This animated series continues the adventures of the USS Enterprise, taking advantage of the visual freedom of animation to present stories with more alien elements. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Filmation rotoscoped three live action USS Enterprise shots from the original Star Trek (1966) series to use as stock animation. The shots rotoscoped were the ones where the Enterprise is coming toward camera in orbit (used in most of the original series), the shot where the camera zooms in on the top of the Enterprise (where the bridge is) seen in full on Star Trek: The Cage (1986) and a shot of the Enterprise zooming toward camera which also came from The Cage and was used rarely as stock footage. See more »
Director Hal Sutherland was color blind and could not tell the difference between light gray and pink. In some episodes, uniforms and spacecraft which were supposed to be light gray are colored pink. See more »
Emmy Award Winning, "Star Trek in Animation", with continuity!!!"
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 impressive.
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!!
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