Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Discuss: Star Trek The Animated Series

Karen: Because you (OK, David B.) demanded it! Weigh the merits of the animated series! Should it be considered canon? Why? Why not?


Edo Bosnar said...

I only remember watching a few episodes when this aired on Saturday mornings in the '70s. At the time I thought it was the next best thing to the live-action show.
Later I watched some of them when the series was released on VHS, and more recently I watched parts of a few episodes on YouTube. What surprised me when I watched them later is how cerebral they are: i.e., there's so many instances where the characters are just sitting around discussing their current conundrum at length - very unusual for animated Saturday morning fare of the 1970s. Not to say that these discussions weren't quite interesting, sometimes almost bordering on scholarly, but again, this seems odd for programming aimed at preteens.

As to the question of whether TAS is canon, I don't see why not. It seemed to just pick up where the original series left off, and I don't recall anything outrageous or "non-Trek" being done in any of the episodes that would have to be ignored later. One thing's for certain: I consider more canon that Enterprise.

david_b said...

Good Morning, fellow BABsters.. I nearly spit up my coffee when I saw the title of todays column. By no means demanded by 'yours truely', but I did make a strong case for it in the Suggestion Box. I was more taken back by Karen's earlier stance of not including it, since I knew her love of sci-fi literature and this Trek boasted as many if not more (like Niven to name-drop) than any other Trek series.

As for Filmation, I haven't done any research but isn't this one of the first animated series to utilize the cost-saving 'minimal facial-body animating' style we later saw in Tarzan, Lone Ranger and other Saturday Morning Bronze-era shows..?

So, what sayest y'all..?

Edo Bosnar said...

That cost-saving measure you mentioned sure would explain why they were sitting, or standing, around and doing so much talking.

And also, the last sentence in my first comment should read "I consider IT more canon than Enterprise." (I should really remember to hit the preview option every time before I actually post anything...)

david_b said...

Actually Edo, another great cost-saver that created yet another distinctive Trek style was the common use of black 'silhouetted' figures against vast alien landscapes.. like this one:

"Review comments before posting..??"

Why start now..?

dbutler16 said...

I loved this series! I thought it was rather well done. Of course it should be considered canon, because I loved it, plus it had a lot of thge original actors as well as several of the writers who wrote the Original Series. To me, that gives is the credence to be canon.

Besides continuing the adventures, and hearing the voices of so many original actors, I like that they actually added some alien looking characters to the crew of the Enterprise. Also, some of the adventures were delightfully trippy, like some of the 70's Legion issues, and some were perhaps ripoffs of the Original Series, such as the one with tribbles.

Matt Celis said...

Great show, don't care whether Paramount considers it canon or not, I call it the 4th season. Anyway, isn't canon moot now that we have movies with Abercrombie & Spock meeting Leonard Nimoy in ice caves while Vulcan blows up, Spock diddling Zoe Saldana, Scotty played as a laughable fool, and Captain Abercrombie being rewarded with command of a starship at age 21?

Inkstained Wretch said...

Hmm, I have never seen an episode, so I have nothing to say...

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

After watching seasons of Next Gen, Voyager, DS9, Enterprise, it was just cool to pop in a TAS DVD into my home theater system and hear the original voices ('original formula'..?) again.

Inkstained, I believe all the episodes are on Youtube, so take a watch. I recommend 'Yesteryear', 'Beyond the Farthest Star' and 'Eye of the Beholder' as choice examples.

Larry Niven's 'Slaver Weapon' is interesting as well.

They sure beat a lot of Third Season eps like 'And the Children Shall Lead' and so forth.

Karen said...

Oh David, don't waste your coffee like that! Can't I indulge in a little Stan Lee-like hyperbole once in a while?

Oddly enough, although I was at the right age and stage of my Trek life for it, I never warmed up to the animated series. It just never did much for me. In retrospect, I can see there were some pretty good episodes (Yesteryear comes to mind) but when it was on the air I really didn't watch it.

As for canon vs. non-canon, I don't think there was nay reason to consider it not 'real' Trek -they didn't do anything outrageous or outside what we had come to expect of the established characters/universe.

Our buddy Matt opens up a whole 'nother can of worms with his obvious dislike of the new incarnation of Trek. I didn't have a post scheduled for the new films, but I think when the new movie hits in May, I'll set one up,and we can all praise/vent as we please.Sound good?

david_b said...

Oops, sorry all, 'guess my link above didn't work as expected.

Here's a better one...:

William Preston said...

Spock is stealing their souls!

Anyway, like Karen, I never "warmed up" to the show--because it was so *cold* and stiff. Design-wise, too, it often felt cold, as they beamed down to alien planets at night or to places with little atmosphere, so it looked like they were on the moon, something TOS never did. (I loved that they introduced the idea of the force fields around their bodies.)

The Larry Niven episode was cool, and when I later ran into his Kzin in his Known Universe stories, I was surprised that I seen these folks on Trek.

William Preston said...

No sooner did I type that, than I ran into Niven again on this blog:

Anonymous said...

I never saw the Animated Series, but I've read some of the Alan Dean Foster "Star Trek Log" books which were based on the animated shows. Some of the stories were pretty good.

Should it be canon or not? No reason why not; I think some characters from the Animated Series (Arex, M'ress) were used in some of the "expanded universe" Trek novels (although those aren't necessarily considered canon either).

Mike W.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm a fan of the series, I bought the dvds when they were released a few years back.

Here's a viewing recommendation for ya, and it's easy because all the Trek shows are streaming on Netflix & Hulu.
Watch a 'Tribble Feature'
1."Trouble With Tribbles"
2.The checkout "More Trouble, More Tribbles-from the animated series
3.And lastly, watch the Deep Space episode "Trials and Tribble-Ations", which nicely edits the Deep Space crew into footage from "Trouble With Tribbles".

My wife & I did the "Tribble Feature" a few years back, lots of fun!

J.A. Morris said...

Forgot to add that I have no problem with this series being canon, no matter what Roddenberry said.

david_b said...

Yes, J.A. (and others..), as I mentioned along with Gerrold's vintage quote in my earlier Suggestion Box post, canon's pretty moot these days with revisionism anyways. Gene put his name on it, served as 'executive producer', and got paid for it, etc.

Obviously, Gene wasn't all that active during TOS's third season... "Does that make that whole year non-canon..?"

(Lest we not bring up the Berman-ran franchise years after Gene died...) Matt brought up this silliness quite well regarding the last Trek movie.

Canon's a pansy question anyways. Ask George Lucas whether 'Star Wars Holiday Special' is canon..?

Or are just bits of it canon, like Boba Fett or Princess Leia singing about 'Life Day'..?

Great discussion, everyone. And thanks a bunch for today's column, Karen.

jdh417 said...

It's officially de-cannonized by Paramount (not to mention the reboot by the new movies). However in STNG, I seem to recall Kzinti (never shown) were mentioned, as well as Spock's pet.

david_b said...

Sorry, jdh, wouldn't personally let a lot of corporate stuffed shirts without an ounce of creative vision tell a true fan what's 'canon'..

Karen said...

"On Vulcan the teddy bears are alive, and have six inch fangs."

Classic Spock shutdown of McCoy in Journey to Babel, and the first reference to his pet sehlat.

david_b said...

Lest we forget both 'Tiberius' and the holodeck were first conceived in TAS, but I'm repeating my earlier comments now.

Anonymous said...

Hmm maybe TAS was about their adventures in a parallel universe? TOS had a memorable parallel universe episode - Mirror, Mirror. Loved seeing Spock with a goatee.

Remember the 2009 Star Trek reboot got around the tricky issue of canon vs non canon material by stating that the Vulcan (Nero) villain's travelling back through time altered their time line, so the action we saw in that film occurred in an alternate reality. Most theoretical physicists like Michio Kaku believe there are many parallel universes; ours is just one of many. I just finished reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, so this is why this popped into my head when this topic came up!

I agree with Matt Celis here when he says that Star Trek canon is moot nowadays with all the retrofitting of stories, and besides, it's always fun to see storylines which go against the established canon.

Never saw TAS, but from what I can gather, there's nothing in it that goes against canon, so it should be considered canon, especially with the participation of most of the actors who were in TOS. Personally I think canonic episodes are overrated - some awful Trek TOS episodes were written by Roddenberry himself!

- Mike 'hope my counterpart in a parallel universe wins the lottery' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Matt Celis said...

wouldn't say I dislike the nu-Trek so much as i say it ISN'T Star Trek. It was so utterly generic...nothing about the story or characters could only be Star Trek. Could have called it Space War 84 and changed some names and you'd never know it was Trek in the first place. Where's the exploration, the optimism, the attempts to communicate before having to fight, etc.? Nothing about that movie said Trek to me, and the portrayal of Kirk as a jackass i found to be insulting to the character.

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