The new crew of a ‘Star Trek’ series is shaped like a cartoon. ‘Lower Decks’ is the new proposal of the galactic franchise, recently released in Spain through Amazon prime. She arrives wanting to show that the saga can be very funny and capable of laughing at herself. For it They have signed Mike McMahan one of the creators of one of the cult animation titles for adults of the greatest public and critical success in current television fiction, Rick & Morty. McMahan has been a lifelong fan of ‘Star Trek’. To the point that he is the author of a thread on Twitter with a list of imaginary episodes of an eighth season of The New Generation. In this way, ‘Lower Decks’ moves between parody and homage to the trekie universe. As ‘Rick & Morty’ did with science fiction, the series is full of references and winks for the usual fan, while on the other hand it seeks to awaken the new viewer bug to attract him to the cause.
The argument starts from a premise that was already raised in an episode of the seventh season of Star Trek The new generation and that was titled precisely ‘Lower Decks’. The translation would be something like Lower Decks, and in the chapter we were shown an everyday day in the life of the Enterprise from the point of view of the lower-ranking members of the crew. Until very recently, it was common for the Star Trek series to star the captain of the ship. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) in the classic series; Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in The Next Generation; Benajmin Sisko (Avery Brooks) in Deep Space 9; Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) on Voyager; and Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) on Enterprise. A tradition that Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) broke in Discovery, a series that has had a new captain per season. The problem is that some have the feeling that Michael has too much prominence, but that is another story. In Lower Decks, the protagonists would be something like the interns on duty.
In the animated series, the action takes place aboard the USS Cerritos ship. Out of curiosity, I looked up the name and found that Cerritos is a coastal town in California and is part of the so-called Gateway Cities of Southeast Los Angeles County. A fact that seems significant to the spirit of the series because, as it may have had the name of any of the great North American cities, the ship has been baptized with that of a city unknown to most mortals, but in the center of the action. Do not forget that the headquarters of the Federation is located in the Californian city of San Francisco.. Even with its name, the role of the second men is claimed. Because Cerritos will never have that sacred moment of establishing first contact with a new alien civilization, something that, as all fans of the galactic franchise know, is a most unique event. They are more like the second contact. Nor is it a spoiler because that is precisely the title of the pilot episode.
The protagonist is the rebellious Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newson), who is actually the daughter of the ship’s captain, Carol Freeman (Dawn Lewis). and your life is constantly defying his authority. He never takes anything seriously and is always testing to what extent he can tighten the rope in not following the rules. Having fun and not wanting to stand out in anything, seems to be his motto. But after his rebellious facade, which only seeks to provoke his mother, in the end he ends up being such a bold character and that you would always want to have your back as if he were Kirk himself. Beckett is the complete opposite of his crewmate, Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid), who is a totally insecure person, with the ambition to ascend fast, licking the ass that is necessary and drooling when he is near one of the superior officers of the ship. For his part, D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) is the new member of the crew through whom we get to know the insides of the Cerritos, as if we were a newcomer. Sort of like Wesley Crusher (Will Wheaton) in The Next Generation. Because Wesley was more than just Sheldon’s nemesis on Big Bang Theory. The fourth member of this group representing the lowest echelon of the ship is Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), a human with a cyborg implant who is still learning to become familiar with this technology and in learning the trade.
Until not long ago, ‘Star Trek’ only foray into animation had been totally forgettable. For my lifelong fans forgive me, because I know he has his followers, but (for me) the animated series of the seventies that continued the classic series was a real pain. Some could have satiated the bug during the years when ‘Star Trek’ stopped having new installments and until the movies on the big screen arrived, but the narration was quite flat and the animation very funny. It seems that the experience of ‘Lower Decks’ has gone quite well because CBS has already given the green light to a second season. While Alex Kurtzman, the current boss of the franchise, has commissioned a new title for the Nickelodeon animation channel: ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’. The attraction of the series is that it will star Captain Janeway (Or will he be an admiral in these episodes?), So we can enjoy new adventures of his character after his return to the Alpha quadrant, after being lost seven years in the Delta quadrant with his Voyager crew trying to return home. The people in charge of this project of computer animation that will see the light throughout this year are the brothers Kevin and Dan Hageman, the people in charge of that film from which nobody expected anything and it became a surprise in the genre in 2014 as it was ‘The Lego Movie’. And you have to get the batteries, because the rival Star Wars franchise has announced up to ten new titles, between series and movies, for the next few years. Some of them will also be animation. Especially now that ‘The Mandalorian’ has integrated the previous cartoon series of ‘The clone wars’ into the canon.
In ‘Lower Decks’ we can be prepared to meet the unexpected in every episode. Mosquitoes whose bite can turn a zombie into a zombie, evil holograms, and plenty of cameos and winks from characters from The Next Generation and other titles in the franchise make for a hilarious stew. In the end, the series has turned out to be a tribute with a fan soul to the trekie titles of the nineties and that the new heirs seemed to be leaving aside. Even Picard on his return found that the Federation he fought for had abandoned its ideals; while Discovery traveled into a future in which this organization was practically decimated. When it seemed that utopia and that optimistic future in which ‘Star Trek’ fans dreamed were being buried, a series has come that is supposed to be second to put it all in value. And that’s how ‘Lower Decks’ became a top series.