Star Trek: Lower Decks relies too heavily on cameos to carry the show

There can in fact be too much fan service.

“Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus" - Ep#308--Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford and Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2022 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved **Best Possible Screen Grab**
“Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus" - Ep#308--Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford and Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2022 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved **Best Possible Screen Grab** /
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Star Trek: Lower Decks has never been as big as other more modern shows, like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds or the third season of Star Trek: Picard has become. It's always been the quirky little cousin that has its own little place in the universe. It has a fanbase, admittedly, it's just not a very big one. And part of the reason is that the humor is counter-productive to the general idea of what Star Trek is.

Some people like that though, and that's cool. Yet when seeing fans talk about their favorite Lower Deck episodes, the one revolving point comes up each and every time; the cameos. Lower Decks loves its fan service, more so than any other series in the franchise. That service, however, comes with a cost. It holds back the story and draws focus from the conflict to the cameo.

It lives in that area, and it's found success in that area. But like Picard's third and final season, the overuse of the cameo stunted the show's success and made it less about the plot and resolution and more about who was coming back and how they were going to be used. Had Picard just stuck to the original cast coming back, that'd be one thing. To further dive into one-off cameo after one-off cameo, most of whom ended up being brought back just to die, really stole focus from the plot.

That same issue is plaguing Lower Decks, as most of the "good episodes" are only fan favorites because of their attachment to something better. For instance, the Lower Deck episode in season three episode where they went back to Deep Space Nine "Hear All, Trust Nothing" is the third-highest rated episode, tied with an 8.6. Aside from the return of Nana Visitor as Kira Neyrs and Armin Shimerman as Quark, we're left wondering why this episode has such a high grade.

The same can be said with most (not all) of the top-rated episodes. They all feature major cameos from major players in Star Trek lore. The show is largely just known for that one element. It's superseded it's plot and there's really no denying that. Most of the trailers since the show launched were about who or what the show was bringing back, not what the plot was about.

Some fans may want to disagree, but considering the multitude of choices done for the sake of long-term fans, it's hard to really argue. Now, whether or not you have an issue with this being the show's core identity is entirely up to you. You may not, and there's nothing wrong with that.

We're just hoping that the next phase of Star Trek shows stops catering to the past, trying to link every moment to a prior one, and instead allows the next phase of shows to grow into their own thing.

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