The story of Star Trek: Prodigy so far is one that will be familiar to many Star Trek fans, and for once, I’m not talking about the plot of season one (as good as it is)! Rather, speaking to the sudden cancellation of Prodigy that happened back in June. Followed by the equally sudden removal of the show from Paramount+ and, in some cases, from people’s Amazon accounts, after they had paid for the episodes! Today, we review Star Trek: Prodigy Season One on Blu-ray!
If you hadn’t heard about this, you now have. As you might imagine, there was a very public outcry from fans, with a lot of that taking place over social media under the “#SaveStarTrekProdigy” hashtag. That ended up as a part of this fan campaign taking to the skies itself! A significant contributor to this outcry was the fact that after removal from Paramount+. The back half of the season wasn’t readily available anywhere for some people. However, others were able to purchase it digitally on Amazon.
Artwork and Packaging
The first wave of this boxset to be sent out features a slipcover over a standard Blu-ray jewel case. I expect future production runs, like Star Trek: The Next Generation HD releases, won’t have these if you like them. Place your order sooner rather than later!
Much like those releases, the slipcover is somewhat uninspired. It features identical art wording and layout to the cover of the jewel case. With the slight change, the ‘Blu-ray’ format banner is changed to ‘Season One’ on the jewel case. Where ‘Season One’ is under the logo on the slip. The art itself is also not original or tailored for this release. It’s one of the original promotional images for the show. At the same time, the art itself is fantastic (in this reviewer’s opinion). Something created specifically for this release would have been a nice touch.
Inside the jewel case is similarly unimaginative. The cover isn’t even printed on both sides, which is somewhat amateur. The disks are the standard CBS Home Entertainment light blue. With the show logo, technical logos and episode names on each disk. Disappointingly, if there is a special feature that you really want to see you have to put in each disk one by one or guess. The disks with this content on them just have ‘Special Features’ written on them and there is no episode listing or breakdown of the disks content included separately in the set.
As releases go. This is practically a textbook definition of a blu-ray release. Each episode and all the special features are presented in 1080p HD with a 2:35:1 letterbox format. With the aspect ratio changing on the features to fit archive or interview footage as required.
The visual quality isn’t a major upgrade over the streaming versions. Which is the case for many animated releases. Nor is the sound. The US English default soundtrack is the only one that is mastered to the DTS-HD standard. The French and German tracks are Dolby Digital 5:1 surround sound mastered. Then, the final audio track, Spanish – Latin American, is only mastered to Dolby Digital 2.0 surround.
Subtitles are featured. But only in English – United States SDH, French – Parisian, German and Spanish – Latin American. Matching the audio tracks. Which is somewhat disappointing from an accessibility perspective.
Special Features – Disk One
Prodigy’s first special feature is the only one on the first disk. Its subject is Prodigy’s first fan-favourite episode – Kobayashi. Featuring interview excerpts from creators and showrunners, the Hageman brothers. Brett Gray, who voices Dal and Jack Rossi – Prodigy’s Prop Designer.
While this is a short feature, it contains a substantial amount of footage from the episode it is named after. It’s a delightful insight into the planning and ideas behind the episode, with a particular focus on how it would impact Dal’s character.
The Hageman brothers also speak highly of Aaron Waltke. Who I have had the joy of speaking to on a few occasions and really underline how his passion and love for Trek facilitated the creation of what I now consider an iconic episode of Star Trek. The feature can be found on the first disk in the episode selection menu under Kobayashi the episode.
Special Features – Disk Two
Disk Two has a much more comprehensive set of extras. It includes (in their own menu this time) features: Trek Tradition, The Prime Directive, The Protostar Pack, The Protostar and Gadgets & Gear. Trek Tradition is a lovely feature of how Prodigy came into being and how it embodies the Trek ethos. It features excerpts from interviews with the Hageman Brothers, Alex Kurtzman, Trevor Roth, Ben Hibon, Gus Mendonça, Bastion Grivet, Kate Mulgrew, Gene Roddenberry and Eugene Roddenberry. It includes Roddenberry’s own testimony on how he brought Star Trek into being.
The Prime Directive speaks for itself on it’s topic! Prop Designer Jack Rossi presents. Including clips from throughout the franchise where characters have discussed the directive and its impact. While also discussing how Star Trek: Prodigy Season One created the legible version seen in the series with the Hagemans.
The Protostar Pack is deceptively in-depth. It’s actually eight features in one. With an individual feature on each main character (named accordingly). Plus, an introductory piece called ‘Creating Character’ with interviews from the Hagemans, Kurtzman, Animation Director CJ Sarachene and Executive Producer Ben Hibon.
While some actors present or appear in their character’s features, others (Ella Purnell, Dee Bradley Baker) do not. These sections also include audition material, early keyframe art, concepts and a look at the 3D models used in the show. So they’re well worth a watch! There is also a particularly heartwarming Kate Mulgrew interview excerpt in Hologram Janeway, but I won’t say more.
Special Features – Disk Two (continued)
The Protostar is similarly in-depth with individual features on the ship design, bridge, transporter room, cargo bay/hangar, crew quarters, engineering, holodeck and… Nacelles. I guess they thought there might have been some controversy like there was for the ample pair on the 2009 Enterprise! There’s a lot of fascinating information in these. Including the unsurprising reveal that the Protostar was intended to be the ‘race car’ of the fleet (explaining those nacelles!
They also speak about story considerations that shaped the design. Such as that, the landing capability was built in to highlight that this crew was inexperienced. So, they didn’t really consider planetary hazards that could affect the ship (otherwise, they would have used the transporter)! For any ship fans or aspiring animation or production designers, this is a treasure trove of information about the thought processes and ideas that shaped the Protostar as well as the considerations they had to make while designing the virtual sets. Like making sure all the characters faced the same way on the bridge so they were all seen as equally important!
Gadgets & Gear is similarly in depth. Just focusing on the tech in the show rather than the ship itself. The features focus on: Trek Gadgets & Gear, The Runaway (the land vehicle), Gwyn’s Heirloom, Tricorders & Phasers, Hologram, Vehicle Replicator, Food Replicator and Cloaking Device. Once again a great resource for fans and aspiring (or current) prop makers alike.
Special Features – Disk Four
Disk Four (Disk three has no extras) features The Odyssey of Prodigy, which features the Hageman’s, Kate Mulgrew, Brett Gray and Aaron J. Waltke (wearing a Protostar delta!) and others looking back on the season and the themes that they covered. There’s a particular focus on All the World’s a Stage and Mindwalk which seem like they were originally going to be their own features.
Alongside this, they speak on the topics of including Thadiun Okona. The augment angle in Dal’s backstory and why Ascencia has an accent change after her reveal (which was almost given away by a casting call leak). Tying this in with the Diviners’ character growth over the season. Ella Purnell and composer Nami Malumad also make a welcome appearance here, having been missing from other features.
The final two features focus on the production side of Prodigy. One focuses on the planets and how they used the animated format to explore the idea of ‘Strange New Worlds‘ in a way that wouldn’t be possible in live action. There are several fascinating artistic insights for budding artists or directors on how to use different effects and filters to create an environment and insight from Nami Malumad on how she used music to add to these.
The other focuses on ships, discussing the ‘lost era’ of ship design between Nemesis and Star Trek: Picard. The Dauntless, naturally, is given a fair amount of focus. With the feature exploring its journey inside and out from concept to screen. Did you know the Dauntless interfaces were designed by Trek fan and father of concept artist Jessica Rossier? Living that Star Trek fan dream!
To start with, the bad. This release definitely has its visible cracks and seams like an officially released product. Above, I mentioned that the lack of a double-sided cover for the jewel case is the most immediately obvious ‘shortcut’ taken. But many parts of the exclusive extras give the impression that they were put together in a rush. Many of the interviews clearly took place over video calls, and some of the interview footage was out of focus.
The lack of any included content index or guide for the disks is also a big mark, in my opinion. At the same time, you can guess where some of the features will be based on what they cover. If you’re after one of the more vaguely named exclusives (such as ‘The Protostar Pack’), you could rotate through disks until you find it. Depending on the disk, the features are also seemingly placed at random in either the episode menu, a special feature menu or an extras menu.
But ultimately. Suppose you’re after a physical copy of Star Trek: Prodigy Season One. This Blu-ray set will not let you down. It features all the episodes released so far in the best quality that they’ve been available to date as an added bonus. Once it lands on your doorstep, Paramount can’t (legally) prevent you from watching these episodes again as long as you keep the disks safe!
More From Trek Central
Join the Star Trek conversation via our social media platforms: