Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 12 – “The Ambergris Element” – First Contact and Change

Kirk_and_Spock_mutated

     “The Ambergris Episode” was a fun first contact episode that actually worked! Kirk and Spock having gills was not something I expected to work given how “Voyager” handled things in “Threshold” but this one was different as it focused on how complex first contact is that within a culture or people there are differing points of view.

      The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by Margaret Armen.

     The episode involves the exploration of Argo where Kirk and Spock are attacked by a Sur-Snake leading them to be transformed into aquatic species by the younger generation of Aquans. When they attempt to reach the Elders they are left to die on the surface until one of the Council leaves to rescue them and Kirk and Spock seek a cure of their state and find out the history of the Aquans.

The Pros: The Aquans – The Aquans are fascinating! You have the Elders who fear surface dwellers because they were once them and fear the destruction that occurred and the younger generation who wants to change and are the biggest advocate for first contact. Eventually contact with the outside world is made after Kirk and Spock cure their state using Sur-Snake venom and the Elders stay below as the younger generation comes into the new galaxy.

Kirk – Kirk is the one always seeking contact with the natives and even after they are left to die still does diplomacy. This one really shows how driven he is to seeking peaceful solutions, even when wronged.

Spock – Spock is the one who helps them find the cure and shows how rough the reality is as if Kirk and Spock stayed in a tank their roles would be limited in what they could accomplish.

Raising the Fallen Continents – The Enterprise changes it’s phasers and sets them in such a way to raise the continents. It is really cool and shows how they are a force for change (for better and for worse) and help the Aquans become a part of the great galaxy.

Okay: The Sur-Snake – Okay enemy, but looked kind of stupid at times.

The Cons: Execution – The story could have been done better if we could have seen more of the point of view of the younger generation. This lack of perspective was the only thing that brought the episode down besides the main crew not being allowed to do much.

  This was an episode worth checking out, not a favorite but it is solidly good. It explores the complexity of first contact and manages to turn a strange idea into it’s favor while giving a fascinating society in the process!

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

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Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 11 – “The Terratin Incident” – Adapting to Size

Star Trek TAS Season 1 ep 11

      “The Terratin Incident” was an episode that could have easily been terrible. Shrinking people is generally a weak story unless something creative is done with it. This episode actually deals with consequences along those lines, and gives us a faction that isn’t all that sympathetic giving our heroes more of a dilemma.

    The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by Paul Schneider.

     The story involves the crew being shrunk after investigating a planet full of dilithium and volcanic activity. The crew must find out who did it and restore themselves to normal size before they are destroyed.

The Pros: Captain Kirk – Kirk saves the day and figures out going down to the planet will be the way to figure out how to restore them to normal size. He also makes a splint for Sulu when Sulu is knocked off his post and he rescues Nurse Chapel. This is very much a Kirk episode. He is also merciful and saves the people who were attacking them.

Spock – Spock is the planner and Kirk is the doer. He figures out that they are shrinking first and works with Kirk to try and figure out a way to get them back to full size again.

Sulu – Sulu wants to attack the planet and is one of the first people who notices that something needs to be done about the planets attack on them.

Scotty – Scotty uses his men to use the transporter and is always active and creative throughout the episode. He doesn’t let size stop him from being productive and planning.

The Terratins – The Terratins were shrunk when they settled on the world and were lost to time. They chose not to seek help until the very end and steal others to get help. They are a great antagonist force in the episode.

The Cons: How Women are Handled – The women on the ship panic, especially when their jewelry shrinks and Nurse Chapel has to be rescued from drowning. This brought the episode way down and kept it from being better.

   Minus how women are handled in the episode it is a lot of fun and great. We get to see the crew think creatively, there are stakes and the Terratins though they were once human are now more alien as they do not know how to admit they are wrong and are so driven by pride and having to be right. It’s really cool and creates a great episode.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 10 – “Mudd’s Passion” – Mudd is a Terrible Person and this Episode is Weak

Harcourt_Fenton_Mudd_2269

    Harry Mudd is a terrible character and I’m not looking forward to my eventual watching of “Mudd’s Women” his introduction episode. In this he is a simple and very selfish con who has no redeeming qualities. This episode also suffers from “Star Trek” not being all that good at comedy. Still, there were a few things I enjoyed, though this is still not an episode I’d recommend.

“Mudd’s Passion” was directed by Hal Sutherland written by Stephen Kandel.

The story involves Mudd conning some minors with love crystals that end up working and leading the crew to act crazy as he makes his escape and must be captured once again to be brought to justice within the Federation.

The Pros: Spock and Kirk – The crystals make these two lovy with one another and I love it as I have always been a fan of Spock and Kirk as more than friends but also potential lovers, as they had more chemistry with one another than any woman that was supposed to be a love interest.

The Rock Monsters – At one point Rock Monsters are attacking Mudd and Nurse Chapel and they have a great design.

The Cons: The Premise – They to go to stop a con job by Harry Mudd on a world that isn’t even under the Federation, it is pointless from the beginning and Nurse Chapel falling for the con against a proven con is just bad writing.

The Message – Love can be induced by artificial means? I don’t think this episode knew what it was exploring and any message gleaned is a negative.

The Characters – With the exception of Kirk and Spock everyone is written terribly. So much flirting and acting stupid for contrived reasons. Not worth your time.

Harry Mudd – Why did they bring this guy back? He is useless, annoying and if he is anything like this in his introduction episode I am going to run into an episode that I will probably hate. Of all the people to bring back…why not Kor or one of the Klingons or the Romulan Empress? Not Harry “fracking” Mudd.

Mudd and terrible writing are the biggest problems with this episode. It reminds me why in improv my mentor Brian told was that acting drunk was a copout, this was that with contrived writing. It was trying to be easy rather than telling a good story. I do not recommend at all and and Harry Mudd is a terrible character.

Final Score: 2 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 8 – “The Magicks of Megas-Tu” – A Good Idea Lost in Poor Symbolism

Star Trek the Animated Series Lucien Magic

   After my laptop getting it’s battery replaced it is nice being able to write reviews again! I have a few reviews to catch up on but here is the latest of “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”

    “The Magics of Megas-Tu” really show how the original series wasn’t so good at metaphor and showing but not telling. In this the basic premise is that the witch trials, specifically those in Salem were bad and that we’ve grown beyond them. If that wasns’t obvious you haven’t been paying attention and the fact that witches are still scene as a threat and with that superstition leading to dangerous actions…there is that too, which the episode misses. I enjoyed the animation in this (which was surprising) but the story doesn’t hold and I’ll go into more detail on why.

    The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by Lary Brody.

     The story involves the Enterprise going into the center of creation and running into the Megans, who put humanity on trial for their treatment of witches and it is up to Spock and Kirk to save the day.

The Pros: Spock – Spock is a wizard in this and realizes that since what you believe is real you can cast spells in this reality. Seeing him act as a wizard and defending humanity being an outsider from it is really powerful.

The Animation – The presentation of magic is really cool in this and has chaos and beauty intermixed to create some wonderful scenes when they are passing through the core of the Universe.

The Cons: The Message – Persecution of “others” is bad. This is true but it could have been executed so much better. For one better to use Medieval Times or the Inquisition to express persecution of pagans and magic or even going modern day with some more fundamentalist theist sects or certain tribes in different regions…going Salem is so vague and shows lazyness.

Lucien – This guy is arrogant and I never believed his kindness. There was so much they could have done with this character who was meant to be Lucifer and Loki in mythology. Instead we got none of the complexity and only a god wanting to have a good time. He should have been another deity that fit

The Crew – The crew is just kind of there, even Kirk who exists wholly to send a message that humanity has grown beyond persecution of witches. It was entertaining but a character becoming a message only weakens the story.

  This was a below average episode that I’d only recommend for the animation experience. No reason to see it beyond that. Spock is as usual an awesome character but Kirk in this feels like a plot device and the crew doesn’t do anything productive.

Final Score: 4 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 7 – “The Infinite Vulcan” – New Purpose

Spock_2,_Keniclius_5,_and_Enterprise_crew

  Walter Koenig (the actor who plays Chekov) is a great writer! He has a lot of big ideas he deals with in this (the survival of a dying species and how to change ideals) and does a really good job with it! This was an episode that could have been terrible. Clones generally are a bad idea, especially cloning a major character, but this episode rises above this generally bad idea.

   “The Infinite Vulcan” was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by as stated above, Walter Koenig.

      The story involves the Enterprise being ordered to a planet at the far reaches of the galaxy where a dying plant species called the Phylosians has made a deal with a man from the Eugenic Wars who has chosen Spock to clone in order to create his Master Race to bring peace to the galaxy. It is up to the crew to stop him.

The Pros: Phylos – Phylos is a really cool planet. It is entirely made of plant life with both predatory flying plants as enemies and the dying race of the Phylos as the dominant species. It is colorful, green and dangerous and I wish the planet would make appearance in other “Trek” things.

The Phylosians – This species is fascinating as they latch onto the man Dr. Stavos who almost killed them from his germs but did everything to save him. They were once a war making species but now only want to be peacekeepers…much like humanity and Dr. Stavos.

Uhura – Uhura has a minor but great role in this. She researches the Eugenic Wars and finds that Stavos fought in it and it is from her research they are able to reason with the man and Spock 2 in order to save Spock and keep Stavos’s ideals from becoming a nightmare. 

Sulu – Sulu also has an active role in this as it is the Phylosians who save him from a plant that poisons him and it is he who later defends them when they are attacked by the Phylosians by easily throwing one. He shows that he is adapt, witty and can match wits with any crewmember or alien. He’s a lot of fun in this and Takei brings his charm.

Scotty – Is the acting Captain and does a good job as we see that he is the one who tries everything to reach Kirk as he doesn’t want to cause a war during first contact. He truly is the best engineer in “Star Trek.”

Dr. Stavos – Stavos is the idealist run amok who has lost all faith in humanity so wants to create a master race to enforce peace between worlds. He ran away from the Eugenic Wars because of the ashamed he was of his people and the war and that shame rubbed off on him when he nearly wiped out the Phylosians from simply being part human. This makes it possible to reason with him though and in the end he becomes an ally of the Federation.

Spock and Spock 2 – Spock 2 is Spock’s Clone who has Stavos’s ideals but also the Vulcan logic which leads to him stopping further clones from being created and mind melding with the original Spock in order to save him. He later stays to help Stavos further his research and save the Phylosians.

Spock agrees with the Clone and calls out Kirk for his aggression while complimenting him for when he acts with a cool head.

Kirk –  This is a good Kirk episode as we see him deal with threats in a reasoned way while still using force when absolutely necessary. He is convincing too and manages to turn the Phylosians and Dr. Stavos who were once enemies into allies of the Federation.

    This was a really great episode with the only cons being the fact that what Dr. Stavos did during the Eugenic Wars is never gone into. In a way it isn’t needed but it would have made the episode perfect if we had more time. I really recommend this episode. I had no idea Walter Koenig could write, but he did a great job.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Survivor” – Choice of the Outcast

Star Trek The Animated Series Season 1 Ep 6

  “The Survivor” is a fun episode that doesn’t reach it’s full potential. We have a unique alien, Romulan intrigue  and a character who most of the crew respects…within all of these ideas none of them are fully fleshed out. This is an episode that could have easily been a two-parter and deserved a full hour and the shortness of an animated show worked against the story hidden within.

    The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by James Schmerer.

    The story involves the discovery of a man who was supposed to be dead named Carter Winston. All is not as it appears to be as the alien who has taken it’s form leads them into the Neutral Zone and into a dire confrontation with the Romulans. The crew must outsmart it and stop it before the Federation plans can get to the Romulans.

The Pros: The Romulans – The Romulans use an exiled shape-shifting Vendorian to get them the Enterprise and all the knowledge on the ship. They do a good job and almost succeed but in the end their worry about hurting the Vendorain keeps them from doing more damage to the Enterprise. This showed them as noble which I liked though their plan never felt fully fleshed out.

Captain Kirk and Spock – Kirk and Spock are great in this as the outsmart their opponent and force it to make a choice to defend the ship as well as calling the Romulans bluff which leads to the crew surviving and getting out of the Neutral Zone.

The Vendorian – The Vendorians have a great design! They look like a giant jellyfish and are pretty dangerous. I like the fact that they can shape-shift but wish they’d been fleshed out more. Still, this is a species I want to see again.

The Battle – The Battle is pretty great! 2 on 1 with Enterprise being sabotaged from within. The Romulans feel like a threat and nearly win and it is only from Kirk and Spock’s quick planning that force the Vendorian to make a choice and change sides.

Okay: Carter Winston and Anne Nored – This relationship doesn’t feel real and ends up being cliche. Nored sees past the alien whose form her husband took and she doesn’t shoot it and gets to stand guard over him at the end and the alien falls in love with her because of the form of it’s host. This would work better if it established the Vendorians took on more than just the appearance of another.

The Ending – The Vendorian decides that it will stand trial before the Federation because it is what Carter Winston would do and he was inspired by the man he took care of before he died. This would work a lot better if not for the question of why he was working for the Romulans? This makes it feel very incomplete.

   This was a good episode but not great. As stated above there was so much more that could have been explored. Why was the Vendorian exiled from his Species and how did the Romulans get it to join them? How did being Carter Winston change him? Who was Carter Winston? What did the Romulans want in the end? These are all questions that remain unclear by episodes end, though the journey here is a lot of fun.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 5 – “More Tribbles, More Troubles” – “Star Trek” and Comedy Don’t Mix Well

Season 1 Episode 5

     This was an episode that was hard to watch due to how horrible the premise and characters were. Everyone and everything felt like a joke even though there were reasons it shouldn’t be. A strange threat on the Enterprise, the Klingons having a new weapon…a new species designed by the Klingons…all these are really cool but the story was just bad since it played it all for laughs rather than telling a good story.

       The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by David Gerrold.

    The story involves the rescue of Cyrano Jones from the Klingons as they are attacking him for selling Tribbles on one of their planets. Things soon become dire when the Tribbles are growing uncontrollably and a new Klingon weapon paralyzes the Enterprise and their transportation of grain to Sherman’s Planet.

The Pros: Kirk – Kirk is shown to be a good captain in this. We see him negotiate with Koloth even though they are mortal enemies, and when push comes to shove is able to trick them into surrendering and providing them their Glommer (Tribble Killer) back. His annoyance of Cyrano Jones was what I also shared too.

The Cons: Cyrano Jones – This guy is annoying. He is clearly someone who wants to profit from any situation he is in, and he’s annoying as a Ferengi. There is nothing redeemable about this character and the only reason Kirk protects him is because he’s a Federation citizen. Guy ruined a Klingon world by selling them harmful pests (Tribbles).

The Tribbles – The Tribbles grow bigger and bigger and have none of the charm they do in the episodes they appear in. They aren’t shown to be creatures worth being a threat or a cute distraction. The episode had way too many references too. It should have tried better telling an original story.

Koloth and the Klingons – Koloth has a terrible voice actor and he spends the entire episode acting irrational. Couldn’t stand the character and he was nothing like his live action actor who played him as a general and someone worthy of being a threat and friend.

   This was an episode I would not recommend. It doesn’t do comedy well at all as it can’t decide on what tone it wants and nothing is done with Cyrano Jones or the crew. All are watching Kirk make all the choices and being part of a big giant joke and reference to past “Original Series” episode. This is not a good episode at all.

Final Score: 3 / 10