Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Won Me Over Despite Being “For Kids”
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Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Part 1 Won Me Over Despite Being “For Kids”

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BY February 23, 2022

There’s so much Star Trek on the air right now, that we Trekkies are almost spoiled for choice. And that was exactly the case with me and Star Trek: Prodigy season 1. Despite the trailers and all the buzz for the show, it wasn’t on my list of Trek priorities, given its marketing. The entire show’s concept was that the show was Star Trek for kids. Which is great! Any way to get a new generation of fans into one of the best sci-fi franchises of all time is always a good idea. But the idea didn’t seem compelling to me, since I was clearly not of that age group. However, having completed Star Trek: Prodigy part 1 of season 1, I am completely invested in this new journey. Read on to find out how I discovered a new Trek among all the other Trek out there right now.

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 Takes A While To Get Going

Star Trek: Prodigy season 1 Friends. Image via Nickelodeon.

With all the Star Trek shows currently in production and on the air, like Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, Prodigy seemed like a show I could skip. It’s Star Trek for kids, after all. But that caveat is more of an expression that I feel conveyed that the show is accessible to all; not just long-time Star Trek fans. Which is absolutely true. While every other Star Trek show on the air has a cornerstone of nostalgia, preexisting fanbase and familiarity to it, Prodigy does not. For the first few episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy season 1, it doesn’t even feel like a Star Trek show. At least to me. New alien races, an un-seen setting and names and mentions of things that never sound familiar. And even the story itself brand new. 

Heck, The Orville had more of a tonal similarity to Star Trek, despite not being part of that franchise., than Prodigy. So for a fresh audience coming in, they are eased into the Star Trek universe. Maybe that’s why it took a life-long Trekkie like me some time to get into it. But Star Trek: Prodigy works wonderfully given that it strips down what Trek is to its core, and then introduces it to a new cast of characters, from the ground up. As the characters learn about Starfleet and the Federation, so does an uninitiated audience learn about Star Trek. It’s honestly a great reintroduction of a decades-long franchise. While Star Trek: Prodigy part 1 is only the first half of season 1, there’s so much story in there that it’ll keep any kind of audience engaged and interested.

Getting Back To The Basics Of Star Trek, For Kids

Star Trek for kids Ferengi. . Image via Nickelodeon.

Star Trek: Prodigy part 1 of season 1 begins with a group of characters working as labourers in a mining colony. Dal (Brett Gray) is a determined young go-getter always looking to escape. While the  The Diviner (John Noble) and his daughter Gwynn (Ella Purnell) rule over the colony. The Diviner is using the labourers to find something. When Dal finds a buried starship, he sees it as his chance to escape. He assembles a ragtag crew of other miners, along with a non-linear entity named Zero (Angus Imrie) and escapes. Unknowingly even bringing Gwynn along for the ride. It’s this ship, however, a prototype Starfleet ship called the Protostar, that the Diviner has been looking for. Thus begins a chase across the galaxy as this inexperienced crew find themselves on a Starfleet ship, with an enemy stowaway and a powerful being on their heels.

Oh and there’s also a holographic Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) who thinks these kids are actually Starfleet cadets, guiding them on this journey. This narrative plot device allows the audience and the characters to learn of Starfleet’s core values from Janeway. Their adventures together turn them from individual survivors looking out for themselves only, to becoming a united crew of friends and found family. It’s really the core values with which Gene Roddenberry created the Star Trek universe. One that is inclusive, diverse and united despite their differences and problems.

Star Trek Prodigy Season 1 Reminds Fans The Meaning Of Trek

Star Trek: Prodigy season 1 Diviner. Image via Nickelodeon.

This is the true premise of Star Trek: Prodigy part 1; experiencing those elements of Star Trek that audiences might have taken for granted for all these decades. Concepts that are inherently Trek, accepted and acknowledged, but never said out loud anymore, because, why would you need to at this stage of the franchise? Prodigy gives its writing room and creators that reason. For those who have never heard of Starfleet, (and by extension, Star Trek) it’s a way to discover this world and its intentions of unity and moving forward as a collective than the individual. It’s absolutely amazing!

How Star Trek: Prodigy Part 1 Plays In A New Part Of The Universe

Rok Image via Nickelodeon.

Similar to Star Trek Discovery, which took its story well into the future to avoid messing with any canonical stories set in the Star Trek universe, Prodigy does something similar. Taking place way on the other side of the galaxy, Star Trek: Prodigy season part 1 seemingly removes itself from the major universe. At least for the time being. Part 1 of season 1 explores an unknown part of the galaxy while bringing the crew towards the more familiar. The Janeway hologram is seemingly our only connection to the known Trek franchise, but the larger story hints at more connections.

Why the Diviner wants the ship is a mystery. How he even knows about it, isn’t revealed entirely. But what of Protostar’s crew before Dal and friends joined? Recordings that the crew discovers show another Star Trek: Voyager character as a larger part of the mystery. One who is directly tied into Janeway herself. Then there’s an awesome cameo by another legacy Trek character in the part 1 finale, that is sure to get old and new fans super excited for the rest of season 1 of Star Trek: Prodigy.

Taking Star Trek For Granted And Reintroducing It For a New World

Crew. Image via Nickelodeon.

When Roddenberry created Star Trek, it was during a time of turmoil and strife in the world. The intention was to envision a better future, one that was, for all intents and purposes, a utopia without the problems that existed in the real world at that time. Since then, the stories took over; exciting new adventures, characters, futuristic ideas and concepts— all things that made Star Trek what it is today. However, every new Star Trek content we’re getting now pushes those ideas of science fiction further. More compelling drama, newer and interesting characters and overall adding to the existing mythos of Star Trek.

But Star Trek: Prodigy season 1 introduces characters who are less fortunate, survivors in need of a better life. Characters who were oppressed, alone and dealing with their own personal traumas. This ensemble cast is how the Prodigy creators are able to remind existing and new fans what Star Trek is meant to be; hope for a better future. And it’s this reasoning with which our Prodigy crew are seeking out Starfleet, hoping to be part of a cause and a better life from the ones they left behind. It’s a beautiful way to remind audiences of what the promise of a bright future means to those that are without that hope. And at the end of the day, that is ultimately what Roddenberry intended.

Star Trek Prodigy part 2 of season 1 is now streaming on Paramount+. Part 2 returns later in 2022.

How are you enjoying this new Star Trek series that takes things back to basics? Do you think it’s just Star Trek for kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Featured image via Nickelodeon.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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