If—like some of my friends—you bounced off the first few episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks, but are willing to give it another try, I offer this Top 10 list. These are from the first three seasons, arranged in chronological order. Two of the top 10 are from Season 1, three from Season 2, and five from Season 3, so the consensus is that the series is getting better. And the last two episodes of each season are in the Top 10.
|No Small Parts||8.7||1||1||10|
|First First Contact||8.6||4||2||10|
|Hear All, Trust Nothing||8.6||3||3||6|
|Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus||8||9||3||8|
|The Stars at Night||8.5||5||3||10|
Paramount has worked hard to offer new on-ramps to the Star Trek universe:
- Discovery was the first Trek series specifically designed to be bingeable, with season-long story arcs and a cast even more representative of humanity than past series.
- Lower Decks is aimed at the Adult Swim crowd or Simpsons fans, offering a humorous take on the tropes of the franchise, and of science-fiction in general.
- Prodigy is meant to introduce tweens and teens to Star Trek using CGI animation, without expecting them to know the conventions of the franchise.
And Strange New Worlds offers “Strange New Takes on Familiar Old Characters,” in a more episodic format, to shore up the base of traditional Trekkies.
My youngest had little interest in Star Trek, but when I started to watch Season 2 of Lower Decks, he was intrigued, and we went back and watched Season 1 together first. Even though the series has tons of Easter Eggs and in-jokes for folks who’ve seen almost every Star Trek episode, it is usually accessible to new fans, too.
Another reason I love Lower Decks is because a lot of Trek canon is, at this point, just silly (e.g., Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, the holodeck, the transporter, the Q Continuum, Klingon time crystals, etc.). So it’s fun sometimes to just full-on embrace the silliness. Though, having recently rewatched Star Trek: The Animated Series, I’m impressed with how the writers of Lower Deck pack an A, B, and C story into less than a half-hour.
Methodological note: I actually interrupted my rewatch of the entire franchise in chronological order to review the first three Lower Decks seasons to develop my own top 10, but then I decided to just trust the wisdom of the crowd. These were IMDB’s top 10 before season 4 released this past Thursday. (New episodes often jump to higher ratings than they end up with long term, as diehard fans watch them first, and both the new episodes broke the top 10.) My major disagreement: “Cupid’s Errant Arrow” is in my personal Top 10, for its allusions and story, and my new favorite conspiracy board of all time. (Especially timely given the 57th anniversary of Star Trek premiering with “Man Trap”.)
Anyway, go binge the Top 10 episodes!
Photo credit: StarTrek.com