For a brief while, you didn’t have to be in the United States to get a free snifter of Star Trek goofballery.
Yesterday, as CBS has done so before for Star Trek: Discovery and Picard’s premieres, the network made the first, lovely episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks available to stream on the CBS All Access YouTube channel. Nice, but expected at this point. What was unexpected, however, was that when the corporation announced the news, viewers from anywhere in the world could watch the episode. It was a nice surprise given that, unlike its predecessors in this age of more Trek than you can wave one of those fancy new tricorders with the purple stripe at, it’s still uncertain just when or how the new animated series will be available to watch legally outside of the U.S. and Canada.
As of yesterday’s episode, “Envoys,” we’re two weeks into Lower Decks 10-episode run, and CBS has been recalcitrant to mention anything in regards to the show’s international availability — a disconcerting sign given that fans knew just where and how they’d get Discovery and Picard on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, respectively, well before those shows premiered.
But the surprise was not to last, or rather, the surprise seemed to be on CBS’ end rather than fans’. A few hours after it proudly announced the episode’s drop, it was quietly changed to be made available for only those based in the U.S. — and thanks to the help of some more northerly colleagues here at Gizmodo, we could confirm that not even Canadians could watch, despite Lower Decks’ availability there on Crave and the Sci-Fi TV channel.
Presumably, someone at CBS’s YouTube channel didn’t set the right toggles, and the international accessibility was not intentional in the first place. If you got your watch in before it was fixed, you got lucky. But for fans still waiting for something, anything about how they can support the series legally, the brief window of hope only to be dashed feels a little bit like being in an Agony Booth. Only, you know, not quite so agony-stricken.
Gizmdodo reached out to CBS to confirm whether or not international accessibility to the premiere was intentional, and for an update on when fans can expect to hear about Lower Decks’ release around the world. A CBS spokesperson would only confirm to Gizmodo that the premiere is available to U.S. viewers only. For now, if you’re in the U.S. and would like to watch the episode, it’s embedded below.