Tony Wilkins looks at his five favorite episodes of the often forgotten Star Trek: The Animated Series
People often forget that strictly speaking there have been six Star Trek series over the years. The Animated Series often polarizes fans in that they either love it or hate it. Me; I take a more objective stance. I will never say it’s better than any of the live action series but hidden among it’s line up are some true gems worthy of mention in the Star Trek realm.
Here are my top 5 episodes that I think all Trek fans should watch…
5. The Terratin Incident
This is one of those classic episodes that everyone remembers when mentioning The Animated Series. While investigating a heavily volcanic planet the crew get splashed by a very bright white light which eventually causes them to start shrinking. It’s a lot of fun just for watching them try to handle their equipment and knowing that they could never have filmed this with the real actors and that was the beauty of The Animated Series.
4. The Counter-Clock Incident
Another of those classic episodes, the Counter-Clock Incident sees our heroes reduced to children after they enter another dimension where everything works in reverse. As well as being fun there are some fascinating points in this story that deserve mention most notably that it is the only on-screen appearance of Robert April; the Captain who commanded the Enterprise during her maiden voyage. His name was mentioned in The Cage where Pike reveals he took over command from April but he was never again mentioned until this episode. In the Star Trek Encyclopedia a picture of Robert April on the bridge is included but is actually Gene Roddenberry himself.
3. The Pirates of Orion
This episode is often labelled as unremarkable, it certainly is on Bernd Schnieder’s Ex-Astris-Scienta website, but I think this is unfair. The plot plays out that Spock is dying and needs some medicine but the ship carrying the medicine was ransacked by “Oreeon” raiders – that’s right in this episode they are “Oreeons” not “Orions”. The reason I love this episode is because it plays out more like one of TNG’s more action packed episodes. The “Oreeons” are bad guys but they have their own angle and instead of just fighting it out there are efforts to negotiate with Kirk willing to let them go if he can just have the medicine. Also we get to see a genuine alien ship in this episode that looks mean as hell.
2. The Time Trap
The Time Trap has a distinctly simple premise; the Bermuda Triangle in space. It is more than that however in that it’s also a story of putting differences aside to achieve a common goal. OK that does sound a bit cheesy but in this episode it really works. The fact that the Klingon Captain is the legendary Kor himself from the very first episode with the Klingons adds more weight to this point but sadly it is not the great John Colicos reprising his role. If any more proof was needed that this was a great concept then look at Star Trek Voyager which virtually recycled this episode in The Void.
This is a story that needed to be told in the Star Trek universe. Sadly it had to be animated but would have made a beautiful live action episode. After an historical research mission using the Guardian of Forever Spock returns to the Enterprise to find he has been replaced by an Andorian and he has to travel in to his past to fix things. The sci-fi element of this episode we have seen countless times but it’s the exploration of Spock’s past on Vulcan that makes this memorable. Think of it as an expansion on young Spock’s scenes in Star Trek (2009) where we see the troubled life Spock had and how he came through all that to be the great Starfleet officer and diplomat. It also explores his family life more and explains a little of the hostility between himself and his father. It is intelligent, delicate and touching throughout. A must-see for all Trek fans.
Thanks for reading…