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'Star Trek: Lower Decks' Season 3 is here and you can watch the first episode free

The cartoon chaos that is "Star Trek: Lower Decks" has returned for its third season and you can watch the first episode free on YouTube. 

At the end of the second season we saw  Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) being arrested and led away in handcuffs by a team from Starfleet Command for the destruction of the Pakled planet, Ensign Boimler (Jack Quaid) gets to swim about with two beluga whales and Ensign Mariner (Tawny Newsome) almost drifts out into space, but is rescued at the last minute by her rival, Jennifer the Andorian (Lauren Lapkus).

The third season premiere episode is entitled "Grounded" and is directed by Jason Zurek, who already has four episode of the show under his belt. And as always, this sugar-rush of a space satire is under the watchful eye of showrunner Mike McMahan. Also, as always, Season 3 promises to be an Easter egg extravaganza with throwbacks to all sorts of previous installments, including "Deep Space Nine" and the 2009 J.J. Abrams movie.  

Related: 'Star Trek' Day offers a feast for fans, including news, interviews and more

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And in case you hadn't heard, or at the very least had forgotten, during Paramount's "Star Trek" panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, it was revealed that the cast of the animated series "Lower Decks" will be in a major crossover with "Strange New Worlds." Anson Mount (Captain Pike) revealed the news after Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid made a "surprise appearance" at the panel, sharing that Ensign Mariner (Newsome) and Ensign Boimler (Quaid) would be appearing in the second season of "Strange New Worlds" and not as animated characters.

Perhaps the hope was for the viewer to think they were watching the wrong show during the pre-credit sequence, before the realization dawned — but it appears the proverbial Caitian is now out of the bag. This potentially intriguing episode will be directed by…yup, you guessed it, Jonathan Frakes, so whether that's a hindrance or a help remains to be seen. Frakes didn't direct one single episode of "Strange New Worlds" and it happens to be the most watched "Star Trek" show on Paramount Plus. Just two facts that may or may not be connected. 

Here are links to all of our "Strange New Worlds" episode reviews.

Episode # 1 – Strange New Worlds
Episode # 2 – Children of the Comet
Episode # 3 – Ghosts of Illyria
Episode # 4 – Memento Mori
Episode # 5 – Spock Amok
Episode # 6 – Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach
Episode # 7 – The Serene Squall
Episode # 8 – The Elysian Kingdom
Episode # 9 – All Those Who Wander
Episode # 10 – A Quality of Mercy

Catch up on Star Trek

(Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Check out our Star Trek streaming guide to catch up on everything Trek on Paramount Plus (opens in new tab).

The first two seasons of "Lower Decks" are now available to watch on Paramount Plus (opens in new tab), together with the first season of "Strange New Worlds" and the entire second season of "Star Trek: Picard." Season 4 of "Star Trek: Discovery" is also available on the Paramount streaming service in the US and on CTV Sci-Fi or Crave TV in Canada. 

Countries outside of North America can watch on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. Paramount is available in the UK and Ireland both as a standalone service and as part of the Sky Cinema subscription for the UK cable provider. Paramount Plus is also due to launch (opens in new tab) in Italy on September 15, in Germany and France in the coming months, and in "all major European markets" by the end of the year.

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When Scott's application to the NASA astronaut training program was turned down, he was naturally upset ... as any 6-year-old boy would be. He chose instead to write as much as he possibly could about science, technology and space exploration. He graduated from The University of Coventry and received his training on Fleet Street in London. He still hopes to be the first journalist in space. You can follow Scott on Twitter @LorumIpsum.