“Lower Decks” is an animated series set shortly after the events of the live-action series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its 1990s spin-offs, “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager.” Where most “Star Trek” shows either embrace a serious tone or an episodic structure, one in which humorous episodes and serious episodes can alternate freely, “Lower Decks” is mostly a comedy series that pokes gentle fun at various story elements and characters from the franchise’s multi-decade history.
Since it’s animated, and has the freedom to depict aliens and locations free of the practical and budgetary restrictions that prevent live-action “Trek” from doing any type of episode whenever it wants, the makers of “Lower Decks” pack most episodes with storytelling elements and callbacks to previous episodes. Sometimes that means bringing the starship Voyager out of mothballs for an episode of its historical preservation. Sometimes that means throwaway gags about prank calling the slime monster that unceremoniously killed Tasha Yar in the first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
The point is, they can do pretty much whatever they want in terms of referencing previous continuity. “As far as Easter eggs go, there’ll be stuff they read in the script that’s like, we’re in a sci-fi room, it’s a museum. There’s bones and there’s a giant or a giant skeleton, and Spock Two from ‘The Animated Series,'” supervising director Barry Kelly told Inverse.
There really seem to be few limits. “In the Voyager episode, for instance, we have the nano-virus, all that stuff, the lizard salamanders, the holograms, all that stuff was written in the script,” Kelly added. “But for something like the movie episode, ‘Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,’ at the last minute we added this Easter egg of actual live-action overlay of the computer they’re looking at in ‘The Wrath of Khan.'”