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 streaming 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 stream on the CBS All Access subscription service. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)
Star Trek: The Animated Series ran in 1973 and 1974, so it's been decades since Trek has had a non-live-action show. During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Star Trek producer Alex Kurtzman says he sees Lower Decks as a way to invite kids into the fandom.
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-creatordescribed 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 don't know what it looks like yet, but we know has a balky Holodeck on board.
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.
Fans of the original animated series can look forward to seeing some aliens that only appeared on that earlier show.
Meet the Lower Decks ensigns
Newsome described Ensign Mariner at SDCC as a "weirdo rock and 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 books and has aspirations of becoming a captain. He has book smarts, but 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 Georgi 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 has not yet set a release date for Lower Decks, but it will be available on the streaming service in 2020. The first season will cover 10 episodes.
Another new Trek show,, is already set to debut on CBS All Access in early 2020. But don't expect any crossover action since they take place in very different corners of the Trek universe.
Who is in the voice cast for Lower Decks?
- Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner
- Jack Quaid as Ensign Boimler
- Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi
- Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford
- Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman
- Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom
- Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs
- Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana
This piece was originally published on July 25, and will be updated as more Lower Decks information becomes available.