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Title: Star Trek: The Animated Series

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:75

Many more casual Trek fans may not remember this, but the animated series is a short 1.5 year blurb in the annals of Trek history that is easily forgotten about. Not to mention the fact that it was critical in getting “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” made due to the long period of time that had passed since its series finale. After the show ended in 1969 after only making it through THREE years of the 5 year voyage of the starship Enterprise, people thought it would be dead and done. The ratings had tanked the show and the budget had dropped off, but there was still interest in making “Star Trek” actually work. Some 4 years later some of the creators of the original series spun the idea of finishing off the 5 year voyage with an animated show. The great pull of the series was not just it could be done on a shoestring budget due to the nature of a cheaply animated series, but that it also has William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and several other cast members returning to reprise their live action roles (Walter Koenig wouldn’t be reprising Chekov due to budget constraints).

Part of the charm of the original TV series was the excessive cheese and cheap effects of the day. The writing was hit or miss and that was what actually almost tanked the entire franchise. The old 1967-69 days hold a lot of nostalgia to fans, but there is little doubt in an objective mind that it was also the least cohesive and well written shows out of a ALL the “Star Trek” shows in existence. However, it has a charm all its own and that same charm is extended to the animated show as well. Some “Star Trek” fans may be a bit put off if they have never seen the show. It looks, feels and sounds exactly like a fan made show that is written to ride on the coat tails of the old live action series, and in a way it really IS that. While the live action series was only able to make it through the first 3 years of the 5 year mission, the animated series basically picks off right where the series ended, shooting the audience directly into missions without any backstory or attempt to acquaint new viewers to the world of “Star Trek”.

The show itself has the same weaknesses of the original show. Some episodes are fantastic, with great writing and an awesome “Star Trek” feel, while others meaner just a bit and act as filler. Not to mention the fact that the supporting cast feel very much like a Saturday morning cartoon vs. the better acting in the live action world. The stand outs are of course the original returning cast as the voices for their digital counterparts. Shatner, Nimoy and the rest all give a burst of energy to an otherwise kiddy version of “Star Trek”, which allows for a more cohesive bond to the 1967 series.

There has always been debate where “Star Trek: The Animated Series” is actually canon in the Trek verse, but I’ve always been of the opinion that it most certainly is. Taken directly from the original TV series it picks up where the old show left off and continues the journey out to the near completion of the 5 year mission (the second season was only a few months before it was canceled alt 6 episodes). While it is not nearly as well known as the rest of the TV series, the animated series is a fun little show that keeps with the feel and tone of the live action series and keeping up interest in the franchise until “Star Trek: The Motion Picture could be made. An event which would kick start Star Trek right into the big leagues with over 10 motion pictures, and 4 spinoffs (a 5th on the way next year as well). .

Episode Rundown

Beyond The Farthest Star
One Of Our Planets Is Missing
The Lorelei Signal
More Tribbles, More Troubles
The Infinitive Vulcan
The Magicks Of Megas-Tu
Once Upon A Planet
Mudd’s Passion
The Terratin Incident
The Time Trap
The Ambergris Element
The Slaver Weapon
The Eye Of The Beholder
The Jihad
The Pirates Of Orion
The Practical Joker
How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth
The Counter-Clock Incident


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
Looking closely at the video this appears to have been sourced from the same 2006 DVD set that I have on my shelf. The little bits of print damage and speckles match up nearly perfectly. It’s a solid transfer nonetheless, and one that looks about as good as it can get without a complete remastering from the ground up. Colors are bright and vibrant, with the reds, blues and yellows of the Starfleet uniforms blending nicely with neon greens from alien creatures, as well as all sorts of primaries and slate greys for good measure. Fine detail is quite pleasing to the eye with the hand animated lines looking fantastic. No jaggies, no DNR, no digital manipulation of any kind to the naked eye. Black levels are strong, but sometimes look a teensy bit washed out and the overall image is very stable besides some mild wobbled here and there.

Audio :4stars:
Even though it was originally in mono (there is actually a 2.0 Dolby Digital mono track for the purists) the show was remixed for 5.1 in the old DVD release and this appears to be the same mix with just the added upgrade of having a lossless encode done to it. Dialog is crisp and well centered in the front, while the rest of the front soundstage shows nice imaging up there between the mains. The surround channels are mainly utilized for the score and certain action queues that may require their use. Otherwise the new mix doesn’t try to create a wildly immersive mix that is unnatural. LFE is tight and clean, but fairly minimalistic due to being sourced from a simple 1970s mono mix. While the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track doesn’t try to be ostentatious or overly “modern”, it still maintains a high level of quality for a budget TV show and Paramount’s encode is near flawless (just hampered by the afore mentioned minimalistic style).

Extras :2.5stars:

• Drawn To The Final Frontier: The Making Of Star Trek The Animated Series .
• What’s The Star Trek Connection
• Show History

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Star Trek: The Animated Series” is usually one of the more forgotten pieces of Star Trek history, but it is one that is quite dear to my heart and actually quite important in keeping the memory of Star Trek alive during the hiatus from the show’s finale to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. The animation is a bit childish and limited due to the age it was done it, and the shows writing is about as hit or miss as the original TV show, but the enthusiasm of the returning cast and the obvious ties as a continuation of the 5 year journey make it a fun watch for any Trekkie. Audio and video are quite pleasing for an old forgotten TV show like this one, and the extra post cards and collectors packaging make this a fun set. Definitely recommended

Additional Information:

Starring: William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy
Created by: Gene Roddenberry
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, German, French, Italian DD 2.0 Mono
Studio: Parmaount
Rated: NR
Runtime: 526 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 15th, 2016

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