STAR TREK – THE ANIMATED SERIES (1973 – 1974)
Created by: Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Hal Sutherland (S1) and Bill Reed (S2)
Starring voices of: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Majel Barrett
Executive producers: Gene Roddenberry, D.C. Fontana
Production: Filmnation Norway, Paramount TV Service
**MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Running for a mere 22 episodes four years after the original Star Trek series was cancelled, the animated series can be seen as an unofficial fourth season to the live action show. While the animation was cartoon-like and rudimentary compared to the incredible CGI animation we have today, the scripts and stories were actually very sound. Many of the original cast members lend their voices too, so the show is not a mere cheap cash-in. Moreover, the stories featured the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly exploring space and beyond, capturing the dramatic essence of the original show.
While it was short-lived there some fantastic episodes in the animated series. The animation allowed for more expansive and weird-looking alien creatures, especially as the make-up and effects budgets would not be stretched as on the live action show. Some curiosities I noticed while watching were the inclusion in one episode of the “holodeck” or rec room. Plus, Kirk also referred to himself, rather weirdly, by his full name James Tiberius Kirk.
Many of the episodes had strong emotional and science fiction concepts. Although, given the twenty-four minute running time of each they often felt rushed to conclusion. Indeed, some of the stories could fit a feature film no problem and perhaps the recent reboot could have looked at some as a starting point; perhaps they did? Overall, I enjoyed the show but was surprised to read it won an Emmy in 1975 for Outstanding Entertainment – Children’s Series. Then again, it was certainly smarter than your average Hanna Barbera cartoon.
Of the twenty-two episodes I would say my favourite FOUR were:
Yesteryear (S1 – Ep. 2)
Spock must travel to the past to rescue his younger self from danger.
The Time Trap (S1 – Ep. 12)
The Enterprise and a Klingon battlecruiser are drawn into a space vortex and end up in a timeless dimension.
The Jihad (S1 – Ep. 16)
Kirk and Spock are summoned to retrieve a holy artefact which could ignite a galactic war.
The Counter Clock Incident (S2 – Ep. 6)
An unusual spaceship pulls the Enterpirse into a negative universe where time flows backwards.