Archive for May, 2011


Star Trek: The Animated Series Re-Watch: “One of Our Planets is Missing”

One of Our Planets is Missing
Written by Marc Daniels
Directed by Hal Sutherland

Season 1, Episode 3
Production episode: 22007
Original air date: September 22, 1973
Star date: 5371.3

Mission summary

Starfleet Command has commissioned the Enterprise to investigate a cosmic cloud heading through the Pallas 14 system. Over 800,000 km across and half as deep, the cloud is immense and unlike anything the crew has ever seen. It seems to move intelligently, and sets its sights on the planet Alondra. Before they can say “horta,” it rapidly engulfs the planet Alondra and breaks it into tiny pieces. Soon it’s changed course and heads directly to a new target: Mantilles, the Federation’s most remote inhabited planet, with over 82 million residents. Do they warn those people so that a handful can escape? Is it worth it to risk full-blown panic? They decide to let the governor, Bob Wesley, in on the threat. It’ll be up to him to decide who lives and who dies.

As soon as the message is sent, however, tendrils from the cloud reach out and wrap themselves around the Enterprise.

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Star Trek: The Animated Series Re-Watch: “Yesteryear”

Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Hal Sutherland

Season 1, Episode 2
Production episode: 22003
Original air date: September 15, 1973
Star date: 5373.4

Mission summary

The Enterprise crew is assigned to help a bird creature and a woman historian with their survey of Federation history via Harlan Ellison’sTM Guardian of Forever, but they somehow end up altering the timeline. Again. Whoops!

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Star Trek: The Animated Series Re-Watch: “Beyond the Farthest Star”

Beyond the Farthest Star
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
Directed by Hal Sutherland

Season 1, Episode 1
Production episode: 2204
Original air date:  September 8, 1973
Star date: 5221.3

Mission summary

The Enterprise is on a star-charting mission near Questar M-17 when strange radio transmissions persuade Kirk to investigate. Since no good deed goes unpunished, a hypergravitational mumblemumble draws the tiny ship full speed into the dead star’s surface. The ship manages to change its trajectory enough to avoid impact and achieve a standard orbit, but once in orbit our heroes are surprised to find another ship orbiting with them. This new ship isn’t sleek and modern, but tentacled and organic-looking–a kind of pod ship. It’s the source of the radio transmissions. Spock discovers that they’re much too late to help. The pod ship has been there, drifting, for over 300 million years.

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Star Trek: The Animated Series Re-Watch: Introductory Post

Though I knew of the existence of an animated Star Trek series almost since I began following the original series as a kid, I didn’t get a chance to watch it until college.

That might have been too late.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cartoons even more than I love Star Trek, so an animated series should have been the perfect thing for me, especially since it features the voices of most of the original cast. Several writers returned, and even Gene Roddenberry was back at the helm! But just as the live-action show was a product of its time, its animated incarnation is a product of the early 70s, budget constraints, and the Saturday morning wasteland for which it was designed. Sadly, the weakest aspect of the animated series is… its animation. If the first feature film can be called Star Trek: The Motionless Picture, this show could best be described as Star Trek: The Barely-Animated Series.

And yet, the animated series was a rare second chance for the franchise on network television. The moniker “Star Trek: The Animated Series” (or the slightly clunkier “The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek“) is merely used for convenience; the show’s title is simply Star Trek, and it is very much a continuation of the original series. Despite attempts by the creators and studios to exclude the show from canon over the years, most people view it as the continuing voyages of the Enterprise’s first five-year mission. It even used the same writers’ bible, and many plot elements and aliens are referenced in the films and later series, including J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film.

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Just say nay!

One thing I keep telling people about my experience with TOS is that the highs are so very high, but the lows are so very, very low.

You can’t win ’em all, but Star Trek sometimes loses so badly. Here’s the rundown of the worst episodes.

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