Interview: Jerry O’Connell On How ‘Lower Decks’ Season 2 Is A Celebration Of All Things Star Trek

In addition to speaking to Star Trek: Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan at the red carpet “block party” premiere, TrekMovie also had a chance to talk to members of the cast. Jerry O’Connell gave us a preview of what is in store for Commander Jack Ransom in season two.

So what’s new for Jack Ransom?

I’m really pleased to say that a lot of my storyline this season is with Mariner, with Tawny [Newsome]. I’m going to really push her as far as I can. And I think it’s because Commander Ransom sees real promise in Mariner. And Jack Ransom is all about Starfleet. He is by the book. He plays by the rules, as opposed to Mariner, who does not play by the rules. But he’s going to really push. It’s a fun season that I have with her.

Season one saw some awkward moments between Jack and Mariner, hinting at an attraction. So, will they or won’t they in season two?

I can’t give anything away, but we always love those possible romances happening near or around the bridge. I can’t say, but it’s fun to play that. Playing off of Tawny playing off of Jack. The cast that Mike and everybody’s put together, it is such a fun time. Our sessions where we go in, it really is fun. If you are a Trek fan, it’s just Trek humor, all the time.

We were trying to come up with a confusing word the other day–spoiler alert–it was semackulum? It was about my inability to pronounce it.

Jerry O’Connell talks to TrekMovie at the Lower Decks season 2 premiere event

Simulacrum?

Simulacrum! Whatever it was, I couldn’t pronounce it. But we really played into it. It was great. It is a really, really fun show to work on. And I’m so glad that we already have our first season out because I think when we went to Comic-Con two years ago I think people–especially Trek fans–were very cautious of us. At least from the comments I read and the faces I saw at Comic-Con. The threats I endured, “You better not be insulting us!” But from what I’ve read, it’s been really well received.

We are a real homage to all things Trek. Especially when you talk to our boss, Mr. McMahan. And we’re in TNG era. We are a celebration of all things Trek. We are Starfleet. We are not outsiders making fun of Starfleet.

You have a unique situation, living with another Starfleet first officer [wife Rebecca Romijn of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds].

It’s crazy that I live in a household with not one but two number ones. And I got to tell you, it’s crazier. When Jonathan Frakes comes to our house, we’re cracking beers. And I just have to say, “Guys, take a look at this.” We’re three number ones hanging out right now. I mean, it’s crazy. All we need is Doug Jones. And then everything will be complete. Oh, wait, Doug Jones is a captain now… We need Mary [Wiseman]! Oh man, can you imagine that dinner?

I joke about it and I joke about my wife and I being number ones, and who is the better number one. But, it’s a real honor. It’s a real honor for our household to serve Starfleet.

Jerry O’Connell with wife Rebecca Romijn at at Humane Society New York Gala in 2019 (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Tawny told me that Mike and the writers have picked up on who she is and can write even better for her in season two. Do you see Jerry influencing Jack too?

You know, I’m so happy with how they write for Ransom. I don’t want to say that I’m affecting it.

Who can bench more?

I try to design my body to look like Ransom’s. I keep up with him. With animation, they can make everything look good, but I try to make sure that when we do the live-action Lower Decks that I’m good to rip my shirt off. I’m good to go. I’m really looking forward to the live-action Lower Decks.

Spoiler alert?

This is not a spoiler alert. Nothing has happened. This is just me starting it with you. I am manifesting. I am doing The Secret right now.

Didn’t Rebecca and [Strange New Worlds co-showrunner] Akiva [Goldsman] joke during a panel that there should be a crossover?

There should be! I want to say the Cerritos doesn’t get the respect it deserves in Starfleet. And I want myself, Eugene [Cordero], Tawny, Jack [Quaid]… I want us to show all of Starfleet what we are made of, and that the Cerritos is quite possibly the most important ship in all of Starfleet.

So is Jack happy to be first officer and be like Riker and wait it out?

I think Ransom is a by-the-book person. When his time comes, he’ll be happy. He’s not… I mean, I wouldn’t mind running a ship. That would be fun. But I’m really enjoyed being a number one. I’m enjoying playing off at Dawnn Lewis, our captain. I don’t want to rush anything yet. When I’m ready, I’ll get my Titan.

Jerry O’Connell as Commander Ransom in season two of Lower Decks

More Lower Decks

Season two arrives on Thursday, August 12th, and we will have more interviews from the red carpet premiere coming up all week long. TrekMovie’s full recap and review will be posted on the site on Thursday, August 12th, which will be followed up with our regular Easter egg analysis. This Friday’s All Access Star Trek podcast will discuss the red carpet event and other interviews plus give a full review and discussion of the season two premiere.

Check out our other interviews from last week:

Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid

Noel Wells and Eugene Cordero

Mike McMahan

ICYMI: SDCC 2021 trailer

In case you missed it, here is the trailer released in late July.

Star Trek: Lower Decks season two arrives on Paramount+  in the USA and CTV in Canada Sci-Fi on Thursday, August 12th. It will be available internationally on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, August 13th, and in Latin America in September.


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I’ve kind of been assuming that in a few years, after the various shows have all had a chance to find their own voices, we’ll get a big Avengers–style team-up with the various modern Trek series. It’ll probably involve time travel, to get SNW and Discovery in there too. “Crisis on Infinite Treks?”

Anyway, such a crossover would have to involve live-action versions of the LD crew (and possibly, and more expensively, photorealistic CGI versions of the Prodigy crew?). I bet Jerry O will get his wish in a few years.

Yeah, that seems like something Kurtzman would green light … along with just about everything else!

;-)

I really hope we could see a live-action LD movie. That will be amazing.

I think at the very least we could see the characters in live action mode on other shows as they are doing more and more for the Star Wars animated characters. Maybe not anytime soon, but everything is possible in both fiction and Star Trek. ;)

I have enjoyed the work of Jerry O’Connell since “Sliders”, and it interests me to see how the aging process seems to be physically turning him into a Richard Nixon lookalike.

Didn’t like “My Secret Identity”, eh?

lol

Ha ha I loved “My Secret Identity” when I was a kid.
And was overjoyed to see him in “Sliders”.
Jerry O’Connell is one guy you wish you’d see more of in movies, like Christian Slater. How that guy only ended up in a ST:VI cameo as opposed to say the Captain in a movie era follow to VI is beyond me.

You know he’s also voiced Superman in some DC animation.

His mum, casting legend Mary Jo Slater, got him that gig.

Maybe he was too big a star by the 90s for paramount to get back for more.

I seem to recall Slater quoted talking about how his dream was to wear a Starfleet uniform (while Takei wanted be in Robin Hood or something??). Why you wouldn’t capitalize on that is beyond me. Even for Discovery when you rarely see Slater anymore, why not bring him in???

It’s funny… Usually these sort of things offer up stuff (often just garbage) that is meant to hype up the show and try and get people to watch it. They way they are doing this is it looks like they are trying to speak to people who haven’t seen the first 10 episodes. The headline says he claims this is a “Celebration of all things Trek”. That was essentially what all the first 10 episodes were. No substance. No laughter. No joy. Just, “Hey, it’s a Phylosian!”

We are not outsiders making fun of Starfleet.

Honestly, this comment is concerning. Given the lack of chuckles from season 1, maybe they SHOULD be outsiders making fun of Starfleet? Yes, they would be joking about something I like but if it’s funny it would be better than what we ended up with.

Humor is a very personal thing. What you may not find funny someone else can find hilarious. In any case, a comedy doesn’t need to be laugh out loud funny to be amusing. Chuckles are optional.

True. And to be fair, from time to time the show did do something kinda clever that produced a grin. But those were few and far between. And it would be nice to get a good laugh once in a while. Even in S2 of The Orville where they nearly completely jettisoned the comedy had one huge belly laugh. I mean, season 2 of The Orville produced a couple of laughs when they weren’t even really trying to anymore. But LDX can’t? Something seems amiss.

We understand and accept that you did not find the first season of LDS met your definition of humour.

What I’m finding exasperating is your utter unwillingness to acknowledge that many of us found it very funny.

For example, it’s one of the few shows in the last decade that my spouse has laughed out loud at.

So, I expect that those of us who found season one funny are reassured, and those of us who didn’t will want to watch some other show.

It’s weird, because I watched a really funny, really emotionally resonant, and really accurate-to-canon Star Trek series called Lower Decks that was awesome. Sorry you missed it.

Exactly!

Odd… I also saw a show called Lower Decks last year that was completely devoid of laughs, contained no emotional resonance and had boring one dimensional unbelievable characters that brought nothing to the stories. At this point it really didn’t matter if it adhered to canon or not. And you know what? If I saw the show you did I really wouldn’t care how much it adhered to canon. Because it would stand on its own and how accurately it tied into the rest of the universe wouldn’t matter as much. At any rate, the show you saw sounds good. Where can I find it?

Re: your statement “… essentially what all the first 10 episodes were. No substance. No laughter. No joy.”…

Everyone else’s much-made point about the subjectivity of humor aside, I’d say the first ten episodes absolutely had both substance and especially joy; it’s inextricably intertwined with that celebration of all things Trek. I can understand you not finding humor and laughter in the show (because, again, the subjectivity of comedy), but how you missed those is frankly mystifying to me. But oh well.

I hope you don’t mind if the rest of us continue to enjoy the show.

You must give me the name of your Oculist because I so very much want to see what a few others do in this. I WANT it to be good so very very much. So much so that I pretended to enjoy the first episode far more than I really did. That is how much I wanted it to be good. But with each passing episode it was harder and harder to keep the lie going.

Honestly I’d like to know what my friends who watch Trek think of it, or any of the Secret Hideout shows. But of the 5 of us, I’m the only one who is watching them. (To be fair, 3 of us shared an account for the first season of Star Trek Discovery but those two hated it so much they didn’t want to come back) They just aren’t interested enough to pay for P+. (Or CBSAA as it was once known)

Not a huge fan of LDs simply because it is animated – nothing to like or really dislike. If they do a live action version of the show, I admit I would be more apt to watch it.
I will have to check out Prodigy when it comes out, mainly because it is something new and I don’t want to automatically dismiss it, even if it meant as a kids show. The trailer looks intriguing so I am sure I will check out 1 or 2 episodes, mainly to satisfy my curiousity.

It is pretty crazy he and his wife now both work on Star Trek and both happen to play first officers, but their shows take place literally a 100 years from each other, different formats and (assuming) very different tones. I wouldn’t be surprised they find an in joke for Ransom to be an admirer of Number One as part of TOS (those old scientists ;)) like he was for Kirk and Spock.

I did not think I was going to like Ransom. I thought they were going to play him as an arrogant moron but he actually turned out to be a really cool first officer, very funny and kind of a bad ass. Hope he gets a bigger role this season.

So excited for this show to come back!

I love ‘Lower Decks.’ but I don’t think it should ever go live action. For me large part of the appeal of the show is the humour – which I don’t think would translate very well to live action.

Instead; I’d love to see a big budget, big screen ‘Lower Decks.’ movie at some point.