The Star Trek: Lower Decks is like "The Other Guys" for space operas. It tells the story of the B-team, the ne'er-do-wells, and basically the green cadets in the Federation who mess up all the time. The USS Enterprise is a Federation galaxy-class starship taking on exotic exploratory missions crewed by the best of the best in The Next Generation (TNG).
Whereas the USS Cerritos is a Federation California-class starship ( yes California class is a straight-up gag name) filled with bumbling Federation cadets, ensigns, and green officers. Yes, there are senior officers who are seasoned and suave, but the series focuses on the less-established cadets.
The Plot of Star Trek: Lower Decks
The chaos of the first episode in the first season was hard to overlook. There were just too many things happening all at once to enjoy any of them completely - that's just bad direction and editing. Firstly it looks like the writers are just rushing through the jokes as if they were hitting a quota on easter eggs and quips within a timeframe.
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Next, in TNG, there was always a clear main plot and a less important sub-plot - each complemented the other, keeping up the pace of the narrative. In Star Trek: Lower Decks, there is no clear focus on the main plot in each episode, with the sub-plot just being as a distraction. Thirdly, the comedy sometimes fails as the show-runners try too hard and get the timing wrong.
The concept of the show is great, the voice cast is excellent and the budget is high, but the execution is where the creators may have fumbled. If you can make it through the first few episodes, then you can watch the rest and have fun. Season 2 is significantly better as they slow down the pace of the narrative to a level that lets you enjoy the jokes. But I felt most of season 1 suffers from the problem of stuffing each scene - with jokes, references, and sub-plots such that it feels forced.
Voice Cast in Star Trek: Lower Decks
The voice cast is one of the major reasons why you would want to watch this series. Tawny Newsome plays Beckett Mariner and Jack Quaid plays Brad Boimler the lead goofs in this slapstick animation. Tawny also had the role of an astronaut in Space Force, the Netflix series which makes you wonder if that's why she was selected here. Jack Quaid has a big role in The Boys as Hughie - the nerd who turns into a badass.
Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis reprise their TNG roles as William T Riker and Deanna Troi respectively in Star Trek: Lower Decks to hilarious effect. There is a scene where Riker has a tinge of madness in his eyes while commanding his ship with Boimler at the helm. The explanation for Riker's off-character behavior is that he was cooped up for too long on peaceful missions on the Enterprise.
Other comedy regulars on the show are Eugene Cordero as Sam Rutherford the cyborg. Cordero has also acted in Other Space - another space-themed sci-fi show, and recently has a small but memorable role in the Loki TV series. Jerry O'Connell is another well-known name playing Commander Ransom - the comedically proud Starfleet officer who contrasts with the nerds on the ship.
Also read, Why Dune 2021 Is Bound To Be A Hit
Animation in Star Trek: Lower Decks
The animation in Lower Decks is similar to the one used in Rick and Morty. Mike McMahan, the creator of this series has said that he'd drawn inspiration from Rick and Morty and The Simpsons. As far as the timeline in which this series is set, it is right after the Star Trek: Nemesis movie, with the cast of The Next Generation.
The characters in Lower Decks are 3D but not photo-realistic, including all sentient and non-sentient life. For inanimate objects, space tech, and starships, really impressive 3D animation is done with really fine details on the starships. The reason why animation is done this way is to make things funnier while still wowing the audience with animation capability.
Should You Watch It? - Maybe
If you are a Trekkie then, watching this animated series is a no-brainer, even with the messy way the first few episodes are done. If you are not a Star Trek fan, then you can watch a couple of episodes to see if you like it.
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