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Boldly Going Where No Teen Has Gone Before
'Star Trek: Prodigy' debuts with a fresh new approach, now streaming on Paramount Plus.
Now Streaming: In the 1970s, I was excited to hear about Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Debuting in September 1973, the series hit during my personal Golden Age of science fiction. I was a rabid fan of Star Trek reruns, bought paperback novelizations, and read and devoured books -- or, at least one book -- about the making of the series. I was ready!
Then I watched the show, which left me profoundly disappointed, and made me glad that I had other things to do on Saturday mornings. Fast forward nearly a half-century later, and lo and behold: a new, new Star Trek animated series -- for kids!
Debuting this week, Star Trek: Prodigy begins on a planet that looks to be far away from any possibility of visitation by Star Trek characters. Our teenage hero, Dal (Brett Gray), slaves on a mining colony where he is surrounded by slaving creatures from other planets with whom he cannot communicate, and controlled by demanding robotic creatures who are controlled by an evil overlord.
Dal keeps up his spirits by dreaming of escape from the slave planet, even though that seems to be an impossible dream. Unlikely as it may seem, he comes into possession of something that is quite valuable to his overlord, who dispatches one of his minions, teenage Gwyn (Ella Purnell), who sympathizes with Dal, even as she harbors her own dreams of the stars. Her overlord, though, demands that Dal surrender what he knows, and so Gwyn endeavors to obtain the information without harming Dal.
Eventually, Dal and fellow slave worker Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) stumble upon a shining spaceship that somehow got marooned on the planet. Sensing the possibility of escape, Dal enlists the aid of his friend, engineer and mechanic Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), to get the ship running, which they manage to do somehow, and blast off into space, destination unknown!
The winning characters are introduced one by one, which makes it easier to see what role they will be playing in the series. The CGI 3D animation is good, the pace is nimble, and the dialogue is sharp and witty. It makes for a splendid first episode, made me curious to see more, and prompted me to add it to my watchlist on Paramount Plus.
The series is part of producer Alex Kurtzman's plans for an expanded Star Trek universe for the streaming service, which I'm sure will somehow extend to Trek For Tots, or something like that, if it hasn't already. I subscribed to the service when it was known as CBS All Access, primarily to watch the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. I lost interest when my personal budget contracted in 2019; since then, the service has been rebranded and I have some catching up to do on the Star Trek Universe.
Developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman, Star Trek: Prodigy certainly has a different feel than I was dreading, thinking back to the days of Star Trek: The Animated Series. This has the potential to appeal to people who were never interested or never watched the original series of any of the movies, which I suppose is the point. The show is self-rated Y7. [Paramount Plus]