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Western Animation / Prisoner Zero

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"A decade ago the Imperium created the Bioweve, a digital nightmare they wired into our brains. They locked me away, stole my memories, left me with nothing. Then one day, I was rescued and taken aboard the Rogue. Now my friends and I are going to shut down the Bioweve and free humanity. Because I am Prisoner Zero."

Prisoner Zero is an Australian cartoon show that debuted in 2016. It was initially pitched as a replacement for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It initially ran for 26 episodes with plans for a second series implied, but never confirmed.

Prisoner Zero follows the adventures of a ragtag crew of teenagers, their adopted dads, and the titular Prisoner Zero, as they battle the Imperium that controls the galaxy.


This show provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Del Rev spends the entire series dreading the idea that Tag and Gem are being turned into Child Soldiers by Zero. That fear ultimately leads to Del's Opt Out.
    Del: Kids, Zero. But for how much longer?
  • Affectionate Nickname: Del is often called "Turtle-Head" by Gem.
  • A God Am I: Vykar's ultimate goal. He gets a taste of godhood in episode 5 and spends the entire rest of the series trying to regain it. The final episodes have him coming dangerously close to succeeding.
  • Always Wanted to Say That: Zero after declaring "Follow that ship!" at the end of episode 7.
  • And I Must Scream: The final fate of Parker, trapped in crystal by the Crios Dragons, able to see and hear but unable to move or speak.
  • Any Last Words?: When the Vagabonds capture Vykar in episode 7 and put him on trial, they ask if he has any final words. His response? "You all made this far too easy!"
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  • Artifact of Attraction: The Phyrigian Pyramid, which turns anyone who touches it into a Nigh-Invulnerable Living Statue made of gold who can transform others through touch.
  • Artificial Gravity: On every ship, and it never fails, no matter how damaged the ship's systems are.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tag and Gem have this in spades.
  • Blind Seer: The Oracle in episode 23.
  • Bury Your Gays: Bowi in the second episode. The final episode implies but does not confirm that Del is also no more.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel
  • The Chosen One: Zero is apparently the "Half-Man" of Vagabond prophecy.
  • Comm Links: Holographic ones built in to the characters' armor. And they end up malfunctioning Once per Episode. Del lampshades this in episode 6:
    Del: Why is it that wherever you go, comms are always the first thing to fail?
    Zero: Can't hear you Del, sorry. Funny how comms are always the first thing to—[static]
  • Contralto of Danger: Kai has a rather deep, sultry voice which befits her status as the Imperium's resident Dark Action Girl.
  • Cool Starship: The Rogue was repurposed by the Imperium, but was initially built by ancient aliens and has many basements full of creepy old stuff.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Crios arc introduces the planet of powerful crystal space dragons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The entire cast, hero and villain alike, never misses an opportunity to lay down the snark.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Del after being upgraded.
    Vykar: I hate these colors on you, Del. I think you would suit black better, don't you agree?
    Del: Yes, General.
  • Evil Laugh: Vykar gets to use this several times.
  • Family of Choice: Sometimes a family is two gay dads, a pair of adopted genius teens, a robot babysitter, the alien wizard that lives in the basement, and the weird adopted uncle you broke out of space jail.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Faux Affably Evil: Vykar in a nutshell, when he's not being dramatic.
  • Galactic Conquerer: General Vykar again.
  • Gay Groom in a White Tux: Del and Bowi's wedding photo as seen in flashbacks.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Dark Times.
  • Hand Blast: Most of the characters fight by shooting lasers out of their hands, referred to as "BAM" technology.
  • Has Two Mommies: Or four dads. Gem has her birth parents, her two adopted dads, and Prisoner Zero who at least thinks of himself as a dad.
  • Ho Yay: Between Zero and Del, and a bit with Zero and Librarian.
  • I Am the Noun: Possessed!Gem in episode 23.
  • I Have No Son!: Cav Anaton after being brainwashed.
  • Identity Amnesia: A plot point of the series is Zero's case of this trope.
  • Insistent Terminology: Guardian is an android, not a robot.
  • The Empire: Or in this case, The Imperium.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Barqel puts Gem in one in episode 9, to trick her into giving up the Rogue's key codes.
  • Losing Horns: In the last part of the Cold Open of episode 14, when Del essentially forces everyone to take a day off and leaves the bridge while the rest of the gang exchange dismayed glances.
  • Mineral Macguffin: The Quo Crystal, which has the power to Time Travel.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Both Barqel and Kai are driven to this by Vykar.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: In episode 7, Zero lifts a Vagabond axe which can apparently only be used by the prophesized legendary Half-Man, solidifying the Vagabonds' belief that he is the one.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Through the door to the Forbidden Section of the Library.
  • Out of the Inferno: Vykar in episode 4.
  • Papa Wolf: Del, when it comes to Gem.
  • Parental Substitute: Del and Bowi raise Gem after her parents die. Tag also becomes something of a son figure in the crew while searching for his parents.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Guardian unsuccessfully tries this in episode 6 when the bridge starts to malfunction (again).
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Enigpath.
  • Reality Warper: The Ragnabook's main power and its stated mission is to alter time by absorbing and altering history books.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Imperium has this color scheme.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Vykar has red eyes. Also, when Del is upgraded and reintegrated into the Bioweve, his eyes turn red.
  • Saying Too Much: Barqel reveals the existence of the Bioweve Master Transmitter to Zero in episode 2, and when Kai scolds him for it, he sheepishly says he thought Zero already knew about it.
  • Sour Supporter: Del is this, especially towards Zero. Eventually he gets fed up with Zero's attitude and decides to Opt Out, which tragically leads to him becoming Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Space Battle
  • Space Fighter: The Skorpion.
  • Space Pirates: In the episode "Corsairs."
  • Space Whale: Or rather, tardigrade.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: In the opening sequence of every episode.
  • The Starscream: Vykar makes no secret of his desire to betray the Faculty. In fact, the Faculty are the only ones who don't know. Vykar personally kills them all and takes over the Imperium in the final episode, in a rare successful example of this trope.
  • Team Dad: Del Rev is often shown to be the only responsible crew member.
  • Teen Genius: Tag Anaton is the most prominent example of this, though Gem also has her moments of this.
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • The Evils of Free Will: Vykar gives a speech about this in the pilot episode.
    Vykar: Choice is so overrated, Zero! Let people decide, let them have some concept of free will and anarchy follows! Show them, demonstrate to them that the Imperium knows what's best and happiness will prevail.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Offscreen, Vykar pulled this on the previous Commander of the Spire, whom he later replaced with Jocam, threatening him with the same fate.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Ragnabook, and the Grymarcanorium.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Del's Nice Hat, which used to belong to Bowi. Del abandons it after being brainwashed, so it becomes this for Gem instead.
  • Unnecessarily Large Vessel: Somewhat justified as the ship is stolen, but the Rogue seems to run just fine with a crew of four.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Callum Corcoran, the warden of Tartarus.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Cav Anaton when he hasn't been brainwashed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Del gives Zero a scathing one in episode 21 after declaring his decision to Opt Out and take Gem and Tag with him.
    Del: You just don't get it. For 9 months I have gone on every mission you've asked. Walked into every trap. And each time those kids have only just escaped with their lives.
    Zero: I think you might be overreacting.
    Del: We are not your army! I am not your captain, and Tag and Gem are not your soldiers!
    Zero: Just listen—
    Del: No, YOU LISTEN!! This cannot go on!
    Zero: We. Are. At WAR! Don't you see that?!
    Del: NO! YOU ARE AT WAR! ZERO'S WAR!! JUST YOU!!! But you have risked Gem for the last time, you are NOT gonna do it again!
    [Fight ensues]
    Del: Everything that's happened is because of you! Everything that WILL happen is because of you!
    Zero: Please, I don't want to fight!
    Del: Gem thinks she is a soldier, because of YOU!! AND I DON'T HAVE BOWI BECAUSE OF YOU!!!
  • Wizards from Outer Space: The Librarian.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kai has purple hair and eyes. Recurring villain Skot has actual blue hair as well.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Barqel is on the receiving end of this in the final episode. After he gives the Faculty the means to jump Vykar to them, they proceed to set the Spire to self destruct, jettison every escape pod, and abandon Barqel to die in the ensuing explosion.


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