Monday, October 4, 2010

The Animated Series, Season 1: The Jihad

The Animated Series, Season 1
"The Jihad"
Airdate: January 12, 1974
13 of 22 produced
16 of 22 aired


Captain Kirk and Spock are summoned to help retrieve The Soul of Skorr, a sacred religious artifact to the Skorr people. If they fail, the resulting outrage among the Skorr could spark a holy war that could consume the galaxy.

I can't believe I just had to type that sentence. I'm sorry. I really am.

Tremble, ye mortals, before the Fiery Party Ribbon of... ah, screw it.


Kevin: What the hell was this episode? Let's start at the top. First, there's no science fiction in my science fiction. The artifact itself is poorly developed and its importance pretty much given lip service. How do the Vedalans know that it's on the planet they send the team to? Why not just send them directly to the object? Much like the Eagles in the Lord of the Rings, you have to wonder why the flying eagle man didn't just fly to wherever it was, unimpeded but the problems facing the rest of the team, and thus ending the story in five minutes. Of course, it turns out he was the one who stole it in the first place, but again, there's no credible explanation for his motivation here. Why does he want to start intergalactic war? Because. That's why.

Which brings me to my next question. Why did the Vedalans assemble the team they did? Was this like "Assignment: Earth" where they were setting up a spin-off? Did we really need a guy who whined all the time? Was that necessary? And the tracking lady? How exactly did she track things? She seemed more to just point and be abrasive. The problem with this episode is that everything from plot to character interactions were contrived. They happened because the script told them to happen, not because they happened organically as part of the story.

This is a 1. That's all.


Yep. This was pretty weird.

Let's address the good things: the voices finally sound like we're not just getting Doohan, Nichols and Barrett over and over, straining to sound different. This is because we have writer David Jerrold as a guest voice, as well as Jane Webb. It's a breath of fresh air, frankly. Only Doohan was particularly good at voices, so the extra hands were much appreciated.

The other commendable aspect of this episode is the religious element, insofar as it was developed, anyway. It is a rare thing when the religious aspects of an alien culture are developed, especially the earlier in Trek you go.

The bad: in addition to everything Kevin mentioned above (all of which I agree with), it is the bizarre tone of this episode that grates with me the most. Since when is Star Trek a story about motley crews risking all against insurmountable odds? Star Trek lends itself to a lot of story telling variety. But the crew is usually the center of the stories. In all of the shows besides DS9, we expect to see the lion's share of our cast of heroes meeting a challenge. In this show, we get Kirk and Spock and... a bunch of annoying guest aliens. Now, DS9 had its share of "Dirty Dozen" style stories. But they're all a lot better than this. The guest aliens are annoying and dumb. Logic and plot issues abound.

So. How far doe the one or two redeeming facets elevate this mess? Unfortunately, not above the 1 Kevin gave. I agree, which gives us a 2 total.

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