Star Trek: The Animated Series
Like the original series, the writing runs the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. The average quality may be somewhat lower than the original series, but the best of the episodes are solid and satisfying additions to the franchise, and there is very little here that is worse than "Spock's Brain" (famously the worst episode of the original series). Even the merely adequate stories bear grace notes that longtime fans will appreciate.

D.C. Fontana's "Yesteryear" is easily the best of the bunch, and the only episode that even the crustiest of the series' detractors will admit into the fold. Spock uses the Guardian of Forever (from "City on the Edge of Forever") to visit himself as a child and correct an error in the timestream. Posing as his cousin, Spock comes to the aid of his younger self as he prepares for the kahs-wan ordeal, a Vulcan rite of passage. The touching, bittersweet conclusion is an unusual one for Saturday morning television. Mark Lenard returned to voice Spock's father, Sarek.

There are other sequels to original Trek stories. "Mudd's Passion" brings back the irrascible Harry Mudd, portrayed again by Roger C. Carmel. Mudd is now trafficking in love potions and takes advantage of Nurse Chapel's unrequited feelings for Mr. Spock, with amusing results. Cyrano Jones (Stanley Adams) returns with a new breed of genetically altered tribbles in David Gerrold's "More Tribbles, More Troubles." Though not nearly as good as the original, there are some terrific comic moments here. (Along with Gerrold's other contribution, "Bem," this story was first pitched for the third season of the original series.) Walter Koenig, though shut out of the acting gig, did manage to contribute his first script. "The Infinite Vulcan" visits another orphan of the Eugenics War—a backstory event first introduced with Khan in "Space Seed." There are promising elements to this story, though I am at a loss to explain how a master plan to bring peace to the Federation demands a forty-foot tall clone of Mr. Spock. In "Once Upon a Planet," the Enterprise returns to the "Shore Leave" planet for one of the weaker entries in the series.

Author Larry Niven's "The Slaver Weapon," an adaptation of his short story "The Soft Weapon," is a tight and effective tale, and one of the highlights of this set. Unusually, the only crew in this episode are Spock, Uhura, and Sulu. While transporting an artifact of the ancient Slaver race, they cross paths with cat-like Kzinti raiders who think the arifact may contain an all-powerful weapon. Niven sets up some very complex inter-species relations, and the story is a nail-biter. Unfortunately, since it crosses over with Niven's Known Space books, this episode is one of the sticking points for those who consider the animated series to be non-canon.

"How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth" was the episode that won the series its daytime Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Children's Series. An ancient Mayan-Aztec deity returns, angry at having been forgotten. The episode is reminiscent of the original series episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and introduces the first Native American crew member.

Even some of the weaker episodes contain moments Trek fans will enjoy, such as Uhura taking command of the bridge while the men are under a siren spell in "The Lorelei Incident." "The Counter-Clock Incident" is full of references to the original series and introduces us to Robert April, the first commander of the Enterprise. "The Practical Joker" introduces the holodeck, here called the Recreation Room.
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