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I Can’t Wait for the New Star Trek Animated Comedy to Beam Down

Not everything has to be doom and gloom and Romulans all the time.

Star Trek: The Animated Series followed the crew of the Enterprise after their cancellation.

We are living in a Star Trek renaissance. CBS is giving us more Trek than we can shake a phaser at (probably don’t shake a phaser though, best not to risk them going off), so while we’re still in Chris Pine limbo with the movies, we can assuage our grief with plenty of television. Currently, the only projects announced are a second season of Star Trek Discovery and a Picard TV series, but today we finally got a look at the sunnier side of Starfleet with the upcoming animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks.

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Lower Decks will focus on, in the words of showrunner Mike McMahan, “the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end.” The series will focus on the support crew on a less important starship, so won’t necessarily be solving intergalactic crises. The focus will be more on office comedy, which will be a fresh look at the Star Trek universe.

Executive producer Alex Kurtzman said of McMahan, who worked as a writer on Rick and Morty, “[McMahan’s] cat’s name is Riker. His son’s name is Sagan. The man is committed. He’s brilliantly funny and knows every inch of every Trek episode, and that’s his secret sauce: He writes with the pure, joyful heart of a true fan. As we broaden the world of Trek to fans of all ages, we’re so excited to include Mike’s extraordinary voice.”

McMahan got his Trek start when he began tweeting parody scripts for The Next Generation and scored a book, Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season. McMahan is a Trekkie through and through, and his voice already sounds perfect for the series; the title even references a beloved TNG episode.

This is a absolutely brilliant move on CBS’s part. Star Trek as a franchise had sort of stalled with the release of the Kelvin timeline films, which are my absolute favorites but which came out too far apart to really keep the franchise in the eyes and hearts of the public (the added bonus of Into Darkness being terrible did not help). Star Trek Discovery drew some ire from fans and critics, but it was something new and fresh, which the majority of fans were drawn to. There are now shorts and a tie-in game to help build hype for the upcoming second season, and of course, the forthcoming Picard show is making everyone scream with excitement.

By building the Star Trek brand around different stories, they’re creating a fully fledged universe. Lower Decks will bring the comedy to a series that is oftentimes serious and dramatic, and could be a great gateway for younger fans to get interested in the series. It also opens the door to different Star Trek stories that aren’t all the same “captain solves problem that is a metaphor for social justice issues” formula; while it’s my favorite formula, we need to breathe more life into the universe.

I hope we see all genres come to life in the Trek ‘verse, from comedy to sci-fi to maybe even horror or romance. They could even do a young adult-centered series set at Starfleet Academy, like the Starfleet Academy tie-in books from 2009 that centered on Kirk, Bones, and Uhura at the Academy in the Kelvin timeline (all four books are currently sitting in various spots around my apartment begging to be read and livetweeted). There is so much that the Trek universe can offer, and I’m glad that potential is being reached by CBS.

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: NBC)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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