Saturday morning Flashback -Ark 2

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On this show pollution caused great problems for our planet. By the 25th century only a handful of scientists are still around. They have created this vehicle/storage unit for scientific knowledge called Ark 2 and they ride around looking to survivors and try to bring a new future to mankind. The crew consists of commander Jonah, second in command Ruth, teenager Samuel and chimp Adam. They normally run in some kind of trouble, then Jonah whips out his backpack and they wrap up the problems  and leave some kind of hope wherever they’ve been. They also had a smaller four wheeled vehicle the Roamer that they would pull out of the Ark 2 on occasions as well. Only 15 episodes were made of this half hour series in late 1976. However CBS kept  repeating those episodes until late summer of 1979. I wasn’t a regular watcher of this although I do remember seeing episodes years apart due to those repeats and was surprised when I found out years later that it was only 15 episodes. I’d almost forgotten about this show all together until I bought some old Starlog magazines like 14 years ago and saw an article on it from back in 1976. I bought the set some years back on DVD and finally got to see all of them. It’s a kid’s show so the action and any science are very limited. The vehicle is likely the real star of the show and it’s pretty to cool watch rolling across the countryside. Like other Filmation shows they borrowed sound effects form the original Star Trek series. It’s a decent enough light kind of show. Eventually I’ll review some specific episodes of this show on this feature.

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Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek

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What a delightful day to picnic with a two headed dragon.

Once upon a planet

1973

What’s this about? The Enterprise is returning to the planet from the original series episode “Shore Leave” for uh well shore leave. Ah, trees, grass, sun but then a bunch of cards try to kill Dr. McCoy and a robot thingiemajigger captures Uhura and takes her to the center of the planet. A landing party goes to to investigate Uhura’s disappearance and try to figure out what is going on upon the planet. They find that the caretaker has died so they assume that computers are now running the joint and they are correct. As the main computer talks mean to Uhura and…it..talks…in..a…robotic…computer..voice. The computer is unhappy and thinks it should wipe out people including the Enterprise crew and then it should search for computer playmates. Meanwhilet the planet computer is causing lots of problems on all the systems on the Enterprise including keeping them from sendig out a shuttle and screwing with the ship’s gravity. On the planet Spock plays dead to get a robot to take him to the planet’s control in hopes of finding Uhura. Kirk manages to follow Spock, but slow pokes Sulu and McCoy don’t make it time and have to run from a dragon instead aieeeeee! Kirk and Spock tell the riled up, sour computer that hey, it’s all good computers and people can work together. Then lit a campfir and sang songs together. Okay maybe that last line didn’t quite happen but the computer agrees not kill everyone and to be nice once again. All is settled and roll the animated credits.

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I said don’t go squeezin’ the Charmin, lady!

The negatives-Shore Leave is my favorite episode of the original series. This sequel of sorts firstly just kind of copies the basi idea of the original, it takes away much of the joy, kills off the caretaker and replaces the idea of seeign glimpses of crew member’s thoughts with a weak story about a contrary computer.

The positives-The story is weak. However the supporting cast-Sulu, Uhura, M’ress and Arex all get more lines and screen time than normal. Unfortunately Uhura is just the damsel is distress. Plus we even see not one but two African-American crewmembers-one as helmsman and one in engineering. It’s always good to see different crewmembers working besides the usual faces. I also liked the brief glimpse of the shuttle bay where we saw some different kinds of shuttles.

Animated oddities-McCoy’s stripes have him as a commander for just about the whole episode. The biggest oddity is late in the episode we see the African-American helmman at the helm next to Arex at navigation, a second later we see Sulu at helm next to Arex and then another second later it’s back to the first pair and this happens when Sulu is still on the planet.

Overall a rather okay but unspectacular episode. The writing should have been better.

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek (a day early)

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Help, I’m trapped in the 1970’s and I can’t get out!

 

1973

The Magicks of Megas Tu

The Enterprise is going towards the center of the galaxy and everything gets all swirly and colorful, dude. Next thing you know powee this goat guy names Lucien pops up on the bridge all smily and stuff. He has that the laws of physics and junk don’t apply here and like he can practice magic – zowee. Soon Spock draws sort of a pentagram on the floor and they start lighting candles, listening to Black Sabbath and begin practicing magic. Okay maybe the candles and Sabbath didn’t happen, but the pentagram and magic did. Soon plooee the bridge is taken to a planet only it’s like 1700’s dullsville with sourpusses everywhere. They accuse the Enterprise crew of practicing magic like it’s bad thing and spout out some gibberish about their people having been in Salem on Earth and people of that planet couldn’t appreciate witchcraft. Anyways Lucien is supposed to be trapped for ever in a big red bubble. Then Kirk defends him and joy of joys it was all just a test. Lucien is free even though it’s implied he’s the devil. Hey, Kirk you just freed Satan. Roll the animated credits.

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Fear my fuzzy legs!

The negatives-Explaining a part of Earth’s history with aliens from another planet was done before on Trek  several times. Here the idea seems rushed like they didn’t think it through at all. This story seems way out of sync with the Trek universe, more like a Space 1999 script.

The positives-The initial scenes of the planet look good. Some of the supporting crew have more lines than usual.

Animated oddities-Behold McCoy’s changing hair color as it hits like three different colors  throughout the episode. His sleeve changes too as he goes from LT. Commander to Commander and back again. At one point the brdige crew is tossed around. Uhura was at her station, but as Spock gets up from the shake up we see a guy in red sitting at Uhura’s station. Maybe he just saw opportunity and jumped into the chair like super fast.

A really strange episode. It’s like the writer had never seen Trek before.

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Friday night on the Enterprise.

Saturday Morning Flashback (a few days late)-Star Trek

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Ewww,I can see up that giant guy’s skirt.

1973

Infinite Vulcan

The Enterprise goes to this planet with swirly buildings ands and green hills. Sulu almost dies from contact with a poisonous plant, but a group of intelligent plants help save him. The plant guys show the landing party around. These weird purple bat creatures attack the crew, but really really their goal is to get Spock and one of the creatures flies him off. Kirk is mad grrrr! Where’s Spock? Eventually we learn a giant skirt wearing doofus named Keniculius 5 has taken Spock and made a giant cloned version of him with the goal being he’ll make a bunch of Spocks to try and keep galactic peace. You know because there are not other Vulcans around and if a civilization tried to get Spock’s brain to run their society then a big Spock would really be something. Eventually Kirk and little Spock convince nutbar Keniculius that a race of giants standing guard isn’t the best solution and that instead they should help the plant people on this planet. Okey-dokey, problem solved, roll the animated credits.

The negatives-The first item mentioned about this episode is just about always that Walter Koenig (Chekov) wrote it. Well, he didn’t do Trek any favors. Cloning may have some promise, but the giant part and grabbing Spock is lame. Trek at it’s best pushed the boundaries with writing, this however was second rate ideas at best.

The positives-The planet looks good and the idea of a plant society had some potential. Also we see Sulu flip a plant guy and that was very cool.

Animated oddities-More sleeve stripes being wrong on occasion, but overall not too many oddities in this one.

One of the weaker episodes of the series.

 

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It’s the Vulcan head squish.

Saturday morning flashback-Star Trek

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1973

The Survivor

The guests-

Ted Knight as Carter Winston a rich dude who used his money to help people has been missing for years. Knight is most known for being on Mary Tyler Moore show, Too close for comfort and Caddyshack. He did quite a few voices for Filmation’s super heroes cartoons in the 60’s too.

Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) does the voice of Lt. Ann Nored who is engaged to Carter Winston.

What’s this about? The Enterprise finds a small disabled ship containing one Carter Winston who was presumed daed. Hey, he’s alive and his fiance Ann Nored is aboard. Winston says he’s changed and he cannot be engaged to her. What a cad, except it get’s worse. He’s not really Winston, but instead is a shape shifting alien hired by the Romulans to get the Enterprise into Romulan territory. That dirty shape shifter. He does this after turning into Kirk and ordering a course change. The Romulan ships trap them – oh, no! Hey this a only a twenty soem minute cartoon so things need to be wrapped up quickly. The alien has a change of heart and helps get the Enterprise out of the jam and get free of the Romulans, so long pointy eared rat finks!. The alien turns himself in and roll the animated credits.

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The negatives-It’s quite a bit like “The mantrap” from the original series, so no originality points but it does have a more postive ending. The part where the alien turns in a bed in sick bay is a stretch because Kirk notices it before McCoy or Spock. The part where he becomes a shield on the Enterprise is even more of a stretch.

The postives-It’s not original, but it was interesting. The plot plays out well enough. I liked Winston’s back story because it showed a non-military person in a good light. I also thought having the relationship be with a non-main crew member was good and Nored was a female security officer something we didn’t see much of in the original series. Overall a good episode.

Animated oddities-It seems like Ann Nored’s insignia jumps to the wrong side during one scene. Kirk is trying to shoot the phaser with his left hand, I don’t believe Kirk is left handed.

Saturday morning flashback-Star Trek

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These glowing head bands make me feel woozy.

The Lorelei Signal

1973

These woman call out into space with a song and snag the men of the Enterprise like some big old fish and start reeling them in. An all male (of course) landing party beams down to the planet only to have the lifeforce sucked from them and straight into the women on the planet. So the landing party start to look like a bunch of shriveled prunes, okay McCoy already looked a little like that so it’s even more so for him. Uhura knew something was wrong a while and called nurse Chapel over to help her. Uhura assumes the control of the ship from Scotty who is in a daze and singing in monotone just to hurt our eardrums. Uhura, Chapel and an all female landing party beam down and stop the power draining ladies. The process gets reversed on the men of the Enterprise. Turns out the planet had something to do with all this so being the kind crew they are Kirk and company agree to help the woman find another planet to start a normal life on. Roll the animated credits.

The negatives-This one begins rather bland, but it picks up as it goes along.

The positives-This one gets better as it goes along and more of the plot is revealed. It was great to see Uhura and Chapel getting so much to do and a chance to take action. A decent episode if you’re patient with it.

Animated oddities-Apparently McCoy is a Commander now as his stripes show that almost the whole episode. Although he mus have been demoted for a second because he has no stripes when one of the woman drags him along. When the female landing party beam down Nurse Chapel is wearing all red. In the next scene she is back to her regular blue outfit. A few seconds later when she is opening a door her left sleeve is red while the rest of her uniform is blue.

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What Kirk’s bachelor party would look like if he ever got married.

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek

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It’s a giant cloud….again.

 

One of our planets is missing

1973

Guests-

No guests doing voices but James Doohan does Commodore Wesley and Majel Barrett does the cloud’s voice.

What’s this about?

The Enterprise is called in to investigate a large cloud. The cloud appears to be consuming planets. It then changes course towards the highly inhabited planet Mantilles leading Kirk and Spock to conclude that it is intelligent and capable of making decisions. Kirk doesn’t want to kill an intelligent being, but will in this case because it looks like it may be the only way to save Mantilles. Spock hopes he can communicate with the cloud to stop so they don’t have to kill it. Give it a try, Spock. Eventually Spock does a mind meld and lets the cloud know there are people in this ship and on the planet, living beings you know. The cloud leaves for home so roll the animated credits.

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Scotty, can we roast marshmallows over that so we can have smores?

The negatives-This episodes comes five years after the original series episode Obsession and the plot is similar with being about cloud consuming things. So this is not an original plot. The episode seemed a little slow and for twenty some minutes that’s not a good thing.

The positives-The cloud looks kind cool particularly when the Enterprise is in it. I like having Commodore Wesley being in charge on Mantilles and communicating with Kirk showing the presence of Starfleet in this cartoon too. The conversations between Kirk and Spock about whether or not to kill a intelligent being kept in character with how they were in the original series.

This episode is slighlty above average. It’s not bad, but not one of the best either.

Animated oddities of sorts-This is the third episode and now I am seeing a regular shot of Spock at his station where only his head moving to the side is animated just to save money. Also for this shot see no one behind him and we should see at least some of Uhura unless she is laying her head down on her station. Right after this is a front shot of Kirk in the command chair and no Spock or Uhura behind him at their stations. Seconds later an overhead shot shows Spock and Uhura at their stations. Either this was a mistake or Spock and Uhura do a lot of running around the bridge very quickly.

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek

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Put some clothes on, Birdbrain.

1973

Yesteryear

Guests-

Mark Lenard as Sarek, Spock’s Daddy of course.

Billy Simpson as young Spock.

Keith Sutherland as young Sepak.

Being cheap Filmation has Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) voicing Spock’s mom and just like most other episodes James Doohan (Scotty) does a ton of male guest voices.

What’s this about?

So a landing party is going back in time via the Guardian of forever ( from City on the edge of forever) to do some scientific study in the past. The party comes back through and McCoy and Scotty (who did not go into the guardian) wonder who the dude with the ears is. Kirk and Spock don’t know what’s going on and then it turns out Kirk now has an Andorian first officer and no one on board knows this Spock character. Spock realizes that the time they went to was the same time he as a youth had a rough adventure. In his time he survived, but his future self saved his young self yet when he went on the study with Kirk he couldn’t have been on Vulcan to save himself, confused? Maybe, but it’ll work out. So the idea is now Spock as he is has to go back to save himself as a kid. We see little Spock getting bullied and his father is displeased that Spock showed emotion. Future Spock introduces himself as a relative. Little Spock has a survival test coming soon but takes off early to test himself, but  I Chaya – Spock’s pet sehlat (remember teddy bear with claws from Journey to Babel) follows and gets hurt defending Spock from a green and yellow lizardary type thingie. Little Spock has to choose to have the creature’s life prolonged in pain by medicine or let it die in dignity. He goes with the death choice and in doing so chooses the vulcan way. That wraps up things on Vulcan, adult Spock bounces back to present day where all is normal again. Roll those animate credits.

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If Spock succeeds then I get the animated shaft. Bummer.

The negatives-Slightly confusing time travel plot, but you know Trek they love their time travel stories.

The Positives-We get to see some of Spock’s growth and early life that only briefly came up in conversations in the original Trek. The story ends in a solid way. Glad to see Mark Lenard voicing Sarek. This one is often considered the best of the series and I agree with that.

Odd animated shots-Not a lot here. The usual dark figure on background to save coloring and Scotty has some rank sleeve changes again going from commander to Lt. Commander and back again but that’s about it.

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I can’t make my fingers do that salute thingy.

I am aware that today is not Saturday, but WordPress was and still is being troublesome so I couldn’t post this then and didn’t want to wait until next Saturday so here it is.

Saturday morning flashback-Star Trek

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“Change the channel, Spock. There’s nothing good on here.”

 

Star Trek-Beyond the farthest star

1973

Four years after Star  Trek ended it’s original run it was brought back to the small screen on NBC only this time in animated form and on Saturday mornins. The cartoon included all the original crew members voicing themselves except Walter Koenig’s Chekov was eliminated with the reason being there was too many characters. Yet two new semi-regular crewmembers were added in the forms of Lt. Arex with his many arms and the feline Lt. M’ress. James Doohan (Scotty) and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) in addition to performing their regular characters did a ton of the voices for other characters which I’m sure saved money, but it limited the cartoon too. Anyways lets get at this first episode.

The Enterprise runs into an alien space ship that looks like a bunch of rotten eggs connected by string. Said ship is orbiting a dead planet even though McCoy didn’t proclaim it was dead, Jim. A landing party beams over to the ship and finds a tape that says the ship’s commander blew up the ship to avoid some unknown worse fate, what a drama queen that commander must have been. Kirk and party beam on back unknowingly taking an alien presence with them in the form of a green glowing blob. It didn’t just come over to say howdy either, it wants to take over the ship and then the galaxy wahahaahaha! So said evil starts taking over the ship’s systems and shutting down life supports. Thank goodness on the animated Trek they have these handydandy life support belts. Kirk, Spock and the crew struggle to gain control of the ship and fail so Kirk runs the ship right at the dead planet. Fearing a big old crash the alien flees the ship like a gigantic chicken and goes to the dried out planet where it cries like a big baby wahwahwah. The Enterprise leaves on it’s merry way, take that alien jerk! Role the animated credits.

The negatives-The plot pulls on parts of the original series  episodes Obsession and the Immunity Syndrome so not the most original episode. The ending happened very quickly.

The positives-The alien ship and planet look decent enough. Scotty gets more to do than on some original series episodes. Lt. Kyle is in it (except he’s voiced by James Doohan). Overall a decent enough episode with a quick pace and well enough attempts at showing the inside of an alien ship.

Animated oddities to look for- In all these episodes you’ll see the money saving trick of let’s just animate the head or mouth and leave the rest of the body still. There’s a scanning shot of the bridge with no Uhura at her post and crewmen in blue past Spock’s station, a few seconds later Uhura is back and the crewmen in blue are gone. Also look for magic rank stripes changing on crewmen’s sleeves. Scotty goes from Lt. Commander to Captain and then back again more than once. McCoy’s stripes show him incorrectly as a Commander and then switch back to the proper Lt. Commander.

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Saturday Morning Flashback-The 1970’s

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I had intended this segment to be the first episode of the Star Trek cartoon, but lack of time knocked that one back to next week. So get the ball rolling on this segment I’ll just throw out some general memories of Saturday morning TV in the 1970’s. My brother is year’s older than me so he was Saturday morning TV viewing partner or adversary as the case may have been at times. My earliest memories include funny cartoons like Looney Tunes which was such a Saturday morning staple. I also liked anything that had monsters so Scooby Doo was a huge favorite in the mid 70’s for me. My brother was a huge DC comic fan back then so the Super Friends was one that he always wanted to see. I got bored of that because even though I may have been six I still knew the heroes should be smacking the villains and not wrapping them up with rubber tires. Plus Superman was way too bossy on that show. I much preferred the live action heroics of Shazam and Isis back then anyways. There were certainly some live action shows of the day that influenced me a lot actually two in particular. One was the oh too short lived Monster Squad (not to be confused with the 1987 movie of the same name). I wrote a short post about the Monster Squad months ago. It was made by the same people that did the Batman TV show. This was actually higher in he camp factor than Batman. Hey it was monsters fighting crime. of course I loved it. The other one was The land of the lost which unlike many other shows of my childhood actually stands up well enough now. Yes, I am only referring to the first two seasons. The effects are dated, but the stories were a real attempt to put a decent story line for kids without dumbing it down too much. Back then I enjoyed it for the dinosaurs, sleestak and the action. I remember watching episodes and late that day taking my plastic dinosaurs out to my sand box and acting out that previous morning’s episode. It also seems like I was part of playing Land of the lost with other kids on the playground in first grade. I’m sure I played a sleestak because that would of course be the role I’d want. By the time I was ten or so Saturday mornings were not quite as interesting as in the 70’s. Those days of weeking up runnning to the living room nad watching the above shows while I ate some sugary cereal or pancakes if my dad was in the mood for them are some of the best memories of my childhood.

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