Dear developers, players, and Trekies alike,
Over the last few days, we have heard here on the forums many comments about the new Kelvin timeline. One of the comments I have heard pop up from many different mouths has been “If I have to put up with (Insert Trek Series here) in-game, than I want JJ-Trek.” That sort if logic has got me wondering, “What about The Animated Series?”
Now before I carry on, I would like to state that for the most part, I love what Cryptic has done. I am still on the fence about the Agents of Yesterday because of time travel and the sheer fact that the Kelvin timeline will be introduced, but I am reserving full judgement of the new series until I play all of it. Regardless, I would just like to state that this is not a rant or something slanted negative spiel against Cryptic not acting on this beforehand, as I am actually very pro-Cryptic. (I personally see no reason to hate Cryptic.)
In addition, I am making the case not to complain, nor am I saying that I think I deserve to have my 2 cents processed or else I am going to quit (this game also serves the purposes of keeping the lights on and feeding households for some people, plus it’s also pretty dang fun). The reason I bring The Animated Series up is because as the Kelvin and TOS content is added, one of the other TOS-era series should be recognized as well.
When the TAS first came out, like every other Star Trek, some hated it, and some loved it. That goes for about everything made the entire series of Trek, from a chronological standpoint, and in a release standpoint. However, unlike the other Star Treks, TAS is meant to be a family cartoon. As it depicts the 4th and 5th years (season 1 and 2 respectfully) of the original USS Enterprises journey, from episodes like ‘The Infinite Vulcan’ and ‘The Slaver Weapon’, to suspenseful episodes like ‘The Counter-Clock Incident’, the TAS is as good of a Trek as the rest of them.
Like any good arguments, I am going to address many of the counterpoints, but instead I will address them first, because the TAS has been one of the most shat-upon Treks (and arguably is the most shat-upon) in the franchise. Reasons why this is?
1. IT’S ANIMATED.
All of it was made at Filmatron; and at the time, Filmatron had terrible results in multi-seasoned shows. However, it was one of the many shows Filmatron proudly ties itself to, and I will discuss that a bit later.
2. They screwed a lot of it up.
Yes, they put Nurse Chapel in a red uniform and at one point gave her red sleeves, almost made Uhura white, gave Kirk an operations uniform in one slide and McCoy a command uniform in another slide, and gave Klingons, Kzinti uniforms and ships, and tribbles pink. Outside of the pink tribbles being a passable thing as an actual color tribbles could be, the rest is definitely completely unintentional. In addition to this, random appearances of Lt. Kyle in several transporter room scenes, close-up shots of Scotty operating the transporter controls, the interchanged appearances with Uhura and M’Ress at the communications station, and the appearance of characters on the bridge while simultaneously appearing in another section of the ship, were all errors made in the show. This all never really impacted the series in any way. They are not really noticeable unless you take the show apart and carefully watch for the errors. The show’s enveloping draw and charisma make your mind glance over who is wearing what or who is placed where, all that matters is that Kirk is in danger, Spock is trying to save him, and Scotty is rebuilding the Warp Core from scratch…..AGAIN.
3. The Stories are terrible.
Yes, the writing was on the weak side. But, like every series, it did produce some amazing results! “The Slaver Weapon” shows Spock forced into a command position for the second time, and he successfully gets himself, Sulu, and Uhura out of danger. The episode “Yesteryear”, provided official content as to Spocks past; and considering that Spock is one of the most dynamic and beloved characters in Star Trek (Nemoy was an excellent actor to play that part), the episode is probably one of the most critical canonical parts of Star Trek. “The Counter-Clock Incident” introduced Commodore Robert April, who was the first captain of the Enterprise until his first officer, Captain Christopher Pike took command, and eventually Kirk took over after the Enterprise went in for a refit (why the pilot episode of the original series looks different from the rest of them). So this piece of information helps us fully understand the scope of where the Enterprise has been.
4. Wait a second! TAS is not canon!
Actually, that is wrong. Well, not wrong, more like misinformed. In 1988, Gene requested the TAS be removed from canon, except the episode “Yesteryear”. In 1994, Paramount officially struck all of the TAS from the record, locked it deep in a file cabinet, and left it to rot. However, many trek episodes in other series used so much of content from The Animated Series as references (which I will touch on momentarily), that Paramount re-added ALL of the TAS to canon on June 27, 2007; saying “We regret removing this important part of the franchise from the record, and are proud to reinstate it for Trek fans of all kinds to watch and enjoy”. Subsequently, they released the TAS on DVD (can be found in a white and gold box), and as of 2011, added Star Trek: The Animated Series, to Netflix (for all you lucky Netflix enabled trekies, go look it up and watch it, give it a whirl!). I am not sure about those reading this, but in my book, if it’s on Netflix, it’s part of the canon.
(As a side note, The Animated Series is also available on http://www.animetoon.org/star-trek-the-animated-series
to watch for free, from Amazon.com for a $13 collector’s edition or a $22 episode only edition, and of course, from CBS’s online streaming service.)
5. It is just like the TOS but worse! Why even acknowledge it??
Well, everything has to start somewhere. Trek was born in a time where society needed a little bit of a beacon in the sky as to what we would be in the future. The writers of the TOS needed to invent the wheel, and with the TAS, they finished making the base of the wheel, and rounded out what are the very foundations of what Star Trek is itself. It included many developments that gave us great episodes in the stories. The TAS was just one facet of that developing world. When CBS canceled TOS with bad data to validate the decision, they had to revive it, and they decided to make an animated series to revive the franchise.
Ok, now that I have refuted the main arguments against the TAS, it’s time to tell more about why in the sweet name of Spock we should care about the argument to add in content. Well, as argued to the counterpoint before, The Animated Series is canon; and Star Trek Online is based on canon material and content. The content of The Animated Series finishes the Enterprise's 5 year mission, and carries forward the back-bone concept of "Boldly going where no man has gone before". How does it show that? Well, fasten your seatbelts folks, were going to take a jump right into the world of the TAS, and how it made trek the way it is today!
`1. Spock and Vulcans got way more detail.
The city of Shi'Kahr resurfaced on an okudagram in "The Emissary" called the "Shi-Kar Desert Survival, Vulcan", and referenced Spock's kahs-wan. The city was mentioned in "Fusion" in for the Shi’Kahr Academy, and later the namesake for the USS Shi’Kahr, seen in "Tears of the Prophets". A Vulcan city which looks very similar to Shi'Kahr was shown in the new remastered version of "Amok Time".
A Scholarship: An okudagram from "Eye of the Beholder" referenced the Sepek Academic Scholarship, the same name of a Vulcan child in "Yesteryear". Vulcan's Forge was referenced in "Change of Heart" and was the focus of a three-episode ENT arc: "The Forge", "Awakening", and "Kir'Shara", which is quite a big deal.
Both Lunaport and the kahs-wan were mentioned in "The Catwalk", and the Sehlat, which first appeared in animated form, was recreated in CGI in ENT: "The Forge". The title of "healer" for a Vulcan physician was referred to for Healer Senva in "Prophet Motive".
Yep! If it weren’t for the TAS, we would not know as much about Vulcans if the TAS didn’t cook up more explanations and details for us, plus, those adorable little Sehlat cubs are made possible from the original induction of the look of a Sehlat from the TAS.
2. Character development and story details became more prevalent.
The Animated Series established many of the further details of many other characters. Kirk’s middle name was established as Tiberius, which was carried into the preface of The Motion Picture novelization and used in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In the TAS, Kor is shown in command of a D-5 Klingon Battlecruiser, the IKS Klothos, which he recalled in the episode “Once More unto the Breach” in the DS9 series. It also gave Spock’s mother, Amanda, the maiden name of Grayson. The story of who was first in command of the Enterprise was established (which the first Enterprise is the longest serving starship bearing the name out of all the Enterprises, proudly flying for a straight 20+ years).
So not only did Kirk get his middle name (per-verbally), but we also have more information on the Klingon side of series. Sounds to me like the KDF got some love.
3. The species diversity of the Trek Universe got bigger.
The first Caitian in the episodes (and as far as it’s known, the first Caitian to be in Starfleet) M’Ress. Her position as a diligent and capable officer set a trait that all Caitian’s are as physically limber as they are mentally adaptable. M’Ress also was noted to have science training, and covered the position of science officer when Spock was on away missions if none were available. In addition, Lt. Arex was introduced. Arex was a technician on various merchant vessels, and received a field commission to become a Navigator, and was known as the best navigator in Starfleet. He also received multiple decorations of bravery and a citation for Conspicuous Valor. This established Edoan’s as a noble and hardworking species. It led to the establishment of Edosian Orchids (“Broken Link”), Edosian suckerfish (“These Are the Voyages…”), and many times in ENT, references to Edosian slugs. The most notable species introduced was the Kzinti, a space pirate species that is related to Caitian and Farseans, of which are war like. After First contact, the Kzinti attacked Earth in a series of 4 wars, of which the Kzinti always attacked, and Earth always won. Beyond this MANY new aliens were also added, of which I will leave unnamed for now. It would be more fun for you all to watch the series or dig for yourself online.
So to all you Caitian and Farsean players out there, the TAS is the birthplace of your species. I think that is worthy of raising a glass too.
4. Technology that is now in Trek from the TAS.
Remember all those Holodeck episodes? “Elementary, Dear Data”, “Take Me Out to the Holosuite”, “The Killing Game”, and many, many more? And all the fun things that happened on Holodecks, like Picard mowing the TRIBBLE out of the Borg with a Tommy gun? Well, you can thank the Animated Series for that!
That is 100% correct folks! The first holodeck ever in Star Trek came right out of the Animated Series! In the episode “The Practical Joker”, the first ever holodeck is used to create various recreational environments, of which it gets infected by an alien entity, and removes holodeck protocols to play an almost fatal prank on crewmembers. With-out this development in Star Trek, 35 episodes spanning from TNG to ENT would not be possible without the contribution of the TAS instating the first Federation holodeck.
The Enterprise also between year 3 and 4, had gone in for a mandatory refit for new technology. Among the items (besides the holodeck) were a restructured engineering section, and a second turbo-lift on the bridge, which was carried out through multiple series. Also, the first time that crew were able to enter the warp nacelles was in the TAS, and the idea was used in TNG and ENT.
To me, that is pretty cool stuff. But there is more than that!
5. Planets and ships more development.
If you look closely at the star chart of Federation space in the episode “Conspiracy”, it contained references to A LOT of solar objects that were directly part of The Animated Series. Canopus III, Lactra VII, Omega Cygni, Phylos, and Kzin, and the stars Beta Lyare and Pallas 14.
That is an entire 7 additional star-systems that the TAS added to the map.
Also, in the TAS episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” (aka The Return of the Tribbles as some fans call it), had a robot grain ship that were added into the Remastered TOS in Charlie X (manned) and “The Ultimate Computer” (unmanned) that were Antares-class starships, which were named in the TAS. Also, Starbase 23 was mentioned originally in the TAS.
6. It gave us a new dimension….and a whole new warp speed.
In “The Counter-Clock Incident”, a ship was traveling at warp 36. The Enterprise applies a tractor beam, and due to a malfunction can-not release, and the ship hits Warp 22 and is reported to be going faster (however, we were not informed in the show as to actually how much faster than Warp 22 the Enterprise was going). According to http://www.anycalculator.com/warpcalculator.htm
, the warp speed of the Enterprise going a recorded warp 22 is faster than the TNG 9.9 based on a 1 light year distance metric. This means the USS Enterprise went faster than any other ship recorded to date in Trek canon.*
This speed was also brief. The Enterprise went warp 11 a few times, and could withstand the structural endurance for 10 minutes before it would start to take damage. In “The Counter-Clock Incident”, it holds the speed for 1 minute and 11 seconds. With the Enterprises year 3 to 4 refit, it would have assumable received a structural reinforcement of sorts.
*(I would like to state on a side note that there may have been times when other ships traveled faster than TOS warp 22, but I would like to make it aware that out of all the canon that I found, it supported the argument I present above. If there is evidence elsewhere that a ship went faster than TOS warp 22, please make me aware of such.)
In addition to all of this, the episode also gave us a completely new universe. The negative matter universe is one where all things that you do (for the most part) are in reverse. This technically is the 4th dimensional reality in Trek, leaving us with Prime, Mirror, Negative, and Kelvin.
Now that I have gone on about all of this. You’re probably asking yourselves, “What does it matter?” and “What is the relevance of the series outside of all of these references?” Well, here is the last reason why this series should be considered to formally have content from it added to the game. Star Trek, The Animated Series, was the first production in the franchise to receive an award. The Daytime Emmy Award for Best Children’s Show was given to the show for its captivation, stories, detail, and quality. At the time, like the TOS, it used the pinnacles of film technique at the time in production. I think that is quite an honorable benchmark in the history of the Trek shows.
Alright! So we have plowed through a long and tedious explanation about the TAS, how does this justify the main point? Yes, this is a five page essay, but I have a passion for Trek.
The main point of all of this is that The Animated Series is not only the backbone of many details and plot elements used in TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT to some regard, but also completes the journey of the Enterprise’s 5 year mission. It adds more character and distinction to the universe of Star Trek, and provides a lot of room for new missions and content. I believe if Cryptic would tap into this overlooked part of the Star Trek canon, they would not only bring in profits that would contribute to the company’s benefit, but also engage fans into the game more.
Now, this is what Cryptic could possible do with TAS content:
• Release a pink tribble that is more effective as you level (it grows bigger essentially).
• Put Kzinti uniforms and/or starships in.
• Add a usable Slaver Weapon into the game.
• An Antaries-class ship from the TOS that is effectively a Tutilli ship reskinned.
• Add one mission that they can release during the 7th Anniversary of STO (Season 12.5 effectively) that is like the Counter-Clock incident where you get dragged into the Negative universe and you have to get out by finding a star going Nova.
• For the KDF faction, they could release a “D5 Experimental Battlecruiser” with the stasis field weapon built in from “More Tribbles, More Troubles”.
• For the sphere builders, the first episode of the TAS shows a ship that is 300 million years old. The ship could be found to be related to the sphere builders, and released as a T6 ship. (The 300 million year old ship is the same size as the Kelvin Timeline Constitution class but longer, just as a general scale reference)
• Cryptic could make the 7th Anniversary TAS themed outside of proposed episode idea, and give away a Kzinti starship as a reward for the anniversary.
These are just functionality ideas as to what the content could encompass. However, it ultimately is up to Cryptic as to how they would implement any sort of dedicated TAS content.
As Star Trek fans, we love the charisma, engagement, depth, and stories of Star Trek. The reason we play this game is because we want to continue on the saga of Trek that Gene Roddenberry started 50 years ago. It has since grown in to the entity that is arguably the first real fandom created. We have seen things from the First Contact with Vulcans, a struggle with the Xindi, the discovery of a Planet Killer, achieving warp 22, to saving the diplomacy with the Klingons, keeping the peace while fighting the Borg, repelling the Dominion, building up the Delta Quadrant, discovering an old friend in the nick of time to save the day once again, and finally staving off the Iconians to keep ourselves free; Trek is a wild ride. We each share the experience in that wild ride, and enjoy it in one form or another, from live action, to paper and pen. The TAS is just as much Trek as the Borg and Vulcans are, and I hope to hear sometime in the future that Cryptic will add in TAS content.
I look forward to hearing from everyone as to their thoughts on this, either supportive or critical of, as discussion is good. I also hope that someone from Cryptic would take the time to comment on this post as well, or even take the time to read it. Ultimately, it is up to the developers as to what they do, but I hope that they take the time to consider adding designated TAS content in some way. As to if they will act, it’s up to them. However, I hope that those reading this will join me in supporting dedicated TAS content.
With regards to my fellow players and Trekies,