Star Trek Best Trek

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Aside from some obvious changes (most notably the animation and the half-length episodes), The Animated Series serves as a direct continuation of The Original Series with (mostly) the same cast and similar themes.

Episodic or serial?

Completely episodic. A couple of episodes are follow-ups to episodes of The Original Series, but nothing from The Animated Series itself has lasting effects or gets built upon. There are no multi-part episodes.

Idealistic or cynical?

Idealistic. The series seems to aim for kid-friendliness and has very little darkness.

Worth watching?

Not really.

A couple episodes are well-written but most are not. The desire to make use of the medium by doing things that would have been too expensive to do in live action resulted in an unfortunate emphasis on visual spectacle which has not held up well.

It’s also harder to get your hands on this series than most of the others. If you happen to have easy access to it, it might be worth capping your The Original Series experience by watching the few decent The Animated Series episodes (especially “Yesteryear”), but if not, don’t sweat it. It’s not worth going out of your way for.

Anything else that should be watched first?

As a direct continuation of The Original Series, it’s easier to appreciate if you’ve seen enough of that show to get a sense of the characters and the rules of the universe. There are a couple of episodes that are direct sequels to The Original Series episodes, but otherwise it doesn’t lean on or reference specific events.

What should be watched after this?

If you want more of this crew, there are also six feature films. Several of them are worth watching.

Then you should head on to The Next Generation.