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The crew of the USS Cerritos.note 

"First Contact is a delicate, high-stakes operation of diplomacy. One must be ready for anything when humanity is interacting with an alien race for the first time… but we don't do that. Our specialty is Second Contact. Still pretty important. We get all the paperwork signed, make sure we're spelling the name of the planet right, get to know all the good places to eat…"
Ensign Brad Boimler, "Second Contact"
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Star Trek: Lower Decks is an American animated Work Com aimed for teens and adults set in the Star Trek universe. Created for CBS All Access by Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites), it is the first animated series created for CBS All Access, and the first animated Star Trek series since Star Trek: The Animated Seriesnote . The series follows the exploits of the support crew serving on the U.S.S. Cerritos, one of Starfleet's least important ships, in the year 2380. This sets it between Star Trek: Nemesis (2379) and the prologue of Star Trek (2387), a period of relative peace for the Federation between the end of the Dominion War and the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire.

A group of four ensigns have been assigned to the Cerritos. Each of them is following a different career path and is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer at best. They are unappreciated by the senior staff and are the lowest-ranking members of the ship's crew, but they still manage to accomplish great things due to their friendship.

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It debuted on August 6, 2020, and its first season consists of 10 episodes. Outside of the US, Canada premiered it same-day on the CTV Sci-Fi channel and on the French sci-fi network Z, as well as on the Crave streaming service. International distribution for the series will be provided through Amazon Prime, with the entire series released on January 22, 2021 in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India, "and more", per the show's creator Mike McMahan. The show's second season premiered on August 12, 2021 (by which time CBS All-Access had become Paramount+). The show had already been renewed for a third season before the second started airing; likewise, a fourth season has been announced well ahead of the third. The third season is currently set to premiere on August 26, 2022.

IDW Publishing started a Star Trek Lower Decks comic book series written by Ryan North and illustrated by Chris Fenoglio in September, 2022.

See the season one trailer here, the teaser for season two here, the full trailer for it here, and the season three trailer here.


General trope examples:


Tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The characters and most of the settings are 2D, but the space battles tend to be CGI.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Throughout the first season, Boimler's superior officers consistently misremember his name, culminating in Riker calling him "Boomler" in the season finale, even as he's offering him a promotion and transfer to the Titan. As part of his Character Development, this is completely dropped in the second season.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Aerith and Bob: Names like Jack and Carol sit comfortably next to Samanthan and Bradward. Played with, since the more unusual names are shortened to something more "normal", like Sam and Brad.
  • Affectionate Parody: This is a show that is best appreciated by Trekkies as a number of references, mythology gags, and Easter Eggs can only be appreciated by a super fan of every series. It also suggests how miserable and dangerous being a Red Shirt on a Starfleet vessel might be, and pokes holes at many of the flaws of Starfleet.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Both Mariner and Tendi are apparently fans of "Klingon Acid Punk" music.
  • Alien Sky:
    • Based on a holodeck simulation of the Adashake Center, the Orion sky is green.
    • The sky is yellow and the clouds are beige on the Galardonian homeworld.
    • Gelrak V has a green sky with green clouds.
  • The Alleged Car: While the U.S.S. Cerritos is a Cool Starship, she does have her malfunctions. The opening credits show the ship being prone to complete power loss, and in the series premiere, red alert somehow deactivates a certain emergency hatch.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Mariner cries, "It's the 80s dude! We don't have psychiatric problems!" when ordered to attend therapy; a reference not only to the 2380s, when the show is set, but also to the 1980s, when mental health wasn't considered nearly the issue it is today, and many thought a starship with a counselor onboard was uninspiring.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • Blue: Andorians, Benzites, Bolians, Taxors.
    • Green: Orions, Gelrakians.
    • Grey: Drookmani.
    • Purple: Galardonians, the inhabitants of Mixtus III, the Dooplers, and a member of an unnamed purple species that also works on the Cerritos.
    • Red: At least one of the two residents of Mixtus II has red skin.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Ransom gets much more detailed animation when he rips off his shirt for the gladiator fight in "Temporal Edict".
    • The Cerritos model has been refined and tweaked for season 2, justified in-universe as the result of a refit/repair after being attacked.
  • Anachronism Stew: A flashback in "Cupid's Errant Arrow" shows Mariner had been in Starfleet as far back as 2369, but she and her fellow shipmates were in uniforms that wouldn't be in use until 2373. Alternately, they were discussing news from 2369 in 2373 as if it were current. Either way, the situation is odd, although we later see those uniforms are still in use on certain ships such as the Titan.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Although a spacefaring civilization, the Gelrakians haven't developed any Ray Guns and still rely on crystal spears when attacking enemies. Crystal battle blades and crystal-embedded clubs are traditional for a Trial by Combat. Although the last may be because their leaders think that they're cool, and their starships are equipped with phasers (although possibly not photon torpedoes, since they're not crystal-based).
  • Arch-Enemy: The Gelrakians (a crystal-worshipping society) consider the inhabitants of Mavok Prime (a wood-worshipping society) to be their sworn enemies.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Accidentally stabbing a fellow recruit while drunk is a court martial offense even in the Mildly Military Starfleet. Yet Mariner never receives any sort of comeuppance for this action in the opening of the show.
    • Being an Ensign actually isn't the lowest of the low; the lowest-ranking officer is still an officer. Technically, the four protagonists should outrank all of the enlisted personnel on the ship and share quarters rather than have bunks. This may be a Mythology Gag, since the franchise has a long-standing tendency to overlook enlisted personnel and show ensigns in roles enlisted crew members would normally fill, often to the point a casual viewer might get the impression that Starfleet is structured like a police department where uniformed personnel are all officers. The second season shows that there are at least some Starfleet cadets doing their training cruise on the Cerritos, meaning that the ensigns are not the lowest of the low. Brad takes one under his wing at the end of "wej Duj".
    • It should be impossible for Mariner to serve on her own mother's ship in her chain of command. Possibly averted due to Starfleet's terminally sketchy status as a non-military organisation. Or maybe Starfleet just doesn't have the same hangups about nepotism these days (although with Mariner's and Freeman's acrimonious relationship, that isn't a problem here). "Crisis Point" suggests that no one outside of Mariner, Captain Freeman, and Admiral Freeman (her father) knows this, with Freeman suggesting she would Court Martial anyone who learns of it. Plus, given Mariner's attitude towards regulations and the chain of command, it's possible no other ship would have her.
    • Shaxs's removing a tag-out sign from a turbolift while Mariner is working on it is horribly irresponsible. Not just for a military commander, but your average construction site foreman would smack him down for a stunt like that.note 
  • Bait-and-Switch: A commonly used trope on the series. A typical sitcom trope would be set up, like the fear of the boss yelling at an underling's request to transfer, only for it to be immediately subverted by him saying he's super happy for the underling and generally being supportive.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While the series is trying to imitate Star Trek: The Next Generation's style, it is not afraid to have blood spray about, while the older series tended to be mostly bloodless.
  • Boring, but Practical: Second Contact may not be as glamorous as First Contact, but it's where the important bureaucratic work gets done.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The four protagonists have their unique talents while also being quirky. The senior staff is implied to be the same way.
    • Mariner is an Action Girl who's incredibly knowledgeable about the galaxy, but also relentlessly insubordinate as well as prone to acting before thinking.
    • Boimler is a stickler for the rules and full of technical knowledge, but a Lovable Coward who has little practical experience.
    • Tendi is a Plucky Girl and The Heart of the team, but overly eager to please as well as easily impressed.
    • Rutherford is a Cyborg with incredible engineering skill, but horrible at making command decisions as well as interpersonal reactions.
  • Call-Back:
    • The computer-worshipping planet of Beta III is revisited almost a century after Starfleet's first visit in the TOS episode "The Return of the Archons".
    • An exocomp becomes a new ensign, after having been declared a sentient species sometime after the events of the TNG episode, "The Quality of Life".
    • The Pakleds are back, a species only seen once during TNGnote , and one of the most ridiculed, only now they appear to have upgraded to a major threat.
    • Riker comes in to save the Cerritos in the U.S.S. Titan, the same ship he was given command of at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis.
    • The second season reintroduces the Tamarians, a race first appearing in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok", in the form of Shaxs's replacement, Kayshon. Thankfully, he knows Federation Standard for the most part, only lapsing into metaphors when he can't remember the right word (or when he's flirting).
    • Also in the second season, Boimler gets a transporter duplicate after an interference field combined with a second transporter beam materializes one on the ship, and another stuck on the planet. The same thing happened to Riker, as we learn in "Second Chances".
    • The episode "Mugato Gumato" reintroduces Mugatos; gorilla-like creatures last seen in the TOS episode, "A Private Little War".
    • The cosmic koala mentioned in Moist Vessel gets brought up again after Boimler's near death experience in First First Contact. Tendi, who was present for both comments, is distinctly weirded out by it.
  • Canon Immigrant: When Riker's U.S.S. Titan makes her first onscreen appearance, it's still Sean Tourangeau's competition-winning design for the covers of the Star Trek: Titan novel series.
  • Canon Marches On: The Bajoran earring has gone from a violation of uniform code to an accessory important enough to act as a memorial.
  • Captain's Log: As is tradition. Used infrequently during season 1, when Freeman was a remote, detached, vaguely antagonistic figure; in season 2, consistent with her depiction as more approachable and relatable, she delivers a log entry in most episodes.
  • Cat Folk: T'Ana is a Caitian, a humanoid feline species first seen in The Animated Series. The ship's crew also includes at least one Kzinti, a different humanoid feline species featured in TAS and also mentioned in Star Trek: Picard.
  • The Coconut Effect: Lower Decks continues the Star Trek tradition of forgetting that Starfleet has elisted personnel, or "crewmen", who serve under the officers. In this case, it's a Necessary Weasel, because it would undercut the premise of the show to have the New Meat ensigns giving orders to non-coms.
  • Continuity Nod: It gained enough entries for its own page after just two episodes.
  • Continuity Porn: The series has a huge amount of it with virtually every frame filled with Easter Eggs, references, and homages.
  • Continuity Snarl: Slight one. Mariner's flashback to Deep Space 9 shows her and her friends wearing Star Trek: First Contact-era uniforms, yet they are discussing the events of "Descent", which occurred during TNG's sixth season, before those uniforms were introduced.
  • Cool Starship:
    • Although she is decidedly one of Starfleet's less glamorous vessels, the U.S.S. Cerritos, the setting of the series, qualifies. Ensign Tendi, in particular, squees as soon as she comes aboard.
    • The U.S.S. Vancouver is the starship equivalent of Always Someone Better to the Cerritos; the Lower Deckers are positively gushing over its awesomeness during their visit.
    • The U.S.S. Titan is a Beam Spamming Lightning Bruiser of a starship that gets introduced with a Big Entrance Gunship Rescue and a Theme Music Power-Up.
  • Cosmic Entity: Assuming that Lieutenant O'Connor's interpretation of the visions he experienced during his ascension is correct, then the universe is balanced on the back of a giant, smiling koala. Called back as a gag in the Season 2 finale, as Boimler mentions seeing a giant koala during an offscreen near-death experience after almost drowning as the result of his spacewalk suit sprung a leak in Cetacean Ops.
  • Covered in Gunge: Frequently.
    • In "Second Contact", many people are covered in Bad Black Barf from the zombies, while Boimler gets covered in milkable Giant Spider spit. Gunge B turns out to be the cure to Gunge A.
    • In "Envoys", Boimler, Mariner, and their shuttle quickly get soaked in Mariner's ramen broth and Klingon bloodwine.
    • In "Moist Vessel", Mariner gets a face full of lubricant when the turbolift ascends with her on top of it.
    • In "Cupid's Errant Arrow", Boimler spills beer all over Brinson after he trips on Jet's foot.
    • In "Terminal Provocations", Mariner bumps into T'Ana in the mess hall, which causes the latter to face plant into a plate of nachos; the Caitian complains that it's extremely difficult to remove cheese from fur in the sonic shower.
    • In "The Spy Humongous", Boimler covers himself in gunge as part of a Cooldown Hug for Tendi, who had transformed into a giant scorpion monster.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas:
    • The holodeck recreation of the Adashake Center on Orion depicts a beautiful Shining City with elegant architecture, and its residents are dressed in toga-like clothing.
    • The Gelrakians don't wear togas, but there are crystals everywhere on their planet and in their culture, plus their technology is crystal-based.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Edosian medical expert on the Osler wears dark clothes and is on a dark ship and has a nasty attitude, but in the end he's trying to help the various mutated and anomalous Starfleet officers. He does admit he should consider brightening things up, and his bedside manner is terrible.
  • Deconstruction: The series takes a look at how horrifying and traumatizing some of the events that happen in a typical weekly Star Trek show would be, by presenting them from the perspective of your typical low-level grunt or Red Shirt. This includes opening a story with a Zombie Apocalypse on the U.S.S. Cerritos. Played with as, with the exception of Boimler, the protagonists are entirely unfazed by this.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: A great deal of the show's humor would not make sense to you if you were not an enormous fan of the franchise with knowledge of every single series. Jokes are made at the expense of TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. Many of these require knowledge of specific episodes' plots and the holes thereof.
  • Deconstructive Parody:
    • It should also be noted that a lot of the jokes in the series make fun of the plotlines that are typical for the series. For example, Boimler goes into a lengthy speech about how he's going to die if he leaves Starfleet (see Mythology Gag) or how Mariner deals with an Energy Being that attempts to take over the ship.
    • And yet while elements of the Trek 'Verse are deconstructed, the show pulls a Decon-Recon Switch of sorts by revealing the reasons why Starfleet does what it does and how they keep it all working. That there are logical reasons for "buffer time", or that Starfleet has a contingency plan to treat the unfortunate Red Shirts who survive the occasional transporter accident or alien infection.
    • At the beginning of the second season Boimler is on the Titan serving under Captain Riker and he ends up having a meltdown because he was engaged in one dramatic battle after another where they are dealing with a dark, ongoing seasonal threat. Other crew members mention that the Enterprise-D must have been so boring because it dealt with space phenomenon and they would have concerts. Boimler eventually snaps saying he preferred exploration and intellectual pursuits over facing death every day, and Riker himself says he loved going to the concerts "on the D".
  • Decon-Recon Switch: While the series spends a decent amount of time showing how horrible a lot of the stuff that goes on in most Trek shows would actually be, it also shows a great love and affection for the franchise as a whole. It also shows that working in Starfleet, while dangerous, can also be a fun adventure if experienced with the right people. Above all things, the point is made that exploration requires further engagement with the societies they discover and humanitarian efforts to leave them in better condition than before they showed up.
  • Denser and Wackier: By virtue of being a comedy, Lower Decks is far more zany and silly than any past Trek series.
  • Drama Bomb Finale:
    • The season 1 finale, "No Small Parts". The beginning of the episode has Dayton, a quirky captain that we've seen before, fussing over her new ship, and sixty seconds later it has been blown into shreds by a Pakled ambush. The Cerritos warps right into the debris field, finds no survivors, and the captain barely averts the same fate while being severely injured. In order to save the ship, Security Officer Shaxs sacrifices himself and Rutherford loses his memories of the whole season. While there is still plenty of humor, it is an episode that is just as high-stakes and dramatic as any other Star Trek season finale.
    • Ditto with the season 2 finale, "First First Contact". In order to save the Archimedes and the planet Lapeeria, the Cerritos crew have to dismantle the ship's outer hull and fly through a deadly Asteroid Thicket unpowered and unprotected. Boimler nearly drowns in the process of removing a defective panel that would've gotten them all killed, Rutherford uncovers a memory that implies his implant wasn't voluntary, and Mariner and her mother finally reconcile their strained relationship amidst all the chaos. And that's not even mentioning the Sudden Downer Ending...
  • Drinking on Duty:
    • Buffer time margaritas, baby! Downplayed in that it's probably non-intoxicating sythehol since they got them from the replicator, though it wouldn't be out of character for Mariner to replicate actual alcohol for a single drink.
    • In "Cupid's Errant Arrow", Boimler orders a beer in an attempt to impress Brinson, despite still being on duty.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season hadn't quite nailed down all the characters' personality traits.
    • Beckett's Establishing Character Moment in "Second Contact" has her drunkedly severely injure Boimler. While irresponsible, Mariner's rule breaking is otherwise shown to never imperil her crew mates and that she cares deeply about them.
    • Boimler's favorite part of the ship is the warp engine when this is more a trait of Rutherford and he's interested, instead, in command.
    • Rutherford and Ensign Barnes ignore the Zombie Apocalypse on the ship in "Second Contact" when later episodes show he always takes threats seriously (and frequently panics over them).
    • The senior staff of the Cerritos tends to be dismissive or even cruel to the Lower Deckers at times. For instance, in "Second Contact", Captain Freeman credits Dr. T'Ana for discovering the way to cure the zombie-like state that the crew's in, ignoring how Boimler and Mariner were the ones who found it.
    • T'Ana acted more human than feline.
  • Episode Title Card: Like TNG, Lower Decks features episode names, and even uses the exact same font from that series.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Parodied in "Second Contact." After the crisis is over, the captain and her senior staff joke about the paperwork as they leave Sickbay— but the camera stays on the four ensigns who are still utterly shellshocked by the events of the episode.
    • Also deconstructed: Freeman, Shaxs, and T'Ana treat the zombie apocalypse as a joke, while Ransom, who was a zombie at the time, is clearly having a breakdown at the thought that he ate human flesh.
    • Similarly deconstructed in "I, Excretus," where Shaxs cracks a joke about Boimler's (simulated) assimilation by the Borg and everyone else laughs while Boimler wistfully muses: "They took away everything I was!"
  • Everyone Is Bi: Sexuality seems pretty fluid on the Cerritos. Ensign Mariner is openly pansexual ("bad boys, bad girls, bad gender-nonbinary babes..."), and many of the Mauve Shirts are Ambiguously Bi to some degree.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: As Mariner recovers in sickbay in "Temporal Edict", Doctor T'ana clears her to return to duty, but offers to repair the scars on Mariner's body. Mariner refuses the cosmetic procedure, stating "No way. These are my trophies."
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Everyone aboard the Cerritos gets these in "Temporal Edict", including the senior staff when they have to correct the mistakes made by the harried crew. The only person who doesn't is Boimler because his workaholic, rules-following nature allows him to excel in an environment with tight deadline pressure.
  • Expy Coexistence: Commander Ransom is an Expy of Will Riker with negative traits exaggerated almost to the point of being a Corrupted Character Copy. Will Riker appeared on the show, Flanderized almost to the point of being a Shallow Parody.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: The Anabaj procreate by injecting their eggs into another person's throat.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • There's a bit more Lampshade Hanging on this being an element of the Trek Verse. Mariner has a much more cosmopolitan view of the galaxy due to being raised on starships, while Boimler has only been to five planets total (counting Earth and Vulcan) and only knows species from books. As such, he often makes numerous mistakes in interacting with aliens that Mariner avoids. This is shown most prominently in "Envoys" when Boimler assumes that a Ferengi is leading them into a trap and is a greedy monster just because he's Ferengi. It's actually a set-up by Mariner to boost his confidence. Subverted in "Terminal Provocations" when Fletcher calls Doctor T'Ana "just a cat in a coat", to which Mariner agrees.
    • After the Dominion War, there is lingering resentment towards the Cardassians because no one in the Federation wants to go near the Cardassian homeworld, which is why the peace negotiations have been moved to Vulcan.
      Admiral: Nobody wants to go to Cardassia Prime. The Cardassians are creeping everyone out.
    • In "Crisis Point", Tendi is upset because of the stereotypes associated with Orions, who often happen to be pirates and are famous for their seductive "slave girls", etc.. Though her protest does border on a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
      Tendi: And for your information, many Orions haven't been pirates for over five years!
  • First Contact:
    • Explicitly averted. The U.S.S. Cerritos and her crew are among those charged with carrying out "second contact," the follow-up work with a species and their homeworld after it has been discovered and contact has been made by one of Starfleet's premier front-line exploratory ships.
    • In the season 2 finale, Captain Freeman gets to make first contact (her first time doing so) with the Lapeerians, filling for Captain Gomez who was recovering from the day's ordeal in sickbay. It goes very well.
  • Flanderization: Any live-action Trek character who makes a cameo plays an appropriately cartoonish version of themselves. Q's games to try humanity are even more convoluted and annoying, Riker is an incredibly Large Ham who makes constant jazz references, and Tom Paris' reaction to Boimler's temporarily Kazon-like hair is to tackle him immediately.
  • Foil:
    • Boimler and Mariner serve as direct representatives of this, with them having polar opposite personalities.
    • Delta Shift is considered this to the protagonists, who are Beta Shift.
    • In "Terminal Provocations", the character of Fletcher is introduced as the worst elements of both Boimler and Mariner combined. Despite his affable demeanor, he's a Dirty Coward who always claims that it's Never My Fault, and he doesn't care about any rules while relying on his friends to bail him out. Mariner says that she's different because she would never endanger a fellow crewmate with her rule-breaking (well, except Boimler). Fletcher gets fired from Starfleet.
  • Foreshadowing: When Shaxs introduced Rutherford to the security team, he said something about no greater honor than to die beside (the team) in battle. Shaxs dies getting Rutherford to safety in the season finale.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four ensigns straightforwardly map to the four humors.
    • Mariner: Choleric. Mariner is hot-headed, aggressive, and impulsive. She exhibits Blood Knight characteristics which are tempered by her rebellious nature. Mariner also shows leadership expertise when on away missions and, despite her laziness, is excellent at taking charge when the situation requires it.
    • Boimler: Melancholic. Boimler is introverted, moody, and rigid. His away missions often end with him becoming overly self-critical and he falls into depressive moods often. He is deeply insecure, but his perfectionist qualities and devotion to the Cerritos give him some strengths.
    • Tendi: Sanguine. Tendi is outgoing, sociable, and optimistic. She's easily the friendliest of the four ensigns and beats Rutherford to this position by being more outgoing and extroverted. Sanguine personality traits are also associated with youth, and Tendi is the rookie on the ship.
    • Rutherford: Phlegmatic. Rutherford is calm, stable, and patient. The simple satisfaction that he takes from his job in engineering is all that Rutherford needs to be happy. These traits ended up crashing his date with Barnes, who was annoyed by him being more interested in running a diagnostic than in having sex during a ship-wide crisis.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Ransom refers to Kirk's era as TOS, which he says stands for "Those Old Scientists"
  • Geodesic Cast: The four main characters are vaguely mirrored by the four primary bridge officers, and other similar cliques exist on the ship as well, like the Redshirts.
  • Genre Shift: This is the first Star Trek series that is primarily a comedy, and only the second series to be animated.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When she comes upon a room full of nude crew during a "Naked Time" holographic training simulation, Mariner is very interested in the two female crew members making out directly in front of her.
  • Glitch Episode: A running gag for Rutherford and his cyborg implant in the first season. In "Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E08 "Veritas"", he has to update his implant with Romulan flight manuals. During the multiple updates, he passes out and wakes up after his implant has taken over— Hilarity Ensues as he tries to figure out what the hell it did..
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Ensign Tendi is a downplayed example, being a green-skinned Orion, but not treated as a sex object.
  • Guttural Growler: The Taxors communicate through guttural tones, and they ferociously growl when angered.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: In "Moist Vessel", Lieutenant O'Connor confesses to Ensign Tendi that he was merely pretending to want to ascend so that people would notice him more, and he hoped that this would boost his Starfleet career.
    O'Connor: Well, since we're gonna die here, I'll just tell you I was never going to ascend. I was faking.
    Tendi: What, why?
    O'Connor: It's hard to stand out in Starfleet. This gave me an edge. It was my thing. I was the ascension guy.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Notable in that, because the show is animated, spacesuit-wearing characters could just be drawn with visible faces beneath mostly transparent visors, but instead the artists depict internal lights illuminating the faces to maintain consistency with the visual style of the live action shows and films.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: One of Ensign Mariner's favorite holodeck programs is an all-nude Olympic training facility. Later, Ransom mentions that he had her cleaning the biofilters out of the holodecks, which apparently amounted to removing the various "bodily fluids" that the users have left behind.
    Ransom: I've got her cleaning [bleep] out of the holodeck's [bleep] filter!
    Freeman: Ugh, people really use it for that?
    Ransom: Oh yeah, it's mostly for that.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Dr. T'Ana (Caitian) and Shaxs (Bajoran) repeatedly express an interest in each other, and T'Ana even asks Mariner if she could get Captain Freeman to sign off on them entering a relationship. Following his Unexplained Recovery in season 2, they become an Official Couple.
    • Tendi, like most Orion women seen thus far, seems to have a thing for humans, hooking up (briefly) with O'Connor and carrying an obvious torch for Rutherford.
    • Near the end of the Season 2 finale, Mariner asks out Jennifer — an Andorian that she previously disliked — after the latter saves her life.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Much of the series' humor comes from common elements of Trek actually being shocking.
    • That the ships can regularly get into horrifying disasters like a Zombie Apocalypse, and this is considered to be a normal part of the ship's duties.
    • That the holodeck will most definitely be used by someone (or probably most someone's) for pornnote .
    • Mariner basically spells out in "Temporal Edict" that the story is a parody of a Kirk-centric TOS episode.
      Mariner: Ah, circled by spears. This is a classic. What am I, Kirk? Is this the 2260s?
    • The head Gelrakian breaks down all the usual tropes associated with fighting a giant alien in an arena.
    • Ransom calls the Kirk-era the "Tee Oh Ess" period, standing for Those Old Scientists.
  • Last-Name Basis: Apparently this has come back into vogue in the 2380s, as characters almost never refer to each other by first name, not even close friends.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's quite hard for anyone who looks into the show before watching it to avoid finding out that Riker, Troi, and the Titan show up at the end of Season 1.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Played for laughs. In the far, far future of the Federation, Miles O'Brien is considered the greatest hero in Starfleet historynote .
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Zig-Zagged all over the place.
    • Mariner has apparently been promoted a number of times and has served on five starships. She always self-sabotages so that she can be busted back to ensign and thus avoid any responsibilities.
    • Boimler is an eager young ensign with aspirations of making it to captain. His efforts to fast-track himself are frequently thwarted by Mariner. Until he accepts a promotion to the Titan under the command of Captain Will Riker.
    • Freeman plays the trope the straightest, as the Cerritos is seen as a pretty low-grade command that involves often unglamorous missions. Captains of cooler starships often make cracks at her.
  • Lizard Folk: The Anabaj are humanoid aliens with a long forked tongue, a frilled-neck like a chlamydosaurus, and their ability to climb up vertical surfaces is lizard-like.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Since an animated series doesn't have the same limitations as a live-action series (which traditionally relied heavily on Rubber-Forehead Aliens), the Cerritos is a true Federation melting pot, featuring nearly every Federation race, and a few non-Federation ones. If they aren't on the ship, odds are they're on one of the stations or planets they visit.
  • Location Theme Naming:
    • The California-class ships appear to be all named after lesser-known California cities (Cerritos, Merced, Rubidoux, Alhambra, and Solvang) as a reflection of the strictly second-fiddle missions they specialize in. The San Clemente, mentioned in "Crisis Point" but revealed to not be a real ship, also fits the pattern. The mentioned but unseen Sacramento is named after the capital of California which breaks the pattern but is also considered a prestigious posting by Boimler.
    • The shuttlecrafts on the Cerritos (Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Redwood, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite) are all named after national parks in California.
    • The U.S.S. Vancouver's shuttlecraft are all named after neighborhoods in Vancouver, BC (Marpole, Fairview and Kitsilano).
  • Mildly Military: Even more so than what is typical in the Trek Verse. The Lower Deckers are a goofy offbeat bunch with more than their fair share of orders-defying antics. Surprisingly averted with Mariner, though, as her shenanigans have apparently gotten to the point that she is about to be cashiered and her own mother is actively seeking a reason to kick her off the ship. Although the fact she's in her own mother's chain of command is its own Artistic License – Military.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Mariner and Ransom get into a scuffle over who should go up against the Gelrakian champion to save their crewmates, much to the bafflement of the Gelrakian leader who keeps reminding them that they're arguing over a fight to the death. It ends when Ransom stabs Mariner in the foot.
  • Mundane Utility: The Cerritos crew use phasers as all-purpose cleaning and removal tools.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • National Weapon: The chief weapon of the Gelrakians is a crystal spear.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The villains of the Season 1 Finale? Pakleds. In the original episode they were introduced back in TNG, they were seen as slow, easily gullible, and only were as strong as whatever tech they managed to steal. But here? They've stolen tech and weapons from several warp-capable species and were able to connect them all together to make ships that can easily severely damage, slice apart and even outright destroy Federation ships. Not only that, but these batch of Pakleds are much more confident and aggressive, even fully willing to beam onto the Cerritos and fight in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: The main titles and the end credits list the name of the actors, but not the characters they voice. The only exception are characters reprising their roles from the old series, who get special mention in the closing credits.
  • Oddball in the Series: This is the only Star Trek series which is predominantly comedic and its main protagonists are Starfleet ensigns who aren't senior officers.
  • Oh, Crap!: In "Small Parts", when Boimler accidentally reveals Mariner's and the Captain's secret relationship to the entire crew of the Cerritos. Captain Freeman becomes enraged and beams Boimler and Mariner directly to the bridge, while Boimler is in the middle of making mocking kissing noises. As soon as he sees Captain Freeman's face he freaks out.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: In "Veritas", we learn that Dr. Crusher's romance with a Scottish candle ghost is common knowledge among Starfleet. One has to wonder who leaked that to the public.
  • Pet the Dog: Mariner sets up a situation to help Boimler recover his confidence after his horrible day in "Envoys", even letting him get away with mocking her in front of the rest of the crew later. In "Cupid's Errant Arrow", she goes to extreme lengths to protect him from a girlfriend she's convinced is a secret alien and/or robotic menace.
  • Pig Man: The Galardonians are humanoid porcine aliens.
  • Planet of Hats: As it's such a major staple of Trek it's only natural that it would show up here and be parodied up one wall and down the other.
    • The Gelrakians base their entire social structure around crystals. Their planet is so rich in this substance that giant crystalline deposits dot the whole landscape, their symbol of peace is the honor crystal, the people wear crystal jewelry, their weapons are made out of crystal, their space ships feature enormous crystals that jut out from the top and the bottom, and a humongous adjudication geode is used as a method of execution. The Gelrakian boarding party covers the Cerritos in "crystal graffiti", and a few invaders demand crystals when attempting to break down the doors to the bridge.
    • The inhabitants of Mavok Prime are described as a wood-worshiping civilization. Their fertility totem is a piece of wood.
    • Discussed in "Crisis Point", where Mariner tries to put all sorts of Orion stereotypes on Tendi. She gets called out for the stereotypes, even if most members of the race are exactly as she depicted. Tendi also says in later episodes that Orion stereotypes are a problem for her career advancement and it was hard for her to even get into the Academy.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: The Pakleds manage to cobble together some truly fearsome warships using tech from much more powerful races including Klingons, Romulans and even Borg.
  • Pointy Ears: Besides the expected Vulcans and Romulans, the inhabitants of Mixtus II and III also have pointy ears.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Outer space has a purplish hue when seen from the Cerritos windows (such as the ship's lounge or crew quarters).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ensign Beckett Mariner is usually presented as the cooler and more capable of the two between herself and Ensign Brad Boimler, and often brags about her skills and puts down Boimler's apparent lack of them. However, while Mariner may be more physically capable and street-smart than Boimler, he's the one out of the two of them who actually consistently cares about doing right by Starfleet, while Mariner holds strong resentment for its bureaucracy and what she feels are its glory-seeking ways, despite serving on a Starfleet vessel. The captain of the Cerritos also trusts Boimler more than Mariner due to the latter's recklessness and willful disregard for protocol, although it's made more personal by the fact that Mariner is the captain's daughter, and Captain Freeman tries to use Boimler to find information she can use as an excuse to get Mariner thrown off the ship.
  • Reset Button: The first three episodes of season 2 each devote themselves to reversing a major plot development of the first season finale:
    • In "Strange Energies", the alliance between Freeman and Mariner is unceremoniously abandoned after they both decide it doesn't suit them. However the two characters get along much better in the second season than they did in the first.
    • In "Kayshon, His Eyes Open", after a transporter malfunction, Boimler is reassigned back to the Cerritos so that he and his transporter duplicate aren't serving aboard the same ship and he is demoted back to Ensign. However his brief time on the Titan matured him enough to make him a much more competent officer when he returns, which the other characters notice.
    • In "We'll Always Have Tom Paris", Shaxs is mysteriously Back from the Dead for reasons unexplained, in a parody of the many uses of Death Is Cheap throughout franchise history.
  • Retraux: The opening credits are a parody of the classic "look at our starship" style of the first four series (even using the TNG font) rather than the more symbolic imagery of Discovery and Picard.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens:
    • Tendi is Orion and has green skin, but is otherwise identical in appearance to the human characters.
    • Rutherford technically isn't even an alien, but a cyborg, with his cybernetic enhancements resembling the appliances worn by Borg characters.
    • Shaxs is Bajoran, with the tell-tale ridges on the bridge of his nose being his only alien feature.
  • Rule of Funny:
    • The series takes common Trek tropes and exaggerates them immensely for a good time. It's unlikely that any of the characters could get away with being the way they are in a live-action Trek show—and the characters from old shows who get appearances are exaggerated themselves so they fit in with the cartoon absurdity. (Notably, the Pakleds are depicted here in the exact same way as they were during their one episode on TNG, but this time they don't stick out at all.)
    • The reason that curse words on this show are bleeped out when the other new Trek shows don't is because it's funnier.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Cetacean Ops has at least two beluga whale crew who work in navigation, and we see them for the first time in the Season 2 finale.
  • Scotty Time: Referenced in-show as "buffer time", used by most of the crew to extend out deadlines so there's no rush and get multiple tasks done at the same time. It's then Deconstructed when Captain Freeman finds out and — thinking her crew is being lazy and hurting her reputation — issues new orders that all tasks be done on-time and as quickly as possible. The Cerritos immediately falls into chaos because the crew becomes overworked and get overwhelmed when emergencies pop up that cannot be handled with a large task backlog. There's also the fact that the people setting the schedules clearly had no idea how long they'd take in the first place since they were always fooled. The ship even gets raided by lower-tech aliens wielding crystal spears because of it. By the episode's end, Freeman resumes letting "buffer time" happen.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the title sequence, the Cerritos apparently stumbles into a battle between the Romulans and the Borg. Once it is targeted by Borg phaser fire, it immediately retreats.
  • Self-Deprecation: Lower Decks gleefully and lovingly pokes fun at the franchise's own inherent goofiness. Such as taking pot-shots at the presence of children aboard the ship in The Next Generation when Rutherford manages to get every child aboard the Cerritos sucked into space during a training simulation… which shouldn't even be possible.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Boimler/Mariner has a lot of She Is Not My Girlfriend moments and are a lot closer than just two similarly ranked members of a crew should be.
    • Rutherford/Tendi has Tendi constantly getting jealous if anyone else shows Rutherford any attention, and later Rutherford goes through a memory wipe and ends up with the goal of ensuring he never again forgets Tendi.
    • Mariner gets some Belligerent Sexual Tension with Ensign Sh'reyan that seems to be reciprocated toward the end of Season 2.
  • Ship Sinking: A few episodes implied a pairing between Shaxs and T'ana, which the latter referenced in the season finale that the former died in. In season 2 this is subverted when Shaxs comes Back from the Dead (apparently via Things Man Was Not Meant to Know) and T'ana reaffirms her interest, which he reciprocates.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Badgey from "Terminal Provocations" is a parody of Clippy, the notoriously loathed "virtual assistant" from the 1997-2003 versions of Microsoft Office.
    • The character of Saul Rubichek is likely a reference to Saul Rubinek, who played Kivas Fajo in the TNG episode, "The Most Toys".
    • In the first episode, when asked what sand is, Boimler explains that it "gets everywhere".
    • Peanut Hamper rolling through space recalls Wheatley at the end of Portal 2.
    • God-Ransom appearing as a disembodied head and hands resembles Andross from Star Fox.
    • Rutherford's sudden liking for pears is probably a reference to a Running Gag from Doctor Who where The Doctor hates pears, but often winds up eating them when he loses his memory and can't remember his dislike of them.
    • Some of the items in the collector's ship include a roomba, a painting by Piet Mondrian, and the Curiosity Mars rover.
    • When Rutherford tries to get re-assigned to the Security, Shaxs starts a simulation where group of Borg drones is attacking Rutherford. Since he's completely clueless about hand-to-hand combat, Rutherford allows his cybernetic implant to fully take over. The resulting fight is straight out of Upgrade, including few moves being directly copied.
    • The in-universe holomovie Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta is choke-full of various nods toward Star Trek movies under J. J. Abrams and especially their aesthetics, mocking them relentlessly.
    • Rutherford is assigned a role of "Bionic 5".
    • Shempo, who is there to replace Boimler and drawn in a way to resemble Shemp, rather than Boimler.
  • Shown Their Work: While most of Star Trek lore might still be technobabble, the show makes a point of referencing all the different aspects introduced over the years, from famous faces like Sulu and Troi, to lesser known facts like the Cetacean Ops and Gary Mitchell.
  • Sickly Green Glow: In the main titles, there's a Space Battle between a dozen Romulan warbirds and six Borg Cubes; the lights of their vessels and their disruptor/phaser fire glow green.
  • Silver Spoon Troublemaker: Ensign Beckett Mariner is the rebellious daughter of the U.S.S. Cerritos's captain, Carol Freeman. Mariner is very capable of rising in rank but she frequently sabotages herself through skirting Starfleet protocol in order to stay an ensign. Throughout the first season of the series, Freeman looks for any excuse to have Mariner removed from duty, but never follows through, however they do come to an understanding in the season finale.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
    • Beta Shift and Delta Shift do not like each other, but it's not explained what they've done to piss each other off.
    • Mariner can't stand Jen, for some reason that's never explained. This ends in the Season 2 finale, where Jennifer saves Mariner's life—and the latter asks out Jen following the event.
    • Mariner also does not take to Jet when he's transferred to their shift as a replacement for Boimler, and they're rapidly trying to out-compete each other.
  • Small Reference Pools: Downplayed: Ensign Boimler is described as being born in Modesto, California, a town some actual native Californians haven't heard of — although fans of American Graffiti, whose director George Lucas also hails from the city, may have.
  • Status Quo Is God: Done in an intentional, funny and self-referencial way. The second season quickly undoes everything which happened in the season one finale: Boimler gets demoted to Ensign and sent back to the Cerritos while his transporter clone stays on the Titan, Mariner stops being her mother's unofficial second-in-command, and Shaxs who sacrificed himself comes back to life without any official explanation given.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: Strangely zigzagged - the command crew seem oddly reluctant to open fire with the Cerritos’s ship borne weaponry, even in situations where it would be completely justified, to the point where the Cerritos doesn’t fire it’s weapons even once during the first season. On the other hand, on a personal level, the entire cast and crew seem to have zero issues engaging in multiple intense unarmed, melee and phaser fights with hostile forces and characters.
  • Take That!: Much of "Kayshon, His Eyes Open" is written as an open critique of how much of Star Trek in recent years has become focused on action and epic serialized story arcs, to the point of having lost the love for science and exploration that had originally been the heart of the franchise, going so far as to have Riker himself stating that he preferred the Enterprise-D with its concerts to the wild action adventure that is his current life aboard the Titan.
  • Telepathy: The Anabaj can read other people's thoughts.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female characters (except for T'Ana) are drawn with eyelashes and lips, whereas the male characters (except for some aliens like the Galardonians and the Taxors, whose lips are visible) lack these features.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: While Cerritos is being basically drawn and quartered, the Titan rides to the rescue, under the command of one Will Riker with the TNG theme in full effect.
  • Theme Naming: In addition to the naming scheme of the Cali-class, Pakleds are also keen on this, though they're rather less imaginative about it. They call everything "Pakled something"
  • Thin-Line Animation: Showrunner Mike McMahan is also a producer on Rick and Morty, so it's no surprise that Lower Decks shares a similar animation style.
  • Title Drop: "Lower decks" is said on two occasions in the series premiere. The first time, it was a derogatory address of Ensign Tendi, dismissing her as beneath the Lieutenant's notice. The second time was Mariner chanting it in the bar with a sense of pride. The phrase continues to crop up throughout the series as an identifier of the lower-ranked members of the ship.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The villains for the first season finale are none other than the Pakleds, who have spent the last few decades stealing whatever starship tech they can from powerful races they encountered, including the Borg. They wipe out at least one Federation starship that we see (the Solvang) before they encounter the Cerritos.
  • The Unfavorite: California-class ships and their crew are treated like this. Despite being relatively new to the fleet, the ships are portrayed as being held together with duct tape and a prayer. The crews are considered throwaway to the point where if a captain were to be promoted to a more prestigious ship, leaving their crew or even their senior staff is considered standard.
  • Unusual Ears:
    • The Galardonians have tube-like ears.
    • A few Gelrakians have very long earlobes.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Lieutenant Shaxs' standard starting simulation for new recruits is hand-to-hand combat with a dozen Borg drones, which he specifically designed so that he can assess how they handle defeat.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Vendorians can change their form at will.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: One of the lower decks staff has only ever been seen wearing a towel wrapped around his waist in the hallway bunks.

"Space: the funnest frontier?"

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Mugato Dung Tasting

Shaxs does this with mugato dung. Repeatedly.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

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