so well along with the occasional dramatic moment which all somehow ends up fitting in both of these outlandish comedies. The series has already been renewed for a third season even though the second is still airing. I can see this becoming a staple piece to the current “Star Trek” era, and becoming one of the top shows on CBS’ Paramount+.