Star Trek Guide

How Star Trek: Lower Decks Responds to Final Space

Star Trek has been producing TV shows, books, comics and more since the 1960s, making it one of the longest running and most prolific science-fiction properties of all time. With the recent launch of the new series Star Trek: Lower Decks, the franchise has jumped into the world of animation, but Lower Decks has a familiar feel to it, especially if one is a fan of Final Space.

Created by Olan Rogers, Final Space debuted in February 2018 and has two seasons in the bag so far, with a third  on the way in 2021. The highly serialized series tells the story of Gary Goodspeed as he serves out his prison sentence aboard Galaxy One. Over time, he makes a group of friends that accompany him on the ship, as well as KVN. The motley crew gets drawn into a greater battle between good and evil, and at the core of everything is the mystery of Final Space and what solving it means to reality itself.

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The brilliance of the show is how well it balances the high stakes battle the crew is engaged in with the comedy created by the ridiculous and engaging characters. The overall narrative that plays out over both seasons is about family, redemption and sacrifice, themes that are likely to continue throughout Season 3. It's all combined into one incredible show that has already garnered an ever growing fan base. The minds behind Lower Decks might be fans, as well.

Episode 1 of Star Trek: Lower Decks recently debuted, setting the table for the rest of the series. Set in the 24th Century around the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lower Decks focuses on the less talked about crew laboring on the lower decks of the USS Cerritos in the shadow of the bridge officers. Toiling in obscurity, they operate by their own set of rules and try to make the best out of being in space.

Keeping in mind that the only episode out so far was building the basics of the world and introducing the characters, reviews from critics have been middling to say the least. So far, the big issue appears to be that Lower Decksdoesn't seem to have its own identity. Again, it seems a little early to make a claim like that considering it's one episode in but there's actually a point to be made. It might not be the one critics intended, but there is a conversation to be had about the show's relationship with Final Space.

The theme of family already plays a huge role in the series by the end of Episode 1. Each series is also a mix of comedy, action and drama; although it's hard to tell how serialized the story is going to be in Lower Decks this early on. The casts also mirror each other with several characters, most obviously seen in both shows featuring anthropomorphic cat characters.

Even looking at Lower Decks without knowing much about the story begs the question of the inspiration for the series. The animation isn't exactly the same as what fans see in Final Space, but there is still a resemblance that's hard to ignore. Admittedly, the evil version of the Federation that exists in Final Space took more than a little inspiration from Star Trek, so the influencing goes both ways, and a heritage franchise like Star Trek inevitably influences what comes after it.

Star Trek has struggled to be relevant for several years, particularly after the last couple of movies, but with the success of Discovery and Picard on CBS All Access and other streaming services, the door has been opened to more inventive uses of the franchise. To be relevant in the modern era of media, something that's been around this long has to take a look at what's working and why.

Ultimately, that's why there's no issue with Star Trek: Lower Decks taking a few cues from a show like Final Space, if it indeed has. Star Trek as a whole has been an influence on science-fiction since the first episode of The Original Series aired in 1966. No one is suggesting that Lower Decks is ripping off Final Space, but if the minds behind the new Star Trek series found some inspiration in it to drive the franchise, that can only be good for fans.