Jan 15, 2020
Star Trek (TAS) “Once Upon a Planet” (part 1 of 5)
We open with that staple of Star Trek; the expository captain’s log. The Enterprise is headed to the “shore leave planet”. Come on, guys, the planet has a name, right? I’ll be right back, I’m going to watch “Shore Leave” again.
…Huh. No name. How about that? Okay, I guess I can’t fault the writers for not giving the place a name when the writer of the original episode, sci-fi god Theodore Sturgeon, couldn’t. Still, I give the writers credit for putting the planet in the Omicron Delta region, just like the original episode. I always appreciate it when writers actually do their homework.
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We cut to an image of the surface, which looks like it could have been shot somewhere in California.
Points to the animators for actually watching the original episode, too. Or the artists’ overlords provided some high resolution photographs. And apparently director Hal Sutherland loved the art so much he lingers on it.
And lingers on it some more…
I keep expecting some animation in my animated program. Silly, I know. I realize this is a Filmation product where the frames per minutes is, like, five, but this is ridiculous. Finally McCoy, Sulu, and Uhura beam down, and they start talking in the exact same way real people don’t, laying down a ton of expository dialogue regarding the TOS episode “Shore Leave”. Aaaaannnd at this point, fifty thousand seven year olds just changed the station to watch old Warner Brothers cartoons, because watching Daffy Duck getting his bill blown off never, ever gets old.
Then they see the white rabbit, and Alice.
McCoy further exposits that they’re highly sophisticated robots created by the planet’s computer, which reads minds and makes your dreams come true. Uhura says, “Think only happy thoughts,” which if that was said to me, instantly Gwar would erupt out of the earth.
Because I love irony. Or is that sarcasm?
Later, Uhura is chilling beside a pond while somewhere someone is torturing a cat… Oh, wait. I think that’s supposed to be Uhura singing. In the woods, Sulu is wandering around, possibly on the hunt for a random hookup. Okay, I realize this is just a kid’s show, but I’d think there would be more action going on. These are sailors, people.
Meanwhile, McCoy comes across what looks like a Southern plantation.
McCoy says, “They just don’t make them like that anymore,” in a way that makes him sound like he’s about to dream up some slaves picking cotton to complete the scene. Before McCoy has a chance to play out a scene from Roots, he hears someone call out, “Off with his head!” McCoy turns and sees the Queen of Hearts and her playing card minions.
I had a potentially racist joke here in mind, but I think I’m still on probation from that Detroit joke from last month, so I’ll refrain.