The show is lost in a slew of wannabe ideas. The series is a clear Rick and Morty clone. That’s not up for debate. Yet, Rick and Morty is a satirical spoof on Back to the Future. Rick and Morty work, however, because it’s not Back to the Future, despite it being a clear homage to the original franchise. If Rick and Morty were Doc and Marty, people would hate the show. The idea of Doc abusing Marty would turn off fans of the franchise for not being true to Back to the Future. Something Lower Decks is being accused of with regards to Star Trek.
Since Rick and Morty is its own thing, the show doesn’t have to worry about appeasing to the Back to the Future fanbase. Which is good, because everyone is awful in Rick and Morty and no one is trying not to be.
Trying to make Star Trek into a comedy is never truly going to work it’s too sincere. So when you introduce a character like Beckett Mariner, she doesn’t come across as cute, clever, funny, or endearing but rude, awful, insubordinate, and a bully. Yet she’s the good guy of the series? A know-it-all who openly states she’s “always right”? That’s the problem with Lower Decks beyond the comedy writing, there isn’t one likable character. There isn’t one character that doesn’t do something to either annoy you or anger you.
Brad Boimler is the dorky, goody-goody troupe that constantly becomes the butts of people’s jokes. D’VAna Tendi is the overly nice, naive newbie, and Sam Rutherford’s whole thing is he’s Data mixed with Spock and sometimes has spazzes because he’s now part cyborg.
Beyond the main cast, the senior members of the crew are all seen as selfish, unlikeable, awful people, with no redeeming qualities. The lower decks crew comes off as a person’s attempt to mock Star Trek and belittle the idea behind it. Throughout the first episode, Mariner is constantly pointing out that all officers across the fleet are glory hounds who don’t care about people.
Yet 50 years of Star Trek says that’s not true.
Despite claiming otherwise, the writing of the show makes it feel like the creators are mocking Starfleet and Star Trek as a whole. Which is a super bad idea.
Beyond that, the show doesn’t have a clue what it wants to be. On one hand, there’s gore, nudity, and swearing; so it’s not a kid’s show. On the other hand, the jokes aren’t creative (spider-butt jokes happen), nor are they designed to really make you think. They’re just “I’M LOUD AND SAYING THINGS”. Which work if you’re 12 and were watching Cartoon Network.
Yet if you’re targetting the 30-year-old crowd, how is being drunk and maiming your colleague funny? The writing isn’t thought-provoking, the characters are all awful people and the humor is sophomoric at best, and nonexistent at worst. It fails across the board.
With better writing, this may work for a parody but not for a Star Trek comedy.