Top positive review
More Tribbles, Less Fun; Mr. Spock very nearly undone
on January 31, 2003
The launching of the Star Trek animated series was met with both skepticism and protestations by ardent fans that scoffed at the idea of their cultural heroes being reduced to Saturday morning cartoon fodder. But this much maligned and all but forgotten series deserves a second look; there were several very good stories that had the ability to be told in this format that would not have been considered for the live action TV program. Using the animated format allowed the creators to grow Spock to enormous proportions and effectively interact with his comrades; in another episode they were able to shrink each of the crew to the size of a pinky finger; still another episode featured several different alien ships replete with alien crews - something that would have been insurmountable budget-wise on the previous televised series. Additionally D. C. Fontana was prudently retained as the story editor and she was able to get a good number of literate, intelligent scripts from many of the writers that worked on the live action show.
David Gerrold wrote 'More Tribbles, More Troubles' as a sequel to his own classic original series entry 'The Trouble With Tribbles'. It was supposed to have been produced during the third season of that show's run but the director assigned to the task disapproved of "doing Star Trek as comedy" which he firmly believed it wasn't. When the animated series was in pre-production Fontana contacted Gerrold about the possibility of using it on the Saturday morning show and he agreed. This story however isn't nearly as memorable as it's predecessor though Cyrano Jones returns as the scoundrel of a trader with the Klingons in hot pursuit of him. It seems that Jones has stolen a Glommer, a prototype of a Klingon bred predator that devours tribbles, and the Klingons are in desperate need of it as their home world is overrun with the troublesome things. Once again though another shipment of the wheat grain figures in quite improbably; the odds of these two sequences of events happening again simultaneously seems more than astronomical. Also the same humor from the original is repeated nearly verbatim with a few new puns added, and many moments from the original are pictured here as well making this show seem flat and stale by comparison. There is an interesting new Klingon weapon though called a stasis field ray; rendering ships and their weapons systems (including all hand weapons) ineffective the Klingons can now easily defeat anyone. Kirk and crew manage to outsmart their foes of course and punish them righteously and quite humorously in the end.
'The Infinite Vulcan' is one of the very best shows done for the animated series and it was written by original series regular Walter Koenig who was not asked to participate in this Saturday morning revival of the show that made a household name of him. His character was replaced by the odd-appearing three legged and three armed Mr. Areks and voiced by another of the animated series regulars; apparently it was considered a money-saver to do this rather than have paid Koenig for reciting only scant dialogue. His story is quite well written and features two of the most unusual aliens the Enterprise has encountered. Beaming down to the planet Phylos the landing party discovers intelligent plant life as well as beings and an incongruous and rather large human known as Dr. Starros Keniclius 5. The giant doctor turns out to be a long missing and presumed dead geneticist who came to prominence during the Eugenics Wars, first discussed in the original series episode 'Space Seed'. He has been waiting for a perfect specimen for his pet project and it seems that Spock is the unfortunate candidate. The Vulcan is cloned and increased in size enormously and that puts our real Mr. Spock in a very sensitive life and death situation. With only minutes to spare Kirk must reason with the cloned version and save Spock's life. This is a very intriguing and good-looking show, a prime example of what the live action series could not have brought off with much success due to budget limitations.
Just a quick note: When you watch the animated episodes listen closely and you can hear James Doohan voicing several different characters. Occasionally he did as many as four or five separate voices during a half-hour show; he doesn't change his dialect only the tone of his voice so he is easily recognizable.