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Star Trek: The Animated Series

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Star Trek: The Animated Series

Star Trek: The Animated Series
Created by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by
  • Hal Sutherland (season 1) (16 episodes)
  • Bill Reed (season 2) (6 episodes)
Voices of
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time Approximately 23 minutes
Production company(s)
Original channel NBC
Picture format NTSC 480i
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 8, 1973 (1973-09-08) – October 12, 1974 (1974-10-12)
Preceded by Star Trek: The Original Series
Followed by Phase II
Related shows
External links
The Animated Series at

Star Trek: The Animated Series (originally known simply as Star Trek but also known as The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek) is an animated science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe following the events of Star Trek: The Original Series of the 1960s. The animated series was aired under the name Star Trek, but it has become widely known under this longer name (or abbreviated as ST: TAS or TAS) to differentiate it from the original live-action Star Trek. The success in syndication of the original live action series and fan pressure for a Star Trek revival led to The Animated Series from 1973–1974, as the source of new adventures of the Enterprise crew, the next being the 1979 live-action feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The Animated Series was the original cast's last episodic portrayal of the characters until the "cartoon like" graphics of the Star Trek: 25th Anniversary computer game in 1992,[1] as well as its sequel Star Trek: Judgment Rites in 1993, both of which appeared after the cast's last movie together in 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The series was critically acclaimed and was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy Award.[2]


  • Production 1
  • Broadcast history 2
  • Voice casting 3
  • Episodes 4
  • Influence on later Star Trek and Filmation series 5
  • Novelties in the series 6
  • Canon issues 7
  • Reception 8
    • Ratings 8.1
  • Video and DVD releases 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The series was produced by Filmation in association with Paramount Television and ran for two seasons from 1973 to 1974 on NBC, airing a total of twenty-two half-hour episodes. An early Filmation proposal for this series had children assigned to each of the senior officers as cadets, including a young Vulcan for Mr. Spock. According to interviews with Norm Prescott, Paramount offered Roddenberry a substantial sum of money to abandon creative control of the project and let Filmation proceed with their "kiddy space cadet" idea, but Roddenberry refused. Filmation would later develop the idea into its own original live action program, Space Academy, in 1977.

The writers of the animated series used, essentially, the same writers' guide that was used for the live-action Star Trek: The Original Series. (A copy of the "series bible", as revised for TAS, is held in the science fiction research collection at the Samuel Paley Library, Temple University, Philadelphia.)

While the freedom of animation afforded large alien landscapes and believable non-humanoid aliens, budget constraints were a major concern and, as was typical of most Filmation productions, the animation quality was generally only fair, with liberal use of stock shots. There were also occasional mistakes, such as characters appearing on screen who were elsewhere, or a character supposed to appear on the bridge's main viewing screen, but then appeared in front, indicating bad ordering of animation plates. These were typically isolated errors however. Occasionally, though, parts of episodes would be animated at a near-theatrical quality level.

Broadcast history

Airing on NBC, the series premiered on September 8, 1973 and was broadcast until October 12, 1974, although only twenty-two episodes were produced. The series aired Saturday mornings at 10:30am Eastern/9:30am Central in 1973 and at 11:30am Eastern/10:30am Central the following year.

The series was later shown in reruns on Nickelodeon in the 1980s and on the Sci Fi Channel in the 1990s as part of Sci Fi Cartoon Quest. CBS Television Distribution currently holds rights to the series; it is (as of 2014) currently broadcast on and is not broadcast on any linear channel but is currently available via Netflix streaming in the United States (as of November 2011.)

In the UK, the series was repeated on BBC2 in the 1990s.

As with all Star Trek series, the episodes were subsequently telecast in countries throughout the world, in both American English and also translated into several different languages.

Voice casting

The series featured most of the original cast performing the voices for their characters, except for Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), who was omitted because the show's budget could not afford the complete cast. He was replaced by two animated characters who made semi-regular appearances: Lieutenant Arex, whose Edosian species had three arms and three legs; and Lt. M'Ress, a female Caitian. James Doohan and Majel Barrett, besides performing their characters Montgomery Scott and Christine Chapel, performed the voices of Arex and M'Ress, respectively.

Initially, Filmation was only going to use the voices of Sulu and Uhura were of importance as they were proof of the ethnic diversity of the 23rd century and should not be recast. Nimoy also took this stand as a matter of principle, as he knew of the financial troubles many of his Star Trek co-stars were facing after cancellation of the series.[3]

Koenig was not forgotten, and later wrote an episode of the series, becoming the first Star Trek actor to write a Star Trek story. Koenig wrote "The Infinite Vulcan", which had plot elements of the original Star Trek episode "Space Seed" blended into it.

As is usual for animation, the voice actors did not perform together but recorded their parts separately to avoid clashing with other commitments. For instance, William Shatner, who was touring in a play at the time, would record his lines in whatever city he happened to be and have the tapes shipped to the studio. Doohan and Barrett, besides providing the voices of their Original Series characters and newcomers Arex and M'Ress, performed virtually all of the "guest star" characters in the series, except for a few notable exceptions such as Sarek, Cyrano Jones and Harcourt Fenton Mudd, who were performed by their original actors from The Original Series. Occasional other guest voice actors were also used, such as Ed Bishop (Commander Straker on UFO) who voiced the Megan Prosecutor in "The Magicks of Megas-tu", and Ted Knight who voiced Carter Winston in "The Survivor". Nichelle Nichols also performed other character voices in addition to Uhura in several episodes, including "The Time Trap" and "The Lorelei Signal".


The characters of TAS.

Similarly to most animated series of the era, the 22 episodes of TAS were spread out over two brief seasons, with copious reruns of each episode. The director for the first season (16 episodes) was Hal Sutherland and Bill Reed directed the 6 episodes of season two.

All the episodes of this series were novelized by Alan Dean Foster and released in ten volumes under the Star Trek Logs banner. Initially, Foster adapted three episodes per book, but later editions saw the half-hour scripts expanded into full novel-length stories.

Star Trek: The Animated Series was the only Star Trek series not to feature a cold open ("teaser") and started directly with the title sequence (although some overseas versions of the original live action series, such as that run by the BBC in the U.K. in the 1960s and 1970s, ran the teaser after the credits).

The writing in the series benefited from a Writers Guild of America, East strike in 1973, which did not apply to animation.[4] A few episodes are especially notable due to contributions from well-known science fiction authors:

  • "More Tribbles, More Troubles" was written by David Gerrold as a sequel to his famous episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" from the original series. Here Cyrano Jones is rescued from the Klingons, bringing with him a genetically altered breed of tribbles which do not reproduce but do grow extremely large. (It is later discovered that these are really clusters of tribbles who function as a single tribble, and it is decided that the large numbers of smaller tribbles are preferable to the larger ones.) The Klingons, due to their hatred of tribbles, are eager to get Jones back because he stole a creature they created: a predator called a "glommer" that feeds on tribbles. This episode was originally written with the intention of being an episode of the live-action original series during the third season, but this was vetoed by Fred Freiberger, who wanted serious sci-fi episodes instead, stressing that Star Trek is not a comedy.
  • Larry Niven's "The Slaver Weapon", adapted from his own short story "The Soft Weapon". It includes some elements from his Known Space mythos such as the Kzinti and the Slavers. This is the only Kirk-era TV or movie story in which Kirk didn't appear. This episode is also the only one in which characters are shown dying or being killed.
  • "The Magicks of Megas-tu", by Larry Brody, sends the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy. The crew members are befriended by a devil-like alien named Lucien, whom they defend against accusations that he has brought evil to the world of Megas-tu.

Influence on later Star Trek and Filmation series

Scotty faces problems with the food replicator in the episode "The Practical Joker". This episode featured an early use of the holodeck.
Actor Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

The USS Enterprise in this series, while supposedly the same ship as from the original series, had a holodeck similar to the one introduced on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was set about eighty years later. It only appeared once, in Chuck Menville's "The Practical Joker", and was known as the "Rec Room". This feature was originally proposed for the original series (see, e.g., Gerrold, The World of Star Trek) but was never used.

Filmation later went on to produce the hit He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983–85), which occasionally used modified character and set designs from Star Trek: The Animated Series, mostly as background material. (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe also had several Trek-similar stories, most notably "The Arena", which is similar to Star Trek: The Original Series's first season episode, "Arena"; regular Trek writer D. C. Fontana also penned the second season He-Man episode "Battlecat"). Later series also shared many of the stock sound effects from both Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: The Original Series. Filmation also recycled some of the background music for Star Trek: The Animated Series in their later shows Shazam!, Tarzan and the Super 7 and Sport Billy. (Some of the music had already been reused from the previous season's The Brady Kids and the Treasure Island feature, and were shared with that season's Lassie's Rescue Rangers).

In addition, a few story and character elements that were introduced in the animated series were incorporated into subsequent live-action productions:

  • Amanda's maiden name, Grayson.
  • A second exit for the bridge, referred to in Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual and seen in the refitted Enterprise and the NCC-1701-A from the first six Star Trek movies.
  • The kahs-wan ritual Spock endures in "Yesteryear".
  • Klingon commander Kor's command of the battlecruiser Klothos.
  • Doctor Phlox uses Edosian slugs in his medical bay, and Chef once served up Edosian sucker fish, similar to Earth's catfish, as a meal, in the series Star Trek: Enterprise. They come from the same planet as Lieutenant Arex, as do Edosian orchids mentioned by Elim Garak in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • The Vulcan city, ShiKahr, has been referred to in multiple series (sometimes misspelled "ShirKahr"), and can be seen in an episode of Enterprise. A Vulcan city which looks similar to the ShiKahr of Star Trek: The Animated Series was shown in the new CGI establishing shots used in the special edition of "Amok Time".
  • Some of the worlds and aliens in the series were included in the 1989 book called Star Trek: The Worlds of the Federation.
  • Some of Spock's dialog from "Yesteryear", and young Spock being bullied by Vulcan classmates, are given homage in the 2009 feature film, Star Trek.
  • Kirk's middle name was revealed in this series as Tiberius in the "Bem" episode, answering the question of what the 'T.' in his name stood for in the original live action series until Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (although it was mentioned in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
  • The sehlat's appearance, shown in Yesteryear, was given a CGI look for the live-action series Star Trek: Enterprise.

Novelties in the series

A personal force field technology known as the life support belt was seen only in Star Trek: The Animated Series. In addition to supplying the wearer with the appropriate atmosphere and environmental protection it permitted the animators to simply draw the belt and yellow glow around the existing characters, instead of having to redraw them with an environmental suit. A version of the life support belt later appeared in an early Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, The Peacekeepers, where they were referred to as "field-effect suits".

The episode "The Lorelei Signal" provides a rare instance in early Star Trek in which a female took (temporary) command of a starship. Due to the incapacitation of the male members of the crew, Uhura assumes command of the Enterprise from Scotty. Other instances occurred on the first and last adventures ever filmed of the original series:

"The Lorelei Signal" and "The Infinite Vulcan", the latter written by Walter Koenig, are rare occurrences where Captain Kirk comes close to actually saying, "Beam me up, Scotty" (long erroneously believed to be a Star Trek catchphrase), when he commands "Beam us up, Scotty." Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home arguably comes closer to it by having Kirk say "Scotty, beam me in".

An anti-pollution public service announcement was created for nonprofit Keep America Beautiful featuring the ST:TAS characters and original cast voices. In the ad, the Enterprise encounters the "Rhombian Pollution Belt".[5] The ad ran during Saturday morning network programming during the series' run.

The animated series also dispensed with the original series' theme music, composed by Alexander Courage, in favor of a new theme credited to Yvette Blais and Jeff Michael (actually Filmation composer Ray Ellis, working under a pseudonym). This has never been publicly explained; one possible explanation is that the producers wished to avoid having to pay royalties for using the original theme.

Canon issues

At the end of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, all licenses for ''Star Trek'' spin-off fiction were renegotiated, and the animated series was essentially "decanonized" by Gene Roddenberry's office. Writers of the novels, comics and role-playing games were prohibited from using concepts from the animated series in their works.[6] Among the facts established within the animated series that were called into question by the "official canon" issue was its identification of Robert April as the first captain of the USS Enterprise in the episode "The Counter-Clock Incident".

The Star Trek Chronology by production staffers Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda does not include the animated series, but does include certain events from "Yesteryear" and acknowledges Robert April as first captain of the Enterprise.[7] The timeline in Voyages of the Imagination dates the events of the series to 2269-2270, assuming the events of the show represented the final part of Kirk's five-year mission, and using revised Alan Dean Foster stardates. In the updated October 1999 edition of their book: 'The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future', Michael and Denise Okuda state that:

'In a related vein, this work (i.e. book) adheres to Paramount studio policy that regards the animated Star Trek series as not being part of the "official" Star Trek universe, even though we count ourselves among that show's fans. Of course, the final decision as to the "authenticity" of the animated episodes, as with all elements of the show, must clearly be the choice of each individual reader.'[8]

Since Roddenberry's death in 1991 and the consequent firing of Richard H. Arnold (who vetted the licensed tie-ins for Roddenberry's Star Trek office at Paramount during its later years), there have been several references to the animated series in the various live-action series. In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Once More Unto the Breach", Kor referred to his ship, the Klothos, which was first named in the TAS episode "The Time Trap". Other DS9 episodes to make reference to the animated series include "Broken Link", where Elim Garak mentions Edosian orchids (Arex is an Edosian) and "Tears of the Prophets" where a Miranda class starship is called the USS ShirKahr (sic) after Shikahr, the city from "Yesteryear". David Gerrold, who contributed two stories to TAS, stated in an interview his views on the canon issue:

Writer-producer D. C. Fontana discussed the TAS Canon issue in 2007:

More Awakening" and "Kir'Shara" from Star Trek: Enterprise.

The Yesteryear", the latter featuring a CGI rendition of a wild sehlat. The remastered Original Series episode "Amok Time" featured Shikahr in the background as Spock beams up at the episode's end,[11] and the remastered version of "The Ultimate Computer" replaced the Botany Bay-style Woden with an automated grain carrier from "More Tribbles, More Troubles."

The 2009 film Star Trek also references "Yesteryear", featuring a nearly identical scene in which a young Spock is confronted by several other Vulcan children, who bully and provoke him for being part human.

Carter Winston, from "The Survivor", has a small but important role late in the 1984 tie-in novel The Final Reflection by John M. Ford. In recent years, references to The Animated Series have also cropped up again in the licensed books and comics. M'Ress and Arex, characters from the animated series, appear in the Star Trek: New Frontier novels by Peter David, in which M'Ress and Arex are transported through time to the 24th Century, and are made officers on board the USS Trident. (David's previous use of these characters, in TOS movie-era comics published by DC Comics, had been prevented by Gene Roddenberry's office.[12])

A race introduced in the episode "The Jihad", represented by a character named M3 Green, is named the Nasat in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers e-book novellas. These stories feature a regular Nasat character, P8 Blue. The Vulcan city of ShiKahr also appears in many books. Paula Block, then of CBS Consumer Products, was responsible for approving proposals and all completed manuscripts for the licensed media tie-ins and granted many such uses of TAS material since Roddenberry's death.

Amarillo Design Bureau has—as part of its license for the Star Fleet Universe series of games—incorporated many aspects of The Animated Series into its works, not least being the inclusion of the Kzinti, although in a modified form. In addition FASA used elements from The Animated Series in its sourcebooks and modules for its Star Trek role-playing game.

Star Trek: Enterprise producer Manny Coto has commented that had that show been renewed for a fifth season, the Kzinti would have been introduced.[13] Starship designs were produced which closely resemble the Kzinti/Mirak ships from the Star Fleet Universe, a gaming universe that includes the boardgame Star Fleet Battles and its PC analogue Star Fleet Command.

On June 27, 2007, Star Trek's official site incorporated information from The Animated Series into its library section,[14] clarifying, finally, that the animated series is part of the Star Trek canon. Both David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana have stated that the animated series is essentially the fourth season that fans wanted originally.


Star Trek: The Animated Series was named the 96th best animated series by IGN. They declared that although the series suffered from technical limitations, its format allowed the writers far greater freedom and creativity than was possible in the original live-action series.[15]


This was Filmation's only show which aired for two consecutive seasons on NBC. The eight other shows (The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty, Archie/Sabrina Hour, Young (Space) Sentinels, Fabulous Funnies, Batman & The Super 7, Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam, and Sport Billy) lasted one season or less. The New Adventures of Flash Gordon lasted two separate seasons (1979 and 1982).

The animated series was, according to the Nielsen ratings, not popular enough with young children. According to series' producers it was intended to be enjoyed by the entire family. The series did receive critical acclaim and a Daytime Emmy award, the first such award for the franchise. According to both Roddenberry and an NBC press release, this was the justification for six additional episodes being ordered by the network for the series' second season.

Video and DVD releases

Region 1 DVD Set
  • The complete series was first released in the USA on eleven volumes of VHS tapes in 1989. For UK, seven volumes (1x4 episodes and 6x3 episodes on PAL VHS) from CIC Video completed the series (Released in 1992 in the UK). Although CIC-Taft Australia negotiated an Australasian release, they did not proceed with their plans.
  • A boxed set of the complete series on laserdisc was released for the US market in 1990, then re-released in 1997.
  • A Region 1 (USA) DVD box set of the show was released on November 21, 2006, and has since been released internationally for other Regions. It was the last series of Paramount's Star Trek television franchise to be released to DVD.
  • The series was added to Netflix streaming on September 2, 2011.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary - Review - Adventure Classic Gaming - ACG - Adventure Games, Interactive Fiction Games - Reviews, Interviews, Features, Previews, Cheats, Galleries, Forums". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ - AwardsStar Trek: TAS
  3. ^ George Takei. To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei. Pocket Books. 
  4. ^ D. C. Fontana (1991). Introduction to Star Trek: The Classic Episodes, Volume 1. 
  5. ^ It can be viewed here
  6. ^ Ayers, Jeff (2006). Voyages of the Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. Pocket Books.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Michael & Denise Okuda, The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future, Updated and expanded edition, October 1999, Pocket Book (a division of Simon and Schuster), p. iii
  9. ^ The David Gerrold TAS Interview
  10. ^ DC Fontana and TAS Canon
  11. ^ Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ Star Trek, Series II issue #1 lettercol, DC Comics, September 1989
  13. ^ The Would-Be Season 5
  14. ^ The Animated Series Gets Real
  15. ^ "96, Star Trek: The Animated Series". IGN. January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Star Trek: TAS announced on Netflix Twitter account". 

External links

  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at the Internet Movie Database
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at the Big Cartoon DataBase
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at Memory Beta
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series on
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at
  • .comStarTrekAnimated
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at
  • Guide to the Animated Star Trek at
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at Ex Astris Scientia
  • Toon Trek: References to TAS in the Licensed Tie-ins
  • Star Trek, the Forgotten Frontier: 1970s Animation, New York Times DVD review
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