Paramount+’s animated Star Trek series, Lower Decks is set to make its streaming debut Aug. 25. That means that fans of the series will not have to wait but so long to find out what happened to Capt. Freeman after her arrest by the Federation. While audiences wait, they can take in the series’ second season now on DVD and Blu-ray, after it was released July 12 on both platforms. The show’s second season is an improvement on its debut season in terms of its writing. This will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that accompanies Season 2 in its home release is engaging in its own way and will be examined a little later. The packaging for the standalone presentation rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation. All things considered they make the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks an overall success.
The second season of Paramount+’s Star Trek: Lower Decks is an impressive new addition to the animated series. The season’s success comes in large part through its writing. That is because the writing seems to have more heart in each of its 10 total episodes. Right from the season premiere, “Strange Energies,” the writing improves on what was offered in Season 1. The episode finds a…well…strange energy impacting everyone on board the Cerritos after Mariner “cleans off” a structure on a planet that the Cerritos visits. Commander Ransom becomes an all-powerful interstellar being, leading Capt. Freeman to have to learn to be much nicer to her second-in-command. Along the way, the bridge crew and the lower decks crew alike learn some valuable lessons about friendship and respect for others. Whether that secondary theme was put there intentionally is anyone’s guess, but it is there, and it adds even more to the story.
On another note, the ship’s crew overall learns a valuable lesson about understanding and respecting what the other does in ‘I Excretus.’ A Starfleet trainer is sent to the Cerritos to make the crew take part in some holodeck style training to determine if the ship and its crew should even be in commission. Boimler is the only member of the crew who succeeds in the training, and his neurotic desire for perfection along the way ends up being the saving grace for the ship and its crew, unexpectedly. It is another surprisingly enjoyable story and further exhibits what makes this season’s writing so enjoyable.
‘First First Contact,’ Season 2’s finale, is yet another example of the strength of this season’s writing. That is because it has all of the heart and action of a classic TSO and even TNG episode. This as the Cerritos is forced to save another ship after an asteroid is destroyed by a solar flare. The ship’s crew has to remove all of the Cerritos’ outer hull in order to navigate through the debris field left by the destruction, and to save its fellow Federation ship. What happens following the brave rescue makes for an even bigger surprise. Viewers will find out what happens as a result of the surprise when Season 3 debuts later in August. Between this episode’s story, the stories in the other episodes examined here, and those in the rest of the season’s offerings, the whole makes clear why the writing this season proves so strong this time out. It is just one part of what makes Season 2 so engaging and entertaining. The bonus content that accompanies this season’s home release adds to that engagement.
The bonus content that accompanies Season 2’s home release is notable because of the background that it offers. The “Lower Decktionary” special feature for instance is an in-depth near episode-by-episode examination of this season. The show’s creative heads talk about many of the season’s episodes, explaining the time and thought that went into making each episode warmer and more accessible to audiences. Some of the cast also talk about recording their lines for certain episodes remotely because of the pandemic. In listening to them talk about each story, it is clear that much more time and thought went into bringing this season to life than the stories in the series’ debut season. The discussion on the attempt to tell the stories of the bridge crew just as much as the lower decks crew while also paying homage to fans of Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek: TNG (as well as even those of Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise) with certain elements shows that the show’s creative heads better understood the need to connect with as many viewers as possible.
The secondary bonus feature, “A Sound Foundation” is interesting in its own way, too. In this equally in-depth presentation, audiences are presented discussions on the work that went into all of the sound throughout the series’ second season. This seems something minor on the surface, but when audiences listen to the discussion, it is clear that just as much time and work went into making the series’ sounds just as connecting to other Star Trek series as the stories. Taking that into account along with the background offered through this season’s “Lower Decktionary” featurette and even with some of the episode-length audio commentaries, the overall bonus content adds plenty of appeal for the season and enhances the viewing experience even more. That overall bonus content is just one more part of what makes the season’s presentation appealing. Its packaging rounds out its most important content.
This season’s packaging is important to address for a pair of reasons. First and foremost, it ergonomic. The two discs on which the season’s 10 episodes are contained are each placed on their own plate inside the case. This protects the discs from one another, thus increasing their longevity. At the same time, the case itself is the size of a case holding a single disc, so it will save space on any viewer’s DVD/BD rack.
On another note, the episode listing is printed inside the case. Some of the brief but concise episode summaries are a little difficult to read because of their placement, but otherwise are not too problematic. Those brief but concise introductions make it easier for audiences to decide which episode(s) they want to watch. The result is even more positive general effect for the viewing experience since audience do not have to otherwise search through the episodes one by one on the discs. That positive impact of the episode summaries being listed in the case and the season’s space-saving presentation makes fully clear, the positive impact of the packaging overall. When this is considered along with the impact of the season’s writing and its bonus content, the whole makes this season of Star Trek: Lower Decks quite the improvement from the series’ debut season and gives hope for the show’s third season.
The second season of Paramount+’s Star Trek: Lower Decks is a step up from the series’ debut season. That is proven in large part through the writing in its episodes. The writing gives each episode so much more heart and depth than that of the episodes in the series’ debut season. The bonus content that accompanies that writing makes for even more engagement. That is because it allows the series’ creative heads to talk about the work and thought that went into the writing (and the sound engineering and editing). The season’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and puts the finishing touch to the set’s presentation. That is because of the space-saving nature of the packaging and the presentation of the brief but concise episode summaries presented inside the case. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this season’s set. All things considered they make the presentation a welcome improvement overall from the debut season of Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from CBS DVD and Paramount+ is available at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.