Long considered a franchise quirk, Star Trek: The Animated Series is nonetheless canon.
Star Trek: The Animated Series is one of the weirdest corners of the franchise. It was created following the cancellation of the first series before the fan base really took hold and the producers were trying to make a little more money in what seemed like a dying business. at the time. And yet, despite its status as a quasi-ulterior motive, The animated series remains canon. Everything that happened during its abridged, silly, and sometimes completely bizarre episodes has the same relevance to the franchise as The original series.
The show originally aired from 1973 to 1974. Original series DC writers Fontana and David Gerrold described it as a continuation of the Enterprise’s five-year mission. Filmation, the production company, was infamous for using cost-cutting techniques such as stock rotoscoping and stationary figures. Moderator Hal Sutherland possessed a slight color blindness, dragging the Klingons into strange purple vests and a giant pink Tribble occupying the captain’s chair. This and The animated series‘relatively low profile, was enough to keep him out of the canon of many fans.
Gene Roddenberry took a laid back approach to canon. that of Jeff Ayer Imaginary journeys: The Star Trek Fiction Companion quotes Paula Block, who oversaw Star Trek, saying that Roddenberry often “decanonized” certain episodes that he decided not to play out as they should have. This is confirmed by many thorny issues hiking experienced in trying to establish canons later, such as details about Andorians, which changed with each new paperback author to address the topic. This also applied to The animated series, who was apparently “decanonized” as part of Roddenberry’s negotiations for the Star Trek license fees after the first season of The next generation.
There’s a temptation to let this happen, due to the show’s overall low quality and strictly kid-friendly tone. Sadly, not only does this not apply regardless of Roddenberry’s thoughts, but far too many details he has established have become accepted canons. Trying to cut it up is just not practical.
The first and most obvious reason The animated series Canonical rest is that most of the original actors have returned to express their characters again. This included show regulars like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and supporting cast like Roger C. Carmel, who returned to voice Harry Mudd, and Mark Lenard, who only voiced Spock’s father, Sarek, for the second time. Many other details come from The animated series, like Kirk’s middle name “Tiberius” and Amanda Grayson’s love for Alice in Wonderland, who played a pivotal role in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. Species like the cat-like caitians also first appeared, only to reappear later as Starfleet officers in Star Trek IV – The Journey Home and with Dr T’Ana on Star Trek: lower decks.
Perhaps the most irrefutably hot moment in The animated series comes with Season 1, Episode 2, “Yesteryear”, a sequel to the legendary Original series Season 1, Episode 28, “The City on the Edge of Eternity”. Written by DC franchise mainstay Fontana, it sends the ship back to the Guardian of Forever, where an incident appears to wipe Mr. Spock from existence. Spock must return to his childhood and prevent his untimely death. Fontana was a key part of Spock’s character development during The original series, and she saw the episode as vital in illustrating the struggles between Spock and his parents. Details of the episode became presumptive and continued to fuel subsequent portrayals of Spock, Sarek, and Amanda.
Few episodes were as strong as this one, but the details are too ingrained in Star Trek to be removed without serious retconning. The franchise has endured episodes of similar quirks without ill effects. Each series has its share of forgettable episodes that actually happened as far as the timeline goes nonetheless. Selective barrel changes invariably lead to backlash and muddy continuity waters that are difficult enough to keep clear as is. The animated series Rarely goes beyond anyone’s favorites list, but there is nothing else in the franchise like it, and the details he has provided are also essential to Star Trek like any other series.
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