CHICAGO (CBS) — Space, the final frontier. Words we’ve all become familiar with since Star Trek first aired on TV in 1966.
Now a new animated series in the franchise is trying to boldly go where no Star Trek show has gone before. Star Trek: Prodigy is a fresh take and the very first entry aimed at a younger audience. It follows a motley crew of young aliens trying to navigate a greater galaxy in search for a better future.READ MORE: First Illinois Case Of Omicron COVID-19 Variant Confirmed In Chicago Resident
The story follows six young outcasts who know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek Franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents.
The best part is you don’t have to be a Trekkie to understand it. CBS 2’s Ryan Baker spoke with voice actors Ella Purnell and Brett Gray about what fans and newcomers can expect from the new series, streaming on Paramount+.
While it’s the third animated series in the franchise, but Gray said, “what’s awesome about this one is that it focuses on teenagers the entire time that know nothing about Star Trek at all.”
“They’re sort of jumping into it for the first time, just like a lot of audience members, especially younger audiences, will be,” he said. “So you sort of get to go along with them on this journey of finding out really what the Star Trek universe is; what it means to aspire to these higher positions and ranks in their universe.”
Gray is obviously biased, but he said the animation in Star Trek: Prodigy is incredibly beautiful and detailed, and the directors and producers have made a point of collaborating with the voice actors.
“It’s resulted in this incredibly cinematic, beautiful, 3-D shot experience,” he said. “It’s really cool to watch.”
Like Gray, Purnell is a Star Trek novice, and she said they’ve been “learning on the fly” while making the series.
Purnell plays Gwyn, who grew up on a prison colony until she was taken hostage by Gray’s character, Dal R’El, aboard the newly-discovered Federation starship USS Protostar.
Purnell said Gwyn’s father is the story’s main villain, “the guy that’s making Dal’s life miserable.”READ MORE: 71-Year-Old Man Shot Multiple Times, Killed While Heading To Store To Buy Newspaper In Chinatown
“So through association they start off almost sort of enemies,” she said. “They’re on completely different sides, and throughout the season they sort of get quite close, and what’s funny is they’re always kind of friends. You know, they’re both lonely in their own way, and they’re the only people that can actually physically communicate. And so I think they both help each other. They resemble freedom to each other, in a sort of strange way.”
Gray said young fans will “totally love Gwynn.”
“She’s an incredible character. The voice actress who plays her is absolutely incredible, and she’s just so cool. She has such awesome powers, and the character is super-strong, and moral, and is awesome. So that’s totally their way in, but I also think Dal will be funny enough for them to stay for the ride,” he said.
Gray also said the two characters seem like star-crossed lovers, like Romeo and Juliet.
“I think she deserves someone like Dal,” he said.
After working from home in the early days of production on the series, Gray said they’re happy to be back in studio.
“That’s really, really fun. It feels like I just like going into work now. I was recording out of my bathroom during COVID, so it was like another experience,” he said.
Gray and Purnell said they’re looking forward to hopefully being able to record lines with Purnell in the same booth in the future.
For now, though, they’re building chemistry over the airwaves.
“We’re great like that. We’re just professionals,” she said. “Brett’s remarkably easy to get along with.”MORE NEWS: After Shots Are Fired At Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel Following Past Criminal Issues There, Alderman Wants License Pulled
Star Trek: Prodigy is available to stream on-demand now with Paramount+.