Star Trek: Prodigy: Starstruck
November 4, 2021 7:50 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Title is literal.

Memory Alpha is still learning the ropes:

- In this episode, the kids learn about Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism™.

- The bit with the shuttle replicator is possibly/probably a callback to Voyager seeming to have an infinite supply of them.

- Still wondering about the whole "keys in the ignition" thing; Gwyn is the first one to claim command, but Dal just kind of butts in and gets to make the orders.

- Also still a puzzle is why the Diviner is so keen on getting the Protostar, since his own ship is so big and badass.

- Besides referring to one of the events of the episode, "Starstruck" is also the name of a space opera graphic novel series that's difficult to describe. Probably no connection.

"It's just another name for someone else in charge."

- Dal, on the Federation, which he actually knows nothing about
posted by Halloween Jack (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
why the Diviner is so keen on getting the Protostar

Obviously to get his hands on whatever that was in between the two warp cores, which is likely the thing that allowed it to travel from the Alpha Quadrant (and also get stuck inside a rock).

The thought crossed my mind that Hologram Janeway is actually the real Janeway, somehow communicating remotely from Earth, but that idea doesn't hold up to much scrutiny.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:26 AM on November 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m getting feelings the bunks and Training Janeway are signs the Protostar was sent as the/part of an effort to rescue the kids/Unwanted.
posted by danhon at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2021

Hopefully they'll get better at parking enough to notice when they are deep in the gravity well of a collapsing star.
posted by Marticus at 2:34 PM on November 4, 2021

Well, parking was the hardest part of driver ed when I was a teenager, so that tracks.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:20 PM on November 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

I wasn't entirely sure about the series, pausing halfway through the first episode. Adventures of runaway teenagers isn't usually my thing, and the plot holes have been larger than in most Star Trek series, presumably because it's a kid's show. But surprisingly, it's grown on me:
  • First of all, it's visually gorgeous, and very nicely animated. The score is wonderfully stirring, as is the opening credit sequence. I particularly like the design of the characters, including the Protostar itself, and the sense of scale played with during each episode: the kids are small inside their new home, as is the ship itself. You very much get the impression of teenagers attempting to wear ill-fitting adult hand-me-downs as they explore.
  • The "lessons" the crew learn have been kind of broad and in one's face (again, it's a kid's show) but it doesn't entirely shy away from the fact the crew is made up of escaped child slaves, and that Gwyn is a survivor of deep emotional trauma. I saw Dal's suspicion and immediate rejection of Janeway's sales pitch of the Federation as entirely justified, given his experiences.
  • Hologram Kate Mulgrew casually sipping virtual coffee as she stares down the gaping maw of a collapsing star is the best.
  • I'd agree that the first episode doesn't feel very Trek, but the second was all about a diverse group acting towards a unified goal, and I assume that the crew will be indoctrinated into Federation culture under Holo Janeway's tutulage and the demands of working together, even if they never head for the Alpha Quadrant (and thus introduce the Trek universe to a new generation).
  • Love the non-binary introduction of the Medusan, and Gwyn's organic arm-ring shield/sword.
All told, I think it's a promising start to a series that I hope is around for some time. My own personal hope is that the crew eventually goes full Spartacus and stops running to turn and face the Diviner, rescuing those left on the asteroid. I mean, how could you leave a big-eyed Caitan behind?
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:23 PM on November 4, 2021 [4 favorites]

I mean, how could you leave a big-eyed Caitan behind?

My household last night when she showed up in her space suit being forced to mine:
"She needs to lead a revolt!"
"She can't, she's too little!"

But enough about the kitten, because if I keep talking about her this'll just devolve into me ranting about the showrunner's priorities in not sending them back right away to rescue her. Or have the Diviner promote her to be Adopted Progeny to replace Gwyn now that she's gone.


Let's talk the Protostar instead. It may still be too early for speculation, but after seeing more of the ship and Holo Janeway, I'm beginning to wonder if there's a time travel element involved here. According to the early press about the show, it's supposed to be set in 2383, placing it 5 years after Voyager returned to Earth, 3 years after the start of Lower Decks, and a little over a decade and a half prior to the events of the first season of Picard.

It would have taken time to develop a Holographic Training Advisor, and even if the general instructional AI were the bulk of that, and picking a personality to model it on was the very last thing added, if you start the clock ticking the moment Voyager got back in 2378, you figure it'd have to be at least a couple of months for Starfleet to debrief her on all the Delta Quadrant activity and evaluate her captaincy during the years she was away just to even begin processing everything that happened to the Voyager crew. Then her Captain's Logs and Voyager's other records would have to be forwarded to Holo R&D so they could incorporate Janeway's personality and experience into their new Training Advisor. So it's probably 2379 at the earliest that Holo Janeway would be ready to be loaded into the Protostar's computer core.

But with being back just one year, would that have been enough time for Starfleet to award her enough commendations for her newly created hologram to be able to describe herself as being "based on one of the most decorated captains in Starfleet history"? Also, that feels like a weird way to describe a someone who's still alive in 2379, recently promoted to Admiral (as seen in Nemesis, which is also 2379), and probably hugely famous across the whole Federation?

But also, this means that even if the Protostar vanished from the shipyards the day after Holo Janeway was loaded, and was instantly transported to where Dal and Rok-Tahk found it, the longest it could have been there was 4 years at the most. Except from the way the plot seems to have been setting it up, it feels like the Diviner's been looking for it for a lot longer than that.

My theory is that the tech between the two warp cores is some kind of time drive and the Protostar is from the future, and somehow ended up inside that planetoid years or decades ago.

[Mild Star Trek: Discovery Season 2-3 spoilers follow]
Also worth noting is that when Holo Janeway was giving her little history of the Federation & Starfleet lesson, one of the Starfleet ships shown looked like a Crossfield class, of which the U.S.S. Discovery was one of the handful of ships of that type.

Now supposedly, after Disco's Season 2, information about Discovery, its missions, and its crew was supposed to be classified, so its appearance in the diagram collection is very curious. Either it's a different Crossfield, which is interesting as the other ships shown seem to be of classes that should be more historically famous during the 2380s, or it actually is Discovery, which raises questions. Did Discovery not get shoved as far down the memory hole as it was implied to have been?

Or … is the Protostar from some time after Discovery's return in the 32nd Century? The Protostar does seem to be lacking in some of the more advanced tech from that era, plus they're more restrictive about time travel at that point in history, so maybe not.

Perhaps, instead, something to do with Janeway's return to Earth and the future tech she brought with her prompted Starfleet to re-evaluate its redaction of the Discovery from the historical record?
posted by radwolf76 at 4:39 AM on November 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I thought it was all the info about why Discovery had to jump to the future that was covered up, I think it and it's sister ships existing would still be known about. Also it's a fun shout out :). I also liked the TOS animated series style pictures of Vulcans, Andorians and the like.

I love the title sequence, it's just so pretty and the score is the good stuff. Also the visual design of all the consoles and holograms is *chefs kiss*

My wild theory of the day is that Hologram Janeway knows a lot more than she's saying and is in no way fooled by the kids. It would appear that I am now totally invested in finding out the backstory.

Oh yes, glad the Caitian hasn't been forgotten about, but there had better be some kind of rescue at some point I'm just saying.
posted by invisible_al at 5:15 AM on November 5, 2021

Discovery wasn't wiped from the historical record, just the Spore Drive and the reason for Disco's disappearance. It was classified as "lost with all hands" not "travelled forward in time to the 32nd century."

There's a lot of mystery around the Protostar, not gonna lie. I really hope we get some more explanation and backstory about the ship, how the heck it got out there, and why. Supposedly, the Federation knows it's out there and, well, minor potential spoilers below:

Minor Future Plot Spoilers
Apparently Captain Chakotay is supposed to show up, as he's looking for the Protostar. And yes, Robert Beltran is back.

I'm genuinely curious where this is going to go, and I'm enjoying the look and the characters. Honestly, the only part I don't like is the villain. He's just a boring, generic villain dude at the moment, and hopefully that gets a bit more nuance. And yes, save the adorable little Caitian, please!
posted by SansPoint at 6:42 AM on November 5, 2021

And yeah, I loooooove the aesthetic, and the animation has been gorgeous. I was a little worried because it has the same sort of blocky squared off look at the Star Wars CGI shows which are ... I dunno, non-traditionally animated, let's say? But they're really putting some time into their animations here, and it shows. It's still walking the line between "too kiddie with kiddie story morals" and "yas starfleeeeeeeeet", but it's only a half hour show, so it's not a huge investment.

(Like, of the three recent-ish crossover animated series this year - What If, Bad Batch and Prodigy, I like Prodigy's animation best? Bad Batch is in sort of an uncanny valley of realistic animation with stylized character designs - it works but it doesn't capture my imagination, and the less said about What If's animations, the better. bleh.)
posted by Kyol at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2021

Or … is the Protostar from some time after Discovery's return in the 32nd Century?

I don't think that's the case. There's a "Temporal Cold War" that happens between the 24th and 32nd centuries, which makes it difficult for folks from the 32nd to return to the 24th. Also, folks from the 32nd century and beyond probably aren't talking as rosily about the glories of the Federation, even the folks in what's left of it. Presumably the ship shown by Janeway was not the Discovery, but another ship of its class (maybe even the ship namer, the USS Crossfield)

Re: future plot spoilers, if someone else shows up looking for the Protostar they could also be from the same future, or they could be from the present responding to a signal the Protostar sent out when it arrived at or before the present (presumably the same signal that led the Diviner to start looking for it).

I also vote in favor of the art style of the series. It's not super Star Trek, but Janeway espousing the ideals of the Federation show it has its heart in the right place. Also it's intentionally separated from familiar Star Trek times and locations so I don't have the same reaction to it as I did with Disco, which set itself somewhere that should have looked familiar but absolutely was not. Anyway, the studio making this has a lot of experience making lavish CGI cartoons and it shows.

Hologram Kate Mulgrew casually sipping virtual coffee as she stares down the gaping maw of a collapsing star is the best.

My headcanon is she's the direct descendant of the holographic Janeway that GLOATED OVER THE DYING PERSONIFICATION OF FEAR in "The Thaw"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

I certainly hope Hologram Janeway isn't that dumb.

Did anyone feel like her face and the sound of her voice synch'd really poorly? I didn't notice it much with the other characters.

It occurred to me that this episode is basically one of the things that we see happen to the Cerritos in its opening sequence (though, that one's with a black hole I guess). Probably over-thinking it.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 11:54 AM on November 5, 2021

Presumably the ship shown by Janeway was not the Discovery, but another ship of its class (maybe even the ship namer, the USS Crossfield)

I've read a comment elsewhere on the net that suggested that NCC numbers were shown, and this actually was 1031. Going to have to see if I can get a good freeze frame of the episode to confirm that for myself.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:54 AM on November 5, 2021

Well, there are registry numbers shown underneath the ships, sooo:

First round at 3m33s: NX-01 (Archer's Enterprise), NCC-74656 (Voyager), NCC-1701/7 (type 7 shuttlecraft?)

Second round at 3m45s: NCC-1707-D (Picard's Enterprise), NX-74205 (Defiant), NCC-1701 (Kirk's Enterprise), 1701-B (Galileo class?)

The Crossfield class ship never seems to resolve its registry number enough to be certain.

There's another Constitution class ship coming into view behind Rok as the hologram is fading.

So, the UFP symbol had Earth, Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite symbols. Is this a first among equals sort of thing? I don't know that I've ever seen it so explicit like that, usually it's just the garland and starfield.
posted by Kyol at 12:45 PM on November 5, 2021

Also, identifying the shuttlecraft through memory alpha and beta: boy howdy they just sorta knocked together whatever the hell the story required when it required it, huh? "Oh, these little 2 passenger coupe shuttlecraft are a little too small to do anything with? Here's a bus sized shuttlecraft instead, suitable for up to 30 passengers!"

posted by Kyol at 1:19 PM on November 5, 2021

The biggest growth from pilot to sophomore episode I noticed here was that the writing of the dialogue was getting quite good—to the point that I would watch this with my kids if I wasn't a Trek fan (and had kids)—and the aforementioned UFP/Trek indoctrination (why are we using that word with a positive connotation?! lol) helping to move things out of the more Star Wars-y feel.

And on that last point, I decided in retrospect that the pilot episode, and some characters, of a show with THIS story probably OUGHT to feel a little Star Wars-y, it being so much of a grittier, shittier universe than Trek's. But also, there's something about Tars Lamora that recalls the Voyager series (e.g. the "Workforce" two-parter and the wild final scene of "Author, Author").

Did anyone feel like her face and the sound of her voice synch'd really poorly? I didn't notice it much with the other characters.

I noticed it big time with Janeway near the start of this episode, and then with Dal a few minutes later, but not continuously. It may have happened a little in the pilot, but not as distractingly.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:18 AM on November 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

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