TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E6 – The Counter-Clock Incident ⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
October 12, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 6 – “The Counter-Clock Incident”

The Enterprise, complete with a dignitary, the first captain, Commodore April, of the Enterprise (not Pike), encounters a ship traveling toward them and a Supernova at an unbelievably fast speed — warp 34. Captain Kirk tries to hail the ship, but they aren’t responding, so they put a tractor beam on it, barely slowing it down to warp 32. The captain of the other ship speaks in a language they don’t understand. They realize the language is running in reverse. They play the message in reverse and hear the captain saying the Enterprise is interfering with an important mission.

The alien ship ends up pulling them inside the Beta Naobi system in an unusual reverse time universe.

Summary

Commodore April being named as the first captain of the Enterprise is a bit jarring if you’re familiar with Captain Pike in the Original Series. Obviously, this wasn’t canon. Also, it’s another time travel of sorts story and, unfortunately, Star Trek has too many of those. The difference here, is they don’t actually visit a place in the past, they just travel so fast that time moves differently, which is scientifically accurate. Everybody grows younger, which will remind of several other plotlines.

Mrs. April’s voice is clearly Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) which is distracting. I’ve noticed that James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols voiced extra characters, but their voices were disguised poorly. This had me thinking a different character was talking.

This episode, at least for Star Trek, seems cliched, even for the 70s, but other movies would use the same concept later (Benjamin Button). It’s an interesting and entertaining episode, despite the story not feeling as fresh as it probably was in the 70s. I don’t remember seeing this episode before.. It’s just ok, but not recommended.

This is the last of the 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series for us to review. Despite a few weak episodes, somewhat outdated animation it was nice to hear the original series crew voicing the characters. I wish they would hae gotten some more guest stars, because it feels a little low budget sometimes, but overall, it’s too bad they didn’t make more than 22 episodes. The series overall is well worth checking out.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E5 – How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth ⭐️⭐️

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
October 5, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 5 – “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth”

The Enterprise encounters a strange ship that approaches and seemingly attacks by throwing up a force field in the shape of a globe around the ship. A Mayan-like serpent god called Kublican is responsible for the encounter. Suddenly, several crew members — Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty and an ensign named Walking Bear — are beamed off the Enterprise to a planet to solve a Mayan riddle.

Summary

Ensign Walking Bear serves as the informational source in this somewhat cryptic episode. Ancient Egyptians and Mayan culture mixed with space seems like the type of idea that Stargate would later focus on in more depth. Since we don’t understand a lot of ancient drawings and technology that seemed to built huge structures leads to a good space yarn. This episode, like too many others, just very hampered by opening to a fascinating story but doesn’t have much of a second act. It’s just show us an engaging conflict, then move to a hasty conclusion..

Serpents, an ensign used primarily as a macguffin and Mayan mystery that is solved too quickly to be satisfying leads to a somewhat mediocre episode. Promising, yes, but executed poorly. Not recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E4 – Albatross ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 28, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 4 – “Albatross”

Dr. McCoy (AKA Bones) is about to beam up after his work on the planet Dramia when the leaders present Captain Kirk with a stunning request. McCoy is being charged with unleashing a deadly plague on Dramia some 17 years ago. They take McCoy prisoner to stand for his alleged crimes. Soon, thereafter a deadly virus breaks out aboard the Enterprise and they must race against time to get McCoy back to find a cure.

Summary

It’s good to finally see Bones have a story centered around him. The original series had similar episodes where McCoy’s medical training would be essential to saving the crew from diseases and viruses. In this case he has a chance to solve two medical mysteries, if only the aliens on the planet will trust his intentions.

A good episode, but hampered somewhat as several others have been by moving too fast. By the time we’re involved in the problem, a solution is too quickly presented. It would have been cool to get deeper into an alien trial for McCoy and have the Enterprise crew situation steadily worsen.

Also, I immediately thought of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Violet turning colors as being similar to the virus symptoms. The movie was released in 1971 and this in 1974 so had me very curious if the writers were taken by that scene and decided to pay homage to it in this episode. If you’ve seen the classic movie and then watched this, you might see the similarity, whether by coincidence or design.

Nonetheless, still an entertaining episode, even if the pacing is too fast. It would have been a better episode if the story didn’t feel so rushed.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E3 – The Practical Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 21, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 3 – “The Practical Joker”

While on a routine geological mission, studying various asteroids, a trio of Romulan ships attack the Enterprise for crossing into their territory. Captain Kirk orders their escape into a nearby energy storm that shorts out the ship computer and makes it play a bunch of practical jokes on the crew.

Summary

This one has classic adventure, suspense and a little Star Trek humor. Everything a good original series included. The solution is a bit predictable, so took away a little bit from the rating there, but an otherwise enjoyable episode. Some of these stories, especially this one, feel like they would have been better extended a bit.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E2 – Bem ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 14, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 2 – “Bem”

The Enterprise is on a scouting mission on a planet with some new lifeforms. They have a guest, Commander Bem, an independent observer, assigned to monitor how they handle encounters with new and/or unknown alien species. Bem chooses to beam down to the planet with the landing party against Kirk’s concerns for his safety.

Once down on the planet, Bem separates his body underwater and seizes and replaces the phasers and communicators of the landing party. What is Bem up to? Is he conspiring with the aliens on the planet? Whose side is Bem on? You’ll have to stream in to find out.

Summary

I chuckled when Bem is literally able to rip himself into pieces. This type of episode could only be animated (at least in the 70s) — and I loved it. Both humorous and entertaining. This is like the spirit of the tribbles with a very weird and unusual alien. Somebody was smoking a lot of pot and listening to a bunch of 70s classic rock when they conceived this episode.

Bem Bem? Is this a nod to Bam Bam from The Flinstones?

But is the story any good? It’s crazy creative, that’s for sure. It’s one of the weirder episodes of the entire animated series, so giving it three stars just for the eccentric theme and story. Adding another star because of Commander Bem’s character. He almost deserves his own series, because his unusual race could lend itself to all sorts of odd, imaginative stories.

“How come we always end up like this?” said a caged Captain Kirk. That sums up this episode.

With Paramount+ now in action and the former CBS All Access gone, this is the first episode reviewed under the new banner. I’m bummed thinking there are only 4 more episodes left in the series after this to review. The series only made it a short time and one thing it doesn’t have much time to do is provide any sort of ongoing substories that arc across multiple episodes. These are standalone stories.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E1 – The Pirates Of Orion ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 7, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 1 – “The Pirates Of Orion”

Spock has become ill with a fatal disease unless he receives a life-saving drug. The problem is the nearest planet with the drug is four days travel away. Captain Kirk devises a plan to rendezvous with a ship carrying the drug sooner. An intruder ship with aliens called Orions steals the cargo before it reaches the Enterprise and then hides in asteroid. Will the Enterprise find and work out a peaceful resolution with the Orions in time to get the drug to save Spock’s life?

Summary

Kicking off the six episode second season of the animated series, puts Spock in peril and a race against time for his crewmates. One thing that kept throwing me out of this episode were the too familar extra character voices which clearly were voiced by Majel Barret-Roddenberry and George Takei. I’ve noticed Takei’s distinct voice in other non-Sulu characters throughout the series. Barrett has played the computer voice on many Star Trek shows as well as other characters including Nurse Christine Chapel.

This is one of the better animated episodes, providing a good amount of tension and conflict, fueled by a race to save Spock’s life. The Orions green, mean look a little bit like something out of the Batman ’66 TV series, but are kind of cool and fitting for a Star Trek enemy.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E16 – The Jihad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
January 12, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 16 – “The Jihad”

On the asteroid Vedala, Kirk and Spock are summoned to assist a group of aliens on an adventure to find a religious artifact. Some creative alien creatures include a golden eagle, a lizard Gorn-like creature and a green bug

The expedition takes the group to a planet filled with traps, including erupting volcanoes, extreme temperatures. Several previous expeditions have failed, will this one succeed? This is an action-packed, adventure episode. Will they successfully find and retrieve the Soul of the Skorr”?

Summary

This is the last episode of the first season run. The second season only had 6 episodes, bringing the entire series run to a grand total of 22 episodes.

Always good seeing Kirk and Spock working together, and their motley crue of fellow explorers makes this episode even more entertaining. This would have made a really exciting live action episode. Maybe someday this will be adapted. Recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E15 – The Eye Of The Beholder ⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
January 5, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 15 – “The Eye Of The Beholder”

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet inhabited by creatures that communicate telepathically. Soon, they are captured and become zoo specimens. Meanwhile, Scotty aboard the Enterprise tries to figure out how to rescue the crew and save the ship from being bombarded by the waves of telepathic requests. The creatures treat the humans as pets.

Summary

This episode reminds me of the classic Twilight Zone episode “People Are Alike All Over” starring Roddy McDowall. The idea that humans would be considered simplistic to far more advanced aliens has been covered several times. What makes this episode shocking is it seemed so fresh in the 60s and only a little cliched in the 70s. In 2021, it all seems very, very cliched and less of a surprise.

Without spoiling, this episode has an anticlimactic ending. It builds good, with the landing crew being taken capture and then, just poof, it’s over, with a very convenient and unsatisfying close. One of my least favorite episodes of the first season. Feels almost like they were running out of ideas for this one and just threw it all together like: hey, we have creatures, a planet, let’s make it a zoo for other species. Just not as imaginative as other episodes.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E14 – The Slaver Weapon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
December 15, 1973
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 14 – “The Slaver Weapon”

Spock, Uhura and Sulu aboard a transport ship with a slaver box that starts glowing. This only happens when it is near another slaver box. Time stands still inside a slaver box, explains Spock. An alien race that sees human beings as food is on an icy planet with the other slaver box.

How will the encounter with the alien race develop? What is the slaver box, really? Why does it exist?

Summary

This is one of the more thought-provoking episodes of all episodes. I miss this kind of deep-thinking Star Trek. The current era Star Trek, the Alex Kurtzman Trek, if you will, is lacking these types of episodes. I’ve read and seen videos where he’s called it “monster of the week” and that’s a dismissive and disrespectful way to look at the original Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry and company weren’t just going through the motions. Sure, sometimes they were, and admitted it, but episodes like this that make you think are the bread and butter of the franchise.

I digress. My only criticism for the episode is I missed Captain Kirk. An episode that doesn’t have him feels like drinking soda without sugar. Taking away a star for his omission but that might be unfair. It is also kind of cool that they experimented having an episode intentionally without Kirk. You’d think they could have shoehorned him into the episode somehow. Like perhaps a radio message with the ship and captain, at least?

Through the first 14 episodes, the original airings were weekly. Curiously, this episode (December 15, 1973) skipped a week from episode 13 (December 1, 1973)? Maybe there was some special back then, I don’t know what changed the pattern. If anybody reading knows the answer to this, please let me know in the comments.

With modern day TV shows, they are either binged like Netflix does with the entire season released at once or often on changing release episode schedules. Rarely, it seems that TV series new episodes are released weekly like The Mandalorian on Disney+. Unselfishly, I think this is the optimal way to release a TV series. Sure, I’d like to binge the entire season at one time, like Cobra Kai on Netflix, but there is something mystical and cool about getting a new episode every week. Being forced to consume a TV series a week at a time, that I just find captivating.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E13 – The Ambergris Element ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
December 1, 1973
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 13 – “The Ambergris Element”

A shuttlecraft is sent to the planet Argo containing Kirk and Spock. They are studying a planet that is almost completely underwater, with very small land mass. A strange red marine creature attacks the shuttle and Kirk and Spock are taken captive. When they are found 48 hours later by another landing crew, their lungs have changed and they both can only breathe in water.

Will they be able to be returned to air breathing? Why were they changed? How was this done? These answers and more are answered on this episode.

Summary

Nice change of pace seeing an aquatic storyline. The underwater aliens are cool and I like how Kirk and Spock are changed and forced to assimilate the race. Kind of reminds me of what the Borg does in TNG, but in a non-mechanical way. This was a good, entertaining episode. Well written, good voice acting as always and fits the Original Series style well. Recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️