'Star Trek: Prodigy" Season One Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Star Trek: Prodigy: "Lost & Found, Parts 1 & 2"

I'm going to do some compliments, I'm gonna do some criticisms. What it ultimately boils down to is that I'm not sold yet. And that's okay. It would be weird if I was.

Because what I just saw was the most singularly unique Star Trek project in television (and movie) history. There is literally nothing else in the canon like it. It's totally a Star Wars cartoon rather than a Star Trek one, which is where the bulk of my resistance lies. When the series settles down and gets into a more Star Trek groove (as the Janeway Hologram suggests it will) I'm sure I'll grow to like it. Right now I'm iffy on the Pilot.

The choices of aliens for the crew members are interesting. Of them I have only heard of Tellarites and Medusans. Tellarites are a definitely Alpha Quadrant species, so what one is doing in the Delta Quadrant will make an interesting origin story. We've only seen the Medusans once on The Original Series. Let me amend that: We've only seen them once on a wholly crappy episode of The Original Series. Their origins as I recall were not deeply delved into. It's believable that either they originated in the Delta Quadrant or have migrated there when this series takes place.

When the series takes place is an intriguing open question that will probably be answered next week. But there are really no clue WHEN in the canon this show exists. Probably not in the Discovery era due to the Burn being present there. But this could easily take place in the 28th or 29th Century and not break canon. For some reason I'm hoping it's the same time period as Lower Decks, or even Picard. Wouldn't the kids meeting Janeway in real life make a good series finale? I digress.

I personally have a hard time imagining a successful Star Trek project on a TV-Y7 rating. And this episode did a good job alleviating my fears a little there. And I will say this: While I don't think TV-Y7 is a good rating for Star Trek, it's a much more recognizably Star Trek rating than TV-MA is. I'm sure any dialogue or concepts the shows softens will hits my ear less wrong than the F-Bombs and gore from Star Trek: Picard. I have concerns about a Y7 Star Trek. But Y7 is closer to what Star Trek should be than TV-MA. Arguably many of the episodes of The Original Series (and some of Next Gen) could get G-ratings if the ratings system wasn't inherently corrupt. I recognize the tone as far more Star Trek than Romulans dropping the f-bomb. And that's not's even a question.

A lot of people are comfortable giving a snap judgment of a Pilot. I'm not doing that for this show. Because I get a sneaking suspicion that this show's Pilot is going to be the episode most unlike the other episodes. And while I think that, I'm totally reserving judgment instead of declaring the Trekkie sky falling. ***.

Star Trek: Prodigy "Starstruck"

Dal is a pretty obnoxious character. It's fun watching Janeway knock him down a few pegs.

Rok-Tahk is cute though. That specific voice coming out of that specific design is great. I also found it sort of bittersweet that she orders the prison gruel on the replicators because she's never tasted any other food. That saddens me very much.

The vehicle replicators are a bit too far for me. I think the replicators in general are a bad idea, and make too much of the science of Star Trek seem like outright magic. But with 3-D printers having been created since then, I see why the writers would want to sort of base the way a new kind of replicator works on them.

Still not sold. Mostly due to Dal. Hopefully, he'll stop being such a turd (or he won't be the main focus every single week). ***1/2.

Star Trek: Prodigy "Dreamcatcher"

I'm a little miffed we went to the Hirogen system and didn't see any Hirogen! Maybe next week.

The stuff with the phaser stun settings could have been a valuable lesson about gun safety. Since it was played for laughs instead, it wasn't.

Frankly, I am not a fan of Star Trek where the mission gets interrupted to be continued the next week. I get that's normal for the Kurtzman era, but it never feels like real Star Trek to me.

But the episode was pretty good otherwise. ***1/2.

Star Trek: Prodigy "Terror Firma"

It was good.

I think the idea of a proto star warp drive can go interesting places.

One quibble: I not only think it's a stretch to believe the Klingons ever made it to the Delta Quandrant. But there is no way the characters should know who they are.

Other than that nitpick it was solid. ****.

Star Trek: Prodigy "Kobayashi"

I don't think I realized until very recently (probably Star Trek: Picard) how much I need and love Star Trek and can't get enough of it. It is interesting to me (and a little bit shameful) that this shaky kids show is far more respectful to the canon than Star Trek: Discovery is. I would argue it's more respectful than Star Trek: Picard. It's weird it seems like only the animated shows are really allowed to use the classic designs and characters. Seeing Odo, Spock, Uhura, and Scotty was great, even if they had to use archival footage to make their dialogue work. It sort of worked because it sort of had the robotic monotone I think an unreal holodeck program should have.

In one of the show's best kept secrets they appear to have actually cast Gates McFadden and Robert Beltran as Dr. Crusher and Chakotay. Beltran is not actually a surprise, but it's amazing McFadden's association with the show wasn't leaked, especially because she hasn't appeared on Star Trek: Picard yet. This is her first real Trek role since Star Trek Nemesis.

I'm wondering if anyone ever got a lower score for the Kobayashi Maru test than Dal did on his first try. I somehow doubt it. I can't ever picture a Starfleet cadet advising retreat in that moment. They wouldn't be in the organization if that was their first response. What's interesting is how badly the holo-bridge crew reacts to that. I honestly think that's because in that specific test, it's the only way the captain's ship survives. And we can't have that. It defeats the purpose of the test. So formerly perfect Starfleet officers start talking about mutiny upon a reasonable seeming suggestion. It's not just that the test isn't playing fair. It's rigging the game and stacking the deck. I sort of understand now why Kirk hated it and decided to cheat it.

For the record, and just to clear up confusion, while it was great to see him, Odo was NEVER a Starfleet officer. Not even close. As a matter of fact Starfleet Command hated and distrusted Odo, not just because he refused to follow protocols. But because he was a Founder, the same species as the leaders of the Dominion, and they didn't trust him. On this last score their concerns were somewhat justified. Either way, the reason he was in charge of security on Deep Space Nine was solely because Captain Sisko liked, believed in, and fought for him. Starfleet themselves thought him an utter nuisance.

The one false move in this episode's simulation was the fact that Dal almost got out of it until his foot hit the wrong button. That's not how the test should ever work. The doom is built into it, not based on anything the captain does. I don't think the show should have shown Dal being as successful as they did.

That game with the hoops and discs worries me, and it should worry any Next Gen fan. Perhaps it's just an Easter Egg. More likely it's an upcoming complication in the making.

I think the show is a little TOO kid, but it's to this show's immense credit it finds a plausible situation to put a bunch of dumb kids in the middle of a Star Trek series. Star Trek is not built for dumb kids (to put it mildly) but that's all kiddie cartoons are built for. It took some work and it's still kind of far-fetched, but I think the show has believably put dummies like Dal and Pog on a Federation Starship. And regardless of the fact that I don't like dumb kid shows as a rule, it's actually interesting the amount of work they put into the concept to make it both Star Trek and a dumb kid show to begin with. People will sneer at it's dumb kid-showness without ever appreciating how hard it was to make a dumb kid show believable in the Star Trek Universe. And yeah, I feel this show is more authentic Star Trek at this point than either Discovery or Picard (both of which are show I love by the way, and I love them both far more than this). But it makes an extra effort with Star Trek authenticity that does not go unnoticed by me. Some people hate dumb kid shows reflectively. But this show proves it's possible to make an interesting and smartly premised one if you put in the work. There apparently ARE seem impossible seeming scenarios out there you can actually win. ****.

Star Trek: Prodigy "First Con-tact"

That did not hold together perfectly. The continuity was a little sloppy. For instance, if Dal was raised on a Ferengi ship, he'd already know what a transporter is.

Is there ever a moment these kids AREN'T disappointing Hologram Janeway? And is there ever a moment she's not RIGHT to be let down?

Were any of those Rules of Acquisition ones we hadn't heard before? If so, they should have consulted Ira Steven-Behr.

I don't have much else to offer except a wild theory. It's a wild theory because it's probably wrong. But Nandi's appearance is making me think. Since Rom because Grand Nagus at the end of Deep Space Nine, female Ferengi can now wear clothes and be Daimons of their own ships. But one being so far out in the Delta Quadrant, and apparently having been out here for years suggests my crazy theory could be true. Is it possible this show is set a few centuries after Star Trek: Voyager? Before Discovery and The Burn, but long after everyone we know from that era's time? Nandi's confidence in her shady business dealings suggest her position is one she's held for awhile (and if she's raised Dal it must be years) and suggests Ferengi society had greatly evolved past the point Rom created a more equitable environment for females. Are we perhaps in the far future?

The reason I doubt the theory is true is because there would be no real good resolution of the mystery of what happened to Captain Chakotay and the first Protostar crew. They could make time-travel part of the solution, but it strikes me that would be a needlessly complicated addition. But even if I'm wrong that this isn't the far future, I would not be shocked if it IS set like 30 or 40 years later. Star Trek: Picard after all is set 25 years later. We'll see. But the thing about this show being set in the Delta Quadrant with no other Federation contact means things are so up in the air.

The title card calls the episode "First Contact" while the Paramount Plus screen titles it "First Con-tact". I've taken the liberty of using the streaming screen title for my review as it seems likely the show made a mistake when they flashed "First Contact" on the theme song's screen. Not only is "First Contact" already a name for a previous Next Gen episode, it's the name of a previous movie too. And the "Con-tact" ties it into Nandi's grift which is the main reason I think it's the right title.

Interesting episode, but I felt some of the canon was shaky. ***1/2.

Star Trek: Prodigy "Time Amok"

It's a kids show but I still love that we got a Star Trek science episode. That is quintessential Star Trek, and I love that the kids are allowed to experience it. General movie audiences are not and there really isn't a Star Trek movie for science geeks. I'm delighted it's part of the kids show.

The thing I've always loved about the chicken, fox, and grain riddle is that it's eminently solvable once you know the trick to it. It's fun to think about.

Rok is SO cute. If they made a plushie of her, I'd buy it in an instant. I also want one of Murf.

Dal continues to be pretty useless, but he's not ENTIRELY useless, so that's something.

I'm glad this show isn't actually for dummies. The movies totally are, and I like that this show is still gonna teach us science stuff. ****.

Star Trek: Prodigy "A Moral Star, Part 1"

That felt very much unfinished, and I was dying to know what came next. In other words, a successful first part.

The Diviner is turning out to be one of those rare Star Trek villains like Gul Dukat who actually has no redeeming qualities. Those specific baddies are unusual, and I confess I like being allowed to hate them.

I'm curious what his beef with Starfleet is. Must have something to do with Captain Chakotay's last mission. It would be weird if it didn't.

Can't wait for next week. ****1/2.

Star Trek: Prodigy "A Moral Star, Part 2"

Wow, pretty great. The last scene was a great set-up for season two. It also let us know that the show probably takes place in the same timeframe as Star Trek: Picard. Maybe a few years earlier, but same ballpark. And we still don't know what happened to Chakotay. But it looks like we're probably gonna find out.

Seeing the Medusa power for the first time certainly lived up to the hype. It's frustrating Gwyn lost her memories from it though. It would have been nice if she had context to her warning that they could never go back. My hope is that the Diviner's plan wouldn't have worked. And to be honest, that strikes me as more likely than it isn't. To destroy the Federation to prevent his planet's First Contact makes about as much sense as chopping off your arm to get rid of a hangnail. Even if his goals WERE righteous, he's going about it in the dumbest way possible. His plan turning out to be flawed and not work would be on-brand.

Apparently the Mirror Universe is going to be a part of this show. They've really leaned into that in Discovery, and I think Kurtzman is really invested in making it as big a deal on the new shows as it wound up being on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Bigger, if the Section 31 show is any indication.

The best episode of the series so far. Great finale. ****1/2.
 

Yojimbo

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The last scene was a great set-up for season two. It also let us know that the show probably takes place in the same timeframe as Star Trek: Picard. Maybe a few years earlier, but same ballpark.
About a 15 year gap between Prodigy season 1 finale and Picard season 1 premiere.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Star Trek: Prodigy "Asylum"

The cliffhanger of Admiral Janeway finding the Diviner was great, as was the part where Gwyn remembers the most important memory she forgot.

It looks like the sketchy Starfleet guy on the space station was a Denobulon, although he didn't give a creepy Phlox smile. He also certainly didn't share Phlox's annoying optimism.

I love Murf sticking his tongue out and enjoying their jump from the exploding space station.

Jankom seems smug that Tellarites are founding members of the Federation, although it begs the question of what a Tellarite is doing in the Delta Quadrant.

Interesting that Starfleet appears to know Dal's species and that it seems to be a top-secret. The mystery deepens.

Cool episode back. ****.
 

Mandouga

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Great. Just great.

The Diviner is coming back

…and the Federation is going to think they’re saboteurs.

Then again, this is Star Trek we’re talking about, where not everything is at it seems (OTOH, the thing in the spoiler tags is going to happen, though).

I know the franchise has always been about the unknown, but where are they going to go, and if the real Janeway and her team catch up to them, what’s going to happen when…make that “if”, “the weapon” tears apart their ship?

Yeah, I REALLY hope the Protostar crew doesn’t end up becoming “heroes with bad publicity”, to say nothing about what Dal might actually think about the Federation if that happens.

And, oh yeah…

THEY DIDN’T STEAL THE PROTOSTAR!!!!!

They were trying to escape their slavery, plus, they came back for the rest of the “unwanted”.

(sigh) I really hope the people who make the show didn’t use those eight (!) months between episodes to make the show darker and edgier, and at this point, Star Trek or not, the show could go either way. We’ll all just have to wait and see…


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Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Let Sleeping Borg Lie"

I think the problem with the plan to go to the Borg ship for answers about the weapon is it was their first idea. There have to be easier and less dangerous ways to get the answers they wanted. And I would think Hologram Janeway could have pointed that true thing out.

I also dislike how unprofessional on the missions the "crew" is, specifically Jankom. Janeway's impressed they survived the Borg. That wasn't skill. That was luck.

I didn't much dig this week. **1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "All The World's A Stage"

I might be wrong, but I believe this episode has a lot of history. It literally could have been nearly 30 years in the making.

For the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek, both Deep Space Nine and Voyager were commissioned with creating special "Anniversary" episodes to mark the occasion. Voyager did a flashback story with Captain Sulu, and Deep Space Nine ultimately did the much-loved episode "Trials And Tribble-ations". But before they decided on that, one of the ideas being bounced around was the Defiant landing on the planet Iota from The Original Series episode "A Piece Of The Action". In that TOS episode the humanoids aliens there aped everything from 1920's Chicago Gangland on Earth. The idea for the DS9 episode was that after a hundred years, the new fad the Iotians followed was mimicking Starfleet and Captain Kirk's ship and crew. The initial idea for the episode was encountering an entire planet of Star Trek fans, and their entire civilization would look like a sci-fi convention.

I have not gone online and looked at the story behind the making of this specific episode. But that must have been it, don't you think? It's got the silliness of the premise down to the letter, with some added First Contact pathos to keep things interesting.

I'm not sure WHY DS9 nixed the idea, but as seen here, it totally would have worked. I'm guessing back in 1996, perhaps stars of the original series would find something like that (especially a character mocking William Shatner's lilting speaking voice) to be a little insulting. And frankly, if you ask me, the original stars got insulted by things like that SUPER easily back then. George Takei is funny and down-to-Earth in 2022. In 1996, he was like the rest of the cast and a total bummer, stick-in-the-mud who took themselves too seriously. It wasn't just Leonard Nimoy and Shatner. It was all of them.

Think I'm wrong? "Trials And Tribble-actions" created an "uproar" because the original cast believed they deserved bigger credits and paychecks for their footage being in the episode. I love the original cast, but back in the 1980's and 1990's they were pretty much all insufferable. If you told me back then that Takei would wind up as awesome he is now in the future, I'd never believe you.

For the record, Takei abstained from that controversy back in the day if only because Sulu wasn't in "The Trouble With Tribbles".

Also for the record, all this goes for Patrick Stewart too. As long as we want to be fair about it.

But yeah, that fun, and worth waiting 30 years for a cartoon to actually do it. The ironic thing to me is this is a kids show, and embraces that fact. But I don't think kids will actually respond to this episode. This one will mainly please adults. And not the kids' parents. Their grandparents. The target audience of this specific episode is quite unusual for Nickelodeon (to put it mildly). ****.
 

Mandouga

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(Note: I also posted this in the News and Discussion thread before I remembered that there was a season 1 thread. I apologize in advance.)

UGH!!! This is so stupid!!!

As understandable as it is why the Protostar crew ran away from the Dauntless crew (and the real Janeway) at the outpost (they were scared, after all), the show predictably put them in the no-win scenario of answering the hail and having the weapon destroy both ships, or not answering and having the Dauntless crew thinking they’re hostile, then Murf hatches and “accidentally” fires a torpedo at the Dauntless, and now they do think they’re hostile as the Protostar is forced to hide in the Neutral Zone.

(sigh) This is just the sort bologna I was hoping this show WOULDN’T resort to! However, I know this isn’t the end of the story, etc., but at this point it doesn’t look good, especially now with that Han Solo wannabe tagging along.

Long story short, I really, really, REALLY hope that Starfleet understands that this was all a misunderstanding, that the Protostar crew didn’t know about the Living Construct, that the Protostar crew went through a lot to get to where they were, and that Starfleet DOESN’T treat them like criminals, and/or send them back to Tars Lamora. I mean not even the main prime time live-action shows (or movies) got that dark (not really, anyway)…


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Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Crossroads"

Wow, that was pretty great.

I thought that the episode navigated something near impossible decently. Not WELL, exactly. But I can accept the way the episode made it so that none of the kids meeting a member of Starfleet made them able to warn them about the weapon. It's stupid, and unlikely, and the way the series handed it made it SLIGHTLY plausible, if not very. That's more than most franchises would do with an idea that dumb.

I was excited to hear Billy Campbell was returning as the Outrageous Okana, because that was literally one of the worst Next Generation episodes of all time (which is a statement) and I was looking for a little redemption for that much-hated character and episode. Didn't happen here. Good news is he'll still be around next week. It's still possible. But I wasn't very impressed with him this week.

The Xindi, huh? The Kurtzman era of the franchise has gotten a LOT of (deserved) crap for ignoring what came before it. But I think the cartoons Lowers Decks and this show actually mine the canon for ideas.

Take the idea that different Tellarites can look vastly different in appearance. That goes down to the fact that in every Tellarite appearance we've seen that species, the design is always changing and evolving. Good for this show to find a way to suggest that's not a mistake and just the way things are on that world. Like Enterprise putting in all that legwork to explain away human looking Klingons on the Original Series, there is a large chance a future iteration of the franchise could retcon or complicate that idea, but for now it fits and I'm glad.

Murf's toddler form is cute, but it's going to take some getting used to. Frankly Murf being a cute slug was sort of the selling point of the entire character. I think the new design has made him lose some of his appeal.

Can't wait for next week. ****1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Masquerade"

I think the narrative and the arc to the show is really starting to come together which is nice. The heel-turn from the Trill Commander being the same species as the Diviner was a great twist, and I honestly would not have predicted either that Dal was an Augment with a connection to Arak Soong, or that that would be revealed in this specific episode.

Do I have any gripes? I do and they aren't pleasant ones. I'm not going to say Okona was wasted, because he's always been a crappy character from one of the worst episodes of the entire franchise. What I will say is that if the series brought him back hoping to redeem his reputation in the audience's mind, it was a complete failure. And I say this knowing he'll be back.

Similarly, I really dug the idea that Star Trek: Lower Decks posited in its second season that Jellico was considered one of the very worst captains in Starfleet, and a cautionary example of how commanders should NOT behave towards their subordinates. The show retconning that and giving him a higher admiral ranking than Janeway? That STINGS, man. You want to cast a stick in the mud Admiral, get back Necheyev. Hell, I'd even accept an Admiral Shelby in a pinch. But Jellico bossing Janeway around feels wrong on every single level. I barely tolerated how he treated Riker and Troi on Next Gen. This is just plain wrong.

Lower Decks loves bringing back fringe Star Trek characters too. But they always bring back the ones the audience either likes, or at least found interesting and would be happy to see again. Neither Jellico or Okona fits either of those definitions. To put it mildly.

It's a shame it's the Star Trek portion of the episode I'm criticizing. The arc of Admiral Janeway's cat-and-mouse with both the kids and the Romulans is actually progressing quite wonderfully. I could do with that bit of great storytelling in an episode not featuring either Jellico or Okona. ***.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Preludes"

Interesting origin story episode.

The coolest part for me is getting some context of what happened to Chakotay. Now we didn't get the full story. But we got some of it.

The Diviner describing his daughter turning on them because she met a boy suggests he understands what's going on there better than either Gwyn or Dal do themselves.

Jankom's story is interesting because it explained what a Tellarite is doing in the Delta Quadrant and why he's never heard of the Federation.

Cool ep. ****.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Ghost In The Machine"

It was only all right but I liked the surprise ending. I wonder what Kate Mulgrew thought about it. She must have either hated it or loved it. No way her opinion was agnostic.

Don't need to overthink a review this week, but it's a fabulous point for me to reiterate how boring I think Holodeck programs are. The Tellarite fighting program and the Pirate ship are okay, but I don't want to live in an "enlightened" future where the most fun videogames in existence are a black and white nightclub simulation and the edgiest, most cutting edge music is smooth jazz. Just so long as we're being honest, I'd prefer living in 21st Century USA during the Trump era to the "Utopia" of Dixon Freaking Hill. Humanity may currently suck, but we're freaking INTERESTING, man. Hell is where the best company exists, and Roddenberry was a fool for believing differently. ***1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Mindwalk"

I'm thinking Kate Mulgrew must have had a lot of fun with this one.

Starfleet's rules about Augments have always been majorly unfair. It's a bummer the organization apparently learned nothing from between Strange New Worlds and this show.

Also Bashir is an Augment! Can't there be special circumstances for Dal too?

Alexander Siddig should guest star on this show at some point as an advocate for Dal. He'd be a better guest star than Okana at any rate.

I love when the Diviner finally gets "Janeway" alone he frees her in repayment for her unexpected kindness. That says good things about a previously irredeemable character. Maybe he's actually reachable after all.

And sorry, Brannon Braga, the Kurtzman era once AGAIN affirmed the worst Voyager episode ever "Threshold" IS, in fact, canon. You are not off the hook for that mess, and the current producers appear to be sticking your nose into the carpet and rubbing it in until you understand what you just did.

Fun episode. Can't wait for next week. ****.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Supernova, Part 1"

Nicely done. The drama was played to the hilt and the arc of things getting progressively worse was expertly built into the writing.

And I love Dal kissing Gwyn because it was a complication she didn't see coming in a situation that was already beyond complicated.

Also nice and refreshing to see a bit of redemption for the Diviner before he died. But seeing how his arc was progressing this season, it also wasn't unexpected. It felt like a natural progression for his character.

I have a hard time understanding how English is referred to as "standard." Universal translators are the one bit of futuristic tech you never want to pull threads about, but even I think that sounds unlikely.

Janeway making friends on Voyager continues to pay off.

Really looking forward to next week. ****1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Star Trek: Prodigy "Supernova, Part 2"

Solid finale.

I would be more saddened by the death of Hologram Janeway if I thought she was really gone for good. I doubt she is.

But the kids making it to Earth was a big moment.

The idea of a future wormhole and the search for Chakotay sounds like a solid plan for Season 2. Bonus points because the Diviner will still be alive. And he won't have been redeemed either. But knowing he COULD be, makes me hope for that.

I like the compromise Janeway found for the kids at the end. It was realistic and a way for everybody to be happy. I could see legit cadets upset these guys were pushed to the front of the line, but this idea is actually clever and fair.

I don't think Star Trek is a franchise that lends itself to a kids shows, and no lie, this show has had its share of problems with the juvenile tone. But the truth is the show is also better than I believed it would be when I heard it was coming out. It went through some awkward growing pains (it DOES star kids) but I think it sort of found itself by the second half of the season. ****.
 

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