Rants Various and Sundry

The Promise of Star Trek: Prodigy Cut Short

I debated whether or not to mention what has been widely reported in both trade publications and fan sites, but so many visitors come to my blog for the Star Trek content. So here’s the deal: Star Trek: Prodigy has been removed from the Paramount+ less than a week since the decision was announced.

Why, it’s almost like they forgot their declared goal of not quite a year ago:

Sigh. Yeah, it won’t be the first time there’s been a disconnect between marketing and the executive decision making. I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who posted that last July are quite surprised themselves today.

And although I don’t imagine I have anything wholly novel to add to the discourse, it’s very much on my mind. I find this current trend of corporations removing these shows that they’ve made exclusively for their streaming platforms –removing them just for a short-term tax advantage– to be deeply cynical and heedless of their brands.

The post above offers the simple, straightforward promise of these streamers: that they will have a library of goodies worthy of you forking over some ducats every month. In fact, they’ll make some exclusive goodies so you won’t wander. I’d be annoyed if I knew a company threw away boatloads of widgets to better their balance sheets. This feels worse somehow, perhaps because it’s higher on that hierarchy of needs and not as easy to manufacture as a widget.

Films and TV shows are creative works crafted by hundreds to be shared and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands if not by millions. As Netflix showed lo these many years ago when it first streamed, you can add to those millions by having that online library. Cancelling is one thing. Fine. No new works in that series. Sad, but inevitable. You still get viewers. You can still make money. Ripping it from its online existence for short-term gain? No new connections?!? No new fans elated by the discovery of the work? No new viewers. No new money year over year.

That’s the insidious of this erasure, because in our increasingly digital world, this feels more like burning a book that simply not stocking it. They were building their brand, their service, in part on thes

And here my sorrow and ire is not for Prodigy by itself, but for the whole sorry trend sweeping the streaming services, even though I did enjoy Prodigy (and will need to eventually add it to the rankings). I’m sure there were Pink Ladies fans. I know there were people meaning to catch up on Westworld. I dearly wanted to share The Mysterious Benedict Society with as many people as possible. Again, because that’s the promise of streaming and it should be doubly the promise for these originals.

I knew of the Brothers Hageman thanks to my kids’ love of Ninjago, so I looked forward to see what worldbuilding for Trek they’d undertake. The first season boasts fun twists, inventive characters, and has a great journey. As you might imagine, they publicly reacted to the news gracefully.

The fact that there’s a second season almost in the can both makes the decision more insidious, but hopefully more salvageable as it’s likely to find some home. And then there’s apparently going to be something of of preview:

So here’s hoping that the promise of Prodigy can be fulfilled… and for this trend of silencing stories for tepid, short-term tax reasons to come to an end.

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