Star Trek: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 9

Once Upon a Planet

Aired Saturday 10:30 AM Nov 03, 1973 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Once Upon a Planet
Kirk returns to the "shore leave" planet, but it's not as peaceful as it was when they last saw it.

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  • Kirk returns to the "shore leave" planet, but something's gone wrong.

    This is, of course, a sequel to the original series episode "Shore Leave", and it's one of the few animated episodes that features both an A and a B story; one on a planet and one on the ship. The cutting back and forth between the ship problems and the planet drama is reminiscent of the original series as well as a precursor to Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition, the episode touches on living machines and features, for the first time in Star Trek, the Enterprise losing gravity. (Both these ideas would be expanded upon in the feature films.) It all adds up to a fun, memorable episode.moreless
  • Many things have changed since the last time Enterprise visited the "shore leave" planet.

    This episode is another average episode that is just an updated version of a previous story. Here, we see what things have changed since the crew left "shore leave". And, for story purposes, things have changed for the worse. The robots that make the illusions have taken over the planet after the keeper died of old age. Once again, a few highlights, but overall things that aren't that interesting. The main story is fairly good involving the machine that kidnapped Uhura. This may appeal more to the fans of the episode this is based on, but if you didn't care for the TOS story, then it will be the same here. Good, but not great.moreless
George Takei

George Takei

Amusement Park Computer

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Gabler/White Rabbit

Guest Star

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Queen of Hearts

Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott / Lt. Arex

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Lt. M'Ress

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • When Spock and Kirk enter the master computer room, there is a wall behind them about 5'-10' away and no robots. The camera cuts away to the master computer for a second or two, then cuts back to Kirk and Spock and now three robots have appeared between them and the wall. In the next longer shot, the two men are standing in the middle of the room, the robots are behind them, but there's no sign of the wall.

    • When Uhura is singing by the lake, her reflection in the water doesn't show her uniform rank on her sleeves.

    • Towards the end of the episode, we see the crew use seat belts. During the original era the Enterprise never before (or since) had seat belts on chairs.

    • Sulu is shown erroneously sitting on the bridge while he was actually imperiled on the planet's surface.

    • On the bridge, McCoy's tricorder strap briefly disappears and reappears.

    • The hangar doors open to the side in this episode, as opposed to from the center like a clam as seen on the original series and later in "Albatross."

    • Several crew wearing red uniforms have the science (blue uniform) insignia on them.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Spock: The Queen of Hearts and her cards are characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass, Captain.
      Kirk: I read the book as a child, Mr. Spock, but I wasn't aware you indulged in the literature of fantasy.
      Spock: Light reading is considered relaxing, Captain. My mother was particularly fond of Lewis Carroll's work.

    • Amusement Park Computer: Unfortunately, I have no use for more hostages which leaves me no choice but to turn them off.
      Uhura: Turn them off?
      Amusement Park Computer: Again redundant. I will make them cease to function. I will turn them off.
      Uhura: That's murder.
      Amusement Park Computer: That is a word meaning to cease to function?
      Uhura: Yes, but...
      Amusement Park Computer: Good. It is as I wish. I will turn them off.

    • Spock: Our amusement park seems no longer content to amuse.

    • Uhura: There is no shame in serving others when one does it of his own free will.

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode along with "The Eye of the Beholder" was released on The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: Volume 8 for VHS.

    • An accomplished singer, Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura, sang in this episode as she had done in a number of original Star Trek episodes. In this episode, she vocalized for almost 40 seconds

    • Trivia: In this episode, the date of the Caretaker's death could be read off of the gravestone: "7009th year of operation."

    • A scene in this episode showed the interior of the Enterprise hanger deck. Visible in the hangar deck was a heavy shuttle (as seen in "Mudd's Passion"), and a long range shuttle (as seen in "The Slaver Weapon").

    • A direct sequel to the Original Trek episode "Shore Leave", and there are references to McCoy's encounter with the White Rabbit and the Keeper from that episode.


    • Alice and the White Rabbit
      These characters following it are from the novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (written by Lewis Carroll). Later, McCoy is attacked by playing cards--these are from the sequel, "Through The Looking Glass". The rabbit and Alice also appeared in the Original Series episode, "Shore Leave," that first showcased the so-called shore leave planet.