Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973): S01E04 – The Lorelei Signal


Introduction

“The Lorelei Signal” is the fourth episode of the first season of the animated American science fiction television series Star Trek.

It first aired in the NBC Saturday morning lineup on 29 September 1973, and was written by Margaret Armen, author of three Original Series episodes.

Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (voiced by William Shatner) and the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, Lt. Uhura (voiced by Nichelle Nichols), Nurse Chapel (voiced by Majel Barrett) and the Enterprise women must take charge of the ship from incapacitated male senior officers and rescue Captain Kirk and his landing party held on an alien world.

Outline

On stardate 5483.7, the Federation starship Enterprise investigates a sector of space where starships have been disappearing every 27.346 years. A strangely compelling musical signal lures the Enterprise to a remote planet in the Taurean system some 20 light-years distance. The music works on the men of the Enterprise, affecting their judgement and causing them to experience euphoric hallucinations. Captain Kirk (voiced by William Shatner), First Officer Spock (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy (voiced by DeForest Kelley), and Lieutenant Carver (voiced by James Doohan) beam down to the source of the signals.

Arriving on the planet surface they discover the inhabitants are a race of beautiful women who want to celebrate their arrival. They are given drink which they discover is drugged as they begin to fall unconscious. When they awake, they find themselves in a weakened state brought about by rapid ageing. They discover headbands locked around their foreheads which somehow transmit their life-force to the bodies of the women, who are growing in strength.

On board the Enterprise, Communications Officer Lt. Uhura (voiced by Nichelle Nichols) talks with Nurse Chapel (voiced by Majel Barrett) about the men’s condition and comes to the conclusion that she must take command due to the irrational behaviour of Chief Engineer Scott (voiced by James Doohan) and the other men.

Back on the planet, Kirk and his party manage to gather enough strength to escape to a spacious garden and hide inside a tall urn. They discover that the pace of their loss of strength correlates with the proximity of the women. Rather than just wait to be found or just die, they decide that Spock should go back alone and attempt to find a communicator and contact the ship since he has not deteriorated as much as the others. Spock is able to complete his task and orders Uhura to come down with an all-female rescue party.

Uhura beams down with Chapel and a female security force and quickly stun the now-aggressive women with their phasers then compel them to help rescue the men after being told the story of how the Taurean women came to be in their current situation.

Back on the Enterprise, the ageing process is stopped with the removal of the headbands, but they cannot find a treatment that will restore their original age until Spock comes up with the idea of using their original transporter patterns from when they first beamed down.

Uhura returns to the planet, and witnesses the Taurean leader, Theela (voiced by Majel Barrett), destroying the device that had been luring starships, stating that Uhura should tell Kirk she kept her side of the bargain. Uhura informs them that a ship of women will return to bring them to a habitable world and that the women’s bodies should return to normal in a few months.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Hal Sutherland.
  • Writer(s): Margaret Armen.
  • Release Date: 29 September 1973.
  • Running Time: 30 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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