Saturday, April 28, 2012

1-5. More Tribbles, More Troubles.

Kirk, up to his neck in Tribbles.  Again.


The Enterprise is escorting two robot ships with an important grain to Sherman's Planet, which has been experiencing failed crops and famine. Their trip is interrupted when they detect a Klingon vessel, pursuing and firing upon a Federation scout ship. The Klingons destroy the scout ship - but not before Scotty is able to beam the pilot to safety.

Kirk outmaneuvers Klingon Commander Koloth in the ensuing confrontation and discovers the nature of the rumored new Klingon superweapon. But once the engagement is done, he receives an unwelcome surprise. The man they beamed to safety is none other than Cyrano Jones - and he has tribbles with him!


Thus far, the animated series has given far more attention to Spock than to Kirk. This episode corrects that imbalance, giving Kirk the spotlight and demonstrating his ingenuity. Other characters are peripheral.  Spock, Scotty, and McCoy all get some decent bits, but this show belongs to Kirk.


More Tribbles, More Troubles was originally planned for the live-action series' third season, then scrubbed when incoming producer Fred Freiberger declared Star Trek "not a comedy."  The story finally sees the light of day here, in the animated series.

Unfortunately, David Gerrold's script for this episode is not nearly as sharp as his script for The Trouble with Tribbles was. There's never any payoff to the "quintotriticale" or to the Klingons' deliberate targeting of only the engines of the grain ships. These plot elements feel very much like what they probably are - leftovers from a draft for a 50-minute show, which a 25-minute one simply had no time for.

Another issue keeping this episode from being in the same league as its predecessor is the style of both the animation and voice editing. A lot of Gerrold's scripted verbal byplay needs to be delivered at a fast pace, with overlapping lines and strong physical expressions. The crudeness of the animation defeats the last element, while the voices are edited so that no line ever "steps on" another - slowing the pace too much for some of the humor to really score.

It sounds like I'm being hard on the episode, and I really don't mean to be. It is enjoyable,and the running time passes before you're aware of it. Some of the humor is stifled by misjudged voice editing and weak animation, but there are a fair amount of gags that still work. William Shatner is very good at "exasperated" acting, and his reaction to the increasingly giant tribble that keeps nesting in his chair is a good running gag. Also funny are the reactions of the Klingons to the tribbles, and the reactions of the "tribble predator" when it finds that its prey has outgrown it.

Not all that it should be, the episode is still fun.  It's not materpiece, but it's solid.

Rating: 7/10.

Previous Episode: The Lorelai Signal
Next Episode: The Survivor

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