Never before, at any time in recorded history, have sci-fi fans been blessed with so much "Star Trek" on our television screens at once and with the premiere of the newest show, "Star Trek: Prodigy" tonight, it makes a fantastic total of four, plus "Strange New Worlds" is still to come sometime next year.
This latest incarnation of "Star Trek" comes from a collaboration between Paramount+ and Nickelodeon and follows five alien adolescents from assorted origins who are incarcerated on an obscure planet in an uncharted part of the galaxy. They escape from their imprisonment and race across the planet to find a defunct starship buried in the sand of the planet's surface. They enter the ship, but are unable to make it work. With prison guards hot on their heels, they suddenly stumble upon an Emergency Training Hologram in the form of Capt. Janeway, voiced by none other than Kate Mulgrew herself.
The other recent animated entry into the "Star Trek" franchise is "Lower Decks," which is very much aimed at adults with an abundance of R-rated humor, so this is the first time "Star Trek" has aired anything deliberately aimed at a considerably younger audience. And we're here to tell you that it's going to appeal to everyone, not just kids.
The first episode, entitled "Lost & Found" is a one-hour long special and serves very much as a basic introduction to the characters and their environment. It takes five years after the final "Voyager" episode "Endgame" (S07, E24).
Along with Kate Mulgrew, the show features an impressive cast, including Brett Gray (Dal), Ella Purnell (Gwyn), Jason Mantzoukas (Jankom Pog), Jimmi Simpson (Drednok), Angus Imrie (Zero), Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk) and Dee Bradley Baker (Murf). They're the rag-tag gang of alien reprobates and chasing them are Diviner (John Noble) and Drednok (Jimmi Simpson). Plus…joining this already all-star line up in the second episode is Jason Alexander (Doctor Noum), Jameela Jamil (Ensign Asencia), Daveed Diggs (Commander Tysess), and Robert Beltran as Capt. Chakotay. Oh yes.
Adapting the ideals and principles of the "Star Trek" universe for a children's show couldn’t have been an east task and executive producers Kevin Hageman and Dan Hageman, together with co-executive producer — and director of this premiere episode — Ben Hibon have done an outstanding job. Finally, "Star Trek" has an animated spin-off that will hopefully as this franchise's "Clone Wars."
The story is interesting, the dialogue isn't condescending, the plot isn't convoluted and very quickly you become invested in these characters. The humor isn't forced and thankfully, the action doesn't feature a soundtrack of excessive, constant screaming or yelling. The cast of characters and their lack of knowledge about Starfleet or the Federation mirrors young children watching the show and getting their first insight into the splendor of this constantly growing and evolving sci-fi universe.
Moreover, good use has been made of creative elements of existing "Star Trek" canon and it doesn't rely on an overabundance of nostalgia. This marks the first on-screen appearance of a Medusan since "The Original Series" episode: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" (S03, E07), and a Kazon since the "Voyager" episode "Shattered" (S07, E11).
The feature-length first episode is airing right now — yes, right now — on Paramount+ in the US and you can stream it on Paramount+ in international territories including Latin America, the Nordics and Australia. The first and second season of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" are also available to watch on Paramount+, together with all three seasons of "Star Trek: Discovery."