Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 2, Episode 3

The Practical Joker (21 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Action | Adventure
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The computer of the Enterprise gains partial sentience and starts playing practical jokes on the crew.


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Title: The Practical Joker (21 Sep 1974)

The Practical Joker (21 Sep 1974) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode cast overview:
Capt. Kirk (voice)
Mr. Spock (voice)
Dr. McCoy (voice)
Sulu (voice)
Uhura (voice)
M'Ress / Computer voice (voice)
Scott / Arex / Search party 7 Crewman (voice)


To avoid a confrontation with Romulans, Kirk orders the ship through a unknown energy field. They escape the Romulans, but the energy field has changed the ship's computer into a prankster. It begins pulling more and more complicated practical jokes on the crew, finally to the point of endangering McCoy, Uhura, and Sulu on the Recreation Deck. Besides those three's lives, the Romulans re-appear and threaten the ship. The practical-joking computer actually helps distract the Romulans for a short while, but then the ship is once again set upon. Kirk tricks the computer (using reverse logic) into re-entering the energy field, which restores the computer to normal, but makes the Romulans' computers into pranksters instead. Written by Tony-B4

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Release Date:

21 September 1974 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 2270. See more »


Kirk orders a heading of 902 Mark 6. All headings must be between 1 and 360/000. They mark the points of the compass which has 360 degrees with 360 headed to the galactic center. The "mark" covers the "vertical" plane of the galaxy. See more »


Capt. Kirk: We've got serious trouble with the main computer. We have reason to believe it's kidnapped three of our crew.
Scott: [on viewscreen] Kidnapped? Blue blazes!
See more »


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

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User Reviews

The holodeck makes its first appearance
6 December 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This was actually the first Star Trek episode to feature the Holodeck--called the 'Rec Room' here. So, The Practical Joker enjoys an important link to Star Trek: The Next Generation where the holodeck appears so prominently. The Enterprise accidentally enter into Romulan territory and Kirk is now pursued by the Romulans. The crew try to elude the Romulans by entering an energy field...but the field is alive and seizes control of the Enterprise's computer where it launches one 'joke'/trick after another upon the Federation crew.

The crew were able to create any environment they choose with the use of the computer (basically the holodeck) but it malfunctions since the energy field places McCoy, Uhura and Sulu in several inhospitable situations. The Enterprise eventually escape the cloud and the pursing Romulans now get entangled in the same cloud instead. Other than the holodeck link with TNG, The Practical Joker was OK but not outstanding.

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