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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To boldly go where no cartoon has gone before, 14 April 2011
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This review is from: Star Trek: The Animated Series [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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Mr. Mischief
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