Season 4 broaches, (and in some cases reintroduces) some of Star Trek's biggest moral quandaries, and faces them head-on with bold and unabashed honesty. Amid drunken adventures, spicy language, and horny co-workers, lessons about trusting yourself and your crew, seeing the best in each other, and embracing life to the fullest are what really make Lower Decks sing.
The result is a run on track to be among this show’s most hilarious and heartfelt. Star Trek: Lower Decks may not outwardly be what one would expect from the series, but much like its scrappy crew, at its core, it’s Starfleet through and through.
As a truly TNG fan, this series actually keeps the spirit of the TNG. Most of the problems feel like local ones (like in TNG where they were limited by some planet or system). They don't save the universe as in Picard Season 2 (after watching it I like LD even more).
Lower Decks requires a careful balancing act. Lean too hard toward silliness and it stops seeming like Star Trek. But play it too straight and the comedy starts to feel like an afterthought. In the four episodes provided to critics, McMahan and his team consistently get the balance right.
Star Trek continues to be the big gun in CBS All Access' streaming arsenal, which has been steady if not particularly inventive. Star Trek: Lower Decks somewhat rectifies the second part of that with an irreverent, Adult Swim-type animated series that likely won't beam up many new subscribers but should mildly amuse a quadrant of the more committed ones.
The entire show seems to be caught in between extremes. It’s just over the edge of being too adult for kids to watch — Mariner complains that a yeti she once met was “being a dick,” and in one episode gets a punishment detail to clean the holodeck of what’s implied to be semen — but never really delves into truly R-rated Trek content.
The problem is it’s not really interested in anything. It’s a comedy show without gags or setpieces. The voice actors – most of whom are members of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy improv family – do their best to imbue the dialogue with real comic timing.
Most of the new Star Trek content has failed because it expected us to take stupid ideas seriously. This show does not expect us to take its stupid ideas seriously, and that allowed me to let my guard down and actually enjoy some of the episodes.
Star Trek: Lower Decks, with the freedom given by its animated platform, had the potential to be one of the best pieces of Trek in a good while. However, it often feels like you're watching untrained fans and everyday joes in Starfleet uniforms. The lower ranks are bound to be less disciplined than more experienced officers, but the main cast feels plain incompetent. The behavior of the main cast, and senior staff, is unworthy of Starfleet. Through their actions, Starfleet itself seems incompetent, less of what it was. Time and time again, we see botched encounters, officers filled with so much ego that a Captain ends up doing the job of an engineer, and a notoriously nervous and unreliable ensign handed a crucial task. Prime Directive? Never met her.
Comedy can take place without incompetence.
None of these fools should be in Starfleet.
This show is extremely violent and the characters spend most of their time screaming at one another --often for no discernible reason. Its themes mostly revolve around interpersonal drama. The dialogue often feels like it is made for angsty-teens. The characters act like children most of the time. It pretty much breaks all the rules the franchise established to keep its quality high and its stories unique and engaging. Overall, ST:LD is your average teen to young adult animation show, sometimes okay, sometimes cringe-worthy, sometimes intolerably immature and violent. Don't expect something with the whit or charm of shows like Futurama. This is more Cartoon Network in the early 2000s.