Star Trek: The Original Series (1969) & The Animated Series (1973) – Turnabout Intruder and Beyond the Farthest Star

Captain’s log: stardate 5928.5

The last live action television episode chronicling the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) is a bit of a mixed bag. It was the first time someone else besides Shatner played Kirk, but the story itself sure could have been stronger.

And some of the dialogue! – And are you kidding me, women couldn’t be starship captains? That was so not in keeping with Roddenberry’s vision. It may have been more suitable to the story if the character had been drummed out of the service. and – the indignity of being a woman? Better to be dead than to live alone in the body of a woman? Good lord this is offensive stuff to me on every level.

Turnabout Intruder was written by Arthur H. Singer from a story by series creator Gene Roddenberry and aired on 3 June, 1969.

The Enterprise arrives at Camus II in answer to a distress call. There they discover the ill form of the party’s leader, Janice Lester (Sandra Smith) an ex-lover of Kirk’s, and one who is now quite insane.

She uses a piece of recovered alien technology to swap bodies with Kirk, and she finally has everything she wants. Kirk, revenge on same, command of a starship, and her ex is trapped in her body.

Kirk as Lester attempts to convince Spock who he really is, while Lester as Kirk assumes command, and plans to go so far as to try and execute anyone who doesn’t acquiesce to her orders.

Of course, right away, Spock and McCoy seem to suspect something odd is going on, something which causes Lester as Kirk to bring on the court-martials, but everyone on the ship begins to resist.

Our heroes win the day, and Kirk is returned to his body, after some troubling sexism, and the series comes to its end.

Of course, it’s not a big finale, it’s not even a blip on the Enterprise’s sensors. It was simply the end. Of course, nowadays, things are handled differently, and they would have crafted a proper finale. Instead, the Enterprise simply continues onto its next mission.

Little did they know, they would still be boldly going over 50 years later, and our journeys with Kirk and company were just beginning.

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Captain’s log: stardate 5221.3

Following the cancellation of the live action series, fans gathered and re-watched as they were able to, celebrating their love for the series. The years dragged on, but finally, after 4 years, the Enterprise returned to screens.

This time it was as a Saturday morning cartoon. But don’t let that scare you off. A number of the original series writers came over to the show, as did the cast (thanks to some work on Nimoy’s behalf) and stories, even at 22 minutes long were cerebral, in some cases more so than the original series.

Beyond the Farthest Star debuted on 8 September, 1973. Written by Samuel A. Peeples, who had written Where No Man Has Gone Before, the story continues the original five year mission.

The Enterprise comes across what they believe is an ancient, abandoned starship. Unfortunately, it is not as empty as they thought, and the entity they encounter has its sights set on capturing the Enterprise.

The animation is basic, with shots and images reused, but it does advance the continuing story of James Kirk and his crew. We also get a look at some new Starfleet tech, like the life support belt (instead of drawing spacesuits they only had to draw a yellow field around the characters) as well as new crew members like Arex (voiced by James Doohan, who took on a number of roles in addition to Scotty), the three armed navigator who replaced Chekov (Walter Koenig) on the bridge.

I never saw the series when it originally aired. I came to Trek a couple too late for that. I remember coming across images of it now and then. I remember an ad where you could order cels from the animated series, and I was jealous of the fact that there were episodes that I had never seen.

In fact, I didn’t get to see any of them until Paramount finally released them in the 21st century.

The series while suffering from animation constraints allowed the series to expand on aliens and crafts, now the creators were only limited by their imaginations and the ability to animate it.

Next week the Human Adventure continues…

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