Lower Decks: First Look

Marie Brownhill
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Marie's blog, Fan Collective Unimatrix 47.

Unfortunately, there is no TNG: Rewatch post because events prevented me from getting that far this week. However, I did want to share the new Lower Decks trailer, for anyone who has yet to see it. The trailer has polarized fandom to say the least. Having watched it, I can say that the trailer’s humor is very much along the lines of what you expect from Rick and Morty as is the visual aesthetic. Don’t show this to your kids without screening it first. Right from the first few minutes of the trailer, we know this will be a different approach to Trek. From a conspicuously out of uniform Ensign Beckett Mariner climbing fellow-ensign Brad Boimler in the starship equivalent of a broom closet to a chest bump between Commander Ransom and an as yet unidentified character, U.S.S. Cerritos will clearly be no Enterprise. There are nods to existing Trek canon from the Caitian Dr. T’ana to Commander Ransom literally losing his shirt, but things certainly take a turn for the low-brow–specifically when Ensign Beckett gets assigned to “holodeck waste removal.”

I have a long-standing policy of withholding judgment on a new franchise installment until it airs, but I have to admit, I find the trailer off-putting. The series takes its name from one of the best episodes of TNG‘s final season, which I will certainly be covering on this blog in the future. The TNG episode establishes that stories involving the junior officers on a starship can be just as moving and interesting as those told about the bridge crew, but I do wonder at the decision to pitch a series that clearly falls within the Orville‘s purview. I think part of the reason the Orville works when it does is that it’s clearly an homage with parody elements. That show does not pretend to occupy the same territory as Star Trek, and the show’s attitude toward competence reflects that. Lower Decks, however, does, so I find seeing imagery that would better fit within the context of a fan parody unsettling. I did not care for “The Trouble with Edward” either for many of the same reasons. My fingers remain crossed that the show proves my initial assumptions to be wrong.

Still, if you happen to be a huge Orville fan or even a fan of Rick and Morty, I suspect you’ll enjoy Lower Decks. I will certainly be tuning in to CBS All Access on August 6th.

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