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Warning! The following may contain spoilers for the Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 finale "No Small Parts." Read at your own risk!
Star Treks: Lower Decks recently wrapped for Season 1, and with its conclusion comes the hordes of fans wishing to give their thoughts and opinions on the latest Star Trek series. Obviously, the franchise's first official comedy had some quick fans, but with that new territory also came some naysayers who weren't on board with a sillier take on the franchise's lore.
The response of those fans wasn't too surprising for creator and showrunner Mike McMahan, who spoke to Variety about Season 1 as a whole. McMahan talked about how he felt about complaints in regards to Star Trek: Lower Decks, and how that's more or less something that comes with the territory of creating a Star Trek series. When asked if he was shocked at the response, McMahan said:
No, not at all. I mean, fans are taking issue with every season of Star Trek that has come out since the original series, and they didn’t watch TOS until it was in syndication. If fans hadn’t taken issue with everything, I would have been blown away. And also, I’m a Star Trek fan. The thing that was scary to me was that you have stuff that works like Galaxy Quest and The Orville — they’re just not Star Trek, which is fine. They’re almost Star Trek. My challenge — this was my chance to get to make a Star Trek that I was proud of. And I really honestly felt like, listen, I’m going to do the best show that I can possibly do on a day-to-day basis, that really fulfills the joy and the sanctity that Star Trek has to me. That’s never going to please everybody. They might not be fans of animation. They might not be fans of adult animation. They might not be fans of my type of adult animation. I can’t really control that.
Mike McMahan brought up the unique position he was in, being tasked with creating humor in the world of Star Trek without essentially creating a parody of Star Trek. One could argue it's easier for shows like The Orville to walk the line because it can pay homage while enjoying the luxury that they're not actually affecting Star Trek canon. This wasn't the case with Star Trek: Lower Decks, which meant McMahan had to work within the context of the show's universe, and find humor while still preserving the canon of the TNG universe.
While there may be some downsides to having to adhere to canon, it's hard to argue there aren't advantages either. For example, Star Trek: Lower Decks can use characters from the Star Trek: The Next Generation era, which the show has already taken full advantage of in Season 1. Q, Riker, and Deanna Troi all got parts in Season 1, and McMahan confirmed that more characters will be appearing in Season 2.
Mike McMahan is right about the level of criticism for shows within the Star Trek fandom. Each and every recent show has had its share of critics, and opinions of classic Trek shows tend to change among fans as the years go on. Some become more beloved than they were originally, and others more divisive. Bottom line, Star Trek: Lower Decks isn't the first Trek series to get negative criticism, and it certainly won't be the last.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 is now available to binge on CBS All Access. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the franchise, and for the latest news happening in television and movies.