Stardate: 5392.4 (2269)
Original Air Date: October 6, 1973
Writer: David Gerrold
Director: Hal Sutherland
“If we’ve got to have tribbles, it’s best if all our tribbles are little ones.”
The return of tribbles! The Enterprise has been assigned to transport two robot grain ships to Sherman’s Planet, where there is a colony which has been struck by crop failures and famine. The seed shipments contain Quintotriticale, a grain which is vital to the survival of the colonists. However, while en route, the Enterprise intercepts a Klingon battle cruiser (led by Captain Koloth) chasing a smaller “Scout” vessel.
The Enterprise rescues the lone pilot fleeing the Klingons, and he turns out to be none other than deep space trader Cyrano Jones! As it turns out he has committed “ecological sabotage” against the Klingons by stealing a “Glommer,” an odd little creature that is the chief predator of the tribbles. Captain Koloth unleashes a new secret weapon –a “stasis field”—which disables the Enterprise and its weapons. However, the stasis field is also a power drain for the Klingons.
Unable to use the Enterprise, Uhura realizes the robot ships are not trapped by the stasis field and the Enterprise sends two ships filled with tribbles over to the Klingons instead (Cyrano Jones has genetically engineered this batch of tribbles so they cannot reproduce). Then Kirk negotiates a deal –he sends the Glommer over to the Klingons in exchange for lifting the stasis field. However, in a silly twist, these larger tribbles are actually revealed to be small colonies of the furry creatures. Therefore, the tribbles have multiplied their numbers! Thankfully, Dr. McCoy discovers a work-around in the end –an injection of neothylene which breaks the tribbles down into their individual units with slower metabolic rates.
My Thoughts on “One of Our Planets Is Missing”
This episode offers an amusing bit of light comedy, a funny addendum to “The Trouble with Tribbles.” It gives a nod to the original series for Trekkies and Trekkers by reanimating several characters: Cyrano Jones, Captain Koloth, and of course tribbles. Despite being a bit silly, I still had fun with this episode.
David Gerrold (1944-present) was an early fan of the Star Trek, who was encouraged by Gene Roddenberry to submit scripts for the show (he ultimately submitted a total of five scripts). The first script he submitted was entitled “Tomorrow Was Yesterday,” a sixty-page script about the Enterprise discovering a ship launched from Earth centuries earlier (it was never made into an episode). He later wrote several Star Trek books –both novels and memoirs. He also wrote for a variety of classic science fiction shows such as Land of the Lost, Babylon 5, Sliders, and The Twilight Zone (the reboot). Gerrold wrote the Hugo and Nebula-award winning novelette “The Martian Child.” His other celebrated science fiction novels include The Man Who Folded Himself (1973), and the Hugo and Nebula-nominated When HARLIE Was One (1972). Gerrold remained friends with DC Fontana hence why he was invited to participate in the Animated Series, as well. He wrote two episodes of TAS “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Bem.”
Star Trek Trivia:
- Stanley Adams reprises his role from “The Trouble With Tribbles” as the voice of Cyrano Jones in this episode. He was one of three returning guest stars to portray the same character in both their original and animated appearances.
- This TAS episode was originally pitched as a TOS third season sequel to “The Trouble With Tribbles” but it was scrapped by Fred Freiberger.
- In this episode, Kirk notes that Cyrano Jones is currently in violation of three federation mandates and forty-seven local ones.
- The Klingon character Captain Koloth also previously appeared in “The Trouble with Tribbles.”
- Despite initially being voiced by William Campbell, Koloth is voiced by James Doohan in this episode.
- David Gerrold later praised both of Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of his two episodes for TAS. However, he also expressed dissatisfaction with the final script for “More Tribbles, More Troubles.”
- David Gerrold makes an almost unnoticed animated cameo in this episode –a joke idea that was amusingly incorporated into the episode by Filmation. Gerrold can be seen briefly manning the transporter controls. For a long period of time, there was a rumor that Gerrold also voiced the other Klingon, Korax, however he later corrected the record and noted that James Doohan voiced Korax.
- There is a running joke in this episode wherein increasingly larger tribbles keep sitting in Kirk’s captain’s chair as the episode progresses.
- The robot grain ships in this episode is the first instance of a new Federation ship in the series, and they later became the inspiration for the Antares-type ships that appeared in the remastered TOS episodes.
- The dialogue from this episode’s script was recorded with the full regular cast in attendance (the first time they had reunited since filming of the original series
- According to the stardate in this episode, it takes place right before “Spock’s Brain.”
- Director Hal Sutherland (1929-2014) directed all episodes of the first season of TAS. He gained early career recognition working on large Disney animation movies before switching to Filmation where he worked on TAS, as well as Flash Gordon, Batman, and Superman animated shows. Notably, pink is a recurring color in TAS. This is because Sutherland was colorblind and thought he was actually selecting the color grey.
Seeing the Klingons in a comedic light, specifically thanks to the Tribbles, may not be as appealing now that we come to know them as a race more realistically over time. So we can probably enjoy Tribble episodes more for the Tribbles because, either for comedy or seriousness, they have much to offer and it was great to see them return to the Trek universe thanks to DS9’s Trials and Tribble-ations. The different problem that they gave Kirk and company this time round was interesting at the time and may have worked better in an animated episode. I thought it was a good sequel for a Trek classic. Thank you for your review and trivia.
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