Star Trek–More Tribbles, More Troubles (1973)   2 comments



The original Star Trek series ran for three years (1966-1969) on NBC.  The network cancelled the series the first time at the end of the second season, but a letter-writing campaign led to the third season.  Then NBC cancelled the series and never brought it back in live action.  The producer during the final season was Fred Freiberger, not Gene Roddenberry.  Freiberger, by the way, went on to kill Space: 1999 and The Six Million Dollar Man in the 1970s.  Roddenberry had planned to have a tribble episode in the third season, but Freiberger forbade such a comedy concept on his watch.  This is odd, given that he permitted Spock’s Brain, arguably the worst episode of the original series.

The Enterprise, Animated

Then the original series entered syndication and found new audiences after the 1969 Moon landing.  Demand for more programming grew, and NBC decided that a Saturday morning cartoon was in order.  So the animated Star Trek series ran from 1973 to 1975.  The first episode produced and fifth aired was More Tribbles, More Troubles, based on an episode planned for the third season of the original series.

Robot Ships Containing Grain for Sherman’s Planet

The Enterprise is escorting two robot ships full of containers of grain–quintotritocale, to be precise–to Sherman’s Planet, where there is a severe famine.  Quadrotriticale used to be the only Earth grain capable of growing on Sherman’s Planet (The Trouble with Tribbles), but that fact seems to have changed.

Klingons Fire on a Scout Vessel

The Enterprise breaks away from its escort duties to investigate a Klingon battle cruiser’s pursuit of a small scout vessel.  Kirk orders Scotty, who is manning the main Transporter Room, to beam the small vessel’s pilot aboard.  This is a good plan, for the Klingons destroy the scout vessel.  The Klingons also fire their new, mysterious weapon, a disruptor, at the Enterprise, interfering with the transporter, the engines, and all weapons temporarily.

Captain Koloth

Captain Koloth, last seen in The Trouble with Tribbles, demands that Kirk hand over the scout ship’s pilot, whom he claims is guilty of “ecological sabotage.”  Kirk refuses.  Besides, we the viewers know the pilot has not materialized yet.

A Damaged Robot Ship

Kirk, his weapons disabled momentarily, decides to use the robot ships to ram the Klingon battle cruiser from different sides.  The battle cruiser uses its new weapon until the ship’s power proves insufficient, so the Klingons fire conventional weapons at one robot ship, disabling it.  Then the battle cruiser veers off for a few hours, until its power builds up again.

Cyrano Jones and Tribbles

Scotty is finally able to materialize the pilot, who turns out to be Cyrano Jones.  And Jones has tribbles with him.  These tribbles, as McCoy confirms later, do not reproduce.  Jones has genetically engineered them so that they merely become fat when they eat too much.

Unfortunately, these tribbles are also pink.  Many items were pink in the animated series.  This fact made for unintentional comedy.  In a subsequent episode, for example, there were fierce alien warriors–in pink uniforms, flying around in a pink ship.  There is a simple explanation for these mishaps; the person in charge of assigning colors was colorblind.

The Glommer

Cyrano Jones was able to rid Space Station K-7 of its tribbles in far less than 17.9 years because he used the glommer, a predator.  (The glommer did its predation offscreen, for this was a Saturday morning cartoon.)  But Jones was still in violation of multiple Federation laws, so Kirk confined him to quarters until the end of the mission, at which point Kirk promised to turn Jones over to the appropriate authorities.

Containers of Quintotriticale in the Corridors

With one robot ship disabled, its cargo is now aboard the Enterprise.  There is so much grain involved that there are containers in corridors.  This is bad news when tribbles are on board.

Tribbles in the Quintotriticale

The Klingons attack again, disabling the other robot ship before targeting the Enterprise and knocking over containers of grain.  So tribbles begin feasting–and growing.

That is a Very Large Tribble.

The Klingons plan to board the Enterprise, but Kirk thwarts them.

That is Still a Very Large Tribble.

Tribbles in the Klingon Engine Room

Kirk orders Scotty to beam tribbles into the Klingon engine room, thereby filling it up.

Koloth contacts Kirk and reveals that the glommer is a genetically engineered tribble predator, the only one of its kind.  The Klingons want the glommer back; Jones is unimportant.  So Kirk orders Scotty to beam the glommer over to the Klingon battle cruiser.

The Glommer, Fleeing a Giant Tribble

But the glommer flees upon the sight of a giant tribble.

McCoy has learned that these new, sterile tribbles are actually colonies of tribbles.  He can inject a giant tribble with a chemical and reduce the colony to its component parts, truly harmless tribbles.  But the Klingons do not know this.  So Koloth fires at a giant tribble and…

…this results.

And, back on the Enterprise, a tribble colony buries Kirk.  But, as Scotty says, it is good if all your tribbles are little ones.

More Tribbles, More Troubles is a fun episode, one of the best of the twenty-two installments of the animated series.  Tribbles are always entertaining, as are the puns of the word “tribble.”  Yet some of the dialogue rehashes The Trouble with Tribbles awkwardly.  Why are Kirk and Jones repeating what both of them know, except to fill in young viewers who had not seen the live action episode?

The greater sequel to The Trouble with Tribbles is the subject of the last installment of this series of posts.  Trials and Tribble-ations (1996), from Deep Space Nine, is a note-perfect visit to the events of the original episode, as well as a technological wonder.  And its writers did not have work within the confines of a seven-year-old’s mentality.



The images are screen captures.  Star Trek is property of Paramount Pictures and CBS.  The animated series is available in its entirety via DVD and other means consistent with U.S. copyright laws.

Posted March 10, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Star Trek (1973-1975)

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2 responses to “Star Trek–More Tribbles, More Troubles (1973)

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  1. Pingback: Coming Soon–Tribbles Episodes | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Guide Post: Star Trek | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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