Well, here we are at the end of the Animated Series. What a strange journey it’s been, one where there’s potential that often isn’t quite realized for one reason or another.
However, we aren’t quite there just yet. So, one last time, let’s look at the animated episode “The Counter-Clock Incident”.
The Enterprise is carrying Commodore Robert April (James Doohan doing his old man voice) to a retirement ceremony. He was the first Captain of the Enterprise once upon a time, but now he’s reached mandatory retirement age. His wife Sarah (Nichelle Nicols doing her old woman voice) is also there, and she was the first chief medical officer on the ship. The trip takes the ship past a supernova, and there’s a ship flying into it at a very high rate of speed. Warp 32 or something. Very high.
Anyway, Kirk thinks he needs to do the right thing and stop this, but the tractor beam doesn’t pull the other ship out so much as drag the Enterprise in. The lone passenger on the ship, a woman, speaks in reverse. But then, strangely enough, once on the other side, the Enterprise finds itself in another reality where black stars are visible over a white void.
Yeah, everything there is backwards. The woman on that other ship, Karla Five, now seems to be speaking normally, and she takes the ship to her scientist son to find a solution.
See, people are born old and grow young over there. Karla’s son is an old man and her father is an infant in a playpen. That…seems difficult as reproductive processes go.
But then there’s the fact the crew of the Enterprise are also aging in reverse. They seem to be doing it rather rapidly, too. And though I like to pick on him a bit, small kudos for William Shatner at least attempting to make his voice sound like a Squeaky-Voiced Teen. Leonard Nimoy’s Spock has the same deep tone no matter how young he looks.
Point is, April takes over as Captain because as the crew get younger, they forget how to do the things they used to know. April has to guide the ship through a second nova back to regular space before everyone else onboard ceases to exist. He barely makes it, ending up on the other side with a five year old or so looking Spock and infant versions of Kirk, Sulu, Arex, and Uhura.
Odd that their uniforms shrunk to fit as they got younger…
Oh, and the transporter can put everybody back to their own proper age. Sarah suggests she and Robert keep their youth, but he doesn’t think that’s a good idea.
Does that mean the transporter can make people functionally immortal? Sure seems that way. This is at least the third time it’s been used to fix something like this since the Animated Series started.
Anyway, April gets to forget about retirement because Starfleet saw being old does not make a person useless.
So, what to make of “The Counter-Clock Incident”? Well, like most episodes of the Animated Series, it’s got a fairly smart sci-fi story at the center of a story that’s rushed to fit a 22 or so minute time slot and with so-so animation along the way. That could easily describe most of this series as very few of these episodes stand out as being just bad all around. The Animated Series got most of the original cast, a handful of the more memorable guest stars, and gave them a few more adventures. Five years later, the live action movies would start, and that’s been the state of Star Trek ever since. Is it a good bridge between the end of the Original Series and the movies? Maybe. It may have helped keep the show in the public consciousness, or may have brought a new generation of fans over to the show that was probably all over syndication anyway. I do think there’s a good chance some of these animated episodes would have worked out much better if they were done with better animation, especially with better pacing of the action. Everything on this show seems so rushed.
Seriously, once you got comfortable with a given episode, it was over.
So, that’s that. For this one, let’s say 7.5 out of 10 unfulfilled ambitions.
Well, what now? I do have some plans with Jimmy Impossible that will be coming up very soon, but for now, let’s try the original cast’s live action movies. Why not? Some of them are actually still quite good.