'Prodigy' season two gets the binge treatment

June 10, 2024

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Netflix is preparing to drop 20 episodes of Prodigy on one day. Jammer is preparing to prepare.

The streaming industry is a fickle beast. A few years ago, every media giant was reacquiring their previously licensed-out properties (many of which, at one point, had been licensed out to Netflix, until these companies realized Netflix was preparing to eat their lunch) to put behind their own paywalls in order to attract as many subscribers as possible. So, Paramount+ became the exclusive streaming platform for all of Star Trek and most other CBS/Paramount content not tied up in a licensing agreement (Yellowstone says hello from Peacock).

That is, until it wasn't.

Sometime during 2022 and 2023, a shift became evident: This subscriber model, which had become the goal in and of itself to impress shareholders and drive up stock prices, was clearly not going to save a lot of these companies who weren't named Netflix, because the revenue brought in from subscribers (as well as the advertising footprint, which has increased over time but was not initially the basis for the streaming revenue model) was not enough to offset costs in buying and producing shows. Thus came a trend of reversal and cost-cutting.

Star Trek: Prodigy was canceled by Paramount+ as a part of this realization, with the understanding the show's second season — mostly done but still in active production — would be completed so it could eventually be sold to another platform. Netflix, ironically, became that buyer, and I'm guessing (though I have no way of actually knowing) CBS Studios made more money selling it to Netflix than it would've had it put it up on Paramount+ and collected the advertising revenue and any miniscule subscriber growth. Frankly, the economics of ad-free streaming elude me. They probably elude the industry as well, hence why everyone, including Netflix, now offers ad-supported tiers.

However you slice it, now comes the announcement that Prodigy's second season — all 20 episodes — will be dropped on Netflix on July 1, making it the first Trek show to be released on the binge model.

This is, to be honest, not great for me. And it's probably not great for people who like to come to a site like this and talk about Trek. The nice thing about a weekly release schedule is that it gives each episode time to breathe and for people to discuss it. With a 20-episode drop, now we're each on an individual scramble; those who have the time to binge will be discussing it in their own corner while everyone else who needs more time to watch it — or wants to watch it with their kids — has to find time on their schedules and play catch-up.

For me as an administrator of a comment forum, this presents a dilemma: How do I balance my own schedule for watching and reviewing the show with those who want to binge and talk about it immediately? Personally, I really don't like reading the comments when I haven't both watched and reviewed the episode. Obviously, I don't want to be spoiled for episodes I haven't seen, but I also don't want a bunch of user comments floating around my head before I write my review.

Unfortunately, I don't have much choice if I want to keep this site relevant for the people who want to comment on it. I have to give them a place to discuss it. History has shown that if I don't, the comments from future episodes will seep into the reviews of earlier ones, making it more confusing and spoilery for everyone.

So, when the episodes drop on July 1, you will see pages for all of them, and you can comment whenever you want. It won't offer the same level of synchronous conversation as a weekly-released show, but it's the best we can do. To avoid spoilers, you can use the custom filters feature in the comment stream to simply hide all the comments from the Prodigy pages. (If you're wondering if I mostly created this feature for myself, the answer is yes, but I figured others could use it.) I do ask that you be sure to submit your comments for each episode on the correct page, to cut down on spoilers and confusion for your other commenters — and your host. And play nice in there since I won't be in there to moderate until I've written my reviews. (If there's blatant abuse, hopefully someone will alert me.)

As far as my reviews go, don't expect them to be quick. They will be added as I find time to watch this show (with my family) and then do the write-ups. I'm not even going to predict what that timing might look like; it will be whatever it ends up being. As with Prodigy's first season, I expect these will be shorter reviews than my live-action Trek reviews. It will be a necessity in order to get through all of this in a timely fashion.

Until then, enjoy the binge.

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14 comments on this post

    Now posted in the blog: An announcement about the upcoming second season of "Star Trek: Prodigy" and my plans for covering it.

    Thanks, Jammer.
    I appreciate your continued efforts on your site and this show. While Prodigy is not as good as the greats from the past, for me it is surprisingly good, and I was disappointed it was cancelled and frustrated that it was removed from Paramount. Dropping all episodes at once is fine for someone like me who doesn’t normally subscribe to Netflix so that I don’t have to keep the subscription up for months on end.
    I would rather you review each episode one at a time like normal, but your TAS reviews were very good and they seemed to have received good discourse in the comments

    "Frankly, the economics of ad-free streaming elude me."

    Disney's CEO is on record saying they make far more money from the cheaper (to the consumer) ad sponsored tiers than the ad-free ones.

    Not surprising given the micro-targeting the Internet allows for advertising networks.

    Our household pays for ad-free tiers on all of the streaming platforms. Unskippable ads are just not something we have any interest in enduring, particularly when some platforms (looking at you Paramount+) can't be bothered to properly sync the ads to scene cuts.

    My hunch is they will eventually price most households out of access to these tiers or do away with them altogether. First to go was password sharing. I suspect the next thing will be annual contracts, to do away with the "life hack" of subscribing for only a month to binge your favorite show. Eventually they'll come for the ad-free tiers.

    Meet the new streaming boss, same as the old cable boss, except now you get to pay a zillion different companies to treat you badly instead of a single one.

    Ironically, we miss cable, mostly because of TiVo. There's no streaming device half as good as old school TiVo on user interface and remote design. :-(

    We still haven't dropped cable, though I debate doing so constantly. DVR recordings of shows are still a better user experience than ad-supported streaming.

    But now with all the devices and getting logged out all the time, it's a pain to sign in to all these different apps on all these different devices (some of which require MFA). I'm the only one that remembers the passwords, so I have to log everybody in.

    Cable may be for dinosaurs, but streaming is going to become Cable 2.0 (bundles and channels are the "new thing" in streaming!), except with a far shittier user experience, and a patchwork of companies and login credentials to deal with.

    First World Problem: We can't get a reasonable price for cable because we have access to fiber internet, hence, there's zero incentive to subscribe to cable internet, which means there's no bundle discount on TV.

    YouTube TV costs us $72.99. The equivalent Xfinity package sans bundle is nearly $120 with taxes/fees by the time you walk out the door, and that's the "new customer" promo rate.

    I'm old enough to remember paying less than $50 for basic cable plus internet and the "basic" cable in those days actually had non-reality original content worth watching.

    YouTube TV is alright, the essentially unlimited storage "DVR" is slick, my main gripe is the horrible remotes and user interfaces on streaming boxes. If I could have YouTube TV with a TiVo remote, that would be the killer app IMHO.

    My real lament is we live somewhere (deep in a valley) that precludes OTA reception. We mainly care about live TV for local news/weather and the Seahawks, both of which we could get for free if we lived just about anywhere else.

    I’m a digital antennae man myself. ABC, CBS, NBC, Six different PBSs and Telemundo. It’s 1987 everyday in my house.

    I'd like to do a rewatch and season overview of Andor, but whether I will be able to fit it into my schedule remains to be seen.

    "Pass."

    lol why? Once you have started it... you got to be a completist.

    Hello there, Jammer! Quick question.. Will you be reviewing The Acolyte at any point? Just curious. I must say I find it, thus far, to be woefully underwhelming.

    "Will you be reviewing The Acolyte at any point?"

    Doubtful, but who knows. I would have to watch it first, which so far I haven't.

    Thanks for the response, Jammer. I've followed this website, with interest , for many years. Keep up the great work and impeccable analysis.

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