Prodigy Season 2: A Masterclass in Storytelling (Spoiler-Free Review)

Dal in Season 2 Prodigy premiereYou are forgiven if you stepped into Star Trek: Prodigy back in 2021 with no expectations for an animated Star Trek show co-produced with Nickelodeon. You are not alone if the rich artwork, heart-swelling orchestral score, and action-packed, comedically-laced plotlines unexpectedly blew you away. Fueled by the ambitious imaginations of its production team of true fans, Prodigy’s canon-infused blast of stellar adventure and universe-saving was a trip no one believed could be taken on the small screen scale, forget one written for kids.

With the chaos that is Paramount’s business dealings, there was true anxiety over whether Season 2 – nearly complete when word broke that Prodigy had been cut from their line-up – would ever be released. But Netflix swooped in for the save (after a fan-funded campaign hired an airplane to tow a #SaveStarTrekProdigy banner over the headquarters of the major Hollywood streaming companies) and on July 1, they released all twenty episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2.

The wait was finally over. Not only that, but the creative team, led by the Hageman Brothers, had once again created a season’s worth of missions, growth, and spectacle to excite and inspire.

Of all the shows in the Discovery-led era of Trek, only Prodigy has put forward seasons of more than fifteen episodes. Even more impressively, although the show’s protagonists are a found family from outside Starfleet and the Federation, the showrunners have made deliberate choices to fit the series into the established timeline and events of ALL its predecessors in the franchise. It’s a bonkers maneuver, knowing how keen-eyed Trek fans are, but they pull it off in spades.

But it’s not all cameos, sly references, and fan service, although there are plenty of those too. Season 2 builds on the Vau N’akat conflict introduced in Season 1. It begins with Gwyn (Ella Purnell) traveling alone to Solum to pre-emptively prepare them for first contact with the Federation in hopes of preventing the civil war that tore the planet apart after the original first contact occurred.

This opens a time travel quandary for Dal (Brett Gray). He’s stuck back at the Academy where he and the other former Protostar crew members are deemed “Hopefuls” and Dal’s already bunking off classes, forcing teachers to repeatedly call his name in roll call, à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Dr. Erin MacDonald in Prodigy

Repeatedly, he’s referred to the preeminent text, Temporal Mechanics 101 (also the title of Season 2 Episode 4), authored by Dr. Erin Macdonald, an IRL official science consultant for all of Star Trek. Yeah, did I mention the cameos? Dr. Macdonald’s isn’t her first  – she voiced a commander with her name in the Star Trek Online video game and appeared as her Trek self in the Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 finale – but having her voice and instruct Dal via the PADD is simple perfection. If anyone’s earned tenure at the Academy, it’s Dr. Macdonald.

Season 2’s long arc plot is dominated by potential catastrophes caused by time travel and paradox, always a timey-wimey good time. When rescuing Chakotay (Robert Beltran) doesn’t go exactly as planned, Gwyn’s existence is called into question by the laws of physics. While she doesn’t quite fade out piece by piece like Back to the Future’s Marty McFly, she requires a lot of help to stay put.

Luckily, The Doctor (Robert Picardo) has answered Janeway’s (Kate Mulgrew) call to adventure and is on hand to remind us (repeatedly) that he IS a doctor… who writes holo-novels. Meeting the Protostar kids adds heaps to his XP bank and inspires many new literary adventures.

The Doctor in Prodigy

Animated series rise and fall on the quality of their voice actors and it’s hard to imagine a modern-day Trek series better cast than Prodigy. (Calm down over there, Lower Decks. You’re awesome, but you don’t carry legacy alumni as regulars like Prodigy does.)

Mulgrew, Beltran, and Picardo aren’t the only familiar Trek voices on board. Some of the gets they were able to sign on (#NoSpoilers) are truly astounding. Furthermore, the addition of Michaela Dietz as Vulcan Nova Squadron cadet, Maj’El, is a delight. (Fun fact: she also voices the “chatty” cadet Grom.)

Nova Squadron

One of the key features of having a core cast of young characters is exponential development – both emotional and intellectual – comes with the adolescent territory. Over the course of Season 2, we see Rok (Rylee Alazraqui), Jankom (Jason Mantzoukas), Zero (Angus Imrie), Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), Maj’El, Gwyn, and Dal grow into their potential, face their insecurities, and learn what is worth risking to save that which needs saving. One even comes out the other end with progeny of their own! It’s not that weird, but it is a little. Obv.

Their mission to save Gwyn and solve time is hampered by numerous obstacles and antagonists, the most dangerous of which is the revenge-seeking, mostly unhinged time-traveling Vau N’akat, Ascencia, voiced by Titania herself, Jameela Jamil. But in a twenty-episode season, there are also opportunities for one-off encounters with despotic gatekeepers, mad scientists, and even some Mirror Universe shenanigans. What’s truly brilliant about each of the crew’s side-trip episodes is that they are just as important to the finale as the central ones. Seriously, Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2 is a masterclass in storytelling. *chef’s kiss*


It is stated that victory is not achieved with a single act of heroism but with many brave choices. That holds true for Star Trek: Prodigy itself. It is a series that has overcome huge odds by choosing to shape a story bursting with cinematic wonder but also filled with quiet moments of feeling and connection.

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 2 beautifully fulfills the promise of Season 1. It’s an epic tale for fans created by fans that will inspire new generations of Trek-lovers.

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