Star Trek: The Animated Series’ Must-Watch Episodes

Star Trek: The Animated Series’ Must-Watch Episodes

It’s been a long road, friends, getting from here to there. A voyage, if you will, across Star Trek’s brightest spots and darkest chapters, from the original classics to its latest discoveries. But all good things must come to an end, and our guide to the very best (or at least, enjoyably silly) that Star Trek has to offer is coming to an end in a suitably animated fashion.

Yes, we might have just done Star Trek’s latest primary addition to the franchise, (sorry Picard, you’ll get one when you’ve done a bit more boldly going), but our final guide is going back all the way to 1973 for what is actually the second show in the Trek saga: Star Trek: The Animated Series. Featuring not just the returning vocal talents of much of the original series’ cast (Walter Koening did not return as Chekov, but did write for the show) and telling tales penned by many returning favourites from classic Trek’s writing team, The Animated Series has long had a strange relationship with the franchise, despite its legacy as what is basically the continuation of the Enterprise’s adventures.

Whether or not the series was actually deemed “canonical” to the Trek prime timeline was long debated. CBS eventually began acknowledging the show’s (often zany) contributions to Trek fiction by first incorporating it into its official database of the Star Trek website in 2007, and since seeding references to events and adventures that took place in the show in the likes of Short Treks and Discovery.

As part of our ongoing efforts to give you things to distract yourself in the moment of history in which we live, Gizmodo has offered up weekly guides to the very best each Star Trek show has to offer. If you’re keen to follow our advice and help yourself to all the Star Trek, here are at least the highlights you can look forward to as you continue to boldly go absolutely nowhere outside.

Uhura, in a rare moment of getting to actually take command. (Image: CBS)

Season 1

Beyond the Farthest Star (Episode 1)—The Enterprise finds itself trapped in the orbit of a dying star…only to quickly discover that it is not alone.

Yesteryear (Episode 2)—At the behest of the Guardian of Forever, Spock returns to Vulcan, and back in time, to save his younger self from creating a divergent timeline.

One of Our Planets Is Missing (Episode 3)—A massive, planet-destroying cloud has entered Federation territory, and the Enterprise is tasked with saving colonists at the very edge of Starfleet’s reach.

The Lorelei Signal (Episode 4)—The male crew find themselves ensnared by the wiles of an all-female race of aliens, leading to Uhura and Nurse Chapel having to take command and save them.

More Tribbles, More Troubles (Episode 5)—Hell yes, it’s a sequel to “The Trouble With Tribbles”! Koloth and Cyrano Jones cross paths with the crew again, this time with even more tribble shenanigans.

The Infinite Vulcan (Episode 7)—A scientist from the Eugenics Wars and a species of hyperintelligent plants clone Spock, believing him to be the perfect template for a master species. Yes, this is the one with Lorge Spock.

Mudd’s Passion (Episode 10)—Harry Mudd returns, as the Enterprise arrests him for hocking love crystals to poor Federation miners. But when Nurse Chapel is given one of the crystals, her feelings for Spock overwhelm her.

The Slaver Weapon (Episode 14)—Spock, Uhura, and Sulu battle the feline Kzinti as they attempt to bring an artefact from an ancient spacefaring culture to Starbase 25. Fun fact: This is an adaptation of Larry Niven’s iconic short story “The Soft Weapon,” adapted for TAS by Niven himself!

Meet Robert April, captain of… the USS Enterprise!? (Image: CBS)

Season 2

Bem (Episode 2)—Ari bn Bem, a jerk alien from the planet Pandro, judges the Enterprise crew to see if the Federation is worthy of opening diplomatic lines with his people. As Kirk and Spock deal with his shenanigans on an away mission, Uhura once again finds herself commanding the Enterprise from orbit.

The Counter-Clock Incident (Episode 6)—While escorting the soon-to-be-retired Admiral Robert April—the original captain of the Enterprise—the crew is pulled into a negative universe that alters the flow of time, de-ageing everyone.