Lower Decks honored its Star Trek animated series ancestor almost immediately by incorporating a Caitian character, the crusty Doctor T’Ana, into the USS Cerritos command crew. Her same feline humanoid species was represented in the 1970s cartoon Star Trek: The Animated Series by the relief communications officer, M’Ress.
Now the humorous CBS All Access series is getting around to acknowledging another Star Trek animated series alien race that served prominently on the bridge in that earlier cartoon.
“Much Ado About Boimler” features an Edosian, a character of the same race as USS Enterprise navigator Lieutenant Arex in the 1973-74 cartoon.
With three legs, three arms and three fingers on three hands and feet, Edosians are a peaceful species generally. The circumspect new character in Lower Decks is a far cry from the zenlike Arex, however. (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations at work.)
Caitians, unlike Edosians, have made it beyond animation into live-action Trek, appearing on the big screen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as well as Star Trek Into Darkness. Both races (in fact, Arex and M’Ress themselves) also appeared in the DC Comics Star Trek run a few years back.
Some sources link the Caitians to a common ancestry with the Kzinti, a fierce warrior race created by author Larry Niven that also appear in TAS, in much the same way the Vulcans and Romulans diverged from a common origin. The Edosians, with their unusual anatomy, are a little harder to pin down — and more challenging to depict in live action than animation, which is no doubt why we haven’t seen them outside the world of Star Trek animated series, novels and comic books.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks appear weekly on CBS All Access every Thursday through Oct. 8; the live-action Star Trek: Discovery then takes the conn with its third season starting Oct. 15.