16 August 2012

Trek Review: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth & The Counter-Clock Incident

The Animated Series comes to a conclusion with these final two episodes. The last television episodes for the original crew and the Enterprise in the form we've come to know her.

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth
KukulkanThe crew of the Enterprise are tracking an alien probe that scanned Federation worlds and Earth's solar system and headed out into space. They soon encounter a strange alien space ship that reveals itself in the image of a huge serpent, recognised as Kukulkan.

It is thought that Kukulkan visited Earth's ancient civilisations, appearing as a god to the Aztec's, Mayan's and perhaps other societies. 

Taken aboard Kukulkan's ship, Kirk and co decipher a quick puzzle that brings them to a room where Kukulkan has collected a number of creatures from around the galaxy. Kirk and co work to free the creatures and so, show that Kukulkan is in fact a mere mortal.

An interesting episode and one I remember watching on a Saturday morning as a kid. I mostly remember the intricate design of Kukulkan's serpent ship (ship geek!) The idea that an alien being visited Earth's ancient civilisations is quite plausible and well represented in this colourful episode. My only critique would be the less than subtle replacement of Mr Sulu for Ensign Dawson Walking Bear, conveniently introduced in this episode as a Native American who would recognise Kukulkan when he reveals himself to the crew.

Otherwise, a decent episode and as the commentary revealed, one that won the Animated Series an Emmy! Overall Rating, 6/10.

The Counter-Clock Incident
Sarah April and Children Crew The finale of The Animated Series begins with a look at Commodore Robert April and his wife, Sarah who are being transported to Babel aboard the Enterprise for his mandatory retirement ceremony.

En-route, the crew discover a strange alien ship heading for the heart of the Beta Niobe supernova. In pursuit and attempting to rescue the ship, the Enterprise is inadvertently pulled through with the alien ship and finds itself in an alternate universe where space is white and the stars are black.

The crew must work to return to their universe and enlist the help of the Captain of the alien ship, but not before the crew begin de-aging in this reversed universe, leaving April and his wife, the eldest people aboard to take over and perform one last mission.

A somewhat fitting finale to the series, I do like the connection to Robert April as the original commander of the Enterprise and the conversation shared between himself and Kirk in the opening scenes. The reference to the Beta Niobe supernova from All Our Yesterday's is a nice tie-in for both series, however the warp scale is considerably different here than what we would see and hear of in future series - a ship travelling at Warp 30+ and the distances covered across the galaxies in this episode are unheard of in such a short time when we get to the 24th century Trek stories. 

The transporter saves the day for the crew in probably the first convenient resolution in the Trek universe and probably also dictated by the short episode timeframe of 20 minutes. It would have been nicer for a solution other than the transporter keeping a memory of everyone to fix the de-aging process. Technically, if anything happened to anyone on the ship, just throw them into the transporter and they'll be restored?

It was at least fun to see the bridge crew as little children I suppose :P 
Overall Rating: 6/10.

Anyway, The Animated Series has concluded after 22 episodes. The stories weren't quite there as they were in the live action series but it definitely was Trek (with most of the actors returning to lend their voices for the parts) and I consider this series just as canon as the rest of them. I'll post a summary review shortly.

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