Star Trek: Lower Decks — The Misadventures of Mary Sue and Failguy

August 14th, 2020


Also Tech Super Nerd and Manic Pixie Girl.

If you somehow haven't noticed, I have a bit of a soft spot for Star Trek. Specifically TNG and Voyager. I like DS9 plenty too, but life priorities got in the way of watching it as it aired, so I came to it a bit later than the other two. Which isn't to say they were flawless series. The first couple seasons of any Trek are full of some truly godawful episodes and gimmicky nonsense, and while they never truly go away, the shows came from a time with ensemble casts and character driven stories rather than surprise twists and throwing all the eggs into season-long arcs that never live up the hype.

So of course I'm at least vaguely interested in an attempted animated take on Star Trek. This, however, I am very much not a fan of, and that's entirely on the characters, who are a profoundly obnoxious menagerie. Mariner is probably the worst. Effortless simply the best at everything, knows everything, is amazing at everything, has been given every advantage, pals around with the rich and famous, belittles and mocks people for wanting to have what she was given by birth, patronizes her supposed friends so on and so forth. She's paired with Boimler, who has superficial knowledge of everything that is always wrong, is naive and more than a little racist, sucks at everything he does, and takes every opportunity to be a petty jackass. I have no idea which of them we're supposed to be rooting for. They're both horrible people, and the only even vague sign of any development for either was at the end of the first episode when one decided not to sell the other out as retribution for being snubbed for credit for something they didn't even intentionally do. Does it even matter which?

All the rest of the characters and cast fare little better. The B plot duo in both episodes are a quite literal manic pixie girl, and her boyfriend, an engineer who after two episodes, is currently two for two in his subplots being "engineers are awkward and oblivious about girls, but super awesome at everything else!" They're not as offensively obnoxious as the first two, but their gags had run dry in the first 15 seconds, yet no new ones are apparently coming. The upper decks cast, for the little we've seen of them, have bounced back and forth between dismisive asses in the first episode, and noble, supportive mentors in the second, so who even knows.

I'm not counting it out yet, but the first two episodes have been pretty bad and shown none of the depth and rounding out of the characters that it desperately needs. This isn't a problem like Tasha Yar endlessly talking about rape gangs or Chakotay constantly trying to get everybody high to talk to their spirit animals. It's more like "What if Wesley Crusher was the star, except also shouted that he always knew best all the time? And he always is!" Which turns out about how you'd expect. The Orville was a better comedy Trek than this, even with how corny and dumb it usually was.

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Posted in Lower Decks | 4 Comments »

4 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Marmot says:

    This was such a disappointment. Star Trek is so ripe for parody, for god’s sake they have decades of material to work with. Plus this is an animated show which should give them an opportunity to do some interesting stuff. Instead we just get “isn’t it funny when people are mean and petty”, just like every other “edgy” adult animated show in the past 15 years.

    It’s not totally unwatchable but it certainly isn’t good.

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    Main characters who are horrible people to each other? Sounds like western adult animation 101.

  • sp33 says:

    NuTrek no longer elicits any passion from me after Picard, but even I was surprised when I was 18 minutes through this show and realized I had just been watching stone-faced. If this wanted to be Star Trek but funny, it failed. If it wanted to be Rick and Morty but Star Trek, it failed. I can’t imagine who its audience is going to be but it’s definitely not me.

  • jgoi says:

    Only had to look at their plans for Mocky Spock(mariner) to know this was going to be a shitshow.