Book Review: Star Trek: The Official Guide To The Animated Series
By Empress Eve
Thursday, September 12th, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series Hardcover
By Aaron Harvey, Rich Schepis
Afterword by Dayton Ward
Publisher: Weldon Owen
Release date: September 3, 2019
This week marks the 53rd anniversary of the premiere of the original Star Trek television series, and though it aired only for three seasons, it ended up being the start of one of the greatest science fiction franchises. After the TV show’s cancellation in 1969, the series increased in popularity during syndication and thanks to great fan interest, a new series was created — this time, for Saturday morning television. On September 8, 1973, seven years after the premiere of the original series, NBC aired the first episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, an animated sequel series featuring voice acting from most of the original cast. Here we are now at exactly 46 years later, and Weldon Owen publishers has just released Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series.
The new hardcover full-color book, written by Aaron Harvey and Rich Schepis, gives a comprehensive look at each of the 22 episodes of The Animated Series, which ran for two seasons from September 1973 to October 1974.
While having Star Trek continue on in animation had its cons, it also had its benefits: Animation allowed for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to explore even more “strange new worlds” and encounter all kinds of alien lifeforms without the worry of and budget for special effects, make-up, and costuming.
And speaking of the starship crew, the majority of the main cast, including leads William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley, returned to voice their respective characters, with many of the writers brought back as well. (The budget did not allow for Walter Koenig’s Chekov to be included, though the actor did get to pen a script.) This gave the series authenticity and helped the creative team achieve their goal of having the animated series be an extension of the original live-action show.
The Animated Series even went on to win an Emmy in 1975 for Outstanding Entertainment – Children’s Series. And although it did air during the kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoon time, the show still maintained the seriousness and hard science fiction slant of its predecessor. It even brought back some guest characters (Harry Mudd, the Tribbles) and continued some storylines.
If you’re not that familiar with The Animated Series, the guide’s opening chapters explain how it came about, who was involved in its creation, what the creative team envisioned for the series, and behind-the-scenes production tidbits, along with a section on how the scripts went from page to screen. The back matter contains an Afterword by veteran Star Trek novelist Dayton Ward, as well as a section dedicated to the legacy of the show and the elements of it that are part of the franchise’s canon.
The bulk of the guide is dedicated to the 22 episodes. For each episode, there’s information on its air date, writer, director, guest characters and voices, and the Stardate, along with a “Fascinating” column of facts about the show and its successors, as well as Bloopers. But this book is not just a listing of details — this is a deep dive breakdown of each storyline, what the crew’s mission was, character assessments, inspirations, and so much more, including interviews with the creative team and a Databank of info on characters, starships, and more. The authors even point out when something is the “first time” seen or said on screen (for instance, it’s the first instance of a holodeck). All of this information is surrounded by images from the series, sketches, and concept art.
While the authors prefaced this edition by saying that it was impossible for them to include everything about the animated series, it’s actually pretty mind-blowing how much care, research, and design consideration went into the creation of this tome and how much they actually were able to pack into 160 pages. Hardcore fans will devour Star Trek: The Official Guide To The Animated Series, as it shreds light on not only the long-forgotten animated series, but the franchise in general. For the casual Trek fan or those just discovering the original series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, which is available now on Blu-ray, is a hidden gem and this supplemental guide is the perfect accompaniment.ðŸ––ðŸ»âœ¨
The first and only guide to the beloved and star-studded Star Trek: The Animated Series, the in-canon (mostly) continuation of the iconic Star Trek: Original Series.
Star Trek was left for dead in 1969, after the cancellation of The Original Series (TOS). However, even though new adventures of the Enterprise and its crew were not being produced, it remained in the zeitgeist due to syndication and fan-run conventions. As a result, Star Trek became more popular and led to Gene Roddenberry and Filmation Studios continuing the Enterprise’s original five-year mission on Saturday morning television.
Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) was a critical success, airing 22 episodes over two seasons and earning the franchise its first Emmy Award in 1975. The show featured the voices of almost the entire original cast, including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, along with TOS writers Dorothy Fontana (“Journey to Babel”), David Gerrold (“The Trouble with Tribbles”), acclaimed science-fiction author Larry Niven, and many more.
This book is the first officially dedicated to TAS, and provides fans with behind-the-scenes production documents, never-before-seen art, and all-new interviews with the people who produced the Enterprise’s new animated adventures.
Star Trek: The Official Guide to The Animated Series reveals the efforts it took to translate TOS into animated form, includes a Databank encyclopedia of new and returning characters, ships, and planets, as well as trivia, bloopers, and TAS’s connections to other Star Trek shows.