Monday, January 05, 2009

To Boldly Go Where No Cartoon Has Gone Before!

So, as I mentioned a while back, I got a copy of Star Trek: The Animated Series on DVD for Christmas -- thanks again, Sis! -- and it's become my new cartoon show to watch while walking on the treadmill, since I finished watching all of Futurama (again).

You know, I had some pretty fond memories of that cartoon, but it'd been ages since I'd seen it, so I was kind of wondering how well it'd hold up. The answer turns out to be "surprisingly well." The scripts may vary widely in quality, but, just as I'd remembered, they do capture the feel of original-series episodes remarkably well in a half-hour format. And while the animation is a bit crude and static, in that 1970s kind of way, it's actually really impressive for its time. They clearly went to a lot of trouble to illustrate the original Enterprise sets accurately, and the exterior shots of the ship are downright beautiful. They also made full use of animation's ability to create elaborate and genuinely alien-looking environments in ways that can't be done cost-effectively in live action. Actually, to be honest, I think they frequently got a little too fanciful with the alien planets, but I can't fault them for trying. And the characters actually look reasonably like the people they're supposed to be, which is never a given in cases like this. The one big negative, really, is that they skimped a lot on the casting... Apparently the lack of Chekov was solely due to budget issues, and although Jimmy Doohan and Majel Barrett tried hard to vary their performances as nearly every guest character on the show, the constant doubling-up is still obvious enough to be a bit annoying.

Anyway, I'm feeling all nostalgic now. Awww. I like TNG, and think DS9 was great, but for all its cheesiness and occasional self-righteousness, TOS was just something special. And I do consider the animated series, if not exactly part of TOS, at least an extension of it. In fact, I may be unusual among Trek fans in that I happily consider the animated show part of the Trek canon -- despite a minor continuity issue or two -- but stubbornly toss Voyager and Enterprise out.

Yeah, never mind the new prequel/reboot thingy. I'll be over here, happily watching my cartoons.


  1. I have to agree about the ST:TAS series... we borrowed Kansas Jim's copy and our kid watched them back to back.. something we haven't been able to get him to do with the live-action shows.

    The stories were very good, and I really wish it had been able to do more.. I liked watching them more than TNG/DS9 ( I was rewatching them recently and just didn't feel as excited as I did with TOS stuff.. maybe its my age :)).

    Anyway, I can say that ST:TAS is a great show.

  2. It really does strike me as one of those shows that's bound to appeal equally well to both kids and adults, which is always a cool thing.

    And maybe we're all at that age. :)

  3. I've never seen them, but I kind of like that sort-of-static animation. Although, come to think of it, I think I've actually seen very little of TOS. I'm not even sure I've seen any episode beginning to end...

  4. I am stunned to speechlessless by this statement. I really am. :)

  5. So was I, if it's any consolation.

    I've seen a fair amount of TOS. I'm just not convinced I've seen any one single episode from beginning to end.