Star Trek: The 10 Best References in Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1
There are few franchises with as rich a history as Star Trek. Since Captain Kirk, Mister Spock and the crew of the Enterprise first graced TV screens in 1966, there have been nine series and thirteen movies, giving the world hundreds of hours of sci-fi entertainment. Even now, Star Trek continues to live on with shows like Picard, Discovery, and Lower Decks.
While Picard and Discovery are both live-action shows that have a darker edge to them than Star Trek is known for, Lower Decks goes in the exact opposite direction. The animated series set shortly after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, Lower Decks is a light-hearted comedy that, instead of focusing on the bridge crew like most Star Trek fare, sets its sights on the adventures of a group of ensigns on the USS Cerritos. Lower Decks is fun, exciting, and filled with references to Star Trek's fifty-four-year history.
10 The Argo Buggy
Making its debut in Star Trek: Nemesis, the Argo Buggy is, as the name suggests, a dune buggy. The four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle is used by Captain Picard, Data, and Worf to traverse Kolarus III. In the movie, Captain Picard clearly enjoys driving the Argo, smiling and laughing as he swerves out of the way of rocks and bushes. Star Trek: Lower Decks is set just a year after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, and it seems that in that time the Argo has become standard issue for Starfleet ships as it shows up in a number of episodes.
While it often gets forgotten, there was an animated Star Trek series long before Lower Decks. Star Trek: The Animated Series ran for twenty-two episodes and featured the voices of most of the cast of the original series. In the sixth episode of the series, the crew of the Enterprise meets a Vendorian, a shapeshifting alien.
In Lower Decks episode 2, “Envoys,” Mariner and Boimler have a run-in with a Vendorian who has disguised itself as an Andorian, making this the first appearance of a Vendorian since 1973. Shockingly, the Vendorian isn't even the craziest reference in the episode.
8 The Deleted Rock Monster
When Mariner and Boimler chase the Vendorian into a bar on Tulgana IV, they run afoul of the patrons, including a couple of Rock Men. These Rock Men have never officially appeared in Star Trek before, but that's only because they were cut out of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. In a deleted scene for the movie, Captain Kirk was attacked by a Rock Man while on Sha Ka Ree. According to Tom Morga, the stuntman who played the Rock Man, these aliens can breathe fire. Sadly, the scene was cut because everyone felt it didn't work.
7 T'Ana The Caitian Doctor
Taking a page from Star Trek: The Original Series, Lower Decks has its own grumpy doctor. Doctor T'ana is a Caitian, a race of cat-like people who first appeared in Star Trek: The Animated Series. On that show, a Caitian named M'Ress had replaced Lieutenant Checkov as a member of the Enterprise bridge crew.
While it is never explained why Chekov is missing from the crew in the animated series, behind the scenes it was because of budget restrictions. The show couldn't afford to bring back everyone from the original series, and they chose to cut Walter Koenig, the actor who played Chekov in two seasons of the original series. Happily, Chekov would return for the movies.
6 The Most Important Person In Star Fleet History
At the end of the “Temporal Edict,” the third episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, we learn that in the far future Chief Miles O’Brien, who appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, member of Starfleet in history, although some may disagree.
What it is that makes Chief Miles O’Brien the greatest member of Starfleet isn't clear, but based on the endlessly horrible things that happened to him during the seven years of Deep Space Nine, it's safe to assume that he is remembered for his strong mind and skills as an engineer.
5 Is Barb Lal?
In the fifth episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “Cupid’s Errant Arrow,” Mariner is convinced that Boimler's girlfriend Barb must be a diabolical alien of some sort and begins to keep a chart of all the possible beings that Barb could be. Mariner's board of aliens is filled with Star Trek references, including a Suliban from Star Trek: Enterprise, the Cardassian spy Seska from Star Trek: Voyager, and most surprisingly, Data's android daughter Lal from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Offspring”. Making it all that much more fun of a reference, the picture of Lal is from before she chose her gender.
4 Space Slug
In “Much Ado About Boimler,” the seventh episode of Lower Decks, Boimler is trapped between phasing from a transporter accident and Division 14 is called to handle the situation. Division 14 is a medical branch of Starfleet that handles unsolvable diseases and science mysteries, which Boimler has become.
In the episode, while Boimler is being shipped to Division 14's headquarters with other Starfleet personnel who have been altered in some way, he meets Anthony, a man who has turned into a slug that looks a whole lot like Captain Janeway when she was turned into a slug in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Threshold.”
3 Q Knows Trelane
In “Veritas,” the eighth episode of Lower Decks, the much-loved Q makes an appearance in a flashback. In the scene, Q, dressed in his judge's robes forces the bridge crew of the Cerritos to play a strange game that is part chess, part soccer, and park poker.
Q then shows up again at the end of the episode, appearing to the lower decks crew and yelling out "I challenge you to a duel!" That line is a reference to Trelane, the adversary of Kirk in the TOS episode “The Squire of Gothos.” While Trelane wasn't part of the Q-Continuum when he appeared on TOS - because there was no Q-Continuum at the time - he was later retconned into the Q-Continuum in the Star Trek novel Q-Squared.
2 Beta III
In the season one finale, "No Small Parts," the crew of the Cerritos are on the planet Beta III, which made its first appearance in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Return of the Archons.” In that episode, Kirk and the crew go to Beta III where they learn that the people follow the orders of a computer called Landru. Landru had convinced the people of Beta III that they should follow a system called “The Red Hour” in which, for one hour a day, everyone on Beta III would become frighteningly violent and destroy as much property or kill as many people as they could without repercussions.
Kirk and the Enterprise crew were able to convince the people of Beta III that what Landru had thought them was wrong, and that not killing people for an hour every day was a better way to live. As we see on Lower Decks, the people of Beta III have forgotten what Kirk taught them and are back to worshipping Landru.
1 Animated Kirk And Spock
A brief but brilliant reference that also appeared in "No Small Parts" is when Commander Jack Ransom is reading up on Beta III and Landru on his datapad, we see an image of Kirk and Spock, but instead of being drawn to match the art style of Lower Decks, the duo looks like the animated versions of themselves from Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Over the years, there has been a lot of debate on whether or not Star Trek: The Animated Series is part of the official Star Trek canon, but moments like this and the inclusion of the Vendorian in "Envoys" puts that argument to bed once and for all.About The Author
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