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WIRE BUZZ: Star Trek Lower Decks beams up Paul Scheer; Brainbox sci-fi series set for Hulu; and Skydance Animation

By Josh Grossberg & Josh Weiss
Paul Scheer Star Trek: Lower Decks

Paul Scheer is headed to the funny Frontier. The Black Monday jokester has signed on to voice Lt. Commander Andy Billups (pictured above), the chief engineer on the USS Cerritos, in Star Trek: Lower Decks, the new animated CBS All Access series and the first all-out comedy in the ever-burgeoning Trek-verse. 

Per Deadline, Scheer will be a recurring guest in the 10-episode inaugural season and play the boss of Eugene Cordero's cyborg engineer Rutherford. The voice cast also includes Tawny Newsome as rebellious ensign Beckett Mariner, Jack Quaid as by-the-book Brad Boimler, and Noël Wells as Orion Starfleet-fangirl Tendi.

Taking a humorous look at the lives of the lower level grunts working on the U.S.S. Cerritos, Star Trek: Lower Decks is the third Star Trek series to launch in the last three years, coming on the heels of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard as part of an effort to reestablish Trek in the TV domain.

It's also, of course, the second animated foray after Star Trek: The Animated Series beamed into living rooms way back in 1973. Star Trek: Lower Decks premieres Aug. 6 on CBS All Access.

Hulu's headed for the ice age.

The streamer behind The Handmaid's Tale has commissioned another dystopian sci-fi series, this one titled Brainbox, which, unlike today's current heat-driven climate crisis, focuses on a catastrophe of the frigid kind.

Per Deadline, the show being developed by Fox 21 Television Studios is based on a short story sci-fi writer Christian Cantrell whic focuses on a climate engineering experiment that thrusts the Earth into a new ice age. As a result, the world's most powerful nations all fight for control of the last habitable places on earth along the equator.

Amidst this superpower struggle, there emerges a young weapons specialist who creates a revolutionary, self-replicating A.I. army that transforms the fate of humanity.

Cantrell is hot on Hollywood's radar right now. His short story, CAGN, is being adapted into a female-driven Michael Crighton-esque sci-fi thriller. He also recently sold the rights to his novella, The Epoch Index, to Fox/Disney for a movie being directed by San Andreas' Brad Peyton with Matt Reeves producing.

Skydance Animation confirmed this week that its first two projects, Luck and Spellbound, would make their theatrical debuts in 2022. Bothare being co-financed by Paramount Pictures.

"Luck and Spellbound create rich worlds and compelling characters that we know will resonate with audiences everywhere. It’s incredibly exciting to see our team of legendary creatives working around the clock and across the globe to bring these pictures to life," Holly Edwards, President of Skydance Animation, said in a statement.

"Luck and Spellbound mark the next phase of Skydance and Paramount’s commitment to feature animation for the theatrical experience,” added Paramount’s President of Domestic Distribution, Chris Aronson. "These films not only continue our longstanding relationship with Skydance, but, along with Paramount Animation’s own upcoming films, mean we will be releasing event-level animated films for years to come."

Set for release on Feb. 18, 2022, Luck centers on the unluckiest girl on the planet, "who stumbles upon the never-before-seen world of good and bad luck and must join with magical creatures to uncover a force more powerful than even luck itself," reads the official synopsis. Peggy Holmes (Secret of the Wings, The Pirate Fairy) directs.

Headed to theaters on Nov. 11, 2022, Spellbound is a musical fantasy "set in a world of magic where a young girl must break the spell that has split her kingdom in two." Vicky Jenson is directing; she co-helmed Shrek with Andrew Adamson and together, they took home the first-ever Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin (Mulan) and Linda Woolverton (The Lion King) penned the script, with Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) writing the score and original songs. David Lipman (Shrek) is on board as a producer.

The pair of films are being overseen by John Lasseter, who served as head of Pixar and Disney Animation before parting ways with the Mouse House in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Skydance hired him the following January, prompting Emma Thompson to exit Luck; shortly thereafter, the actress published a letter about her decision in The Los Angeles Times.