The second season of the adult animated Star Trek comedy arrives on home video today in the USA.
Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season Two
Creator Mike McMahan and his team stepped it up for the sophomore season of Lower Decks. Everything I enjoyed about season 1 was here in this next season, including the continuation of the USS Titan and the Pakled threat storylines. Plus, there are bigger set pieces, more deep cut Trek references (we get to see cetacean ops!), and some awesome TNG-era guest stars that include the return of Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis on the USS Titan. Season 2 steps it up with a visit from Tom Paris himself, Robert Duncan McNeill, an update on how Sonya Gomez fared after her time on the Enterprise-D (she made captain), and the arrival of Trek all-star Jeffery Combs as the voice of a very devious computer. Lastly, there are two unspoken appearances from Captain Shelby and party DJ Thalian Okona.
While there’s a lot of fun and often irreverent comedy, something that continues to stand out is the general optimism of the show and the caring that nearly every character demonstrates. There’s been clear character growth from season to season, an aspect that’s important for a Trek show and one that more goofy or cynical adult animated comedies, which Lower Decks is sometimes be compared to, don’t really focus on. Personal favorite episodes include the excellent “3 ships” episode titled “wej Duj,” “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” and the goofy fun of “An Embarrassment of Dooplers.”
The Blu-ray set
The episodes and special features are on two Blu-ray discs. As has become standard for these CBS/Paramount+ 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.
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. While this is standard for a TV show release, the sound design is excellent as always; after all, the sound editing team for Lower Decks was nominated for an Emmy!
The season set comes with a couple of new documentaries, and for the first time there are audio commentaries.
Lower Decktionary: Season 2 (32 minutes) – A look at season 2, including where we left the crew in season 1, and the goals for the second season. We hear from Alex Kurtzman, Mike McMahan, Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Eugene Cordero, Noël Wells, and others.
A Sound Foundation (13 mins) – Mike McMahan starts a discussion about the sounds of Star Trek and how important it is to set the tone for the different eras of Trek. Sound for an animated series is particularly important, go behind the scenes in an interview with the Emmy-nominated team (“No Small Parts” was nominated from season 1) that creates the dynamic audio for Lower Decks while they discuss how they bring the series to life.
Each episode has two corresponding small bonus features:
The first takes a key scene and shows it as the rough sketch/animatic as it was first conceived with the final version side-by-side. Unlike in the season 1 set, there are no deleted scenes this time.
The second bonus feature is the episode’s corresponding “Easter egg” videos, which were originally put out on YouTube after each episode was released on Paramount+. These short videos highlight one or two connections to Trek’s past.
There are four audio commentaries:
- EP 202 “Kayshon, His Eyes Open” by Mike McMahan, Jack Quaid, and Jonathan Frakes
- EP 205 “An Embarrassment of Dooplers” by Mike McMahan and Jack Quaid
- EP 207 “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie” by Tawny Newsome, Paul Scheer, and writer Garrick Bernard
- EP 209 “wej Duj” by Mike McMahan, T’Lynn actress Gabrielle Ruiz, and writer Kathryn Lyn
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 the only way to get the episode commentaries. 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 Clip
TrekMovie was provided with a clip from “A Sound Foundation.” Check it out below:
Lower Decks Season 2 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD in the USA and Canada today. It is also available in the UK and Ireland now. It is expected to be released in Germany on September 8.
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