The Watchman: Manscapers Mull Future on Bravo; Starfleet Have-Nots on CBS All Access

Senior content producer Michael Malone’s look at the programming scene

Season two of Backyard Envy is on Bravo August 4. James DeSantis, Garrett Magee and Melissa Brasier are the Manscapers — landscape design folks cutting a colorful swath across New York. Season one was primarily before-and-after shots of their backyard projects, including what Joshua Brown, Bravo VP of current programming, called “the great reveal.”

The new season delves into the challenges of managing a growing business, and strained friendships. “It’s at an interesting crossroads,” Brown said. “Their business is going to the next level, and we wanted to lean into what’s really going on in their business.”

The Manscapers are considering branching into corporate projects and expanding into other cities. “There’s a lot of debate among the Manscapers,” Brown said, as to “where the business is going and what it will look like.”

Randy Barbato, executive producer and co-founder of producer World of Wonder, called Backyard Envy “the perfect show for these challenging times, as a new generation discovers the joy of gardening.”

Brown’s favorite scene in the new season has the trio in, of all places, a therapist’s office. “It’s an intense and interesting and revealing scene,” Brown said.

CBS All Access premieres Star Trek: Lower Decks August 6. It’s animated and it’s a comedy, yet the series is firmly entrenched in the Star Trek multiverse. Mike McMahan of Rick and Morty developed the show, about the support crew on the U.S.S. Cerritos.

The idea for a humorous Star Trek was hatched several years ago, when McMahan, a serious
Trek fan dating back to his childhood, started a Twitter account that touched on fake The Next Generation episodes — with a lot of quips. The account took off, fast.

“I realized, there can be humor in it,” McMahan said.

Watching Next Generation as a kid in Chicago gave his household “a sense of hope,” said McMahan.

He noted how Star Trek has always had light-hearted moments. But nothing has been comedy-first.

Will the Trekkies push back on an animated comedy? “I think the diehards will push back on anything,” acknowledged McMahan. But they’ll also find Lower Decks is full of affection for Trek. “If people give it a chance, they’ll find so much Star Trek in it, along with the comedy,” said McMahan.

Might a few beloved Star Trek characters pop up in animated form? “You might see a couple familiar faces,” teased McMahan.

CBS All Access is tripling down on Star Trek. The streaming service also offers Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Lower Decks is full of tips of the cap to the mothership. Said McMahan, “There are so many Easter eggs that you have to dig through the Easter eggs to find the Easter eggs.”


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