Behind every glamorous Starfleet captain is an unsung crew of lower-level workers who keep the starship running. The ensigns will finally get their full due in Star Trek: Lower Decks, a CBS All Access comedy show that explores life under the bridge.
Lower Decks episodes will run half an hour each and focus on the crew of the USS Cerritos. It will premiere on the CBS All Access streaming service on Aug. 6, with new episodes every Thursday. (Disclosure: ViacomCBS is the parent company of CNET.)
Trek has appeared in animated form before in Star Trek: The Animated Series, which ran in 1973 and 1974. During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, producer of the current line-up of Trek shows Alex Kurtzman described Lower Decks as a way to invite kids into the fandom.
Here's the trailer:
What is Lower Decks about?
Lower Decks takes place in the year 2380, shortly after the events of the Next Generation movie Star Trek: Nemesis. That means the USS Cerritos is at work during the same general time frame as Picard and his crew and Voyager.
Co-creator Mike McMahan of Rick and Morty fame described the Cerritos as "a not important ship in Starfleet" during the SDCC panel. Cerritos is the Spanish word for "little hills," so it's not as majestic of a starship name as Enterprise, Voyager or Discovery.
The spacecraft is part of a new class of ships called the California class and it will feature an all new design. We know it has a balky Holodeck on board, which needs cleaning every now and then.
Four ensigns, voiced by Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells and Eugene Cordero, are the stars of the show. McMahan said the stories will fit in with the Trek legacy and universe: "Every Star Trek is kind of about a family and our show is also about a family, it's just not the same family you've seen before," he said.
That said, fans of the original Animated Series can look forward to seeing some aliens that appeared on the earlier show.
Meet the Lower Decks ensigns
Newsome described Ensign Mariner at SDCC as a "weirdo rock'n'roll party queen," saying she's good at all things Starfleet and should be further along in the ranks than she is.
Quaid was also on the panel at SDCC and said his character Ensign Boimler is very "by the book" and has aspirations of becoming a captain. He may be smart, but he isn't so great with practically applying his knowledge.
Ensign Tendi (Noël Wells) will be experiencing her first day on the job in the Lower Decks pilot episode. She's a huge fan of Starfleet and works in the medical bay. "There's no gross alien illness that she's not just absolutely thrilled to be dealing with," said McMahan.
Ensign Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) works in engineering and has a fresh cyborg implant on his head. "Like Geordi LaForge, he's amazing at engineering stuff, but unlike Geordi La Forge, he does not solve the problems by the end of every episode," McMahan said.
How to watch Star Trek: Lower Decks
CBS All Access will release Lower Decks on the streaming service on Aug. 6. The first season will span 10 episodes, available each Thursday.