Star Trek: TOS pitch episode had sentient cows

Image courtesy Line Rainville. Copyright Line Rainville
Image courtesy Line Rainville. Copyright Line Rainville /

Star Trek: TOS was known for its unique storylines

Star Trek: The Original Series had some strange episodes in its three season run. None of us will ever forget “Plato’s Stepchildren,” “Spock’s Brain,” or “The Way to Eden,” but there were others we didn’t get to see. When Gene Roddenberry originally pitched the series to NBC, he provided many sample storylines to show the network what type of episodes it could expect should the series be picked up. Some of them were questionable, and some were downright weird…like “A Question of Cannibalism.”

In this episode, the landing party, which is run by Captain April, visit a colony on Regulus. There, they discover on the ranches cow-like creatures that the colonists supply and sell in order to support themselves. It’s a vast empire that the colonists aren’t interested in changing. Even when April and his team discover that the cows are actually intelligent beings, the colonists take issue with the crew’s attempts to free their “cattle.”

Would Star Trek: TOS have had talking cows?

The pitch doesn’t specify how the crew determines the cows are intelligent, but it does bring up one very specific question. Did the cows talk? Because, as I mentioned, Star Trek has had some weird episodes, but this one would have been edging a little closer to freakishly outlandish. Seeing talking aliens is one thing, but animals?

As of the 24th century in Star Trek canon, there haven’t been any talking animals, although, there have been aliens that certainly look animalistic that can speak. (The Tellarites come to mind.) I do wonder if eventually Star Trek will cross that boundary, and we’ll see one of the captains having a conversation with a Great Dane, a horse, and a cow. I mean, technically, it would save money on salaries for guest-stars.

Next. The Cloud Minders originally had a grittier ending. dark