Titan Books has published a hardback book titled Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series available from numerous online retailers and high street book stores. Star Trek: The Animated Series began after the original live action Star Trek TV series was cancelled; proving to be a successful reunion for almost the entirety of the original Star Trek cast as it won the first Emmy Award for the Star Trek franchise. Can Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series deliver a quality official companion to Star Trek: The Animated Series?
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series book is in expert hands as it is written by Aaron Harvey; a graphic designer that has hosted the Saturday Morning Trek podcast on Trek.FM, alongside Rich Schepis that has previously written for numerous Star Trek publications including TrekCore, Rogues Portal and The Bronze Review.
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series begins as it means to go on with both authors explaining their passion and knowledge of everything Star Trek related. Meanwhile, the introduction is as interesting as it is not an introduction to the book itself, but actually to the origins of The Animated Series from the end of The Original Series to the start of The Animated Series including historic interview quotes and facts. That approach continues into the production chapter; detailing writing limitations due to the reduced episode length of 22 to 30 minutes followed by discussing how it was to make The Animated Series from the perspective of the associate producer, director and music composer. Cast showcases the differences between the originally announced cast and the final cast of The Animated Series as well as what inspired the change, alongside how many voice-overs were performed by the same cast members and who guest starred.
Animation looks at the task of creating an animated series adaptation of a much loved live action series by introducing the team, discussing what it took in the early 1970s to animate Kirk and the Enterprise before showing a full step-by-step guide of ten processes that occurred when creating each episode. Animation continues with how the animated likenesses of the live action cast was created; addressing the reason behind pink being a recurring part of the colour palette and explaining from a technical standpoint why some characters had close-ups or specific camera positioning that would not display their full body in certain scenes.
The vast majority of Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series focuses on an episode guide for each episode. The episode guide covers both seasons spanning 16 episodes from September 8th 1973 until January 12th 1974 and the much smaller second season of half a dozen episodes from September 7th 1974 until October 12th 1974 respectively. Each of the 22 episode guides feature an episode number, original air date, production number, episode title, writer and director, guest characters and who voiced them, captain’s log and character quotes, a mission briefing that provides a detailed synopsis, fascinating facts, bloopers and explaining any terminology within the story elements of the episode. Meanwhile, there are also many unique features within the individual episode guides such as in the episode guide of the first-ever episode in relation to the storyboard artist Bob Kline’s relentless approach to drawing the exact design of the alien ship that Gene Roddenberry would eventually choose.
Series Legacy delves into whether Star Trek: The Animated Series should be considered as canon, alongside shining a spotlight on the ever-growing quantity of merchandise related to Star Trek: The Animated Series. Meanwhile, Dayton Ward provides an equally impassioned afterword describing what The Animated Series meant to him. Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series book concludes with a variety of acknowledgements, credits and author biographies.
Quality of writing is amazing as the passion of both authors towards everything Star Trek with genuine knowledge of Star Trek: The Animated Series. There are really interesting historic and modern day interviews that provide such insight directly from some of the creators.
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series is excellently artistically presented with the animated likenesses of the core cast of the original live action Star Trek TV series and the Enterprise as they appear in The Animated Series adorning the front cover with an inlay of the Star Trek logo, the subtitle and the Enterprise ship. The beautiful design of the hardback book continues on the back cover with an intriguing synopsis accompanied by Spock taking a photograph of some of his fellow Enterprise crew, alongside outlines of sketches in the style of The Animated Series, while the spine of the hardback book also has an inlay of the book title. Meanwhile, between the front and back cover there are huge quantities of artwork from sketches through to a final frame of completed animation and photographs of the creators.
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series’ value originates from the book being the first-ever official guide to Star Trek: The Animated Series, while featuring coverage of each major process in creating The Animated Series and an episode guide for all 22 episodes that forms the founding basis of the vast majority of the 160 page duration.
• Title: Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series
• Writers: Aaron Harvey and Rich Schepis
• Contributions: Dayton Ward (Afterword) and interviews
• Publisher: Titan Books
• Length: 160 pages
• Cover: Hardback
Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series can be purchased in the UK from Amazon and Forbidden Planet, while Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series can be purchased in America and Canada from Amazon. You can also find Titan Books’ official website including a back catalogue of captivating books and product details regarding Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series.