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‘Star Trek: Prodigy’, Netflix, and the Binge Mistake

5 Minute Read
Jun 13 2024

Star Trek: Prodigy Season Two arrives on Netflix July 1, 2024. Great news! It’s dumping all 20 episodes on day one. Don’t do that.

The Star Trek franchise is in an interesting, albeit complex, place right now. The era which signifies the franchise’s return is in the process of ending. Star Trek: Discovery? Over. Star Trek: Picard? JOEver. And with Star Trek: Lower Decks also ending this year (unless petitions keep it alive) that leaves only Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

However, in addition to the upcoming Section 31 movie and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (now with 100% more Paul Giamatti), there is one more series out there—the CGI, family-friendly Star Trek: Prodigy. After its first season, Prodigy finds itself unceremoniously dumped from Paramount Plus as a cost-cutting measure for the parent company. However, since its second season is already done, it’s heading to a new home: Netflix. And it’s July 1st which is extremely soon.

The timing is important. With all the changes and strikes, there’s no other Trek coming in 2024 other than Lower Decks later in the year. So while it may seem like the red-headed step-child, Prodigy is actually really important to Star Trek right now. And it’s important for reasons other than timing.

And yet Netflix is set to employ it’s binging model on the series. All 20 episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy will drop on day one. And that might be a mistake. Let’s talk about why Netflix should reconsider their release schedule.

Courtesy of Paramount

Star Trek: Prodigy is For (Weekly) Lovers

Something that we see with ever decreasing frequency is shows with long seasons. Basically all Star Trek shows have 10 episode seasons right now. This falls in line with a lot of television of the moment. Heck, Doctor Who only has an 8 episode season now. And it’s a bummer! We get two months of our favorite thing and then we have to wait a year (or more, looking at you Strange New Worlds) for more.

We can argue the benefits/detriments of longer seasons, but anyone who watched the 25 episode seasons of the ’90s era Trek shows can attest—long seasons, more often than not, were pretty great. There’s room for growth. 25 episodes means every character gets multiple chances to shine.

And while it’s still possible (to some extent) to do that with 10 episodes, one misfire feels a lot bigger. A TNG era dud is a drop in the ocean. An SNW dud comparatively feels like a drop in a thimble.

Enter Star Trek: Prodigy—a show with an upcoming 20 episode second season. And that follows a 20 episode first season—one which brings together a group of disparate inmates on a prison planet and slowly forms them into a Starfleet crew. Watching weekly we get the breathing room to watch everyone find their way. And it feels great!


Dropping all 20 episodes at once takes that internal time factor away. Let’s be honest—you have 20 episodes to watch right now? You’re watching them right now. Both out of temptation and likely also out of fear of getting spoiled. In no time you have no more new Star Trek to watch. Bad for you, bad for Trek. And…

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

The Binge Model is Bad For the Online Ecosystem

Dropping every episode at once means having to knock out every article, interview, video, and podcast on the subject of Star Trek: Prodigy in a very short period of time. As both a fan and someone who makes a living talking about Star Trek, that takes a lot of joy out of things.

And that extends to every fan. Week-to-week releases for Prodigy means having time to talk, to speculate, to I dunno… fic. The reason people like me can write articles, record podcasts, and make videos is because there’s interest. Fans love talking to other fans and having rallying spaces to do that helps a lot.

You know what I do when I’m done writing my own thoughts on Star Trek? I read what Mick Joest thinks on Cinema Blend. I watch Seán Ferrick do TrekCulture‘s ups and downs live. Steve Shives and Jessie Gender—what did they think? I check in with Darren Mooney because I know he’ll be more critical and thoughtful than all the rest of us combined even if he just tweets about an episode. And then I rewatch episodes again through those folk’s eyes.

The joy of Star Trek is in far more than just the watching—it’s in the participating. But it’s a fragile ecosystem. Episodes drop one (or a few) at a time? Grand. We get months worth of write ups, podcasts, and videos. Drop the whole season on day one? Oof. That’s a few bits of content and that’s it. There’s less to enjoy over a shorter period of time—not just within the show itself, but in all the little places online that make the world of Star Trek so much more communal.


Courtesy of Paramount

The Netflix Factor

While Netflix may not be as powerful as it once was, it is still the O.G. Having a new Star Trek series on that service is a chance to grab an audience this era of the franchise has likely missed. More than that, Star Trek: Prodigy is the right show to get that chance. And that chance works best week-to-week—not binged.

Moreso than any other recent entry in the franchise, Prodigy is the one designed to teach an all-ages audience what Starfleet (and, by extension, Star Trek) is. And while it does have something to offer adults, the characters in Prodigy are predominantly children. Children who watch Prodigy unquestionably see themselves in these characters. They imagine themselves on board that ship, capable of piloting her, meeting new aliens, and reaching new horizons.

Star Trek is a show that’s appealed to its increasingly older fanbase for years. And that’s okay. But it needs to appeal to kids now more than ever and Prodigy does that. To dump the whole second season in one go is a missed opportunity. If you want to binge, there’s already a whole first season to do that with. Let this second season go out one episode at a time. Let children wait and wonder what might happen next. Let us all do that.

Lina Morgan
Author: Lina Morgan
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