This article was originally published in January 2021
Part of the magic of Star Trek is that it has always made fans feel like we’re part of the story. Who among us doesn’t know what we’d specialize in at the academy if we’d rather be posted to a starship or a space station, whether we’d have our eye on a captain’s chair? Every series brings its viewers along on the adventure, inviting us to explore and problem-solve right alongside Starfleet.
Lower Decks goes a step further, bringing us into the story with a quartet of ensigns who aren’t just in Starfleet, they’re also serious Trekkies. Sure, they’ve got the knowledge to be competent ensigns, but more than that, their love of everything Starfleet also makes them Trek fans who are living the dream — who else would have an engine sounds contest? But Trekkies are no monolith: the fandom is big enough that fans can have very different approaches to Trekkiedom. You might be in it for the technical marvels, or maybe the long-running friendships, or maybe you just love cool adventures in outer space. Whatever kind of Trekkie you are, you’ll find yourself reflected in one of our plucky young ensigns working hard on Lower Decks.
Beckett Mariner: The Secret Fan
These are the fans who grew up watching Star Trek and never bring it up, but if you drop a reference she’ll catch it. She likes to say she only ever watched because nothing else was on, but if you catch Mariner on the treadmill, you can bet she’s streaming Voyager. Again. She’s sure she could keep up at a Klingon party, has a solid anti-assimilation plan in the event of a Borg invasion, and would be a formidable Tongo player. As a friend, she’s the one who calls you on your crap, but will still help you figure things out. These fans are in it for the adventures: they love how Starfleet takes in rebels, because at the end of the day guts and ingenuity can save the day.
The Secret Fan’s Favorite Characters: Michael Burnham, Ro Laren, Tom Paris, Worf—and Quark, for the parties.
Bradward “Brad” Boimler: The Heart-and-Soul Fan
These are the fans who watch Star Trek to feel at home. Starfleet is a second home for characters and fans alike, and the thing Brad loves most is feeling like he belongs somewhere. As a Trekkie, he hits all the conventions (in uniform) with insightful questions for the panels, knows exactly which holodeck program he’d like to try first, and is an absolute goldmine for behind-the-scenes trivia. If he invites you to a virtual Friendsgiving potluck, you should absolutely fire up your laptop. These fans are in it for the community: they love how Starfleet makes everyone feel welcome by giving them a sense of purpose and, for many, a second home.
Favorite Characters: Capt. Kirk, Capt. Picard, Capt. Sisko, Capt. Janeway — all the captains, really — and Will Riker also, for the parties.
D'Vana Tendi: The Fan Scholar
These are the Star Trek fans who were inspired to pursue their MD and/or PhD by the brilliant characters they saw onscreen. When Tendi watches, she sees smart people helping each other be even smarter, and she loves the thrill of solving a difficult problem — especially if she gets to do something cool, like hold a heart! As a friend, she knows that teaching is the best way to learn, so she’ll always help you study and mostly doesn’t care that you never remember anything. If you go on a hike together, she’ll look for owl pellets and stop to marvel at a fallen tree covered with bugs. These fans are in it for the wonder: they love how Starfleet takes them to far reaches of the galaxy and of their imagination.
Favorite Characters: Dr. Crusher, The Doctor (EMH Mark 1), Jadzia Dax, Sylvia Tilly, and Guinan, for keeping everyone honest.
Samanthan "Sam" Rutherford: The Classic Fan
If you look up ‘Star Trek Fan’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Rutherford. He can’t decide if it makes more sense to watch the series in broadcast order or chronological order, but either way, The Original Series is required. He’s here for the technology: he has a solid working knowledge of subspace and temporal anomalies, and can use “positronic” in a sentence that isn’t about Data. As a friend, if he invites you to game night, you’d better come ready to play, because he doesn’t ask just anyone. These fans are in it for the hard sci-fi: they love how Starfleet finds a real, working solution to every problem, and usually invents something really cool along the way.
Favorite Characters: Geordi La Forge, Data, Miles O’Brien, Seven of Nine, Spock, and Q, because a little entropy keeps the galaxy interesting.
Claudia Cravens (she/her) is a writer and Trek fan based in Brooklyn, NY. Find her on Twitter @claudia_cravens
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.