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Star Trek: Prodigy S1:E1-2, was an almost perfect introduction to a Star Trek newbie.

Let me cast forth my roses for the musical intro to the show: It is pure fire. Combined with the outstanding graphics for the intro and it would appear these two teams showed up for work to create a thing of lasting beauty. I love it!

I enjoyed the first episodes of this series and found just enough intrigue and make it worth my while. I thought about how far Star Trek has come in terms of animation and I never thought I would see the day, I would see a Star Trek animated series with such high production values.

A friend suggested I would feel differently by the end of the third episode and there was a moment I felt let down but then I decided to look at the episode as a learning experience for both, the characters and myself. This is written for a new Star Trek audience, for viewers who don’t know anything about Star Trek.

And as such, there will be a bit of a learning curve. With the first episode we learn about the protagonists. The second episode shows us some of the Protostar’s capabilities — how tough, fast and durable she is. The only way to really gauge this is by taking the ship someplace dangerous. Check.

Now that the obligatory development arcs have been accomplished, the behavioral paradigms of the protagonists established, and introductions to the overall goals of the Federation have been espoused, now the journey begins in earnest.

Don’t get twisted. Star Trek: Prodigy S1:E3, ‘Starstruck’, was quite frustrating. Dal’s inexplicable distrust of Hologram Janeway felt contrived and unnecessary. Then I remembered the audience. Who was this show for?

With that in mind, I tried to understand the psychology of someone who refuses to accept help because they had never had it. What’s it like to be someone with trust issues? Dal’s description of the Federation as an agency seeking power for itself explains at least part of his reluctance to rely on Hologram Janeway.

Extreme self-reliance, coupled with new experiences outside of our control can cause a reaction much like Dal’s. Having had a teenager (and having been a self-reliant individual) acting rebelliously as Dal did, I knew the experience immediately and knew eventually he would ask for help, frustrated with his ineptitude.

But it can be frustrating to watch what is effectively a temper tantrum by what had been, up to now, a reasonably clever individual. I am hopeful things will improve. Asking for help and training at the end of the episode shows character development and a return to reason.

Instead of being Frustrated,

I consoled myself with the mystery of the Protostar. It’s seems too small to be a gunboat, appearing to be even smaller than the Defiant with an even smaller crew complement, yet too durable and heavily armored to be just a “cadet training vehicle.”

Maybe it is a new class of escort vehicle or armed diplomatic transport. There is such a small crew compliment for a Federation vehicle everyone would have to be specialists to do any reasonable science. Yet the vehicle has the capacity to create other vehicles, including its own shuttlecraft (and presumably the ability to recreate escape pods lost in this episode.)

My other questions include:

  • • Who made the Protostar? Duh. We know the Federation made it.
  • • WHO in the Federation made it and what is it’s mission?
  • • Why it’s in the Delta Quadrant? A vehicle as nice and as functional as the Protostar doesn’t just get “lost” and buried.
  • • Where was it’s crew? Did it ever have one?
  • • How did the Protostar get to the Delta Quadrant?
  • • Are the transporters and replicators still exotic technologies in the Delta Quadrant?
  • • What was that strange engine component no one could identify?
  • • Is it a prototype slipstream component?
  • • A new jump drive?
  • • Why does someone with a bad ass red and black, pointy space palace with it’s own cloaking device and all the cloaking mineral he would want, needs a tiny ship like the Protostar?
  • • What’s it got that he hasn’t? Speaking of tall, tanked and mysterious, who is he and does he know slavery is illegal or at least immoral?

Speaking of Mysteries …

  • • What is Hologram Janeway hiding? Surely she recognizes the crew are not Federation cadets.

Janeway being chosen as the Emergency Command Hologram is not a coincidence. She has control of the entire ship and presumably knows everything Janeway ever wrote on the Delta Quadrant. This means the Protostar wasn’t an accident. It was in the Delta Quadrant, by design.

Whose?

Now wasn’t that more fun than frustrating teen angst? It’s something to think about until next week.

  • S1:E1, S1:E2 (released as a single episode: ‘Lost and Found’)
    Rated: 8.0
  • S1:E3: ‘Starstruck’
    Rated: 7.75

Featuring the vocal talents of: Brett Gray as Dal, Ella Purnell as Gywn, Jason Mantzoukas as Jankom Pog, Angus Imrie as Zero, Rylee Alazraqui as Rok-Tahk, Dee Bradley Baker as Murf, Jimmy Simpson as Drednok, John Noble as Diviner, and Kate Mulgrew as Hologram Kathyrn Janeway.

Wait, there’s one more thing …

Did anyone notice the ship creation sequence when there was a shuttlecraft being made? Why didn’t the the ship’s computer stop making the shuttlecraft while Gywn and Rok-Tahk were fighting in it? Is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration not a thing in the Federation? Or is the holo-engineering and manufacturing technology so good, the ship can be built while you stand in the middle of it? Presumably the safety protocols are always engaged…

Yes, I know this is really about the Rule of Cool, fighting someplace you aren’t supposed to fight edition, but it seemed out of sorts, but for the audience it was written for, it was probably just fine.

Including the obligatory TVTropes warning: Remember to have food and water on hand if you find yourself drawn into TVTropes. It is easily quite addictive, especially if you are a creative type. Feed your pets, and make the screen a comfortable size for reading before you settle in. TVTropes is easily one of the best sites on the Internet. Remember to hydrate and take bathroom breaks!

-30-

Answer Man Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze
Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.

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