Saturday, April 11, 2015

A to Z 2015 - Star Trek Episodes "The Jihad"

"The Jihad"
Star Trek: The Animated Series

A group of bloggers I've followed for a few years now has chosen to watch The Animated Series all the way through.  They're writing about their experiences, which you can find every Wednesday (or Fridays in the case of The Geek Twins as part of their Geek Bits feature; the others are Armchair Squid, Mock!, and Spacerguy).  I actually recently just finished writing about each episode in the series for another of my blogs, Star Trek Fan Companion, where I've been working at reviewing every episode of the franchise for several years now.

But chances are, if you've seen this series at all, you might have been one of the viewers who watched its original run forty years ago, because since that time it's been considered less than officially part of Star Trek canon.  Until a new home video release a few years back, it was just something a lot of fans knew about but had never had a chance to see for themselves.

"The Jihad" is not particularly an episode worth recommending.  The episode everyone who knows anything about the series knows is "Yesteryear," which has been drawn on for years in canon material, most recently in 2009's Star Trek.

So what is "The Jihad"?  Less favorable for its legacy is that by the title alone it's perhaps the most obvious of the many, many Star Trek references that might look a lot less innocuous post-9/11 than it might have previously.  I plan on writing a whole article on Star Trek's famous terrorists.  Understand that none of them exist in material post-9/11 itself (when Enterprise was launched, actually).  "The Jihad," mind you, doesn't have anything to do with terrorists, but today hearing that term seems less acceptable than it would have when the episode's title debuted.  That must be acknowledged.

(It might also be stressed that "jihad" is an Islamic term concerning holy war, and does not specifically refer to terrorism.  But today, it's hard not to associate radical Islam with terrorism.)

So if not terrorists, who?  Basically it's an episode featuring a bunch of alien species, of which prototype, famously, was the original series' "Journey to Babel."  And since this is The Animated Series, which felt free to come up with the most wild alien designs it could imagine (to be outdone later by the five Xindi species from Enterprise in the CGI era), you can expect to find a lot of wild alien designs indeed, all of which are much like all those alien designs the Kirk movies liked to populate in the background, none of which were ever seen again (amazingly, even the species responsible for the Federation president in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country).


Pat Dilloway said...

I watched all the animated series when it was on Netflix a while back.

Spacerguy said...

Thanks for the awesome shot across the bow Tony. Star Trek TAS is a cool TV show. Its fun finding a star trek fan who knows how to make fascinating propositions, Tony. Reading them I almost feel like the emotional human Dr McCoy.

Tony Laplume said...

Pat, and yes, Netflix and such also made the series available to new viewers.

Spacer, I think of the Big Three, I probably would be McCoy. Except when I'm being like Spock. A proposition that would horrify Spock...


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