Star Trek - The Animated Series

1973 | United States

Filling the long gap between the end of the original Star Trek series and the first of the widely successful movies, this animated version from the prolific Filmation Studio chronicled the further voyages of the intrepid Starship Enterprise and its legendary crew as they boldly continued seeking out new life and new civilisations. 

Adhering strictly to Gene Roddenberry's original vision for the series, the animated version succeeded in reuniting almost the entire original cast to lend their voices to their character's animated counterparts, with the notable exception of Walter Koenig's Chekov. (Budgetary limitations being cited as the reason for his exclusion, although the actor did notch up a credit as one of the show's scriptwriters). 

In Chekov's place however, two brand new alien characters were added to the bridge crew to showcase the diversity of races that made up Starfleet. In fact many of the live series writers contributed to the new venture, including David "Trouble With Tribbles" Gerrold, D.C. Fontana and Margaret Armen. 

Although crudely executed animation wise the show nevertheless exhibited a pleasing sense of intelligence towards its audience and respect for the established Trek ethos. In Britain the BBC showed the 16 first series episodes in 1974, with the second smaller batch of just six stories following in 1976. Although now officially deemed not to be a part of the Trek  cannon, the animated adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew helped to satisfy the insatiable need of the fans at a time when a live action return for their heroes was far from assured.

Published on February 4th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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