Thursday, February 2, 2023

[Blu-ray Review]—"Star Trek: Prodigy: Season One, Volume One"

Paramount Home Entertainment recently released the first season of Star Trek: Prodigy on DVD and Blu-ray. Sort of. In reality, there are just the first ten episodes. Twenty episodes make up Season One, although the season got divided in half, with the last episodes winding down towards the end of 2022. The DVD and Blu-ray releases are also following this similar pattern. 

Star Trek: Prodigy (buy on Blu-ray or DVD) is the first Star Trek series specifically geared toward children and the first in the franchise to employ 3D animation. Although the series is under the Nickelodeon bandwagon, it's actually a Paramount+ series, with episodes making their debut on that platform before airing on Nickelodeon.

In quest of a brighter future, the series centers on a ragtag bunch of young aliens who must learn to coexist while traversing the galaxy. With the help of an Emergency Training Holographic Advisor modeled after Janeway, the former captain of the USS Voyager, they will all become acquainted with Starfleet and the principles it upholds during their journeys together. For the first time in Star Trek television history, a series focuses on six teenagers, outcasts who have taken control of a ship without knowing anything about it.  

In addition to Kate Mulgrew, who is reprising her role as Janeway, the voice cast also features Brett Gray, Ella Purnell, Jason Mantzoukas, Angus Imrie, Rylee Alazraqui, Dee Bradley Baker, Jimmi Simpson, John Noble, and Rylee Alazraqui.

Blu-ray Special Features include:
  • The Kobayashi Maru
  • The Prime Directive 
  • Trek Tradition
  • The Protostar Pack
  • Gadgets & Gear
  • The Protostar

Is Star Trek: Prodigy aimed more at adults rather than kids? I watched the first season, and I'm still asking that question. Yes, I saw Paramount+ episodes 11 through 20. Though Prodigy is a fantastic starting point for any newcomer to venture into the Trek universe, the narrative heavily echoes Star Trek: Voyager, featuring an appearance by Chakotay, the utilization of a Janeway hologram as a mentor for the young characters, and Katherine Janeway's reappearance, this time as an admiral.

The series' computer animation appears and feels expensive. All the spaceships fit more in line with Star Trek than the latest plethora of live-action programs, even though the designs of various teenage characters resemble Star Wars more so than Star Trek. The designers are trying to honor everything that has come before as closely as possible. Even if the episodes occasionally have a childlike quality (bearing in mind that this is a kids' show), the overarching storyline is compelling, and a few new mythologies keep the audience engaged. ╌★★★★✰

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