For those that don’t know me, I’ve been a Star Trek fan since the age of five. I remember my Dad, a first generation Trekkie, sitting me down in front of the TV for the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the fall of 1987. Yes, I know I am dating myself. But the point is, I was hooked –  with the special effects, weird looking aliens and stories that ignited my imagination. 

As I grew up, I stuck with the franchise – Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise. All were in my formative years as a teenager in high school through college. After Enterprise was canceled in 2005, there was a very long drought of no new Star Trek content until the J.J. Abrams Kelvin Timeline movies. These were polarizing films in the Star Trek fan community, but it also led to a resurgence in new people discovering Star Trek. 

However, these films had gaps of three to four years between them. Would Star Trek ever return to television? We all know the answer is yes, but in a way no Trekkie or Trekker could have imagined. Coined the Star Trek Universe, the franchise came back in a big way with the launch of Star Trek: Discovery. History repeats itself; much like the United Paramount Network (UPN) launched in the mid-90s with Star Trek: Voyager, Discovery launched CBS All Access (later becoming Paramount Plus). 

Other series came to fruition: Star Trek: Picard – continuing to explore the life of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: Short Treks – mini episodes filling in the gaps between seasons, Star Trek: Lower Decks – an animated comedy series (Trek’s second animated outing) featuring a crew of low level officers, and now – Star Trek Prodigy

Prodigy was first announced in April 2019 as a Nickelodeon CG-Animated series helmed by Executive Producers and writers Kevin and Dan Hageman. The brothers are no strangers to children’s television and movies having worked on Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Trollhunters, Hotel Transylvania and The LEGO Movie to name a few.

It wasn’t until fifteen months later, July 2020 at San Diego Comic Con, that the series was officially named with a new logo treatment. Then, in October 2020 at New York Comic Con, it was announced that actress Kate Mulgrew would be returning as Kathryn Janeway from Voyager. I was overjoyed! I screamed and shed tears at the announcement. Voyager is my favorite Star Trek series with Captain Janeway being one of my top captains. 

At the time of this writing, the fifth episode of Star Trek: Prodigy has been released and it is the perfect time to jump on board. The show is currently taking a break and will be back on with five more episodes starting on January 6, 2022. Later in 2022, ten more episodes will round out the first season of the show.

So why is Star Trek: Prodigy for the next generation of fans? 

Because of the unique approach to its story; Prodigy takes a group of young aliens with no ties to Starfleet or the Federation (at least from their perspective) and puts them in a situation that finds themselves manning a prototype starship with a holographic version of Captain Kathryn Janeway as a guide. With this format, young viewers AND adults new to Star Trek can explore this vast universe while learning with the crew of the USS Protostar. 

In the first five episodes of the series, the crew: Dal R’El, Gwyn, Rok-Tahk, Jankom Pog, Zero and Murf must learn to work together to survive hostile alien environments while on the run from the villains of the series: The Diviner and Drednok. All the while they are slowly introduced to how the ship works and what the Federation and Starfleet represent. The crew’s clashing personalities provide for genuine lessons of teamwork, inclusion and scientific curiosity. 

When I watched the two-part premiere, “Lost and Found”, I felt a sense of wonder and excitement that I hadn’t felt as strongly since when I first watched an episode of Star Trek all those years ago. As a long time fan, I was impressed with all of the Easter eggs for longtime fans, but also for the smart writing, humor and gorgeous animation. The rest of the first five episodes keep up the level of storytelling with an ongoing narrative that keeps viewers engaged and wanting more. It serves as a nice arc early in the series to solidify the crew and set up the mysteries the show will explore this season. 

Over the years, many friends new to Star Trek would ask me for recommendations on how to get started watching Star Trek. Which series should they watch first? Where would they begin in a franchise with over 800 episodes, 13 movies and 55 years of history? Now I can firmly point to Star Trek: Prodigy as an amazing way to get introduced to the Star Trek Universe. And in a few years, maybe I can sit down with a future child of mine in front of the TV like my Dad did and continue a third generation of Trekkies…

Live Long and Prosper friends, Star Trek: Prodigy is EFNcool.

Star Trek: Prodigy streams on Paramount+ in the United States, Australia, Latin America, and the Nordics, as well as on CTV Sci Fi Channel in Canada.