Star Trek: Lower Decks’ “Grounded,” the first episode of its third season, will debut on Paramount+ on Thursday, August 25th, 2022. As is to be expected, the episode makes numerous references to other parts of the Star Trek canon.
One of the most interesting allusions is to Jerry Goldsmith’s work on the soundtrack for a Disney attraction, which is not at all what you’d expect. At first glance, the episode’s allusion may seem obscure, but it’s as clear as day in the Golden State.
Goldsmith, an Oscar-winning composer, worked in a wide variety of film genres over the course of his career. His music was featured in famous films such as Planet of the Apes (1968), Poltergeist (1982), and both Gremlins (1984) and Gremlins 2 (1990) featuring his music.
His work on the Star Trek soundtrack was also pivotal. In 1980, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
In 1987, the theme song for Star Trek: The Next Generation was an arrangement by Dennis McCarthy of Goldsmith’s theme from the movie and Alexander Courage’s theme from the first series.
That wasn’t the only thing Goldsmith ever did to contribute to the Star Trek franchise’s musical canon, either. In 1995, he was honoured with a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Music for his composition of the theme music for the television series Star Trek: Voyager.
He also worked with his oldest son, Joel Goldsmith, to write the score for the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact.
The Flight of the Phoenix
In the episode “Grounded” of Lower Decks, the characters go on a trip to Bozeman, Montana, which is also the hometown of Cowboy Captain Christopher Pike.
While there, they go to an amusement park that is located at the location where Vulcans made their first contact with humans, which is depicted in the film First Contact. During this part of the episode, the score from the movie is played over and over again.
When the Lower Deckers are waiting in line to board the Phoenix experience, the queue looks very similar to a line that actually exists for a ride at Disney’s California Adventure called Soarin’ Over California, which is now simply referred to as Soarin’.
The early days of flight are depicted in the queue for this attraction, which also includes video monitors through which characters communicate with guests who are waiting in line.
Why, then, does the episode include a reference to this ride? It’s not simply due to the fact that Cerritos is a California Class course.
It’s also due to the fact that Jerry Goldsmith has a long list of musical compositions under his belt, one of which is the score for the ride, Soarin’ Over California.