Matt and Sean talk about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks. So many thoughts!
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If you’re seeing or hearing this it’s because you’re a part of the crew. You’re a supporter of trek in time and for that, we’re extremely grateful. And how better to show our gratitude than by creating a second series for you to enjoy. And on this series, we’re going to be talking about other scifi other shows, other movies, anything that we’re enjoying, and we’ll take, uh, some brief dips into these things that we’re going to talk about.
We’re not going to be deconstructing them in quite the same way. We do the, the episodes of star Trek in the trek in time it’s going to be a little more off the cuff and a little more just fan boyish. Wow. What are you enjoying? What’s going on? So, Matt, how are you doing today? I’m doing pretty well. Start starting the show.
Yes, we, uh, we have been talking for months now about all these different programs and movies that we’ve been enjoying. Of course, we have trek in time where we are doing deep dives into specific episodes, tying them to current events. But as we’ve been talking about all those things, we’ve tried to incorporate this kind of discussion into our other podcasts that we’ve done and it’s never quite fit.
So finally, here we have this free for all and these are conversations. This is gonna be a conversation we normally have with each other about this stuff. We just happened to be recording it. Now we just have to be recording. We’ve had these conversations for years and it all goes back to, you know, when we were kids, we grew up talking about all this stuff and that hasn’t gone away.
So this is an opportunity for us to share our nerd boy fandom around this stuff. I just think it’s funny. All of this, the buildup to all of this is like, finally, we have a place to talk about the stuff that doesn’t fit into our star Trek podcast. So what are we gonna talk about first? Let’s let’s get into it.
We’re talking about strange new world. I have just over the past two days finally had an opportunity to, to check in with it. Yeah. I’ve watched two episodes and. You’ve made comments previously about what you think about strange new worlds. And I’m just going to give a brief synopsis of what you’ve said in the past to give it my seal of approval, which is, this is the D Abrams of vacation of the star Trek universe, JJ Abrams, who is a remarkable talent.
He is a tremendous television and film. He does a lot of things very, very well, but what he did with his star Trek films and the impact that had on the development of a show like discovery and you feel it in Picard as well is there’s a lot of action with the intent of it being action. And there’s not a whole lot of like you pull it apart and look inside.
There’s not a lot going on beneath that layer of that. To use his phrase. His mystery box is a little empty from time to time. Yes. Strange new worlds strikes me right out of the gate. Like they took an element from discovery around this captain and the mystery box here, everybody right out of the gate knows what the mystery box holds.
It has his knowledge of his own. Everything around that makes the rest of the show feel like it is standing on extremely solid ground. And I am, I am having a hard time, really comprehending how much I enjoyed both the first two episodes of this series. I thought what a remarkable rediscovery of. Star Trek.
They, I can’t recall seeing something that felt so trek and I am including like next generation deep space, nine, this feels like original series, the original series. It’s remarkable. And part of it is it’s got that solid footing. Like the mystery box. There’s no mystery to it. It’s the kernel around which the entire show is built, but what it has.
The mystery comes from the cosmic -ness of what they’re coming up against. And I’m thinking in particular with the second episode, in which there’s this element of a threatening comet on a planet’s future, people who are so pre-warp technology that they’re living in huts in the desert and a group of aliens who call themselves the shepherds who are taking care of the.
Because the comet knows all of that is super-duper 1960s. scifi cosmic. It is just like, there are mysteries, there are mysteries out there. You can’t comprehend your little human brain. Can’t wrap around cosmic truth like this. So don’t question us when it comes to our faith. And then underneath that you have using heat to change the trajectory of the comet
you’ve got the comet. Leaving traces of moisture in the atmosphere, which then leads to rainfall on a planet that’s bone dry, like, like, like you said, there’s hard, scifi in there, but under a cloud of cosmic belief systems that are so future tech, they’re no longer science, they’re faith. And I’m sitting there watching this and just like, I feel like I just watched the original series.
It’s kind of breathtaking. If this is one of the problems, I think some of the other star treks have fallen into it’s. They, they lose some of that cosmic like you’re saying that cosmic -ness, that wonder that sense of wonder that’s there. Um, we don’t completely understand this, but we’re going to kind of go with it as best we can to try to solve a problem where some of the more recent star Trek series like discovery, um, they tend to fall into that.
We’re going to science the shit out of this, and it’s like, what they’re then doing? They’re doing that to us. The viewer of you’re just talking about like, how are we gonna solve this problem? Well, nanoparticles it’s like, okay, that’s the get out of jail, free card for them. It’s like, it’s. So it’s kind of like, they’re the ones creating the mystery, the cosmic wonder for us, but it’s not working where this is.
We’re relating to them because they don’t understand it. We don’t understand it, but there’s this other thing out there that’s saying you don’t have to worry about understanding this wonder. So it’s like, it’s a lot more. Exciting. And it pulls you in better. Um, it feels very original series. Just this sense of awe and wonder, and just the other side of it for me of this entire show that makes it so successful is, um, I’m blanking on his name.
He plays captain pike. It’s Anson Mount. Yeah, he is the perfect calf. The perfect casting, the perfect captain. His sense of swagger and irreverence. Yeah. Jokey he’s cracking jokes. He’s being funny. Um, there’s I can’t remember if it’s episode two or three. I’ve watched all four of the first episodes. There’s an episode where he is completely like, he comes across as like, I don’t feel good about this and it’s like, he’s wearing on his sleeve.
Like somebody is talking to him on the screen, like this other person he’s. Really like, he’s just over the top and really kind of like, I don’t feel good about this. And the crew is like, kind of like, we can go along with this and he’s like, I don’t know. It was just this, he’s just wearing everything on his sleeve.
And so there’s a, there’s an element of that. Maybe talking about the second, the second episode, because the shepherd. Shows up and says, you shouldn’t be doing any of the stuff you’re doing and I will, and we will, it will be an act of war. If you continue to try to do what you’re doing. And he is like, look, I’m really sorry about this, but we really want to save those people.
But there’s a bunch of people who are going to die if you don’t do this. And, and it’s, and there’s also in that episode, there’s a couple of moments where people are like, well, maybe we could do this. And his response is this kind of. Forrest enthusiasm, but he’s just like, this is a good plan. I like this plan.
Okay, let’s do this plan. This plan is going to work. This is gonna be great. And he’s doing that kind of like clearly winking at the people around him and the sense of comradery. And, and one of my favorite scenes in the, in the second episode was his dinner party where he clearly is trying to engender a sense of.
Yes, I’m your captain. You have to do what I say because I’m your captain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends and colleagues and family. Yes. And doing it in a extremely overt way. It’s a dinner party and his cabin looks like I couldn’t help, but think again and again, every time they show the captain’s cabin, which is first of all, It has a working bar.
It has a fireplace, a fight is when he’s in the first episode in Canada, he’s kind of in mourning for his own future. He is approached by Spock and they have a lovely scene where the two of them are talking about what does it mean that I know my own end and it’s all shot in a very dark room with a fireplace going and there he’s drinking Brandy.
And I’ve thought for a moment. Are they in a 10 forward? Are they in a, like, that must be like a rec room for everybody on the crew. But then the second episode it’s revealed like now this is his cabin. I couldn’t help, but laugh. And think it reminded me of our flag means death. The HBO series, which is a comedy, which is based on an actual.
Man. I don’t know if you knew that about that series. It is. It is Reese Darby plays a man who is a landed Gentry of the British aristocracy and he’s bored out of his mind and he decides that he is going to become pirate. And so he leaves his family behind. He buys a pirate ship, he hires a crew and he goes out to gallivant about and become a pirate.
That is actually a true story. It is an actual historical person. And what he did in the series is actually what this guy did. He left his family, he hired a crew. One of the things that he did in hiring a pirate crew is pirates, did not hire crews. Crews earned their money from the looting. That is what pirates did to make their money.
So this guy in hiring and paying a crew, a salary really kind of took away their motivation to be pirates. Regardless. He also took a long, his entire library. He had a ship that was decked out for his own comfort first and was a pirate ship. Second. And in that scene with the dinner party, I kept laughing to myself thinking like in the future, it’s just like in our life means death.
It’s, he’s living in this comfortable life and having. Dinner party, which the charm of the show in that scene, when you hear a has been told is a formal event. And she shows up in formal attire because she’s been effectively pranked by, by the pilot of the ship or tag us. And as soon as the captain opens his door and sees what she’s wearing, he laughs and he’s like, ah, formal attire.
Huh? I just love the fact that he’s in on the joke. He is like, this is his pilot and she feels comfortable enough with him to play a prank on another deck, officer it, I th I just loved the entire, the entire sequence, the feel of the show, each captain on all the star Trek shows. They all have a very unique way of captaining of being a leader.
Uh, my favorite is Picard. He’s very distant aloof from the crew. He’s very prim and proper. You’re not supposed to be friends with these people. You’re supposed to be the commander. All that kind of stuff. And he’s the poor opposite of that. It’s like, he wants to be your buddy, your friend. He’s like, let’s just shoot the shit and have fun.
Yeah. And I love that aspect. And the one thing about this show I was worried about was typically when you have a show like a prequel, it’s like, you know, this guy doesn’t die or that person doesn’t die. It’s like, oh, your hero’s on board. Well, we know you heard it doesn’t get hurt ever. We know that, um, you know, like all these characters that are on the.
Like a nurse chapel is here. am I saying that? Right? The, uh, the doctor that was there in the original series, it’s like a secondary doctor behind bones. Um, he’s the main doctor during this and I love his character. So it’s like, we know he’s not imperil. We know different. We know some of these characters are not imperil because they’re on the original series and beyond, but even though we know.
The futures of some of these people, we know pike is doomed. He’s a dead man walking and for me, and he knows it. And what’s so great about this series is it’s got that awe and wonder, and the star Trekkie -ness that we all love. And you’re talking about that cosmic aspect to it. And he is a dead man walking.
So there’s this little thread of just darkness to the show where then he has to he’s grappling with. And as a viewer, I’m on pins and needles of like, I know it’s not gonna happen in season one, but it’s like, there’s this, there’s this feeling of dread, when’s it gonna happen? When is he, when is his vision going to happen when it’s going to come true?
Is it season two, three? How long is the show going to go for, it’s gonna be the end of season five. Like, what is the plan for this? And so I’m kind of on pins and needles waiting for the, the needle drop of the fiery vision that he has of himself basically almost dying. Yeah. It’s for me, I think that’s such, I got it.
From my review is like I’m tipping my hat to the show runners of this specific show, because when they announced it, they talked about how we’re going back to the original track. It’s not going to be a season long story. It’s going to be episodes in this little episode episodes that are standalones.
We’re going back to the way it used to be. I had this worry of like, oh, is this going to be like what they think it was like? And it’s going to feel like, uh, a shallow version of the. To me. I don’t think it does. To me. This is like really hittin that star Trek cord. I have not felt in decades and I’m watching enterprise.
I love enterprise, but this feels more star Trek than enterprise. This feels more star Trek than discovery. It feels more star Trek than anything we’ve had in years. For me, it’s the most star Trek I felt since next generation, because for me, deep space nine did not feel star Trek for me because it was very different from a typical.
What’s the other one, a Voyager Voyager I enjoyed, but it felt like the CW version of star Trek. Right? I mean, it felt like, uh, it felt lesser than even though it was good. Um, it felt lesser than to me. So this I am beside myself. How much I’m enjoying the show. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s really working. I absolutely agree, I think.
And I agree with your assessment of the casting. Uh they’ve they found pitch perfect people, everybody from the doctor to the captain, the, just the, the feel of the people, the, uhura, the actress who plays uhura in that second. I was just like what an amazing job she’s done of taking a character who was always just literally in the background and had moments in the original series, but to make that character suddenly have this depth to her that I know more about uhura now in this one episode than I do from decades of her in the movies and TV shows.
Yeah. It’s like, it’s, it’s sad to me that here was this potential great character human tapping in. And this show on episode two, it’s all about uhura and it’s like amazing. She’s great. The casting of her is great. The way they’re shaping her is great. It’s like, it’s just, there’s so much good stuff to mind here.
I’m really excited for the rest of the season. I’m really excited to see where the ticket in season two and three and beyond. I absolutely agree. And to follow up on all of that, I’m going to make a recommendation for. Another star Trek series. And I never thought that I would be making this as a recommendation because when this show first came out, I thought, are you kidding me really?
Star Trek, lower decks. I finally decided to give it a try and I have to say, if you’re looking for a next generation itch to be scratched, believe it or not, this will scratch that. It is a little bit like next generation with a few drops of Rick and Morty. Okay. It is especially animation style. You can really, you can really see that in the animation style, the design of the characters, but what it is doing is a set of characters who are the not main guys on the crew.
Yeah, it’s in the title on the lower decks of a ship in the next generation era, but it is all about this one character who is named Beckett and she’s played by Tawny Newsome. And her foil is Brad, who is played by Jack Quaid. And Jack Quaid is playing a character who is the earnest. I am going to be. Uh, star ship captain.
At some point I am going to work hard and I’m going to explore, and I’m going to make all these great discoveries and it’s going to be amazing to be in Starfleet. And she is a person who is she’s the Hawkeye. She is wisecracking experiential. She knows stuff, but it’s not. Book-smart she’s been out and lived a life and she’s having a hard time keeping herself out of.
And so it’s the two of them bouncing off of each other. His earnestness, her lack of control. Self-control get them into trouble. And the comedic elements. It’s a little mix of like Rick and morty maybe some gross out humor, maybe some references to things that are a little off color. There’s a nice moment where Brad is approached by this beautiful woman on this planet.
It looks a little bit like he’s being approached almost like on Reisa. Like maybe this. An empath, she comes up and she says, I can sense that you like these things and that you’re attracted to me that you, we both like the same color red, that we’re both here for the same thing. And she starts to fully come onto him when Beckett shows up and literally uses a hose to spray this woman down, to get her off of him.
And when she stands back up, Brad’s response is why did you do that? Like, I was having this great connection with her and she’s like, that’s an alien. She was. Eggs and your throat. And the woman stands up and has clearly morphed into like a lizard woman and she’s, and she’s hissing at them and says like, you still want it.
You still want it. And then scurries, literally up the side of a building and disappears as, as they’re trying to sprayer with a hose. It’s humor like that, but it still feels like star Trek because they are doing star Trek jobs. They are. Going into Jeffery’s tubes, they’re carrying on chai quarters. They are doing stuff that is Trek like, and it is smartly written to incorporate enough of the Trek in it to feel Trek.
And as I’m watching it the way you and I were just talking about strange new worlds in how it evoked the original series feeling. Okay. In watching lower decks, I actually found myself thinking like this is making me feel like I’m watching next generation. It feels very much of the same universe. And my favorite joke so far is one that you could watch very easily.
Just start up any episode and watch the opening title sequence. It looks like you’re watching the title sequence from voyage. Or the next generation, it’s the ship. It looks like the opening subtle sequence from stage new worlds. It is the ship going across in front of an ice planet, the ship flying away from, you know, a beautiful Vista, but as it is doing these things, and as it, as it is flying over the ice planet, it inadvertently hits.
The peak of an ice mountain and it knocks out one of the cells and the power starts to fluctuate on the entire ship and it kind of like veers off camera. And then. There is a sequence of Borg ships that are fighting a Romulan fleet. And here comes the main ship of the series. And when it sees that it’s the Romulans fighting the Borg, it turns around and flies the other direction.
It is full of these sequences that just completely undo the majesty of what the visuals of snake. I got to watch this show. I’ve heard so many people recommend it. Uh, it’s been recommended, recommended to me numerous times. I just haven’t gotten around to watching it, but I’ve watched the other intermittent show, the prodigy star Trek prodigy, and I’ve watched all the discovery and all that kind of stuff.
The one thing I kinda wanna say globally is I think collectively as Trek fans, we need to be comfortable with the idea that not every star Trek show that they put out has to feel like. Yeah. And I like that. They’re not doing that. They are there. They’re pushing the boundaries as to what Trek can be. And by doing this, they’re going to be expanding their audience and get more people into the star Trek universe.
And some people will only like start, like kids will love star Trek, prodigy, but it doesn’t feel like classic Trek, but it’s Trek enough. It’s Trek adjacent. And I had. It’s lower deck sends the same way in a different direction, but Rick and Morty vibe in the star Trek universe, I want to see them do more of, I want to see them to try different things.
I was worried that everything they were going to do was going to be the JJ Abrams style star Trek. They’re not doing that. They’re, they’re doing a kind of a, a really wide variety of things and I’m excited to see what they do next, because if they can keep delivering us things like strange new world, And giving us stuff like lower decks.
It’s like, yeah. Have at it go nuts. It doesn’t mean I have to watch it all. It’s like, I’m going to watch the ones that resonate with me, but I would much rather have more people into the Trek universe than fewer. Absolutely. I completely agree. And I think that that kind of staking out of different territory is not only good for a franchise like star Trek, but it’s, I think it’s on display in the.
Movies and TV shows right now where the, the movies seem to be telling a we’re heading toward another version of an Avengers, like supergroup the team, coming together to do a thing. The way they’re building that team is with series that have different takes on what the tone of the show might be. And I appreciate that you can have a moon night, which is more psychologically driven showing somebody dealing with effectively a demonstration of mental illness.
And a show like she hooked that has been now teased out as it is arguably going to be a sitcom. It is going to have an ally McBeal style of, of she’s a lawyer. And it’s mixed in with this comedy of she’s also going to be the cousin now. Of of Dr. Banner. So it’s you get a different audience and lead them to the same promised land.
And I think that that’s what we’re seeing right now with these different star Trek shows of, yeah. You want the Abram’s version? We’ve got discovery. You want the classic feel, we’ve got this strange new world. You want something that’s just. A mixture of comedy and Saifai, we’ve got this and we’ve got stuff for the kids.
I think it’s a very smart to build all these things out in these different ways. So, so listeners, I hope you’ve enjoyed what is basically a typical conversation between Matt and me. Please let us know what you think. You can find the contact information on the usual places. We look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for your support and to those people.
You, yeah. Thank you to everybody for your support. And so those people who are getting a sample of this in our main feed, we hope you’ll think about supporting us directly. And you’ll be getting more of this kind of discussion in the future if you do. So. Thanks once again for checking us out and we’ll talk to you next time.