I knew there was a new show coming called ST: Prodigy and that it was animated, with a holographic Janeway to help train a misfit crew. There have been other shows in the ST universe about raw cadets who are unseasoned but manning a star ship, but not animated nor as the full premise of the show. Episodes or books, not shows.
But I figured I knew a little of what to expect, as I’ve watched Lower Decks. I assumed it was similar in concept but with the LDers running the asylum. Star Trek shows are always good for multiple seasons, so I didn’t bother trying to predict renewal, it’s almost guaranteed to run two seasons at least.
Yet the show is nothing like what I expected. The animation and tone is way more like Star Wars’ The Mandalorian than it is traditional Star Trek. If it wasn’t for Janeway showing up at the end of the premiere to say hello, it could be AnyShip Inc.
The main character, Dal, is on a prison planet. There’s no explanation of why or how he ended up there, nor any of the other people in prison. Most of them can’t speak to each other as translators are forbidden. When a special psychic prisoner called Prisoner Zero shows up, Dal gets involved, a couple of them find an abandoned Starfleet vessel hidden deep in the planetary core, they recruit some other prisoners, and they try to get off the rock. Along the way, they kidnap the warden’s daughter.
The voice work is all well done, although I don’t recognize any of them from other stuff. The only one I do recognize is the warden, called the Diviner, voiced by John Noble. He’s always great to see/hear, but hard to say if it’s simply more of a show-by-show cameo or a regular full character.
As a Star Trek show, it fails completely. It is unlike any of the other shows and doesn’t even feel like it’s in the same lexicon. As a Star Wars show, I’d accept it in a heartbeat. It’s watchable, I’m curious to see where it goes. And I know there will be cameos of other ST characters (Chakotay shows up soon too, apparently). But is it Star Trek?