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Star Trek: The Animated Series, originally and formally titled Star Trek, also known as The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek and The Cartoon Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, was a continuation of the voyages of the USS Enterprise, previously featured in Star Trek: The Original Series.


On the television network NBC, 22 episodes of The Animated Series were aired between September 1973 and October 1974. Reruns continued on NBC through 1975. The series was produced by the experienced animation house Filmation and the episodes were scripted by professional science fiction and Star Trek writers, including Larry Niven, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, and Samuel A. Peeples.

Some of the stories were sequels to episodes from the original series, such as "More Tribbles, More Troubles" (the follow-up to "The Trouble with Tribbles"), "Once Upon a Planet" (a sequel to "Shore Leave"), and "Mudd's Passion" (the follow-up to "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd").

With the exception of Ensign Chekov, all of the regular characters from the original series continued to appear, voiced by the original actors from that series (Chekov was absent to cut down on costs of hiring the voice actors, although Walter Koenig penned an episode of the series, "The Infinite Vulcan"). Dr. McCoy was a full commander, and Nurse Chapel was a full lieutenant. New characters, such as Arex and M'Ress, were also featured. The show was the most expensive animated show on the air at the time, primarily because six "name" actors from Star Trek: The Original Series provided the voices for their characters. Nearly all the aliens and guest characters were voiced by James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, and Majel Barrett, although some actors reprised their roles from the original series. Leonard Nimoy (Spock) is the only actor to voice his character in every episode of TAS. James Doohan, however, voiced different characters in every episode of the series, but missed only one episode as Montgomery Scott, the episode being "The Slaver Weapon".

Among the returning guest actors (and characters) were Mark Lenard (as Sarek), Roger C. Carmel (as Harry Mudd), and Stanley Adams (as Cyrano Jones). Although the characters Amanda Grayson, Bob Wesley, Kyle, Kor, Koloth, and Korax returned in The Animated Series, their voices were provided by the aforementioned voice talents of Majel Barrett and James Doohan.

The show featured a handful of new technologies like the recreation room (later the idea was reused in TNG, where it was known as a holodeck) and the aqua-shuttle. It also featured many non-humanoid alien species (and even some alien officers aboard the Enterprise) who could not have been featured within the original series' budget.

Roddenberry was adamant that this show was Star Trek (i.e. the continuation of the original series) leading to it having the same title. The addition of The Animated Series to the title was not until years later.

The series, which lasted two years, could be viewed as the completion of the Enterprise's five-year mission. D.C. Fontana personally viewed all 22 episodes as year four. considers the seasons collectively to represent the fifth and final year of the mission. [1](X)

Although at one point Paramount Pictures did not regard the animated series as canonical, with the release of The Animated Series DVD, the studio appears to have changed its stance, and is leaning towards the animated series being part of established Star Trek canon. [2](X) [3](X) [4](X) References from the series have gradually become more accepted in other Star Trek series, most notably on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Lower Decks (see the "questionable canon" section below for the complete list of references). Gene Roddenberry said that if he had known there would be more live-action Star Trek in the future, the animated series would have been far more logical and "canonable," or he might not have produced the animated series at all.

A DVD collection of the complete series was released on 21 November 2006 for Region 1.


Starring the voices of[]


Also starring the voices of[]

Episode list[]

Season 1[]

TAS Season 1, 16 episodes:

Title Episode Production number Stardate US release date
"Beyond the Farthest Star" 1x01 22004 5221.3–5221.8 1973-09-08
"Yesteryear" 1x02 22003 5373.4 1973-09-15
"One of Our Planets Is Missing" 1x03 22007 5371.3–5372.1 1973-09-22
"The Lorelei Signal" 1x04 22006 5483.7–5483.9 1973-09-29
"More Tribbles, More Troubles" 1x05 22001 5392.4 1973-10-06
"The Survivor" 1x06 22005 5143.3 1973-10-13
"The Infinite Vulcan" 1x07 22002 5554.4–5554.8 1973-10-20
"The Magicks of Megas-Tu" 1x08 22009 1254.4 1973-10-27
"Once Upon a Planet" 1x09 22017 5591.2 1973-11-03
"Mudd's Passion" 1x10 22008 4978.5 1973-11-10
"The Terratin Incident" 1x11 22015 5577.3–5577.7 1973-11-17
"The Time Trap" 1x12 22010 5267.2–5267.6 1973-11-24
"The Ambergris Element" 1x13 22013 5499.9 1973-12-01
"The Slaver Weapon" 1x14 22011 4187.3 1973-12-15
"The Eye of the Beholder" 1x15 22016 5501.2 1974-01-05
"The Jihad" 1x16 22014 5683.1 1974-01-12

Season 2[]

TAS Season 2, 6 episodes:

Title Episode Production number Stardate US release date
"The Pirates of Orion" 2x01 22020 6334.1–6335.6 1974-09-07
"Bem" 2x02 22018 7403.6 1974-09-14
"The Practical Joker" 2x03 22021 3183.3 1974-09-21
"Albatross" 2x04 22019 5275.6–5276.8 1974-09-28
"How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" 2x05 22022 6063.4–6063.5 1974-10-05
"The Counter-Clock Incident" 2x06 22023 6770.1–6770.6 1974-10-12

Background information[]


Former Original Series writer D.C. Fontana reported in the fanzine Star-Borne of 22 June 1972 that, "Paramount... [is] enormously impressed by the quantity (and quality) of fan mail they continue to receive. The possibility seems to be slowly developing of a Star Trek feature movie for theatrical release, aimed at becoming the new Star Trek television pilot… on the network front, NBC still expresses great interest in doing Star Trek in some form. Both NBC and Paramount continue to receive a great deal of mail and have had to assign secretaries for the sole job of answering it." [5]

NBC's surprising complete turnaround (as it were they who had canceled the live-action precursor in 1969, purportedly for poor ratings performance) not only stemmed from the spectacular resurgence of the Original Series in syndication, but also from its own accounting department. Shortly before Fontana's report, NBC had replaced its old Nielsen rating system with a new and updated one. Mystified by the success of a show in syndication they were convinced was a flop, they decided to run the original Original Series figures through their new system they and found out much to their surprise that it had not only reached full penetration into their most coveted target audience, the male population between 18 and 45, but also that the series had been one of the most successful series the network had ever aired. The sickening realization hit upon the dismayed network executives that they had slaughtered the proverbial goose that laid the golden eggs, something that every Star Trek fan at the time could have told them. Hurriedly approaching Roddenberry to see if the series could be revitalized, it turned out to be unfeasible, as Paramount had only a few months earlier cleared out their warehouses from the vast majority of the remaining Star Trek production assets, they either being scrapped, given away or simply stolen. Recreating them, calculated at US$750,000, was deemed far too cost-prohibitive. It did however lead NBC to commission the creation of The Animated Series. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, pp. 51-52)

Roddenberry was not really interested in doing a Star Trek animated show, but had his mind set on an actual live-action resurrection of the the show. However, as Marc Cushman explained, "His ultimate goal was to get Star Trek back into [live-action] production. And he felt that the animated series, if it did really well, could bring that about." (The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek: "Saturday Morning Pinks")

Even though they did not produce the new series themselves, Paramount Pictures, possessing all rights and title to the Star Trek brand, was legally the owner of the new property.

The first recordings[]

The first recording session for the animated Star Trek series was in June 1973 (on or prior to the fourth of that month). (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 143; Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 32) This was with the entirety of the series' regular cast and was the first time they had reunited since production of the original series ended in January 1969. The recording session was held at Filmation's studios in Reseda, California, where the performers recorded the first three scripts for the series ("Beyond the Farthest Star", "Yesteryear", and "More Tribbles, More Troubles"). (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 32)

Lou Scheimer reminisces about the cast, "The glorious thing was getting them all together for the first recording session […] It was a joyous occasion." ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD) William Shatner recalls how he got into character; "[Kirk had] been locked away inside me for almost four years, but as soon as I opened my mouth to read his first line he was back. Slipping back into that character was like putting on a comfortable old sweatshirt; it fit." (Up Till Now: The Autobiography, p. 171)

On 4 June 1973, NBC publicly announced that the initial recording session had gone ahead. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 32)

Emmy win[]

In 1975, the animated series of Star Trek won a Daytime Emmy Award in the area of "Best Children's Series" for the 1974-1975 television season. Although Star Trek's original series had repeatedly been nominated for Emmys, this was the first such award that the franchise actually won. It became also the only best-series Emmy ever won by Star Trek as of 2020. It beat out Captain Kangaroo and The Pink Panther. (Star Trek: The Animated Series-special feature: "Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series"; Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 57, et al.) Incidentally, the series had already been nominated for the same award in its inaugural debut the year previously, [6] but lost out on that occasion to PBS's Zoom.

The series essentially won the award on the basis of a certain episode. "When Filmation submitted Star Trek for the Best Children's Series Emmy, ['How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth[!]'] is the episode they submitted," explains David Wise, a co-writer of that installment. ("How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" audio commentary) The episode's other co-writer, Russell Bates, comments, "[The episode] became the only credential submitted when Filmation received an Emmy nomination for the series, and thus was instrumental in the winning of a 1975 Emmy Award." Bates also notes that the Emmy was not the only accolade that the episode attained. [7]

Shortly after Hal Sutherland and his family moved out of Los Angeles to Washington state, he received a call that informed him of the Emmy nomination. He remembers, "This was exciting news and I spread the word to all of our friends and neighbors in case Filmation picked up the Emmy." As he learned prior to the event, it was to be presented in New York and Lou Scheimer decided to bring his own family to the festivities. [8] The ceremony was actually on a boat in the New York harbor. Lou Scheimer's son, Lane, heard a practice session, below-decks, of the announcements being rehearsed. The elder Scheimer reflects, "He said, 'Dad, don't worry, I just saw them down there and they said it was Captain Kangaroo' [....] So I was sitting there, drinking wine, not worried, and [getting] half-plastered." (Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special, p. 58) Scheimer also personally doubted that the animated Star Trek series was about to receive the award. He states, "I was absolutely certain we weren't going to win; there was no way that show could win because it really was not a kids' show." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 16, p. 68)

Hal Sutherland recalls tuning into the televised coverage of the event; "I remember gathering the family to watch the award ceremonies with me. I hoped to make them proud of what we had accomplished in some way. Sitting in front of the TV, I watched with anxiety as the nominations for best animated series came up […] The award envelope was opened and Star Trek was announced the winner for its category." [9] Lou Scheimer (who says he was "a nervous wreck" at the time), also recollects the announcement; "Cyril Richard gets up there and says, 'And the best children's programming for Saturday morning is Star Trek and Lou Shimmer [sic]. I didn't know what to do. You cannot tell, but I was floating." (Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special, p. 58) Hal Sutherland continues, "Lou stepped to the podium to make his acceptance speech." [10] A transcript of that speech follows:

Lou Scheimer accept Emmy

Lou Scheimer accepts the series' only Emmy

"My son overheard the rehearsals and he heard it was Captain's Kangaroo, so I don't know what to say… except a very, very special thanks to my very, very special friend and co-producer, Norm Prescott, and my lovely family, my wife, Jay… my son and my daughter, Lane and Erika, and to all those great, great people who produced for us – in the art of animation, at Filmation – those wonderful shows. Thank you very, very much." ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD)

Lou Scheimer recalls the shock of having to collect the award; "I was totally flabbergasted when we did [win]. I didn't know what to say; I was not prepared. I was just aghast at the idea of being in front of all those people, waiting to hear me say something meaningful." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 16, p. 68)

Watching Lou Scheimer's acceptance speech was a very emotional experience for Hal Sutherland and he was enormously disgruntled that Scheimer thanked Norm Prescott rather than him. Although Sutherland never expressed his extreme disappointment to the award recipient, Scheimer finally apologized to Sutherland in 2004. "He […] sorrowfully related to me an apology for his 'drunken' statement at the Emmy affair regarding his confusion between Norm and I and the production credits," explained Sutherland. "We'd both carried that haunting memory all those many years, neither wanting to bring up the tender subject. We later kissed [and made up, putting the issue behind them]." [11]

Lou Scheimer criticized the winning of the award, saying that – even though it was "the only Emmy I've ever gotten for a show" – it was inappropriate for the animated Star Trek to receive an award for a children's show, since the series was actually meant to be "a show for the entire family and anybody who was really a fan of the original live-action show." ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD) Norm Prescott, on the other hand, considered the award to be a high point in Filmation's history. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 79) Both Filmation, in general, and the writers of "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", were happy that the episode gained the series the award. David Wise reminisces, "We, Russell [Bates] and I, considered that an achievement. Filmation was thrilled and invited us to an Emmy party and all sorts of fun things like that." ("How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" audio commentary) Gene Roddenberry regarded the award win as "the best proof" that the animated series had been "a fairly good job." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 20) D.C. Fontana was also "pleased" that the franchise had finally won an Emmy, later stating, "I was thrilled to death." ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD) In their text commentary for series finale "The Counter-Clock Incident", Michael and Denise Okuda describe the Emmy win as the series having been "honored." The book Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before (p. 57) refers to the win as "a fitting send-off" for the series.

Considering the efforts the writers, including Bates, put in to tell more mature stories akin to the main series, the win of a "children's" award turned out to be somewhat of a mixed blessing as it cemented the impression of Star Trek being an immature, superficial show for adolescents only at best in the minds of the non-fan society at large, which started to become wary of the emerging "Trekkie" phenomenon. It became a large part of the reasons why to date a substantial part of "Trekdom", Creator Gene Roddenberry included, continued to refuse to consider The Animated Series part of canon, as related hereafter. (Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series, pp. 8 & 153) Most ironically, the six-episode second season of Star Trek: Short Treks, which only became nominated in 2020 for Star Trek's fifth "major" Emmy Award, did include two animated episodes, "Ephraim and Dot" and "The Girl Who Made the Stars", specifically intended for children.

Questionable canon and reintegration[]

According to Voyages of Imagination [page number?edit], the Animated Series was officially removed from canon at Gene Roddenberry's request in 1988, with the exception of some parts involving Spock's youth, from Fontana's episode "Yesteryear". Roddenberry was partly motivated to do so because of his disappointment that the animated series did not bring about his ultimate goal of getting back Star Trek as a live-action production, as mentioned above. The removal from canon had already been confirmed previously by reference book author Mike Okuda in the introductions of his works. (Star Trek Chronology, 2nd ed., p. vii; Star Trek Encyclopedia, 4th ed., vol. 1, p. introduction; [12](X)) Paramount Pictures has followed suit by elevating the request to policy, having officially declared the series non-canon. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 1st ed., p. iii)

Despite this request, Memory Alpha recognizes The Animated Series as a valid resource. There were also strong indications from the (former) official website that TAS was unilaterally, yet formally, re-added to the official canon in 2006 by the franchise for the sole purpose of commercially promoting the occasion of the series' release on DVD that year. ([13](X) [14](X) [15](X); See also the content policy).

Writers from later Star Trek series have integrated various references from the series into their works. Star Trek: Enterprise writer/producer Manny Coto once remarked, "They did some great stuff in the animated series and why not use some of that?" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 37) Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writing staffer Ronald D. Moore likewise commented, "It's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference [to TAS] here and there." (AOL chat, 1998) The following references were used in subsequent series:

Several non-canon productions have also made reference to TAS:

Production inconsistencies[]

One unfortunate reality of an animated television series was the occasional color discrepancy.

The most notable color discrepancy was shown with several appearances of the color pink. Unknown to the rest of the production staff, director Sutherland was color-blind, so to him, pink was light gray. ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD) While true, Kaplan was not color-blind and was often conscientious of the color decisions being made.

The following images are examples of Irv Kaplan's personal color choices:

James T

Reversed color variant

According to Bob Kline, "Pink equals Irv Kaplan. Irv was in charge of ink and paint, coloring the various characters and props (and he would do it himself in his office, he would sit down with a cel and paint it). He was also referred to by many people there as the purple and green guy. You'll see in a lot of scenes, purple and green used together – that was one of his preferences. He made dragons red, the Kzintis' costumes pink. It was all Irv Kaplan's call. He wasn't listening to anyone else when he picked colors, or anything." (Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series, p. 26)

Several other unintentional coloring issues also cropped up. Kirk's type 1 phaser had its color scheme reversed (black on silver/grey, instead of silver on black), and some shots featured characters wearing Starfleet uniforms of the wrong division or colors.

As a result of the use of recycled footage, there were also many instances of randomly misplaced characters and equipment. Recurring inconsistencies in this vein include the random appearance of Lt. Kyle in several transporter room scenes, close-up shots of Scott operating the transporter controls, the interchanged appearances with Uhura and M'Ress at the communications station, and the appearance of characters on the bridge while simultaneously appearing in another section of the ship or on the surface of a planet.

Another inconsistency that appears sometimes is Scott shown with the rank of captain, and Kirk with a unknown rank insignia.

The Animated Series also made substantial changes to set locations used in the original series:

  • A second turbolift is installed on the bridge, next to the main viewscreen.
  • The bridge stations are rounded, and form a perfect circle, instead of the hexagonal TOS bridge set.
  • The access stairs to the upper level engineering deck (seen in TOS seasons 2 and 3) are gone.

One production glitch that was avoided from being televised was Uhura having white skin. "Someone in the paint department used Nurse Chapel's colors on Uhura, who turned Caucasian with the flip of a brush!" exclaims Malcolm C. Klein, a management and marketing consultant to Filmation. "Fortunately, that one was caught before the film reached the lab." (Starlog, Vol. 2, No. 6, p. 47)

On many other occasions, body parts on various characters would go missing. According to animator Bob Kline, "it was usually something the cameraman did on purpose or accident to keep the cel levels at six. You couldn't use more than six cel levels under the camera." This was often completed to allow more animation to appear on screen, as any more than six cells would make the animation appear "muddier". (Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series, p. 27)

Proposed CGI reworking[]

In 1998, there were talks of TAS being re-worked with CGI animation. According to Mainframe Entertainment (Reboot):

“Mainframe proposes to produce a television series continuing the original adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701). The new series will reunite the original ‘young’ crew by the use of modern technology and production methods developed by Mainframe over the last 5 years.

The new series will incorporate a ‘virtual’ cast performing in 3D computer generated sets, bringing together the advantages of new technology with the sensibilities of traditional film making.

In the early Seventies, ‘Filmation’ produced 22 one-half hour traditionally animated episodes based on the original ‘STAR TREK’ franchise.

It is our intention to take these ‘Filmation’ episodes and use them as a starting point to craft the new series. By using the original recordings of the core cast, carefully re-working the scripts, and rerecording all incidental characters, we believe that it is possible to bring the storylines up to the high standards expected of a ‘STAR TREK’ series today.”

The project was never realized. [16]

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