Review: ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Series Debut Sparks Hope In “Lost And Found”

“Lost and Found” (Parts 1 & 2)

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2 – Debuted Thursday, October 28, 2021
Written by Kevin and Dan Hageman
Directed by Ben Hibon

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

This two-part debut successfully launches a new kind of family-friendly Star Trek series, full of alien wonders, fun personalities, and situations, with a nice balance of cinematic action and emotional beats.

 

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

“Hope has no purpose here”

The intro to Prodigy reveals Dal, an alien boy dreaming of escape from the Tars Lamora prison colony. In short order, this wisecracking kid encounters most of the main characters on the show, although he doesn’t know that yet because none of the variety pack of aliens on this hellish mining asteroid can understand each other. An exception to this is Drednok, an evil robot working for the guy who runs the prison, who seems to think Dal can help him track down a fugitive named Zero, a more friendly-looking robot-like thing who gives Dal an escape assist. The ensuing chase has Dal running into a playful blue blob, a giant rock monster, and a cantankerous Tellarite, or as we will later learn: Murf, Rok-Tahk, and Jankom Pog. While this first attempt ends in failure, his exciting opening chase really kicks off the series with a bang (including some slapstick gags) and shows both the cinematic scale and the savage stakes involved with the mission to find a ticket out.

The tone shifts to a reticent tension with the introduction of Gwyn, the hesitant progeny of The Diviner, the mysterious ailing overlord of this prison. While she is working alongside the clearly nefarious Drednok, she shows subtle compassion over a new (and adorable kitten)  Caitian girl and steers her dad away from torturing Dal, who is having a nice chat with an unseen friendly fellow prisoner who can mysteriously speak his language. As an expert in language herself, Gwyn has some history talking to Dal, and together they agree to give him a day to find Zero… or it’s evil robot torture time. We also learn that The Diviner is keeping secrets from his daughter, who dreams of seeing stars, especially knowledge of something called “The Federation,” which starts the slow-burn reveals of Star Trek lore for this show aimed at the uninitiated.

The scheme has Dal sent deep into the asteroid where only the big miners work. Just his luck, after watching some delightfully gruesome safety videos, Dal’s handed a laser bigger than himself and gets paired up with that rock monster who just wants to get to work, rebuffing his escape plan recruitment attempt (via finger painting). The impasse escalates until Dal clumsily lasers down the whole ceiling, and the big growling creature actually ends up saving him. The scuffle also reveals a treasure trove of Chimerium ore… oh, and a starship! After boarding the ship, Dal finally meets Rok-Tahk for real thanks to the Universal Translator combadge, and she turns out to be a little girl… well “little” for a Brikarian. She is now totally on Team Escape, as is a surprise last-minute entry, the enigmatic Zero. The emotion soars as the ship lights up and Dal has found his ticket out, but for fans, seeing Starfleet’s USS Protostar come to life is on a whole different level.

 

“A reason for hope”

As it turns out, Zero has their own big reveal: “Not a robot, nor a he or she. I am Medusan.” Somehow this energy being built a mobile robotic suit, quite the accomplishment without any hands if they do say so themselves. After being brought to the asteroid to be used as a telepathic weapon by The Diviner, Zero escaped, spotting Dal as a possible ally to get out of the prison. The team realizes they are going to need an engineer, and Dal remembers that tinkering Tellarite who just needs a bit of reverse psychology to get him interested, and now they are stuck with him and his unique brand of “percussive maintenance”… aka hitting things with his cool multi-tool prosthetic hand. Rok-Tahk also brings on that cute little blue blob and names him Murf, but the Universal Translator has no idea how to deal with his adorable squeaks and squeals.

This loose band of uncertain alien allies has a day to get the ship working before Dal is expected to hand over Zero. Dal tries to buy some time by revealing all that Chimerium ore, but Drednok isn’t buying it, sending him up to the surface, and “no one comes back from there.” Gulp. Gwyn again appears torn, talking to Dal as he toils on the surface of their shared love of the stars and a “window of dreams.” An explosion gives Dal another chance to get away and back to the hidden Protostar, but it was all a ruse orchestrated by Team Bad Guys. As they are discovered, Dal gives Gwyn one more chance to switch teams, imploring her with “Now, we can save each other,” but she is still heartbreakingly in too deep. The Diviner’s daughter watches with anguish as Drednok and an army of “Watcher” spider robots capture Dal, Zero, and the USS Protostar, now revealed to be the true thing her father has been seeking.

All seems lost, but then Dal telepathically sends a crazy plan to Zero. The Medusan isn’t buying it, but Jankom Pog loves it and goes all Leeroy Jenkins, initiating a relentless action sequence that escalates until the episode’s conclusion. After scrapping some little nasty bots, the escape team grabs Gwyn as a hostage and starts up the not-so-ready ship. Through a lot of trial and error—and the random smashing of consoles—the ship begins an epic escape, with Zero “I’m flattered you think I know what I am doing” the Medusan at the helm. Dal envisions himself as captain and does a good job of showing the right heroics as he clings onto the hull, battles Drednok, and fixes the shields. He even has a one-liner, telling the giant evil spider bot to “bug off” as he cartoonishly slips off the ship’s shield barrier. Even Murf comes into play when he plops onto a console, (accidentally?) activating the “pew pew pew” (this is a show for younger audiences, remember) phasers, desperately needed to blow a hole out of the asteroid and into the beautiful freedom of space, which even brings wonder to the eyes of the tied-up Gwyn.

But now what? Dal can’t decide with so many options, but after Rok-Tahk mentions he has help from his new team of friends, they are all surprised with the activation of a familiar-looking projection. “Did someone ask for help? I am Hologram Janeway.” OMG! Sure, we knew this was coming, but with a sting of the Voyager theme, it’s still pretty cool. At least to us fans, to Dal and the crew–and the target audience–this new entry is another intriguing mystery left for future episodes.

 

ANALYSIS

A new way to Trek

The stated goal of Star Trek: Prodigy was to introduce Star Trek to a younger generation and to people not familiar with Star Trek. This is a daunting task as the show cannot rely on nostalgia or franchise tropes that can entice a built-in audience, and yet the Hageman Brothers were able to deliver an entertaining hour of entertainment that should be enjoyable for families and children of all ages. Like a good Pixar film, Prodigy offers a well-balanced mix of action, comedy, and heart, starting with a set of diverse and accessible characters, all well-cast. Brett Gray (Dal) and Ella Purnell (Gwyn) were up to the challenge, showing a lot of range for their pivotal characters. While the characters quickly coalesced behind the shared goal of escape, they are by no means a crew. Each has unique strengths and weaknesses that can and should be ironed out with arcs of growth as the season progresses.

Not trying to be a full-on comedy like Lower Decks and with some jokes falling flat like the “cat boots” play on words, Prodigy still offered plenty of fun gags including some slapstick, which should entertain the younger viewers. Angus Imrie was a delight, bringing a surprising amount of nuanced humor to his enigmatic Zero. Gray’s Dal and other characters also had lighter moments, spreading out the comic relief so as to not rely entirely on the dependable Jason Mantzoukas (Jankom Pog).

The series opener was—by design—light on the Star Trek nods, but it still exuded the themes of Star Trek, including a sense of optimism and hope. And with the USS Protostar standing in as a proxy for the franchise, there was a strong message of how the ship brought this disparate team together through its ability to help them understand each other and work together. The franchise’s long history of diversity took a new step with a crew made up entirely of aliens, and again there was a message, with each showing there was more to these individuals than what you imagined, exemplified by Rok-Tahk revealed as a young girl who is “big, not dumb.”

The strong story, action, and themes come through thanks to impressive CG animation and a cinematic style that is truly awesome. Director Ben Hibon elevates Prodigy well beyond just a kids’ show to something that feels like it should be seen on the big screen. There is an obvious influence from Star Trek movies, especially of the Kelvin era. Even though the show is firmly set in the Prime Universe, the pacing, style, and Starfleet aesthetics would fit well in that alternative universe. This J.J.-Trek sensibility is really driven home by a majestic score by Nami Melumad, who has clearly learned a lot from her mentor Michael Giacchino, who scored all three Kelvin movies and provides Prodigy’s main theme.

Room to Trek

While the overall plot of the two-part opener was a fairly straightforward prison breakout scenario, it set up a lot of mysteries for the remaining eight episodes of the first season. Exploring these mysteries should offer the show many of the opportunities to slowly introduce more elements of Star Trek to the audience, especially through the USS Protostar, and of course, Janeway. The Diviner is obsessed with the ship, so there is definitely something special about it and some real mystery about how it ended up abandoned on Tars Lamora. One clue could be a bridge console that indicated it is equipped with a Transwarp drive.

There is also the mystery of the Vau N’Akat, . The Diviner and Gwyn are said to be the last of the race, which seems to explain why he has some secret “dark purpose” for his progeny. We don’t learn a lot about them in the pilot, but there appears to be something special about Vau N’Akat; clues include Zero’s inability to read The Diviner’s mind, Gwyn’s amazing language abilities and her control over a sort of liquid metal device that can be used as a weapon, and those glowing lines on their skin.

And there’s the curiosity of how none of the other characters know anything of the Federation or Starfleet, even though Medusans, Brikarians, and Tellarites are all native to the Alpha Quadrant. How did they and the other Alpha Quadrant aliens end up at Tars Lamora? Surely it will not be the end of the story for that adorable kitten Caitian and the rest of the prisoners left behind. And even though Dal doesn’t even know what race he is, he appears aware of elements of the outside galaxy, including how Tellarites argue and that Medusans are telepathic, and he seems to speak Federation Standard. As for Murf, is there a method to the madness?

Hopefully these and other questions—like why is Hologram Janeway so welcoming to a group of non-Starfleet aliens?—will be explored in the upcoming episodes. More importantly, all of these mysteries offer opportunities for an extra layer of enjoyment for Star Trek fans, and a way to introduce more elements of franchise lore to those new to the franchise.

 

Watch it with kids

To help get a younger perspective, I showed the Prodigy premiere to my niece Ani (12) and nephew David (9). Both were vaguely familiar with Star Trek, but had yet to watch any of it. The pair were intrigued but a bit wary, with David asking, “Does it have any lightsabers?” Watching the show with kids is a lot of fun, especially when they laugh or gasp at certain moments, like David thinking it was hilarious how the Watcher bots cut the chain sending Dal plummeting down, or saying “That’s so cool!” as the USS Protostar plunges through the waterfall. Surprisingly, they had few questions during the watch, with the exception of not understanding why the kids were in the prison and asking “What did they do wrong?”

Some of the phrases heard in this mini-focus group were “good story,” “a lot of action,” “great animation,” and “really funny.” While still a bit fuzzy on all of the character names, David was drawn to Dal, describing him as “funny” and “kind of dramatic.” Ani liked Gwyn, saying she “has some good in her,” predicting she will join Dal’s crew because “she wants to see the stars.” Both loved the reveal of Rok-Tahk: “That was funny when the big guy turned out to be a girl!” Murf got a few laughs too. “He was really funny, he likes to eat things.”

As for Janeway, she was “surprising” because she “appeared out of nowhere.” Both claimed to “sort of” recognize her, mostly due to her outfit being associated with Star Trek. Ani expects Janeway will remain and “not do anything major,” but “help them navigate around the galaxy because they don’t know what they are doing.”

In the end, David gave the show an “A,” with Ani grading it as “B+.” Both felt their peers would like Prodigy, comparing it favorably to other shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Even without lightsabers, David actually says Prodigy was “cooler.” Ani was surprised that the kids managed to escape by the end of the premiere, expecting the show would feature multiple escape attempts in early episodes. Both were ready to see more and disappointed I didn’t have additional episodes to share.

 

Final thoughts

With Star Trek: Prodigy, the Hageman brothers have found a way to introduce new people to the franchise while staying true to its core ideals. While the story was simple, it wasn’t dumbed down, and it was made compelling and fun by a group of inviting and intriguing characters. And the whole thing was elevated by a world-class production. You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy Prodigy, but it may make you feel young again like when you first discovered Star Trek.

MORE BITS AND CANON CONNECTIONS

  • No Stardate was given; however, producers have revealed the show is set in the year 2383, five years after the USS Voyager returned to Earth.
  • The series begins in the Delta Quadrant, as evidenced by the Kazon freighter captain who also mentions “…this side of the Delta.”
  • While the Kazon were the initial main adversaries on Star Trek: Voyager, this is the first time we hear their language.
  • Also the first time hearing Caitian language.
  • Dal’s attempt to escape through the “rubble crusher outlet” appears to be a nod to the “chompers” scene in Galaxy Quest.
  • Zero was brought to Tars Lamora in the same kind of container as Medusan Ambassador Kollos in the TOS episode “Is There in Truth no Beauty.”
  • Zero’s flashback shows they were revealed unshielded to a poor Lurian.
  • Gwyn was seen studying the Klingon language.
  • The USS Protostar has the registry NX-76884, with NX indicating it is an experimental ship.
  • Zero estimates the minimum crew for the ship should be around 20 (or 37 appendages).
  • In addition to the Transwarp Drive, other Protostar systems indicated on bridge consoles include:

More to come

Every Friday, the TrekMovie.com All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.


New episodes of Prodigy premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on  Paramount+ in Latin American, the Nordic Countries, and Australia. Amazon Prime Video internationally on Fridays. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

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I don’t think I’d say I *loved* it or anything, but it was good, and I’d have happily watched a third episode right after it ended. I wish Paramount had let the dadgum end credits play, rather than shrink them down, but that’s kind of my only complaint.

They didn’t shrink down on my Apple TV.

They did on my Roku.

You just have to hit the back button once and they pop right back up.

Haven’t watched Prodigy yet, but the credits for all the Trek shows shrink down on FireTV. I have to click “Watch Credits” to bring them back up.

Touching the tiny arrows around the edge of the small box allows you to enlarge the video back to full screen size

It sure does. Wish it hadn’t been necessary to do so.

It depends on the player. We have Paramount+ as an add-on to Amazon Prime Instant Video (I keep meaning to do something about that), and watch both Prime and P+ through the Prime app on a PS4. On this, it doesn’t shrink stuff down, though it typically puts a little window for the next episode or a recommendation or something in the lower-right-hand corner (which I don’t care for either).

Check settings?

Check what settings?

Usually something like “Autoplay”. You may have to log in to your account in a web browser to change the setting.

Worth a try!

Maybe they only shrink when you don’t opt for the no commercials option.

Speaking of the so called “no-commercial” option…. That’s a lie. They run a promo in front of the episode. THAT is a commercial. Sorry, that counts. I have contacted P+ about it but from their point of view their ad doesn’t count as an ad. Pathetic.

Yeah HBO Max does the same thing and show promos of their other shows or films before the video starts. But they also have a skip button too. I think if P+ had that, then that would be a fair compromise at least.

Very much looking forward to episode 3! The show was actually quite a bit darker in tone than I was expecting! The prison colony and it’s overseers were pretty menacing and violent.

But I absolutely love it. The animation is gorgeous, the characters definitely have my attention, and of course, it feels like Star Trek.

Was this two episodes? I liked it, too.

It feels like Star Trek, but, well, fresher. It shows that there are a lot of different kinds of stories in that big universe.

I hope Hologram Janeway isn’t a vehicle for empty Federation worship, al la Discovery.

Have to say I truly enjoyed this!

First off, it just looks beautiful! It feels and looks like a feature film. I was so impressed with how big and grand the scenes looked. It’s hard to believe its a kids cartoon, certainly different than my generation of kids cartoons lol.

Loved all the new characters! They are all very likeable which is funny because when the show was first announced I think everyone felt like it was going to start in the opposite direction and just be these dreary selfish people that ‘learns’ Federation values and how to be better. I’m glad this is not the case. My instant favorites are Dal, Jankom Pog and Rok Tahk. Murf is just adorable!

Can’t say enough about the Protostar! I can’t wait to see the rest of it and nice to see 24th century ship design advancing more! Gorgeous!

The mystery seems like its going to be much deeper than I originally thought. It’s not just about the ship but the new characters as well. The Diviner is well aware of the Federation and I’m now guessing they are aware of him too and maybe where Chakotay and his crew will come in. I’m already intrigued of where it’s all going.

But my favorite moment, seeing Captain Janeway back in the Star Trek universe! Yes it’s a hologram but close enough! I been missing this lady for 20 years now! SO happy to see her back where she belongs! :)

And great review TM. I loved that your niece and nephew watched and gave their thoughts on it as newbies to the franchise. Us oldies will be doing what we always do and debate, debate, debate about it. But this is the first Trek show for them! They are the next generation of fans and I really hope the show knocks it out of the park for them! Star Trek is just so big and wonderous. It’s nice to see it expanding again in a different way for a different audience and will hopefully capture their imaginations of life in the 24th century and beyond.

Star Trek Lives!

I didn’t read the spoiler review above or much of your post. All I needed was the first and last lines including your close – Star Trek Lives!
Sadly, will have to wait until 6 p.m. when the show premieres up here north of the border. In the words of Capt Christopher, thanks for the look ahead!

Wow, it sucks you have to wait longer. I was a bit surprised they aired it in the early morning like the other shows since it’s for ‘kids’ but yeah, they know who will be watching this first lol.

I didn’t really spoil anything in my review. There is one minor spoiler I guess but the rest is spoiler free. Anyway I hope you watch and like it! I certainly did, but of course with it also being a kids show in mind. But it’s heading in the right direction and looks like it will be a fun show for fans based on the premiere IMO.

Well you may be blocked by terrestrial scheduling but my problem is far deeper and more demanding. My wife doesn’t get off work until 715 and then we won’t get to watch it for at least an hour after that. She needs quality time with the cat while I keep the dog occupied

Tiger2, did Paramount+ post 2 episodes (that is, episode 1 & 2)?

All I see listed by BellMedia for today is S1 Ep1 on both CTV Sci-fi Channel and Crave streaming.

Yes but it played as one single episode and was 45 mins total.

According to the Bell Fibe Guide, the Sci-Fi network will air 2 episodes tonight starting at 6pm, therefore it will be a 1 hour show. Going forward, I understand they will be 30 min episodes.

Well…. These were essentially two 23 minute episodes….

I’d call it a single episode, but it’s twice as long as what a normal episode of the show will be (as were “Encounter at Farpoint”, “Emissary”, “All Good Things…”, “Caretaker”, etc.), so others are referring to it as two episodes. Elsewhere in these comments I joked about wanting to see this second episode that others here have apparently already seen.

That said, unlike those double-length episodes from the Berman-era shows, this one is still only about an hour, since typical episodes will be more like a half-hour (as is fairly typical of animated shows, whether for kids or not). It’s notable as Trek‘s first animated episode this length.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. I was wondering why some were saying they loved the first two episodes.

Well that was … generic. Generic music, generic quippy dialogue, generic mysterious character backgrounds/-motivations and generic action scenes. I mean, at least it’s not offensively terrible and it probably can improve from here but still … as a pilot it’s kinda … meh

on some more positive note (pun intended): the theme is nice. I have no idea, why they stuck it at the end of the episode (but maybe they’ll change it next week). It’s let down by the visuals, which are basically the discovery intro over again and the aggressively uninspired music in the episode (it didn’t surprise me at all, that it’s different composers). But what gives? With Lower Decks they finally got the music right. Star Treky without being derivative of or outright reusing themes (other than for established cues).

And finally: Who at Secret Hideout has the Tentacle-Fetish? It’s getting kinda obvious at this point dude!

Respectfully disagree. I thought it was pretty specific.

I suspect, and I may be wrong, that it may have been the intent to be somewhat generic at the start of this. One of the stated objectives is to bring in young fans and introduce them to the Trek universe.

This may be a smart move, having a general and wide-appealing intro to what may become a more focused Trek experience.

Let’s wait and see what the rest of the season has to bring to us.

That’s not quite what I meant. I get that they wouldn’t steep it knee deep in Star Trek Lore or make it a reference bonanza like Lower Decks. I actually think, the addition of Janeway isn’t actually that great of an idea in this respect. But we’ll see about that.

My problem is – like with pretty much all Trek since 2017 – that it’s written just so lazily. That dialogue and character interactions could be from any other show, set in any other setting. It’s probably what you learn to write straight out of film school. If there’s a scriptwriting program with a version of content aware fill, it could probably produce this without a scriptwriter.

Star Trek never had that generic dialogue. It was specific to the show. Defiantly too technobabble heavy in the later shows but you always had a clear distinction between Star Trek dialogue and everything else on TV (at least for the Most part. With 720 something Episodes not everything is perfect.). And it was kinda similar with the action and the music. Even if you were to swap out the ships you’d still recognise, if it’s a fight scene from Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate or Above and Beyond for example.

It’s a (relatively smart) kids show. And what’s so specific about Star Trek dialogue other than all the shoehorned in literary references. These are kids in a mining prison, what do you want them to sound like?

I personally want something fresh. I agree that Janeway seems unnecessary though, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Can’t say, that I see much that I’d call “smar”. It’s an absolutely boilerplate story with off the shelf characters. As I said, it feels, like it’s written by a computer, that just had to cover the basics and nothing extra.

Star Trek dialogue had lots of little special things that aren’t necessarily about what is said in terms of content. It was the absence of any real accent. If you see those actors in any other role, most of them have a very different manner of speaking. But also there was thought out into the fact that language evolves a lot over 400 Years and some idioms just die. For example Uhura not even understanding a certain racial slur anymore or things like “pull the trigger” or “hang up” not making sense as an idiom. Now granted not every writer did this perfectly and some stuff fell flat (“what we used to call a black hole”).

And here it should be even more pronounced, since we don’t even have human kids and the Universal translator (which would work as a pretty generic accent m) is even a central part of the story. The main Boy talks like any 21st century kid. It threw me off immediately, since they actually focus so much on it. That’s what I mean by generic. You could use that same dialogue in another Kids show on Nickelodeon and you’d barely have to change a thing.

And Kids aren’t stupid. Figuring out, why those people talk with such different points of reference could be part of the fun. It’s not like it’s a show for preschoolers. And Star Trek (TOS and TNG at least) was for the Most part a show watched by the whole family. It’s not like the way it used to be didn’t appeal to kids. You’d think, being unique is an asset in the entertainment landscape.

I think this episode is evidence that even a relatively smart kids show is way smarter than a dumbed down adult show.

TAS was in my opinion way WAY smarter than TNG.
Just take the closing line in Beyond the Farthest Star.. “Don’t leave me… so lonely…”.
More hard hitting ethics there – Kirk leaving because the alien tried to destroy them – in 5 seconds than 7 years of TNG.

There is some truth to that. I’ve always claimed that many TAS episode would have made for pretty good full length live action episodes.

Maybe I did what our administration has told us to do for everything which is lower my expectations. But I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. But lowering ones expectations for a Secret Hideout production has become pretty darn easy….

After the epic disaster of the last four years, even lowered expectations feel like a grand expedition to Mars. Since you insist on dragging politics into a Trek discussion on a specific topic where they have no relevance.

Where were you when everyone else was doing it, and some still are? If you truly mean it you would do that to all. But you don’t. So it’s obvious you don’t mean it.

The disaster is now. You got what you wanted. You should be happy.

Agreed

And I’m sold! I loved it, and I can’t wait for next week. :-D I’ve gotta get my nieces into this.

Dear producers. Your international audience is once again waiting for the official release. Or should we just download?

The international release beyond Australia and Nordic countries where Paramount+ is available seems to be linked to whenever the SkyTV plus Paramount+ becomes available.

ViacomCBS, like all the other major US content producers, is putting priority on its own streamers for its own content releases.

This was a good pilot episode. Predictable at times but fun to watch. The CG animation is very impressive. I will definitely tune into next week’s episode.

The question is, was it predictable for the target market?

Not bad, the music needs to lay off the John Williams-esque Star Wars love in, as it doesn’t feel very Trek.

I loved the music.

Can we just let this thing grow and stop trying to force our mouldy ideas of Trek onto it?

It’s just what I hoped for! Big Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia / Star Wars: Rebels / Avatar: The Last Airbender / etc. energy here. I’m very looking forward to the second episode that everyone else in the comments seems to have seen already. :p

Can’t have an animated Trek without at least one Caitian, it seems.

I can think of some pretty good reasons you are positively comparing it to Trollhunters. It’s the same guys!

I’m aware! The Hageman brothers have been doing good-to-great animated storytelling for kids and families for years, perhaps most notably in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro on Trollhunters and with Phil Lord and Chris Miller on The LEGO Movie. I’m delighted that they’ve come to Star Trek.

I’m a bit crestfallen right now. I was so looking forward to this and had been genuinely excited. But, well… I didn’t warm up to it at any point during this first hour. Dal is just another Aladdin character, like on Star Wars: Rebels, and the actor voicing him is, in my opinion, ill-chosen. As for the rest of the characters, none of them really make much of an impression on me. This show would fit Star Wars a lot more than it does Star Trek, and I can’t help think that’s what they’re aiming for. I hope I enjoy the show more as additional episodes air, because right now it’s the first Star Trek series I haven’t embraced. I’m thrown by that, as I went into it with a very open mind. Kind of sad now.

Aww, that’s unfortunate. :( Personally I’m about as happy and in love with it as I can be with any show based on seeing a single episode – much more so than I have been with any live-action Star Trek production in the last fifteen years, and more even than I was with Star Trek: Lower Decks when I had seen only the first episode, though I grew to absolutely adore that show. That said, I’m also quite optimistic future episodes will be even better (after all, how many Star Trek shows’ first episodes are their best episodes?).

Same for me as well. I liked all the characters right away, especially Dal. I think while not everyone will love this show, it probably will be a show more fans can get into right away versus something like Lower Decks (which I also love too). But this show looks like it will capture the spirit of why most of us are fans and will be about exploration and this time seeing it through the eyes of characters whose never really seen the galaxy. That’s why this show works for kids, because the characters are experiencing everything for the first time just like the demo its targeting is suppose to be. It’s not the ‘same ole’ space travel you see on TOS, TNG or DIS where it feels old hat to the characters and they know how things work. Even though on Enterprise it was a lot of green characters, they were still trained Starfleet officers ready to go exploring. This is a very different deal.

And they got Janeway! ;D

So I’m confident too this can be a great show. The premise itself will be a lot of fun.

It’s not a prerequisite for me to like the characters, I like intriguing or interesting ones too. But this group…. God help me I liked just about everyone. I can’t speak for kids. As I’ve said, my kid is an adult. But having likable characters is not a bad thing and is a very good start.

That is why this episode was so un-Secret Hideout-like.

Not me either, but its definitely important for most and certainly for kids. When Discovery first started, a lot of people complained how unlikable a lot of the characters were, mostly on Reddit. But I also think once you adapt to them, people minds change and a lot of times that initial dislike turns into great affection. I wasn’t a big fan of characters like Kira, T’Pol, B’Elanna (you see a trend here lol) only to really fall in love with their characters later once I got to know them more and understood them. I knew I was going to hate Quark but loved him by the first half of season one. But it wasn’t until DS9 there were ‘unlikable’ characters for me. Everyone on TOS and TNG were instantly likeable people EXCEPT Picard but liked him by the end of first season. And to be fair it was a lot less yelling on those shows too lol.

In love with it? Really

Yep! I’m very happy with it, and it makes me very optimistic for the rest of the show.

This show needs to be a gateway for the kind of kids that WON’T just get into Trek by watching the older shows as they are available. (Which of course wasn’t the kind of kids we were.)

Interestingly enough, for our oldest teen, a fan of Trek from primary grades who was very disappointed and put off by Icheb’s death in Picard, it was the fact that the creators had been responsible for Trollhunters that got them to agree to watch the Prodigy premiere on Thursday.

I ended up hearing a lot of compare and contrast with the setting and animation style with Trollhunters rather than SW. Also the initial escape attempt by Dal was compared to some Pixar chase scenes. All to the good, but SW isn’t necessarily what the kids see when they look at this.

I am nearing 60 years old next month; and my inner 6 year old self was in awed of the high production value they placed on a kid’s show. I enjoyed the visuals, music and characters. I can not wait to see more.

REALLY far fetched but Vau N’Akat = (Kurt) Vonnegut?

I wonder if Kilgore Trout will make an appearance then?

Well, Solum is indeed a name linked to loneliness and Vonnegut dealt a lot with that state of mind.

This reminded me a lot of Enterprise’s first episode of season 3. Just missing MACOs and a shuttle.

Makos

Like the shark.

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Military_Assault_Command_Operations

MACOs as in Military Assault Command Operations.

I just watched that one, and I was thinking the same thing. Obviously the style, tone, and plot were entirely different, but the setting of a mining colony run by kidnapped slaves was similar.

Wow, it sounds like they have big plans for this show going forward, even maybe a feature film!

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/star-trek-films-prodigy-alex-kurtzman-brian-robbins-1235037563/

This came across my phone discussing the show and where they see it going in terms of the brand. Of course its WAAAY too early to really see if this will be a big enough show or not but they seem to think they have a huge hit on their hands and it could be a movie in a few years. If so, great!

We know they want to start selling toys and have real merchandise again like the old days. LDS seems to have a bit more merchandise but maybe PRO will ramp that up on a serious level.

Frankly, this is what Star Trek needs IMO. It can’t just appeal to the same people whose been watching it for 40-50 years already. It has to excite kids on the level stuff like Marvel or Star Wars does to expand. I been saying for a loooong time now I want to see Star Trek do other things. I want it to appeal to others EVEN if it means it doesn’t always appeal to me directly. I felt the same way about the Kelvin movies. But one episode in and I have to say I’m on board so far though and this will probably be much more for me than those movies ended up being (and I liked them).

Again I have to give Kurtzman a lot of credit. People keep saying he doesn’t have a ‘vision’ for the franchise but I don’t really understand that because he seems to be targeting different demographics and building out the franchise in a way that’s never been done before. It may not be everyone’s cup of Earl Grey but it’s something.

Lastly they talk about the next live action movie already announced, but it still sounds like they are pretty far behind. We’ll see if that happens, but not holding my breath just yet. That said it does sound like they are thinking long term with whatever they do with the films.

Hey…. I’ve always gave Kurtzman credit for his multiple genre concept. It’s a very good idea that he has totally failed in executing. Star Trek Discovery was supposed to be a “bullet” but it was just a hot mess that never made sense. Picard was supposed to be a little slower and perhaps a little “thinkier” but it turned out to be a slower hot mess. Lower Decks was supposed to be an adult oriented comedy perhaps in the spirit of something like “Archer” but it ended up being so soft that the humor comes across like it’s aimed at 9 year olds with 50 years of fandom in them. Then there is this, that is supposedly aimed at kids but really feels like it is aiming higher than Lower Decks did. I think it a success but still…. Not exactly what they were saying it was. But yeah…. Kurtzman’ she overall idea is sound. He just needs better people to execute them. And he MAY have found them for Prodigy.

Well hopefully the fourth time is the charm for you lol.

But yeah have to see beyond a few episodes but it has promise at least. I think I’m going to really like it but I remember saying that both about Discovery and Picard.

I’m at the point where if I find I like anything from Secret Hideout at this point I’m stunned and think it must be a mistake. A week or so ago I was stunned when Lower Decks actually had a FUNNY episode! (I, Erectus). I couldn’t believe it. But it turned out to be a mistake and it went right back to being dull and unfunny. I truly hope that doesn’t happen with Prodigy. It has a lot going for it that the other shows don’t have. And I smiled a lot in that 46 minutes. It was great fun to watch. I am REALLY hoping this show works.

Me too! I’m always excited about a new Trek show and hope this one keeps me a fan!

Discovery seems to have been a complete hot mess when Fuller exited.

Kurtzman seems to have struggled to get the right show runners ( and their egos) working together to deliver live action series that match their concepts.

Whereas the animated series seem to have both had strong show runners who were permitted to go for it. Whether or not one likes LDS or Prodigy, they work.

The incoherence of Discovery and Picard’s early seasons really demonstrate how many competing visions seemed to be pulling the stories and tone into different directions. No amount of editing in post can make up for a lack of shared vision.

Discovery season three may not be exactly to my taste, but it seemed to be a show that settled into what it is and owns it.

So, I’m curious to see how SNW and Picard season two work out. It seems like with the discipline in production that COVID required, and perhaps a better balance or show runners, these shows may work more cohesively. Not saying that they will necessarily be my preference, but they seem to have more promise of being good shows for their niches.

In my opinion I don’t think LDX works at all because I expect a show that is supposed to be a comedy to be, you know, a comedy. If McMahon was allowed to “go for it” as you say, I think we would have had a much edgier and funny show. So either he was afraid to push the envelope or he was told not to. There is no way I can believe anyone was told to just “go for it” on that show. As a result it seems they have decided the audience they want to please are 9 year olds that have 50 years of fandom in them and are too sensitive to their precious Trek to have it lovingly poked fun at.

I mentioned after season 3 of Star Trek Discovery that it feels like that is the show they want to make. I don’t think it works at all but I think a huge part of it is the writing and the characters. None of them are good. But if they had intriguing characters in this situation it could be an altogether different, and better show.

I don’t know what to make of Picard. I still think Patrick did it mainly for the pay day. And that’s NOT a criticism. The trailers for season two do not look promising but I’d rather wait and see what they really do before commenting on if they learned some things from S1.

Prodigy is the only show by SH that has gotten off to a good start. It remains to be seen if they can keep it up.

I could have done without the first 20 minutes. Also, it seemed a little too much like those animated Star Wars shows. Despite this, the two-part premiere got better once the crew was onboard the Protostar. It’s definitely no Lower Decks but it has potential.

Thank GOD it’s no Lower Decks! It’s way better!

Just imagine if this remarkable technology was used to recreate episodes from prior incarnations of Star Trek. For example, What fan of TOS wouldn’t fall in love with the original cast as they might appear in the 4th year of the original Enterprise 5 year mission? The recreation of Janeway was masterful. More like that please.

TAS is really the fourth season of TOS, but I get your point.

Maybe they can remake TAS with better animation.

There are two seasons of TAS.

I’d say 1 1/2 as the 2nd was severely cut short.

Yeah, but one of those seasons only has a handful of episodes.

And yet, there are definitively two seasons as opposed to one.

Quite true, though even combined, the two seasons that make up the entirety of TAS have fewer episodes than any one single season of TOS (or typical seasons of the next few shows), and that’s not even adding into account the episodes are only around 24 minutes long. TAS will likely forever remain the shortest (completed) Star Trek series (but still one of my favorites!).

Yes, just 6 episodes in TAS season two were in production before the cancellation. So, 22 episodes overall.

I know that our kids just saw the DVDs as one long season.

I loved every minute of this. Maybe the best Trek pilot date. This is for kids? I’m 47. It was wonderful in the sense that it inspired wonder. Awesome in that it provoked awe. These kids are going on adventure and I’m going every light year of the way with them.

Agreed. I’m irritated by all the “It’s too much like Star Wars” stuff on here. It’s fun, watchable and looks fantastic – I can’t see how any of that’s a con.

Frankly. Janeway might be my least favourite part, so far (I know we’ve barely seen her). I’m worried it’ll get all Federation-worshippy and preachy, a la Discovery.

I agree. This is not aimed at kids. It’s aimed at many age groups pretty much over 10 or 11 I’d guess. I’m old and I was smiling through much of this.

Just finished the series premiere and overall have to say thumbs up. Keeping in mind this is intended as a kid’s show, I occasionally had to remind myself this was not directly targeting legacy fans like myself. That said, I would still give the premiere a 4 out of 5 stars.

First of all the CG animation was pretty incredible. Some of the landscape scenes of the planet and the stars were truly spectacular. The protagonist characters as someone else pointed out, were pretty much likable and I personally liked the rather toned down nature of the dialogue compared to LDs. Overall the story seems compelling as obviously the antagonist knows about the Federation and that should make for an interesting first season.

A few things bothered me a little. Some of the first 30 minutes reminded me of Star Wars including the robot character and the darkness, but I also have to remember, they are trying to make a Star Trek mainstream show for a mainstream and new mass audience. So it should be no surprise that Prodigy contains some elements that made the Star Wars universe so appealing. I know someone said they hated the “John Williams-like” music, but I thought it worked pretty well.

The only major issue I had was that we only got to see Janeway for the last minute of the show – oh well all the more reason to tune in next week.

Glad you ended up enjoying DeanH! :)

I have pretty much the same views as you. including the Star Wars vibe, but I’m OK with it!

The one disappointment was not seeing Janeway until the final minute but I knew that ahead of time reading some of the earlier reviews and was prepared for it. I wonder if they knew it was always going to be a full hour premiere because I can’t imagine waiting two weeks to show her and then just in the final minute of episode two. But so happy she’s back and I know next week we are going to see her fully. The first two episodes was introducing the kids and the ship.

One other issue, future episodes will only be 30 mins long! Once again, I need to keep reminding myself this is targeting kids… not me haha!!!

Yeah another disappointment. Like LDS, this show will probably fly by every week. But I guess the good news is in a few weeks it will be airing the same day once Discovery starts (and a full hour) so we’ll have two Star Trek shows on and it won’t feel so bad! :)

Honestly if you can at least stomach these shows, it’s a great time to be a fan!

One last thing – I listened to the Prodigy closing theme/intro a few times this morning and the more I hear it, it seems to be better and better. Maybe its recency bias, but the Prodigy theme really is very good.

I have been surprised repeatedly with some of the stories Lower Decks has been able to tell in less than half an hour. So I’m hopeful that Prodigy will also make good use of its time.

I too felt a little bit of a Rebels vibe in it. But that’s OK by me. I am someone who believes Star Trek can be many things. And am fine with doing something different than Trek has done before. My main concern is that it be good. Which it hasn’t been for some time. My beef has NEVER been with different Trek. It was been with BAD Trek.

I thought all of these new characters had potential, and I’m glad holo Janeway is there to help guide them. I thought it was an exciting episode that was beautiful to look at. It didn’t feel much like Star Trek to me, but that’s okay; I’m guessing that we’ll become more Trekkian as the kids learn things from Janeway.

At the end of the episode, my husband said, “That felt like pure Star WARS!” I said, “Well, we start out with Warsian style and then learn to be more civilized, as Janeway guides us,” but he was not convinced.

Is the Medusan a child, or is it an adult? It felt like an adult to me, but that might just be the Medusan style.

He felt more like a child to me. He was very inexperienced and didn’t entirely know what he was doing.

Well, but none of them had ever been on a starship before. You and I wouldn’t know where to find the right buttons for the right stuff if we were suddenly on the bridge, either. :-)

You and I wouldn’t know where to find the right buttons for the right stuff if we were suddenly on the bridge, either. :-)

Speak for yourself. A true fan© would of course know where the right button is ;-)

Not on an EXPERIMENTAL ship that’s different from all the ships we’ve seen before. :-)

It’s still the LCARS user interface we’ve known for decades now.

That pilot was great!! Really felt final frontier and different with a universe to explore.
Characters felt new and alien with lots to discover and learn!! Love having a Medusan!
Trans warp drive!
In a shocker SNW is going to have some competition for best new Trek series!!!
Still think they should have went with a more command Center/console/display/visually active bridge versus a fighter/airplane type layout but it’s still better than anything TNG/VOY/DIS (exception Pike 1701 bridge).
The only let down I think was the Janeway hologram – anyone else groan?? Made me worry that after an awesome pilot they were going to get lazy and go back to TNG snooze fests with the familiar and the boring playing holodeck , someone oh so smart all aliens want to be there to always saving them or resetting everything with some time loop. Just don’t do it!!!
Note if done right – Janeway hologram just a supporting character telling them about Fédération lessons they sometimes ignore (if only to regret it later) – will work.

My guess is the hologram will be there to guide and advise but won’t get too much in the way of things. At least, that is my hope.

My first impressions were it was different, but watchable. Liked the cinematic feel to it. Realized this was aimed at younger viewers, so that didn’t bother me any. Nice review, as always. Interesting to see the kids’ perspective. Looking forward to the next episode.

This was really fun. There was definitely a Clone Wars vibe.

I hope they keep it up and don’t get mired in Trek minutia.

I like how they are using the Discovery design language.

Mere coincidence? The day Janeway returns to the screen, VOYAGER DIGITAL stocks explode :-)

Jankom is a Tellarite? I’m assuming that’s an intentional mistake and later on he finds out he’s a Talaxian and it throws him for a loop?

Why a mistake? I buy it. I always thought the pig nose was silly – potentially interesting race, terrible make-up.

He doesn’t look at all like a Tellaraite. At all. He does look like a Talaxian.

Not seeing Talaxian at all. All I see is Tellarite.

– pig nose

– tusk

– cloven hand-hoof

Or are we now saying that all Talaxians are portly, because they certainly weren’t in Voyager.

No, we aren’t. He’s got the Mohawk and mutton chops and spots. I don’t see tellarite at all.

I get the Talaxian thing – honestly, when we first got our initial glimpse of these characters I was indeed thinking of a Talaxian myself, thanks to the spots and the way the hair is styled – but the porcine nose, the tusks, and the ungulate-like hand do seem more Tellarite than anything else.

The variation here from Tellarites we’ve seen in the past could be Trek Alien Species Redesign #837568, or stylization for animation, or the difference between adults and juveniles (whom I don’t remember us having ever seen for the species before), or some combination of all of these (note the show will eventually tell us whether it’s the adult / youth thing, I believe, as Jason Alexander’s character is an adult Tellarite, IIRC).

Its hardly the biggest redesign any Trek aliens have gone through.

My 2 cents: first reaction, nice animation. Story was fine, alot of noisy characters to keep track of, opening theme ok.
Delayed reaction. Couldn’t get this show out of my head- great characters, lively, fast paced story- and kept humming that theme song all day.
I guess you can say it grew on me- can’t wait till episode 3.

I enjoyed it. It was pure fun and I loved the fact that we were looking at everything from the aliens perspective for a change. This was long overdue in Trek. I think Zero the Medusan will be my favorite character because I love that kind of humor. Let’s be honest though the villians were huge Star Wars knock-off with Dreadnok as General Grievous wannabe and The Diviner as a version of Darth Vader. I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

Well well well….

Easily without question the best opening episode of the 4 Secret Hideout shows yet. This episode had everything the other shows did not. Intriguing characters. Heart. Humor. The pacing was spot on. The lead was charismatic.

This now leads to the next obvious question. Was this episode a Secret Hideout mistake? They have made them before…. Lethe in Star Trek Discovery and I, Erectus in Lower Decks. But the rest of the series was terrible. Let’s just be happy this opener was fun and entertaining. And far more appealing and humorous for adults than anything in 19 out of 20 Lower Decks episodes. The bulk of the gags all worked. Including the “pew pew” gag. Which was NOT a kids gag. It was obviously aimed at older folks.

The big head scratcher was when the shields came on why was our hero in the bubble but the evil robot not? My thought was when he activated them they would both be trapped underneath. So they would have to dispose of him just before activation or evil robot would be taken prisoner somehow. But then…. That. However, the episode was so fun to watch that sort of thing doesn’t matter in the slightest. You can get away with more if other more important elements work.

The show is not billed as a comedy but it contained more honest laughs than 19 episodes of Lower Decks put together. And as I suspected…. This show is actually much more fun for adults to watch than the dreadful LDX. At least based on the opener. The thing they managed to do in their opening 46 minutes is introduce characters that we can actually be interested in or care about. A very rare thing from SH.

So here is to hoping the entire series is a Secret Hideout mistake. Their theme of hope has a dual meaning here. Let’s hope they can keep it up!

Here here.
My worry though was half the production team was like “AAAHHHH, this is sooo good but different”
to which someone that just likes rewritten TNG episodes that weren’t good in the first place over and over again was like “Let’s ENT pilot this series, quick, throw in Janeway with holograms/holodecks”!!!
I worry about SNW too… I noticed in the latest shots the bridge is a lot less colorful. Like someone was mad fans loved the smaller 1701 bridge with old school functional graphical monitors everywhere versus their giant want-to-be-TNG Discovery type set if only because the Captain isn’t always seen in front of a door.

It is very possible the show could crumble completely next week. But it does have a pretty strong foundation so it would be a pretty big error if that happens. But this is Secret Hideout so literally ANYTHING can happen. That said, if pilots were still a thing if I were someone with yea or nay power, based on this opener I would give the show a half season order. Which today is still more than a full season but it is what it is.

I thought ENT had a pretty strong foundation with 25 years of source material, multiple TOS quotes (nuclear weapons in Romulan war, no subspace comms, no transports), even TNG quotes (disasterous first contact with Klingons, Earth post WW3) yet still ended up with subspace comms, phasers on stun, transporters, peace with the Klingons and time travel.
I’ll give it to the Prodigy team though, you lasted a whole 45 minutes longer than the ENT team!!!
Warp Speed!!!!!

Interesting points and I agree with most of them. It was much more entertaining than I expected, although hewing a bit close to Star Wars in certain parts. I think one reason this episode was so enjoyable was because of its 45 minute run time. There was breathing room and more space for the characters. I think LDS needs to do a 45 minute episode as well just so it can slow down a bit and let the story flow more naturally.

I’m forced to disagree. It’s hard enough sitting through a 24-28 minute LDX episode as is. Don’t think expanding the length will help them any.

Would love to see 45 minute LDS episodes. At least maybe do an hour special every once in awhile.

I would love to see a 90 minute LDS made-for-streaming movie at some point.

The Cerritos finished up season two of LDS in 2383 – based on Tendi saying that she had been on the ship for two years.

Knowing that the first hints of the Romulan supernova are no more than a year or so away, the Federation itself will be changing based on canon established by Picard.

So it would be really great to see the Lower Deckers have an upbeat comic feature length story set before the Utopia Planitia disaster.

I loved it like I knew I would it is now in the top 5 favorite Star Trek series discovery is my number 1 favorite and picard is my second fav and lower decks is my third fav and prodigy is my 4th fav and enterprise is my fifth favorite before prodigy premiered my top 5 favorite Star series list had enterprise in 4th. And ds9/voy tied as my 5th

The visuals are pretty, but the editing is choppy at several points:

  • Dal escapes by jumping off a cliff onto an rising ore skid — whose chain should be visible before his jump, but isn’t.
  • Dal and Rok-Tahk get a ceiling dropped on them, and suddenly they’re in the Protostar’s cavern, with no explanatory animation — did they fall through the floor? did a concealing wall collapse? 
  • Upon first seeing it, Zero declares the Protostar “is in a state of disrepair” which isn’t at all evident: no bent hull plates, no scorch marks, no blown-out consoles on the bridge.
  • Gwyn is suddenly roped to the command seat.
  • Zero’s legs are sometimes missing, with no explanation.
  • Zero temporarily loses its right hand, for no obvious plot-related reason. (Does Murf steal things?)

Re: the universal translator function of a Starfleet communicator badge: Rok-Tahk activates it, and suddenly Dahl hears a little-girl voice instead of a deep growl — but she claps her hands over her mouth, implying the translation is also audible to her. What if it simultaneously translates to five listeners with different languages? Wouldn’t that be a cacophony to the speaker?

The design of the Protostar omits signature Trek cues for this era (i.e., we happen to know from showrunner comments that it’s within a few years of LDS):

  • Access to the bridge is by sweeping staircase, not turbolift.
  • That giant dome. (I’m guessing it was chosen to facilitate compositions as at the end of this episode, which juxtapose the ship, cast, and colorful nebula.)

I think the writers actually envisioned a damaged command centre style bridge, this seems like a override by TPTB wanting things snoozefestized with colors removed, computer panels gone so we can look at windows, doors, blinking hard drive lights and/or stairs. I don’t know why, but that seems big to those wanting TNG sequels and then being upset when the 1701 bridge with all the color, functionality and graphical displays still captures more attention.

Why are people assuming that little kitten girl is a Caitian? That’s not said in the episode, and Caitians are not the only feline species.

It’s in the closed captioning, not the dialogue. At 06:45, “[speaking Kazon language]”, then at 07:40, “[speaking Caitian language]”.

(FWIW, I have a habit of using CC. Back in the days of ENT it was the easiest way to get the spelling of characters/aliens/ships, and these days it’s necessary to compensate for the fashion in audio mixing that overemphasizes the music. Note to self: check if my TV has an audio mode to mitigate that.)