In a bid to continue their expansion of the Star Trek universe, CBS All Access has ordered Star Trek: Lower Decks a 30-minute adult animated comedy series from the head writer and producer of Rick and Morty, Mike McMahan. The new series will focus on the support crew (i.e. non-coms) of one of Starfleet’s least important ships.
As a comedy, I have no doubt that this will work out quite well. Clearly CBS All Access feels they have been beaten to the punch by Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville and wants to pull viewers away from that show to this one. Comparisons will no doubt be made between the two by fans of both shows.
Comedy is nothing new in Star Trek. Almost right from the beginning, there were humorous elements in the show. Some were less apparent than others, but episodes like Trouble with Tribbles and I, Mudd to Menage a Troi or Our Man Bashir and the stellar Trials & Tibbilation doing an entire series based on comedy is not far-fetched in the least.
Choosing to do an animated series is not new either. The last animated series to air was Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973-1974, and was aimed at children. Even though it was aimed at children, the series was a direct sequel to the original Star Trek series and the characters are voiced by the same cast. While the stories are a little more simplistic they were written by many of the same writers of the original series.
The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek as it was originally called, was primarily an adventure series for children with elements of comedy, just like the original series. It worked well and had a few unique elements not seen in any other Star Trek series or film.
With this latest announcement and the new Captain Picard series in the works, it’s clear that CBS All Access is counting on Star Trek to be their flagship property. This sounds like a fine idea, in theory, however, they should look closely at Disney’s handling ofStar Wars to avoid the many pitfalls they’ve already fallen into.
I’ll look forward to giving this new series a look but I have one question. Will the Kzinti make a return? You can read more at startrek.com.