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Star Trek: The Animated Series

  • View history
  • Main Title Theme  file info (composed by " Yvette Blais " (Ray Ellis) and " Jeff Michael " ( Norman "Norm" Prescott , main partner of Lou Scheimer in the animation studio Filmation Associates )
  • 2.1 Starring the voices of
  • 2.2 Also starring the voices of
  • 3.1 Season 1
  • 3.2 Season 2
  • 4.1 Origins
  • 4.2 The first recordings
  • 4.3 Emmy win
  • 4.4 Questionable canon and reintegration
  • 4.5 Production inconsistencies
  • 5 Proposed CGI reworking
  • 6 Related topics
  • 7.2 Documentary
  • 7.3 Home video formats
  • 8 External links

Summary [ ]

On the television network NBC , 22 episodes of The Animated Series were aired between September 1973 and October 1974 . Reruns continued on NBC through 1975 . The series was produced by the experienced animation house Filmation and the episodes were scripted by professional science fiction and Star Trek writers, including Larry Niven , D.C. Fontana , David Gerrold , and Samuel A. Peeples .

Some of the stories were sequels to episodes from the original series, such as " More Tribbles, More Troubles " (the follow-up to " The Trouble with Tribbles "), " Once Upon a Planet " (a sequel to " Shore Leave "), and " Mudd's Passion " (the follow-up to " Mudd's Women " and " I, Mudd ").

With the exception of Ensign Chekov , all of the regular characters from the original series continued to appear, voiced by the original actors from that series (Chekov was absent to cut down on costs of hiring the voice actors, although Walter Koenig penned an episode of the series, " The Infinite Vulcan "). Dr. McCoy was a full commander, and Nurse Chapel was a full lieutenant . New characters, such as Arex and M'Ress , were also featured. The show was the most expensive animated show on the air at the time, primarily because six "name" actors from Star Trek: The Original Series provided the voices for their characters. Nearly all the aliens and guest characters were voiced by James Doohan , Nichelle Nichols , and Majel Barrett , although some actors reprised their roles from the original series. Leonard Nimoy ( Spock ) is the only actor to voice his character in every episode of TAS. James Doohan, however, voiced different characters in every episode of the series, but missed only one episode as Montgomery Scott , the episode being " The Slaver Weapon ".

Among the returning guest actors (and characters) were Mark Lenard (as Sarek ), Roger C. Carmel (as Harry Mudd ), and Stanley Adams (as Cyrano Jones ). Although the characters Amanda Grayson , Bob Wesley , Kyle , Kor , Koloth , and Korax returned in The Animated Series , their voices were provided by the aforementioned voice talents of Majel Barrett and James Doohan.

The show featured a handful of new technologies like the recreation room (later the idea was reused in TNG , where it was known as a holodeck ) and the aqua-shuttle . It also featured many non- humanoid alien species (and even some alien officers aboard the Enterprise ) who could not have been featured within the original series' budget.

Roddenberry was adamant that this show was Star Trek (i.e. the continuation of the original series) leading to it having the same title. The addition of The Animated Series to the title was not until years later.

The series, which lasted two years, could be viewed as the completion of the Enterprise 's five-year mission. D.C. Fontana personally viewed all 22 episodes as year four. StarTrek.com considers the seasons collectively to represent the fifth and final year of the mission. [1] (X)

Although at one point Paramount Pictures did not regard the animated series as canonical, with the release of The Animated Series DVD, the studio appears to have changed its stance, and is leaning towards the animated series being part of established Star Trek canon. [2] (X) [3] (X) [4] (X) References from the series have gradually become more accepted in other Star Trek series, most notably on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine , Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Lower Decks (see the " questionable canon " section below for the complete list of references). Gene Roddenberry said that if he had known there would be more live-action Star Trek in the future, the animated series would have been far more logical and "canonable," or he might not have produced the animated series at all.

A DVD collection of the complete series was released on 21 November 2006 for Region 1.

Starring the voices of [ ]

  • William Shatner as Captain Kirk
  • Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock
  • DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy

Also starring the voices of [ ]

  • George Takei as Sulu
  • Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
  • Majel Barrett as Chapel and M'Ress
  • James Doohan as Scott and Arex

Episode list [ ]

Season 1 [ ].

TAS Season 1 , 16 episodes:

Season 2 [ ]

TAS Season 2 , 6 episodes:

Background information [ ]

Origins [ ].

Former Original Series writer D.C. Fontana reported in the fanzine Star-Borne of 22 June 1972 that, " Paramount... [is] enormously impressed by the quantity (and quality) of fan mail they continue to receive. The possibility seems to be slowly developing of a Star Trek feature movie for theatrical release, aimed at becoming the new Star Trek television pilot… on the network front, NBC still expresses great interest in doing Star Trek in some form. Both NBC and Paramount continue to receive a great deal of mail and have had to assign secretaries for the sole job of answering it. " [5]

NBC's surprising complete turnaround (as it were they who had canceled the live-action precursor in 1969, purportedly for poor ratings performance) not only stemmed from the spectacular resurgence of the Original Series in syndication , but also from its own accounting department. Shortly before Fontana's report, NBC had replaced its old Nielsen rating system with a new and updated one. Mystified by the success of a show in syndication they were convinced was a flop, they decided to run the original Original Series figures through their new system they and found out much to their surprise that it had not only reached full penetration into their most coveted target audience, the male population between 18 and 45, but also that the series had been one of the most successful series the network had ever aired. The sickening realization hit upon the dismayed network executives that they had slaughtered the proverbial goose that laid the golden eggs, something that every Star Trek fan at the time could have told them. Hurriedly approaching Roddenberry to see if the series could be revitalized, it turned out to be unfeasible, as Paramount had only a few months earlier cleared out their warehouses from the vast majority of the remaining Star Trek production assets, they either being scrapped, given away or simply stolen. Recreating them, calculated at US$750,000, was deemed far too cost-prohibitive. It did however lead NBC to commission the creation of The Animated Series . ( Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before , pp. 51-52)

Roddenberry was not really interested in doing a Star Trek animated show, but had his mind set on an actual live-action resurrection of the the show. However, as Marc Cushman explained, " His ultimate goal was to get Star Trek back into [live-action] production. And he felt that the animated series, if it did really well, could bring that about. " ( The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek : "Saturday Morning Pinks")

Even though they did not produce the new series themselves, Paramount Pictures, possessing all rights and title to the Star Trek brand, was legally the owner of the new property.

The first recordings [ ]

The first recording session for the animated Star Trek series was in June 1973 (on or prior to the fourth of that month ). ( The Star Trek Compendium , 4th ed., p. 143; Star Trek: Communicator  issue 119 , p. 32) This was with the entirety of the series' regular cast and was the first time they had reunited since production of the original series ended in January 1969 . The recording session was held at Filmation's studios in Reseda, California , where the performers recorded the first three scripts for the series (" Beyond the Farthest Star ", " Yesteryear ", and " More Tribbles, More Troubles "). ( Star Trek: Communicator  issue 119 , p. 32)

Lou Scheimer reminisces about the cast, " The glorious thing was getting them all together for the first recording session […] It was a joyous occasion. " ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series ", TAS DVD ) William Shatner recalls how he got into character; " [Kirk had] been locked away inside me for almost four years, but as soon as I opened my mouth to read his first line he was back. Slipping back into that character was like putting on a comfortable old sweatshirt; it fit. " ( Up Till Now: The Autobiography , p. 171)

On 4 June 1973, NBC publicly announced that the initial recording session had gone ahead. ( Star Trek: Communicator  issue 119 , p. 32)

Emmy win [ ]

In 1975, the animated series of Star Trek won a Daytime Emmy Award in the area of "Best Children's Series" for the 1974-1975 television season. Although Star Trek 's original series had repeatedly been nominated for Emmys, this was the first such award that the franchise actually won. It became also the only best-series Emmy ever won by Star Trek as of 2020. It beat out Captain Kangaroo and The Pink Panther . ( Star Trek: The Animated Series - special feature : "Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series "; Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before , p. 57, et al. ) Incidentally, the series had already been nominated for the same award in its inaugural debut the year previously, [6] but lost out on that occasion to PBS 's Zoom .

The series essentially won the award on the basis of a certain episode. " When Filmation submitted Star Trek for the Best Children's Series Emmy, [' How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth '] is the episode they submitted, " explains David Wise , a co-writer of that installment. ("How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" audio commentary ) The episode's other co-writer, Russell Bates , comments, " [The episode] became the only credential submitted when Filmation received an Emmy nomination for the series, and thus was instrumental in the winning of a 1975 Emmy Award. " Bates also notes that the Emmy was not the only accolade that the episode attained. [7]

Shortly after Hal Sutherland and his family moved out of Los Angeles to Washington state , he received a call that informed him of the Emmy nomination. He remembers, " This was exciting news and I spread the word to all of our friends and neighbors in case Filmation picked up the Emmy. " As he learned prior to the event, it was to be presented in New York and Lou Scheimer decided to bring his own family to the festivities. [8] The ceremony was actually on a boat in the New York harbor. Lou Scheimer's son, Lane, heard a practice session, below-decks, of the announcements being rehearsed. The elder Scheimer reflects, " He said, 'Dad, don't worry, I just saw them down there and they said it was Captain Kangaroo ' [....] So I was sitting there, drinking wine, not worried, and [getting] half-plastered. " ( Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special , p. 58) Scheimer also personally doubted that the animated Star Trek series was about to receive the award. He states, " I was absolutely certain we weren't going to win; there was no way that show could win because it really was not a kids' show. " ( Star Trek: The Magazine  Volume 1, Issue 16 , p. 68)

Hal Sutherland recalls tuning into the televised coverage of the event; " I remember gathering the family to watch the award ceremonies with me. I hoped to make them proud of what we had accomplished in some way. Sitting in front of the TV, I watched with anxiety as the nominations for best animated series came up […] The award envelope was opened and Star Trek was announced the winner for its category. " [9] Lou Scheimer (who says he was "a nervous wreck" at the time), also recollects the announcement; " Cyril Richard gets up there and says, 'And the best children's programming for Saturday morning is Star Trek and Lou Shimmer [ sic ]. I didn't know what to do. You cannot tell, but I was floating. " ( Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special , p. 58) Hal Sutherland continues, " Lou stepped to the podium to make his acceptance speech. " [10] A transcript of that speech follows:

Lou Scheimer accept Emmy

Lou Scheimer accepts the series' only Emmy

Lou Scheimer recalls the shock of having to collect the award; " I was totally flabbergasted when we did [win]. I didn't know what to say; I was not prepared. I was just aghast at the idea of being in front of all those people, waiting to hear me say something meaningful. " ( Star Trek: The Magazine  Volume 1, Issue 16 , p. 68)

Watching Lou Scheimer's acceptance speech was a very emotional experience for Hal Sutherland and he was enormously disgruntled that Scheimer thanked Norm Prescott rather than him. Although Sutherland never expressed his extreme disappointment to the award recipient, Scheimer finally apologized to Sutherland in 2004 . " He […] sorrowfully related to me an apology for his 'drunken' statement at the Emmy affair regarding his confusion between Norm and I and the production credits, " explained Sutherland. " We'd both carried that haunting memory all those many years, neither wanting to bring up the tender subject. We later kissed [and made up, putting the issue behind them]. " [11]

Lou Scheimer criticized the winning of the award, saying that – even though it was "the only Emmy I've ever gotten for a show" – it was inappropriate for the animated Star Trek to receive an award for a children's show, since the series was actually meant to be " a show for the entire family and anybody who was really a fan of the original live-action show. " ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series ", TAS DVD ) Norm Prescott, on the other hand, considered the award to be a high point in Filmation's history. ( Star Trek: Communicator  issue 119 , p. 79) Both Filmation, in general, and the writers of "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", were happy that the episode gained the series the award. David Wise reminisces, " We, Russell [Bates] and I, considered that an achievement. Filmation was thrilled and invited us to an Emmy party and all sorts of fun things like that. " ("How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" audio commentary) Gene Roddenberry regarded the award win as "the best proof" that the animated series had been "a fairly good job." ( The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture , p. 20) D.C. Fontana was also "pleased" that the franchise had finally won an Emmy, later stating, " I was thrilled to death. " ("Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series ", TAS DVD ) In their text commentary for series finale " The Counter-Clock Incident ", Michael and Denise Okuda describe the Emmy win as the series having been "honored." The book Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before (p. 57) refers to the win as "a fitting send-off" for the series.

Considering the efforts the writers, including Bates, put in to tell more mature stories akin to the main series, the win of a "children's" award turned out to be somewhat of a mixed blessing as it cemented the impression of Star Trek being an immature, superficial show for adolescents only at best in the minds of the non-fan society at large, which started to become wary of the emerging " Trekkie " phenomenon. It became a large part of the reasons why to date a substantial part of "Trekdom", Creator Gene Roddenberry included, continued to refuse to consider The Animated Series part of canon, as related hereafter. ( Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series , pp. 8 & 153) Most ironically, the six-episode second season of Star Trek: Short Treks , which only became nominated in 2020 for Star Trek 's fifth "major" Emmy Award, did include two animated episodes, " Ephraim and Dot " and " The Girl Who Made the Stars ", specifically intended for children.

Questionable canon and reintegration [ ]

According to Voyages of Imagination [ page number? • edit ] , the Animated Series was officially removed from canon at Gene Roddenberry's request in 1988, with the exception of some parts involving Spock's youth, from Fontana's episode " Yesteryear ". Roddenberry was partly motivated to do so because of his disappointment that the animated series did not bring about his ultimate goal of getting back Star Trek as a live-action production, as mentioned above . The removal from canon had already been confirmed previously by reference book author Mike Okuda in the introductions of his works. ( Star Trek Chronology  (2nd ed., p. vii); Star Trek Encyclopedia  (4th ed., vol. 1, p. introduction); [12] (X) ) Paramount Pictures has followed suit by elevating the request to policy, having officially declared the series non-canon. ( Star Trek Encyclopedia  (1st ed., p. iii))

Despite this request, Memory Alpha recognizes The Animated Series as a valid resource. There were also strong indications from the StarTrek.com (former) official website that TAS was unilaterally, yet formally, re-added to the official canon in 2006 by the franchise for the sole purpose of commercially promoting the occasion of the series' release on DVD that year. ( [13] (X) [14] (X) [15] (X) ; See also the content policy ).

Writers from later Star Trek series have integrated various references from the series into their works. Star Trek: Enterprise writer/producer Manny Coto once remarked, " They did some great stuff in the animated series and why not use some of that? " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 37) Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writing staffer Ronald D. Moore likewise commented, " It's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference [to TAS] here and there. " ( AOL chat , 1998 ) The following references were used in subsequent series:

  • The city of Shi'Kahr resurfaced on an okudagram in " The Emissary " called the "Shi-Kar Desert Survival, Vulcan", which was also a reference to Spock's kahs-wan . The city was again indirectly mentioned in " Fusion " in reference to the Shi'Kahr Academy , and later served as the namesake for the USS ShirKahr , seen but not mentioned in " Tears of the Prophets ". A Vulcan city which looks very similar to Shi'Kahr was shown in the new establishing shots used in the remastered version of " Amok Time ".
  • An okudagram featured in " Eye of the Beholder " referenced the Sepek Academic Scholarship , which coincides with the name of a Vulcan child in " Yesteryear ".
  • Vulcan's Forge was later referenced in " Change of Heart " and was the focus of a three-episode ENT arc: " The Forge ", " Awakening ", and " Kir'Shara ".
  • Both Lunaport and the kahs-wan were mentioned in " The Catwalk ".
  • The sehlat , which first appeared in "Yesteryear" in animated form, was recreated in CGI in ENT : " The Forge ".
  • The nearby planet seen briefly behind Shi'Kahr made it into the original version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture . For the director's cut it was decided to remove the planet (named Charis or T'Khut in the novel Spock's World ).
  • The title of " healer " for a Vulcan physician was referred to for Healer Senva in " Prophet Motive ".
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country confirmed Kirk's middle name as "Tiberius", a name first revealed in " Bem ". The name had been used in novels , including in the preface to the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture .
  • A chart of Federation space, seen in " Conspiracy ", contained references to solar objects first mentioned in TAS, including the planets Canopus III , Lactra VII , Omega Cygni , Phylos , and Kzin , and the stars Beta Lyrae and Pallas 14 .
  • In the episode " Once More Unto the Breach ", Kor recalled his former vessel, the IKS Klothos , which was the ship he commanded in the " The Time Trap ". It was a D5 Klingon ship (where D5s were later shown in Enterprise ), rendered as a questionably-drawn D7, but in both cases it was commanded by Kor.
  • The episode " Broken Link " referred to Edosian orchids , the episode " These Are the Voyages... " mentioned Edosian suckerfish , and there were several other Enterprise references to the Edosian slug – all homages to the Edosian Lt. Arex .
  • Coincidental references which may or may not be attributed to terms first used in The Animated Series include Klingon Imperial Fleet (" The Time Trap ") and Starbase 23 (" The Terratin Incident ").
  • Amanda 's maiden name, Grayson, was given in the series, and later established in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier .
  • The holodeck concept first appeared in " The Practical Joker ", and was later adopted into Star Trek: The Next Generation . The use of holograms was used in " Lethe ", showing that USS Discovery was equipped with similar technology during 2250s .
  • The idea of an additional turbolift on the bridge first appeared in TAS, and ultimately adopted in the live-action franchise from Star Trek: Phase II onward.
  • The act of entering the warp nacelles first appeared in TAS, and later appeared in the TNG episode " Eye of the Beholder " and in the ENT episode " The Catwalk ".
  • In " The Counter-Clock Incident ", a race is shown that has a life span where individuals start out old and grow younger until death. Star Trek: Voyager later reused this idea in one of its episodes for a race of aliens .
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home , two members of the Caitian species are seen, which FASA 's RPG sourcebook , Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update , identified as the same species as M'Ress .
  • The robot grain ships from " More Tribbles, More Troubles " have later been established in the 2008 remastered TOS episodes " Charlie X " (manned version) and " The Ultimate Computer " (robot version) as belonging to the Antares -type of starships. Later to also appear as wreckage in the Lower Decks episode " Terminal Provocations ".
  • Star Trek: Discovery confirmed Robert April from " The Counter-Clock Incident " to be an important Starfleet captain in the episode " Choose Your Pain " when Saru asks the ship's computer to list Starfleet's most decorated captains. He was later confirmed as the first captain of the USS Enterprise , preceding Christopher Pike , in " Brother ".
  • Lower Decks also made a mention of Spock Two from " The Infinite Vulcan " in " Veritas " before featuring his skeleton in " Kayshon, His Eyes Open ".
  • " Second Contact " introduced another Caitian, T'Ana , as a series' regular.
  • " Envoys " included the Aurelian from " Yesteryear "and the Vendorian from " The Survivor ".
  • " Much Ado About Boimler " introduced an Edosian character whose species was first featured through the series' regular Arex .
  • " Mugato, Gumato " included the appearance of a Kzinti from " The Slaver Weapon ".
  • " An Embarrassment Of Dooplers " depicted a total of five TAS species appearances, the aforementioned Caitian, Kzinti, Edosian, Aurelians, and a prominent return of several members of Em/3/Green's species , who first appeared in " The Jihad ".
  • " Mining The Mind's Mines " included the appearance of Kukulkan from "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth".

Several non-canon productions have also made reference to TAS:

  • A second exit for the bridge, referenced in Franz Joseph 's Star Fleet Technical Manual .
  • DC Comics' writer Len Wein reintroduced M'Ress and Arex into the post- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home comics , and they were further developed by Michael Carlin and Peter David until that series went into hiatus.
  • Some of the worlds and aliens in the series were included in the 1989 book called The Worlds of the Federation .
  • Author Peter David later integrated M'Ress and Arex into his 24th century book series Star Trek: New Frontier , beginning with the novel Gateways #6: Cold Wars . They also appear in IDW's "New Frontier" comic miniseries, Turnaround , by David.
  • The trilogy Crucible by David R. George III includes the plot from "Yesteryear" in its history.
  • The IDW comic miniseries Star Trek: Year Four takes place during the TAS timeframe and features appearances by Arex and M'Ress.

Production inconsistencies [ ]

One unfortunate reality of an animated television series was the occasional color discrepancy.

The most notable color discrepancy was shown with several appearances of the color pink. Unknown to the rest of the production staff, director Sutherland was color-blind, so to him, pink was light gray. (" Drawn to the Final Frontier – The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series ", TAS DVD ) While true, Kaplan was not color-blind and was often conscientious of the color decisions being made.

The following images are examples of Irv Kaplan's personal color choices:

Pink tribbles

Reversed color variant

According to Bob Kline, " Pink equals Irv Kaplan. Irv was in charge of ink and paint, coloring the various characters and props (and he would do it himself in his office, he would sit down with a cel and paint it). He was also referred to by many people there as the purple and green guy. You'll see in a lot of scenes, purple and green used together – that was one of his preferences. He made dragons red, the Kzintis' costumes pink. It was all Irv Kaplan's call. He wasn't listening to anyone else when he picked colors, or anything. " ( Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series , p. 26)

Several other unintentional coloring issues also cropped up. Kirk's type 1 phaser had its color scheme reversed (black on silver/grey, instead of silver on black), and some shots featured characters wearing Starfleet uniforms of the wrong division or colors.

McCoy wears a command division uniform, Scott as captain

As a result of the use of recycled footage, there were also many instances of randomly misplaced characters and equipment. Recurring inconsistencies in this vein include the random appearance of Lt. Kyle in several transporter room scenes, close-up shots of Scott operating the transporter controls, the interchanged appearances with Uhura and M'Ress at the communications station, and the appearance of characters on the bridge while simultaneously appearing in another section of the ship or on the surface of a planet.

Another inconsistency that appears sometimes is Scott shown with the rank of captain, and Kirk with a unknown rank insignia.

The Animated Series also made substantial changes to set locations used in the original series:

  • A second turbolift is installed on the bridge, next to the main viewscreen.
  • The bridge stations are rounded, and form a perfect circle, instead of the hexagonal TOS bridge set.
  • The access stairs to the upper level engineering deck (seen in TOS seasons 2 and 3) are gone.

One production glitch that was avoided from being televised was Uhura having white skin. " Someone in the paint department used Nurse Chapel's colors on Uhura, who turned Caucasian with the flip of a brush! " exclaims Malcolm C. Klein, a management and marketing consultant to Filmation. " Fortunately, that one was caught before the film reached the lab. " ( Starlog , Vol. 2, No. 6, p. 47)

On many other occasions, body parts on various characters would go missing. According to animator Bob Kline , " it was usually something the cameraman did on purpose or accident to keep the cel levels at six. You couldn't use more than six cel levels under the camera. " This was often completed to allow more animation to appear on screen, as any more than six cells would make the animation appear "muddier". ( Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series , p. 27)

Proposed CGI reworking [ ]

In 1998 , there were talks of TAS being re-worked with CGI animation. According to Mainframe Entertainment ( Reboot ):

“Mainframe proposes to produce a television series continuing the original adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701). The new series will reunite the original ‘young’ crew by the use of modern technology and production methods developed by Mainframe over the last 5 years.

The new series will incorporate a ‘virtual’ cast performing in 3D computer generated sets, bringing together the advantages of new technology with the sensibilities of traditional film making.

In the early Seventies, ‘Filmation’ produced 22 one-half hour traditionally animated episodes based on the original ‘STAR TREK’ franchise.

It is our intention to take these ‘Filmation’ episodes and use them as a starting point to craft the new series. By using the original recordings of the core cast, carefully re-working the scripts, and rerecording all incidental characters, we believe that it is possible to bring the storylines up to the high standards expected of a ‘STAR TREK’ series today.”

The project was never realized. [16]

Related topics [ ]

  • TAS directors
  • TAS performers
  • TAS recurring character appearances
  • TAS writers
  • Star Trek Logs by Alan Dean Foster
  • Undeveloped TAS episodes
  • Star Trek: Final Frontier , a proposed but undeveloped animated series
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks
  • Star Trek: Prodigy
  • These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s, Volume 1 (1970-75) , February 2019
  • Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series , September/October 2019

Documentary [ ]

  • The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek : "Saturday Morning Pinks" ( The History Channel , 5 November 2021)

Home video formats [ ]

  • Star Trek: The Animated Series on VHS
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series on Betamax
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series on LaserDisc
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series  on DVD
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series  on Blu-ray

External links [ ]

  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at Wikipedia
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at StarTrek.com
  • The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series (X) at StarTrek.com
  • The Animated Series Gets Real (X) at StarTrek.com
  • DanHauserTrek.com – Guide to Animated Star Trek
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series  at Ex Astris Scientia
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series at the Internet Movie Database
  • StarTrekAnimated.com – fan site
  • 2 USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-G)
  • 3 Gary Graham

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This Is How Star Trek Invented Fandom

star trek fandom

By Molly McArdle

Image may contain Audience Human Crowd Person Vivek Ranadiv Marit Paulsen and People

In the desert in early August, the temperature nudges 100 degrees, even as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s the end of day three of the five-day Star Trek Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Convention, and I am outside, at a Star Trek wedding.

Rows of seats are full of people in costume: there’s Ambassador Soval from Enterprise , Lore from The Next Generation , a Trill wearing an Original Series uniform, a member of the Borg. By the makeshift altar, the groom stands in the dress uniform Picard wore to Riker and Troi’s wedding in Nemesis , flanked by two rosy-cheeked boys in gray suit-vests pinned with Next Generation -era combadges. For a moment it looks like the real thing: the crew of the starship Enterprise has landed on a strange new world, which also happens to be the emptied pool area of the Rio Hotel and Casino.

When it’s time, the sound system plays an orchestral version of “The Inner Light,” a melody Picard performs on his flute in a Next Generation episode of the same name. The officiant takes out an Original Series communicator and at the bride’s arrival flips it open—a familiar motion to anyone who owned a cell phone in the mid-aughts. “I was told to say, ‘Kirk to Enterprise, please beam up three of us.’” He laughs. “We gotta have fun right?”

Greg and Michelle Imeson, newly married, host a reception in their suite. Figurines of Riker and Troi crown the cake, and cupcakes are dotted with Starfleet insignia. Greg shows me his wedding band, a starboard-side view of the Enterprise engraved on the outside. At the clinking of plastic cups, Gage Leusink, one of the gray-vested boys at the altar and Michelle’s seven-year-old son, begins his toast. “May my mom and dad live long and…” He fumbles on prosper. One guest teases him, “Prospect like for gold?” But Gage recovers, ably. “Long live my mom and dad’s love.”

This is what Star Trek fandom looks like a half century out: dizzyingly diverse, good-willed, extraordinarily (if inadvertently) influential, equal parts goofy and moving. But conventions, like weddings, are expensive and labor-intensive events that paradoxically celebrate something freely and effortlessly given—affection. Star Trek Las Vegas is perhaps the largest meeting of pop culture’s most famous fandom and certainly its priciest. The questions hover above the convention like a cloud of Tachyon particles: to whom does Star Trek really belong? How much, exactly, is that worth?

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With 50 years and just under 550 combined hours of television and film to reckon with, Star Trek, like the curvature of the earth, is a phenomenon almost too big to notice, much less to consider in full. The franchise created the template for fandom, transformed sleepy science fiction get-togethers into celebrity-driven media events, pioneered the licensed merchandising operations that make tentpole movies (from Star Wars to Spider-Man ) possible, and anticipated— even inspired —the creation of future technologies. Star Trek invented nerd culture as we know it today.

The first episode of Star Trek , what fans now call The Original Series (or simply TOS ), premiered on September 8, 1966 on NBC. Gene Roddenberry, the former Air Force pilot turned LAPD beat cop turned television writer, promised network executives a kind of space western. Kirk, Spock, and Bones were like gunslingers, albeit with a different guiding ethos, moving from planet to planet, solving each community’s problems in the span of a single episode. The connection was explicit and eminently quotable: “Space, the final frontier.”

But he also snuck in a cerebral, utopian bent. The show hired established sci-fi writers: Harlan Ellison went on to win a Hugo for his script for “The City on the Edge of Forever,” wherein Kirk must choose between a woman he loves and the rightful course of human history—arguably the greatest episode in franchise history. Star Trek also depicted a society absent of poverty, war, or inequality. The most visible proof of this was the crew itself: Roddenberry created an international—even intergalactic—cast of characters.

While that vision wasn’t a perfect microcosm of the world at large, now or in 1966, it was still a radical one. When Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, considered leaving TOS after the first season, Martin Luther King, Jr., who watched the show with his family, urged her to stay on. (“We don’t need you to march,” she says he told her, “You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for. For the first time, we are being seen the world over as we should be seen.”) Star Trek touched a cultural and critical chord—Leonard Nimoy was nominated for an Emmy three years in a row; his ears, instant icons—but the show didn’t get the ratings it needed. NBC canceled it in 1969.

“We're pretty sure that the Trek community you see today would not have existed but for us,” Bjo Trimble says. “Not bragging.” Special guests at Star Trek Las Vegas (and a host of other 50th anniversary events), Bjo (pronounced “Bee-joe”) and her husband John are Star Trek’s ur-fans, the determined couple who saved the franchise.

They’re both in their eighties now: John wears red cap with a blue Vulcan salute on the front, Bjo has a streak of brilliant pink hair floating in her cloud of white. She’s the more loquacious of the two, but, she insists, “the whole Save Star Trek campaign was John’s fault.” They had heard the show was being cancelled in 1968, after its second season, during a visit to the studio lot. At John’s suggestion, the two launched a letter-writing campaign—all mimeographs and postal mail. It was the first ever to save a TV show, and the first time any fan community had flexed its collective muscle.

“NBC came on, in primetime, and made a voice-over announcement that Star Trek was not canceled, so please stop writing letters,” Bjo adds with pride.

TOS ’s third and final season premiered with “Spock’s Brain,” commonly held to be one of the worst episodes of all time. (“We’re responsible for there being a third season,” John admits, “we’re not responsible for the third season.”) But by the run’s end, with a grand total of 79 episodes—barely making the minimum threshold— Star Trek could enter syndication. It had earned a second life.

In the long winter between 1969, TOS’s cancellation, and 1979, the year Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out, fandom bloomed. The three syndicated seasons of TOS often aired daily and in order: fans could watch again and again. The Animated Series , which ran for two seasons and featured the voices of the original cast, won a Daytime Emmy. Jacqueline Lichtenberg founded the Star Trek Welcommittee, which introduced new fans to the growing community. Bjo Trimble published her encyclopedic Star Trek Concordance , a reference work she first printed and assembled in her basement. Hundreds if not thousands of zines were printed and shared. Writers—overwhelmingly women—told stories using TOS characters set in the Star Trek universe. And though intertextual literature has existed for as long as literature (see Homer), this was the first time a community of fans was writing for an audience of each other. From this body of work emerged the subgenre of slash, stories about a romantic and/or sexual relationship between Kirk and Spock, named after the punctuation in the abbreviated category title “K/S.” (Today, slash includes any fanfiction that pairs two characters of the same sex.) Fan clubs formed. Collectors collected. People constructed their own props and costumes. Narrated slideshows, collages of sound and discarded film stills—the progenitor of everything from formal fan films to casual YouTube fan videos—were shown at gatherings. And in 1976, following another write-in campaign orchestrated by the Trimbles, NASA unveiled its first space shuttle: the Enterprise .

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Conventions sprouted up everywhere. The first took place on afternoon in 1969 at a branch of the Newark Public Library. There were no celebrities, and it was only locally advertised, but three hundred people showed up. “Star Trek Lives!”, in 1972, was the first gathering to feature guests. Manhattan’s Statler Hilton (now the Hotel Pennsylvania) hosted Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barret, Isaac Asimov, Hal Clement, and D.C. Fontana; a real NASA space suit; and never-before-seen blooper reels. The organizing committee expected 500 attendees: 3,000 arrived. The actors joined in the next year, and never left.

The sheer number of fans, and the high percentage of both women and young people among them, rubbed many older, maler sci-fi buffs the wrong way. Who were these people showing up at their club meetings, at their conventions? Why were they so excited? Had they ever even read a book? They nicknamed Star Trek fans Trekkies—after groupies. The comparison to contemporary music’s young, female, and so also hysterically obsessed fans was meant to be unflattering.

Joan Winston, who, with Jacqueline Lichtenberg, helped organize the 1972 Statler convention and co-authored Star Trek Lives , a 1975 book documenting the phenomenon of Star Trek fandom, elaborates on this in Trekkies 2 : “I would always say to people, ‘Trekkies are kids who run down the aisle screaming ‘Spock!’ I’m a Trekker. I walk down the aisle.’”

The brute force of fan enthusiasm (and, to be sure, the financial success of the first Star Wars ) resurrected the franchise. The movies, of which there are now thirteen, began in 1979. The Next Generation ( TNG ) premiered in 1987, and until 2005, when Enterprise ( ENT ) was cancelled, there was always at least one Star Trek show on television, if not two. For some fans who, between TOS ’s premiere in 1966 and TNG ’s 21 years later, studied the original 79 episodes like a holy text, there would be only one Star Trek. But for many others, the eighties and nineties were Star Trek’s high water mark. Critically acclaimed and financially successful, Star Trek was genuinely popular.

“In the early nineties, we were doing 120 conventions a year.” It’s Friday afternoon in Vegas and two lackadaisic, suited men—Gary Berman and Adam Malin—sit on the mainstage of the “Leonard Nimoy Theater” (the Rio’s biggest ballroom) for a “Special Panel with the Co-Owners of Creation Entertainment!” Malin and Berman founded the company, which puts on fan conventions, as young comic book fans in 1971. They got in on the Star Trek market in the 1980s, and have been licensed as the official Star Trek convention since 1991. The 50th anniversary convention in Las Vegas, potentially the largest Star Trek convention ever, is a Creation event. But the nineties was their heyday. “We were doing like four or five shows a week,” Malin says. They look, after so many years in the business, more like loan sharks than sci-fi fans.

“People weren’t doing it for profit,” Mark Altman says of Star Trek’s early conventions. “They were doing it for love.”

“I was there for that first Star Trek convention in ’72,” Edward Gross adds. Both he and Mark coauthored the exhaustive two-volume oral history of the franchise, The Fifty Year Mission . “What struck me about it and subsequent cons through the mid-1970s is that there was a ‘hand-made’ feel to them. I remember sitting in large rooms where episodes were projected on the screen, and the audience said the lines along with the actors. It was a pre- Rocky Horror experience.”

Starting in the 1980s, Creation began to offer special guests substantial amounts of money to appear at their for-profit events rather than at fan-run functions. In the early years, says Mark, the actors “would show up at the conventions because they were just so flattered people cared about the show.” But, according to the Trimbles—who ran their own local convention, Equicon, in the 1970s—Creation deliberately scheduled their star-studded events on the same dates as long-running fan conventions, effectively driving them out of existence.

“It’s much more commercial now,” Mark continues, referring to the practice of tiered seating as well as paid autograph and photograph sessions. It’s a business model Creation pioneered. Pricing for the 50th anniversary convention ranged from $50, for a single day of admission early in the week, to $879, for the “Gold Weekend Admission Package,” which they describe in Trumpian hyperbole as “THE VERY BEST MOST UPSCALE WAY TO ATTEND THE ENTIRE CONVENTION.”

At the exclusive dance party for Gold Package and Captain's Chair (the next most expensive ticket, at $689) attendees, a man asks after a piece of Star Trek jewelry I’m wearing. I confess I didn’t buy it. He sighs. “I don't have any money left to spend anyway,” he says, “I spent it all on getting here.” I nod in commiseration. “It’s a show about a society with no money!” he says. “I spent all my money on a show about a world without money!”

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Ronald Aponte of Florida, dressed as the character Darmok.

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Danielle Baker and Alex Diehl, hired models.

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Cosplayers on day 5 of Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention

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Star Trek dog sits in the Captain Chair

After five days without sunlight or fresh air, alongside a small army of uniforms and aliens and uniformed aliens, I wonder if this is what it’s like to live on a starship. In an area called Quark’s Bar, Data picks through a bean salad. Cell phones, when they go off, chirp like TOS communicators or intone the theme song to TNG . Klingons hold open doors. From behind, or even the side, employees on the casino floor—at both the Rio and my own hotel—start to look like Starfleet officers: their uniforms have the same solid color palette, the same black collars. And outside, in Vegas proper? It’s just one giant holodeck. Choose your program: Perhaps fin-de-siècle Paris? Maybe Venice during the Renaissance? How about ancient Egypt? I’m halfway between delirium and bliss.

The prevailing image of the Star Trek fan—aided by decades of SNL sketches, two documentaries, and a pretty good Tim Allen movie (yes, Galaxy Quest )—is of the young, minutia-obsessed, sexually- and otherwise socially-frustrated man. I meet this person, or versions of him, in Las Vegas, but he is one of many different kinds of people. (It’s strange, and ultimately misogynistic, that in a fandom notable for its many women contributors, men are still its public face.) In reality, Star Trek Las Vegas is one of the most heterogeneous spaces I’ve ever been in—period. The range, and relatively equal distribution, of ages, genders, sexualities, body sizes, abilities, ethnicities, geographic-origins, astounds me. It looks like some giant space hand shook up all the people on the planet like snowflakes in a globe and pulled out a random sample.

Over the course of five days, audience members and actors try hard for novelty. Both parties are here to meet each other: this is the point of conventions. But when you’ve been talking Trek for nearly 50 years, when do you run out of things to say? Some handle this better than others: Takei speaks about his recent musical, Allegiance , and what he sees as the pointless brevity of Beyond ’s depiction of Sulu and his husband. Shatner talks about how confusing black holes are and then rolls out a story about a bicycle Leonard Nimoy kept on the TOS set that’s been in circulation for almost as long at the show itself.

I see the same people get in line to ask actors questions. The man who always wears a tie but not a jacket. The boy in a TNG uniform with the big mop of curly blond hair. The Klingon who only ever wants to heckle the speakers about Klingons. At Takei’s panel, a man asks, “Has anyone ever approached you to market foils or swords?” (His character Sulu whips a blade around in the TOS episode, “The Naked Time.”) At a Voyager panel, a man haltingly reads to Jeri Ryan from a prepared statement: “I officially crown you queen of my Star Trek universe.”

At the front of the line, I often see a familiar face. Deborah has always been a Kirk. It was her husband, Barry, a fellow Star Trek fan, who took her last name when they got married. “It was an offer he couldn’t pass up,” explains their 26-year-old son, whom Deb will introduce every time she steps up to a microphone over the course of the weekend. “This is my son,” she says, and pauses after each name for emphasis, “Patrick. James. Tiberius. Kirk.” This is the big reveal, their familial shtick.

At actress Kate Mulgrew’s panel, Deb is the last to ask a question. She introduces her son again. ( “Patrick. James. Tiberius. Kirk.”)

“Your character, and your strength, on Voyager got me through his junior high school and high school years being autistic,” Deb says. “He’s a genius, he’s a savant. They treated him like dirt. I would come home and watch you and said, ‘She has the strength to get them home,”— Voyager ’s crew have been stranded a lifetime away from Earth—“‘I have the strength to get him through life.’”

“You may have been watching me,” Mulgrew says. “That boy was watching you.” That’s when I start to cry.

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A Ford Aerostar designed by Robert Strever to look like a shuttlecraft.

Vic Mignogna is in his early fifties but looks, on purpose, younger than that. He likely has the best tan of the entire convention. While we talk, three people ask for his autograph. A prolific voice over actor (he dubbed Edward Elric’s character in the popular anime series Fullmetal Alchemist ), he’s most famous here for his live action work: the fan-created web series Star Trek Continues . The show recasts, and painstakingly recreates, TOS : its premise, and point, is to complete the Enterprise ’s unfinished five-year mission. Vic is the show’s driving force and its Kirk, and he estimates he’s spent about $150,000 of his own money on Continues . “Every dollar you will ever make will go to one of two things: paying bills or for joy,” Vic says. This is his joy.

Before we speak, I watch Creation’s Adam Malin shut down a question a fan had posed about Axanar , a controversial, unfinished fan film that’s been halted by litigation from CBS and Paramount, Star Trek’s owners. The brainchild of executive producer Alec Peters, Axanar raised over $1.2 million between July 2014 and August 2015 with the promise of being “the first fully professional, independent Star Trek film.” In December 2015, a whole year and a half after the project, and it’s anticipatory short “Prelude to Axanar,” launched to great excitement and acclaim, CBS and Paramount filed suit for copyright violations—a major shift in their longstanding policy towards fan productions.

Most of the criticisms voiced about Axanar have to do with money—they claim that Alec tried to make a profit using intellectual property he didn’t own. The culture surrounding fan-made products, whether they are film or fiction or phasers, strictly condemns capitalizing off of fan works. It’s likely for this reason that the Star Trek Continues team sought 501c3 nonprofit status—a process that took them a year and a half to accomplish. But Paramount and CBS, the owners of Star Trek, sued Axanar on grounds for which all fan films qualify: copyright infringement. “The people who own it know that there would be no Star Trek without the fans who saved the show,” Vic says. He says this like it will protect him.

Axanar ’s trajectory through the fan film world, which had previously existed in a state of benign neglect, profoundly changed the landscape for both its creator and the community at large. In an effort towards rapprochement with the fan community, Paramount and CBS issued guidelines on June 23 : ten rules fans can follow to avoid litigation. But many of the major fan productions, Continues among them, violate the new guidelines in fundamental ways. To reshape Continues to fit this new bill is to gut it.

Sitting in Quark’s Bar, Vic has nothing but contempt for Alec and Axanar . “It was an ego fest,” he says. “He ruined it for the rest of us.”

Picture a snake eating its own tail. For Vic to get new Star Trek, the property has to make money. For Star Trek to make money, Vic (and the fan community writ large) has to remain engaged. And that engagement often takes the form of fans manufacturing and freely exchanging products the business might’ve otherwise tried to sell. Alongside fan fiction, there are licensed novels. For every illicit phaser replica, there are thousands of licensed toy versions. For each Chris Pine-as-Kirk studio movie, there are two Vic-as-Kirk fan-made episodes. But this uneasy and self-cannibalizing state of affairs is actually a pretty static one: Star Trek has, after all, made it to decade number five. Exacting handmade replicas and child-safe toys can and do coexist. This year Roddenberry.com, a company owned by the Roddenberry family, has even teamed up with a group of fans, the online prop-making community Fleet Workshop, to design and manufacture replicas of the Vulcan "IDIC" symbol. (The acronym stands for “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations,” the most important tenant in Vulcan philosophy and, subsequently, Star Trek fandom.) For Fleet Workshop member Ryan Norbauer, it represents something "truly collaborative—a fan-produced item that is officially licensed,” and a third path for fans and creators.

In some respects, 50 years out, it’s never been better to be a Star Trek fan. There’s a new, and entirely decent, movie in theaters with more slated to come. An admired TV auteur with unimpeachable Star Trek credentials, Bryan Fuller, is set to launch a new series, Star Trek: Discovery , in the new year. And yet this year’s convention is strangely, consistently, backward looking. No actors, writers, producers from the new films make appearances. The new series is an even more glaring absence. While many people speculate on its future, no one really knows—there isn’t a person working on the show there to talk about it. Some of this might have to do with licensing deals, some surely stems from there not being a new TV show yet. But the prevailing sense at Star Trek Las Vegas is that the franchise is past, not future.

“Can’t we all just get along?” It’s a rhetorical question, but Mark Altman is considering the matter of old versus new Trek. The franchise, he says, “is like a chameleon, it can keep reinventing itself.” And Star Trek already has—many times over—just to make it this far: from the candy-colored adventure of TOS to the solemn, Kubrick-ian Motion Picture to the lighthearted workplace comedy of The Voyage Home to the taupe, utopian diplomacy of TNG to the ambitious and often cynical arcs of Deep Space Nine to the scrappy missteps of ENT to the lens-flarey blockbusters of today. “The new movies are what they are. I don’t hate them,” Mark says. “As [ ENT writer] Chris Black says, ‘I hate the Nazis, I don’t hate the Enterprise theme song.’”

Star Trek fans have remade the world in their image. In the 1970s, John tells me, “we would never have told the people at the job we were working for that we were fans.” Though it took up much of their time and energy, he explains, “We never thought of ourselves as having a fannish lifestyle.” The template just didn’t exist yet—they were making it.

Today, Jarrah Hodge, cohost of the podcast Women at Warp , fills her Canadian Labor Congress office with Star Trek action figures. Dana Zircher, a trans software design engineer at Microsoft, marches with the company’s LGBT employee group in Boston’s Pride Parade in Data’s uniform and pale gold face paint. (She chose her name in part because of its similarly to the TNG character’s.) Brian Gardner, a member of the U.S.S. Las Vegas fan club (and a striking Patrick Stewart look-alike), thinks little of picking up groceries in his uniform after official events. Access Hollywood ’s Scott Mantz rips open his button-down shirt during a 2009 interview with Star Trek ’s Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto to reveal a vintage TOS t-shirt. “I’m that guy,” he announces, triumphant. In a culture shaped by 50 years of Star Trek, we’re all that guy. Or we can be, if we want to. That’s the whole point.

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Welcome to the STAR TREK Expanded Universe!

STEU is an encyclopedia and database, like Memory Alpha or Memory Beta , except for Star Trek fanworks instead of canon or licensed works. Fanworks include fan fiction , fan films , fan-created audio dramas , RPGs , and more, both past and present. We also chronicle the history of Star Trek fandom itself. If it's something fan-created, or a part of fanon lore, information about it belongs here. If you are interested in contributing and don't know where to start, see our most wanted pages , or view recent changes where you can see and assist in current efforts. Please enjoy the wiki!

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