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Klingon PSA and old Trek animated series


A few years back, I linked to a bunch of Star Trek fan films and series.

Just now happened across another kind of fan video: new episodes of the animated series.

As y'all may know, in 1973 and 1974, NBC broadcast 22 half-hour episodes of an animated Star Trek series (made by an animation studio called Filmation) on Saturday mornings.

I never took it seriously—I think I saw maybe one episode in reruns, and read some of the Alan Dean Foster novelizations, but it all seemed a little silly to me as a young more-or-less Trek fan. I particularly had a hard time taking seriously the crossover with Niven's Known Space universe; Niven adapted his story “The Soft Weapon” into the episode “The Slaver Weapon,” complete with Kzinti, and with Spock standing in for Nessus (the Puppeteer character in the story).

But it turns out there may've been more substance to the series than I'd thought. It was produced by DC Fontana, and there were episodes written by Fontana, David Gerrold, and other Original Series writers, as well as an episode written by Walter Koenig. Even though it was broadcast among the Saturday morning kid cartoons, the creators of the show apparently tried to treat it as seriously as they'd treated the live-action Trek.

I've been perusing Curt Danhauser's ST:TAS website, which has lots of info about the series and about the individual episodes. One interesting tidbit from there:

At first, Filmation planned on not having George Takei and Nichelle Nichols come back to do their roles again. But when Leonard Nimoy learned of their exclusion he said that he would “... not be a party to this if two of the minorities who contributed to making Star Trek what it was when we were on television cannot be incorporated.” It was due to Nimoy's stand that Sulu and Uhura's characters made it into the animated series.

Oddly, however, Chekov was not included. (The page says that was for budget reasons, which just seems weird to me; would Koenig really have added that much to the cost?)

At any rate, in addition to putting together the website describing the animated series, Danhauser has been creating new material in homage to that series.

For example, a lot of cartoons in the 1970s included 30-second public-service spots explicitly telling kids what the moral of the episode had been. The Trek animated series didn't include PSAs, so Danhauser created a PSA for each episode, in the style of the series.

And then he made a Klingon PSA.

It's a PSA for the end of the animated episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles,” and it teaches young Klingons an important moral lesson. You don't need to have seen the full episode to enjoy the PSA.

In fact, you don't even need to speak a human language, because versions of the PSA are available in Klingon, both with and without English subtitles. (But for us monolingual English speakers, there's also a version in English.)

Danhauser has also created a full-length new animated episode, “Let the Heavens Fall.” I haven't watched it yet, so can't comment on it, but figured it was worth linking to. And he's working on a full-length episode from the Klingons' point of view.

I gather that Danhauser's new episodes feature a bunch of shots from the original animated series (but with new dialogue) mixed in with new shots he created, including new art in the same style. He seems to me to have done a good job of mimicking the art style.

For more about his new episodes, see his press release from a couple years ago.


As I recall, Takei isn't in some of the episodes because he was running for political office in LA and the network was concerned that they'd have to give his opponent equal time.

Yeah, the Danhauser site talks some about that. It explains that the first episode (which did include Sulu) didn't air in LA on its scheduled airdate because broadcasting then would've required giving equal time to Takei's opponent. (Me, I would've ruled that his opponent would also have to appear portraying a science fiction character in a Saturday morning cartoon.) The second episode didn't include Sulu, so it aired as scheduled in LA; then the election happened. (Takei lost.)

It's unclear from the site's brief discussion of this whether Sulu was left out of the second episode for this reason or for other reasons. The site does say (on a different page) that Sulu appeared in all but three episodes; the other two he didn't appear in were much later in the series.

I'm a startrek fan but those animation series were out when I was just a 2 years old, ha ha,, anyway I would love to see them.. I have not heard of them until now, which is very interesting and now I really want to watch them. Great Article! Time to research some long lost research on filmation :) Thanks for the Article.

Matt M.

Glad you liked my blog entry. I've removed your URL, which looked too much like spam for my tastes; I considered removing your comment as well, because it also looked like spam (among other things, phrases like "Thanks for the Article" usually indicate spam), but it does look like you read the entry and were commenting on it, so I'll allow the comment.

That story about Leonard Nimoy standing up for George Takei and Nichelle Nichols is really heartwarming. The man has integrity.

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