The adult animated Star Trek comedy arrives on home video today.
Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season One
For me, the debut of Lower Decks was almost as highly anticipated as the first season of Star Trek: Picard. Creator Mike McMahan was obviously a big TNG fan, having created the excellent and hilarious TNG Season 8 Twitter account, so many of us at TrekMovie were keen to see his take on a TNG-era show.
I’d say he had a successful first season. I didn’t always love some of the frenetic pacing or the occasional “what the heck?” moments that were needed to setup a comedic plot line, but in general I came away impressed, and enjoyed watching every episode as they were released in 2020. One thing that stood out was the general optimism and caring that nearly every character shows. Because of that, and the more episodic nature of the show, the 10 episodes of the first season of Lower Decks really did feel like it was a TNG-era show. Standouts of the season include “Envoys,” “Moist Vessel,” and the season finale “No Small Parts.”
The Blu-ray set
The episodes and special features are on two Blu-ray discs. As has become standard for these CBS releases, each disc has the names of the episodes it contains printed on them, as well as a full listing for the set on the inside front/back of the case. There’s also a Steelbook packaging version available for collectors.
Lower Decks is a modern “high definition-era” cartoon, as such, everything looks sharp, lines are crisp, and the primary colors of the uniforms pop. The cartoon looked great streaming, and looks a bit better here on disc.
As we’ve come to expect, the episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is pretty standard for a TV show release, no complaints here!
CBS has assembled a nice primer on the making of Lower Decks spread out among the discs with easy to watch features (ranging 5-10 minutes each), along with a longer 24-minute documentary “Faces Of The Fleet” that introduces the cast and the characters of the show. It should be noted that most of the interviews were done via webcam due to the pandemic, so the visual quality of the talking heads isn’t up to the usual standards, but it doesn’t really detract from the discussions.
“Crisis Point: The Rise Of Vindicta” trailer – A fun “movie trailer” based on Mariner’s in-episode holo-adventure from “Crisis Point.”
Faces Of The Fleet (24 mins) – A deep dive into the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos alongside producers, writers and the cast of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Among other interesting tidbits, we learn that Beckett Mariner is named after creator Mike McMahan’s sister.
Hiding In Plain Sight (7 mins) – An inside look at the Easter eggs worked in throughout the season. As those who have followed TrekMovie’s coverage of Lower Decks, one of the fun parts of watching the season has been to find all the references, nods, and design homages that the writers, producers, and animators worked into the show.
These “Decktionary” entries are 5-10 minute features that are included as a menu item for each of the 10 episodes.
- Joining Starfleet (Episode 101) – Producers and crew discuss the development of season one. Mike McMahan takes us on the genesis of the Lower Decks. We get a look at early concept art and the show’s bible.
- Aliens Among Us (Episode 102) – Interviews with the animators and episode director. Dives into the different aliens Boimler and Mariner encounter on Tulgana 4.
- The Animation Process (Episode 103) – A look at the efficiency and creativity needed to put together an episode of Lower Decks.
- The Main Titles (Episode 104) – Producers describe how it took 6 months to nail down the opening credits montage because they wanted it to be clear it’s a TNG-era show, and yet it’s also a bit imperfect with the comedic aspects. Composer Chris Westlake talks about the daunting task of making a unique TNG-era theme for the comedy.
- Art Design (Episode 105) – This discusses character designs, the look of the show—for example how it’s still staged like it’s a live action show in the “camera angles” and depth of focus.
- The Holodeck (Episode 106) – Including interviews with cast and creatives; everyone loved the holodeck episodes of ‘90s Trek, so they wanted to use it in fun and original ways. Mike McMahan says that he had Badgey in mind from the beginning and found a way to work him in.
- Division 14 (Episode 107) – An introduction to the mysterious Division 14 which is tasked with dealing with all the unexpected mishaps of Starfleet.
- Deck Dynamics (Episode 108) – A dive into the upper and lower deck dynamics, and how their comedic interactions contribute to the storyline throughout season one.
- The Music Of Lower Decks (Episode 109) – Composer Chris Westlake and series creator Mike McMahan talk about how every second of music counts with a 22-minute episode. Westlake discusses his process for developing themes for characters and scenes.
- All In The Family (Episode 110) – A little piece about how Lower Decks fits into the Star Trek family.
Deleted And Extended Animatics
There’s deleted scenes from “Second Contact” and “Moist Vessel” included in the form of unfinished animatics.
The two small deleted scenes of Boimler trying to be “bad” from “Moist Vessel” are a standout. We see that Boimler thinks being a “bad boy” includes carrying an Alfa 177 canine from TOS: “The Enemy Within,” with a Glavin from TNG’s “Code of Honor” on the other hand, while wearing one of Guinan’s hats, a VISOR, what looks like it might be a Klingon sash, and more.
For most people, this Blu-ray is the highest quality way to watch Lower Decks, so for those who care about getting the best audio-video experience, this is the set for them. It’s also recommended for collectors as well as anyone who wants an offline copy of the show; this includes people who cannot or do not want to stream the show, and folks who have concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media.
Special feature video clips
CBS Home Entertainment has released some video clips of the special features, including a deleted scene.
Lower Decks Season One is available in the USA and Canada today. Availability for other regions has not been announced.
Steelbook Blu-ray | Standard Blu-ray | DVD
Keep up with all the home video and streaming news, reviews, and analysis at TrekMovie.com.
DISCLAIMER: We may link to products to buy on Amazon in our articles; these are customized affiliate links that support TrekMovie by earning a small commission when you purchase through them.