Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Lower Decks Takes Shots at the Abramsverse

In "Crisis Point," the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks' first season, the crew was hanging out on the holodeck while Boimler ran a simulation of the Cerritos to help him study for an interview with Captain Freeman. Mariner promptly took over and re-wrote his program into a Hollywood blockbuster film where she played the villain.

This presented Lower Decks with a great opportunity to poke fun at Star Trek's long history on the big screen, with one era of Star Trek being particularly singled out -- J.J. Abrams' reboot films set in the Kelvin timeline.

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Abrams' films have been critiqued by some for being more stylized, violent and grim than Star Trek usually is, and the writers of Lower Decks took the latest cinematic iteration of Star Trek to the woodshed about it. For starters, the show imitated the flashy look that Abrams established in his franchise. The normal 16:9 aspect ratio was narrowed to an anamorphic aspect ratio, typically used in blockbuster films. Artificial film grain and Abrams' notorious overuse of lens flares were also added to an even more excessive degree.

In addition, the episode was about a confrontation with a hyper-violent enemy in an intimidating ship. Mariner blasted her way through the Cerritos, murdering holograms of her crewmates and superiors with glee. She rigged a severed Borg head to blow up the ship's security officer and was literally covered in his entrails. Nothing that extreme happened in the Kelvin timeline films, but it did highlight just how out of place that type of action is in Star Trek, taking what Abrams did and exaggerating it to a ridiculous degree.

Abrams' films weren't the only Star Trek project this episode teased, either. It made a joke of the franchise’s general history of showing way too many sweeping establishing shots of the starship, with the camera spinning around nauseously, spending far too long panning over an unmoving spaceship. "Crisis Point" also took the time to destroy the ship, much like in Star Trek Beyond and Generations. 

The penultimate episode even took the opportunity to poke fun at the moment in 2009's Star Trek where a young Chekov miraculously transports the crew to safety from an impossible situation. When the hologram of the ship's engineer lamented the death of his simulated crew, Ensign Rutherford quickly mumbled Treknobabble that explained he was able to get everyone off the ship before it crashed. The engineer pointed out that what Rutherford did was flat-out impossible. With a laugh and a hand wave, Rutherford replied, "You can do all sorts of beamy stuff in a movie!"

Star Trek has been re-imagined many times in its and Abrams' version wasn't the only one teased in "Crisis Point," but it was still the focus. Lower Decks has done an excellent job at poking fun at the many idiosyncrasies of the franchise, and this latest episode presented an opportunity to give the Cerritos crew the blockbuster treatment and all the ridiculous baggage that comes along with it.

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