CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
November 3, 1973
Run Time: 24 minutes
Episode 9 – “Once Upon A Planet”
The inevitable shore leave episode has the Enterprise inexplicably returning to the robot amusement park planet in The Original Series episode “Shore Leave.” As if things didn’t go wrong the first time around, they beam down again for shore leave. This time everybody except Uhuru beams back to the ship to try and explain why the robot master computer shouldn’t attack the Enterprise.
My biggest problem with this episode is it makes no sense returning to the planet. Was this trying to be a reboot of the Season 1, Episode 15 TOS episode? It isn’t as good as the live action episode, leaving me just puzzled why they didn’t do a more original series.
Nothing wrong with revisiting characters and planets from TOS, as they did in the animated series and in later Star Trek series, but it should add in some way to the prior story and be a logical reason for the crew to return. The first shore leave didn’t go so well, so why when they are going to rest and relax return on this planet again? I just couldn’t get past this vexing plot point to enjoy the rest of the episode.
It’s kind of like how I felt about Futureworld ⭐️⭐️ movie compared to Westworld ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Once the robots went haywire in Westworld, who would ever trust enough to visit the robot fantasy land (so soon) again? Maybe many years later with much heightened safety protocols in place. Jurassic Park had the same issue with the ensuing sequels. When enough time had passed and we wanted to see the dinosaurs again, Jurassic World came along to enjoy success. It also expanded the idea by moving the dinosaurs out of a contained area which is an expansion on the original idea. Idiots just revisiting the dinosaur island expecting a different outcome is the type of story that strains credibility.
Ironically, my favorite movie Star Trek The Wrath of Khan revisited the TOS episode “Space Seed.” A lot of Trek fans consider that to be the strongest Trek film to date. Another favorite is First Contact which revisited an encounter with The Borg for The Next Generation crew. Both those films weren’t empty rehashed and rebooted plots, they went somewhere fresh. That’s what a sequel film should do. Cobra Kai is killing it on the TV side by taking The Karate Kid characters and conflicts and exploring it much, much deeper.
That all said, this is my least favorite episode of The Animated Series rewatched to date.
Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️