Lower Decks’ Season 4 On Blu-ray Brings It All Together – TrekMovie.com

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Before the fifth (and now final) season arrives this fall, the fourth season of the adult animated Star Trek comedy arrives on physical media this week in the USA.

Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season Four

Creator Mike McMahan and his team have consistently impressed with each successive season of Lower Decks. This fourth season could be considered the unifying theory of everything Lower Decks. Season 4 ties junior officers from all over the quadrant, some of which we’ve met before, into the namesake and inspiration of the show (Next Generation’s “Lower Decks”), and that episodes’s roots which go even further back to TNG’s “The First Duty.” Of course the series continues to have meta fun with fan questions, such as whether Tom Paris and Nick Locarno are the same person — they’re not. The latest season also expands on Trek canon, such as exploring Orion culture thanks to Tendi (and her alternate life as Mistress of the Winter Constellations), which is most welcome. Despite being one of the more well known (and infamous) species in Trek we still know so little about the Orion way of life.

A young wide-eyed Mariner tries to impress upperclassman Sito Jaxa

While there’s a lot of fun and often irreverent comedy, something that continues to stand out is the general optimism of the show and the caring that nearly every character demonstrates. There’s been clear character growth from season to season, and this season shows us Mariner getting to the roots of her disdain for rank (and thus promotion) and procedure.

Personal favorites this season include: “I Have No Bones Yet I Must Flee” (it scores points for the title alone, and of course the episode gives us the terrifyingly cute Moopsy), “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place,” “Caves,” and the season finale “Old Friends, New Planets.”

Rom and Leeta play Admiral Vassery for a sucker

The Blu-ray Set

The episodes and special features are on two Blu-ray discs. As has become standard for these CBS/Paramount+ releases, each disc has the names of the episodes it contains printed on them as well as a full listing for the set on the inside front/back of the case.

Video Quality

Lower Decks is a modern high-definition-era cartoon; as such, everything looks sharp, the lines are crisp, and the primary colors of the uniforms pop. The cartoon looked great streaming and looks a bit better here on disc.

Mariner (overdoing it) with Quimp on Ferenginar

Audio Quality

As we’ve come to expect, the episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. While this is standard for a TV show release, the sound design is excellent as always, we’d expect nothing less from the Emmy nominated team.

Mariner with a disgruntled Nick Locarno look out at the Nova Fleet

Special Features

The season set comes with a couple of new documentaries, and a generous five audio commentaries — which means half the episodes have a commentary, pretty cool.

Featurettes

Lower Decktionary: Setting Up Season 4 (9 minutes) – Showrunner Mike McMahan talks about the first episode of season 4, set on the USS Voyager. Including where we left off with the crew at the end of season 3, and the goals for the season. We hear from Eugene Cordero about how he couldn’t believe there was a “cheese episode” of Voyager, also Tawny Newsome, Noël Wells, and Jack Quaid chime in about getting promotions at the beginning of the season, rather than the end. Mike McMahan also weighs in on the Tuvix ethical dilemma.

Old Friends (28 mins) –  Mike McMahan starts off saying how he much he loved “wej Duj” from season two, and that he realized this season’s cold opens could be vignettes showing various alien ships and their disaffected lower deckers. He then takes the audience through his process to develop Mariner’s backstory, tying it into the show’s inspiration: TNG “Lower Decks”, and how they handled incorporating the legacy characters, including tracking down Shannon Fill (who had retired from acting) to come back to do the Starfleet Academy flashbacks. Robert Duncan McNeill, Shannon Fill, and Wil Wheaton meet up (virtually) for the first time in years to discuss the filming and the legacy of TNG: “The First Duty.”

Robert Duncan McNeill, Wil Wheaton, and Shannon Fill discuss “The First Duty”

Episode commentaries

There are audio commentaries on five episodes. As one might imagine, with the amount of camaraderie seen at conventions and in previous documentaries, and the fact that a lot of these folks are voice actors and comedians, these commentaries are a good listen.

  • “Twovix” with Jack Quaid, Mike McMahan, and Brad Winters
  • “Something Borrowed, Something Green” with Tawny Newsome, Noël Wells, and Gabrielle Ruiz
  • “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place” with Noël Wells, Eugene Cordero, Chase Masterson, and Mike McMahan
  • “The Inner Fight” with Dawnn Lewis, Tawny Newsome, and Mike McMahan
  • “Old Friends, New Planets” with Robert Duncan McNeill, and Mike McMahan

Final Thoughts

For most people, this Blu-ray is the highest quality way to watch Lower Decks, so for those who care about getting the best audio-video experience, this is the set for them. It’s also the only way to get the episode commentaries. Recommended for collectors as well as anyone who wants an offline copy of the show; this includes people who cannot or do not want to stream the show and folks who have concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media.

Captain Freeman mistakes a familiar looking alien for a puppet

Available Tuesday

Lower Decks Season 4 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD in the USA and Canada on Tuesday, April 16. You can order it from Amazon by clicking on your preferred format below.

Blu-ray

DVD

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