“Star Trek: Prodigy” The theme song of the original “Star Trek” series is probably one of the most memorable songs ever written. But is the badinage even worth singing now? This animated miniseries fails again to capture the youthful essence of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved series.
Science fiction fans who loved “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and even “The Next Generation” movie know that kids will have a big time of it, just as they did in the 1960s. But those fans should remember that when Roddenberry created the characters of Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest, he was attempting to create protagonists who weren’t “tries,” and his vision was intended to motivate young fans by creating a heroic vision for the future. “Star Trek: Prodigy” is filled with ideas that have become staples of much of sci-fi fiction, most notably, an important theme of science being the bedrock of our hopes and dreams. But “Star Trek: Prodigy” is a thoroughly generic science fiction series that only collects nostalgia and fails to promote a hero who can inspire and motivate a generation of viewers.
“Star Trek: Prodigy” is much like a European retelling of “Star Trek.” Though the original show is an American-made piece, much of the production concept comes from those who know English. Yet the series seems like something that’s been cobbled together with British hardware. The plots aren’t anything that will cause a generation of sci-fi fans to recall 1970s episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Yet “Star Trek: Prodigy” is long enough to ride on those fans’ memories of their old favorites. In fact, the episodes are short enough that the animation almost seems like a spoof of a TV show with no resolution in sight. The cartoon style is also similar, another unintentional product of just having to fill time between episodes, and has the occasional moments of subtle good humor. There’s a very funny moment in one episode where the panel of light has turned into green and there’s a creepy, half-face on the screen.
While “Star Trek: Prodigy” is heavily populated with scenes from the movies and other episodes that didn’t make it onto the “TNG” series, it is probably the least devoted to the “next generation” of heroes. This series does so much in tribute to the old show that it fails to have any original story ideas and only leaves the viewers with a more generic image of this time than the previous ones.
The voice talent is pretty impressive: Actor Jon Vitti (Hulk on “Avengers” and TV’s “Resurrection Blvd.”) voices the Klingon boss Zouka. Nolan North voices the voice of older Spock. And Susan Boyle has voiced a couple of roles in “Star Trek: Discovery.”
But this cartoon has nothing original to say, and what it’s trying to be is obvious: an homage to the original “Star Trek” series. The idea of using puppets to create cartoon characters isn’t as sophisticated as it was in the 1960s, and most animation today can identify with the animation of the 1960s. Yet “Star Trek: Prodigy” certainly isn’t as hip and cool as a cartoon featuring Kirk and Spock.
Despite the excellent voices, “Star Trek: Prodigy” keeps the full series ready-to-watch DVD and the box is small enough to hide in a standard DVD player. The problem here is that this show will do little to intrigue or impress a new generation of sci-fi fans who love “Star Trek” but just cannot be bothered with an entire cartoon in the same vein.