This post keeps spoilers to a minimum as the show will not air until October 28th.
Although Star Trek certainly has a section of young fans, it was never intended just for children. Of course, there was an animated show back in the 1970s, but it was basically a sequel to the original 1966 series. The latest program, Prodigy, is designed with children in mind – especially those who may know nothing about Star Trek.
Although the show will not appear on Paramount + until the end of the month, fans peeked into the first episode, “Lost & Found,” during the New York Comic Con last weekend. He meets our main role, a diverse group of aliens trapped in a remote mining colony and forced to dig in search of a mysterious reward. It’s a pretty dark script for a children’s show, but one that won’t last long – these are Star Trek after all, and part of the franchise’s ethos is exploration.
To make the series as convenient as possible for beginners, connections with the wider Trek universe have been kept to a minimum. We don’t even know what kind of our main character, Dal. The rest of the cast is filled with aliens who are just new to us or haven’t had much time for screens in the past. And the Federation is largely unknown here. It is not that it is not mentioned several times, but that our group of former prisoners has no idea what it means. Longtime fans will be excited to watch them learn all about it, while new fans will embark on a journey of discovery with them.
It’s a sense of wonder that will keep the show firmly in tune with the franchise, even as its new setting and animation style challenge previous science fiction programs like Star Wars: Rebels i Farscape. Star Wars: Rebels was also conceived as a children’s play, but its role in filling in the details of the rebel alliance’s rise and sense of pathos made it a pleasant lesson for adults. While the older Trekkies will probably want to keep up Prodigy for those connections with greater continuity, the action sequences are solid, and the starting line of action is serious enough to keep adult newcomers. It’s a good introduction to the franchise for both kids and adults, something that is desperately needed when there are over 800 episodes to pull through.
Prodigy is computer-animated by Eye Animation Productions, part of CBS Television Studios. According to Nickelodeon and Paramount Animation president Ramsey Nait, CG was chosen as the “most immersive approach,” and director Ben Hibbon’s vision for it had a lot of soul. The show adopts a blocky angular style similar Rebels but the edges are smoother and the color palette more spacious. Even when things are dark, it’s still a visual treat in terms of how things are overshadowed. The planet is a whole spectrum of browns and reds, while the universe is not just black and white; it is purple, blue, and pink with a series of twinkling stars. This is the movie place you want to explore.
And, of course, our research tool is USS Protostar, a lost Starfleet vessel that the characters discover while digging. What exactly is a ship and how did it end up on this depressed mining colony? These are long-term questions. Some, however, can be answered by the vessel’s “help desk,” the Kathryn Janeway hologram. She doesn’t have a big role in the series premiere, which is good because it means she can’t distract from starring. Paramount + has at least released a short clip with Janeway in the lead role to quench the thirst for a coffee-eating captain.
During the New York Comic Con panel, executive producers Dan and Kevin Hageman shared several casting announcements. Voyager fans will be glad to hear that Robert Beltran will move away from Chakotay. It is not known whether it will appear in the body or as a second hologram, but we do know that it was promoted to captain in the time since its last appearance. Children will probably be more excited by another guest voice, like Hamiltonis Daveed Diggs as Tysess and The Good Placeis Jameela Jamil as Ascensia. These additional announcements also act as a top hat Voyager fans, a show that has seen a large number of guest stars like The Rock. Prodigy it will even bring back Jason Alexander, the actor who also appeared Voyager, but will now appear in the new role of Dr. Noum.
There’s a lot about the show that you should be excited about and what it revealed Prodigy so far it has been extremely promising. But as a middle-aged and longtime Star Trek fan, what struck me most at this premiere was what you could see Protostar finally fly. His ascent from the planet was exciting, but watching the characters see the stars for the first time … Maybe I shed a few tears. Star Trek is the exploration of foreign new worlds, the search for new life and new civilizations. We can now watch a brand new cast, previously abused and repressed, live that dream. Even if we have left the confines of the Federation, the heart of the show is still firmly in place with its past.
All products recommended by Engadget have been selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories involve partnerships. If you purchase something through one of these links, we can earn a commission for affiliates.
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.