If you’re a Star Trek fan, you exist in a full-fledged Trek adventure with the variety of Trek Universe series already here and coming soon to Paramount +. But the latest, Star Trek: Prodigy, is unique to the entire franchise because it is the very first series created in mythology for a younger audience. A half-hour CG animated original series produced in collaboration with CBS Eye Animation Productions and Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Prodigy has the sleek look of a high-end movie but is scripted with a tone that responds to interpolated sensibility.
Created by Kevin and Dan Hageman (Troll hunters), Star Trek: Prodigy is set in 2383, which lands after the Voyager series in the Trek story timeline. The pilot, “Lost & Found,” is a captivating hour-long premiere that skillfully sets the stage for the base set: a motley group of refugees from the mining colony who accidentally discover and escape aboard the long ship. hidden from the Federation, the USS Protostar.
The main protagonist is Dal (Brett Gray), an orphan boy of unknown species stuck doing manual labor in an isolated mining colony. But he has the ambition to escape and leave the planet to see if he can discover more of his own kind and a future that he can choose. As a colony rebel and intelligent aleck, Dal already has a reputation as a troublemaker, which puts him on the radar of the colony owner, The Diviner (John Noble) and his extremely competent older teenage daughter, Gwyn. (Ella Purnell). They are the yin and yang of the series, as Dal exists on charisma and impulse while Gwyn is the extremely well-educated conformist who learns the truths from his father.
Through a series of misadventures at work, Dal connects with other miners who will become his de facto troop: the scholarly fugitive robot, Zero (Angus Imrie), essentially a child laborer; Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui); counter-current mechanic Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas); and a sensitive eating machine drip known as Murf (Dee Bradley Baker).
Under the direction of Ben Hibon, Prodigy is a great series. CG animation has an interesting design aesthetic of lifelike celestial bodies, star landscapes, and near-real ships from Trek, mixed with highly stylized character designs for the various main characters and their species. Animated by bright colors and cartoon looks, they perfectly meet the expectations of children in a high CG world. But it’s the voice work of the actors that really solidifies the youthful energy of most of the characters on the show. These are basically archetypes that kids will identify with due to the young cast, the only outlier being Mantzoukas. He’s a great voice actor, but he’s meant to voice a 16-year-old, and that doesn’t fly in any universe.
Of course, the most recognizable and anticipated voice of all is Kate Mulgrew, as she voices the Kathryn Janeway hologram. As expected, she returns perfectly in the role. Mulgrew delves into the warm tonal quality of her voice, which she modulates wonderfully in the first few episodes. For old-school Trek fans, the old-fashioned Janeway is a welcome friend. But in her hologram ability, she gives the character a lot of sneaky play, which frames her role as a mentor extremely well to counterbalance the chaos of those untested kids she teaches on the bridge.
The show also sets up some potentially awesome villains in John Noble’s The Diviner and his right-hand man, Drednok (Jimmi Simpson). Both in design and voice, this pair of spooky enemies amplifies the stakes, while maintaining an air of mystery that is appreciated. Together they live in a color palette of reds, blacks and metals, with spiky technology enveloping them and creating a visually imposing duo that will pursue our young heroes across the galaxy.
At the story level, the Hagemans and their writers do a good job in “Lost & Found” to set up the premise of the series, then give us the blueprint for how the adventures will unfold each week in the story. next half hour episode “Starstruck.” Of course, there’s some skill broadening going on with this wacky set capable of piloting a spaceship without any experience – even with Janeway’s backing – but each character’s diverse skill sets at least make it plausible. And there are great moments of volatility, humility, and compassion associated with children woven into each character’s stories that feel organic and not cheesy or forced, which the Great Trek does for any elderly viewer. And Mulgrew serves as a cheerleader / teacher who doesn’t talk to any of them, which will go a long way in keeping the kids engaged and hopefully learning a few things as the series unfolds. .