Star Trek… Into Animation

Most people, even some of the ones that are familiar with Star Trek, tend to discount the importance of the animated series which was produced by Filmation. This is an interesting phenomenon for several reasons. First of all, The Animated Series is one of the few times in which nearly the entire case of a live action television show reunited for an animated series playing the same characters. The only regular cast member who was not in the voice cast was Walter Koenig. Koenig also made a contibution to the animated series in that Koenig was the first cast member to write any type of episode for Star Trek. Koenig wrote the episode for the animated series. In the 2009 movie Star Trek, they essentially allowed themselves a time reset situation in which any of the details of the Star Trek universe could be kept or thrown away. It may be lazy storytelling, but it essentially allowed the producers to come up with new entertainment. The surprising part is that in all that was jettisoned, there was a surprising amount which was kept directly from the animated series and no where else.

The scene where Spock gets bullied by other young Vulcans? Do you ever remember seeing a child Spock in the Original Series? We will wait while you go back and watch every single episode. Or, you can take our word for it and accept that it never actually happened. Where did it happen? That would be in the animated series episode Yesteryear.

Of course, the 2009 movie sort of tiptoed around the whole issue of the ten year old boys wearing speedos. Quick, what is James Kirk’s middle name? If you answered Tiberius, then you have been elevated from being openly sneered at in a Star Trek convention to merely receiving boatloads of haughty nerd contempt. Believe me, it is a step up. Now, where was that fact first revealed? If you answered Star Trek: The Animated Series because you realized that most of this article is going to be about that, then congratulations; you have officially won a cupie tribble. If you want to answer the third question in the Star Trek trivia contest, then Spock’s human mother’s maiden name was ‘Grayson.’ This is another fact which was revealed on Star Trek : The Animated Series. Of course, the following series of events will seem very familiar to watchers of Star Trek especially The Next Generation.

If all that is starting to look familiar, then you probably realize that the Star Trek: The Animated Series ‘recreation room’ ended up being the basis for Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Holodeck. The influence of the animated series has been impossible to erase…even when they tried. For instance, even though a chronological book later did not even list the episodes of the Animated Series, the book still aknowledged young Spock’s rituals from Yesteryear, Kirk’s middle name as being Tiberius, and Captain Robert April preceding Captain Christopher Pike as Captain of the Enterprise. All of that was in the Animated and not the Original Series. The other innovation the the Animated series should be credited for is that the Animated Series had clearly alien crew members. This was not possible due to cost restrictions on the original series but was clearly expounded upon in later series as well as movies. This would also include the afformentioned 2009 edition of Star Trek. It will be interesting to see if further nods are given to the Animated Series in Into Darkness, but it would seem that a series badly in need of some respect is finally getting put on some equal footing.


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