Friday, September 24, 2010

The Animated Series, Season 1: The Terratin Incident

Airdate: November 17, 1973
14 of 22 produced
11 of 22 aired

"Captain's log: Stardate 5577.3. We are approaching the remains of the burned out supernova, Arachna. Requested updated survey will begin with measurements of its radiation and volume expansion." The crew of the Enterprise is surprised when they receive an old-style signal from what turns out to be a lost Earth colony. Unfortunately, they also experience the same phenomenon of shrinking that the colony did! Kirk and crew battle to keep control of the ship despite their shrinking stature, as well as to save the colony from geological destruction.

First person who calls me "tiny" gets a Trek-Fu chop in the face!


Matthew: This is an original story that doesn't really reference any TOS episodes. In fact, it does things that couldn't happen with the Original Series' budget restrictions. I found myself quite pleased by the scientific feel of the first half of the episode. It was cool that they couldn't tell whether the crew was shrinking or the ship was growing. That, combined with the idea of a lost earth colony, made for a pretty good story.

Nurse Chapel got a pretty good role in this episode, which is always nice. One thing I'm definitely digging is the proportion of supporting cast member activity to Big Three activity.

There was some questionable logic in the story. How do one-inch tall crew members get to sickbay if they can't operate the turbolift handles? Would Kirk really beam down to Terratin alone? We also get another questionable use of the transporter as cure-all. Some oddities: apparently Starfleet uses algae-based "xenylon" uniforms which shrink along with the crew due to their organic nature. We also see an extra crew member with glasses!

Production-wise, the matte paintings were not great. Nichols again was poor on her non-Uhura voices. Barrett was also bad on Chapel yelling "help!" in the aquarium. Doohan was similarly not so hot as the colony leader.

Overall, this was an enjoyable romp that didn't break a whole lot of new ground story-wise, despite the shrinking gag. I'm going to say it's a 3. Perfectly adequate, but nothing more.

Kevin: The problem with Chapel yelling was less her voice work, more the obvious fact that she only said it once and they kept looping both the scene and the audio. It's like having the voice of the Road Runner only say meep and then double tracking it. Cheap bastards.

The ship-side of the visuals really did it for me. If they were just zooming in on exciting background cells, it didn't show. It really looked like they redrew the ship from the perspective of its shrinking crew, and it was a treat to see. The planet was a little slapdash and it shows.

And I agree whole heartedly with Matt that the increased presence of the other main cast is a feather in TAS' cap and something that really sets it apart from TOS. I give this a 3 as well, for a total of 6.

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