Produced by cartoon studio Filmation from 1973 to 1974, “Star Trek: The Animated Series” wasn’t what fans of the original “Star Trek” had been hoping for when they’d heard rumors of a possible revival of the iconic ’60s science fiction series, but it did scratch a certain itch. Running for 22 episodes, it was primarily aimed at kids and produced using Filmation’s low-budget style of animation that featured limited movement and stock sequences. Though the animation was substandard, the art itself was faithful to the live-action series, and it featured nearly the entire cast reprising their roles (actor Walter Koenig, who played Chekov, was notable for his absence).
The studio didn’t skimp on the writing talent, with episodes written by “Original Series” scribes D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold, as well as sci-fi luminary Larry Niven. As a consolation for not being included in the cast, Koenig also contributed a script, the rather silly episode “The Infinite Vulcan,” that featured sentient plant people and a 25-foot-tall clone of Mr. Spock.
A testament to the times, “The Animated Series” was full of odd stories and bizarre characters that could only have played in animation. Though heavily mocked by some, Trekkies have found a soft spot for it over the years, and while it’s still debated whether it’s truly canon, many key elements from the series have made their way into live action, including Spock’s pet sehlat, Kirk’s middle name, the character of Robert April, and others referenced on its animated successor, “Lower Decks.”