Star Trek Prodigy TV review
Ground: A group of lawless teens exiled to a mining colony outside Federation space discover an abandoned Starfleet ship. Dal must muster an unlikely crew for their new ship if they are to escape Tars Lamora, but the Soothsayer and his daughter Gwyn have other plans.
Review: When Lower decks premiered last year, it had the distinction of being the first animated film Star Trek series since the cartoon of the original 1973 series. Lower decks has been successful in its blend of Rick and morty humor crossed with that of Seth MacFarlane L’Orville, it was always aimed at a resolutely mature audience. Now Paramount + and Nickelodeon have collaborated on Star Trek: Prodigy, an ambitious CGI animated adventure that emulates the style of Star wars series Clone wars and Resistance. The result is an action-packed journey through a very different lens that takes Star Trek in an exciting new direction. And, while it caters to a younger demographic, it’s absolutely the most fun. Star Trek For years.
Star Trek: Prodigy succeeds mainly because it bypasses restrictions than any other Trek series has coped with over the years by removing most of the main mythology from the equation. Set in the far reaches of the galaxy with characters unfamiliar with Starfleet or the Federation, Prodigy is able to reintroduce the essential elements of what Star Trek meant without all the bureaucratic layers of government and the hierarchies of rank. In fact, during the three episodes made available for this review, the only elements of Star Trek are the presence of Kate Mulgrew as Star Trek travelerCaptain Kathryn Janeway and one Federation ship, the Protostar. How this advanced ship made its way into the far reaches of the Delta Quadrant is not explained at the start of the series, but taking a reverse path from Traveler (these characters are heading towards Earth and the Alpha Quadrant), we can see them developing relationships and bonds as the story progresses.
The characters that populate this series are all unique designs from what we’ve seen before. Led by Dal (Bretty Gray), a purple-skinned alien of unknown origin, the characters are mostly younger. Dal is 17 years old, just like his nemesis Gwyn (Ella Purnell), the daughter of The Diviner, keeper of an asteroid in the penal colony that opens the series. We also have Zero (Angus Imrie), a non-bodily Medusan who lives in a containment suit, Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), a giant stone-like alien who is truly an 8-year-old, and the always funny Jason. Mantsoukas as Jankom Pog, a Tellarite engineer who always says the opposite. These characters reunite as the Protostar crew and learn about the morals and principles of Starfleet through the Ship’s Emergency Hologram, played by Mulgrew.
The diviner, voiced by the great John Noble (Fringe, lord of the rings), is a creepy antagonist reminiscent of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan with his goal of controlling the Protostar. He is aided by robotic executor Drednok (Jimmi Simpson from Westworld) who could be the Trek the equivalent of Darth Vader. Both villains are incredibly vile and could easily be some of Trek’s most memorable villains. Along the way, we must expect appearances from famous voices such as Daveed Diggs, Jameela Jamil, Jason Alexander and Traveler alum Robert Beltran as Chakotay, but in these early episodes the focus is squarely on the newly created characters and their journey.
Created by Kevin and Dan Hageman, the team behind LEGO Ninjago, troll hunters, and Scary stories to tell in the dark, Star Trek: Prodigy reminded me instantly Star Wars: The Clone Wars in that both series are suitable for young viewers, but both are absolutely engaging for longtime fans of the franchise. The animation style is dynamic and the action is intense while exhibiting the characteristics of Star Trek. Michael Giacchino provides the theme that anchors the moments in the Trek universe while giving this series a distinct and unique feel that is carried by composer Nami Melamud. Several times while watching these episodes, I forgot I was watching an animated show. The character designs are clearly not rooted in realism, but even Janeway’s appearance looks a lot like Kate Mulgrew. The quality of this series is much better than I expected.
Like a life Star Trek fan, I’ve always heard people brush the show as the opposite of the space opera action of Star wars. Prodigy proves that it’s entirely possible that Gene Roddenberry’s vision is both action-packed and empowering. I am delighted that this series is making its debut so that a new generation can be introduced to Star Trek. I imagine this series is gaining a similar level of popularity to The clone wars. If that means we’re getting more of Star Trek in animated form because of this show, I totally agree. Star Trek: Prodigy is a heartbreaking adventure that will keep adults engaged, make children think, and open endless possibilities for Star Trek more than any other series since the 1966 original.
Star Trek: Prodigy premieres on October 28 to Paramount +.