I was going to review an Avengers movie this week but my February has been filled with gas and tiredness. Although I’m supposedly better these last two days have been filled with the latter and today the former popped back to pick up its jacket and stayed for coffee. Too bad I prefer tea. At any rate that’s why the posts have been late these past two days. Frankly I’m only mentioning it here because the intro will be too short otherwise. Now on to what you’re here for.
ViacomCBS has just released new information about Star Trek: Prodigy, their animated series they’ve been producing for Nickelodeon. Except now they’ve decided to take a page from HBO Max and show it first on Paramount+, the Disney+ style rebrand of CBS All Access. (Can nobody do better than “Plus” for their streaming names now?) The information includes a bit more about the plot of the series and a look at our main cast of characters. The official Star Trek website has also put out a press release about the new series and…well, you saw the title of this article. You know I’m not all that impressed.
There they are. No names yet but there are two things you can tell right away. One: the character designs and art style (if that’s what they go with) do look pretty good. There are some interesting designs and it all looks very pretty. Then you keep looking as a Star Trek fan and ask “where are the regular races?” This series is about a small group of kids who end up finding an abandoned Starfleet vessel and decide to keep it. Nobody’s wearing a combadge of any type that I can see, but none of the races are any we’ve seen before in the series. No humans whatsoever isn’t necessarily a deal breaker though it would make a nice connection for the audience. I guess they couldn’t decide which group to give representation to. However, no Vulcans, no Klingons, no Ferengi, no Bajorans…even Lower Decks gave us an Orion and they’re not really known for joining the Federation. I’ve seen some these races in Miles From Tomorrowland while others on Twitter or one YouTube video where I found out about this have mentioned Monsters Inc or Yaphat from The Orville. So already nothing about this show says Star Trek. As for the press release:
ViacomCBS today announced that the Star Trek Universe will head to Paramount +. The news was revealed during ViacomCBS’ Investor Day event for its highly anticipated new streaming service. Included within the line-up is the upcoming all-new animated kids’ series Star Trek: Prodigy which will now premiere on Paramount+ in the U.S. in 2021. Developed and produced by Nickelodeon and CBS Studios, Prodigy is the first Star Trek series for the kids and family audience and will bow later this year on Nickelodeon.
The FIRST KIDS SHOW from Star Trek?
Hello, no you aren’t. And this one actually aired on Nickelodeon at one point in reruns, so it’s not even the first Star Trek kids cartoon on Nickelodeon (once Paramount+ is satisfied it brought people over). And yes, this show also featured alien species not seen in the series before, but they were added to the regular cast and some of the classic threats also dropped by. They even got Roger Carmel to play Harry Mudd in one episode plus the rest of the original cast returning except for Chekov. That felt like a Star Trek series.
A first-look image of the Star Trek: Prodigy bridge crew was also released today. In Prodigy, six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise, but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents. Kate Mulgrew was previously announced as reprising the iconic role of Captain Kathryn Janeway to lead this brand new Prodigy bridge crew.
While I can’t wait to see what SF Debris does with that, wasn’t Janeway an admiral last time we saw her? No clue HOW she became an admiral but she did. Is it like Kirk and she ended up demoted for some reason?
“In three years, we’ve expanded the Star Trek Universe to new heights, creating five original series – each with its own unique storytelling and distinct cinematic feel,” said Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer Star Trek Universe.
It’s been too unique and that’s been part of the problem. We have people who don’t care for classic Trek working on a brand name they can exploit. Response from investors to Discovery and Picard has not been happy ones. Not enough people want the toys so they haven’t sold. CBS All Access doesn’t have a presence outside of the US so they’ve had to partner with other services and word is Discovery has done so badly for Netflix that they turned down Picard. which Amazon Prime regrets grabbing. I don’t know if Paramount+ will exist outside of US bandwidth but if it doesn’t I’m not sure who is going to stream this outside of Nickelodeon’s own international channels…which aren’t a subscription.
Which is another issue. This show was originally created for Nickelodeon, but now any kids who wanted to see it will either have to wait longer or get their parents to fork down the $4.99 for the ad-sponsored version or more for the ad-free version when there are so many streaming services out there demanding subscription it may cost LESS to use a cable or satellite company to see some of these shows. Previous Star Trek shows are not drawing people into CBS All Access, one of the reasons for the rebrand being the failure of the service. I don’t see this show helping.
“When Star Trek: Discovery first premiered, we knew we had the beginning of something special,” said Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, Paramount+. “Over three years later, we are thrilled that Paramount+ will serve as the streaming home of the Star Trek Universe, with an unparalleled existing and expanding library of Trek content. The upcoming addition of Star Trek: Prodigy to Paramount+ means subscribers now have a Trek series for every member of the family – including kids.
I am not seeing anything about this show that makes it a Star Trek series, which is becoming the norm. You can drop in Christopher Pike, Jean-Luc Picard, or Katherine Janeway and still not look, act, or sound like a Star Trek show. Could it surprise me? Sure. I wish one of them would for a change. Since Secret Hideout’s history of getting it right as been as bad as parent company Bad Robot with the movies you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not expecting it to. We’ll see what happens when it hits Nickelodeon, or what the Paramount+ subscribers (if there are any) have to say when they see it first.