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|Index||30 reviews in total|
Many fans have looked negatively on this series. That is too bad, and
they do not give it the attention and credit it fully deserves. Sure
there is an episode or two that was simply okay, but overall, I enjoyed
all of it.
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek", was paid money for this series. He said that it was not part of "official" Star Trek. I think that is ridiculous, since he had the final approval of all of the scripts, and there were some great ones.
If anyone faulted the animation of this show, it must be remembered of what the state of animated films was in 1973. Even Disney had cut back considerably by that time; look at Disney's "Robin Hood" to see what I mean.
Because "Star Trek - The Animated Series" had a limited budget, there was not enough money to bring back Walter Koenig to play Chekov. But the show is a fine example of how "Trek" could work in animation.
And that is its finest accomplishment of all.
Despite being only a half hour in length, this show was consistently good.
Several of the plots were just as intricate as the original series; a few
them revisited old locations (the "Shore Leave" planet; the "Guardian of
Forever") and characters (Harry Mudd) from the original series. The show
easily head and shoulders above the rest of the Saturday morning
The only real problem I had with the series is that so few of them were made (just 22); NBC simply ran the same episodes again and again. It turns out that the reason was the show's audience--children, mostly preteens, who were willing to watch the same episodes repeatedly.
All in all, it was exciting to see a new Star Trek series just four years after the original was cancelled. After this, it would be six years before the somewhat lackluster Star Trek: The Motion Picture and over a decade before the next series. Consider this a fitting coda for fans of the original series.
Some consider this to be the ho-hum followup to a great show. I
couldn't disagree more.
Aside from the fact that it's a cartoon and the episodes are rushed in 30 mins, I found this to be a philosophical cut above the Trek of the late 60s. Here in the animated series, we catch a glimpse of some amazingly progressive ideas such as non-violence, compassion and tolerance. Kirk & Spock aren't so quick to set phasers on kill as they were before. Klingon/Federation confrontations in space are resolved without bloodshed. In one episode (my favourite), Kirk defends Lucifer's right to live, because Lucifer--for all his past crimes and flaws--is a living entity. Folks, this is some advanced stuff.
Of course that means we don't see as much "action". Not many shootouts. Nothing violent really. The red shirts don't get wasted as bad. You may find yourself screaming at the TV, "Kirk, you WUSS! I woulda KICKED HIS ASS!" But that, I believe, is the whole point of Gene Roddenberry's visionary creation--that humans of the future would be a much more evolved, diplomatic and nonviolent species. This was evident in the original '66-'69 Trek, but we get it full force in the '74-'75 animated series.
If it means anything to you, both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were vegetarians for ethical reasons during the production of this show, and they still are today. (Edit 7 years after my original post: I'm pretty sure William Shatner has been poundin down the pepperoni pizzas lately, but Nimoy is still a veggie)
So if you're looking for zap-zap, kill the monster, good vs. evil stuff, you'll be disappointed. If instead you're ready for a truly philosophical mind trip, bordering on Buddhist spiritualism, then this will rock your socks.
And the music is primo.
This was a sort of follow-up to the original Trek series, which ended
in '69, using, to a large extent, the same characters and time frame of
the original 5-year mission; in fact, this is the closest we got to a
4th season of the original show. It's somewhat of a shame that this
batch of 22 episodes is largely considered non-canon in the Trek mythos
(there are exceptions: Capt.April, introduced/depicted in the last
episode, is now regarded as the actual 1st captain of Enterprise
NCC-1701 and Kirk supposedly acquired his middle name 'Tiberius' in the
episode "Bem"). I suppose this may stem from an attitude of regarding
animation as a different universe from the live action stuff - a less
realistic universe, maybe. But, in spite of many comments dismissing
this series as aimed for children, there's no degradation in script
quality or thought-provoking ideas. In fact, the main difference, for
me, was less use of violence or brute force to get the ideas across as
the stories progressed. So, in some ways, this series adhered even more
to Roddenberry's concept - the use of our minds and powers of speech to
address various problems, cosmic or otherwise. Indeed, some of the
episodes ("The Time Trap") fairly preached a sense of higher morality
that humanity should follow. All the regular actors of the original
(except Walter Koenig) returned to voice their characters, so, even in
the acting dept., there was very little reduction in quality. The show
also utilized the talents of many of the same writers, such as David
Gerrold and DC Fontana. Koenig even had a script produced (the episode
"The Infinite Vulcan").
Of course, many point to the limited animation (by Filmation) as the reason for the lack of action. Filmation was clever in reusing the same stock poses and movements of characters, placed over some impressive background paintings. The obvious advantage to the show was in depicting landscapes and giant creatures which were not possible on the original series, as well as ideas such as shrinking the crew ("The Terratin Incident"). The actor James Doohan voiced a multitude of other characters besides Scotty (Doohan was close to being overused), as did Majel Barrett, and Nichelle Nichols & George Takei also got into the act; you heard Takei as a Klingon in one episode and Nichols as a god in another. But, they did bring back a few key actors for guest roles - Mark Lenard as Sarek, for example, Stanley Adams as Cyrano Jones and, of course, Carmel as the conman Harry Mudd, in episodes which functioned as sequels or follow-ups to original series episodes ("More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Mudd's Passion"), but these actors were not credited (stock credits at the end of each episode). We also revisited the "Shore Leave" planet in "Once Upon a Planet." Chekov (and Koenig) seemed to be away on leave in these episodes (budget cuts!); instead, we saw the feline M'Ress and the extra-limbed Arex as part of the bridge crew. One bit of progressive evolution involved a more aggressive approach by the female characters: Uhura took command in one episode ("The Lorelei Signal") without so much as a by your leave and Nurse Chapel even karate chops the scoundrel Mudd in "Mudd's Passion" - so much for non-violence. What a difference just 4 years makes - clear evidence of the female liberation movement - right here in Trek!
But, the most eye-popping sequence of scenes for me was something I'd forgotten, until viewing "The Practical Joker" episode again: here we see the first use of a holodeck, in the Enterprise's 'recreation room.' So, this was not invented for the TNG show over a dozen years later! The TNG creators took the idea from an earlier Trek series! Many of the episodes were suffused with humor, usually very subtle for a supposed children's show, and main actors Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley were probably attracted to the material because of this adult approach. No, this certainly was not just a kid's show. The best episodes: "Yesteryear" - re-utilized the Guardian of Forever from "The City on the Edge of Forever" original episode, including another mind-bending time travel paradox and an expanded look at the planet Vulcan; "The Slaver Weapon" - a reworked Larry Niven science fiction story of stasis boxes containing ancient items, involving an ultimate weapon, and a great new villainous race in the Romulan/Klingon mold (but taking advantage of animation), with only Spock, Uhura and Sulu appearing as the regulars; "The Jihad" - exciting 'quest' action epic, which, despite the limits of the animation, was still as tense and suspenseful as many of the live action episodes; and "The Eye of the Beholder" - a unique perspective on zoos and intelligence, in that order; that title was also used on a Twilight Zone episode. I also liked "The Survivor," which used similar story ideas to "The Man Trap," but, as usual, without any death scenes and resulted in a more poignant version. Yes, maybe this animated series reused too many story ideas from the original, but it was still darn good Trekking. We had to wait another 5 years for the next new Trek vision - "Star Trek the Motion Picture" in '79.
This is like some lost series of Star Trek.
Carrying on from the fourth year of their five year mission this is 22 more episodes with Kirk and crew. Some episodes serve as excellent sequels to original episodes, others are absolute gems of creativity in their own right.
There is a real passion behind this series. Everything from the creative writing to the efforts put in by James Doohan doing several voices at once really gives this show it's charm.
Officially it's not part of the Star Trek time-line but that aside it does have key Star Trek elements shown for the first time.
Much like how we appreciate The Original Series today with its low-grade effects (by todays standards) - you can appreciate it for its creative value, effort and shear brilliance.
After the cancellation of the original Star Trek TV series in 1969,network
executives over at NBC came up with one of the most innovative and one of
the best 'Star Trek' series ever. Even though it ran on Saturday
Mornings,and was aimed directly at children,the series wasn't able to do
what it precessdor would have in the original,but it had a whole lot more
going than it expected being the first ever to have its own cartoon
also have the same cast from the original show to do the voiceovers. The
animated was excellent throughout,and since it had interesting stories that
went along with it,the show won several awards including two Peabody Awards
during its two year run on the NBC network(from 1973-1975).
If you do catch some of episodes there are some good ones out on video that are worth seeing,including the part where Lieutenant Uhura commands the ship when Captain Kirk and Mister Spock faced great danger on a hostile planet. It may have been forgotten,but it still holds up to this day and as one of the best animated science-fiction shows ever devised for Saturday Mornings. Re-runs are out there somewhere.
In between the time of the original Star Trek series' cancellation by NBC and Star Trek: The Motion Picture's release date, Star Trek was growing in popular at a fast pace. One can assume the purpose of this show's existence was to cash in on Star Trek's popularity. Well maybe that's why NBC ran it, but the people behind appreciated the Original Series and it showed. This series had some interesting stories, but suffered a major setback from day one. Being animated and aimed at little children, this series wasn't able to do the kind of stories the Original Series and the following series were able to. The show was not cheaply done. Animation was excellent, with all the characters looking like the actors themselves. The series probably could have succeeded in prime time. Catch the reruns where ever you can.
Trek returns as a cartoon, a medium befitting William Shatner's
This was the first attempt at reviving Trek, and for the most part, it was pretty good. It's animation, so it's limiting. It's Filmation, so it's even more limiting. Filmation was a little more low-end than their rivals at Hanna-Barbera. Stock footage was constant in their productions and the voice work was usually of lower quality. Not this time, though. The original cast, minus Walter Koenig, provided their own voices, while Nichelle Nichols and James Doohan got to play other roles. The use of animation allowed the creation of better aliens and for situations that were impossible to film with live actors or effects (or just too expensive to film). Unfortunately, it also lent the show a certain stiffness.
The stories were quite good and featured writing from several Trek veterans and even a script from actor Walter Koenig. We finally got to see Orion pirates and see Spock as a child. There were even sequels to old episodes, like the Trouble with Tribbles and City on the Edge of Forever.
All in all, the series was a fine addition to the Star Trek world and stood out on Saturday Morning. It tended to skew more to an older audience, but it kept the youngsters entertained.
Everything these days seems to relate to my childhood and early
adulthood. Perhaps since I am advancing in years, I am also dwelling
much more on the past. I remember seeing this show in a limited
capacity back in the late 80's and early 90's. Technically, I saw 3
episodes on Nickelodeon and taped them. What I saw was quite
The animated series immediately follows the cancellation of the original series and can be considered the completion of the original 5 year mission.
Pros : All the voices of the original cast are present except for Walter Koenig : William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett and even Roger C. Carmel (Harcourt Fenton Mudd) and Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones) are there. Walter Koenig does make up for it by providing a script that allows us to experience a 60 foot tall Spock. We get episodes with more Harry Mudd, more tribbles, more fun on the shore leave planet, Uhura in command, Jihad and even a meeting with Lucifer himself. Also included is an Enterprise holodeck, pre-Pike, a laughing Enterprise, a reverse-timed alternate universe, Gukumatz (a.k.a, Kukulcan, Quetzalcoatl), Mr. Scott crawling on the ceiling, a cat on the bridge, "Blue" Kirk, more solo with Sulu and a nice smear of Shatnerian cleverness and ingenuity (don't forget about Shatnerian logic). There is also a furthering of the Star Trek universe. There are things (encountering lifeforms, aliens, other members of Starfleet along with the adoption of technical schematics, other ship designs and engineering and scientific principles) that seem to be pulled straight out of the technical manuals. All this did was add color, history and background to a somewhat plastic looking universe (up to this point). Books coming to life, imagine that. The animation freed the Star Trek universe from the shackles and limitations of live action. The exotic was limited only by the imagination and the animator's skills. It's as if all the fan energy and fervor to keep the show going at NBC was transmuted into this series. The show as a whole has a "chip on its shoulder" attitude. There are more than a handful of episodes, in the animated series, that could have easily replaced the not-so-good episodes of the original series (in terms of story, acting and pure science fiction fun).
Cons: Walter Koenig does not provide his voice. He ruins what could have been an even more unique event and show. How many times do you see actors reproducing themselves in animation and in this high of a percentage? Maybe this a positive thing to consider. Chekov is instead replaced by an Edosian (a 3 legged and 3 armed alien - one arm comes out straight from his chest) weapons officer named Arex. The animation is also quite typical of "kids-style" and other animated shows of its day. Anyone who has seen animated US shows from the 60's, 70's and 80's knows exactly what I mean. The animation can best be described as minimalistic. Often the illustrators saved money and time by repeating certain scenes. These are usually repeated in various capacities throughout the life of the show. In this case we get continuity errors like : Sulu talking from a planet while at the same time being on the bridge, Mr. Scott growing a wavy mustache instantaneously, Sulu looks much like McCoy in some scenes and much, much more. It will look similar in execution to the Planet of the Apes animated show (except that show had a strange "artistic" mural quality). The length of the episodes is quite a detriment. We were used to 45 minute episodes and now we are left with approximately half that. The voice work, which is the entire cast, lacks the passion of seeing the actors in person. The voices of the extras are also voiced by the Enterprise crew, but sound fake and contrived (often with laughable results). This is not the Simpsons, Futurama or Family Guy. Even Shatner and his Shatnerisms seem to be delivered with a heavy dose of Valium.
I do not want to be misleading. For fans of the show this is an absolutely must own. If you are a weekend Trek fan (a.k.a. - the long lasting debate of Trekkie vs Trekker), you can skip it entirely without missing a beat of the original show. You may want to check out 1 or 2 episodes to see if you would enjoy it. This could also be viewed as a nostalgic romp through the world of 70's animation.
For whatever reason, I still love this show and the original group of characters. There was a chemistry between them that was hard to miss. Though the lackluster voice work and average animation blemishes this version of the show, it still extends these interactions. Even from a science fiction perspective, the animated series does not hold much of a candle to the original. If anything, I would have called this Star Trek Lite - The Animated Series or Star Trek : For Kids. Well, its time to re-watch the Infinite Vulcan. Nothing gets to me more than when they steal Spock's brain from some mixed up alien plan.
Live Long and Thrive !!
In light of today, it wouldn't be appropriate to finish this review without proclaiming the most happiest of days for William Shatner. It's his birthday. Keep it coming Willie!!
I enjoyed the original 1960's Star Trek TV show. The animated series
was, as with all animated adaptations of live action shows, a cut or
two below its predecessor, but with an interesting twist that sparked
some interest for both Trek and sci-fi fan alike.
One of my real beefs with the show was the animation. Filmation studios utilized a method of pregenerated animations as fill to allow their animators to do what little "unique" animation needed to be done for each new episode. One could rightfully call it "pre-fabricated" animation. It was a kind of assembly line art that Filmation studios used with all their animated titles, and as a kid I could see this, critique it as such, and get angry with the cheapness of show's feel.
Even so, it must be said that many of the backgrounds and layouts for the series had exceptional art quality to them. Even if the main characters were stilted as they moved through a set of pre-programmed moves, typically the backgrounds in which they moved (whether it was the Enterprise moving across a starfield or planet, or the crew wander a planet) were very rich. Despite that, even as a child, I felt cheated by people who couldn't do "good" cartoons; smooth animation with the characters in unique poses.
The stories themselves were typical sci-fi fair, but were a little more far-out in terms of their extraordinary quality because the animated venue allow for more elaborate settings and circumstances. Regrettably, as one or two others have pointed out, the stories were aimed at kids. Understandibly this was because the Animated Star Trek series was slated for Saturday Mornings when it first aired. Thus all the adult interplay, innuendo and themes of the original 1960's show were truncated.
If you're a science fiction fan, then the series is worth a viewing (maybe more). If you're a die hard Star Trek fan, then you've probably already made up your own mind about this installment of the Star Trek universe. If you're a fan of sci-fi animation, or just animation, skip this one. It'd be interesting to see this set of 22 half hour episodes reanimated (and I'm sure in time someone will do just that), because some of the stories are rather interesting.
All in all I'm glad to have the series; the music's rather good, the voices of the original cast are welcome, and the art isn't half bad. But Filmation's cheap, chinsy, factory-assembled, ill-inspired, ugly, horrible, and otherwise just plain bad and wrong animation techniques leave a bad aftertaste in this viewer's mind. Sort of like waking up with a woman who looks good only after a couple of hard shots of Jack Daniels.
ADDENDUM November 2nd, 2015 In retrospect this show was created to keep the live action series alive and possibly in the minds of newer and younger viewers who would be entering their teenage years, and would have their interests piqued with an animated version of the show that seemed to garner a lot of praise by critics and fans alike.
It was purely done to keep the show alive and usher in a newer audience, but that's really not such a bad thing. I'm just sorry the production values for an animated version of the series weren't a bit higher.
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