Mike McMahan Says ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Characters Are Funny, But Still Starfleet Smart

More details are emerging about the upcoming CBS All Access animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Finding comedy in Star Trek without breaking Star Trek

Lower Decks creator (and Rick and Morty alumnus) Mike McMahan has been out promoting his other new sci-fi series, Solar Opposites. We recently reported on his explanation of how setting Lower Decks in the era shortly after Star Trek: Nemesis fits into Star Trek canon. In a new interview with Slashfilm, McMahan has provided some more details on the characters, starting with his general approach:

A big thing that was important to me was figuring out how do we comedically access these characters. How can these characters be funny and not break Star Trek? You can’t have a Morty [from Rick and Morty] in Star Trek. You can’t just have a stupid person in Starfleet, otherwise it breaks the aspirational paradigm of what humanity is like in Starfleet. So our leads are foils for each other, but they’re very much ingrained in Star Trek.

More details on Ensigns Mariner and Boimler

The show will follow four different “lower decks” crewmembers on the USS Cerritos. The two most prominent will be Ensign Mariner (voiced by Tawny Newsome) and Ensign Boimler (voiced by Jack Quaid). McMahan offered some more details on both:

You have Ensign Beckett Mariner, who is sort of like our Tom Cruise/Maverick, where she’s amazing at Starfleet stuff, and she’s incredibly knowledgeable, but she just hates following the rules and she bristles at the military structure. She wants to do whatever she wants. She’s kind of like Captain Kirk if Kirk wasn’t a captain and didn’t have the power. Kirk would follow his gut, and she follows her gut.

Ensign Mariner

Then, Ensign Brad Boimler also knows everything about sci-fi stuff, and is also an amazing Starfleet crew member, but he’s so by-the-book and so burdened by following the rules that he can’t follow his gut. So the comedic friction there is that they both want the same thing, they’re both good at this stuff, but emotionally — and from a human level — they’re completely different about how they do it.

Ensign Boimler

Some more info on both the four Lower Decks ensigns and the bridge crew characters was revealed at a SDCC panel last year.

The new Slashfilm interview didn’t specify when Lower Decks will be released, which is still said to be sometime this year.


Keep up on all the Star Trek: Lower Decks news here at TrekMovie.com.

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kmart

Wonder if these are the folks who should be running SNW … or maybe writing for THE ORVILLE. Cautiously interested, even though animation is not my thing at all.

Faze Ninja

The animation looks great.

T'Pol's Beard

Putting animation people in charge of live action is rarely done, even if there is one strong recent example (Dave Filoni) but i’d argue he’s an exception in that he’d been showrunning Star Wars animated projects since 2007.

If it were my choice I’d look for someone who worked on a show who’s vibe I wanted to emulate. I’ve said elsewhere, but my choice would be someone involved with the FX series Justified: a critically acclaimed adventure drama that had season long arcs, but also individual episode stories. Although it often goes to some darker places than i’d want for SNW, it has a really good mix of drama and light-heartedness, very strong stories about morals and character, and is overall just a heck of a lot of fun. It also has a similarly charismatic leading actor (Timothy Olyphant).

Corinthian7

Didn’t Brad Bird come from animation as well? Likewise Seth McFarlane. I’m not saying that McMahan should be put in charge of SNW, he needs to prove himself first but coming from a background in animated shows shouldn’t rule him out. Personally I was very nervous about an animated series from one of the Rick and Morty writers but everything I’m hearing from the guy is making me wonder if Lower Decks might be the most Trek like show out of all the recent additions to canon.

T'Pol's Beard

I think Brad Bird is a good example, but he was not a showrunner, which is a very different skill set. Not to say feature film directors can’t be good showrunners, of course.

McFarlane is an odd duck because he only ever really show runs his own stuff. Family Guy, 1MW2DITW, Orville, those are all his creations.

But those are good examples of animation folk being given a shot at live action, and i’m sure there are more. But it’s still very uncommon, much more common to move a live action producer or director into a showrunner role. And the idea of giving a guy who only has ever worked on some zany animated comedies the reigns of a really important live action Trek property makes me a bit nervous.

If you were going to many ANY animation vet the showrunner, i’d pick Bruce Timm. He oversaw a connected animation universe, is an experienced writer, producer, and even the odd acting role.

I also think he could capture the right tone. Not saying he should do it, but he makes more sense than McMahon. Let’s at least see how Lower Decks turns out before we talk about giving him something as important as SNW.

Remember how excited everyone was about Fuller, Breyer, and Chabon, and now a big chunk of the fandom seems to have turned on them.

ML31

Fandom turned on them because of what they produced. It is possible to be excited because someone who has a positive history is in charge. But that doesn’t mean they are incapable of making mistakes.

T'Pol's Beard

I didn’t imply otherwise, so not sure why you bothered to respond.

I was simply pointing out how well-known and well-liked show-runners that fans were excited about are now on the outs. So I find it especially humorous when people excited about someone like McMahon.

ML31

It sounded as if you may have not entirely understood why a large hunk of fans have turned on them. That’s all. If you did know already then I withdraw my comment.

The River Temarc

“Fandom turned on [Fuller, Breyer, and Chabon] because of what they produced.”

Um, no — fandom hasn’t “turned on them” in the slightest. Let’s be clear: from what CBS has said, PICARD is a hit. And when you’re a publicly-traded corporation, you don’t get to lie about things like that on analyst conference calls.

What’s “turned on them” is a vocal subset of fans on Twitter and blogs. That’s not more representative of fandom as a whole than anti-lockdown protestors in Michigan represent the electorate, or Bernie Bros represent the Democratic primary electorate.

ML31

From out here in the fans world it sure does look like at the very least the fans in general are no longer giving Secret Hideout any more slack. Yes, there are people like you who enjoy what they are churning out but I think more are thinking it is mediocre to bad than think it above average or better. This has nothing to do with CBS’s parent corporation. And I doubt you have any special insights into what is discussed in any meeting with anyone at CBS. Much less the higher ups. Here on the outside all we know is what CBS decides to release. And they don’t release very much. Further there is no legal requirement to keep them from altering or spinning their public statements. I cannot tell you if Picard is a “hit” with CBS or not for sure. I will say it is likely their most watched original. But with nothing to compare it too what does that really mean? And we all know that when Discovery started they publicly said what their subscriber target was and they were closed lipped for the longest time before they finally came out and admitted they were 2 million subscribers below what they had hoped. Now this number has continued to rise. But it has been a while since they announced any figures. And I, for one, think it telling that they are reluctant to shout out their subscriber totals.

The River Temarc

“Yes, there are people like you who enjoy what they are churning out but I think more are thinking it is mediocre to bad than think it above average or better.” <– Your evidence, sir? Pixie dust?

"And I doubt you have any special insights into what is discussed in any meeting with anyone at CBS." <– Actually, yes, I do: they're called "analyst conference calls." On these calls, corporate executives provide guidance on earnings and strategy to equity analysis on Wall Street who follow particular stocks, in this case ViacomCBS. IIRC, CBS has stated on these calls that PICARD is a hit. And again, executives don't get to lie on these calls, because securities laws.

So there's my evidence that either existing fans are lapping it up, or they're bringing in a new audience, or both. Yours is…Twitter. Which favored Bernie for the Democratic nomination. If you believed the internet in 1990, the likes of Atsushi Kanamori would have said TNG was a dud. The internet is not a reliable guide to public opinion.

ML31

“Your evidence, sir? Pixie dust?”

Probably similar to your evidence. Except I do not use my personal opinion of the material to alter my conclusions as you have been.

“Actually, yes, I do: they’re called “analyst conference calls.””

Something you have absolutely zero information on unless you are taking part in those calls. Which I would wager everything you are not. You speak of “pixie dust”. There is your pixie dust. Pretending you are so important that you are involved in the meetings of CBS-Viacom. So please stop acting like you have inside information no one else does. It only weakens your opinions and theories.

DIGINON

You can easily find transcripts of these calls online. They are not secret.

ML31

Link?

The River Temarc

Pro tip: quit while you’re ahead. You haven’t got the slightest understanding of US securities laws and how they work. (And yes, I do.)

Listed companies don’t get to selectively disclose to analysts, and transcripts of analyst calls are available. We know exactly what guidance ViacomCBS is providing to Wall Street. That’s how the system is *meant* to work.

Methusalah

Hey River Temarc, just read this sub-thread. You and DIGINON are 100% correct. Records of those calls are available through transcripts for all publicly traded corporations under SEC rules and Federal Law going back to Sarbanes-Oxley, and strengthened further after the last recession. That dude doesn’t seem to understand how this all works.

ML31

Again, you are not understanding what is said. There is indeed a difference between what is said among those in the “know” and what is released to the press. There is nothing secret about this. Maybe you do have an understanding of how these things work. I really have no idea. But based on your misunderstanding of what is being said here it suggests that you may not.

The River Temarc

Analyst conference calls are available right here:

https://ir.viacbs.com/events-webcasts-annual-meetings

Incidentally, the landing page for ViacomCBS investor relations features scenes from PICARD. That’s a marketing decision, and you don’t showcase your duds.

ML31

Thanks for the link. I have to admit however, I listened to the May meeting and it really sounded like a sales pitch. Everything was rosy and wonderful according to the speakers. Full disclosure I got really tired of them patting themselves on the back and skipped around so I did not hear every word of the entire thing. But it really sounds like they are just trying to tell the shareholders (the money) that they are doing just great but I did not hear any specifics. Is there a point in the recording where they actually dish out specifics? You sound like you listened to all of them. Where do they do that in the recording?

Zinc Saucier

Mike Judge? Phil Lord & Chris Miller? Terry Gilliam??

Heck, as a showrunner you dont even have to actually direct. You hire other people to handle that. Not saying there isn’t a difference but I imagine the two skills intersect a lot.

DIGINON

There are a lot more real-world constraints when running a live action show compared to running an animated show. In animation it’s basically: If you can imagine it you can do it. In live action you need to worry about set construction, props, costumes, make-up, locations, etc. There are a lot more limitations to what you can realize. Schedules are also probably more complicated because a lot more people actually need to come together at the right time.

T'Pol's Beard

Exactly, Diginon. Zip’s last statement is actually one of the reasons why this isn’t common.

Picking the right people and having a strong, executable vision for an entire series is a LOT different, and challenging in different ways, than just directing a 90 minute feature.

T'Pol's Beard

Mike Judge, like McFarlane, only worked on his own creations.

Lord & Miller are a bad example, as they are famous for leaving high profile projects like SOLO and THE FLASH. They also directed the live action film 21 Jump Street as their second film.

Terry Gilliam, like McFarlane, got his directing gig working on his own creations. I keep mentionting this caveat because there’s a big difference between directing your own creation and someone else’s like Trek.

Also, show-running is very different than directing a movie, so none of these counter examples are even great examples.

And like I said, a handful of big time names making the move from animation doesn’t mean it’s common. I don’t know why people feel the need to argue this. It’s not a big deal. Read my comment in full and try to understand the overall meaning rather than pick apart and argue the little details.

Zinc Saucier

You would delegate most of that stuff out to other people. And you have producers to handle a lot of it as well. My understanding is that showrunners on these types of shows are mostly just the head writers. They lead the writers room and have final say on all the scripts.

I mean, Michael Chabon was a novelist before Picard and as far as I can tell had absolutely no film production experience prior to that. But he was the showrunner. Call me crazy but I think running a cartoon show might have a bit more overlap with running a live action one than writing books does.

I understand the point you are trying to make, I just disagree. I accept that you are correct in that it is rarely done, but I disagree that that somehow means they wouldn’t be capable of doing it.

odradek

He did movies. He wrote for John Carter and Spider-man if I remember rightly.

Zinc Saucier

Yeah, wrote. That’s not production. And you know the difference between writing for animation and writing for live action? In animation the writing has to be much more detailed. You have to describe exactly how you want every single scene to look, camera motions and everything. In live action you leave everything far more vague so the director has room to figure it out.

Faze Ninja

I’m interested, at least it won’t take itself too seriously.

After Star Trek: Nemesis and exploring strange new worlds.

Hopefully Lower Decks comes out this year.

The River Temarc

“I’m interested, at least it won’t take itself too seriously.”

That’s always a promising criterion.

ML31

Nothing new here. We’ve seen these character assessments before. The main mystery still is when will it become available?

T'Pol's Beard

Considering Rick and Morty seasons airs sporadically at best, and Solar Opposities was being worked on for over 2 years (I actually had a friend who briefly worked on it when it was in early development), I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Faze Ninja

Solar Opposites is on Hulu. Your friend worked on it, nice. Rick and Morty has new episodes now.

T'Pol's Beard

Yes it is. They’d been working on it for 2 years (at least) when it finally aired. My friend worked on character design, early in the process.

Tiger2

They already said its suppose to come out this year. In fact before the Coronavirus hit in America the producers said the show would be ready to go literally this month. So it’s not that far behind but yes the crisis has probably slowed things waaaaay down now finishing season one. It will probably still be ready to go sometime this year though.

T'Pol's Beard

Coronavirus or not, until they lock in a date, i’m always cautious about vague statements like “coming in X year”. Remember Discover was delayed 9 months, and DSC Season 3 was said to be airing “right after Picard” and it’s clear that wasn’t really close to being ready even before the shutdowns. So who knows about this one. I’m sure it’s coming soon, but like I said, not really holding my breath for it.

Tiger2

OK but this was said just two months ago. And they said it would be ready to go by May at the time, it was just up to CBS to decide when to air them. I’m not disagreeing with you generally but they wouldn’t have been that specific if they were still that far behind. But yes no telling when it will come now. It could be until next year.

As for Discovery, they basically were finished. It was just scoring the episodes and working on the FX for the later ones, but they probably were going to be working on it while the show aired. Remember they were still shooting the show when the show started airing in its first season (and why they had a mid-season break to catch up). In this case they finished months ago.

T'Pol's Beard

I’ll refer you to my last statement:

“I’m sure it’s coming soon, but like I said, not really holding my breath for it.”

As for discovery, they weren’t done with FX or scoring, or editing. Without COVID, I think it was still probably 3 months away. Not terrible, not a bad thing, but it’s why until they announce a hard date, I don’t put much stock into nebulous release announcements.

Tiger2

“As for discovery, they weren’t done with FX or scoring, or editing. Without COVID, I think it was still probably 3 months away.”

This statement that the shows would be ready by May was made back in January.

“Kadin answered, “It’s not up to me. CBS All Access schedules it.” She went on to explain: “Come May, a lot of things will be ready. Lower Decks will be ready. Discovery season 3 will be ready, but obviously they’re going to schedule it for people to have a constant flow of material.”

That was two months before Hollywood had to shut down like everyone else. Again, we’re not really disagreeing. I’m only saying when they throw out something so specific as a month then clearly they were pretty far along. But yes same time they probably wasn’t going to have EVERY episode wrapped up by May either. TV doesn’t work that way. They are usually working on things through the last weeks of the final episode is aired.

That’s literally what happened with The Walking Dead. I don’t know if you watch that show but they aired the entire season this year EXCEPT for the finale because they were still working on that when the shut down happened in March. They said they had one more week of FX to finish but they simply can’t get together to finish it. The last episode was suppose to air in April. And it still hasn’t aired.

So we’re kind of saying the same thing. No, I don’t the entire show would’ve been wrapped up but clearly enough episodes would’ve been ready to go now if what they said is true. But yes they would’ve months away to finish the whole season but that’s common for most shows. Only places like Netflix and Amazon have the entire season start before they finish because they throw it all up at once. Majority of shows are literally STILL filming when the season starts as the old Star Trek shows did because there was no way you can complete 25 episodes in 5-6 months obviously.

Tiger2

I meant Netflix and Amazon have the season finish before they start…got that mixed somehow. ;)

tom riker

keep it coming guys… loving it all

T'Pol's Beard

Always wanted an animated Star Trek series. Sad my kids are all grown before it happened. Looking forward to this.

MattR

This one is meant for teens and adults so it’s probably better that they’re older.

T'Pol's Beard

Nah, i’d rather my kids still be 10-14. I never had an issue with them watching stuff for teens.

Faze Ninja

My brother is 10.

T'Pol's Beard

I don’t know if i’d let a 10yr old watch R&M, maybe a 13yr old… we’ll have to see how adult this show really is. I hope it’s more along the lines of the Simpsons than Rick and Morty in terms of age range.

ML31

I hope it is more Rick & Morty than The Simpsons.

T'Pol's Beard

So you want a more family friendly live action show with less swearing for SNW and DSC and PIC, but you want an 14+ adult themed cartoon with vulgar language, sex, and violence?

OK. Whatever floats your boat.

ML31

If you are responding to me… You made a number of bad assumptions. I never mentioned what I was looking for in SNW or STP. And when it comes to R&M compared to the Simpsons… I mean that R&M is actually funny and the Simpsons stopped being funny over 20 years ago. I honestly don’t care if the humor is vulgar, family friendly or what. I just want it funny.

Faze Ninja

My baby brother might watch it. He’s too young to be a Star Trek fan. This could introduce him to the franchise.

TAS is a good introduction Ninja.

We got the TAS DVD set when our kids were in primary and they loved it.

But Lower Decks could work too. I recall it being pitched as a show that everyone could watch, from 8 to 80. Hopefully, they’ve stuck with that.

Methusalah

Question: if this is suppose to be canon as CBS claims, then how are they going to explain that all the humans and other characters have much larger heads in proportion to their bodies than in the other Star Trek series? The definition of canon has always been, “it’s what you see on screen,” so if I we are forced to accept this as canon then we need an explanation of this during the series?

Maybe they can have an animated Worf guest star, and they can show a background scene from TNG that shows TNG Worf…then animated Worf when asked the question why his head is now larger, can say, “That is me, and it is a long story”…then, eventually they can add a two-part ep that explains this all as an alternate Trek universe (like the Kelvin), but in this universe they had a “Big Head Retrovirus” that effected every species it the galaxy. They could do an awesome over-the-top fan service two-part ep to explain this…maybe even bring in Manny Coto to oversee the development of it!

Shoot it in B & W. Remember that episode where everyone’s light receptors failed?

Methusalah

LOL. Yep!

T'Pol's Beard

Underrated comment, Meth.

Methusalah

Thanks!

The River Temarc

“if this is suppose to be canon as CBS claims”

If you read the press release carefully — and again, corporate communications get vetted with a very, very, fined-toothed comb — they said no such thing.

They said that the series is *consistent* with canon, not that it creates new canon. Which is a subtle way to give people who dislike it permission to expunge it from canon completely. They’re never said anything similar about any other Trek.

There’s so much new Trek coming out lately (what, seven series proposals now?) that there is no way the idea of a coherent canon will survive, anyway.

Zinc Saucier

At first I assumed this comment was a joke. Now I’m not so sure.

Palizia

Waste of resources. Any number of live action series ideas would be more appealing than this.

Faze Ninja

I respectfully disagree with you there. This is not a waste of resources.

If Lower Decks is not for you, don’t watch it! You can keep watching the live action stuff.

T'Pol's Beard

What resources? Money? I don’t think it’s stopping them from doing more live action, as they did Picard, are doing DSC, and just greenlit Strange New Worlds.

ML31

Perhaps in your view. Lower Decks is still the most anticipated project for me from Secret Hideout. I’ve always wanted to see a Trek comedy show.

Methusalah

Maybe they will do a Trek musical for you next? ;-)

ML31

Not something I would look forward to. I would put the Trek musical in the same place as a Section 31 show led by a cartoony tyrant.

Legate Damar

If done well, a Trek musical would be pretty awesome.

Thorny

Musical episodes of shows only work if the cast can sing. Witness “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, where only like two of the regular cast could actually carry a tune, and SMG was not one of them. The songs were well written, but the performances were terrible.

Jako

Smg in buffy?

Thorny

Hah! To me “SMG” is always gonna be Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Legate Damar

Like I said, it would have to be done well.

T'Pol's Beard

No reason they can’t do a broadway show, along the lines of the Spider-Man or Harry Potter. Not for me, but why not?

If a great producer of musicals walked into Secret Hideout and pitched a marvelous musical Trek concept, why wouldn’t that be worth a shot as a special?

Basically, that’s what happened with Short Treks: Mike McMahan showed up with a pitch for an animated show, and an idea for a live action short (The Escape Artist). Kurtzman, smart guy that he is, says that his reaction was to give McMahan an office and let him develop the animated series to fill a different niche in Trek offering?

So how does that divert resources from live action series?

It doesn’t. Rather, it shows that Kurtzman has a good instinct for portfolio management.

Methusalah

To each his own. I could care less for animated Trek and Trek musicals. If I want to want cartoons or musicals, I don’t need Star Trek to do that.

Methusalah

Well said. Don’t like the kiddie humor and the huge heads thing — how could anyone consider that canon with a straight face?

This should be on Nickelodeon, and should be called something like, “Kids Star Trek Hour,” to mark a clear separation from the real stuff.

T'Pol's Beard

Canon is the last thing I think about when I see ANY new Trek show, live action or otherwise. I do think about it, but it’s the last thing on my list.

ML31

If the show is good I can allow some canon missteps. If the show is bad, then screwing with canon is just something else to complain about.

You really think that you’ll make future fans for life by calling out new Trek targeted to kids, or a broad age range, as not “the real stuff” and labeling it?

For my part, I’m pretty clear that it’s necessary for Trek to attract new and younger and global audiences in order for there to continue to be new Trek shows for the rest of my time on this earth as a viewer.

By the way, Lower Decks does not have “large heads”. Arguably, even the Short Trek ” The Girl Who Made the Stars” did not have the main character with a head on the scale of a typical young children’s show. It’s true that young kids respond to characters with large heads, as young kids have large heads themselves : not surprising that kids respond to seeing themselves represented.

The River Temarc

“For my part, I’m pretty clear that it’s necessary for Trek to attract new and younger and global audiences in order for there to continue to be new Trek shows for the rest of my time on this earth as a viewer.”

Creating content that causes tweens to think “that’s babyish” as soon as they hit 11-12 years of age isn’t a strategy for doing that; it’s a strategy for having them seek out something more adult as they grow up.

Tiger2

I’m still surprised we haven’t even gotten a trailer yet. Pretty excited about the show in general. Everything they said so far sounds interesting, but of course we still don’t know how that will transfer on screen.

And thanks TM for reporting all the news lately. I realized we gotten something about nearly all the shows recently including the most exciting one, introduction of Strange New Worlds. So much Star Trek, so many eras, it hasn’t been this fun discussing Trek since the 90s.

Faze Ninja

The people here don’t really like this show. One comment said Lower Decks is a “waste of resources”. The trailer is going to be incredible.

Star Trek is in a experimental phase right now and I like to see what they do with these shows.

Trek Movie has done a nice job reporting on the lastest news in the world of Trek and infinite possibilities.

Strange New World’s is the most exciting one. Lower Decks has a lot of risks but also comes with potential.

Tiger2

I can understand people being skeptical about it (especially if you’re not into Kurtzman Trek at all so far). I’ll be the first to admit an animated comedy doesn’t usually scream Star Trek to me either lol. In fact I was pretty skeptical until the first real news came out and that’s when I started to get more interested in it and they confirmed it would be canon. But we obviously won’t know how well it will translate until we see some footage at least (and why I want a freaking trailer already).

But yeah, I think its great to see Trek experimenting. It can be a little different as long as they keep a few of the shows more traditional which sounds like SNW might be. But when you’re making a dozen shows in the next ten years they have to find a way to distinguish them as much as possible.

And Johnathan Frakes said what he seen of it is at least funny, so that’s a positive.

Kaitlyn

Lots of people worried because of the tone of Rick and Morty, but this guy did the TNG Season 8 Twitter account before that, which had a perfect balance of recognising the show’s tone and ideas while also ramping up the silliness in ways that maintain character well. That Twitter account alone has been enough for me to trust that he knows and cares enough about Trek to not fuck with it too much.

Jako

As I can See, the majority of comments Here is positive towards stld

Sully

From the makers that don’t get it comes the series that nobody asked for. They didn’t even bother to fact check the uniform accuracy of the era. Mark my words that it’ll be full of dumbed down teenspeak and idiotic characters with ‘cool’ ‘badass’ attitude. That said, it’ll probably still yield characters less cartoony than DIS’s Tilly.

T'Pol's Beard

Nobody? I’ve been asking for a Star Trek animated comedy for 25 years.

I think I’ve been looking for more animated Trek for close to 50 years now.

That would be, I’ve been looking for more animated Trek since TAS stopped putting up new episodes 6 episodes into its second season in 1974.

I’m wondering if ViacomCBS will be able to make the marketing of Lower Decks and the Nickelodeon show line up in some way with the upcoming 50th anniversary of TAS.

Legate Damar

We’ve never seen 2380 before. Whatever uniforms they use are accurate to the era.

The animation has been in development for quite a while.

It’s almost surely the case that the uniform design for Lower Decks predates the costume design for the Picard flashback uniform, and they were designed for animation rather than for live action.

Kurtzman acknowledged on the Deadline podcast that the flashback scene with Raffi and Picard after the Synth attack was added and filmed later when they split the first two episodes into three.

So, I would say this is more like the situation where the TOS pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before aired was not aired first in 1966 and the uniforms were not the same as in the rest of TOS. Except:

1) we’ve been told that Lower Decks appears before the Synth attack;

2) the Cerritos is a lower ranked ship in the field and may not have got the new uniforms as soon as a Flag Officer and his staff, especially during a period when resources were constrained.

ML31

Where did you year that they split the first two episodes into three? Because they TOTALLY felt that way. Those three felt like they could have been easily done in two. Stretching the first act was a tremendous mistake. They would have been better off having 45 more minutes at the end to help tie up all the loose ends they created for themselves. Unless they intentionally left them hanging because they themselves had no idea how to deal with it….

T'Pol's Beard

I would much rather they had turned the LAST two episode into three, than the first two. The pacing in the last third of the season was all over the place.

The River Temarc

“Whatever uniforms they use are accurate to the era.”

Even the necks so narrow that you have to be a Suliban to put the uniform on?

DIGINON

Spandex. It stretches.

ML31

A number of people have asked for it. Many have wanted an animated show and many have asked for a comedy. And quite frankly, the uniforms they are wearing are the LAST thing I care about in this show. And I trust that a lot others really don’t care that much either. The show is a comedy. Do their uniforms really matter that much? I don’t think so.

T'Pol's Beard

This got me thinking, it’s a good thing this is animated, as live action sci-fi comedies are hard to get right, and for budgetary reasons are a lot riskier.

Methusalah

Not only that, can you believe the crazy size of all their heads in proportion to their bodies? CBS said this is canon, so how are they going to explain that as the series moves forward, given canon, by definition, is what you seen on screen?

Makes no sense???

Legate Damar

I dunno. How come the Tellarites in TOS looked like they were just wearing cheap plastic masks, while they look much more realistic in Enterprise in Discovery. Or, how come the Gorn looks like some guy wearing a stupid costume in Arena? If we can overlook those things, I don’t think that we need to have a problem with stylized animation.

You forgot the /s to denote sarcasm Methuselah.

DIGINON

If you really need hand holding to wrap your head around this just imagine you are seeing an artist’s rendering of the adventures of the USS Cerritos.
Some people really create problems where there are none…

Silvereyes

The head thing really bothers you, doesn’t it? It’s animation. It’s not meant to represent reality literally. Call it stylized.

Or maybe you were being sarcastic? Yeah that must be it. I fell for it. Shame on me.

Zinc Saucier

I can’t help but picture it as the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons saying it.

Alf in pog form

But will there be swearing? It’s not Star Trek at all if there is no swearing.

Legate Damar

Well, double dumb-ass on you.

Methusalah

LOL — awesome!

Alf in pog form

Legate Damar, best reply ever :)

Faze Ninja

Well, fuck that.

Sam

Artwork looks good, better than I previously thought. It would be ironic if this did turn out to be Kurtzman Trek’s strongest series. It’s entirely possible.

ML31

I think that likely. This might be the show that Kurtzman has touched the least. Which his the strong potential to make this the best show of the bunch.

Steve

Two black main characters and the female one being dominant towards the token white male. Yep, looks like CBS Trek and its sledgehammer approach to identity politics.

The thing is Steve, I suspect that you are the kind of person who would argue that the women he knows should feel represented in the term ‘mankind’, but doesn’t feel represented when leaders are female, of colour or another historically under-represented group.

Whenever someone makes comments like yours, I think of my mum-in-law, a long term sci-fi fan with a bookshelf of first editions and who loves Trek and Dr Who. Finally, she gets to see people like herself represented after decades putting out financially for franchises where people like herself were mainly in the background, but all you can do is bemoan what you see as identity politics.

I’d sincerely like to know why you think your dollars and eyes on screens should count more than hers. Especially when her dollars and loyalty to these franchises helped keep them going all these years just as much as any other fan’s.

ML31

“I suspect that you are the kind of person who would argue that the women he knows should feel represented in the term ‘mankind’, but doesn’t feel represented when leaders are female, of colour or another historically under-represented group.”

That would be an assumption with little to no evidence.

Methusalah

But it would be a hell of good guess!

ML31

Non Sequitor. A good guess requires some evidence or a logical reasoning. None exist in the above suspicion.

Silvereyes

Honestly, the only place I’ve seen « Non sequitur » used is by Nomad or on this site…

Methusalah

“Two black main characters and the female one being dominant towards the token white male. Yep, looks like CBS Trek and its sledgehammer approach to identity politics.”

There is your limited evidence. Limited evidence like this can lead to an educated guess that this is likely to be true. I’m not claiming it’s fact; I am providing a subjective statement that it’s a hell of good guess based on this statement above.

If you feel better, I’ll say TG47’s general conclusion about Steve is a hypothesis where we already have some limited data that supports the hypothesis, but that the hypothesis cannot yet be proven. Now, moving forward, if Steve makes more misogynistic and racially-charged comments, then TG47’s hypothesis can get proven beyond a reasonable doubt at some point.

ML31

No. You are making a mistake. You are attributing something to the writer of the comment only because the comment triggered something in your head that you mistakenly see as something that goes with someone who would write such a thing. The fact is that a person who points out that identity politics potentially exists does NOT suggest that person a misogynist or racist or anything else like that. I’ll give you it is possible but very unlikely.

Methusalah

You are coming across here as a bit naive, no offense meant.

I’ve run into a lot of “Steves” on the internet the last few years since that moron-liar-crook became president. It’s possible that TG47 and I wrong, but I doubt it.

Again, this is my hypothesis, and I admit that I don’t have enough information to prove it…so I’m not sure why we are still going back and forth on this?

ML31

It is not I who is being naive. I’m the one being realistic. I’m not pretending to know what a “steve” is on the internet. We don’t know a thing about the posters here really. So it’s disingenuous at best to jump to baseless conclusions. Why is this still going on? Only you can can answer that. My original post wasn’t even to you. You just jumped in. So why is this still going on?

Methusalah

“So it’s disingenuous at best to jump to baseless conclusions.”

Huh? I have clearly said this a hypothesis of mine, and I ADMIT that I don’t have enough information yet to prove it, so what is your problem?

AND MY SUBJECTIVE OPINION ONLY: yes, you are being naive on this, and I AM SUBJECTIVELY GUESSING ONLY that TG47, Bryan Burnette, Faze Ninja, based on their comments to Steve, would POSSIBLY share this SUBJECTIVE OPINION on mine.

OK, please go ahead now and have the last word. Thanks

ML31

Since you offered…

No one denied it was your hypothesis. My comment doesn’t take away from that. Both things are equally true. Your HYPOTHESIS is deemed to be disingenuous as you have no solid evidence of any kind to support it. No naivety on display there from me no matter how much you wish it was. Mentioning other people who have also made the same unsubstantiated conclusion does not make said conclusion any more reasonable. It doesn’t matter how many people build their house on mud. The foundation will be unstable every time.

Will this really be the last word? We shall see…

Methusalah

Boo!

Methusalah

Well said — I suspect that as well.

Steve, how’s the line at Red Lobster today?

Methusalah

…and is Steve the only one not wearing a mask because it interferes with his civil liberties?

Zinc Saucier

Ew. At least wait until you have more to judge the quality of the show on besides the characters identities. I imagine this will be the show Kurtzman has the least amount of involvement in.

Not to mention it’s a pretty common sitcom setup to have a female character dominant over a male one. Futurama comes to mind.

Methusalah

You are the kind of person me thinks who complains that there is too much black in black and white movies.

Faze Ninja

Steve is the kind of guy who is so tone deaf and racist it’s disgusting. “Identity Politics” or tribalism or whatever you call it.

Diversity and inclusivity in media is absolutely important. People deserved to be represented respectfully.

Steve

I’m not straight, nor white, nor racist or tone deaf. It’s easy to go “yay representation” but when it’s so obvious and forced as on CBS Trek it becomes distracting and frankly, lame.

The River Temarc

In the 23rd century, humanity is supposed to be united and under a democratic world government. White people are not the majority on Earth (indeed, very soon they will merely be a plurality in the US, and they already are in several states; why should they be the majority in Starfleet?

The bigger question is why all these main characters seem to be from the US.

Tiger2

How is it ANY less forced when you had a black woman, Asian guy and a freaking Russian together in TOS…in 1966???? Do you think that was common to see everywhere in America back then? This issue is beyond silly because you are literally talking about a show that is famous for REPRESENTATION. One of the first shows to not only do it but to POINT IT OUT!

But you’re upset 50 years later when representation is now all over TV and society in general that’s it’s in Star Trek today?? FYI its been part of every Trek show and will continue to do so. CBS didn’t come up with the idea, people who make the shows did because it’s only following what TOS started.

Methusalah

Sure you’re not. LOL

Methusalah

Alien life form?

Jako

Well try to See it the other way. The vast majority of treks Main cast is White.

What would you call that? A sledge Hammer of White supremacy?

Kirk, spock, bones, scotty, picard, riker, crusher, troy, yar, kira, Dax, obrien, janeway, Paris, archer, Tucker, reed, Tilly, stamets…. And this List is far from complete…. The vast majority of characters in trek already is Western and White…

Steve

That was wrong too. But the pendulum has swung so far the other way it’s just pathetic now. There are two white males as leading characters in Strange New Worlds. I guarantee they will overcompensate by making 80% of the characters female/black/gay. That’s the sledgehammer approach I’m talking about. It’s all just so forced.

It was literally forced in the opposite direction for the entire history of television up to this point; this is *maybe* forced, so at absolute worst it’s an attempt to rebalance things to some degree. But sure, that’s a sledgehammer.

ML31

I don’t know… That argument is saying that the way to combat sexism is with more sexism. The best umpires will not give out “make up” calls when they realize they made mistakes. They just work at not making the mistake again.

Absolutely. I like that analogy. But like I said, I’m saying it’s that IF you look at it from the most cynical point of view and assume that every decision of this nature that has been made has come from a sociological-manipulation point of view. Which, of course, is a silly way to look at it and is almost certainly not close to the way the decisions have been made in actuality.

Consider the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green for Discovery — thanks to her role on The Walking Dead, a ginormous hit at that time, she was almost certainly the biggest star of any of the people to be cast as leads on a Trek series. She was more notable than the others were at the time they were cast — Shatner, Stewart, Brooks, and Mulgrew for sure; MAYBE Bakula was better-known, but that’s just a maybe. So for me, objecting to her having been cast on the grounds that it was only to satisfy some political agenda is laughable.

But people like Steve see what they want to see. Stuck in the past; stuck in a mode of permanent paranoia, assuming everyone is out to get them because if the situations were reversed, they’d be out to get others; unable to see the world any viewpoint other than their own. It’d be pitiable if it wasn’t so sickening.

ML31

I personally do not see EVERY decision in Hollywood being made is guided by identity politics. But it is also naive to think it doesn’t exist. It absolutely does. The casting of one person is not enough to draw the conclusion that identity politics played a part. But it is possible to see a higher percentage chance it is happening when one looks at the bigger picture in some productions. Again, not saying it is happening even when there is evidence of it. Only that the odds if it being in play have likely increased. That said I don’t think it exists to the level some think it does. But it for sure does pop up from time to time.

BTW… Bakula was for 100% certain a bigger star than SMG. I will say this… When SMG was cast I had zero idea who the heck she was having never watched TWD. But then, I still hear of actors in popular shows I never watch. And I still never heard of her. (Example, I knew of the actors on Friends and I never watched that show at all.) So I have to question just how big a star she really was at the time of her casting.

Tiger2

Yeah I think most people only heard of SMG if they watched TWD. I watch the show but I didn’t start watching it until it’s sixth season. Before then I never heard of her or seen a single other thing she’s ever done and she was on the show for years by that point.

And she didn’t have any big roles prior to that. It was mainly a lot of guest star roles on other shows so I wouldn’t consider her a big star although others might have known about her, but I certainly didn’t.

ML31

Yes. While TWD was indeed popular it wasn’t popular enough for non watchers to know who was in the cast. Unlike other really popular shows. Example… I did not watch Mad Men until after its run but when it started I knew who Jon Hamm, January Jones and John Slattery were. So yes… I don’t think she was all that big a star when she was cast as Burnham. TWD people knew her, but not many beyond that.

Methusalah

Great points Bryant Burnette,

SNG was a really hot actor at the time they grabbed her. TWD was one of the most popular shows on the planet. For a few saying “so what we didn’t watch it” is akin to saying they don’t know who played in the Superbowl, yet it’s the biggest TV event in North American every year.

“But people like Steve see what they want to see. Stuck in the past; stuck in a mode of permanent paranoia, assuming everyone is out to get them because if the situations were reversed, they’d be out to get others; unable to see the world any viewpoint other than their own. It’d be pitiable if it wasn’t so sickening.”

Spot on, dude! We all have relatives and friends who are “Steves”, unfortunately. Just got to do what we can to try to bring them into the 21st century. That should be easier come November 4th.

Methusalah

Jesus, you just keep making it worse, dude.

The River Temarc

While this is the latest incarnation of a really, really stupid argument, I would observe that the lone male character appears to continue the “stupid, incompetent man” trope that has been popular on Hollywood sitcoms for the past 15 years.

I get that TrekMovie has to earn a living, but I really do not like the enormous gallery of clickbait options which now appear at the ends of posts. Those do not make me more likely to visit regularly.

Faze Ninja

What?

There are dozens of clickbait links at the bottom of this page. I stopped counting at 100. I don’t like them and felt moved to mention it.

ML31

Yeah… It was one thing when they were on the bottom. Then that bloody pop up add on the bottom left. Now the click bait is in a more annoying location. It did take some getting used to but yes. It’s a bit on the annoying side.

The River Temarc

Get uBlock origin and Disconnect.

Silvereyes

Agreed! I wanted to mention it…. thanks for doing so.

thebiggfrogg

The one thing that always bugged me about Star Trek: why is everyone an officer? It seems like the ratio of officers to enlisted 10:1.

ML31

That was a complaint I had with the TNG era. Where were the enlisted men? They had “Chief” O’Brien but then they went out of their way to say he went to the academy. If he did wouldn’t he come out an officer? In the 24th century Star Fleet is Chief now an officer rank? On TOS there were guys in jumpsuits and such. At least suggesting they had enlisted men on board who were NOT officers. I honestly do not recall seeing ONE non officer in the E-D. Not one. And I count O’Brien as one since he went to the Academy.

Jako

What Do you mean with officers? What Else should they be?

Also, whats with keiko and guinan and mott and all the children? There is plenty of non Military Personal on the enterprise d

Thorny

“What Do you mean with officers? What Else should they be?”

Today, the Air Force has the highest Officer to Enlisted ratio, at about 1:3. The Marine Corps is about 1:10, and the Army and Navy are in between.

I always just assumed most of the background characters we saw were enlisted personnel. Aside from the main cast, few characters had speaking roles where we heard their rank. I’m pretty sure Riker called various people “Crewman Smith” or “Crewman Jones” from time to time, implying they weren’t officers.

ML31

I don’t recall anyone referring to Crewman X. It might have happened and I missed it. But I am nearing the end of season 4 on my first rewatch and just don’t recall it yet. The background characters were all in the same uniform with nothing designating them from the officers. So I just assumed that everyone in that uniform was an officer. I guess they could be crewmen. I guess it would jive with the style they set. Where it’s nearly impossible to determine rank on anyone with just a quick look. You have to look for those tiny dots on the collar. Perhaps crewmen have none? But I don’t remember seeing anyone without at least one…

In Voyager, when the officers were from the other lost ship (Exclesior?) were found to have participated in the abuse and exploitation of aliens to accelerate their star drive, Janeway stripped them of their ranks and said they would serve out the rest of the journey as ordinary crew.

odradek

(Exclesior?) 

With the Manchester, England England guy as captain? That was the Equinox

ML31

I took that to mean they were Ensigns. Which is the lowest rank we have ever seen or heard of on New-Trek.

ML31

“What Do you mean with officers? What Else should they be?”

Not sure what you are asking here.

I was saying nothing about the non-military personnel. I never thought having children and families on a star ship was a good idea in the slightest. But that is a completely separate matter.

Thorny

“I honestly do not recall seeing ONE non officer in the E-D.”

Simon Tarses in “The Drumhead”. There were several times when Picard or Riker would refer to someone as “crewman”, implying he/she was not an officer.

DeathAvoider

Don’t think we saw the entire Enterprise-D crew and their families did we. Because that would have been boring.

Imagine the world…

Faze Ninja

Comedy in Star Trek is unheard of. Star Trek: Lower Decks has its own personality that will separate it from the other show. I have faith in this show and I want it to be successful.

Thorny

“The Trouble with Tribbles”, “A Piece of the Action”, “I, Mudd”, “Manhunt”, “Q-Pid”, “Trials and Tribble-ations”, “Little Green Men”, “One Little Ship”, “You Are Cordially Invited…”

Plus lots of humor-filled B-Plots in other episodes, such as O’Brien and Nog’s storyline in “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River”.

And about half of the movie “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”.

ML31

Only four of those titles really had comedic success. And some of them only in moments. Also, TFF had more laughs in the opening bumper than TVH had in the entire film.

I’m add the ironic humour in the TNG episode “Disaster” .

Zack

When will we see a trailer for this series?

Faze Ninja

We might see a trailer soon. We don’t know when.

Datamat

Lucasfilm/Disney did a good job with the Star Wars animated shows (Clone Wars in particular) and that’s really what Trek should be taking inspiration from. Animation is inherently a format that is embraced by kids but is also something which adults can enjoy too, if done correctly and not totally dumbed down to be too cringe inducing for older viewers.

I’m sure I’ll catch it one day. I never finished Picard and I really am not sure why. I kind of just didn’t bother rolling over my subscription of Amazon Prime and so I missed the last 4 episodes I think.
I didn’t miss it which is kind of sad I guess because I love Picard as a character and am a TNG fan.

They need to improve the quality going forward with everything basically. I dont think it’s bad. It’s just not really engrossing I guess to bother finished any of it.
It could be me. Maybe long serialized storytelling just doesn’t work for me.

Faze Ninja

CBS should follow the Star Wars approach. Clone Wars is a fantastic show. Maybe Lower Decks will be good too.

I finished Picard and it’s descent. I had CBS All Access not Amazon Prime.
Strange New Worlds won’t be a serialized storytelling experience. Pike and Spock got a TV show now!

I love Picard and TNG but I want something new out of Star Trek.

ML31

Lower Decks from what I can tell is not done in that vein. I think it will be more for teens and above.

The Nickelodeon show… That is the one that should be done like the Disney SW shows. Made for kids but with enough content to keep older folks interested.

It seems time to note that adult aversion, or snobbishness about animation is really an American (as in USA) thing.

(Even the use of the word cartoons seems to be derogatory, although the word has a much older meaning in art history.)

This dissing of animation for its own sake was discussed extensively on this board on previous threads about this show and the animated Short Treks.

While I agree that some shows intended for all ages (whether animated or live-action) can be cringy, the assumption that animation is likely to be cringy just isn’t shared globally.

I know I harp on this point a lot, but Trek needs to sell globally to be financially. That means some U.S. sensibilities are going to get pushed with some of the offerings in the menu.

But if I as a Canadian watching another Canadian (Bill Shatner) do the (to me) cringy speech in the TOS episode Omega Glory and get past that, I would sincerely hope that American fans could roll with a few more things outside their cultural comfort zone.

Apc0408

Awesome, glad to see him in charge of this, big fan of R&M and now solar opposites!
Though if you couldn’t handle the cussing in “Picard” solar opposites isn’t for you 😏

The River Temarc

“…she just hates following the rules and she bristles at the military structure. She wants to do whatever she wants. She’s kind of like Captain Kirk if Kirk wasn’t a captain and didn’t have the power. Kirk would follow his gut, and she follows her gut”

This confirms my worst fears about this idiotic “misfit ensigns, lawless teens” escapade.

It sounds precisely like what JJ Abrams misunderstood about Captain Kirk. He *didn’t* make decisions “from the gut” — he often agonized over them *in private* or with Spock and Bones only (particularly Bones).

He didn’t “bristle at the military structure” on most occasions — more often than not, he followed orders. “Amok Time” and TSFS were not the sum total of his entire career — and if an ensign tried that without the power of family ties to T’Pau behind her, that ensign would be court-martialed. The smug, apple-munching Kirk of ST09 was a deep mischaracterization, as unrealistic as the cadet-to-captain ending.

Zinc Saucier

I think you’re mixing this up with the currently still untitled CG animated Trek show being developed for Nickelodeon. That one is the “lawless teens” show and is being aimed squarely at kids. This one is meant more for adults.

The River Temarc

Not confusing them at all. LOWER DECKS is the misfit ensigns show. The Nickelodeon one is the lawless teens show. They’re two sides of the same coin. Both sound like the cliched characters a class of freshmen film school writers might come up with. The next Hawkeye Pierce this ain’t.

Zinc Saucier

Then why did you describe this one as being about lawless teens? Sounds like you conflated them to me. In any case, besides the characters being on the younger side (although I would imagine early to mid-twenties in Lower Decks case) I don’t see how they’re similar. I think this one, moreso than any of the other recent shows, actually sounds like classic Star Trek. In fact, there is a classic TNG episode that had the same concept, titled “Lower Decks”. This is just that episode expanded into a full series.

Now the Nickelodeon show I agree sounds stupid, but it is being made for babies and for that reason I feel like I can safely ignore it.

ML31

“This confirms my worst fears about this idiotic “misfit ensigns, lawless teens” escapade. ”

This comment you keep repeating continues to reinforce your error. You seem to be confusing Lower Decks with the Nickelodeon show. That is the one with the renegade teens in it. As far as I’ve heard. Not Lower Decks.

R_A

I never got around to watching Rick and Morty, but I watched two episodes of Solar Opposites. It didn’t work for me. Maybe it was the concept from the ground up, but after the first episode my wife and I were very wtf. I’m cautiously pessimistic about Lower Decks now.

ML31

I never watched Rick & Morty but a friend of mine loved it and really pushed for me to watch. So I finally set the ole DVR to start recording the repeats. And I found much of it to be funny as hell. To be honest, I’ve never heard of Solar Opposites until this article showed up. Probably because it’s on a streaming service I will NEVER get.

Marko Norenberg

This is great. What I’ve heard and seen so far reminds me positively of Final Space – Sci-Fi, comedic but also emotionally serious. Here’s to hoping the USS Cerritos and crew turn up in other media too – STO, comics, ST: Timelines, etc.