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Western Animation: Star Trek: The Animated Series

Star Trek: The Animated Series is an Animated Adaptation and the first Spin-Off from the original series, continuing the initial five-year mission.

Given the reality that it was produced by Filmation, the animation is typically the studio's ultra-cheap style. However, they more than made up for that with most of the original cast and the writers as well (although Larry Niven was a tad lazy in squeezing The Slaver Weapon from his Known Space universe into that of Star Trek). The result is a show that might not have the best animation, but still boasted spectacular imagery and believably non-human aliens that the original show could never depict, while still reasonably keeping to its artistic spirit. As a result, this series is the best example of the Animated Adaptation concept in the Dark Age Of Animation that was so good that it won the franchise's first ever Emmy Award.

The Animated Series remains the shortest-lived series of the Trek franchise, with just 22 episodes airing over a 13-month period in 1973-74 on NBC. It was also the last Trek series to air in first-run on network television until Star Trek: Voyager debuted in 1995 on UPN.

However, the franchise creator, Gene Roddenberry, later insisted that the animated show be kept out of continuity since he never anticipated that Star Trek would later be revived in live action on such a scale as would happen. Still, many fans insisted that at least the best episode, "Yesteryear", be counted, considering that it gives a valuable look into Spock's youth and character as well as the planet Vulcan as told by the most authoritative voice on the matter, D.C. Fontana. Because of the information about Vulcan presented in the show, the introducing of the Holodeck, giving Kirk his middle name, and the fact that many of the Star Trek writers and actors were involved with the show, many fans consider it a part of their personal Star Trek canon of it depicting the final two years of Enterprise's five year mission. In addition, the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise used numerous references from this series. The Expanded Universe, already having less of a need to adhere to strict canon, even went so far as to revive the series' Sixth Ranger alien crew members, Cat Girl Lt. M'Ress and tri-symmetrical Lt. Arex.

CBS declared this series full canon around the time they released it on DVD.

The title used here and on the DVD release is a back-formation, as the show originally aired as simply Star Trek. It's also known by the more ponderous title of The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek.

This series provides examples of:

Provides aversions of:

  • Lighter and Fluffier: One of the main reasons given by Gene Roddenberry as to why he chose Filmation out of all the animation companies who made a pitch at doing The Animated Series is because they were the only company who didn't suggest giving the Enterprise crew "funny animal sidekicks". Interestingly, after getting the job, the idea apparently did surface at pre-production meetings... but it was quickly (and rightly) kyboshed by Roddenberry. Regardless, Filmation didn't let the concept of "funny sidekicks in space" go to waste and created the live-action series Space Academy a few years later.

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alternative title(s): Star Trek The Animated Series
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