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"When the Federation first formed, it wasn't pretty. A collection of species, entirely unfamiliar to each other. Different languages, different cultures, but with one shared aspiration: to be better. I've seen my share of wayward crews, and I can tell you this — you've got potential."
Hologram Janeway

Star Trek: Prodigy is a Science Fiction animated series created by The Hageman Brothers (Trollhunters; Ninjago). The series premiered on October 28, 2021, first on Paramount+, then on Nickelodeon. It is the third animated Star Trek series, following Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–74) and Star Trek: Lower Decks (2020–present), and the first All-CGI Cartoon.

In 2383, a motley crew of young aliens trapped on a prison colony in the Delta Quadrant find an abandoned Starfleet ship, the U.S.S. Protostar. Taking control of the ship and making their escape, they must learn to work together as they make their way towards the Federation — aided by the ship's Emergency Training Hologram, a duplicate of Captain Kathryn Janeway. Meanwhile, the real Admiral Janeway seeks to find out what happened to the Protostar and its original crew.

The series was originally ordered by Nickelodeon for 40 episodes across two seasons. Shortly before its premiere it was announced that the series would first stream on Paramount+ before airing on cable: the first season was released in two halves, concluding in late 2022. In June 2023, with the second season still in production, the series was expunged from Paramount+ and Nickelodeon; four months later it was confirmed that Netflix had picked up distribution rights in several regions including the US, with the second season premiering on the streamer the following year.

Previews: Main Titles; Teaser; Official Trailer

This series contains examples of:

  • All-CGI Cartoon: The series is the first animated Trek series with this visual approach. The initial trailer demonstrates Alex Kurtzman's statement of wanting a more "cinematic" feel with luscious and vast environments, paired with stylized character designs.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: On display more than usual for Star Trek since makeup isn't required, with Dal’s deep purple complexion, Rok-Tahk’s bright pink rocky exterior, and Gwyn being a shade of pale grey-blue.
  • And Starring: Kate Mulgrew as the holographic Captain Janeway, and later the actual Vice Admiral Janeway.
  • Artificial Limbs: Jankom Pog has one of his hands replaced with a transforming multitool.
  • Artistic License – Law: Possibly a mixture of a lack of knowledge in-universe by some characters, and confusion about what actually happened by others. Everyone seems to think the crew of the Protostar stole it. As it was abandoned their actions should actually be considered perfectly legal salvage.
  • Artistic License – Space: The Protostar's drive system is apparently powered by a literal protostar that they have on board. This in spite of the fact that protostars weigh trillions of tonnes and don't undergo nuclear fusion.
  • Asteroid Miners: The main characters are initially part of such an operation, though not by choice, digging up something called “chimerium” on an asteroid called Tars Lamora, run by the mysterious “Diviner”. The mining operation is actually a cover to search for the Protostar, though the mineral has value and the Diviner keeps the operation running as a source of funds while he searches for the Protostar.
  • Audience Surrogate: The crew are this by design. Like the target demographic (kids who haven't watched other Trek shows), they have no familiarity with the Federation or Starfleet until Holo Janeway brings them up to speed.
  • Beehive Barrier: The Protostar's shields are shown as a honeycomb barrier that stretches over the ship like a second skin.
  • Big Bad: The Diviner rules the mining colony with an iron fist and has mysterious designs on the U.S.S. Protostar.
  • Blob Monster: Murf is a friendly one.
  • Brown Note Being: Zero is a Medusan, who can cause corporeal beings to go insane just from visual exposure. Before escaping, the Big Bad used them to Mind Rape prisoners into being mindless slaves. This is also the reason Zero now wears a containment suit.
  • The Bus Came Back: The only other time we've seen a Medusan on-screen was in a single episode all the way back in the original series.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Brikar species. They made their first appearance in the Starfleet Academy novel Worf's First Adventure, but this is their first on-screen appearance.
    • The mineral Chimerium first appeared in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers novel Invincible by David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido. Mack serves as story consultant on Star Trek: Prodigy.
    • Rok-Tahk's explanation of how different people can seem so far away from each other in the holodeck through "motion floor tracking" and "visual horizon manipulation" comes from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual" reference book.
    • Janeway's sister, who was mentioned several times on Star Trek: Voyager, is finally given the name Phoebe, which was first established in the 1996 Voyager novel Mosaic, written by Voyager co-creator Jeri Taylor.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Space seems to have gotten a lot smaller post-Voyager, with ships like the Protostar and the Dauntless capable of flying to the Delta Quadrant and back more or less at will. It's justified in their case, being equipped with a protostar drive and a quantum-slipstream drive, respectively, but there's also a lot more overlap between Delta Quadrant and Alpha Quadrant species — Dal's adoptive "mother" is a Ferengi trader doing business in the Delta Quadrant, Kazon smugglers clash with Xindi-Reptilian guards at remote Federation outposts, and four of the main cast belong to Alpha Quadrant species (Brikar, Medusan, Tellarite, and Human Augment) that wound up on Tars Lamora independently from one another. One of Janeway's Instagram logs explains that the Kazon, at least, are using the Borg transwarp network to get around, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery both having featured the conduits as methods of quick (if unsafe) travel.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the miners (who's shown being exposed to Zero's true form and driven mad) is a Lurian.
    • Holo-Janeway's description of the Federation includes faces of the four founding member races (Human, Andorian, Tellarite, Vulcan) as well as their respective symbols under the UFP logo.
    • Janeway's lecture on the basics of the Federation includes a number of familiar starships: there are four variations on the Enterprise (the NX-01, the TOS-era 1701, the 1701-A, and the 1701-C), the U.S.S. Defiant, the U.S.S. Voyager, a Crossfield-class starship (like Discovery, though not explicitly labeled), and two shuttlecraft (a Class-F from TOS, and the Type-6 and 7 from TNG).
    • Tars Lamora bears more than a little similarity to the dilithium mines on the penal asteroid of Rura Penthe, only more technologically sophisticated and visually impressive.
    • The vehicle replicator makes a point of announcing the fabrication of a blast shield. Becket Mariner improvised a song about that piece of shuttlecraft equipment on Lower Decks.
    • The Protostar lands identically to Voyager.
    • The Runaway looks like an upgraded version of the Argo buggy from Nemesis.
    • The uncharted planet is in the "Hirogen system", though there's no sentient life present aside from the murderous biome, with no sign of the eponymous hunters.
    • The half-finished shuttle Gwyn uses to try to escape in episode three is used in by her and Murf to escape the trapped Protostar in episode 4.
    • Dal finds gagh (or, more likely, racht) on the Klingon starship.
    • Dal is seen playing the Ktarian holographic game from the TNG episode, er, "The Game". Whether this version is also addictive and mind-controlling has yet to be revealed.
    • The holo-programs that Janeway demonstrates include Ceti Alpha V and a Jane Eyre novel of the sort that the real Janeway partook in.
    • The Kobayashi Maru is taken from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, down to Klingons as the aggressors, though it uses the TNG-era Klingons and Enterprise-D.
    • The simulation uses holograms of Uhura, Spock, Scotty, Beverly Crusher, and Odo, complete with archival audio clips of these characters (except Crusher, who gets new lines courtesy of Gates McFadden).
    • Dal’s climactic strategy involves blaring rock music, similar to the climax of Star Trek Beyond.
    • Dal mentions the Phage when he's taking apart Nandi's ruse, the sickness the Vidiians were afflicted with in Star Trek: Voyager.
    • He finds a horga'hn, or Risan advertisement of sexual availability, on Nandi's ship.
    • The mid-season finale features yet another callback to Voyager: Admiral Janeway, the actual one, is tracking the Protostar from aboard the NCC-80816, USS Dauntless. The original Dauntless, NX-01A, was a trap created by a vengeful Delta Quadrant alien in "Hope and Fear," featuring a "Quantum Slipstream Drive" which allowed Voyager to shave several years off its journey. The NCC-80816 has a largely identical design to the NX-01A and, per an interview with Word of God, carries a version of the slipstream drive.
    • Both versions of Janeway featured in the show and their respected drink of preference. Holo-Janeway, who is based off of the Voyager-era Janeway, drinks coffee (which was the real Janeway's drink of choice). Vice Admiral Janeway starts drinking tea under her doctor's orders (which calls back to Voyager's series finale "Endgame", where Admiral Janeway tells Captain Janeway she now drinks tea after being offered a cup of coffee).
  • Cool Starship: In the Crapsack World Used Future mining camp of Tars Lamora, the sleek U.S.S. Protostar is clearly the coolest thing on two nacelles.
  • Crapsack World: The asteroid Tars Lamora is a miserable mining colony and slave camp ruled with an iron fist by the Diviner. Translator Microbes are outlawed so no one can communicate, and hope is disallowed as well. It’s no wonder our heroes want to escape.
  • Dangerous Interrogative: In the pilot episode, after Rok-Tahk accidentally activates the Translator Microbes, Dal realizes that the apparent Rock Monster is actually a little girl.
    Dal: And you're not a big fella. You're a...
    Rok-Tahk: What!!
    Dal: Not what I expected.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: The Diviner is mentioned by this article to be in a state where his body is failing him and an official image shows him in some kind of tank. He only leaves it when the Protostar escapes, as he needs the ship for an unspecified reason and will do anything to find it.
  • The Dragon: Drednok, a cybernetic enforcer and right hand man to the Diviner.
  • Dyson Sphere: Not that big or a sphere but the Protostar has a protostar powering its engine.
  • Evil Counterpart: According to this article, in addition to being expies of Khan Noonien Singh and Maximillian, respectively, the Diviner and Drednok are also The Kirk and The Spock in terms of dynamics.
  • Expy:
    • Jimmi Simpson say this about Drednok, "he's there to serve", adding that he's like Maximillian in The Black Hole, but more verbose.
    • The Hageman Brothers describe the Diviner as one for Khan Noonien Singh.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Rok-Tahk is made to look more intimidating (and male) at first through the use of shadows and goggles that obscure her complexion and facial features. It's only after the Protostar boots up and she can be seen in good lighting that her Tertiary Sexual Characteristics become apparent.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Deconstructed. The crew find the U.S.S. Protostar and decide to make it their own, but quickly realize that running a starship is not a simple affair, especially for a bunch of teenagers with almost no experience between them in that area. Hologram Janeway has to explain the controls to them, as they can only puzzle out the bare minimum from the labels.
  • Foreshadowing: Janeway reprimands the crew for the events of "First Con-tact" and makes sure that they know they did not "fix it" just by giving the Cymari crystal back—they've left an indelible impression on the Cymari, which is why Starfleet is so concerned with making sure first contact missions aren't going to give bad ideas to pre-warp species. It was the fallout from a first contact mission that sparked a civil war among the Vau N'Akat that devastated the Diviner's homeworld.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gwyn undergoes this in episode five, having been left for dead by the Diviner and subsequently rescued by the crew.
  • Hostage Situation:
    • Our heroes are forced to take Gwyn captive in order to escape Drednok and get the Protostar airborne. Little do they know that the ship itself is the hostage; simply being in control of it prevents the Diviner from attacking them for fear of damaging it, regardless of Gywn's presence there. The pilot ends with her still tied to the captain’s chair. He does care that they've taken her once he's aware of it, but the ship is his prize.
    • The two-parter "A Moral Star" has the Diviner demand the return of the Protostar in return for the lives of all the miners.
  • The Kirk: Two big examples:
    • Dal is this for the heroes. He’s brash, impulsive, emotional, and the self-proclaimed Captain of the Protostar.
    • The Diviner is an evil version of this trope. He’s more emotional and prone to outbursts compared to his stoic underling, Drednok.
  • Leitmotif: Scenes involving Vice Admiral Janeway and/or Chakotay will have bits of the Voyager theme playing in the background.
  • Little Green Man in a Can: Well, Energy Being in a can. Zero the Medusan is a non-corporeal life form in a robotic containment suit to protect others from seeing their true form.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • The Diviner has worked to keep the young slaves (and his daughter) ignorant of the universe beyond Tars Lamora - including the Federation and Starfleet. Thus, Hologram Janeway has to fill them in.
    • Janeway. As far as she is apparently aware, the kids are Starfleet cadets, not escapees from a mining planet. There are also ship records that are classified even to her, which include the Protostar's original mission and crew.
  • MacGuffin: The Diviner seeks the Protostar for an unknown reason, and decides to pursue the gang into space when they steal it first.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Gwyn seems to fall into this, being the daughter and a reluctant dragon of the series’ Big Bad, the Diviner.
  • Meaningful Name: The Protostar isn't just the name of the ship, it's the name of its power source.
  • Mind Rape: Zero does this just by visual exposure to people. They were not happy being used like this to turn the other prisoners into mindless slaves.
  • Morph Weapon:
    • The metallic lattice on Gwyn's arm is a shapeshifting metal that she can turn into a blade just by willing it.
    • Drednok has the ability to turn his body into a giant gun.
    • The Living Weapon stashed on the Protostar as a Trojan Horse to destroy Starfleet is constantly shifting and changing shape
  • Motile Vehicular Components: The Protostar is an experimental ship using a new Proto-Warp Drive, which shifts its two primary nacells down and opens at the rear to reveal a third nacelle taking up most of the stardrive section when the Proto-Warp is engaged.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Protostar seems to be similar in shape to the Voyager concept art (before a decision was made to round the ship off), and (if unintentionally) to the Emissary-class cruisers from Star Trek Online.
    • Dal echos the Romulan commander from "Balance of Terror".
    Dal: You know, different circumstances, we could have been friends.
    • Pog's repulsion at Janeway's smooth forehead is a nod to Star Trek's longtime reliance on Rubber-Forehead Aliens.
    • The vehicle replicator is likely a knowing wink to Voyager's endless ability to replace lost shuttlecraft.
    • The photonic scrubbers resemble exocomps.
    • The Diviner's ship catches up to the Protostar while in warp, with the warp tunnel effect and visuals matching those of the Vengeance catching the Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness.
    • Dal screaming "Fire everything!" in frustration during his Kobayashi Maru exam is a clear reference to Nero from Star Trek (2009).
  • Never Say "Die": Downplayed; "die" is used, but "kill" is not. Torture is alluded to, but never referred to as such.
  • No Biological Sex: On more than one occasion in the first episode, Zero states or is stated to be neither male nor female.
  • No Focus on Humans: While obviously humans exist in the Star Trek universe this show is set in, there are none at all among the main characters, Hologram Janeway is just a sophisticated simulation of a human, and the action takes place in a part of the galaxy far from human-occupied space. It's not until late in the first season that the plot points start to include real humans.
  • No Gravity for You: Normally a rarity in the franchise, this has happened in a few episodes of this series.
  • No Name Given: Dal's species is yet to be named. Dal himself doesn’t even know. It eventually is revealed he's an extremely modified human Augment, with genetic material from 26 other species layered in.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • Averted in the first episode, which is justified as the crew has just come together. When Dal is captured and put to work on the surface with low chances of surviving, the rest of the group focuses on preparing to leave rather than rescuing him. Dal brushes it off, as they weren't True Companions as of yet.
    • Further, Rok suggests that they could use the ship to help everyone escape, but they don't have any way to pursue that plan without risking Drednok and the Diviner finding out first. They need to limit their recruits to the bare minimum to avoid drawing attention, and Drednok's arrival forces them to leave in a hurry, abandoning the other prisoners, at least for now.
    • Throughout their time on the Murder Planet, the crew go back and forth as to whether this applies to Gwyn, given that she betrayed them to her father and stranded them on the world in the first place. After her father abandons her to die, and the crew reclaim the ship, Dal decides to save her.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Tars Lamora is not a nice place to work. Before starting a shift, Dal and Rok-Tahk have to sit through a training video showing all the ways a worker could potentially get killed. Admittedly that was for a particularly dangerous region, but still.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Drednok's reputation precedes him, and the characters don't bother to describe why it would be bad to be left at his mercy.
    Dal: You know what he'll do to me.
  • Oddball in the Series: This is the first series to have an entirely non-human crew and the first full-length series to use CGI animation. It does have occasional moments where it gets darker and more serious.
  • Omniglot: Gwyn has learned every language of the aliens at the mining prison, allowing her to serve as a living universal translator. She notes the redundancy, as the security droids have universal translators built in.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Drednok takes off his cloak he goes from bipedal robot to giant mechanical scorpion monster.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Jankom Pog mentions this by name when working on the Protostar and says it's "kind of [his] thing".
  • Poor Communication Kills: From "Time Amok":
    Janeway: But if you could build a warp matrix, why did you need me?
    Rok: No one told me where it goes.
  • Projected Man: The "Kathryn Janeway" seen on the U.S.S. Protostar is actually a training hologram designed to assist the crew. She activates upon hearing the word "help".
  • Punny Name: Rok-Tahk looks like a rock, who talks.
  • Rock Monster: Rok-Tahk looks like one, and Dal initially mistakes her for one (due to the lack of translators), which makes it even funnier when she has the voice of a preteen girl.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Dal is surprised when he realizes Rok-Tahk is actually a young girl and not a grown man like he initially assumed.
    Dal: [upon hearing Rok’s high-pitched voice] And you’re not a big fella, you’re— you’re a—
    Rok: [angrily] What?
    Dal: Not what I thought.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: While trying to escape Tars Lamora in the Protostar, Dal tells the crew to locate the ship's "pew-pew-pew" button to destroy some incoming debris.
  • Scenery Porn: The animators clearly spared no expense to make interstellar space look gorgeous. Even the Crapsack World of Tars Lamora is stunning in an ominous kind of way.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene in which the crew hide from Drednok on the Murder Planet echoes the scene where the four hobbits hide from the Nazgul in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
    • When the crew replicate then transport a piece of pie from one end of the ship to the other, it appears on the floor of the vehicle bay. Jankom yells "Floor Pie!", a reference to The Simpsons.
    • The glowing crystals and tones of the Cymari as they communicate using tones are similar to the exchange with the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the structure they create and their ability to manipulate sand are similar to the creatures from The Abyss, and their water manipulation abilities. They're also similar in form to the creatures from The Abyss.
    • The members of the Vau N'Akat Order abandoned their names in favor of portentous nouns like "the Diviner" and "the Vindicator", just like outlaw members of a certain other famous time-travelling culture.
      • In that same vein, while not explicitly stated, one could consider Gwen's title to be 'The Progeny'
    • In this Season 2 preview, after hearing an explanation about the difference between the present-day Solum and the future one at the other end of the wormhole, Dal complains that "all this timey-wimey stuff" hurts his head. (Appropriately enough, said explanation came from the Doctor.)
    • Dal's command code for the Protostar is "GB 64 N 32 X", a reference to old-school gaming systems such as the Nintendo Game Boy, N64 (and possibly NES) and the Sega 32X add on for the Genesis.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: When the Protostar's crew returns to Tars Lamora, they don Starfleet cadet uniforms.
  • Sleeper Starship: A line by Jankom in the episode Dreamcatcher indicates he was on one of these at one point.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Drednok never raises his voice above a murmur and is a truly nasty piece of work.
  • Spikes of Villainy:
    • The Crapsack World of Tars Lamora is covered in natural versions of these at mountain-sized scale.
    • Drednok's mechanical body has no lack of these either, at least once he takes off his cloak.
  • Team Pet: Murf fulfills this role at first, since he doesn’t seem to be able to talk and mostly spends his time trying to eat equipment.
  • Telepathy: As a Medusan, Zero naturally has this trait. What more surprising is tha Dal also has this as two species that comprise his genetic make-up are Vulcan and Proto-Organian. This becomes a plot point in the episode "Mindwalk".
  • Third-Person Person: "Jankom Pog understands this trope!"
  • Translator Microbes: This series puts more emphasis than previous series on the importance of the Universal Translator:
    • The first episode has translators banned in the mining colony among the workers, making it difficult for Dal to talk to any of them. However, Dal and Rok-Tahk find a commbadge on the bridge of the Protostar that serves as one, allowing them to plot their escape with the rest of the crew.
    • In the tenth episode, Jankom and Dal manage to jury-rig the workers's ankle monitors on the mining colony to work as a Universal Translator, allowing the workers to organise and overthrow their handlers.
    • In the season 1 finale, the Construct activation causes the Universal Translator to fail for the whole fleet, leaving orders unable to be correctly relayed and Starfleet unable to call their allies for help.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Rok-Tahk's girlish voice is hilariously out of step with her massive stature and rocky skin. Notably, this is actually a function of the Universal Translator, as without it, Rok-Tahk has exactly the deep, gruff voice you'd expect from a large rock creature.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: There is a body swap episode and the voice actors stay with their respective bodies and don't go with their "minds" instead having the voice actors adopting the mannerisms of the other characters so Kate Mulgrew plays a very panicky "Dal-in-Janeway's body", and Brett Gray plays a fairly calm (as it's far from the weirdest thing to happen to her) "Janeway-in-Dal's body" giving the kids the chance to explain the weapon situation to Janeway.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Drednok has the ability to transform into one, destroying a massive tower with it.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Diviner uses slave labor to work the mines on Tars Lamora, even though he already has access to a robot workforce (which he relegates to security instead).
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Despite being the largest of the crew, Rok-Tahk is also the youngest at eight years old.
    • Jankom Pog is listed in official materials as being 16 but, being a Tellarite and all, he looks like a 30 to 40-year-old by human standards. At least chronologically, Jankom is actually much older than the rest of the crew, having been put on a Sleeper Starship during the period of Enterprise, i.e pre-Federation founding, and therefore is more than two hundred and sixteen based purely on birthdate, even if cryostasis prevented him aging.