(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: The Animated Series, originally and formally titled Star Trek and The Animated 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.
- file info (composed by "Yvette Blais" (Ray Ellis) and "Jeff Michael" (Norman "Norm" Prescott, main partner of Lou Scheimer in the animation studio Filmation Associates)
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. StarTrek.com considers the seasons collectively to represent the fifth and final year of the mission.
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. References from the series have gradually become more accepted in other Star Trek series, most notably on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise (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.
Starring the voices of
Also starring the voices of
- George Takei as Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- Majel Barrett as Chapel and M'Ress
- James Doohan as Scott and Arex
TAS Season 1, 16 episodes:
|Beyond the Farthest Star||1x01||22004||5221.3 - 5221.8||1973-09-08|
|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 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|
|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|
TAS Season 2, 6 episodes:
|The Pirates of Orion||2x01||22020||6334.1 - 6335.6||1974-09-07|
|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|
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." 
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)
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)
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 features: "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.)
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. 
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.  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."  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."  A transcript of that speech follows:
- "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]." 
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 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. 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.
According to Voyages of Imagination, 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". This 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); ) 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 official website that TAS was formally re-added to the official canon in 2006 by the franchise in order to commercially promote the occasion of the series' release on DVD that year. ( ; 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:
- The episode "Yesteryear" has been considered canon or "semi-canon" by some of the production staff, and as such, information from this episode is more prevalent in later series:
- The city of Shi'Kahr resurfaced on an okudagram in "The Emissary" called the "Shi-Kar Desert Survival, Vulcan", which was also a reference to Spock's kahs-wan. The city was again indirectly mentioned in "Fusion" in reference to the Shi'Kahr Academy, and later served as the namesake for the USS ShirKahr, seen but not mentioned in "Tears of the Prophets". A Vulcan city which looks very similar to Shi'Kahr was shown in the new establishing shots used in the remastered version of "Amok Time".
- An okudagram featured in "Eye of the Beholder" referenced the Sepek Academic Scholarship, which coincides with the name of a Vulcan child in "Yesteryear".
- Vulcan's Forge was later referenced in "Change of Heart" and was the focus of a three-episode ENT arc: "The Forge", "Awakening", and "Kir'Shara".
- Both Lunaport and the kahs-wan were mentioned in "The Catwalk".
- The sehlat, which first appeared in "Yesteryear" in animated form, was recreated in CGI in ENT: "The Forge".
- The nearby planet seen briefly behind Shi'Kahr made it into the original version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For the director's cut it was decided to remove the planet (named Charis or T'Khut in the novel Spock's World).
- The title of "healer" for a Vulcan physician was referred to for Healer Senva in "Prophet Motive".
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country confirmed Kirk's middle name as "Tiberius", a name first revealed in "Bem". The name had been used in novels, including in the preface to The Motion Picture novelization.
- A chart of Federation space, seen in "Conspiracy", contained references to solar objects first mentioned in TAS, including the planets Canopus III, Lactra VII, Omega Cygni, Phylos, and Kzin, and the stars Beta Lyrae and Pallas 14.
- In the episode "Once More Unto the Breach", Kor recalled his former vessel, the IKS Klothos, which was the ship he commanded in the "The Time Trap". It was a D5 Klingon ship (where D5s were later shown in Enterprise), rendered as a questionably-drawn D7, but in both cases it was commanded by Kor.
- The episode "Broken Link" referred to Edosian orchids, the episode "These Are the Voyages..." mentioned Edosian suckerfish, and there were several other Enterprise references to the Edosian slug – all homages to the Edosian Lt. Arex.
- Coincidental references which may or may not be attributed to terms first used in The Animated Series include Klingon Imperial Fleet ("The Time Trap") and Starbase 23 ("The Terratin Incident").
- Amanda's maiden name, Grayson, was given in the series, and later established in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
- The holodeck concept first appeared in "The Practical Joker", and was later adopted into Star Trek: The Next Generation. The use of holograms was used in "Lethe", showing that USS Discovery was equipped with similar technology during 2250s.
- The idea of an additional turbolift on the bridge first appeared in TAS, and ultimately adopted in the live-action franchise from Star Trek: Phase II onward.
- The act of entering the warp nacelles first appeared in TAS, and later appeared in the TNG episode "Eye of the Beholder" and in the ENT episode "The Catwalk".
- In "The Counter-Clock Incident", a race is shown that has a lifespan where individuals start out old and grow younger until death. Star Trek: Voyager later reused this idea in one of its episodes for a race of aliens.
- In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, two members of the Caitian species are seen, which FASA's RPG sourcebook, Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update, identified as the same species as M'Ress.
- The robot grain ships from "More Tribbles, More Troubles" have later been established in the 2008 remastered TOS episodes "Charlie X" (manned version) and "The Ultimate Computer" (robot version) as belonging to the Antares-type class of starships.
Several non-canon productions have also made reference to TAS:
- A second exit for the bridge, referenced in Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual.
- DC Comics' writer Len Wein reintroduced M'Ress and Arex into the post-Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home comics, and they were further developed by Michael Carlin and Peter David until that series went into hiatus.
- Some of the worlds and aliens in the series were included in the 1989 book called The Worlds of the Federation.
- Author Peter David later integrated M'Ress and Arex into his 24th century book series Star Trek: New Frontier, beginning with the novel Gateways #6: Cold Wars. They also appear in IDW's "New Frontier" comic miniseries, Turnaround, by David.
- The trilogy Crucible by David R. George III includes the plot from "Yesteryear" in its history.
- The IDW comic miniseries Star Trek: Year Four takes place during the TAS timeframe and features appearances by Arex and M'Ress.
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:
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 anymore than six cells would make the animation appear "muddier". (Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series, p. 27)
- TAS directors
- TAS performers
- TAS recurring character appearances
- TAS writers
- Star Trek Logs by Alan Dean Foster
- Undeveloped TAS episodes
- Star Trek: Final Frontier, a proposed but undeveloped animated series
- Star Trek: Lower Decks
- Star Trek: Prodigy
- Star Trek: The Animated Series on VHS
- Star Trek: The Animated Series on Betamax
- Star Trek: The Animated Series on LaserDisc
- Star Trek: The Animated Series on DVD
- Star Trek: The Animated Series on Blu-ray
|Star Trek television series|
|The Original Series • The Animated Series • The Next Generation • Deep Space Nine • Voyager • Enterprise|
• Discovery • Picard • Lower Decks
|Companion series: After Trek • Short Treks • The Ready Room|
|In development: Untitled Section 31 series • Prodigy • Strange New Worlds|
- Star Trek: The Animated Series at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Star Trek: The Animated Series at Wikipedia
- Star Trek: The Animated Series at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Guide to Animated Star Trek
- Star Trek: The Animated Series at Ex Astris Scientia
- Star Trek: The Animated Series – fan site