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- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- "Season Four"

"Season Four" Animated:
-"The Magicks of Megas-Tu"
-"The Time Trap"
-"How Sharper Than
A Serpent's Tooth"

-"The Counter-Clock Incident"
-"Season 4" Rankings

The Time Trap

(Star Trek Animated episode #12 in broadcast order)
  • written by Joyce Perry
  • directed by Hal Sutherland
  • production code #22010

"Season Four":
The Animated Series

22 episodes
@ 25 minutes each

The Time Trap

Of course, with a name like "The Time Trap", you know a Star Trek episode will find its way into these time-travel articles. As it plays out, however, this story has much more to do with parallel/pocket universes and space travel. It uses a Bermuda Triangle concept of an area of space famous for disappearances as a one-way gate to a smaller pocket universe. The parallels with Doctor Who's E-Space Trilogy are huge, only in this case the pocket universe is so small, there isn't even any room for any stars or planets - just a collection of spaceships.

The title isn't completely inappropriate though, because time appears to have different properties inside the trap. Standard living beings age far, far more slowly, while dilithium crystals go through their entire lifespan in less than a week.

I read somewhere that the lead Klingon Commander in this story is Kor, previously played by John Colicos
in "Errand of Mercy" (story #27). The story doesn't make much of this; it's detail that is hard to notice. Kor's character has little impact on early aspects of the story, but begins to come out nicely in the second half, where you can believe that it's him again, if indeed you first remember that it is him. Too bad Colicos wasn't on hand to do his voice - that would have sealed the deal. As it stands, we're probably listening to James Doohan's vocal flexibilities once again.

I don't think Filmation handled the entrance to the "Time Trap" pocket universe very well. The disappearance of Kor's ship looks like a fade out to commercial, which is followed by dialogue on the Enterprise that takes a painfully long time to make its point. All the more reason to get the visuals right immediately. Based on Spock's description, and the visuals for the second disappearance into the trap universe when the Enterprise has its turn, we now get something resembling the effect of a Klingon/Romulan cloaking device being turned on. This isn't much good either - the episode's dialogue needs something that clearly looks different. Later struggles with the trap entrance are an improvement, and work decently.

The animated format isn't really taken advantage of very much in this tale. We do get more spaceships and a wider variety of aliens than the live action show could probably have afforded in its third season, but these all have very limited screen time. It's mostly Enterprise and Klingon ship interiors today, all easy, standard (overused) sets from the old series. Visual imagination is somewhat lacking, although the inclusion of the plant creatures from Walter Koenig's "The Infinite Vulcan" is a nice touch. Majel Barrett is not to be heard in this episode, requiring Nichelle Nichols to voice all female characters. She does a good job of Uhura naturally, as well as the Orion woman, but her voice for the telepathic Megan is embarrassingly silly. A larger cast would have done the episode good.

Well, this episode keeps its time travel theory clean, largely by not traveling through time in the first place. It remains an interesting and fairly well-written adventure, with only a few very minor nits. Well done.

This "Season Four" / Animated Series episode is available on standard DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek The Animated Series Standard DVD Box Set:

Get your copy of this 4-disc DVD set
from the links below:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K.

Watch the legend stay alive and continue to innovate during the 1970's in this slightly different TV format. Set contains all 22 episodes from the two seasons of the animated series of Star Trek in their original wacky U.S. national broadcast order.

DVD Extras include:

  • "Drawn to the Final Frontier: The Making of Star Trek The Animated Series"
    featurette including interviews with producer Lou Scheimer, director Hal Sutherland, writers D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Larry Brody, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Mike Sussman, and others (24 min.)
  • Audio Commentary by writer David Gerrold on his episodes "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem".
  • Audio Commentary by co-writer David Wise on his episode "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth".
  • Text Commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda on "Yesteryear", "The Eye of the Beholder" and "The Counter-Clock Incident"
  • "What's the Star Trek Connection?" featurette(s) (6 min. total)
  • Show history text pages
  • Menu-based Storyboard Gallery for writer Walter Koenig's "The Infinite Vulcan".
  • DVD previews for Star Trek & other shows

Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next Star Trek review article: Prime Directive - Season Four

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