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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

CBS All Access grows its Star Trek universe with animated comedy from Rick and Morty writer

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Last week, we reported on CBS All Access’s careful strategy for its Star Trek revival, which began in earnest with Star Trek: Discovery and will continue with a Next Generation sequel series starring Patrick Stewart. Now, the next project in its quest to steal some intergalactic real estate from Star Wars has been announced. Called Star Trek: Lower Decks, the half-hour animated comedy will follow a support crew on one of Starfleet’s “least important ships,” Variety reports.


CBS All Access has ordered two seasons of the series, which comes from Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan, who’s currently in the midst of developing a Hulu series, Solar Opposites, with Justin Roiland. His hiring marks a commitment to the network’s desire for each of its Star Trek shows to assert its “own tonal vision,” and anyone who’s seen Rick and Morty knows that tones really don’t come more distinctive.

McMahan’s got a history with the franchise, too. In 2015, he released Star Trek: The Next Generation: Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season, a comedy book based on a Twitter account in which McMahan shared plots to a fictional eighth season of the series.

“Mike won our hearts with his first sentence: ‘I want to do a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end,’” said CBS’s Star Trek mastermind Alex Kurtzman, who will executive produce the series. “His cat’s name is Riker. His son’s name is Sagan. The man is committed. He’s brilliantly funny and knows every inch of every Trek episode, and that’s his secret sauce: he writes with the pure, joyful heart of a true fan. As we broaden the world of Trek to fans of all ages, we’re so excited to include Mike’s extraordinary voice.”

“As a life-long Trekkie, it’s a surreal and wonderful dream come true to be a part of this new era of Star Trek,” McMahan added. “While Star Trek: Lower Decks is a half-hour, animated show at its core, it’s undeniably Trek – and I promise not to add an episode at the very end that reveals the whole thing took place in a training program.”

Variety also notes a few other Star Trek projects in development, including a “limited series” based on the Wrath Of Khan story and another set at Starfleet Academy from creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz (Runaways). If CBS All Access sticks to its plan, though, don’t expect them all to drop at once. Star Trek: Discovery executive producer Heather Kadin has made it clear that the producers don’t want audiences “burning out.”

Star Trek: Lower Decks marks the franchise’s second foray into animation following Star Trek: The Animated Series from the early ‘70s. Watch a clip from that delightful oddity below: