Robert Picardo Says The Doctor Isn’t Just Comic Relief In ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Season 2

Last summer at STLV, a clip from Star Trek: Prodigy season 2 revealed that Star Trek: Voyager star Robert Picardo is returning to his role as the EMH Doctor. In a recurring role, Picardo’s Doctor is taking on the role of managing the former Protostar crew as they try to find a place as Starfleet trainees on board Admiral Janeway’s USS Voyager-A in season 2. Now, for the first time, the actor is talking about his return to Star Trek.

Picardo states the nature of the Prodigy return

On Friday at the ST-SF convention in San Francisco, Robert Picardo got a question about Prodigy and he talked about how long he had to keep the secret:

“I am on season 2 of Star Trek: Prodigy.  I started recording almost two and a half or three years ago. So it’s been a long time. Animation moves slowly. It’s a secret I had to sit on forever. I had a lot of fun doing it.”

Robert Picardo at ST-SF 2024 (Photo: TrekMovie)

In response to a question about what it was like falling back into the character after two decades, Picardo said it was easy:

“For some reason the pitching of the character’s voice and the cadence and the speed at which I spoke as that character is still relatively easy to do. I don’t think it was difficult to sound like I was still a hologram in his mid-40s. And it was great.”

The actor also had high praise for the Prodigy writing team’s understanding of the character:

“What’s wonderful about the writing of the show is that they maintain what I love most about doing Voyager itself, which was I could be a comic relief, but on a dime I could turn and it could get quite serious when it was a dire situation. [Prodigy] used me for comic relief, believe me, in a lot of scenes, in a lot of episodes. But there are some dramatic moments which was really a pleasure to do as well.”

Robert Picardo as The Doctor in Star Trek: Prodigy season 2 (

Although season 2 reunites Janeway and The Doctor, Picardo said he didn’t get to reunite with his co-star Kate Mulgrew, or at least not when it comes to voicing their characters:

“I am still very good friends with Kate Mulgrew, I see here a lot socially, but I never recorded in the room with any other actors. It’s all done separately. So that’s kind of a shame. But the producers are great fun to work with. They’ll give you ideas and they let me ad lib—which I love—some of which will find their way into the show.”

Netflix released the first season on Christmas 2023, but they have yet to announce a release date for the second season. Picardo did venture a guess:

“I’m really happy that the work will finally be on Netflix, I think in the Spring, like in May? Is that true? Does anybody know a date?… We don’t know a date. It will be on sometime between now and death. But I’m looking forward to seeing it. It was great fun to play the character again.”

The Doctor gives the provisional cadets a briefing (

The first season of Prodigy had a successful launch on Netflix. The producers of the show have made it clear that if the second season performs well, Netflix could pick it up for a third or even more.

More to come from ST-SF

We are just getting started with our convention coverage, so stay tuned and follow along with our social media on Twitter and Threads.

Find more Trek convention news and reports at TrekMovie.

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I am very excited to see the Doctor again!! He’s another one I was hoping to see on Picard with Seven but this is just as good. He’s still one of my top 10 favorite characters so can’t wait!

And I doubt it’s going to be in May because we should’ve had a trailer by now. But maybe one could come next month?

Would’ve been difficult in non CG-enhanced live action (which I doubt they’d have the budget for), unless you can come up with a plausible explanation for why a hologram would look twenty years older.

A few years ago I would’ve agreed with you. But after seeing how they just made flimsy excuses for other non aging characters in Picard like Q, Guinan and especially Data I don’t think it matters. Fans didn’t seem to remotely care either. He could’ve just said he wants his program to age and no one would’ve thought twice about it.

I like how they did Q. it was very Q-like to show up in his original “sort of” form and then tease Picard about his age by making himself older.

I’ve always loved Guinan and it made sense that she be in 2024 Earth but honestly I think the way they did it with Ten-Forward was too much fan service to the point where her bar being called 10-Forward made no sense. I didn’t really love the casting for young Guinan either. The actress did a fine job with the role but reminded me nothing of Whoopi Goldberg in, say, her Ghost days.

Honestly as much as I love Brent Spiner I wish they never brought him back post Picard S1. He has gotten resurrected and changed so many times now that it stretches alll believability even if you take into account this is fiction.

If they ever did bring the Doctor back in live action I’m sure they could come up with a plausible reason for his age. He is just an image rather than a machine or flesh in blood after all. Maybe he got married and decided he wanted to age gracefully as his wife does or something like that.

Matalas didn’t seem to care how unconvincing Old Data looked, and how unconvincing Old Q looked, so why would he start caring now about how a much older version of The Doctor would look?

Data was supposed to look old and that’s Brent Spiner’s real face so you’re saying Brent doesn’t look like Brent.

“Data was supposed to look old.”

Data should never have aged – the retcon explanation was silly, and was just done so that Spinner could play him. They should have done CGI de-aging to preserve the integrity of the character. Same with Q.

Fan service in Pic S3 (and S2 with Q) though seems to be more about bringing back old actors than honoring the actual characters they are supposed to be playing. That also explains why so many fans don’t seem to care that the S3 story was more Star Wars-like than TNG-like.

Let me make it clear – despite all that I did enjoy the fan service reunion aspects of season 3, and the actors were fantastic. But let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that what we saw was a TNG science-fiction episode — no, it was a TNG reunion space opera fantasy.

he aged or tried to in ‘all good things’.

It is the Doctor in the end. He always experimented with stuff, like siging, writing, even daydreaming…. so why not just adjusting his parameters to look older, wiser, more mature.
I wouldn’t see any complications here. He is a hologram, right? He can adjust his looks whenever he wants,

Yeah which I have seen people suggest in the past as well. So it’s not a big deal either way.

And I forgot that Robert Picardo said he was in talks to appear in Picard season 2 at some point. Obviously it didn’t happen and it may not had been a major role but I’m guessing if he did appear that would’ve been the excuse.

But when they keep coming up with these explanations for character after character when we the audience knows the real reason is it’s just because the actors are getting older, it just rings hollow for me and reduces my suspension of disbelief from watching the character.

I would prefer either CGI de-aging, or simply recasting the part. YMMV

Yeah May feels way too close. But would love to be surprised. Prodigy and Lower Decks are the shows I’m excited to see this year.

And I think with the Doctor back will get more people to check it as well if they were big fans of his.

I just love it’s feeling like a mini Voyager reunion. I would love to see Tom and B’Elanna make an appearance as well. 🙂

Yeah. When you take Discovery into account, May would seem like DISCO and PRO would overlap a bit. And I don’t even think the 2 shows will be back to back considering P+’s plans for year long Trek are dead. They will spread out the shows they do still have. Of course even all that is dependent on what ever ends up happening with Paramount.

Same. I’m not just a fan of the Doctor I am a fan of Picardo. I’ve been watching him since I was a kid on Wonder Years, then Star Trek of course and then all of the StarGate series.

“Netflix released the first season on Christmas 2024, but they have yet to announce a release date for the second season. Picardo did venture a guess:”

From the future.

Because all the kids out there who made this a Top 10 kids show on Netflix are demanding more of The Doctor and more Chakotay.

And I ran to an 8-year-old yesterday who said to me, “when in the hell are we going to get Harry Kim on the show? And I also want me some effing Neelix.”

Elements like legacy characters are more to introduce them to the greater world of Star Trek, which is partly the purpose of a show like Prodigy.


Characters from Strange New Worlds or Discovery would make more sense then rather than a 25-year-old show that’s still in SD 4×3 fornat, with semi-retired actors. You want to tie them into the franchise today, not 25 years ago.

I’m fine with the Janeway hologram by the way. But now we’ve got live action Janeway too, Chakotay and The Doctor? Like, WTF? This has to be one of the dumbest strategies to expand a shows market that I’ve ever seen for a TV show.

They’re dooming this to “second season and done” on Netflix, because the kids want to see the younger crew, not this cast from the past.

I would think the main characters of Prodigy will remain the main characters. I would suggest waiting to actually see the season before complaining about its execution.

I’m talking about expanding the audience to save this show, which I really like. So I think we should see if a S3 gets ordered before determine whether my criticism is valid. If it doesn’t get another season, then I strongly believe that this will be have been one of the predominant factors that doomed it. Similarly, if it gets another season, then OK, I will have been proven wrong.

So, you’re right — let’s get into the season and then see if it has legs, even with my concerns that this overdoing the old fan service is going to hurt market expansion among kids.

PS: Why not make the holographic doctor, M’Benga! Then you tie into SNW, which older family members and maybe your parents are watching? That would make a hell of a lot more sense, marketing-wise. I mean, they run Chicago Fire and Chicago PD back-to-back for a crossing marketing reason….can you imagine instead if they instead ran the 1980’s Emergency Series in SD right after Chicago Fire? That’s what they are doing here with Prodigy and Voyager…makes no sense. And then, instead of Chakotey, find a way to get Mary Wiseman/Tilly (have it be her great grandaughter in Starfleet) in the series instead of Chakotey — kids would love her character!

Yep. I don’t remotely get the issue. And it’s great to have the real Janeway back.

Pretty much! Can’t wait to see them all back, especially on the Voyager A. That alone has me super excited! Prodigy and Lower Decks is what I’m most excited to watch this year.

Let’s be honest; kids aren’t watching this. Hence, the whole continuation drama.

Kids don’t even really watch cartoons anymore, they are all into gaming and youtube.

It is clear that Prodigy is for older fans who love Voyager.

I am assuming the same conclusion, but obviously have no facts to back that up.

It did land in the kids top 10 shows on Netflix which is great. But I’m still guessing the majority of them are parents who are Trek fans who got their kids to check it out and probably more adults still watched it regardless.

But the Hageman brothers have made it clear it’s a family show obviously so they expect both kids and adults to watch. I think advertising it strictly as a kid’s show put a lot of people off.

I think in season 2 the family aspect will be marketed more but I don’t doubt in the end it will probably be old fans watching it vs kids.

They should’ve made it clear this show was for adults as it was for children, but animated shows still scare a lot of adults away. But LDS doesn’t have that problem obviously so I do think how they marketed Prodigy was certainly an issue.

But Paramount cancelling it might have been the best thing for the show because people seem way more aware of it now. And it’s on a service most people actually have lol.


Nope. See above please

Same as well. I’m happy more kids are watching it and can hopefully become bigger fans in time.

But I’m pretty sure it’s all the old fans that is keeping this show and all of NuTrek alive. And most who are watching this show is because of Janeway. Hopefully next season more fans will watch now that it’s on Netflix.

NO, you are actually being dishonest with that comment.

It made the ‘Kids Top 10” in Netflix shortly after this season one was put on the platform — and those ratings are substantiated in that they are tied to kids user profiles.

Kids will be the key to any order by Netflix for a season three, because that is the only way they’re going to significantly expand the market, because they’ve obviously already maxed out the market of older fans who are excited about animated Voyager characters from 25 years ago.

If they were smarter, The holographic doc would be M’Benga, and instead of Chakotey, have Mary Wiseman voicing a descendent from Tillys family.

So you tie it into the new shows for crossmarketing purposes to build excitement, given you’ve already maxed out the Voyager connection with Janeway anyway.

Franchise Cross Marketing 101 — Dick Wolf would know better.

They are watching it but the adults probably still outnumber them by a wide margin. Star Trek doesn’t really attract younger fans these days like ironically Voyager did back in the day. And that was still more teenagers like myself at the time.

I don’t care who is watching, just whatever it takes to get us another season. I want to see Janeway and Voyager A have more adventures with the kids!

The only way in which this makes sense is that VOY is seen as an approachable entry point for young viewers into live-action Trek. As a parent of kids in the target range, I think that’s pretty accurate, though VOY is held back a lot by its low-quality footage. Do a remaster, and many kids would likely follow a pipeline from Prodigy to Voyager to Picard etc.

Voyager’s special effects may be outdated, but they are certainly not low quality.

I don’t mean the effects. I mean the low-resolution footage that’s also a little choppy when streamed from P+. The physical media is a bit better (no choppiness), but getting it to look good on a modern screen takes some manual work in an upscaler or editor. Paramount could benefit a lot from offering an enhancing viewing experience, but yes people have been saying that for years and it’s been called cost-prohibitve.

Yeah, and many kids are going quickly reject that poor quality viewing experience.

However it’s the same kids were to see M’Benga and Tilly on Prodigy instead of more VOY characters from 25 years ago, then they both start getting interested in SNW, DSC and the upcoming SFA — plus, if their older siblings and parents are also watching The current Star Trek shows, it’s gives you that GOLDEN marketing goal of family viewing — and that’s how you get Netflix to fund a season 3 of Prodigy.

Agreed! Besides, with the Janeway as Teacher hologram, they’ve already maxed out any VOY connection anyway. It’s unfortunate at the show’s creators have not taken advantage of cross-marketing this with the shows that are actually going on TODAY to try to up the viewership among kids and adults. What they should be doing is tying in the other current series to get those audiences to watch more — for example, have holographic doc be M’Benga, and instead of Chakotey, have Mary Wiseman voicing a descendent from Tillys family — that’s what they should be doing now instead of doubling down on the 25- year old VOY who’s audience they have already kind of maxed out with Janeway anyway,

I really hope one day they remaster Voyager and Deep Space 9.

I don’t think it matters for Prodigy though. The show is meant to be a gateway for all of Star Trek not just Voyager. But hopefully many will watch Voyager if they fall in love with the real Janeway, the Doctor and whoever else shows up.

These shows can use all the classic characters they can get, especially since I doubt anyone else is really watching them but old fans. But it’s great younger kids get to know who Janeway and the Doctor is on this show too.

I’m surprised the Doctor never got any pips after returning to Earth given he has rights of personhood. He doesn’t even have so much as an NCO pin. Every last one of those kids can pull rank on him. And we thought Harry Kim had it bad being stuck as an Ensign.


Can not wait to see him back. I think second season will be better than the first and that’s saying a lot.

I’ve never seen this show but others have encouraged me to give it a try.

Now that I know the Doctor is on it has convinced me to watch it. That’s really exciting and maybe even more people will watch it now.

NuTrek shouldn’t forget classic Trek.

I’m so glad to hear that Legacy! 😀

And your post is exactly why legacy characters are used. I know it’s a big sticking point with old and hardcore fans but the reality is they do draw people to give something a chance they may not otherwise, especially casual viewers.

It doesn’t mean they will keep watching it but it does prove it can be a gateway nonetheless. But I do hope the show itself will get you invested and not just Janeway and the Doctor but it helps lol.

Thank you dear! Since you and others told me how much you like it and everyone says it’s really good, especially because Janeway is there I want to try it. And everyone says it’s much better than Discovery and more like classic Trek, so that’s good news.

Robert Picardo is one of my favorite actors and he has a fantastic singing voice. I wish he4 were used more.