The redshirt is the guy (or gal) who dies in the episode.
The term, of course, originated with Gene Rodenberry’s original Star Trek series in which the lower-ranking Enterprise personnel, the ones we didn’t know, the ones wearing the red shirts, were the ones we knew would suffer an early demise.
I had two initial reactions on seeing the trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks, a new animated series streaming on CBS: All Access on August 6. First, a bit of excitement as I instantly thought, “they made a series about the redshirts!” Until I realized that the captain and other staff on deck also sported the red. Second, Rick and Morty. Indeed, the series’ developer, Mike McMahan, also worked on Rick and Morty. It has a similar animation style to the popular animated series about a gruff, alcoholic mad scientist and his grandson.
While the series does not focus on the “redshirt” in the traditional sense, it does focus on the underdog — the support crew. And not just that: the support crew on a ship that doesn’t even make first contact. The crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos is responsible for second contact.
But will it work?
On the one hand, I’m glad that the series honors Star Trek’s tradition of diversity — something rare when the original series aired in the 1960s. And the concept of focusing on the support staff vs. the bridge crew seems promising. On the other, I wonder how the Star Trek multiverse will be served by this addition, which appears to be another of a particular type of animated series that focuses on wisecracks, hijinks, and fast speech. Will we see the main characters, Beckett and Brad, “get schwifty”?
Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub.1 But I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.
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- In the Rick and Morty Universe, this translates to “I am in great pain. Please help me.” in bird language.