Star Trek: Prodigy review: The Trek universe is more accessible than ever

When the title of a brand-new television series starts with “Star Trek,” it’s natural to be frightened. The Trek franchise has a well-earned credibility for having a thick canon, which has actually been developed throughout 55 years and more than 800 canonical installations. It’s possible to begin any specific series and ultimately get your bearings, however a lot of them aren’t extremely inviting unless you’ve soaked up the requirement folklore, either straight or through cultural osmosis. Star Trek: Prodigy, the brand-new animated series that premiered Oct. 28 on Paramount Plus, totally breaks from this pattern, providing Star Trek in a completely brand-new method, and ending up being the most available jumping-on point for the franchise because J.J. Abrams’ 2009 movie reboot.

Many Star Trek spin-offs presume a level of pre-existing engagement in the franchise, and utilize their very first episodes not to offer audiences on Star Trek, however to offer them on this Star Trek. They’re in business of model and contrast, of showing that this version has something adequately various in shop. For 1987’s The Next Generation, the extremely facility of doing Star Trek without familiar characters Kirk and Spock was unique adequate to separate the series. Deep Area 9 and Voyager are identified by their positioning in area, Business and Discovery by their positioning in time, Picard and Lower Decks by their greatly various methods to the tradition of The Next Generation. Every series has actually established its own identity, however each is specified from the beginning by its relationship to what’s come in the past.

However the double-sized best of Prodigy appears to be completely in its own lane, refreshingly unconcerned with previous Star Trek series up until 2 minutes prior to the closing credits. The very first episode, “Lost and Found,” occurs on the mining nest asteroid Tars Lamora, where teenage detainee Dal R’El (voiced by Brett Gray) is making his umpteenth not successful escape effort. Throughout this opening hour, we see Dal put together a mangy group of fellow enslaved employees to pirate an innovative run-down starship that’s buried within a crevice of the asteroid.

Anybody even slightly familiar with Star Trek will acknowledge this ship, the USS Protostar, as having all the visual markers of a Starfleet vessel. Dal and his buddies, nevertheless, do not — in reality, they’ve never ever become aware of Starfleet or the United Federation of Planets that it serves. To them, it’s simply an escape of chains. The reality that it’s likewise their entrance into a varied area paradise just sweetens the offer. They’re in the middle of their own area experience, just to find at the last minute that they’re on Star Trek, whatever that is.

Two characters from Star Trek: Prodigy staring each other in the eyes

Image: Nickelodeon

Moving the viewpoint of the characters from skilled specialists coping with brand-new wrinkles to finish outsiders finding out the ropes was a purposeful choice made by series developers Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters, LEGO’s Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu), as they discussed at New york city Comic Con previously this month. Star Trek head honcho Alex Kurtzman charged them with creating an entry point through which young, inexperienced audiences may discover their method into Star Trek, and identified that the very best method to do that would be by means of characters who would be presented to it themselves.

Checking Out the Star Trek canon is generally much easier with a guide, and the team of the Protostar have among their own — a holographic training program in the similarity of Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). Presented at the end of “Lost and Found,” Hologram Janeway is the only component that positions the episode in a specific location or time in the Star Trek universe.

Prodigy has a couple of other, looser ties to the franchise’s past. 3 members of the primary ensemble represent races from previous Star Trek works, however each is more unknown than the last. Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas) is a Tellarite, the least identifiable of the Federation’s 4 founding types (together with People, Vulcans, and those blue men with the antennae, the Andorians). Absolutely No (Angus Imrie) is a Medusan, a non-corporeal entity whose individuals haven’t been spoken with because the 1968 episode which presented them. Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) is a Brikar, a types that comes from Peter David’s tie-in books from the 1990s, and has actually never ever been portrayed on screen prior to. Considering that even the recognized pieces of tradition are plucked from obscurity, audiences for whom “Lost and Found” is their extremely first Star Trek aren’t missing out on anything. A minimum of in the meantime, dyed-in-the-wool Trekkies have practically no benefit over the brand-new kids.

This range from the bigger Star Trek universe won’t last, and it’s not suggested to. The Hagemans have actually currently shown that the Protostar’s course will take them closer to Federation area, which they’ll experience more familiar characters and cultures in time. This doesn’t need to make the series any less friendly to brand-new audiences. As the young team journeys in from the borders, ideally brand-new fans can be slowly seasoned. Success would indicate that a young audience can check out the larger Star Trek library with Prodigy as their compass, not their research program.

The very first episode of Star Trek: Prodigy’s 10-episode opening season is now streaming on Paramount Plus, with brand-new episodes showing up on Thursdays.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.