TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E3 – One Of Our Planets Is Missing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 22, 1973
Run Time: 24:09

Episode 3 – “One Of Our Planets Is Missing”

The Enterprises encounters a red, noxious cloud ravenous for consuming entire planets. They race to protect the planet Mantilles from the cloud and are engulfed by the cloud. The cloud lives upon the energy of consumed planets. While inside, the Enterprise realizes it’s like the inside of a stomach and tries to navigate toward the opening before the planet’s inner digestive digestive tract breaks down the ship’s deflective shields.

With 20 minutes left, they must navigate out or all aboard killed.

Summary

Talk about alien body horror. There are two opposing dramas here. The Enterprise trapped inside the alien cloud, will it escape and the planet the cloud is heading toward.

Rewatching I’m reminded how Star Trek used to be. Creative, entertaining, thought provoking and exciting to watch. There wasn’t much like this in Picard or Lower Decks to be found, hence the reason I’m rewatching the past. Why can’t they get the Next Generation actors together and make an animated series like STNG? It worked for the original series, so why not Next Gen?

Hard to believe each episode cost $75,000. Yes, this was nearly 50 years ago, so in today’s dollars it would be more. They probably couldn’t get any of the voice actors to work for that today.

So, probably would cost about a million or more an episode in 2020 dollars. We can always dream.

Spock saying of his mind meld with the alien cloud, “The wonders of the universe. Incredible. Simply incredible.”

This episode is excellent. It has everything that makes Star Trek cool. The only tiny takeaway is that the resolution was a bit overused in the original series when encountering alien beings. You’ll have to watch to see that resolution, however, because not spoiling here. Recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E2 – Yesteryear ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 15, 1973
Run Time: 24:09

Episode 2 – “Yesteryear”

While working with a time vortex on a planet, Kirk and Spock realize they have created a time travel paradox that had Spock unintentionally killed as a child and his mother in a shuttle action later in life. Spock travels back through the time portal to fix these changes on Vulcan. He takes the persona of his adult cousin for the family, Suleck and spends time with himself as a 7-year old Vulcan child. It’s a time when Spock is being teased because he has a human mother and Vulcan father.

Will Spock be able to teach his younger self how to control his human emotions better? Will he repair the timeline and when he returns be back as the First Officer on the Enterprise?

Summary

This episode is written by the D.C Fontana and directed, as all the first season animated episodes were, by Hal Sutherland. It plays a little homage to “The City on The Edge of Forever” by Harland Ellison in the usage of a very similar looking time portal.

While time travel stories are often overused in Star Trek, this wasn’t the feeling in the 70s when this first aired. It’s a surprisingly effective episode because, like the aforementioned live action episode, it doesn’t spend too much time on how the time machine works, it focuses on the paradoxes so easily created by any changes in the past having dramatic changes to the future.

Among the most effective time travel short stories is Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder, yet all attempts to make that on film to date have been somewhat underwhelming. The Terminator series is among the most popular and effective time travel sci-fi series in movies, although everything that has followed the first two movies has not fared as well.

Despite being kind of burned out on time travel stories, I still like watching them and had forgotten a lot of this episode. Rewatching, it reminded me that although the animation was simplistic, it was a treat hearing the original Star Trek cast voices. I’d agree with D.C Fontana that this feels like a continuation of the original series.

The animation in Lower Decks, the most recent Star Trek series is vastly better, but the unfunny storylines and annoying characters ruined that show for me (see: Star Trek: Lower Decks Annoys More Than Entertains, I’m Out!)

This episode is very good and recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E1 – Beyond The Farthest Star ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 8, 1973
Run Time: 24:10

Episode 1 – “Beyond The Farthest Star”

While performing a routine star charting mission, a red alert is sounded. Situation involves the Enterprise being rapidly pulled toward a planet in some sort of “hyper gravity” described by Mr. Spock. Captain Kirk orders Sulu to try and prevent a collision and move into orbit. Sulu compensates in the final seconds and the ship moves into an orbit velocity around the dead planet.

An alien starship sends a radio signal that Uhura receives and reports. Spock reports that the ship is dead and dates it as being in orbit around the planet for over 300 million years. Kirk orders an away mission with Dr. McCoy, Spock and Scotty to teleport over to the alien ship, complete with life support belts. They arrive and Spock theorizes that the crew aboard the ship destroyed themselves.

With a mystery to solve the crew must suddenly deal with a threat that emerges on the ghost ship and follows them back to the Enterprise. Will they remained trapped, orbiting around the dead planet or defeat the enemy and regain control of the Enterprise?

Summary

Although an animated series, this feels like it could have been part of the original series. So much that D.C Fontana, the executive who oversaw the scripts referred to it as the fourth season of the Original Season that fans wanted. All the original actors returned to offer voices except for Walter Koenig who played Chekov. Each episode was budgeted $75,000 and the animation, while not anything that spectacular or different, still holds up in 2020.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½