Star Trek: Prodigy


2 stars.

Air date: 11/4/2021
Written by Chad Quandt
Directed by Alan Wan

Review Text

As I was watching Dal give the most incompetent orders amid a fit of desperation, having unwisely deactivated Hologram Janeway because he'd rather figure things out on his own, and as he was jettisoning all the cargo into space (including the escape pods and who knows what other useful equipment) and diverting all power away from other essential systems — and as the space debris started slamming into the hull of the ship as the ship was getting sucked into the gravity well of the (colorfully animated) dying star, the parent in me just shook my head and thought, "This is why we can't have nice things."

"Starstruck" is what happens when you have a bunch of kids — with an arrogant and overconfident self-appointed leader — in charge of a starship. Stuff gonna get broke. The episode begins with a reasonable sense of wonder in watching these kids in awe as they discover all the cool stuff aboard the Protostar. And I guess I can understand an episode that's about showing how these kids are out of their element and in over their heads. But "Starstruck" takes it too far in the direction of utter viewer frustration in driving the point home.

Dal, who showed street smarts in the pilot, fails utterly here at listening or accepting help, which nearly destroys the ship. Unfortunately, all other characters are rendered nearly irrelevant in the process. While I see what they were going for here, having Dal's ego and insistence for independence take over the episode while the ship is getting sucked into a vortex makes him look more stupid than stubborn. My 9-year-old daughter was screaming at the screen, "Come ON, just ask Janeway for help already!" Yep, you said it, kid. Dal needs to learn from his mistakes, or someone wiser than him needs to step up. I'm not sure who the titular "prodigy" of this show is supposed to be, but right now it sure doesn't look like Dal.

In a subplot, Dal locks Gwyn in the brig where she sits sullen until an opportunity presents itself for her to escape. Dal assigns Rok to return her to the brig (a completely misplaced priority given the unfolding crisis on the bridge) and they end up in a struggle inside the shuttle bay as the ship's "vehicle replicator" literally builds a shuttle in the middle of and around their fight sequence, in what is perhaps one bright idea too many.

Previous episode: Lost and Found
Next episode: Dream Catcher

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24 comments on this post

    I just finished watching the second (third?) episode and there's a "vehicle replicator" in the shuttlebay designed to quickly build replacement shuttlecraft.


    @ navamske Thanks!

    Second (third) episode was fine - though I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much as the pilot. Dal was much more irritating here, but it became clear he is being written as a flawed character (probably to show later growth). I enjoyed how everyone is shown as being more-or-less incompetent - four children shouldn't be able to run a ship - because it provides a good starting point for them to develop as a crew. While a life-and-death crisis for sure, this was sort of a "baby step" which allowed the crew to fumble their way through an easily solvable crisis and learn how to use the ship's systems. It also already has far more of a Trek vibe, with the central theme of the episode (everyone working together as a team to solve a common problem) one of the core Trek plots.

    I'm still really not liking the cutbacks to the big bad (the Diviner) as he seems way too cliched of a villain so far. I know the Hageman brothers have hinted he's not what he seems, and I can't wait for the mask to come off.

    Don't know what to think of this series yet, but I am getting serious Blake's 7 vibes:

    -Ragtag band of escaped convicts
    -Commandeered vessel
    -Possible betrayer in the crew
    -Vessel has artificial intelligence that seems to have a mind of its own
    -Prison leaders are willing to use mind control/damage to ensure compliance
    -Government leader is a megalomaniacal tyrant trying to retrieve his ship

    I'm sure there are more parallels, but these seemed too obvious to ignore.

    I think the fact that this is really a kids show came through quite strongly in this 2nd episode -- not much positive for me to say other than it's kind of cool to see how various ship functions look in this animated iteration of Trek. By having to escape the gravitational pull of the dying star, the crew gets the viewer (kids) familiar with the ship's functions. And of course Janeway explains the UFP and Federation.

    Dal is getting annoying anointing himself the captain and not knowing how to do anything -- and why can't Janeway realize that this band of misfits are not supposed to be running the ship and autopilot it to Federation space?

    Is it supposed to be a lesson for kids that it's OK to call on an adult when you're screwed? Interesting that Dal rebels against authority (Janeway and the Federation)...

    Now that this ship has a vehicle replicator -- there's your explanation for all those shuttle crashes on VOY and how they always have one available for the next episode.

    1 star for "Starstruck" -- limited with what you can do in 1/2 hr compared to last week's 1 hr pilot episode which obviously had more depth to it. Sounds like Gwyn's dad is going to pursue in his cloaked vessel and it's just going to be one weekly adventure after another. Much less piqued by Prodigy now than I was last week.

    @Mac Absolutely laughed out loud that hologram Janeway had coffee. It was a great touch.

    Jammer, first time posting here, but have basically read every single one of your reviews. I appreciate all your time and effort. I vote for reviewing Prodigy. Or like some others have commented, maybe get opinions from your kids.

    Poor Joe Carey, all that time slaving away in Voyager's shuttlebay building replacement shuttlecraft only to find out her successor ship can do the work in seconds. Good thing he's dead, or the news would probably kill him! Hahaha.

    (But can it build photon torpedoes? Inquiring minds want to know).

    Join us next week when the Protostar discovers the secret network of transwarp conduits the Kazon were using to always be in front of Voyager!

    Poor Joe Carey!

    This one was probably a 2.5 out of 4. Not as involving as last week's but there were nice moments along the way.

    There was some good character work this week, and I tingled a bit when Janeway was describing the Federation to the ragtag crew. Seeing them all overcome a small problem by coming together was a good moment as well.

    Janway having a coffee cup is perfect.

    Unfortunately, Prodigy is not yet available in the part of Europe in which I live (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and – ugh – DIS are all on Netflix, and LD and – ugh – PIC are on Amazon Prime, both of which I already subscribe to). I do not want to try and stream it illegally, so I will wait patiently. I do not feel that I am missing out greatly, based on the consensus and descriptions here (and plus the fact I am not its target market).

    What has puzzled me most about Prodigy is what its niche in overall Trek is supposed to be. Each series has its own snappy premise that in rough terms distinguishes it from the others – for example, TNG is ‘TOS updated’, DS9 is ‘Trek on a space station’, VOY is ‘Trek does Lost in Space’, the latest and upcoming seasons of DIS are arguably ‘NuTrek does Andromeda’, and so on. Besides ‘Prodigy is NuTrek does Star Wars: Rebels’, Prodigy is proving hard for me to conceptualise, so I’d like to thank @Penguinphysics for clarifying this a little more via the Blake’s 7 comparison.

    My kids and I watched Prodigy's second instalment last night. We had to watch it in French, because apparently the English version doesn't get released here in Canada until today. I suggested we wait, but they were keen to see it, so we watched anyway, which means I get to see it twice, which I am actually kind of excited about (particularly, of course, getting to hear Mulgrew instead of Random French Actor - and honestly, whoever she was, she was good at getting the Janeway vibe). We all really enjoyed this episode, and I'm pretty excited to see where this series goes. I agree with @Captain Jon above. The family feeling which I remember from childhood Thursdays watching TNG with my mother and my siblings has been, um, lacking in the other Treks currently in production. It is nice to see it back.

    Starstruck - Man it seemed really short after the premiere. lol

    I liked it fine.

    I wonder how long Gwyn will remain in the brig?

    Shuttlecraft replicator??? lol!!!

    I wonder how long before Janeway realizes that these folks aren't cadets?

    All good fun. I'm still impressed with the animation.

    I don't think I have a favorite character yet.

    I still like the tone, something Discovery and Picard are missing.

    Interesting that we get the introduction before any of the episodes.

    I wish I had appropriate age children at home to enjoy this with.

    2.5 stars from me.

    I'll go against the grain here and say I liked the second episode better than the first. The simplified all-ages storytelling works better in smaller doses, and I liked seeing more of the Protostar and how the crew will work together. Plus Janeway, even in hologram form, makes for a perfect instructor/mentor, and when Dal finally asks her for help as he realises he's in over his head, Mulgrew's delivery made it feel like the real Captain Janeway had never left our TV screens. She's still got it!

    I would definitely be interested in seeing reviews on this site of this series. While intended for kids, it holds appeal for people of all ages, speaking for myself as a middle-aged adult. I also find it to be far more charming and mature then Lower Decks.

    I think you should. Not seen it yet (as I don't know if it's on in the UK) but, from the little pieces I have seen, it has much to commend it, even the humour. (Holographic Janeway drinking Holographic Coffee from a Holographic Mug for example.)

    I have no interest in this show but I also think Jammer should review it. Soon there will be a fifth Star Trek show which he should also review. That means five shows per year, amounting to maybe 50+ episode reviews annually.

    Is Jammer ready to send his children to a boarding school to free up some time? Maybe there will be more shows and more reviews! I really don't see how he can still find time for his children and write the reviews. Could his wife quit her job? Could the children find jobs? Maybe he could start selling LuLaRoe fashion?

    Forgot Mandalorian and Orville. So around 75 reviews per year. That is a little less than two several pages long reviews per week. With a little bit of coffee that shouldn't be a problem

    If Jammer does end up reviewing this show, I'd be down for just one post at the end of the season talking about his likes and dislikes and general thoughts about the season as a whole, rather than individual episode reviews. Considering how much Trek is coming out right now, it would be a pretty massive undertaking to write in depth reviews on every episode.

    When I thought the shows were going to come out consecutively, instead of concurrently, I figured it would be basically a constant stream of one episode a week all year long. 13 episodes for DSC and 10 episodes for the other four shows, so really 53 episodes in a 53 week 52 in a year. That would place it exactly on par with when DS9 overlapped with VOY, but in those days, it was more concentrated, with summers off.

    I should amend what I said, based on some breaking news:

    So, it looks more like a consecutive model, after all.

    Actually, the release model for Prodigy seems to be...a mess. To recap:

    First, two more episodes until the "quarter-season finale" - with the last episode premiering the same day as Discovery's premier.

    Then, a hiatus, with the next five episodes playing starting on January 6th (which still overlaps with Discovery Season 4. Indeed, Episode 10 (mid-season finale) seems like it will air the same day as Discovery's season finale).

    Picard will start up soon thereafter. If I would hazard a guess they're holding back the next 10 episodes of "season 1" until after both that and Strange New Worlds.

    I have noticed the weird split of seasons into "parts" is now quite common with children's shows. Not sure why that is exactly.

    Star Trek: Prodigy
    Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2 - Lost and Found

    “Do you realize what you’re doing?”

    - Gwynala

    “Making a series of bad decisions.”

    - Jankom Pog

    Mal’s review before Jammer’s

    3 stars (out of 4)

    In a fun and interesting pilot, we get to know our scrappy but lovable Chris Pratt Star Lord named Dal, who is purple, has adorable ears, and is desperate to break out of a mining colony, even if he doesn’t know how, or have any plans for what he’ll do - or where he’ll go - if he succeeds.

    In the role of Zoe Saladana's Gamora, we have Gwynala. Her father might not be quite as badass as Thanos, but he gets the job done.

    And rounding out the team in the role of Taika Waititi’s Korg, is the far more adorable, if slightly less hilarious, Rok-Tahk.

    Lest you think Star Trek:Prodigy is 100% Marvel, the main henchman is basically General Grievous (h/t @Johnathan Hancock). And the starfleet vessel moves like the Millennium Falcon. But that’s getting far ahead of ourselves.

    I’ll echo what @Karl Zimmerman says above, that this "was a good episode. Honestly probably the best pilot episode of Kurtzman Trek.”

    Children in mines seems to be some weirdly popular fictional foundation (The Dark Knight, ST:Nemesis), but as far as these things go, Prodigy had more in common with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Kirk and Bones at Rura Penthe. Imagine all the high-jinks that might have ensued if those two had been animated teens!

    @Fortyseven is also right on the nose about the Orville references. I particularly loved the closing credits (has anyone ever said that about nuTrek?!?). It had a real Orville/Voyager feel to it. Now with the passing of Norm MacDonald, I suppose we’ll lose Yaphit too. So it’s nice to see that Rok-Tahk adopted a blue Yaphit to act as weapons officer. They must have known that at least a few viewers would make the connection, cause I at least kept expecting the blue blob to make repairs. Well played!

    The pacing of the show is enjoyable. The violence is not overwhelming, and it makes a lot of sense for the story. The humor is gentle, good-natured, and avoids sarcasm and bodily fluids. Nice.

    Finally, the genderless Fugitive Zero. A Medusan in a robot suit, almost reminds me of that brain-in-the-stomach guy in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I went back and read my review of TOS "Is There In Truth No Beauty?” ( ) but suffice to say, there is nothing of that episode to be found here. The writers merely borrow the basic premise of the species - that no one can look upon one and remain sane - and I suppose we’ll just have to see what they do with it. Will Meduans turn into Prodigy’s version of the Trill? Tune in next week.

    Before I close this “review”, I wanted to touch upon two other scifi events that we saw in the last month or so: Foundation and Dune. There is a great column by Krugman ( ) that is behind a paywall, so I’ll pull out a key quote for you,

    About Apple TV+’s Foundation, he writes, "So how does the Apple TV+ series turn this into a visually compelling tale? It doesn’t. What it does instead is remake “Star Wars” under another name. There are indispensable heroes, mystical powers, even a Death Star. These aren’t necessarily bad things to include in a TV series, but they’re completely antithetical to the spirit of Asimov’s writing. Pretending that this series has anything to do with the “Foundation” novels is fraudulent marketing, and I’ve stopped watching.”

    Reading that was like reading what so many of us have written about NuTrek over the years. But unlike Discovery, Picard, and Foundation, Prodigy doesn’t immediately abandon the philosophy of its progenitors to appear edgy and new.

    Ironic, given the demographic pitch, that Prodigy actually shows more maturity.

    With the show taking place so far out of the way, though we may get a glimpse here or there of a familiar face (we see a Kazon early on), in reality, the show has a lot of room to do it’s own thing. That's what made Guardians of the Galaxy so different from the rest of the Marvel Universe. In a many of ways, Prodigy is a little of what I had hoped Enterprise might have been, back when Firefly and Babylon 5 was showing us how different scifi could be from the Berman & Braga cookie cutter productions.

    Like @Peter G., I didn’t even know that Prodigy existed until Jammer posted about it. So, @Jammer, I hope you’ll strongly consider at least opening threads for each episode.

    And finally, I enthusiastically second @Scott’s suggestion, "Maybe Jammer should let his kids do the reviews on this one”!!!!

    Those were OBVIOUSLY type-II phasers, Hologram Janeway, not type-I. Tsk tsk.


    But seriously though, I liked this episode quite a bit. Maybe it was predictable and nothing we haven't seen before, but it WAS well done. And the art design continues to be excellent.


    I wonder which producer's fetish box "Janeway sprouts tentacles and chases after you" ticks? Kidding! Kidding. Buuuuuuuuut I definitely wouldn't have had that on my bingo card of "things I think I expect I might see in an official Star Trek episode."

    (Well, unless she goes Warp 10 again, I guess. :p )

    Hologram Janeway, replete with coffee, has me watching this despite myself. But then no doubt that's the point.

    The vehicle replicator was hilarious and also obviously something that must exist in Star Trek, but I had one issue. Why does the Evil Father Guy have to keep referring to his "progeny" on a show called "Prodigy"? Seems a bit confusing.

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