So this month was a weird one for my continued mission to watch all the Star Trek I can before January. I did make progress, just not on the parts of the franchise I intended.
As you’ll see below I stalled on TNG and only gained two episodes on TOS. Technically, it’s two and a half episodes because partway through “Balance of Terror” I had to stop because I was not in the headspace to deal with the senseless bigotry towards Spock following the revelation of the Romulan’s close physical appearance to Vulcans.
This is not to say it’s bad. Far from it in fact. I’m genuinely impressed that a show in the 1960s tackled that kind of plotline. Star Trek in all its forms continues to surprise me with its willingness, as a franchise, to push the progressive boundaries of whatever era a particular installment belongs to. I will return to TOS and TNG. I just needed a change of pace following the way I blasted through content in April and May.
So what did I watch instead?
Well, Final Frontier for one. I was informed ahead of time it was bad, but I was still unprepared for just how terrible a film it is. To be fair, it’s not my least favorite Star Trek film. That honor goes to Star Trek: The Motion Picture which I literally writhed and shouted my painful way through. But Final Frontier runs a close second. I continue to adore the characters, particularly Scotty, Uhura and Sulu and I’m looking forward to watching Undiscovered Country, which I’ve been told is far better than the fifth installment!
But that wasn’t all I watched.
You know how Netflix provides recommendations based on the content you’ve watched? I’ve been watching A LOT of Star Trek so my recommendations section is essentially various Star Trek shows and films, including TAS, also known as Star Trek: The Animated Series.
That’s right, I went THERE.
And, you know? Honestly? It was not as bad as I expected.
Let’s be clear here: the animation is terrible. It’s incredibly static, the art style itself is unremarkable and the show relies heavily on stock footage. BUT. Many of the writers for the animated series also wrote for TOS, so the writing is basically at the same level. In addition, the voice actors are the original cast (with the exception of Walter Koenig as Pavel Checkov who was apparently not included for budgetary reasons). As a result, the feel and rhythms are much the same with the main difference being the visuals. The show being animated also allows it to be weirder and more expansive with the crew visiting truly alien landscapes and interacting with alien characters far beyond the capability of the live action budget. There’s an entire episode that takes place underwater, another with Uhura, Spock and Sulu captured on a snowy ice planet by cat aliens and yet another that focuses on a race of sentient plants. It all adds up to a show that, despite its many flaws, still has the heart and purpose of Star Trek.
And yet, I’m still very glad that there were only twenty-two episodes to get through!
So what is my Star Trek tally now? Check it out below!
Original Pilot: “The Cage”
Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1, Episodes 1-14 & 22)
Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 1. Season 2. COMPLETE!
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1. Season 2. Season 3. Season 4 (Episode 1).
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Pilot
Star Trek: Voyager: Pilot
Movies (TOS): Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: Voyage Home, Star Trek V: Final Frontier
Movies (TNG): Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection
Movies (Reboot): Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness
You can read about my Trekification from the beginning here!
I’ll be back in July with my next update. I tweet about my progress throughout the month @colehcampbell with #Trekification. Follow along!