DeForest Kelley thought The Animated Series was the death blow to the franchise

DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal Book by Kristine Smith. Image courtesy Kristine Smith
DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal Book by Kristine Smith. Image courtesy Kristine Smith /

Initially, DeForest Kelley wasn’t excited about Star Trek: The Animated Series

With Star Trek exploding in syndication and bringing in more fans than had ever watched it when it was originally aired, it wasn’t a surprise that both NBC and Paramount wanted more Star Trek in the early 1970s. One of the main problems, though, according to The Fifty-Year Mission The First 25 Years, was that NBC wanted to repilot the show, but with the sets having been demolished long ago, Paramount wasn’t going to pay the $750,000 needed to construct new ones, at least not without a full season order. So Star Trek: The Animated Series was born, but not every Star Trek actor was excited about the venture. In fact, DeForest Kelley who played Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy questioned the entire idea.

In The Fifty-Year Mission The First 25 Years, Kelley is quoted as saying he thought TAS was the death blow. Gene Roddenberry disagreed. He thought it was important to keep some form of Star Trek on the air and in the thoughts of the fans.

DeForest Kelley did voice his role in The Animated Series

As much as he was uncertain about how things were going to turn out, Kelley did give voice to the character he’d portrayed for 79 episodes in The Original Series, and The Animated Series ended up running for two seasons and a total of twenty-two episodes. Prior to the initial run, though, Kelley wasn’t the only one concerned as fans were worried about how this animated series was going to affect The Original Series.

After the reel of the opening of the series was shown at the World Science Fiction Convention, fans cheered, and everyone breathed a little easier. Though ratings were high, the series wasn’t hitting its target audience which was children. So even though The Animated Series won an Emmy and was popular with adults, it was still canceled in 1974. Still, some of the episodes of the series were on par with The Original Series and are definitely worth a watch!

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