Star Trek: Prodigy held a panel during New York Comic Con where fans were able to watch the series premiere of the animated program. Today, the first episode premiered on Paramount+ so everyone else has the opportunity to finally watch it.
The two part episode takes place on the mining asteroid, Tars Lamora, where much of the residence are slave labor trying to unearth a mysterious artifact for their leader, the Diviner (John Noble). Our main protagonist is a street-smart teen by the name of Dal who plots to escape and travel through space. When he is falsely accused of conspiring with the known rebel, Zero, a chain of events is unleashed resulting in Dal finding his ticket off the rock in the form of the Starfleet ship the USS Protostar. Joining him onboard are Zero, the Brikar, Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), Tellarite, Jankom Pog, transparent blob, Murf, and captive and the Diviner’s daughter, Gwyn.
One of the most interesting aspects of Star Trek: Prodigy is that it explores a different corner of the universe that hasn’t been seen. The characters don’t have any ties to Starfleet and the ship’s crew come from various walks of life before they found themselves on the gloomy asteroid. Despite being unaffiliated, there is still the sense of wonderment, curiosity, and positivity found in Star Trek shows. The series premiere gives us a good sense of who Dal and Gwyn are while other cast members remain undeveloped. Murf, in particular, seems to be shoehorned into being part of the misfit crew.
The animation itself is good with many beautiful backgrounds and landscapes for this mining world. The color palate and shading fit with the more somber mood and tone for the laborers but uses bright and bold colors to emphasize discovery. The movement is smooth and dynamic, especially for the action sequences, and doesn’t suffer from any awkwardness and unnaturalness that can be found sometimes in CGI animation
If the opening episode is any indication, Star Trek: Prodigy can be enjoyed by all ages, even adults. There are moments of wild, annoying antics that younger viewers would be into but it’s kept at a minimum. In addition, the series is unafraid to delve into darker elements. The whole use of child slaves could be shocking for a show that will be on Nickelodeon later but it helps develop the inner conflict within Gwyn.
There’s a real emotional impact as she wrestles with her allegiance to her father and his questionable policies and tactics. This is further emphasized when the latest addition to the workforce is a kitten humanoid. Her past history with Dal and their connection also complicates her duties.
For those looking for a link to the past, a holographic AI of Captain Janeway makes an appearance and will serve as a guide and mentor to Dal and company. Some might have wanted her introduction earlier but the delay allows the audience to focus and get to know the new characters more. Plus Janeway’s arrival serves as a nice cliffhanger.
Noble stands out amongst the voice cast and it’s no surprise he makes the Diviner a menacing villain. Joining him is his enforcer, Jimmi Simpson’s Drednok, who is a combination of General Grievous and Megatron. His transformation to stop the fleeing Protostar is a surprising but visually stunning scene. As mentioned in the summary of the NYCC panel, Alazraqui could be the break out star of Star Trek: Prodigy. It’s such a contrast hearing her sweet and innocent voice behind such a hulking character. Definitely playing with that gentle giant motif as Rok-Tahk provides a large amount of heart to the crew.
If you can stomach the few moments of annoying kiddy antics, the series premiere explores the Star Trek universe in interesting ways while maintaining the franchise’s sense of wonderment and positivity.
New episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy are released Thursdays on Paramount+.
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