When Paramount launched very Short Treks a few weeks ago, it did so with a short that trod a very fine line between being crass and flexing some knowingly Trek humor. But as it’s progressed, things have only gotten a closer to the former.
This week’s entry, “Worst Contact,” sees Jonathan Frakes and Gates McFadden return as Will Riker and Beverly Crusher, as the Enterprise makes a first contact meeting with a new alien species, only to find that their customs aren’t exactly the most appealing for Federation membership.
While the prior shorts were of similar low-brow humor, there’s just something about this one in particular that strikes the sort of thing Trek fans feared Lower Decks could be before it aired—where Trek itself is as an ugly joke, rather than the medium for humor, that its ideals of multi-species co-operation can be undone by snot and microwaved fish.
That might be a bit of a high and mighty thing to say about what is ultimately an inconsequential a short cartoon about gross-out humor—not everything has to be so serious. But Lower Decks already proved you can be very funny in Star Trek and still be really good Star Trek. It’s also worth bearing in mind that very Short Treks was announced as a celebration of 50 years of Star Trek animation. Instead, it’s starting to feel like it’s turning its snotty nose up at it, if this the extent of its humor.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.