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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 3,969
Subj: Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973) and a thought on the 2009 movie
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 at 11:18:04 am CST (Viewed 172 times)

Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973)

I never got to see this show growing up. I actually bought it on DVD a few years ago and never got around to watching it. Now it's on Netflix and I finally powered through the series over the last couple of weeks.

It's interesting to see a continuation of the original series in cartoon form. Unlike a cartoon spinoff of a show or movie that usually has an entirely different team behind it, Star Trek Animated has most of the same cast of actors and some of the same writers and producers as the original series.

Apparently the orders from Gene Roddenberry were to do all the things they could imagine that the budget wouldn't allow in live action. Things they did with this allowance were labyrinthine spaceships, three-armed aliens, giants and shrinking crewmembers, and de-aging the crew to babies, among other things.

I don't think the voice cast had quite the chemistry they did on TOS. Shatner as Kirk, especially, seemed like he was reading off a script and not really interacting with the others. Though some of the charm was there.

Famously they reunited 6 of the big 7: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura and Scotty were all voiced by their original actors. Only Chekov didn't make the cut. The story I always heard was that the animation company simply couldn't find enough money in the budget for 7 regulars. Chekov was the one they could sacrifice because he wasn't an original member, he didn't come onto the show until season 2. I do note that Roddenberry's wife Majel Barrett did get a slot in the cast though, her Nurse Chapel appears in one or two episodes but she plays various aliens and other Starfleet crew members and appears in every episode, I think. So they did have money for a 7th regular. I guess Gene knew who he'd rather do a favor for. Then again, maybe she worked for free.

James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols covered most of the other guest voices on the show, I wonder if they got any extra compensation for that. Funny that at first they tried to spring for actual guest stars. They got Mark Lenard to play Sarek, Stanley Adams as Cyrano Jones, and Roger Carmel as Harry Mudd. They must have ran out of cash after that. Kor and Koloth both return but they are both voiced by Doohan, I think. I spotted transporter chief Kyle in there too and I assume he's the same guy from the series but he looks and sounds different. The Guardian of Forever has a different voice too.

All in all it was nice to see more adventures. The three-armed, three-legged Arex replaces Chekov. The catlike M'ress works Uhura's station in several episodes, maybe she's on the night shift or something.

One thing caught my attention because in my mind it sort of fills in a plot hole from the 2009 JJ Abrams movie. In that movie, Spock is helping the Romulans study a supernova that goes off unexpectedly. One assumes that a supernova takes more than a few minutes to get going so they would have a pretty reliable timetable to act on it, evacuate Romulus if their attempts to thwart it failed. So the idea of a surprise supernova was a bit tough to swallow.

In the final episode of the animated series, "The Counter-Clock Incident," the Enterprise is studying a supernova when they spot another ship passing into it. They either tractor-beam it or it tractor-beams them, and they are both pulled inside. The nova is actually a portal to an anti-matter universe (I wonder if it's any relation to the one Lazarus hailed from?) where time runs in reverse. We are treated to the odd sights of the Enterprise flying backwards and the crew de-aging into babies. They lay a map of the matter universe over a map of the anti-matter universe and discover that not everything is duplicated across both but some stars are in the same place in both. When a sun goes nova in the matter universe its antimatter counterpart is just being born. But born in reverse; it starts out as a dead star, then explodes into a nova and finally settles into a living sun. When both stars are going nova at the same time, they tear a hole between the two universes. They surmise that if they find a dead star here that shares the same space as a healthy star back home, they can blow it up, causing it to go nova along with its twin in the matter universe, giving them a bridge back home.

So maybe that's what happened in the 2009 movie. Somebody in the antimatter universe destroyed the twin of the Romulan star causing the Romulan one to blow up at the same time. Maybe they accelerated the process beyond what would naturally occur. Just a thought.

The Enterprise crew also had some neat life-support belts with force fields in this show. I guess that's so the animators could draw the characters normally with just a force field glow around them instead of a clunkier spacesuit.

They also had the Rec Room, a precursor to the holodeck.

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