This year’s San Diego Comic-Con saw the announcement of more Star Trek-related content than we’ve seen in years, and among them, the upcoming animated series Lower Decks aims to be a great show for fans and non-fans alike.
From writer Mike McMahon, most recently known for his work in Rick & Morty, the show is described as being all about families. Although the show is set within the Star Trek universe, comedy is at its core without making fun of the long-running series. Instead, the comedy comes in the form of examining the lives and happenings of four unimportant ensigns on a generally unimportant ship. Sounds a bit like The Orville in its first season.
The show is set in the year 2380, right after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, which was the final film for The Next Generation series. Each character will bring something different to the table. Ensign Tendi, voiced by Noel Wells, appears to be in a constant state of amazement by everything she encounters in her work in the medical bay.
Ensign Rutherford, voiced by Eugene Cordero, is an engineer on the ship, but McMahon stresses that “unlike Geordi, he does not solve the problems by the end of the episode. [He] has a cyborg implant that he just got and is figuring it out.” Given how important Lieutenant Geordi La Forge was in The Next Generation with keeping the ship in one piece, McMahon’s description is anything but reassuring for the safety of the crew!
This is not the first foray for Star Trek into the animated medium for storytelling, though it has been some time since a real attempt has been made. The 1973 Star Trek: The Animated Series was both a success and a failure. Watch the short clip below to get a feel for the take on the original show in animated form.
The show initially was targeted towards children during Saturday morning cartoons, but was instead highly popular with adults who appreciated the science-fiction of the show combined with the freedom to explore different ideas thanks to animation compared to live-action. The show even won an Emmy in 1975, but this could not keep the show afloat.
In making Lower Decks an animated show, Alex Kurtzman, the creator of Star Trek: Discovery, states that the decision over live-action was inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. There, we were able to see more interesting and extreme storytelling that would have been difficult and expensive in live-action, such as the budget that would have been necessary to make CGI characters of all the Spider-people variants.
Lower Decks seems to be a perfect show for those who want more things related to Star Trek, and likely a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the show due to the heavy comedic aspects that the show will be leaning into with its story.
Lower Decks will be released onto CBS All Access in 2020.