Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 2, Episode 5

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (5 Oct. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Action | Adventure
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 107 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

The Enterprise runs into a being that once visited Earth and influenced the Mayan culture.

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Title: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (05 Oct 1974)

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (05 Oct 1974) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Capt. Kirk (voice)
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Mr. Spock (voice)
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Dr. McCoy (voice)
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(credit only)
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Uhura (voice)
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Scott / Arex / Walking Bear / Kukulkan (voice)
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The Enterprise runs into a being that once visited Earth and influenced the Mayan culture.

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23rd century


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5 October 1974 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The title is based upon a quote from William Shakespeare's play "King Lear" (Act I, Scene IV): "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" See more »

Goofs

When the Enterprise is under attack, Uhura suddenly turns Caucasian in a wide shot. See more »

Quotes

Kukulkan: Irrational savages, see what you have done.
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Connections

Featured in Drawn to the Final Frontier (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ambitious Cartoon "Trek" With Ideas For Future Installments
28 January 2010 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

The Animated "Star Trek" series from 1973 - 1974 was an odd bird to begin with, and this may be its most bizarre installment that actually suggests a few ideas the franchise would later re-visit on a grander scale.

An "unidentified space probe" leaving a swath of destruction in its path is headed right for the Earth, and only James Tiberious Kirk & the crew of his USS Enterprise stand between it and certain doom. The probe refuses to answer any hailing frequency communication attempts and brushes aside any attempts to stop it. The Enterprise engages the ship and finds that it is a ceramic based craft of infinite age, piloted by an equally infinitely old being known as Kukulkan, who had visited Earth eons before to teach humans to evolve into a technically sophisticated civilization patterned on the Mayans & Toltecs who would worship the being as a god.

Pretty heavy stuff for Saturday morning cartoon fare with some really cool art designs depicting a vision of the city that the being had envisioned, made of architectural components from various human civilizations like the Meso Americans, the Khmer people's Angkor Wat, the ancient Egyption obelisks, etc. Which is ironic given William Shatner's own preoccupation with the "Ancient Astronauts" theories he explored in a highly entertaining documentary released on home video under such dubious titles as CAPTAIN KIRK'S ALIEN MYSTERIES and MYSTERIES OF THE GODS. I watched it yesterday and wondered where I'd heard about jungle pyramids + Captain Kirk before. Huh.

The basic idea of an implacable alien space probe on a single minded mission to destroy the Earth because of antiquated events (the Voyager space missions, the near extinction of the whale species in our oceans) would later find greater form in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME. Though the concept had been familiar to the Trek universe since the dynamite 2nd season Original Series episode "The Changeling", which also has a mutated alien space probe on its way to apparently destroy the Earth while on some cosmic quest for knowledge.

And the idea of humans coming in contact with ancient intelligences also figured directly into three Original Series episodes: "The Immunity Syndrome", "Return To Tomorrow", and the likewise sprawlingly titled "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky". By simply shuffling around previously used ideas, writers Russel Bates & David Wise managed to come up with something familiar yet new. If anything the episode is a little overburdened with good ideas and the story feels rushed. I wish we'd been able to learn more about Kukulkan's voyages through space & time.

That lunkheaded 1974 era network television would actually allow such complex ideas to take form in entertainment primarily aimed at children is nothing short of remarkable -- A marvelous fluke, which pretty much sums up the whole Animated Series experience. It's unique stuff that has long deserved a proper place in the Star Trek franchise, and thanks to the DVD age & the internet your own Complete Series box set is only a few mouse clicks away.

6/10


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