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Star Trek: Lower Decks (season 01)

Josh Reviews Star Trek: Lower Decks Season One!

Star Trek: Lower Decks is the second Star Trek animated show (the first was Star Trek: The Animated Series, which aired in 1973-74) and the first Trek comedy.  The series focuses on four low-ranked crew-people on a Federation Starship, the U.S.S. Ceritos, during the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I enjoyed the first episode, and I’m pleased to report that I continued to enjoy the entire 10-episode first season!

There’s a lot that the show does very well.  First off, after suffering through two seasons of Discovery and one season of Picard on CBS All-Access, both of which made a complete mash of Star Trek continuity, it is an absolute delight to see this show which relishes in Trek continuity.  Just being back in the familiar 24th century TNG era (the subsequent Trek shows Deep Space Nine and Voyager were both also set during this time-frame) is a pleasure.  It makes me so happy to see the look of these TNG-era Federation starships (particularly in contrast to the very ugly starships seen in the J.J. Abrams “Kelvin-verse” movies, and Discovery and Picard), to see the look of TNG-era Federation corridors and computer interfaces and costumes, to hear the familiar sound-effect of the warp drive or the phasers or the turbolift or the computer… and on and on.  Even beyond that, I don’t think I exaggerated when I wrote, above, that this show relishes in Trek continuity.  Each episode has been jam-packed with all sorts of sight gags and background details and jokes in the fast-paced dialogue that reference a myriad of obscure details from across the Star Trek universe, eras, and shows and movies.  It’s fun, as a hard-core Trek fan, to try to spot all of these references, and it’s a pleasure to know that this show is clearly being made by people who know and love Star Trek.  Creator and show-runner Mike McMahan is obviously an enormous Star Trek fan!  This makes me very happy.

This initial ten-episode first season has done a wonderful job of fleshing out all four main characters: the nerdy, stick-to-the-rules Boimler; the audacious, resistant-to-authority Mariner; the joyful, tech-loving Tendi; and the equally tech-loving Rutherford, who is still struggling sometimes to adapt to his cyborg implant.  I loved Mariner and Boimler right from the first episode, though I didn’t feel I got a handle on Tendi and Rutherford in that premiere.  But over the course of this season, I really enjoyed how well-developed all four characters became.  By the end of the season, I loved all four of these characters!

The look of the show was terrific in that first episode and stayed consistently excellent throughout this first season.  … [continued]