28 August 2012

Trek Review: Star Trek The Animated Series

I thought it would be a good idea to sum up my thoughts on The Animated Series, as a whole. Just as I have done with the three live action seasons of The Original Series.

The Animated Series serves a purpose in continuing the adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise in what could be described as their fourth season. Most of our regulars return with the notable exception of Ensign Chekov at the helm, instead replaced by the three armed and three legged Edosian, Lt Arex. The familiar dynamics between Kirk, Spock and McCoy remain and the advantages of animation shine through with other strange alien crew and characters, including the Caitian communications officer, Lt M'Ress who occasionally fills in for Uhura. There were also returns from familiar characters including Mudd, Cyrano Jones, Kor and others.

The Ambergris Element

The series started reasonably well, with early episodes showcasing that animation can create wonderful alien vistas that would have been too expensive for the live action series. Aside from this, the production crew were able to show they could still deliver Trek stories, in animation and even in a shortened timeslot. Perhaps the most popular of these is Yesteryear, which also scored highest of the entire series with an 8/10.

Other notable episodes for me include More Tribbles, More Trouble which sees a return of those furry creatures and the Klingons, The Jihad which introduces some new aliens and a quest to stop a war that could affect the galaxy (even with the reset button ending!) and The Pirates of Orion, each of these scoring a 7/10.

The Pirates of Orion

The series only dipped as low as a 5/10 on a few occasions for episodes that probably felt a bit monotonous or repetative. This was probably the only criticism for the series. While the live action shows would remain new and could be revitalised with a new soundtrack, by the time any viewer gets to about half way through The Animated Series, they would have likely heard each of the music pieces to accompany a particular scene. So much so that I could predict which music piece was about to play. This and the sometimes very still scenes that would play out (to keep down production costs) made the series a bit of a struggle to watch through at times.

There's no question that the episode content is mostly good, but some of the fun from The Original Series is missing due to the format. However, I still consider The Animated Series an important part of Trek, for its contributions to other episodes and for continuing the adventures of Kirk, Spock and co on the small screen for a little longer.

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