On Friday, Star Trek: Prodigy, the first-ever Star Trek series aimed at children, made its linear-television debut on Nickelodeon, airing its first two episodes. Two episodes per week will Friday nights on Nickelodeon until that audience is caught up with the 10 episodes that already have premiered on Paramount+, where the series debuted despite being conceived for Nickelodeon originally. Now that the show is on both Paramount+ and Nickelodeon, it is serving two audiences: the longtime Star Trek fans looking to pass their love of the franchise onto a new generation, and children who may have no idea what Star Trek has to offer.
ComicBook.com had the opportunity to chat with creators Dan and Kevin Hageman and creative lead Ben Hibon about how being on linear television has helped shape Star Trek: Prodigy. They also revealed that one of the show's most popular characters wasn't part of the original core cast. Here's what they had to say (edited for length and clarity):
What does it mean to be on linear television in the age of streaming? Especially given this is children's television?
Dan Hageman: There are different audiences for different streamers and different channels. I think from the very beginning we were very excited to reach out to the Nickelodeon audience because these are people who probably aren't familiar with Star Trek, whereas on Paramount+ you have a lot of the Star Trek families who are introducing their children to the show that way.
How does being on linear television affect the way you tell the story? Do things need to be more self-contained?
Kevin Hageman: My brother and I, ever since our days in Ninjago or Trollhunters, we love serialization and finding that right balance where every episode does feel like its own contained concept that you get to explore, but it's always building towards something, it's always emotionally building towards something, so that's always how we envisioned this show, and there will be those challenges now that it's on linear where you can't just binge it and go right into the next episode. But we're hoping that the Nickelodeon audience embraces that, and we've seen it do well before with Avatar: The Last Airbender.
DH: And I'm excited about how Nickelodeon's launching it. They're launching it two episodes a week, so you can mini-binge.
Which character are you most excited for this new audience to meet? Are there any that have received a particularly warm welcome among the Paramount+ audience?
Ben Hibon: A lot of love for Murf, obviously, which has been really interesting since Murf has come last in the team. As it is the simplest looking character, it was the trickiest one to design. It took forever, so it's really gratifying to see the amount of love Murf has been getting.
I think Rok has also been a really big favorite in the younger audience, but all of the characters have been created and conceived at so many different levels and points of entry in terms of their arcs and what they present, and what they're fighting for and hoping for, so we hope they all connect in some way, shape, or form. But Murf and Rok have been the big favorites so far.
DH: Just to expand on what Ben was talking about, Murf was not really in our pilot. There was a blob character, but it was a very small character, and it wasn't until our first week when we were writing in Nickelodeon when we were like, "Why don't we have this blob-like character hitch a ride, because this is Nickelodeon, we're going to want to see characters like this in a Nickelodeon show." We were happy to have that eureka moment and he's definitely become one of the most beloved characters within our writing staff.
KH: It helps balance the Shakespearean villain of the Diviner, right? We can have something for the kids too.
DH: Yeah, we can go dark, and then if we ever go dark we go, "There's always Murf."
I can confirm from watching with my daughter that Murf is a big favorite. Every episode, "Is he a space slug, what is he?" And I'm like, "I don't know, I'm watching with you!"
DH: [Laughs] You're gonna… well I guess we can't talk about the next 10 episodes.
By all means…
DH: No, no, no. You'll have to wait and see.
KH: There are some surprises ahead for Murf.
Star Trek: Prodigy is part of a much larger and expanding shared universe. How do you approach the canon when writing stories with children in mind?
DH: We definitely knew we were going into a canon where there are dark days ahead. There are some important moments in Star Trek lore. We wanted to honor that and we never wanted this show to talk down. We never wanted to have like, "Oh, these are goofy Klingons." We're not the Keystone Cops.
KH: We didn't want our show to exist outside of what the other shows were doing. We wanted to be included in that universe.
Episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon. The first 10 episodes of the series are streaming now on Paramount+. New episodes will debut later this year.0comments