Star Trek: Prodigy: Lost and Found
October 28, 2021 8:11 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

[Series premiere] A group of lawless teens, exiled on a mining colony outside Federation space, discover a derelict Starfleet ship. Dal must gather an unlikely crew for their newfound ship if they are going to escape Tars Lamora, but the Diviner and his daughter Gwyn have other plans.

Memory Alpha has never seen this many stars before:

- The show is a collaborative production between Paramount and Nickelodeon, AFAIK the first of its kind. (MA entry for the show in general.)

- The show was created by Kevin and Dan Hageman, who also worked on Trollhunters.

- Executive producer Heather Kadin had this to say about the series and the Hagemans:
"The reason we went to the Hagemans is because if you've seen their work, you know that they're not writing "Muppet Babies". It's not "Little Spock and Little Kirk." It's not playing down [to viewers] that way."

"Even [with] their characters in Ninjago – they are teenagers – I was able to watch that with my kids and they write with a very epic quality. They tell stories the way we tell stories in live action: serialized, turning over cards…"

"I think it will be a great way for fans to introduce the franchise to their kids, and for new fans to be formed, because it's such a big franchise, [it can be hard] to get into as a kid."
- The show is set in the Delta Quadrant, the primary setting for Star Trek: Voyager.

- The show's characters include a Medusan (first seen in TOS' "Is There in Truth No Beauty?"), and a Tellarite; there's also an appearance by a Kazon and a Caitian.

- Besides Kate Mulgrew as (holographic) Kathryn Janeway, the MA show entry lists some other familiar names for upcoming cast members; hit the link for potential spoilers.
posted by Halloween Jack (30 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Had a few things to add that I missed above:

- It's set in 2383, a year or two after the (current) time of Lower Decks. That's... really interesting in that an advanced Federation starship is embedded in an asteroid in the Delta Quadrant, complete with Janeway hologram, five years after Voyager returned from the Alpha Quadrant.

- Speaking of which, the name of the ship is Protostar, and it's got an NX-class designation, meaning that it's a prototype.

- This is actually a double episode, so next ep will be S1E3.

- It's animated, which I figured that everyone already knew from the teaser and trailer, but yeah. It's the first full Trek series "to be rendered entirely with computer generated imaging and 3D modeling."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2021


That's... really interesting in that an advanced Federation starship is embedded in an asteroid in the Delta Quadrant, complete with Janeway hologram, five years after Voyager returned from the Alpha Quadrant.

Haven't watched this yet, but Voyager did some experiments with quantum slipstream and transwarp tech that, IIRC, would have got them from the Delta to the Alpha quadrant in months/moments.

Presumably when they got back, Starfleet set up a research wing to study all the cool stuff they brought back. And then started building prototypes...
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2021 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed this episode, but the designs - character and landscape/settings - felt so much more like Star Wars than Star Trek. Only the Protostar itself feels like a Trek design, because of its general shape and two nascelles.

But it was a great introduction to the characters and the set-up of heroes vs villain is great. I'm not sure whether it will hold me interest long-term, because it is designed for kids - which is great - but maybe not for me. That said, a 22 minute weekly hit might be a bunch of fun. (I didn't warm to Lower Decks until mid-way through season one.)

I didn't realise it was set in the Delta Quadrant. I think that's a good idea, so as not to mess with Alpha Quadrant continuity too much. And the fact that Janeway is just a hologram means the show isn't using up that character - because I really want to see Admiral Janeway pop up on Picard or something else.
posted by crossoverman at 4:54 PM on October 28, 2021 [3 favorites]


I'm glad I avoided most info about this so was pleasantly surprised with the Giant Rock Monster plus Translator mashup.

Maybe we'll even get a Kes or Neelix species representative.
posted by Marticus at 5:49 PM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]


Not gonna lie, I was really hoping Jankom Pog was a Talaxian. He looks as much like a Talaxian as a Tellarite. I'm excited for a show that stars mainly non-humans, and putting it in the D-Quad does a fine job of answering why there's so many aliens we've never seen before (but also, a surprising number of aliens we have seen before, how did all these people end up on the other side of the galaxy?)

I don't know when exactly Federation technology became Lever-and-Rising-Cylinder based* but between this and the Lower Decks S2 finale it's really becoming a thing.

Obviously unraveling "Why is an experimental Federation vessel with a really cool bridge in the D-Quad?" and all the various other questions will be the driving force of the series. Interested to see how they go forward from here. Are they going to hang around the prison mine and attempt to free the other prisoners? Are they going to head out and find allies? Or are they going to make a break for it with the bad guys always one step behind them?


* Just kidding, I know exactly when this happened, it was in Star Trek: First Contact and it's because that shit is cool as hell.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:20 PM on October 28, 2021 [5 favorites]


I don't know when exactly Federation technology became Lever-and-Rising-Cylinder based
[Genesis Device control panel from Wrath of Khan:]
Am I nothing to you?! Have the Old Ways been truly forgotten?
posted by bartleby at 9:14 PM on October 28, 2021 [7 favorites]


But you're right that the let's have the cast all be Space Orphans from the D-quad (is that a thing we say now?) is broken by having a Tellarite in the mix.

I think it serves a purpose though; in terms of being a sap to fans who already know - Hey! a Tellarite! He's going to be contrarian, and have a penchant for the mechanical - and being the first bit of Trek Lore that the kids who are first being exposed to it via this show - mental note, Tellarites are the piggy guys who are good at fixing stuff and argue everything.

As mentioned above, the only sign of this being Trek so far is the Tellarite, the nacelle configuration, and Holo Janeway. Otherwise it's just generic space adventure so far.

I look forward to some kids being indoctrinated into Star Trek lore, via what looks to be the show's mechanism, of 'we have a ship, what do we do now?', and someone saying the right phrase to trigger 'man page Janeway' to appear and explain what a Starfleet ship would do. The space orphans then ask what a Starfleet is, she explains to them and thus to the kids at home, etc.
posted by bartleby at 9:41 PM on October 28, 2021


I thought that was charming, with lots of pretty animation.

Also Appa! (Dee Bradley Baker voiced Appa, and the Clone Troopers, and voices Murf.)
posted by suelac at 10:27 PM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]


Anybody else notice how all CG kids' shows have the same weird-ass framerate? It creates, in me at least, an otherworldly and kind of uneasy feeling.

Apart from that, I agree that this is all pretty generic and Star Wars-y so far. I am hopeful, though, that the fact that they cast John Noble as the Diviner means they don't want to waste him, which in turn makes me hopeful that there's something more special about the Protostar than just, e.g., its dilithium. (Can't hang anOTHer season of Stream-Trek on dilithium.) Which in turn may mean that Starfleet-ism, Federation-ism, Roddenberry-ism (albeit G-rated, thankfully), IDIC-ism, or whatever you want to call it, will emerge.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:01 AM on October 29, 2021


This episode to me felt like generic science fiction; watching it made me reflect on what I was missing that I usually enjoy in Trek. I am assuming that most of these characters are adolescents, based on the voice acting, and the ragtag group has been thrown into a hair-raising situation with no particular training, and will need to spend some more time this season on escaping an enemy. I enjoy Trek because I enjoy watching competent, trained adults who can often concentrate on stuff other than immediate survival/self-defense/escape (such as art, first contact, aiding others, exploration, science, etc.) and who fundamentally work well together, and solve problems through creative thinking and radically inclusive hospitality, and share ideals, and who frequently struggle and then triumph in finding solidarity or compromise with the Other. So I hope more of the themes and dynamics that I enjoy show up as the season goes on.
posted by brainwane at 4:46 AM on October 29, 2021 [4 favorites]


how did all these people end up on the other side of the galaxy?

A fan channel I follow on YouTube, Trek Culture, has speculated that the more familiar races we're seeing (Tellarite, Medusan, Caitian, ...) may be the result of Caretaker abductions. Voyager was the last ship the Caretaker had pulled from the Alpha Quadrant, but it had previously been in operation for quite some time, looking for species to experiment on. Assuming members of species who failed their experimentation but survived were then released, this would be a tidy explanation for their presence in the Delta Quadrant in small numbers.

Also, there had better be more of Caitian kitten in future episodes. She's a wonderful contrast to T'Ana from Lower Decks, and I so want her to be part of the Protostar crew. What interactions she had with Gwyn hinted at so much potential for a big sister/little sister type relationship. I suppose you could get that with Rok-Tahk too, but it would feel like a much different dynamic.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:29 AM on October 29, 2021


I get the comments/reactions WRT the show not seeming very Trekkish at the outset; when I saw Drednok, I immediately mentally nicknamed him SithBot 5000. In one of the Star Wars books, Rey finds (and fixes up) a derelict ship in an attempt to escape from Jakku. Also, some of the design cues reminded me of Mass Effect: the Watchers are very much like one of the types of Reapers (only much, much smaller, of course), and Gwyn is like a modified version of the asari.

But I'm not seeing this as necessarily a bad thing; I think that there's a ton of potential in the idea of a group of people coming into contact with Federation technology without necessarily feeling beholden to the Federation paradigm. Presumably, Holo-Janeway (I want to abbreviate that as HJ, but I feel like someone already has laid claim to that, I dunno) will preach the Federation/Starfleet gospel in addition to telling them how to reverse the polarity on the plasma injectors or whatever, but they're all coming at it from different perspectives and personal desires/needs, so who knows how that will eventually shake out. I hope that they don't simply go with "The Federation wouldn't enslave us to mine stuff, so let's go to the Alpha Quadrant" route, since that just becomes Voyager II with a more varied crew. I mean, that would be a logical argument for at least some of them, but they should at least look at some other options. (I'm not going to rehash VOY at length--we did a whole rewatch that did that--but I'll just mention that it would have made for a much more interesting ending, and overall series arc, if they'd at least floated the idea of not going back to the Federation, or the AQ in general.)

They've planted some interesting plot hooks and we'll see what gets made of those. I'm particularly interested in what Solum/The Diviner wanted with the ship, so much that he seems to have created the mining slave camp just to excavate it. Maybe the reason that the Protostar is in the D-Quad is that Starfleet was trying to get rid of it or hide it there? What does the Omega-13 do?

Also, WRT the Caitian: they'd better leave my kitten alone.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:39 AM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Shows that are aimed at kids are very hit-and-miss for me, because different writing teams interpret "aimed at kids" very differently, and the results range from "normal writing that avoids certain themes and focuses on young protagonists" to "I want to gnaw my arm off to escape this dialogue".

I am happy to report that I liked this! I can tell that some of the humour is targeted at younger viewers, but it's not at an annoying level. The animation is pretty, I like the characters, and I want to see what happens next.

I'm not bothered by the genre shift -- I think there's enough room in the Trek universe for lots of different kinds of stories.

(They left the Caitian behind! Noooo! I'm guessing that this is a narrative device to give us a sympathetic viewpoint character in the Main Villain's camp.)
posted by confluency at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


You reminded me of something else I liked, confluency, which is the writing of Dal's dialogue. He says things that sound like—and has a voice not unlike—Tom Haverford at times, which is automatically endearing.

And yes, as kid-oriented writing goes, this was mostly cringeless, which was pretty much my minimum tolerance level. After the pilot, it shouldn't get MORE cringey.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Has anyone established why the show has that name, given that the ship is the Protostar? Is it just the idea that one or more of these young characters are prodigies of a sort?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:18 PM on October 29, 2021


Has anyone established why the show has that name, given that the ship is the Protostar? Is it just the idea that one or more of these young characters are prodigies of a sort?

Word of God is that they chose the name to represent the formative crew. They're young and they're going to learn and grow up and into Starfleet's finest and the Federation's ideal.

The whole "they've got the entire future ahead of them to bloom into something wonderful" deal.
posted by danhon at 3:53 PM on October 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


I enjoy Trek because I enjoy watching competent, trained adults who can often concentrate on stuff other than immediate survival/self-defense/escape (such as art, first contact, aiding others, exploration, science, etc.) and who fundamentally work well together, and solve problems through creative thinking and radically inclusive hospitality, and share ideals, and who frequently struggle and then triumph in finding solidarity or compromise with the Other. So I hope more of the themes and dynamics that I enjoy show up as the season goes on.

More Word of God is that this is the premise of the series. It's been pitched as an introduction to exactly what you describe as what makes Trek, Trek, but from a standing start for people (i.e. kids) who know nothing about any of the previous shows.

Cynical take: yes, they specifically designed this series as a way to hook kids into a franchise but, you know, hopefully realizing that the franchise is embodied in Roddenberry's good intended ideals.

The Ready Room behind the scenes that came out yesterday had the showrunners acknowledge that the lead kid, Dal, *is* unsuited to be a captain right now, he's impulsive etc. They aren't a good team yet. But the point of the show (and why the non-corporeal kid kept saying it) is to bring about that hope, optimism and teamwork.

I haven't watched the showrunners' other stuff (Trollhunters) but apparently it's a Good Kids Show that covers those themes of cooperation, etc, which is why Kurtzman went after Kevin and Dan Hageman.
posted by danhon at 3:58 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm still thinking about how Hologram Janeway introduced herself as "Hologram Janeway" and not like, the Emergency Instruction Hologram or something. She's not Kathryn Janeway any more than Voyager's EMH was Hologram Zimmerman. And it's not like I'd expect the kids this is aimed at to know who Janeway is any more than the characters in the show.

Also the fact there's a hologram specifically designed to help someone familiarize themselves with the ship (and it's based on someone who carved a path across the Delta quadrant) points towards "this ship was intentionally sent unmanned to the Delta quadrant to be found" which would completely flout the Prime Directive. Maybe it's a training ship that somehow ended up way off course (and empty). As I recall, Starfleet tends to use old decommissioned ships for training, and not an apparently experimental ship.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:48 PM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm just happy to see a Medusan finally make an appearance again in the Star Trek Universe. I'm don't think we've seen one since TOS.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:21 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm still thinking about how Hologram Janeway introduced herself as "Hologram Janeway" and not like, the Emergency Instruction Hologram or something. She's not Kathryn Janeway any more than Voyager's EMH was Hologram Zimmerman. And it's not like I'd expect the kids this is aimed at to know who Janeway is any more than the characters in the show.

The only theory I’ve got here is that Hologram Janeway is the name the holoprogram has chosen for herself: she’s based on Janeway, she’s a hologram; she refers to herself as Hologram Janeway. I could just about guess that Janeway Actual would want a hologram of her to have a name :) That way, she could plausibly be the Emergency Command Hologram Hologram Janeway :)
posted by danhon at 9:00 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Starfleet tends to use old decommissioned ships for training

Not necessarily decommissioned (AFAIK, the original 1701 was still commissioned in TWOK), not even that old (the Valiant was the first regular-registry Defiant-class ship). But the mystery about why the keys were still in the ignition of the Protostar, so to speak, still remains.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:08 PM on October 29, 2021


danhon, thank you for the reassurance!
posted by brainwane at 6:16 AM on October 30, 2021


I'm don't think we've seen one since TOS

We have not.

I definitely saw echoes of the original SFX from "Is There In Truth No Beauty" reflected in the faceplate for Zero's "body".

I appreciated this episode and I'm looking forward to the series. I get the comparisons to the CGI Star Wars stuff but, honestly, the audience is the same here as it is for those shows, so hitting those same story beats and visuals makes some sense to me.
posted by hanov3r at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


This was neat, but sorely lacking in the Trek part of Star Trek, aside from general acceptance and open mindedness and the acknowledgement of cultural blindspots. It looked ok, had an interesting "party origin story" but really wasn't very Star Trek and could easily have been any one of the Star Wars animated series.

'Discovery' kind of had the same problem with a super-powered junior officer who more-than-adequately assumed and discharged command-level responsibilities in a maverick-ey way. Felt heavy on the wish fulfillment moreso than a team working together complementing each other (and having secondary fallbacks who struggle, but succeed or not, learn something).

If I squint, I could see Roddenberry approving of this; ragtag group fighting for higher ideals and will develop into a hierarchical and silo-ized team (similar to the ideals of the US military of the time) with The Prime Directive/ Janeway as the source of moral guidance.
posted by porpoise at 9:06 PM on October 30, 2021


I thought the whole thing with the universal translator being the thing that helped bring them all together was a marvellous way to show what Trek is all about. Likewise with Gywn's whole thing being an expert with languages, I can see why her father wants to keep her ignorant about the Federation.

I'm delighted with Zero, an encounter suited Medusan, what a great concept. And they get some of the best lines as well "Found the right button, we should probably make a note of it".

It struck me as a well made kids show made by a bunch of people who love Star Trek. So I'm interested to see where it goes, especially now they've met Hologram Janeway.

Also yes, if anything bad happens to the Caitian, we riot.
posted by invisible_al at 12:44 PM on November 1, 2021 [5 favorites]


2371-2378: Janeway is on Voyager in the Delta Quadrant

2366: Gwyn is born (Wikipedia gives her age as 17 in 2383) and has no memories of being outside the Tars Lamora prison colony, having apparently never even seen stars.

Either Janeway recorded the Emergency Training Hologram Hologram Janeway before 2371, or after 2378, for placement aboard the USS Protostar. Before 2371 doesn't seem very likely, as use of holograms as replacement for starfleet personnel was new and controversial in 2371. If after 2378, then how was the ship apparently embedded in Tars Lamora since at least 2366? Or did it fly in and park there while Solum was already there, for some reason? (and why would it take any length of time to find the silly thing anyway?)
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 7:23 PM on November 1, 2021 [1 favorite]


Or: Gwyn's memories are incorrect. Seeing as how her dad has access to all manner of advanced tech*, it's absolutely conceivable (even within Trek constraints) that he edited them.

* = Well, everything except, say, dilithium** detectors.
** = I can't guess at why he wants the Protostar so badly, but I do hope this doesn't become another season of Stream Trek that's all about dilithium.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:56 AM on November 2, 2021


It's weird that I keep seeing Tars Lamora referred to as a planet when it seems like it's not even large enough for gravity to force it into hydrostatic equilibrium (i.e. make it round). Judging by the size of the habitable dome it seems like it's at most about 100km across, which would indeed put it in the realm of "Small Solar System Object" that doesn't have enough mass to collapse into a sphere. Of course, it could be the shape it is because of a geologically recent event, or it could be made of something more resistant to collapse than typical asteroids.

Anyway, it also seems weird to me that Solum would have built this whole facility as a front for searching for the Protostar. Is Gwyn the only one who doesn't know about the search, and the secrecy is all about keeping her from knowing about the Federation? And is knowing about the Federation really so dangerous? If anything, one of the themes of Deep Space Nine was the more you know about the Federation the LESS you like it. Explain to Gwyn that they're an advanced culture that happily lets lesser civilizations suffer and die because they're afraid of sharing their gifts, and when they do deign to allow a new culture in they expect that culture to adhere to their values. Also they have a powerful military fleet that they insist is only for peaceful humanitarian (the very name is racist) and scientific missions. Let Gywn come to her own conclusions.

In fact, I'm willing to bet the reason Solum has a hate boner for the Federation is specifically because of something Voyager did while it was in the D-Quad. Janeway either did something that destroyed their civilization or refused to do something that would have saved their civilization. Maybe they were wiped out by the Borg while Janeway had a shaky alliance with them.

Also what are the chances the Protostar doesn't have a Holodeck on board? I'm guessing zero.

Re: how the timelines work, my guess is the Protostar is from a point in the future and ended up in Tars Lamora because of the Chimerite crystals they're mining. Something went wrong and it ended up in the past, and the real reason Solum wants it is not just because it's Federation tech and knowledge, but it's future Federation tech and knowledge.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:15 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]


As for needing to mine the Protostar out, Starfleet does have precedent for accidentally parking a ship in a rock.
posted by danhon at 10:39 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]


'Discovery' kind of had the same problem with a super-powered junior officer who more-than-adequately assumed and discharged command-level responsibilities in a maverick-ey way. Felt heavy on the wish fulfillment moreso than a team working together complementing each other (and having secondary fallbacks who struggle, but succeed or not, learn something).

DISCO SPOILERS:

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That's definitely how it starts out, but over the course of the seasons I would say that Burnham runs smack into the problematic implications of all of that. It's really the fundamental arc of her personal evolution: she becomes more and more alienated from the Starfleet way until she's finally wrenched away from it altogether (into the future, and incidentally a future which made me say oh look, Star Trek people in a Star Wars universe, much like people are saying here) and has to become fully independent. She doesn't rejoin at first when she has the opportunity -- more growing to do first. But then when she finally does, I'd say she's become much more of a team player, better adapted to the system and capable of succeeding within it. Your parsec-age may vary!
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 12:57 PM on November 4, 2021 [2 favorites]


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