This new animated demo from Gazelle Automations shows what Star Trek: The Animated Series would have looked like if Filmation had given Star Trek: The Next Generation the same treatment.
The bridge crew, with Captain Picard, Commander Riker and Lt. Worf are all there on the bridge of the Enterprise D, faithfully recreated in the Filmation style. The look and style of the animated characters, interiors and exteriors is an exact match to the original. The camera angles are all very reminiscent of the standard shots they used to tell the stories on the animated series as well, with some strong influences from the live action TNG episodes. They’ve even got a TAS-style Kzin at the ops station, and all the character designs are simplified in the same manner in which Filmation would have done to make them easier (and cheaper) to animate.
It’s a reminder of why, back in the day, we loved the old animated Star Trek. It was stiff, it lacked variety, the animation was often cheesy, but hey, low-budget or no, it was still Star Trek, and at the time it was the only Star Trek fans thought they were ever going to get.
The scene is from “The Best of Both Worlds”, Part 1, which originally aired June 18th, 1990. It follows the screenwriters’ mantra, which is “Think of the worst thing you can do to your characters—and then do it.” This approach made this third season two-part cliffhanger one of the best episodes they ever did.
The familiar repetitive TAS conflict music is there as the background as well. They even nailed the slightly odd pacing in the editing. All in all, this love letter to the old animated series is letter perfect.
Gazelle Automations is one of those “hauled themselves up by their own bootstraps” stories. They currently have a series called Miikshi, streaming now in Canada on TVOkids and worldwide on YouTube. It’s a combination of puppetry and Gerry and Sylvia Andersen’s Thunderbirds.
The shy sheep inventor Miikshi is inspired by co-creator Lindsay Lee’s own childhood experiences as a very quiet but imaginative kid. Her hope is that today’s shy kids can relate to Miikshi and feel good about being themselves, even if they do it quietly.
The creators of Miikshi, wife-and-husband team Lindsay and Justin Lee, previously worked on Thunderbirds: The Anniversary Episodes for ITV in the UK, learning puppet and miniature filming techniques from industry veterans who’d worked on everything from James Bond to The Lord of the Rings.
Based in Toronto, Canada, they formed Gazelle Automations to create entertainment with the magic of puppetry, model miniatures and animation. From cramped beginnings in the tiny back room of a pizza shop (where pizza orders were literally passing through shots), Gazelle Automations now sees projects through from concept and fabrication to production, VFX and finishing. The company’s clients and production partners include Anderson Entertainment, the BBC, CBC Kids, Century 21 Films, ITV, Shaftesbury, and TVOKids.
This animation is a departure from the usual puppetry and model scenery work that that Gazelle Automations known for, and demonstrates that there is a lot more in their toolbox waiting to be shown to the world. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
President of Krypton Media Group, Inc., radio personality and station manager of SCIFI.radio. Part writer, part animator, part musician, part illustrator, part programmer, part entrepreneur – all geek.