Be warned. Star Trek: Decrease Decks is a gateway drug to the ultimate frontier and its daring goings-on. Final summer season, I championed this wacky animated spinoff, dreamed up by Rick and Morty author/producer Mike McMahan. This summer season, as I waited for this spunky sequence to return, I ended up binge-watching Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds, partially as a result of this sequence in its second season promised a crossover episode with my favourite ensigns. How was cartoon Boimler going to play out towards the live-action Scorching Younger Spock? Hilariously. I screamed at my TV repeatedly. And nonetheless, I longed for extra. Nicely, Decrease Decks Season 4 is right here, and it delivers by shaking issues up on the USS Cerritos.
Decrease Decks neatly defies a tedious sitcom conference.
Similar shit, completely different day?
Credit score: Paramount+
The place most different Star Trek sequence are TV dramas with 50-minute episodes filled with furrowed brows and noble heroes, Decrease Decks is actually a office sitcom, coming in below half-hour an episode. The time restrict, plus the truth that it is a cartoon with a Rick and Morty-adjoining aesthetic, means the present itself has a quicker tempo, each when it comes to dialogue and storytelling. Normally, it is a extra frantic vibe — however that is an excellent factor. For me, this has meant a better approach into the sequence, as normal Star Trek at all times felt a bit gradual for my tastes.
The sitcom pacing fits the antics of chaotically rebellious Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), her oft-panicked bestie Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid), giddy science nerd D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells), and her chipper cyborg crush, engineer Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero). Nonetheless, as Decrease Decks goes on, it runs the danger of rising tedious like many sitcoms earlier than it.
Sitcoms centered on quirky heroes can develop stale, as a result of the vanity of the present calls for the protagonist to remain caught in an arrested improvement, whereas the world round them — and infrequently their gang of pals — evolves. Sitcom requirements insist that not an excessive amount of shift from episode to episode, lest you danger dropping the viewers. So be it Carrie’s dangerous romantic selections (in Intercourse And the Metropolis, then its motion pictures, then And Simply Like That...), J.D. and his everlasting navel-gazing in Scrubs, or How I Met Your Mom‘s Ted and his cringe self-mythologizing, the joke wears skinny. Fortunately, Decrease Decks refuses to comply with in these footsteps.
As a substitute, Season 4 reveals the central foursome being confronted with new obligations and new challenges as promotions are introduced, new bunks are assigned, and a brand new crew member turns into one of many gang. (Beforehand established “too emotional” Vulcan, T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) proves a terrific straight man to the present’s central stooges.) However fret not. No pip can course-correct the calamity-inclined core of this comedy sequence. Beckett and her pals are simply as wild and disastrous as ever. Now, they only have extra energy to muck issues up!
Decrease Decks finds contemporary enjoyable in Star Trek canon.
Starfleet crew visits an alien menagerie.
Credit score: Paramount+
One other aspect that makes Decrease Decks stand out from the remainder of this franchise’s fleet of reveals and films is that its heroes completely idolize “These Outdated Scientists” who got here earlier than them. So, along with a slew of in-jokes and references tucked into every script, the characters themselves exhibit a fan-like enthusiasm once they get to go on missions that brush up towards their idols. As an illustration, in episode 1, “Twovix,” the Cerritos crew is over the moon once they get to board Voyager. (Sure, the titular ship from the 1995 sequence the place — in accordance with Ransom — “shit received freaky.”)
However should you’re new to Trekkie fandom, do not sweat it. Decrease Decks has at all times been expert at swiftly dropping essential exposition earlier than diving down delightfully demented new paths. Plotlines beforehand established on different sequence are sometimes only a launchpad for hilarious hijinks. A few of these setups embrace a go to to a “menage” (alien menagerie that’s “unintentionally” housing some people in an exhibit), a trio of hard-partying Betazoids (with some voice-casting that is too good to spoil), and a go to to Tendi’s mysterious house world. (“Ladies journey!”) Plus, they’ve launched an overarching antagonist who is bound to make for one hell of a two-part finale. Decrease Decks has conditioned us to count on nothing much less.
Critics got the primary eight of 10 episodes of Season 4, so I can say with confidence this sequence continues to be flying excessive and robust. It is a good transfer to lastly give some promotions that stick. Not solely does this arrange new energy dynamics and emotional pitfalls, but in addition it places a brand new stress on the workforce. Earlier than, they had been largely watching one another’s backs. Now, they have reviews to look out for too! This opens up the world of Decrease Decks, welcoming in new characters and recontextualizing outdated rivalries. But, amid all the brand new, this present fortunately hasn’t misplaced contact with what makes it nice.
Decrease Decks won’t be set on the literal decrease decks of the spaceship anymore, and the characters scratch at progress that displays this upward transfer. Nonetheless, their evolution is not so excessive as to be alienating. Mariner continues to be a insurgent with out a trigger. Tendi and Rutherford are nonetheless grappling with their pasts whereas sheepishly eying one another. Boimler’s screams are nonetheless probably the most satisfyingly humorous sound on tv. Significantly, Jack Quaid deserves an Emmy for this voice work and for translating it to live-action in Strange New Worlds. Possibly a Nobel Peace Prize? (His screams give me peace.)
Briefly, Decrease Decks Season 4 unleashes a string of adventures which are bursting with motion, jokes, and Star Trek Easter eggs. However the most effective bit continues to be the core foursome of pals, who’re as hilarious, heartfelt, and hellbent on mayhem as ever earlier than.
The primary two episodes of Decrease Decks Season 4 will debut on Paramount+ on Sept. 7. New episodes will hit the streaming service each Thursday, with the finale premiering Nov. 2.