Strange New Worlds is the top dog in Star Trek, not Lower Decks.
Like what you like and all that jazz but you have to be beyond bias to think Star Trek: Lower Decks is on par with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as far as quality Star Trek programming goes. One writer from Inverse really believes that the third season of Lower Decks is better Star Trek than Strange New Worlds, and I can’t understand that logic.
Strange New Worlds is as Star Trek as it gets, while Lower Decks still reeks of a Rick and Morty rip-off, and over-relies on cameos to keep the show fresh. As far as being fundamentally Trek, Lower Deck fails. It’s a comedy, and it mocks the franchise that it’s based on. Now, some will say that it does so lovingly and that people shouldn’t take it so seriously but Trek is a serious brand.
It, at its best, tackles issues like genocide, racism, bigotry, consent, and the right to life. It’s not a morality tale so much as it is a debate. The best shows in the franchise’s history challenge viewers. Not by hitting them over the head with the “right answer” but by asking them if they were in the shoes of these characters; what would they do?
Lower Decks fails to do this on a regular basis. That is fundamentally what makes Star Trek what it is. If a Star Trek show can’t do what it’s most well known for, is it even a Star Trek show?
There’s a reason Strange New Worlds and not Lower Decks, became the franchise hit
You can like Lower Decks all you want but to actively believe that any show of the new era, any at all, is somehow better received, better liked or more fitting of the Trek brand is to vehemently prove you don’t know what made Star Trek so well-liked in the first place.
Lower Deck is empty calories. Sure, you’ll laugh at the references, giggle at the obscure cameos that only “die-hard fans” will get and you’ll largely be entertained by the light affair in the series, but that’s not Star Trek.
Trek has never been empty calories.
While Star Trek could be, at times, very campy, it was always balanced out with the severity of their situation. Yes, fans remember Jean-Luc Picard mocking a person’s speech cadence, but what defines Picard is the PTSD from being abducted and dealing with The Borg.
Lower Decks is a fine show if you don’t want to actively think. It’s a poor man’s Rick and Morty, minus the social commentary. So if all you’re ok with that and only want some dumb fun, that’s what you’ll get. But you can’t really expect anyone to believe that a show that has no real long-term value is going to compare to a masterpiece like Strange New Worlds.
Like Lower Decks all you want, but let’s stop acting like this show is as popular or well-received as Strange New Worlds. One show is going to be long-remembered for embracing what made Trek great and the other will be remembered as a show to capitalize on a fad.