on 27 August 2010
I didn't think I would like this but wow was I surprised! Turns out it's my favourite season of the original series. Yes I consider it a season, it has all the original actors, Gene Roddenberry, and even a few cross-overs to earlier episodes. The animation style is very basic, but it still allowed for things that just weren't possible or would have cost too much to do in live action. Like the life support belts, or the living ship, or my favourite a glimpse of a Vulcan city. I never considered the animated series to be a "real" part of Star Trek; I stand corrected. Give it a chance, you won't be disappointed.
Well, this is indeed an oddity, and not something I'd ever even heard of before seeing it here on Amazon. A follow-up to the classic / okay / past-its-best (delete depending on your point of view) TV show from the 60's, Star Trek: The Animated Series isn't so much a sequel to, as it is a continuation of, that idea. It features the voice talents of all of the original cast (with the exception of Walter Koenig as Chekov, who was left out apparently for budget reasons) as well as similar settings and story lines, and the same old mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, etc...
The overall quality of the print is excellent and the sound is also first-rate, I would guess virtually as good as the day the show was first aired. There are very few motion artefacts to detract from the viewing experience or to betray the show's age, in fact the only give-away is that the animation is of the classic 70's style, the kind you may well have seen in Hanna-Barbera shows of the same period. And although making a cartoon (I use that term loosely) did allow the makers to explore plots that would have been prohibitively expensive for a live-action show, a lot of the time settings and backgrounds are, understandably, overly colourful but lacking in detail, so don't expect the kind of quality you might see in a big-budget animated movie or even in some of today's cartoons. What it does give you is more of the classic series but in a different form, and rather than it being Star Trek on-the-cheap, I think that you'll quickly see this as nothing less than the original show in slightly different trousers.
However, looking at this with a severely critical eye, at times the show's producers seemed a little constrained by each episode's 20-odd-minute run time, having to squeeze in stories that I feel should have been given the full 45-minute treatment. On a few occasions, events and reasons were rushed through or not explained quite as fully as I felt they should have been, leaving the viewer to make assumptions about why things were happening. The key demographic of the show is also a little uncertain - at first glance I would have said pre-teens; after watching a few of the episodes I would have said teens; a few more and I'm not so sure. Some have story lines with a maturity that rivals those found in the original series and whilst they may be acceptable for today's kids, I fear that much of what was pitched by the writers will be lost on a younger audience. Then again, both are accusations that could be levelled at the original series, which positively serves to promote this as more of the same.
The box houses just the 4 DVDs containing the complete 22-episode run of the show; there's no booklet, no postcards and no posters, even though there are clips for them in the box's interior spine. The episode listings are printed on the inside of the box's inlay card, so are obscured by the DVDs until you take them out. All told, I'm guessing that this is the 'cheap' release made for viewing purposes only, so if you want anything more than the bare minimum you should probably seek out the premium version.
To get the most out of this set I think you have to feel at least a modicum of love for the original Star Trek series; I'm not one of its greatest fans by any means, but I do appreciate it as a science fiction trailblazer and as the father of several (and, in my opinion, much better) Star Trek shows. My concern before buying it had been that it would be nothing more than a low-cost cash-in on the Star Trek brand, but fortunately I was proved wrong and after only a couple of episodes I was drawn in by the familiar storytelling and voice acting, almost forgetting that it was a cartoon. In a nutshell, if at least a part of you enjoyed the original series and you want more of the same, I think you'll get a kick out of this. If you didn't like the original, or if you think that 70's cartoon shows are best left in the past, then it almost certainly won't be for you.
on 7 October 2013
First and foremost, I think it is important to clarify the DVD details, because at the moment of writing this review Amazon's description does not appear to be accurate.
I am assuming, although obviously I cannot be 100% certain, that the box-set I have (a gift, and I don't think purchased on Amazon) is the standard one, so the same as sold here on Amazon: re-packaged, Region 2, 4 discs, released by CBS DVD in 2011.
Well, it happens to have:
LANGUAGES: English (5.1); French, German, Italian, Spanish (Mono).
SUBTITLES: English SDH, English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish.
COMMENTARY AND TEXT COMMENTARY SUBTITLES: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.
The 4 discs contain 22 episodes of approximately twenty minutes each, and the following Special Features:
Audio Commentaries (only to some episodes)by David Gerrold or David Wise; Text Commentaries (only to some episodes) by Michael and Denise Okuda; Storyboard Gallery; featurettes "The Infinite Vulcan", "Drawn to the Final Frontier", "What's the Star Trek Connection?", "Show History".
All the actors from the Original Series cast, including Majel Barrett but with the exception of Walter Koenig, reprise their original roles, dubbing their characters. Walter Koenig, while not present as Chekov, penned an episode.
The animated characters are all quite resemblant to the physical appearance of the actors, apart from Scott, who looks nothing like James Doohan.
The stories themselves are good quality, overall, very similar, in tone and general mood, to the Original Series: if you liked that, you will probably enjoy this Animated Series, too. However, if you weren't a fan of Roddenberry's series in the first place, then maybe this is not for you (or in any case not the place to start your Star Trek adventure with).
on 3 July 2009
I've always wanted to watch this series and until today I never got the chance beyond two full episodes and a minute or two of other episodes, I had always been interested in getting the DVD box set that had come out several years ago, but at the time I wasn't able to afford it.
With the release of the remastered Original series, which I'm almost finished completing at the time of writing this, the Animated series box set got a re-release.
Now most likely a lot of those who have bought this series got the earlier metal box set and so didn't feel that this was anything worthwhile, and I guess if I had bought that set I would agree, but I hadn't. So I may as well explain what this set is like.
Unlike with the Original series remastering, this series hasn't been cleaned up at all, it's still it's original footage. That means all the dirt, hair, animation errors, mismatched colours and more has remained.
I'm sure there'll be people scoffing at that, but I think it's cute to see the footage not remastered and cleaned up, it shows how animation was back in the 70s.
All the episodes are shown by broadcast date and not by stardate, it does seem messy, but again that's just just due to how things were when the series was made.
The sound is the same as ever and the action is as you would expect for a cartoon of the 70s.
The box itself is plastic, fairly solid, the same size as the Original Series Remastered box sets, minus the metal casing addition. The four discs are placed on two plastic discs and are back to back, with neither touching the main disc section. They're easy enough to remove and put back in.
The rating is U, since there's nothing offensive about the series, though I'm sure there's some out there who would find something minor to be offended about.
In full the box set doesn't really last all that long, it's only 22 episodes, the full series, and each episode is around 23 minutes long, some about 22 minutes long. But what stands out is how good the stories are, from the truly excellent 'Yesteryear' to 'How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth', every episode has a really good, if somewhat short, story.
Plus until the era of CGI came about, live action TV was limited in what could be done, animation allows for things to be done that couldn't be done on live action TV at the time. Like the Enterprise crew being shrunk in one episode to them becoming younger in the final episode.
You can tell that the story writers had a lot of fun with the series and it's hard not to love it as you watch it.
Now that the Animated series has finally been accepted as canon in the Star Trek universe, although one error sticks out in 'The Slaver Weapon' since the 200 years mentioned since the last war between the Federation and the Kzinti couldn't have happened - The episode is set around 2269/2270 or so, 200 years previously humanity was still learning how to go faster than warp 1, the Federation was almost a hundred years away from being founded and Starfleet was also almost a hundred years away from being created.
But back then the Star Trek Universe was still being created a story at a time.
Also you'll see pink tribbles, Klingons, the smooth headed ones, in pink as well as the newly introduced Kzinti race wearing pink and flying a pink ship, due to the man who did the colours being colour blind and they didn't release that till it was too late to change the colours.
Pink pride for sure. Worf in pink...that should have been done!
Don't expect anything new added, there's the same extras from the earlier version of the box set.
This series would be a good way of introducing the Star Trek universe to your own kids or young family members, well this and the Original series since they did come out first back in the 60s and 70s.
I really enjoyed this series, finished watching it all an hour ago and loved it. It's not perfect, but that's it's charm. Great stories can make a difference, so if you still collecting the Trek DVDs and you've not seen Animated, then this comes highly recommended.
Now I wonder if Jadzia Dax ever had Worf wearing pink? That would have been interesting.
on 23 September 2010
This was a show that was a real ground-breaker, one that should have never really happened. The original series had already ended around three years prior to this and despite TREK making a global splash in syndication, no one wanted to spend good money on more live-action episodes (probably why the network deliberately torpedoing the third season by slashing the budget and lumping it with the worst day/time-slot in history). No, live action episodes were done.
So back it came via animation, with an unheard of main cast reunion, whereas most animation shows usually did not have the original cast back. A lot of the the original series writers also came back too.
Ok so some of the animation is a bit ropey, the continuity errors are many, the reuse of stock shots is beyond numbering and some of the stories are just plain awful...but it somehow works as a whole. Look past the limitations of the cheap (FILMATION) animation and just enjoy it.
It's STAR TREK, but not (quite) as we know it.
on 7 October 2009
What a delight! Seeing the Trek crew in animation has added to my love of the series. True, the animation itself is laughable at times, but they did their best at the time with the technology they had and the crude animation lends an historical and endearing atmosphere to the stories. The storylines themselves are, in fact, fantastic, worthy of any modern series of the Trek venture, and because the characterisation includes the voices of Shatner et al, the result is a worthy addition to the Star Trek universe. I hope, in the near future, someone will produce a modern Star Trek animated series. The possibilities would be endless.
on 11 September 2009
I bought these mail order on VHS about thirteen years ago. At the time I was a huge Star Trek fan but have now mellowed into all things. When I heard these were coming to DVD I jumped at the chance to see them cleaned up, remastered and not on VHS.
I was well impressed with the way they have been cleaned up but also with how my memories of each episode watched after school comes back.
I have however noticed some things about the cartoons that bother me.
1. The theme isn't from Star Trek TOS, but sounds more like some sparkly mid 1970s type of Dungeons and Dragons cartoon theme.
2. The stories themselves are great but the incidental music seems to be louder, shriller and more annoying than I remember. The acting is excellent but is totally drowned out by the strange scene filling music. Not all of the 1960s TOS show had music.
3. Chekov is not in it.
These things shouldn't distract anyone from buying them however as they are only things I have problems with. I like the character of Chekov who was never expanded upon, ever. Christine Chapel didn't get a decent look in either.
All in all a good twenty odd episodes and at a good price. If you've already bought the remastered Series 1, 2 and 3 of TOS or are getting the Blu Rays and then the Blu Ray films, get this to add to your collection because it is 'Tip Top, Mr Spock.'
on 19 May 2012
Very good - many of the stories are a continuation of where the old series left off, such as tribble episodes etc. But if you are a star trek fan,
then you will enjoy them as I did. All the original voices are there (with the exception of Chekov) as this was done in 1973. It's basically for
younger fans though, so there will be no swear words ! Revenge perhaps really, as in my case, the original series was for me a little too advanced
when it first came out ( I was a school boy)- now they bring out this animated (series which I missed in 1973) but which I remember being on on Saturday mornings - it was for Kids !
If you like the first (proper) series this is good - once you get over the animated characters the stories are good in themselves and although Gene
Roddenberry says they shouldn't be classed as proper STAR TREK genre they are still quite enjoyable and worth watching.
If you liked STAR TREK, you'll like this.
on 9 June 2010
Star Trek owes a lot to this little series.Originally a saturday morning filler I remember watching it on BBC in the 70's
As a child and a Trek fan as were many friends it kept alive the flame of Trek in our young minds and in countless others too I'm sure.All the original cast except Walter Koenig ,Chekov recreate their characters here I can't remember this happening before or since with such a crossover I may be wrong on this .The stories are written by some of the original series writers Gerrold D.C.Fontana etc and as such are excellent.I know it looks a little dated but with animation being so popular nowadays this show certainly deserves a chance to prove it's worth and at the current price it's an even more attractive proposition and a essential part of any Trek collection
For those who loved the original Star Trek series this is a chance to enjoy many of the same actors and characters in a whole set of new stories.
The actors throw themselves into voicing their parts and overall the series feels like it's been made with genuine affection for what Trek was about, including having many of the same writers.
Pretty much the whole of the original main characters appear, and some get a chance to branch out including Christine Chapel and Uhuru who in one episode take a turn at rescuing the guys for a change... There's also a couple of new characters including the cat-like M'Ress.
Some other familiar characters reappear, including the tribbles and Harry Mudd.I've read that the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, apparently said the stories weren't 'canon' but in an age where a certain Mr Abrams has torn up the show's entire history for the sake of a few throwaway adrenalin-fuelled blockbusters, that's by-the-by.
Perhaps with it being an animation there are times when it feels a bit more aimed at a younger audience, and being honest the stories vary in quality (as to be fair they did with the live action series), but one advantage of being animation is that they are no longer tied down to the kind of low-budget planet scenes (think a handful of polystyrene 'rocks' on a soundstage) that the live action series had to accommodate, so we get lush alien jungles and a whole load of effects which the TV series couldn't produce. That said the animation isn't the best quality at times but not in a way that affects the viewing.
Overall I feel the series has a good amount of the heart and direction of the original series, and that for me is what makes it a worthy addition if you already have all of the original series.