Star Trek Sunday: TAS

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Star Trek The Animated Series.

Slipping back to something I didn’t really cover very well.

I didn’t encounter TAS first run, since that was when I was 2-3 years old. That time frame does coincide with what I believe to be my earliest Star Trek memory, but I can’t imagine my father watching a Saturday morning cartoon with me at that age. I could be wrong, and I could find out by asking him, but I don’t have any recollection of that happening even later in my childhood.

But I did encounter it when I was older, maybe seven or eight, when we were living in Comox, and again on a local station when we later moved back to Ontario, if I were willing to get up early enough. As a kid, I had no idea that Walter Koenig got screwed, and Nichelle Nichols and George Takei nearly as badly, only making it on the series at all because of Leonard Nimoy’s refusal to play Spock unless they were included. He wasn’t able to get Koenig as a cast member, though the studio to Nimoy by having him produce a script for the show. To save money, James Doohan and Majel Barrett did most of the other voices. (Side note: James Doohan was incredibly talented in this regard. It’s hard to tell which are him.)

I knew none of this, or other weird things about the show and its production. What I knew at the time was that there was more Star Trek. Shorter, stripped down, and with mediocre (for the era) animation, but with the right voices and writing that didn’t treat me like an idiot as per a lot of Saturday morning TV. I still remember how the tension music made feel in my heart that something important was in progress.

In some ways, you can look at this as a fourth season, delivered late, and simplified. It’s not Star Trek at its best, but most of it is definitely better than the harder parts of season 3. Generally, the episodes work very well. There’s some deep stuff here for Saturday morning fare.

You might guess I own TAS. I actually have two copies of the series, though one is buried somewhere right now. The VHS tapes are safe in a box in the garage, and the blue ray is right next to Seasons 1 to 3. I haven’t watched any of them for a while. It might be time to remedy that.

Live long and prosper.

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