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It had been years an animated version of Star Trek graced the screen. The first, and only version of a cartoon Trek was The Animated Series, which ran on Saturday mornings from 1973-74. TAS, as many refer to The Animated series, ran for just a season and a half, but was praised for not presenting a dumbed-down version of the series, even though the primary audience was children.

So forty years later, things have changed. When TAS aired, there were really just three channels to choose from (four if you count PBS). Now there are literally hundreds of cable channels, and streaming is starting to become the dominant form of TV-style delivery. Could Star Trek try animation again? Their rival, Star Wars, had been producing animated shows for some time for much success.

In 2019, fans got a glimpse of what an animated Star Trek could be, with two episodes of Short Treks — “Ephraim and Dot” and “The Girl Who Made The Stars.” These were not new series, and could be seen as one-off experiments, and not necessarily canon either. But Trek fans had been teased of the possible introduction of new animated shows, which would be unlike anything seen before.

Enter a writer-producer from one of most successful animated shows on Cartoon Network — Mike McMahan. The show, Rick and Morty, is beloved science fiction spoof that was the perfect spot for McMahan, who admits that he’s a nerd and an incredibly huge Star Trek fan. McMahon must be pinching himself, since he now gets to run his own Star Trek animated series — Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Mike McMahan, Star Trek: Lower Decks creator. Courtesy of CBS All Access
Mike McMahan, Star Trek: Lower Decks creator. Courtesy of CBS All Access

“We’re not trying to replace Star Trek,” said McMahan in an interview with Polygon. “We’re not saying this is the new version of what Star Trek has to be. Star Trek brings me a lot of joy, and as a comedy writer I never thought I was going to get to write it. This is me trying to do the version of the show that I know how to make.”

Lower Decks is set in the post Nemesis era, but not before the events of Picard. It follows the story of the folks behind the scenes which make the U.S.S. Cerritos:

  • Ensign Beckett Mariner, voiced by Tawny Newsome
  • Ensign Brad Boimler, voiced by Jack Quaid
  • Ensign Tendi, voiced by Noël Wells
  • Ensign Rutherford, voiced by Eugene Cordero

The bridge crew includes Dawnn Lewis, plays the Cerritos’ Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O’Connell brings Commander Jack Ransom to life, Dr. T’Ana is voiced by Gillian Vigman, and Lieutenant Shaxs is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.

Instead of leading the way, the U.S.S. Cerritos and her crew do the dirty work, which the Enterprise would never touch, like “Second Contact.” This takes place after First Contact with a new species or race, and is much, much less glamorous.

The show is funny, and has already been renewed for a second 10-show season. The animation is by Titmouse, and the show began airing on CBS All Access on August 2, 2020.

LDS Epsiodes:

Check out our reviews and rankings of each of Star Trek: Lower Decks episodes.

Season 1Season 2
No. Episode Name Air Date
1 Second Contact Aug. 6, 2020
2 Envoys Aug. 13, 2020
3 Temporal Edict Aug. 20, 2020
4 Moist Vessel Aug. 27, 2020
5 Cupid’s Errant Arrow Sept. 3, 2020
6 Terminal Provocations Sept. 10, 2020
7 Much Ado About Boimler Sept. 17, 2020
8 Veritas Sept. 24, 2020
9 Crisis Point Oct. 1, 2020
10 No Small Parts Oct. 8, 2020
No. Episode Name Air Date

News from LDS:

We’ll bring you the latest updates and headlines from the team who created and produced Lower Decks, and related news here: