After NBC cancelled the original Star Trek series in 1969 for its second time, it seemed doubtful that the voyages of the Starship Enterprise would resume again until Filmation resurrected the original cast (with the notable exception of Walter Koenig) on September 8, 1973 for the Animated Series. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Majel Barrett lent their vocal talents to bring their familiar characters back to the small screen in addition to a few new bridge officers: Lt. Arex, a three-armed and legged alien of the Edo species voiced by James Doohan, and Lt. M'Ress a Caitian cat-woman with Majel Barrett purring her alluring voice. With most of the original crew onboard, the five-year mission would boldly go on for at least 22 more episodes of continuing missions. While it is generally regarded as non-canon among Trekkies (even Gene Rodenberry himself rejected the notion that TAS was canon and even the Stardates are inconsistent with those established in the original series) the animated series still contributed some reverent facts to the legacy of the enduring franchise including the revelation of Captain James T. Kirk's middle name as 'Tiberius' and the establishment of the first holodeck (known as the 'Rec Room') in the episode "The Practical Joker" which would serve as an important narrative device for The Next Generation. Walter Koenig would still contribute to the series as a writer for the episode "The Infinite Vulcan" and alumnus D.C. Fontana would write the stand-out episode "Yesteryear" in which Spock travels through the Guardian of Forever from the highly acclaimed Original Series episode "City on the Edge of Forever" and has to mentor his childhood self as an alienated half-human, half-Vulcan outcast on his home planet Vulcan.
Star Trek: TAS was one of Filmation's finest achievements along with The New Adventures of Flash Gordon and both shows shared the same theatrical quality animation with director Hal Sutherland at the helm of both shows. Despite budgetary constraints requiring some stock shots to be recycled, and occassional continuity errors in animation plates and erratic stories, the series managed to preserve the production design and spirit of the original series quite faithfully. I fondly remember most of all the stock Filmation background music by Jeff Michael and Yvette Blais which was looped throughout the series and recycled in several Filmation productions afterward including Ark II, Space Academy, Jason of Star Command and Tarzan. To this day, I can still hear that incidental music playing in my head after some 30 years and I would hope that someone will eventually release the soundtrack on CD. With the soundtrack being remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 for the DVD release, it would seem logical that the original unmixed production tracks might possibly still exist for them to release the isolated music score and would serve not just as a piece of forgotten Trek memorabillia to merchandise but also a reference of nostalgic source cues from the Filmation music library (Lou Scheimer, are you listening?).
To coincide with the television broadcast of Star Trek: TAS in 1974, Mego Toy Corporation introduced a successful series of 8-inch action figures and a vinyl U.S.S. Enterprise bridge playset featuring a spinning Transporter chamber to make action figures "dematerialize." Fascinating.
Star Trek: The Animated Series beams onto DVD for the first time on November 21, 2006 and feature all 22 episodes remastered in high definition, 2 featurettes "Drawn to the Final Frontier - The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series" and "What's the Star Trek Connection?," 3 episode commentaries by writers David Wise and David Gerrold, interviews and commentaries with Filmation producer Lou Scheimer, director Hal Sutherland and writer Dorothy Fontana, photo gallery, text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda on episodes "Yesteryear" "The Eye of the Beholder" and "The Counter-Clock Incident," stoyboards, wallpaper and AIM icons, and much more!
These are the Animated voyages of the Starship Enterprise:
Season 1 (1973-1974)
101 "Beyond the Farthest Star"
103 "One of Our Planets is Missing"
104 "The Lorelei Signal"
105 "More Tribbles, More Troubles"
106 "The Survivor"
107 "The Infinite Vulcan"
108 "The Magicks of Megas-tu"
109 "Once Upon a Planet"
110 "Mudd's Passion"
111 "The Terratin Incident"
112 "The Time Trap"
113 "The Ambergris Element"
114 "The Slaver Weapon"
115 "The Eye of the Beholder"
116 "The Jihad"
Season 2 (1974)
201 "The Pirates of Orion"
203 "The Practical Joker"
205 "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"
206 "The Counter-Clock Incident"