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If you had told me three years ago that the Star Trek universe needed a comedy show in the vein of Big Mouth and Rick and Morty, I would have said you knew nothing about Star Trek.

If you had told me three years ago that the Star Trek universe needed a comedy show in the vein of Big Mouth and Rick and Morty, I would have said you knew nothing about Star Trek.

Star Trek: Lower Decks somehow defies your expectations while also being exactly what you expect. Lower Decks isn’t good because it’s funny. It’s good because it doesn’t care if you like it. Which, paradoxically, makes it exactly like every Trek spinoff that has come before it. It’s both back-to-basics and completely transgressive all at once. Lower Decks is like when Adam West became Batman. It’s true to the original concept, but it’s also making damn sure you know you’re not supposed to take this too seriously.

This review of Star Trek: Lower Decks is spoiler-free.

The worst thing you can say about Lower Decks is that if you’re not already a Star Trek fan, you’ll miss like 30 percent of the jokes. If you don’t find the concept of a science fiction show focused on normal people doing mundane things at least a little bit funny, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Lower Decks delivers on that concept over and over again in ways that kept making me laugh.

The show’s premise feels reminiscent of the 2002 film Adaptation. In it, the writer Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) describes his attempt to craft a fictional story with intentionally low stakes: “What if the writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens? Where people don’t change, they don’t have any epiphanies, they struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. More a reflection of the real world.”

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