But first, an acknowledgement of the great loss suffered by the Star Trek community this past week. There isn't much I can say about Leonard Nimoy that hasn't already been said. Spock is Trek. Nimoy was Spock, and a whole lot more. He lived long and he prospered. The legacy will certainly outlive the man.
Episode: "Beyond the Farthest Star"
Series: Star Trek: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 1
Original Air Date: September 8, 1973
|via Memory Alpha|
"Beyond the Farthest Star" finds our heroes exploring the outermost rim of the galaxy, thus the title. Pulled into the orbit of a dead star, the Enterprise finds another ship in a similar predicament, apparently trapped for the past 300 million years! Our friends manage to pull away, but not before a non-corporeal entity sneaks onto the Enterprise and gains control of the starship.
The story is solid Trek. Losing control of the ship to a more powerful being is a long-standing formula. Our heroes win by convincing their nemesis that they would rather destroy themselves than submit to its domination, knowing the damage it could do to others. The franchise's moral compass is intact. There's some subtle elegance in the storytelling, too. The tale begins and ends with essentially identical log entries about star charting - rather Jabberwocky-esque.
The animation is a mixed bag. Characters are very stiff, almost like shadow puppets. But everything else is gorgeous. One of the advantages of an animated show in that era was that you didn't have to worry about special effects. If you could draw it, you're all set. The alien ship the Enterprise crew discovered is genuinely beautiful and would have been a major challenge to produce in a live-action show.
Overall, a strong opening offer. There are no references in future Star Trek stories, though a similar narrative is explored in the third season TNG episode, "Booby Trap."
|via Memory Alpha|
Animation also allowed the introduction of characters who would have been challenging to produce with contemporary makeup capablities. The absence of Chekov in the animated series also left the navigator's chair open for Lieutenant Arex, a member of a tripedal species called either Edosians or Triexians depending on whom you ask. Arex is seen in "Beyond the Farthest Star," though not voiced. In later episodes, James Doohan was his voice. Arex would have a life beyond the animated series, appearing in both novels and comic books.
If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, please add your link to the list below. In the meantime, please visit Maurice and any others who are participating. Next week: "Yesteryear."