Star Trek’s new foray into animation has been a total delight.

First off – though it may not seem like the most retro of topics, you really need to be watching Star Trek: Lower Decks on CBS All Access. Now, one could argue that this, Star Trek’s second animated series, couldn’t be more different from the 1970s Filmation series if it tried, and there may well be some truth to that. But the new show, with its lovable (and very flawed) characters and its very modern comedy, may be just the Star Trek we needed in 2020. I really didn’t expect, in a year that brought Jean-Luc Picard back to our screens, that my favorite Star Trek show would be “the cartoon”, and yet here we are.

The most recent episode gave us a whole new gift, though. The episode Terminal Provocations shows us that one of our heroes, Ensign Rutherford, has written his own holodeck training program to help him and his crewmates keep their skills sharp. And at the center of that program is a floating, friendly-faced Starfleet badge named Badgey – the 24th century’s answer to Clippy, the omnipresent Microsoft paper-clip-with-eyes, the first “virtual assistant” many of us ever had to deal with. Badgey’s still a work in progress, though, and Rutherford has to give it a few kicks – both literal and metaphorical – to make sure it works. But this just means that Badgey gradually grows more unhinged, attacking its “father” and his crewmate.

I won’t spoil the rest of that story for you, except to say…it’s a good thing that Badgey is confined to the holodeck. (He…is…confined to the holodeck…isn’t he?) It’d be a mess if Badgey could somehow venture out into the rest of the U.S.S. Cerritos.

It’d be even more of a mess if Badgey could migrate to other animated shows. Consider the terrifying possibilities.

Even if Badgey simply escaped to other animated Star Trek episodes, the results would be… well… what is going on in this picture??!?
It looks like you’re trying to survive a perilous one-year journey to and from Iscandar! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re looking for something really sharp to hurl at the Joker! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re trying to utterly subjugate Homo Sapiens! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re trying to rescue the Princess from Bowser! Again! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re trying to accurately steer a Type 40 time travel vehicle! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re trying to dial home on this Stargate! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like there’s a hungry Wookiee nearby! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you need to summon the Cat Bus! Would you like some help with that?
It looks like you’re trying to have a contemplative moment after narrowly defeating Zoltar again! Would you like some help with that?

Very much like his inspiration, Badgey could be ubiquitous, and simultaneously somehow unhelpful. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him.

It looks like you’re trying to escape a long, unending LARP of Dungeons & Dragons so you can go home! Would you like some help with that?

Published by Earl Green

Earl is the webmaster, writer, graphic designer, and podcaster-in-chief at theLogBook.com, a site that's been on the internet for 20 years as the extension of a project that has been online for 30-odd years. It's home to the Phosphor Dot Fossils video game history archive, one of the internet's most extensive (and always growing) collections of genre TV episode guides, and retro-fixated podcasts such as Retrogram, Select Game, and theLogBook.com's Escape Pod (a bite-sized "today in history" podcast reflecting the geekier side of history). He's written several books on genre TV, and has written for All Game Guide, Classic Gamer Magazine, and the much-missed Retroist site. And now he's here. You can't escape him. I mean, you can try, but why would you?

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