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"Review - Star Trek: The Animated Series" Topic

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647 hits since 23 Sep 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 Sep 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

This is the Saturday morning cartoon version of Star Trek, which was made a few years after the original series was cancelled. It features all of the regular cast members except Chekov, who was replaced with an alien character.

It lasted 2 seasons, 1973-1975. All the episodes are available in a single DVD collection.

The original cast members provide their voices, and many also provide voices for 'extra' characters. James Doohan voices 4 extra characters plus Scotty in one episode! Nichelle Nichols does quite well with extra voices, too, but Majel Barrett's voice is too distinctive to really work well for extras.

Some consider the Animated Series to be Star Trek's 4th season. Third season had banned 'comedy' episodes, but the Animated Series lets them back, so you get a Tribbles sequel and another Harry Mudd episode. (Also a sequel to Shore Leave, but not a comedy.) The episodes are shorter, but due to the faster pace of a cartoon, there is almost as much content as a full-size show.

Due to the action-oriented nature of cartoons, some characters get more airtime than they did in the original series. Scotty looking very buff! almost replaces Bones as the third major character. Uhuru gets to command the Enterprise and save Kirk!

The series intentionally takes advantage of the format to show things you could not do in the original series, from fantastic aliens to Vulcan planetscapes, from giants to miniaturized people. You see new ships, and even an aquatic shuttlecraft.

There are also changes to appeal to a Saturday morning audience, with more 'silly' humor and less violence. Lots of running. One episode won praise for delicately handling the subject of euthanasia for pets, yet another episode where an entire ship plans suicide seems to not have bothered the censors!

Unfortunately, the cartoon is just dreary to watch, and I'm hard put to explain why. Certainly, using all-new music seems to be a mistake. Perhaps DC Fontana, who shepherded this series, was out of her depth here, or didn't 'get' the format (but she kept the characters true to form). The actors, especially in the early episodes, sound unnatural and almost sleepy.

Recommended for completists only. It is nice to hear the original cast one more time, I only wish they had figured a way to master the format for Star Trek.

And why are they Oh-REE-on pirates?!

skinkmasterreturns24 Sep 2017 2:32 a.m. PST

I have had this collection for quite some time. I originally bought it due to the nostalgia of having watched it when it was originally broadcast. Upon watching them again,I quite enjoted the episodes as "new" material,didnt find anything dreary about it,myself.

Dynaman878924 Sep 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

I'm told there were a couple of good episodes on the show but the animation was so cheaply done and the episode or two that I actually watched so mind numbing bad I can't watch any more to find out.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2017 4:43 a.m. PST

I agree that the animation was not top notch. I find the ones I've seen OK but not outstanding.

Rich Bliss24 Sep 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

Two words : "Slaver Weapon"

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 6:31 a.m. PST

+1 skinkmasterreturns – my experience exactly

boy wundyr x Inactive Member25 Sep 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

I binge-watched the set as a rental years ago, bought the set when I had the chance last year, I thought it was ok for what it was. With all the running, it gives a few more ideas for game-table scenarios (most of the live-action episodes could be gamed in on a letter paper-sized mat), plus you have the Kzinti, for better or worse.

David Manley25 Sep 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

I enjoyed it, and I've just got the series on DVD so I'm enjoying it again. OK, so the animation wasn't brilliant but then it was from the same stable as things like the Space Sentinels, Lassie's Rescue Rangers, Fantastic Voyafe, He Man, and She Ra, , with which I have a vague memory it shared some of the incidental music.

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

I remember enjoying it as a kid and not thinking the animation was bad. Was there better animation in 1973?

Dynaman878926 Sep 2017 10:26 a.m. PST

The animation was not actually bad, it was just very very limited. They used the exact same bits of animation over and over and over again. As an example, when they needed to have the characters go into space they came up with a force field instead of space suits – this allowed them to simply draw a squiggly line around the existing character animation.

Animation was in a dreadful state in 73 so I can't say anything was better.

rbmgl281426 Sep 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

I love TAS and very clearly remember its debut the animation is weak, , but considering that Filmation only had < six months between the green-light and the initial airdate, they did well enough Roddenberry reportedly tried to get Majel Barret to do a cameo as M'Ress in Star Trek, the Motion Picture, but she didn't want to endure the prosthetics needed similarly before he left the show Discovery's developer Brian Fuller expressed a desire to include the character in the show

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