For several decades we’ve followed the brave and bold officers of Starfleet, true heroes and leaders. Now we meet the other guys…
Following the lives of four junior officers on one of Starfleet’s least remarkable starships, Lower Decks is an adult animated comedy from the creator of Rick & Morty and author of Next Generation comedy book “Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season” Mike McMahon. The story focuses on the lives and antics of those on the outer circle of the real action and who’s responsibilities are largely meaningless.
Set on board the USS Cerritos, a ship who’s mission is primarily “Second Contact” which involves flying in after the bigger heroes make first contact and filling out all the paperwork, Lower Decks is the second animated series in the Star Trek universe using a thin line art style and comedic tone. It’s 25 minute episodes follow four ensigns who live in the barracks of the ship and who’s jobs mostly involve cleaning, note taking and whatever unimportant tasks needs done in comparison to the explorational expectations of the Trek universe; some who choose to remain at the bottom rung of the ladder, some who are desperate to break into promotion.
Set in 2380, only a year after Star Trek Nemesis, Lower Decks was one of the few shows that could continue production through the COVID pandemic due to the animation set up and having actors record their lines from home.
Creator Mike McMahon has noted that the joy in creating the show is allowing the cast to improvise their lines which adds to the comedy and lets everyone work to their strengths.
Initially commissioned for a minimum of two seasons in October 2018, Lower Decks is only the second animated series to come from the Star Trek world following the 1973 animated continuation of the original series.
While animated in the style of Rick & Morty, the design in both character and background art is specifically designed to reflect the era of the Next Generation and was set following that time due to McMahon’s love for the series. Even in uniform design which was based on discarded designs made for Generations.
Lower Decks’ first season was set to launch internationally following Season 3 of Discovery. However, due to the pandemic causing production and scheduling issues, it was released in 2020 in the United States before an international distributor was secured. Lower Decks will continue to air on Paramount+ in the United States, while international rights in several terrories – including here in the UK & Europe – remain with Amazon Prime video.