‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Offers Somewhat New Wrinkle for Franchise

12-year-old Emily Pearson (left) dressed as Kida and Dawn Nixon (right) dressed as Rand from Star Trek stand in the Azcentral photo booth during Phoenix Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix on May 26, 2019. 1198887001

While Star Trek, in almost all formats, has always been suitable for all audiences, Star Trek: Prodigy is a cognizant attempt to reach a new audience.

And that’s kids.

Foremost, here’s the trailer in case you haven’t indulged yet.

Evidenced by pure optics, the show is a tip of the cap to younger audiences. At its heart and its origins, that’s what animation is.

Nearly all past Star Trek installments are pieces of art children can enjoy. Yet to wrap one’s brain around the meaning and progressive overtones, an at-least-teen brain was generally required. Prodigy might change that.

Backs in the 1970s, Star Trek dipped toes in the galaxy of Saturday morning cartoons, which worked in varying degrees of success. Most TrekHeads don’t rank Star Trek: The Animated Series in a pantheon of greatness like they might for The Original Series or The Next Generation. But the producers did try in the weekend morning spot. On the whole, though, those shows were essentially animated versions of what viewers already experienced in the late 1960s with live-action in TOS. They didn’t translate directly as some themes were tamed for child eyes on Saturdays, but meatier ideas were tackled, such as inside the episode Yesteryear.

Image from @TheChasmOfSar on Twitter — Star Trek: The Animated Series, S2E4

Prodigy will be a markedly different show — perhaps not even in the same ballpark — than The Animated Series. It should be. The two series’ are almost 50 years apart. The new show will feature a cast of younger characters — teenagers — in what feels like a coming of age type story.

The studio, Paramount, describes the show’s synopsis like this: “In 2383, after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, a motley crew of young aliens in the Delta Quadrant find an abandoned Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar. Taking control of the ship, they must learn to work together as they make their way towards the Alpha Quadrant.”

The takeaway via advertisement to youngsters is a motley crew of young aliens. And there you have it.

Alumni like actors Robert Beltran and Kate Mulgrew are even scheduled to be a part of the series.

The show premieres at the end of October on Paramount Plus.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).