Star Trek: Prodigy seems to be promising all the right things.
Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds seem to be the start of Phase II of Star Trek’s time as a streaming entity. The two shows offer tone shifts from what Star Trek has already given us with Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks; three very polarizing series.
Strange New Worlds promises a return to hope and optimism for Star Trek, as well as a return to the story-of-the-week format that fans have been clamoring for since the end of Enterprise in 2005.
Prodigy wants fans to know they’re the show fans hope they are.
TrekMovie.com spoke with Dan and Kevin Hageman about their upcoming new show Star Trek: Prodigy and the one thing that Dan Hageman was adamant about was not dumbing down the show for kids.
"TrekMovie: What was the most difficult thing to adapt from Star Trek for a kids’ show?Dan Hageman: Well we always try to blur the line. We never really view it as a kid show. We view it as a show for people who don’t know Star Trek, which could be young or old. And so we always had that perspective of the outsider and that freed us up. We wanted to keep the stakes real for an older audience. We never want to dumb things down for kids. Kids are really smart. They may have a learning curve in the show, but they’ll get there."
Star Trek: Prodigy appears to be learning from past mistakes
Prodigy will be the third animated series from Star Trek with the first two being the 1970s’ The Animated Series’ and more recently with Lower Decks. The Animated Series was pretty stock and looked like any other cartoon from the late 60s or early 70s.
Lower Decks is an obvious Rick and Morty clone, down to the animation and style of jokes. Both of these have ended up rubbing fans the wrong way over time. While The Animated Series may be fondly remembered now, it was not very popular at the time and as far as quality goes, it wasn’t exactly sterling.
This is something Prodigy is hoping to avoid by being wholly unique.
"TrekMovie: What were some of the challenges of translating the live-action world of Star Trek into your 3D animation style?Ben Hibon: I don’t I don’t think we necessarily try to carry through a certain or specific style from something else as much as trying to create something new that would capture all the elements that we’re looking for. So it’s kind of looking at the page, looking at the intentions of the character and the ambition of the show as a character-driven story. And then how do we best capture this with animation. Therefore, we decided to go very cinematic in terms of the scale of the adventure.We wanted to have something that would fit really nicely within other Trek shows because we’re canon. It is a continuation. So we wanted that realism of the world itself to feel as realized as other Trek shows. That also dictated how we would design the world itself, the background, how lived-in it is, how tangible in texture it is. Those are the different pieces that we’ve been looking at doing.For character design, we wanted to have something that had a sufficient amount of facial detail, being able to emote very much so we could really focus on close-ups and emotion as much as the danger, the stakes, the fun, the adventure, all of these elements. We wanted to be able to shoot it at any distance for it to look good."
The fact that the creators of the series were very cognitive to avoid falling in the clone-trap that so many properties end up in is reassuring. Yes, Lower Decks was intentionally designed to look like Rick and Morty, did it work? That’s up to you to decide. Falling into trends, which almost every company at some time does, is a good way to make money but a bad way to make a memorable product.
That’s what Prodigy has going for it. It’s unique and hopefully well written. Smart and unique shows always do well. So here’s hoping Prodigy lives up to that idea.