This third season of Star Trek has felt the most like the Star Trek series that have come before. I mean that in a good way and a bad way.
Some spoilers ahead.
This third season picks up right where the last season left off. The crew of Discovery was sent hundreds of years into the future and must now survive in this unfamiliar time. What they discover is a ravaged galaxy where a galaxy spanning disaster known as the “burn” has destroyed most of the space ships in the galaxy. Starfleet is a shell of what it once was. It’s up to Discovery and the remnants of Starfleet to rekindle hope in the galaxy again.
This season is very standard Star Trek, which means that there was no genre defying twist or anything like that. It followed the tried and true plot structure of past seasons of Star Trek where there are a lot of standalone episodes with a looming threat in the background and the final few episodes deal primarily with that threat. I like the often used themes of morality, optimism and rising above cruelty, themes common to old Star Trek. I enjoyed all of that.
But there was nothing new in this season. No real twist or revelation. The final reveal of what the “burn” really was anticlimactic, but in line with a more optimistic Star Trek.
Overall, I am a long time Star Trek fan so of course I enjoyed this season. I would’ve liked some progression in the overall genre and for the franchise, but this is nice too. When there are so many shows that insist on dark, edgy stories, it’s nice to have a story that stays somewhat optimistic, even if that equates to a predictable plot.
Star Trek: Lower Decks is an animated sitcom that takes place in the Star Trek universe. It’s mostly a show for Star Trek fans and revisits a lot of source material longtime fans will be familiar with.
Lower Decks is about the underlings on a Star Trek spaceship. On most Star Trek shows, you only get familiar with the core cast of characters, who are usually the officers on the ship. Lower Decks explores the lives of the lower ranked members of Starfleet and what happens to them when the ship gets into trouble.
Lower Decks is primarily a comedy that seeks to provide constant fan service to longtime Star Trek fans. We tread over a lot of Star Trek history here, mostly in passing. There’s also a lot of guest appearance by old Star Trek actors. This was kind of nice.
What surprised me was that at the shows core, there was still a fairly entertaining sitcom that focused on the relationships between the core cast. It’s a surprisingly funny show.
Overall, I enjoyed Lower Decks. I wonder if I would find it as enjoyable if I didn’t like Star Trek. Most likely, I wouldn’t like the show. But since I have enjoyed Star Trek in the past and I do get some of the references, I enjoyed this show greatly. If you aren’t a Star Trek fan, you probably will not enjoy it as much as I did. You maybe shouldn’t even watch it.
Star Trek: Picard is pure fan service. It exists solely to appeal to the nostalgia of fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, of which there are many. In that regard, it does a great job. Unfortunately, the story in and of itself is derivative and full of plot holes and narrative leaps. There’s going to be some spoilers because I can’t talk about how this show disappointed me if I don’t reference these plot points.