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12 Best Shows Like Star Trek: Lower Decks That Fans Should Check Out

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" isn't the first animated "Star Trek" series, but it is the first straight-up comedy in the franchise's history. That's not to say there weren't funny episodes of the various shows or that the movies didn't have a sense of humor ("Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" is practically a comedy), but there has never been an entire series strictly devoted to making the audience laugh.

Even the premise is pretty hilarious. Instead of focusing on a respected Starfleet vessel, the series is set aboard the USS Cerritos, a second-rate ship that typically handles second contact missions, as opposed to first contact. And while most "Star Trek" shows choose to tell stories from the bridge crew's perspective, "Lower Decks" details the adventures of low-ranking officers who don't get the attention or respect they deserve. This means characters can comment on typical "Star Trek" tropes and make fun of them.

In other words, there's nothing else in the franchise like it. So what's a fan to do when they're all caught up on "Lower Decks" and need something else to scratch that specific itch? Well, if you enjoy big sci-fi adventures with irreverent jokes, then look below to find our recommendations for other shows that fit the bill.


Co-created by Matt Groening, "Futurama" has all the offbeat and wild humor of "The Simpsons" (also co-created by Groening), but the science fiction setting allows the creative minds behind the show to go even bigger with their ideas. 

Set in the 30th century, the show is about a pizza delivery guy named Philip J. Fry who falls into a cryogenic chamber in 1999 and wakes up on New Year's Eve in 2999. Living in a future with robots and all manner of strange technology, he forms a new life for himself as an employee of his descendant's delivery company, Planet Express Inc. He's best friends with a hard-drinking, smoking, and gambling robot named Bender. His love interest (who isn't interested in him most of the time) is a cyclops named Leela, with the rest of the employees — including a humanoid crustacean named Zoidberg – rounding out his oddball family.

The similarities between this show and "Lower Decks" are obvious. It's difficult not to compare any animated comedy aimed at adults to Groening's shows. Stylistically, there's a clear line from "The Simpsons" to "Futurama" to "Lower Decks." If you like any of those shows, you'll like the others as well.

Rick and Morty

Before creating "Star Trek: Lower Decks," Mike McMahan was a writer on Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's animated show "Rick and Morty." Of all the series listed here, this is perhaps the most similar to "Lower Decks." The show tells the many twisted, horrific, and hysterical adventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson/unwilling assistant Morty Smith. While Morty's main concern is living the life of a normal teenager, his grandfather's unusual exploits keep him from achieving that goal.

It's an absolutely wild show with trips around the multiverse and all kinds of disturbing creatures being slaughtered in Rick's quest to satisfy any and every urge he has. At the same time, many of the episodes also feature subplots about shockingly mundane domestic issues that typically evolve into some kind of out-of-control crisis. This show explores the horrors of the human condition in a way that makes you laugh and feel deeply depressed at the same time.

Of course, while most older kids could probably handle the subject matter in "Lower Decks," you might want to wait until they're a bit older before showing them "Rick and Morty" — not only because it's significantly more violent, profane, and perverse, but some of the headier concepts might be a bit much for them to handle.

The Venture Bros.

Although "Star Trek: Lower Decks" takes place within the greater "Star Trek" canon, there is a parody element to the show. It isn't constantly making fun of its parent franchise, but it does good-naturedly poke fun at the tropes and cliches inherent in the "Star Trek" universe. Therefore, it serves as both a spoof and a legitimate piece of science fiction — kind of like the 2003 Adult Swim series from creator Christopher McCulloch, "The Venture Bros."

In the early days, this show was about a family of (mostly) incompetent adventurers. Scientist Dr. Thaddeus Venture and his boys, Hank and Dean, served primarily as a sendup of classic adventure cartoons. As everything progressed, however, it grew into its own piece of sci-fi adventure, with characters the audience could invest in and storylines that could make them laugh and tug on their heartstrings.

Like a few other titles listed here, it's a hair more adult than "Lower Decks," but that shouldn't be a problem for most viewers. As a work of imaginative storytelling, this is one of those shows that gets its hooks in you and never lets go — even if there are shockingly few seasons over a long period of time. Chances are, once you give it a watch, you'll want to keep going until the "Venture Bros." movie maybe comes out.

Harley Quinn

The DC superheroes have a long history of fantastic animation projects. Going back to the 1940s Max Fleischer "Superman" shorts to the incredible '90s shows like "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Superman: The Animated Series" and the fantastic DC Animated Universe movies they spawned, animation has been very kind to the DC heroes. What about the villains though? Not just the big ones like Doomsday or the Joker but the side characters mainstream audiences tend to forget?

That's where the hysterical series "Harley Quinn" comes in. Just like "Lower Decks," this isn't a show about the big hitters. Instead, the show focuses on less popular characters determined to prove they can go toe-to-toe with the heavies. After suffering an intense breakup with the Joker, Harley Quinn sets off to show the world she's more than just the Clown Prince of Crime's girlfriend by setting up her own crew (consisting of shape-shifting actor Clayface, friendly yet dangerous King Shark, little misogynist Dr. Psycho, and wheelchair-bound landlord Sy Borgman) with the reluctant help of Poison Ivy.

Aside from the carnival of violence, innuendoes, and onslaught of cursing, "Harley Quinn" is a very sweet show about found family and self-acceptance. The humor can get darker than anything on "Lower Decks", but it has the same underdog spirit.

Solar Opposites

Around the same time he was creating "Star Trek: Lower Decks," Mike McMahan was co-creating "Solar Opposites" with Justin Roiland. Similar in animation style and tone to "Rick and Morty" (thought not as nihilistic), it's not all that different from the "SNL" skit/movie "Coneheads." The premise involves a family of aliens from the planet Shlorp who plan on colonizing other planets. Unfortunately for them, they crash on Earth, and since their homeworld has been destroyed, they're now forced to make the best of it, which means finding strange ways of adapting to human culture. While the leader of the group hates his new home, the others seem okay with it, providing the main conflict of the series. Along the way, things go in much weirder directions with multiple storylines (one of which involves a shrunken human society) and extreme observations about Earth life that the aforementioned "Coneheads" couldn't have done.

Final Space

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" is about more than just taking a raucous journey across the galaxy. At its core, the show is about individuals working as a team to improve themselves. Yes, their lives are often in danger, and they have to save themselves and others from horrific sci-fi entities, but the idea of underappreciated characters excelling beyond everyone's expectations is what makes the series so relatable.

The same can be said of "Final Space," the 2018 animated series from TBS and Adult Swim. Created by Olan Rogers and featuring a great voice cast consisting of Tom Kenny ("Spongebob Squarepants"), Fred Armisen ("Saturday Night Live"), and David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), the show tells the story of an astronaut named Gary Goodspeed and his recently assembled crew trying to save the galaxy from a dangerous alien named Lord Commander. 

It's a show that, on the surface, appears to be just like any other animated series for adults. However, the characters and the world they inhabit become much richer and deeper over time, resulting in a sci-fi series that delivers on both the laughs and the well-developed characters.


Comedian, actor, and writer Patton Oswalt stunned the internet by letting his geek flag truly fly in a staggering improvised filibuster from the show "Parks and Recreation." It's a pitch for "Star Wars Episode VII" that blends the galaxy far, far away with Marvel's mightiest heroes in what would've been a glorious disaster for fans everywhere. He then got the chance to indulge in his nerdy obsession with the 2021 stop-motion animation comedy series "M.O.D.O.K."

Co-created by Oswalt and based on a ridiculous Marvel Comics character whose name is an acronym of Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, "M.O.D.O.K." is about what happens when a brilliant mind is too megalomaniacal for its own good. Picked on for his large head as a child, the title character (voiced by Oswalt) evolves into a massive floating being with tiny limbs — and who's hellbent on conquering the world. 

M.O.D.O.K. is so full of himself that he can't help but announce impending evil schemes and celebrate the tiniest of victories. He spends way too much money with very little return and ignores his family. He's a mess. Like "Star Trek: Lower Decks," this is definitely a spoof of the material while still having its own internal logic and worldbuilding, allowing it to stand on its own tiny legs.

Alien News Desk

The title "Alien News Desk" almost tells you everything you need to know about the series. It really is two aliens sitting at a desk reading the news. What perhaps doesn't come across in the title is the fact that these aliens are explaining Earth topics to their alien viewers. This means there's plenty of room for interesting, funny satire, in addition to fun little goofs on human obsessions.

"Saturday Night Live" cast members Heidi Gardner and Will Forte voice the two lead anchors, Tuva Van Void and Drexx Drudlarr. In a world where the news has become increasingly strange and confusing, we've seen a lot of late-night shows like "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" make it all digestible by skewering topics of the day. "Alien News Desk" takes this a step further by discussing some topics we take for granted and pointing out just how silly some of them are.

Other than the fact that this is clearly a funny sci-fi series, it also feels like something you would see on "Star Trek: Lower Decks." There's no reason why there can't be an episode where our cast is watching a news broadcast from an alien civilization trying to make sense of Earth.


If you're a fan of "Lower Decks" and a fan of "Rick and Morty," then "Doomlands" is definitely the show for you. This series feels like a reality that exists within the "Ricky and Morty" multiverse. In other words, it's dingy, violent, perverted, and just plain bonkers. The show takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape where pretty much everyone is trying to kill each other, and the only refuge (kind of) is a bar called the Oasis that moves through this hellish place.

It doesn't have the same heart or charm as "Lower Decks," but the tone and some of the concepts belong in a few of the more extreme corners of that galaxy. It was created by Josh O'Keefe, who's a relative newcomer to the television business (going by his IMDb, anyway), and there aren't any major stars doing voices to pull in a massive audience either. The show is simply a no-holds-barred adult-oriented comedy that goes off the rails in the very first episode and never looks back.

Robot Chicken

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" is a show for fans made by fans. Creator Mike McMahan absolutely loves the franchise, as proven by all the references to "Trek" minutiae that most of us wouldn't remember right away. Even the characters in the show are fans of other characters from previous "Trek" series.

This is the entire ethos behind "Robot Chicken." After several seasons, the show manages to maintain a sense of pure and spontaneous creativity with a passion for all things pop culture. It's essentially an animated sketch show lampooning everything you can imagine. Yes, it's become well known for its excellent "Star Wars" parodies, but it goes far beyond that. Centering around a cyborg fowl watching bizarre shows, the series treats its fans to everything from a Barbie fight club to the Joker showing up in "The Shawshank Redemption."

Created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, the show has come a long way with its animation over the years, but it still has a delightfully homemade touch. This feels like friends sitting around with their augmented action figures creating their own hilarious scenes, only concerned with making themselves laugh. Again, it's fans making TV for fans.

Gravity Falls

Just because "Gravity Falls" is the only show on this list intended for a younger audience, that doesn't mean its standards for comedy, characterization, and worldbuilding are any less than the others. On the contrary, one could argue that this quirky mystery series from Disney has enough lore and depth of character to rival even the longest-running series included here.

The show is about brother and sister Dipper and Mabel Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal) spending time in the fictitious town of Gravity Falls with their Grunkle Stan (Alex Hirsch). Immediately upon their arrival, they notice something isn't right about this place — we're talking psychics and sea monsters and haunted convenience stores. As a result, the two become detectives investigating strange phenomena, although their adventures never really go where you think they will.

What begins as an adorable show about unusual things becomes something even more special as the show grows denser and the tone gets a little darker (without becoming miserable). Even though it only aired for two seasons, it developed a very dedicated fanbase. The fans were so committed to their love for the show that creator Alex Hirsch launched an alternate reality game called "Cipher Hunt" in 2016 for those who still cared about the series.

Beavis and Butt-Head

At first, comparing "Beavis and Butt-Head" to "Star Trek: Lower Decks" doesn't make a whole lot of sense. While the crew of the USS Cerritos can be a bit absent-minded at times, they never reach the level of stupidity achieved by the titular Beavis and his buddy, Butt-Head. These are two goofs who spend most of their time watching music videos and getting into trouble, snickering the entire time.

The humor is pretty different too. A lot of the comedy in "Beavis and Butt-Head" comes from seeing two completely oblivious teenagers interact with the world around them and failing to grasp social norms. That being said, these two morons — whose only ambition in life is to lose their virginity at some point — have been on some impressive adventures.

You have to take the "Beavis and Butt-Head" franchise as a whole to see the similarities. In the film "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," they travel to space, get caught in a wormhole, and come out in the 21st century. This, for them, is the future. That holds up side by side with any adventure had by the Cerritos. Plus, these two characters are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to being underdogs. They're such underachievers that the "Lower Decks" characters would feel sorry for them. They'd be wasting their time though. As far as Beavis and Butt-Head are concerned, they're the coolest guys around.