|via Memory Alpha|
Another benefit of an animated show was the opportunity to exhibit the vocal talents of the original series cast members, particularly a select few further down the chain of command: Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) and, most of all, James Doohan (Scotty). Roddenberry knew from the beginning that he had a vocal talent on his hands with Doohan, a veteran of radio dramas. In his audition for the original Star Trek series, Doohan offered several different choices for the accent of his character. The actor himself is Canadian. In addition to his performance as Scotty on TAS, he supplied the voices for the vast majority of the supplementary male characters.
The female characters were split between Barrett and Nichols. Barrett got more of the work early in the series, particularly computer voices. Nichols got more later on, probably in part because Barrett had a baby in 1974. I like Barrett's voice well enough but Nichols was the true star. Hers is a lilting, lyrical singer's voice, one that could be warm, ethereal, sexy, sensual, mystical, nurturing. Given her obviously superior talent, why didn't she get more of the work? Well, Barrett was married to the boss.
The canon value of the episodes is frequently debated but during the 1970s, they were the only new Trek stories on television. Perhaps they were enough to turn a few kids on to the originals, helping to build the audience for the movies, the first of which would hit theaters in 1979. They're certainly a lot of fun for those of us already converted.
Time to hand out the hardware...
Favorite Episode: "Yesteryear"
Our visit to Spock's childhood, "Yesteryear" has a strong legacy in the canon. The 2009 Star Trek reboot film used many of the elements of this story, even specific lines of dialogue. Just as important to me, the character of Thelin, Spock's replacement in an alternate time stream, displays the graceful generosity that represents the very best of Trek.
Least Favorite Episode: "The Practical Joker"
TAS's worst episodes really aren't that bad. In "The Practical Joker," the ship's computer plays tricks on the crew. The basic concept is fine but a few of the scenes run too long. For the sake of the exercise, I had to pick a clunker. "The Practical Joker" gets the nod.
Favorite New Character: Agmar
Agmar is a Phylosian, a plant-based intelligent life form encountered by our friends in "The Infinite Vulcan." He's essentially a walking, talking dandelion. He's a fine example of what one sees a lot in TAS: a strong story element in an otherwise weak story.
5 Must-See Episodes
I allowed myself 10 with the original series but with only 22 TAS episodes in total, 5 would provide a reasonable sample tour for the novice. All are from the first season, listed in order of original broadcast date:
"Yesteryear" - See above.
"The Lorelei Signal" - Other episodes have stronger stories but "The Lorelei Signal" contains my favorite scene from the series. As the Enterprise floats across the screen, we hear Scotty singing a Welsh ballad from the captain's chair.
"More Tribbles, More Troubles" - One of several sequels to TOS episodes. Cyrano Jones is at it again, peddling his furry critters. The episode also marks the first of two TAS appearances by the Klingons.
"The Survivor" - A shapeshifter story, long a Star Trek staple. Ted Knight guest stars.
"The Ambergris Element" - Perhaps the best example of a story made possible through animation. Our heroes visit the underwater world of the Aquans.
I am so grateful to my friends for joining me in this adventure, both on our blogs and on Twitter. I might have worked my way through TAS at some point of my own but it was loads more fun with company. I look forward to future endeavors!
Kudos for your venture! It's been very interesting to read your take on episodes and the mini-bios you provided. Squid, you're awesome!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Cherdo! You're nifty, too.Delete
It's been fun! I would probably not have watched the animated series had you not got me to sample it, then get quite interested in it. I sure hope you revisit the Star Trek theme in the future --there have been such wonderful incarnations of it. You're doing something remarkable here. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Thank you. I am always grateful for your wonderfully thoughtful comments. They have been among the unexpected pleasures of the adventure. I'm sure I'll revisit Trek at some point. Needless to say, it's always more fun with company...Delete
Its been a terrific journey with friends, trekking through time and remembering these epic Star Trek cartoon greats. Its interesting Barrett, Nichols and Doohan voiced over 90 parts for the show. I think they're great and God bless their creatures, lol. These guys will live on forever!ReplyDelete
I still have mixed feelings about the recent film reboot. However, I think one thing we have learned is that these characters do have plenty of life beyond the original actors. The franchise turns 50 next year. I think it's fair to expect at least 50 more.Delete
One day, I might sit down and watch these, BUT I have been planning to re-watch TOS for YEARS and still haven't done it, so, yeah, there's that.ReplyDelete
I hope you'll blog about it when you do.Delete
If I get to it, I'm sure I will.Delete
Thank You for, so much fun and interesting reviews.ReplyDelete
I have enjoyed reading every post.
My pleasure, parsnip!Delete
It's been a amazing adventure watching the series and Im glad you started the blog hop. There are some definite benefits to animation so hopefully they can work a new one out.ReplyDelete
I'd love to see that, too.Delete
Thanks again for joining me. I'm so excited for you in your upcoming venture. Keep in touch!
I've never seen the animated version of Star Trek. After reading your entry, I'm going to have to check them out!ReplyDelete
If you've never delved into the original series, I'd start with those.Delete
I enjoyed your posts. Before them, I had no idea this was an animated series. The episodes had interesting plots.ReplyDelete
I am sad to see this end. I loved reading about these episodes and how so many of the original people were involved. I realize Chekov wasn't in this and forget why. Love Doohan-he is a crazy Canuck who I heard was quite daring in WW2.ReplyDelete
Chekov was essentially a budget cut.Delete
Doohan was at D-day. He took six bullets at Normandy - friendly fire. It sounds like a cliché but his life was saved by a cigarette case.
What a fun adventure for you and for us. :) I had never heard of Star Trek the animated series- so I learned a lot from your posts about the show. I love that you selected the best ones for us to watch. Thanks!ReplyDelete
My pleasure, Jess! Thanks for chiming in.Delete