I was nervous when I first heard the announcement that Paramount Pictures would be taking the Star Trek franchise back into an animated format (despite the acclaim the original Animated Series garnered there is a lot of discussion over how much of it is to be considered canon by ‘true fans’).Then, throw in the fact that it was going to be a comedy… I was thinking ‘red alert!’
So I was anxious about digging into the first episode when it first hit the airwaves, but after a shakey beginning, and that could be argued of most series, not just Trek, as they are introducing characters and situations, ships and enivronments, and diving right into a narrative, I found the show to be Trek at its heart, and filled with enough well-earned laughs to be really damned enjoyable.
Set after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, we are treated to the first season’s ten episodes as we get to know the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, particularly those working on the lower decks, like Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Boimler (Jack Quaid), Tendi (Noel Wells) and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero).
Up on the bridge, Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) runs the show, aided by her trust and self-confident first officer, Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell). There’s also a feline doctor, T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) and a Bajoran security chief, Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) and they, and the entire crew continue the human adventure of boldly going.
The stories are very much in the Trek vein, but they are also so layered with references to all the other series, and movies, visual nods, easter eggs, it’s jam-packed and I just got so much enjoyment out of it. I went from being anxious about it to looking forward to each week’s episode.
And now, they’re all on blu-ray, and enjoying being nestled in with the rest of my Trek collection. All ten episodes from the first season are here, as well as a number of featurettes on that introduce us to the voice cast, and the creation of the series, a trailer for an in-universe movie, animatics that give us extended and deleted scenes, as well as the blu-ray exclusive, Lower Decktionary that looks behind the scenes at the titles and individual episodes. Through it all, it’s a great relief to hear these people talk about how much they love the incarnations of Star Trek, and that despite Lower Decks being a comedy, that they want to be faithful to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.
These episodes are so much fun, and I love that the series also boasts some great guest stars from the Trek franchise, and that the series ties itself very much into the fabric that has been crafted by the series and films. It’s a laugh-filled voyage, that enbraces Trek in all its forms. I love it!
Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season One is available on blu-ray now from Paramount Canada! Boldly go!