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Star Trek Animated

Forword


In December 2006 all episodes of "Star Trek - The Animated Series" were released on DVD. This guide was written (in German) before the DVD release (although I haven't translated it completely yet). I have the intention to review the DVD box sooner or later.

Texts: © 2004 Zelda Scott
Texts can be used when a reference to this site and me is made or after I agreed to it.

Special thanks to Madlyn Cardwell for proof-reading. She is not native to English either but an English teacher and much more proficient than I. The texts already checked by her are marked as MC approved. The other mistakes are all mine. :-)


The latest Star Trek series "Star Trek: Enterprise" is usually considered as the fifth although that is not entirely correct. It is only the fifth series dealing with real persons because in 1973, based on the three seasons of the original series, an animated series was produced which was cancelled after 22 episodes only. The "official history" as well as most Star Trek documentations ignore that fact nearly completely. That is not deserved since the stories have a very high standard and since the characters are spoken by the stars of the real series. With the exception of Chekov, who is represented with his alter ego (Walter Koenig) as screen writer, all of the known members of the crew are present. It has to be mentioned, that James Doohan, whose talent for different dialects should be well-known to Star Trek-fans due to multiples secondary literature, lends his voice to several other characters as well. Nichelle Nichols is present not only as Uhura but also as the cat woman M'Ress, who is like Arex a new entrant on the Enterprise.

In 1973, when "Star Trek: Animated" was on screen for the first time, the series was not able to gain a large audience mainly due to the early time at which it was aired. That's why, in a pre-VCR-era, the series was out of reach for an adult audience, but at the same time too ambitious to inspire children. Hence the production was cancelled in the midst of the second season although the series had received an EMMY award in 1974 for the best children series.
MC approved


Opinion of the animated series:

Since I had read of "Star Trek - The Animated Series" long before, I was glad to discover an episode of it in the Germen children TV. The result was shocking - I already knew that the German speakers were different from the ones who had dubbed the characters in the original series but they had altered the whole story to pure mockery. After a few minutes I was not able to stand the dumb comments of a wrong Spock anymore. Thereby I already knew the storylines because of the "Star Trek Logs" by Alan Dean Foster. Altogether that experience was reason enough for me to search for the original version of the animated series.

And indeed the difference between the two versions could not be greater. Although the average duration of one episode is with 25 min. only half as long as one of the original series, I continuously thought of watching one of these 79 adventures. The atmosphere is alike although the drawings are not state-of-the-art anymore.

The great advantage of the animated series is the fact that aliens and environments could be realized without any effort which had not been possible in the original series. That's why here much more aliens are included. The drawings - except for Uhura - are not that good since nearly all persons appeared much younger and especially Kirk, Spock and McCoy are barely recognizable und somehow unfinished. Nevertheless the space scenes are displayed very well since some sequences of the original series, e.g. an orbiting Enterprise, had been adopted in detail. In the meantime there is a new German version available with a new audio line close to the original although the aged speakers are too old for the young faces in my opinion. So the fact remains that the English version featuring the voices of Shatner, Nimoy, Doohan and all the others have a unique charm.
MC approved



Executive Consultant: Gene Roddenberry

Speakers:

Original-Fassung
Captain James T. Kirk William Shatner
Mr. Spock Leonard Nimoy
Dr. Leonard McCoy DeForest Kelley
Sulu George Takei
Uhura Nichelle Nichols
Chapel Majel Barrett
Montgomery Scott James Doohan
Arex George Takei
M’Ress Nichelle Nichols

Episodes / Guide

No. Titel (OV)
_________________________________________________________

1. Season
1 Yesteryear
2 One of our Planet's Missing
3 The Lorelei Signal
4 More Tribbles, More Trouble
5 The Survivor
6 The Infinite Vulcan
7 The Magicks Of Megas-Tu
8 Once Upon a Planet
9 Mudd's Passion
10 The Terratin Incident
11 Time Trap
12 The Ambergris Element
13 The Slaver Weapon
14 Beyond the Farthest Star
15 Eye of the Beholder
16 Jihad
2. Season
17 The Pirates of Orion

18 BEM
19 The Practical Joker
20 Albatross
21 How Much Sharper Then A Serpent's Tooth
22 The Counter Clock Incident

1. Season


Episode 1: "Yesteryear"

First Aired: USA 09/15/1973
Script: D. C. Fontana
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log One" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate: 5373.4: The federation uses the "Guardian of Forever (-> "The City on the Edge of Forever") to explore the history of the planet Orion. When Kirk and Spock have returned form the past nobody except Kirk recognizes Spock. Indeed the position of the first officer is manned by an Andorian. The thought of a time alteration suggests itself although neither Kirk nor Spock can remember having caused an alteration. Investigations reveal that Spock has died at the age of 7 during the Kahs-wan-test, a survival training for Vulcan children, whereupon his parents got divorced. Finally, Spock remembers vaguely that a distant relative named Selek saved his life. So he has to face the fact that he himself is Selek and that he was not able to save his own life because of his stay in Orion's past.


Spock then conducts another voyage through time on his own using the "Guardian of Forever" and experiences his childhood from a different perspective till the time for the test has come.
MC approved

Opinion:

This episode offers multiple interesting insights even though the explanation Spock could not save himself because of his stay in Orion's past is not comprehensible. The use of the "guardian of forever" makes you think because the original episode "City on the Edge of Forever" has already shown which consequences can evolve. (It is also made clear that the animated series was not considered as part of the Star Trek universe since even A.C. Crispins fabulous novel "Yesterday's Son" ignores the facts of this episode.) It is positive that many known details of the original series were included whereby the "guardian of forever" is only one of them. Besides Spock's parents (-> "Journey to Babel") also Spock's "fat toothed teddy bear" originating in the same episode is mentioned and receives here a special role. Watching Spock's childhood and his reaction to the high demands of his father is fascinating from the adult Spock's point of view. In one scene the child Spock is tormented by Vulcan children because of his heritage whereby I really doubt whether that behaviour is logical. Sarek and Amanda are well displayed in the drawings. Despite the mentioned weaknesses and the fact that this episode is nearly exclusively Spock centred without importance of the remaining crew it is a very good episode, though.
MC approved

Episode 2: "One of our Planet's Missing"

First Aired: USA 09/22/1973
Script: Marc Daniels
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log One" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate: 5371.3: The planet Mantilles that governor is named Bob Wesley (!) is threatened by a cloud destroying everything on its path. The Enterprise tries to stop it and entered it in the attempt. Only Scotty's ingenuity allows them to survive in the inside but the only way to stop the cloud seems to consist in the self-destruction of the Enterprise. Then it becomes clear that the cloud is a living intelligent being. While on Mantilles the children are evacuated Spock contacts the cloud that had not been aware that there is life on its "nourishment"...


Opinion:

This episode resembles too much "The Immunity Syndrome" as well as "The Doomsday Machine" to be really exciting. The only difference to the

episode named first is the cloud being intelligent. So Kirk feels obliged to the Prime Directive resp. in the middle of a conflict whether to act against the Prime Directive to save a strongly populated planet or not. Spock's mind meld is a "standard solution" for the communication with extraterrestrial beings (e.g. in "Devil in the Dark") and therefore not very surprising. The fact that the meld could be followed through the bridge loudspeakers is illogical und unbelievable.

All in all the episode is therefore only average but nevertheless worth seeing.

Episode 3: "The Lorelei Signal"

First Aired: USA 09/29/1973
Script: Margaret Amen
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Two" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate: 5183.7: Approximately every 27 years space ships disappear in the Taurean System. The Enterprise is to investigate that phenomenon. The moment when the point in time is reached they receiv a signal that enchants all men. Source is a planet inhabited by women only. A landing party, consisting of McCoy, Spock and Kirk, has to recognize that the women are absorbing the men's life energy so that they are aging by 10 years each day. On the Enterprise the male crew members aren't sane anymore, that's why Uhura assumes command. She summones a female rescue party…
MC approved


Opinion:

"Odysseus" meets "The Deadly Years" is a perfect characterization of the "The Lorelei Signal". This episode finally gave Uhura the possibility to prove her competence and she did so well that it is the more regrettable that in the Original Series she seldom got that chance. Indeed none of the females appeared week or fragile. One scene refers to the Chapel/Spock relationship.

The final solution to the rapid aging (using the transporters) is not convincing. Conclusion: A basically good episode that is nevertheless not one of my favorites.
MC approved

Episode 4: "More Tribbles, More Trouble"

First Aired: USA 10/06/1973
Script: David Gerrold
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Four" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate: 5392.4: Sherman's planet suffers from a dearth, the Enterprise provides assistance in transporting grain. On their way they rescue Cyrano Jones pursued by Klingons out of his ship. And again he is accompanied by Tribbles but this time they are genetically altered so that they can't reproduce themselves anymore. Instead the small pets grow into the immeasurable while the Klingons ask for surrendering Cyrano Jones and threaten the Enterprise with a weapon that is able to paralyze drive and weapons. But the weapon has its weaknesses and the Klingons are more interested in the Glommer that Jones has stolen from them. The Glommer is a specially raised and unique animal feeding of Tribbles which is urgently needed by the Klingons to "produce" further Glommers.
MC approved


Opinion:

This episode is pure fun. Written by the man who originally invented the Tribbles there are not many innovations since the point of departure as well as the solution are very similar. But just that resemblance is the cause for one or two smiles and many parallels are evident.

So there is (again) a tribble on Kirks command chair but this time growing steadily which makes the effort of removing the tribble greater and greater until Kirk keeps voluntarily standing next to it. The scenes concerning the Glommer are also were well done, e.g. when the Glommer tries to eat a tribble grown multiple times its size resp. when running away form a monster tribble.
MC approved

Episode 5: "The Survivor"

First Aired: USA 10/13/1973
Script: James Schmerer
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Two" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5143.3: The Enterprise rescues the famous but till then lost Carter Winston who is due to a medical examination by McCoy perfectly healthy. By chance his fiancée, Lieutenant Anne Nored, is security officer aboard but he rejects her love. What the crew doesn't know at first: Winston is a Vendorian, a shape shifter, working as a spy for the Romulans. He overpowers Captain Kirk and assumes his shape to head for the Romulan space where the ship is instantly surrounded by hostile vessels. But after Winston's death the Vendorian has not only assumed his shape but also he had adopted much of his character.


When Anne Nored explains to the Vendorian that appearance is not important to her and that he can expect a better future within the Federation instead of the Romulan Empire he faces the consequences of his actions.
MC approved

Opinion:

The beginning of this episode is not very interesting. Again a famous man that was lost seemed to have survived and just by chance his fiancée is aboard (-> "What are Little Girls Made of"). In addition the doppelganger principle including shape shifting is not an innovation (-> "The Man Trap"). However, the Story manages indeed to become independent which causes some amusing moments, e.g. when the wrong Winston turned into a bed in sickbay. So shape shifters are already known long before Star Trek VI and DS9 with Odo which arises the question why everybody was so surprised of such abilities.

This episode is the first appearance of Lieutenant M'Ress which brings another alien to the bridge and underlines the possibilities of an animated series. McCoy mentions his daughter but without telling her name. The end of this episode clung to the spirit of Star Trek and therefore can make forget the weak start.
MC approved

Episode 6: "The Infinite Vulcan"

First Aired: USA 10/20/1973
Script: Walter Koenig
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Two" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5554.4: The Enterprise investigates the planet Phylos. When Sulu poisons himself with a plant he is saved by natives, intelligent plants that are threatened to die out. Shortly afterwards Spock is being kidnapped and the landing party is forced to return to the Enterprise. Responsible for that is the "master" of the plant like beings, a human named Keniclius V. He is a survivor of the Eugenic Wars who managed to outlive the time by cloning himself again and again and transferring his consciousness into the copies. Kirk returns with a landing party to the planet and indeed they find Spock who is about to die. Keniclius who is oversized himself intends to create an army of oversized cloned Spocks that


should ensure freedom in the galaxy as some kind of space police. Kirk explains that peace is already reality and with that convinces at first an oversized Spock clone and then Keniclius. The original Spock can be saved by a mind meld with his clone while both giants stay on Phylos to help the natives with their problem.
MC approved

Opinion:

This episode - written by Walter "Chekov" Koenig - again uses the doppelganger principle but offers some interesting aspects nevertheless. For once it was possible because of the trick format to display other life forms such as plants. Then there are plenty of good dialogues, especially with Kirk discussing with the Spock clone about the Vulcan IDIC philosophy. All in all the episode contains no special events since it is clear right from the start that nobody of the main crew would die, therefore pretty average.
MC approved

Episode 7: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu"

First Aired: USA 10/27/1973
Script: Larry Brody
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Three" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 1254.4: When the Enterprise probes into the centre of the universe (where the Big Bang is supposed to originate) she enters another dimension with different laws of nature: magic instead of technology. A horned alien with a club foot calling himself Lucien saves the ship when the technical systems fail and protects the crew from the others of his kind. When Spock understands the logic of this universe and starts to "do magic", too, the other inhabitants of Megas-Tu become aware of the ship and sit on judgment on the crew in an imitation of the old Salem witch processes. Lucien's people had visited Earth that time but had been prosecuted because of their capabilities.


When Kirk backs Lucien up although being aware of his identity as "Lucifer" the inhabitants of Megas-Tu realize that mankind has changed and promise to welcome humans in the future.
MC approved

Opinion:

Due to the limitation on approximately 23 minutes the basic idea loses unfortunately much impact because of the necessity to hurry. Even though Star Trek shows itself at its best since the devil himself receives a second chance. The drawings of Lucien include very well the devil's stereotypes and show clearly the development after finishing TOS where Spock himself had been critically regarded at the beginning due to his satanic exterior. The idea of a universe with different laws of nature is appealing but this aspect is nearly completely buried under the historical background - what a pity. In all nevertheless very recommended.
MC approved

Episode 8: "Once Upon A Planet"

First Aired: USA 11/03/1973
Script: Chuck Menville & Len Janson
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Three" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5591.2: The Enterprise visits the "Shore Leave"-planet again. While at first everything goes as expected soon afterwards McCoy is being attacked and Uhura kidnapped. She remains alone on the planet. Kirk returns with Spock and Sulu to rescue her. They discover that the guardian has died and that the computer is in control of the planet now. It doesn't want to serve any longer and it tries to take over the Enterprise to seek out the galaxy. After some threats imposed by flying reptiles and a monster cat Kirk and Spock reach the centre where Uhura is held captive. They are able to convince the computer to change its mind.
MC approved


Opinion:

What happened in TOS only rarely - to create a connection between the contents of the different episodes - is done here very intensively. Several times references to "Shore Leave" can be found, partly to deliver the necessary background information. Indeed the information gathered by McCoy's death in the real series was used to find the way to the CPU. Till then this episode is by all means interesting.

The end, however, cannot comply with the standards since the all too commonly used argument Kirk versus computer delivers the solution. The music used for certain dangerous situations is adopted completely from the former episodes and starts wearing out. In conclusion: average.
MC approved

Episode 9: "Mudd's Passion"

First Aired: USA 11/10/1973
Script: Stephen Kandel
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Three" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 4978.5: Harry Mudd sells love drugs to mining workers on the planet Motherlode. When the drogue turns out to be without effect he surrenders himself to the Enterprise. Aboard he convinces Chapel - still deeply and in vain in love with Spock - to test it. After hesitating for a moment she indeed uses it but without effect. In the meantime, Mudd tries to escape in a shuttle, taking Chapel as his hostage. Then against expectation the drogue begins to work…
MC approved

Opinion:

"Mudd's Passion" stands without any problem in the row of the other Harry Mudd episodes and meets the same atmosphere. The character


has not changed; the same is true for his "business". That's why it is not surprising that he was able to escape the Stella copies. The episode is vastly entertaining. However, it is disturbing that Chapel who is more than a plain nurse "only" trusts Mudd to take drugs.
MC approved

Episode 10: "The Terratin Incident"

First Aired: USA 11/17/1973
Script: Paul Schneider
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Four" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5577.3: During a mapping mission the Enterprise receives a distress call containing the word "Terratin". Origin is a planet about to be destroyed and which emanates a curious radiation. This radiation causes the crew to shrink faster and faster. Since very soon a size would be reached where handling the ship would be impossible the crew searches frantically for a solution. When they are running out of time, Kirk - now measuring a few centimeters only - beams down upon the planet to search for the ones responsible for the radiation. Because of the beaming process Kirk returns to his usual size. On the planet he discovers a colony of tiny humans. Originally they were colonists from


Earth ("Terra Ten"), which were shrunk because of the natural radiation and that's why being lost. Since their communication devices were not working any more the Terratins saw their only possibility in the shrinking beam to make contact with the Enterprise. Finally the whole colony is brought aboard and is therefore rescued.
MC approved

Opinion:

Despite some logical flaws the episode is well done. The difficulties in dealing with an oversized Enterprise are interesting to watch and make clear one more time which possibilities there are with an animated series. For the first time a laboratory with guinea pigs can be seen, they shrink in the same manner as the crew did. However, it is too easy that the transporter is - again - the solution.
MC approved

Episode 11: "Time Trap"

First Aired: USA 11/24/1973
Script: Joyce Perry
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Four" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5264.2: The Enterprise investigates a part of space in which vessels keep disappearing. When a Klingon cruiser arrives both ships fall victim to that "Bermuda Triangle" and find themselves in a "pocket in the cloth of time". Several ships are already stranded there, their non-aging crews have created a peaceful society, and violence is not tolerated. Neither the Klingons nor the Enterprise wants to accept being stranded. Both ships lose energy and are not able to free themselves alone. Finally they work together but the Klingons are deceitful…
MC approved



Opinion:

For the first time humans and Klingons have to work together. Unfortunately the Klingons are described in the usual stereotypical way, they remain "the evil". So the alliance born out of necessity barely lasts for the time needed. More interesting is the society of the "Bermuda Triangle" since the ruling council contains nearly all species, which are familiar to Star Trek fans from earlier times.

So among others besides Vulcans, Tellarits, Andorians and Klingons (!) also Gorn and some races of the animated series are represented. The council's speaker for all is an Orion which makes the carefully built picture of nothing but a love slave obsolete.
The Klingongs are drawn in the TOS style and don't have any resemblance to the "Next Generation"-Klingons, which is also displayed in their life span: in this episode it is mentioned that it corresponds to the one of a human while in DS9 highly aged Klingons appear that Kirk has already met in TOS (and who therefore had to live considerably longer than a human). All in all an average episode with a nice approach.
MC approved

Episode 12: "The Ambergris Element"

First Aired: USA 12/01/1973
Script: Margaret Armen
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Five" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5499.9: Using an amphibian-like shuttle a landing party investigates the water world Argo. When being attacked by some kind of sea monster the shuttle crashes and Kirk and Spock are being thrown out. When the Enterprise finally discovers the two, their breathing systems have been altered: now they can live under water only. Considering the lost shuttle Kirk and Spock are the only ones who can investigate on the planet resp. under water. They discover that there exists a civilisation, which had been persecuted by "air breathers" in the past and therefore they are not sympathetic to them. Young Argons, however, have changed the breathing systems of both to prevent them from death. Then, a seaquake raises suspicions again.


Finally Kirk and Spock are able to win the trust of a young Argonian who finally helps them to undo the transformation.
MC approved

Opinion:

Considering the Story this episode is excellent. The only weakness is the fact that it is pressed into 22 minutes only and appears therefore rushed. The transformation of Kirk and Spock is displayed solely by webs - what a pity, there would have been more possibilities for the drawers. Nevertheless the underwater culture is done well and it is regrettable nothing similar can be seen in the real series. Interesting and worth mentioning are the life support belts. They were intended to be used in the Original Series instead of the spacesuits but have never been realized due to the higher cost factor. Here they are used under water instead of space for which they were meant for.
MC approved

Episode 13: "The Slaver Weapon"

First Aired: USA 12/15/1973
Script: Larry Niven
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Ten" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 4187.3: Spock, Sulu and Uhura are on their way to a starbase using a shuttle to hand over a "Slaver Box", a facility of an extinguished and highly developed people in which they were able to conserve things for an indefinite amount of time.

On the way the box reacts so that it can be guessed another one of its kind is in the vicinity. Spock decides to investigate. The second box turns out to be empty - a trap of the Kzinti to obtain the first box. In there a weapon is stored which the Kzinti are not able to handle with the consequence that they destroy their own vessel.
MC approved



Opinion:

This is a most unusual episode for several reasons: on the one hand there is no trace of the Enterprise, on the other the Story focuses on Spock, Uhura and Sulu only. In addition, there is - completely unlike Star Trek - a weapon inside the box (more typical would have been a facility which can be misused as a weapon). The basic situation is very

farfetched. If these boxes are indeed so rare where did the Kzinti get their empty one and how are the odds to find someone with another box to lure them into a trap?
Despite that there is much suspense in this episode; the fact that only a third of the classical triumvirate is present - Spock - is not disturbing at all. It is nice that Uhura and Sulu get the opportunity to play an active part. Here, the life support belts can be seen again.
MC approved

Episode 14: "Beyond the Farthest Star"

First Aired: USA 12/22/1973
Script: Samuel A. Peeples
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log One" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5221.3: While being on a mapping mission the Enterprise discovers an ancient spaceship of a highly developed culture. They find an old log entry, which they can translate and which explains that the crew has destroyed themselves. The reason is an evil being with the aim to spread throughout the galaxy. The warning, however, is too late since that being still exists and gains control over the Enterprise. It has no body and has survived for centuries on a near star which it cannot leave without a host body. Kirk considers the same solution as the other star ship - self destruction - but then finds another possibility…
MC approved



Opinion:

This episode is something of a forerunner of Star Trek V. The question "why god needs a spaceship" is here sufficiently explained. The story is interesting and offers a connection to "The Naked Time" due to the use of the fling shot (this time without a time warp). Once again life support belts are used. Indeed here it would not have been possible to replace them with space suits. Conclusion: recommended.
MC approved

Episode 15: "Eye of the Beholder"

First Aired: USA 01/05/1974
Script: David P. Harmon
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Eigth" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5501.2: On a rescue mission, a landing party beams down on Lactra VII to find the crew of the Ariel. There they are captured by natives looking like slugs that put them into a zoo. Communication seems to be impossible since the Lactrans are far too advanced to explain the mistake to them. Only when Spock is able to reach a child telepathically the Lactrans can be assured of the landing party's intelligence.
MC approved


Opinion:

The zoo motive is not new and was often used in SF, in books as well as in movies/TV (e.g. in "Twilight Zone"). That's why the story is not


very exciting; the same is true for the fact that Spock's telepathic capabilities offer the solution. The essence, namely the question whether it is possible to judge the intelligence of living beings adequately and whether intelligent beings possess the right to capture other creatures to display them in a zoo is an explosive topic but which is touched only slightly. However, in all average only.
MC approved

Episode 16: "Jihad"

First Aired: USA 13.01.1974
Script: Steven Kandal
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Five" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5264.2: The "soul" of the Skorr, a quite aggressive race, is stolen. If not secured war is threatening the galaxy. To avoid that scenario the Vedalens assembles a group of specialists including Kirk and Spock. Together they start their quest on an inhospitable planet…
MC approved


Opinion:

Besides the absurd situation at the beginning a lot of good moments are offered in this episode. On the one hand there is the inhomogeneous group, something that always offer much potential for a good story. On the other there are plenty of nice ideas, e.g. a battle in zero gravity.


Extremely refreshing are the advances which are made to Kirk by a female member of the group. Completely unlike the often repeated criticism that Kirk is flirting with every planet beauty it is now his turn to refuse. That is even more remarkable since the animated series were meant for children but a sexual background cannot be overlooked here. Once again it is mainly the limited time frame which is lessening the episode's quality but also the too sparsely used drawings - they enforce the impression that everything is somehow chopped. To save money, the animated series often changes only details from frame to frame by keeping the rest of the picture, e.g. concerning lip movements. Especially in such an action centred episode like this one that can not be not noticed negatively. Some story parts are losing completely.
MC approved

2. Staffel


Episode 17: "The Pirates of Orion"

First Aired: USA 09/07/1974
Script: Howard Weinstein
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Five" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5264.2: The Enterprise is threatened by a disease that is not dangerous for humans but fatal for Vulcans. When Spock becomes infected he seems to be doomed since the only possible cure is beyond of his reach. Then, another Starfleet vessel offers to obtain the medicament and to deliver it to the Enterprise. Before the rendezvous, Orion pirates attack the ship and steel the medicament, though. Spock is running out of time so Kirk tries to negotiate with the Orions. They don't trust him and are willing to destroy themselves rather than endanger their people politically.
MC approved


Opinion:

This episode, written by the later Star Trek book author Howard Weinstein, is on a good average level (which is by the way also true for his novels). Spock's physiology, usually an advantage is now the opposite, a clever move. The hints to "Journey to Babel" are too obvious to be overlooked and a nice homage. Precisely of the same reason it has to be asked whether the Orions fear consequences since they are already known as the perpetrators. Most likely nothing stayed the same after the Babel events. With that the basis for this animated episode is a little bit lacking.

Besides, for the first time, a male Orion can be seen on screen - after the female Martha in "Whom Gods Destroy". Compared to the used make-up the male Orions bear only a small resemblance. Maybe the Klingons aren't the only race that doesn't like to discuss spontaneous visual changes…

Episode 18: "BEM"

First Aired: USA 09/14/1974
Script: David Gerold
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Nine" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 7403.6: Ari bn BEM, an idiosyncratic Pandonian, is aboard the Enterprise as an observer. He is part of a landing party when Kirk investigates the - alleged uninhabited - planet Delta Theta III. Because of BEM who conduct a test on the landing party without their knowledge, they are endangered and captured by the primitive natives. In addition, the planet's inhabitants are protected by a superior god-like being and Kirk doesn't want to leave the planet without BEM.

Opinion:

To describe "BEM" as an average episode is expected too much to be asked for. There is the usual violation of the Prime Directive and again a god-like creature is part of the story. Apart from that the rest is not too interesting.


However, there are some good scenes. The Pandonian is capable of splitting his body and moving the parts separately. The idea is as brilliant as it is simple and provides an excellent moment of surprise when BEM is able to steel the communicators of both Kirk and Spock while all three of them are standing in water by splitting himself. Of course, that evokes the question why nobody on board the Enterprise knows of that feat since it is also not surprising that birds are able to fly. A highlight of the episode is a dialogue between Kirk and Spock, trapped in a cage, about the question why they get always stuck in such situations. Then, there are some nice Uhura moments as well in which she can show her competence. In all, these scenes are not sufficient to distract from the poor story. That's why, "BEM" is after all disappointing, especially considered the fact that the author was the "guy who invented the Tribbles".

Episode 19: "The Practical Joker"

First Aired: USA 09/21/1974
Script: Chuck Menville
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Six" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 3183.3: To avoid Romulans, the Enterprise escapes into a space cloud. Shortly afterwards, the crew is plagued by practical jokes, starting with trick glasses over crazy replicators to manipulated uniforms. What is funny at first becomes dangerous when it turns out that the Enterprise computer itself was the practical joker. It refuses to follow orders and finally it keeps Uhura, Sulu and McCoy locked in the recreation room where they are exposed to partly dangerous environmental conditions. Then, the Romulans reappear…

Opinion:

Here is the proof - the proof that holo-technology was known in Kirk's era. The recreation room in which Uhura, Sulu and McCoy are trapped is nothing else even though another name was used.


Considering the stardate, holodecks must be nothing uncommon during the first five-year mission of the Enterprise 1701. Since the official history negates that, it is unfortunately more a proof that the animated series is widely ignored.

The episode herself is above average and can impress especially at the beginning with plenty of good scenes and with the fact that practical jokes are funny as long as they are happening to somebody else. Unfortunately, the quality drops in the course of events, especially a blow-up Enterprise is ridiculous, just like the solution of the situation is in general.

Since the whole story takes place almost exclusively on the Enterprise and most elements don't require major movement, the spare drawing technique is not as disturbing as it uses to be - a great asset to the episode.

Episode 20: "Albatross"

First Aired: USA 09/28/1974
Script: Dario Finelli
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Six" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 5275.6: A landing party wants to return to the ship after the successful completion of a mission when McCoy is arrested. He is accused of having caused an epidemic on the neighbouring planet years ago and therefore having killed almost the whole planet population. While McCoy realizes that the accusation may be justified, Kirk tries everything to prove McCoy's innocence. On the deserted planet he finds a survivor, Koltai. McCoy saved his life back then and Koltai agrees to give a testimony to McCoy's favour. On the trip back, however, the epidemic breaks out onboard the Enterprise…


Opinion:

Shortly before the end, the animated series can provide a real treasure. Although everything turns out just fine, as expected, for a pretty long time that is naturally so and McCoy's innocence is in doubt. The solution is not entirely logical but in all, the episode is well made, with the characters nicely met and lots of exciting moments. Therefore, it is typical for McCoy to take the risk and beam aboard a contaminated ship (just to find once again the cure to a decease which nobody before was able to do for years). It is, however, not clear, while McCoy didn't use the life support belts as a protection because they were used several times before in the course of the animated series.

Episode 21: "How Much Sharper Then A Serpent's Tooth"

First Aired: USA 10/05/1974
Script: Russel Bates & David Wise
Director: Bill Reed
Story in: "Star Trek Log Six" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 6063.4: The Enterprise is captured by a mighty being that turns out to be the old Earth god Kulkulkan. Kirk, Scott, McCoy and an officer of Indian origin are transported to a city that looks like the one that was meant to be built on Earth to honor Kulkulkans. That feat was not done accordingly by any culture, though. The four Enterprise men are able to call the god. While they are talking to him, Spock finds a way to free the Enterprise from the energy field.

Opinion:

"How Much Sharper Then A Serpent's Tooth" is just terrible. Of all thinks, an Indian officer takes the navigator's seat on the bridge just in time before


the Enterprise met an Indian god and of course the officer is familiar with all the old legends. The whole story is just a variation of what is already known by the encounter with Apoll in the original series. There are some traits of the later encounters with Q in TNG, too. While the Q episodes contain at least a minimum of entertainment, the subject "mankind became mature" is here presented boring and completely serious. That, however, can be seen in other episodes, but much better.

Episode 22: "The Counter Clock Incident"

First Aired: USA 10/21/1974
Script: John Culver
Director: Hal Sutherland
Story in: "Star Trek Log Seven" by Alan Dean Foster

Story:

Stardate 6770.3: The Enterprise transports two very special passengers, Commodore Robert April and his wife. April was the first captain of the Enterprise and is now on his way to his official retiring party since he has reached with his 75 years the age to turn in. His wife had been the ship's surgeon back then.

On their way, Kirk tries to help another vessel which is heading into a nova. In the attempt, the Enterprise herself is torn away and thrown into another universe where everything runs vice versa: stars are black, space is white, forwards is backwards and even the men are living vice versa. They are born as old men and die as babies. The crew of the ship that has taken the Enterprise with her by accident helps Kirk and his crew to find a


way back. In the meantime however, the crew grows younger and younger and loses more and more of the knowledge necessary to run the ship until only April and his wife, now in their best years, are mature enough to bring the ship home. Back in normality, they use the transporter to give everyone back their proper age. April and his wife decide to abstain from a second life since their first has been fulfilled.

Opinion:

The final episode puts out all the stops and it is despite of logical gaps with the size of a hangar door well done. With Commodore April, the Enterprise herself gets another piece of history; he and his wife appear congenial and they are authentic characters. The idea of a counter-clock-universe is fascinating as well as seeing the Enterprise crew grow younger. It is, however, a little bit farfetched that their knowledge should be lost but of course that creates the frame in which April and his wife can take over. Considering the drawings, the commodore's appearance has much in common with Kirk. Later, in a next generation episode, the same idea was recycled and Picard was turned into a child but without loosing his knowledge. The solution to use the transporter for a retransformation is too simple. In addition, that evokes the question why the transporter is not used in similar situations, e.g. concerning diseases/injuries or as a youth fountain. The short timeframe didn't leave any room for another possibility, though. Finally, there is the fact that April and his wife abstain from a second youth. I consider that to be highly unrealistic, even though it was done to deliver a higher ethical message

Final remark:

So that' it, the guide to the animated series. Thanks to all who keep up with me till now.

As a consequence I can say that even after intensive examination of all episodes I am still convinced of the series high quality level and I still consider it unfair to exclude it out of the official history completely. After all, I don't ignore the later series just because I don't like the course the events had taken (not that I haven't tried :-)).

Be that as it may, there is of course good reason for ceasing the production of the animated series. While the ship and the known technical equipment like phasers, tricorders and so on were well drawn and while the music and atmosphere corresponds widely to the one known of the original series, there are mainly three criteria that handicap the animated series:

At first, 23 minutes per episode are just too short to tell a complex story. The episodes that tried just that have the problem that important elements were only mentioned marginally and so they are loosing their effects.

Second, the series was not able to determine whether it was meant for adults or children. Often, for children the stories were too complex and they demand an intensive knowledge of the original series while an adult audience must miss plenty of what was essential of the original flair.

Third, the drawings themselves are the main drawback. Like mentioned before, the Enterprise herself is nicely pictured but concerning the characters, details are missing badly. Even worse is the lack of pictures in-between - instead of using new pictures often only some elements were changed to create the illusion of movement, e.g. the movement of lips while talking. All the while everything else remains immobile, the whole background and the persons alike. Especially action centered episodes are demoted to a flip-book. That was definitively the wrong position on the list to save money on.

Considering the time it should be possible to ignore some of these drawbacks, though. Just like the original series the animated one is something special that should be rated accordingly.

Zelda Scott, original texts 2004, translation 2004-2008

Sources Used

This guide is based on the original (US) and the German version of Star Trek - The Animated Series

All texts are written by me, originally in German. Till now, all translations are also done by my with some correction by me. A friend did some proof reading (see MC approved for reference). Since neither of us is native to an English speaking country please be patient concerning language and grammer mistakes. Correction is always welcome, please send me a mail to Zelda.Scott@web.de or use the Guestbook.
The texts are based on my observations and on information gathered over the years. For verification, I used some (German) literature:

  • "Das große Star Trek Buch" by Michael Peinkofer/Uwe Raum-Deinzer, Medien Publikations- und Werbegesellschaft mbH 1997
  • "Das Star Trek Universum - Band 1" by Ralph Sander, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag München 1989