The Discovery hiatus left me with a Trek shaped void to fill. So I’m boldly going where I’ve never been before; The Animated Series.
TAS has been declared canon and it seems like fertile ground for discovering (see what I did there?) links to Disco. (What the cool kids are calling Discovery, otherwise it would have to be STD, which sounds itchy).
I’m going to take selected episodes and break them down and look at the interesting Trek nuggets contained within. First up is episode one Beyond the Farthest Star.
The episode was written by Samuel A Peeples, who also wrote TOS 2nd Pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, and the insane but brilliant TV movie Spectre, nothing to do with James Bond but plenty to do with satanic dwarfs and John Hurt. This classic was co-written by the great bird himself Gene Roddenberry.
The first thing that struck me about TAS was how watchable it is, it really has captured the feel of the live action show. It also looks and sounds great, with all the original actors returning to voice their characters. Only thanks to an intervention by Leonard Nimoy who petitioned for parity. The only actor not to return was Walter Koenig.
Being an animated show it also allowed the creators to be more elaborate with the crews diversity, showing different alien species populating the bridge, a theme that Discovery has continued with great success.
Alien of the Week
The alien that stood out for me is the E.T. look alike Arex. Voiced by James Doohan, Arex is a navigator and an Edosian.
The episode itself sees the Enterprise find a derelict space ship, hundreds of million years old. It was once navigated by an insectoid species but it has been inhabited by a malevolent magnetic entity. I wondered whether the Insectoid race might be related to the Xindi (but I’ll come back to this in future blogs). This highlights how adventurous the writers were being in pushing the Trek franchise into new and adventurous territory.
The alien ship is a beautifully designed pod-ship that according to background artist Robert Kline took 100 attempts to satisfy Gene Roddenberry.
This is a fun and action packed introduction to the Animated universe. Join me next time when I jump through the Guardian of Forever and meet Spock’s childhood pet.
Join me over at the Trek Talk forum to discuss your memories of TAS or maybe you’re like me and new to it. Let’s have at it.
John is a writer and clinically diagnosed Trekker. You can get the latest news about his published work at his website The World Outside the Window.