One has phasers, the other phrasing. One has the entire universe to explore, while the other (generally) stays on Earth. But they’re both about egotistical horndogs who embark on strange and improbable adventures each week, usually courting death at every turn and needlessly endangering the lives of their long-suffering subordinates. So, in retrospect, Star Trek: The Animated Series and Archer were always meant to be together, and now reside alongside each other in the cartoon mashup Starcher Trek. This web series takes its visuals from the 1973-74 Filmation version of the Gene Roddenberry sci-fi saga, while the profanity-laden audio is cribbed from the current FX espionage farce. Here, Archer is the impulsive, reckless Kirk, nattering on about Burt Reynolds and ocelots. Lana is Uhura, sick to death of Kirk’s bullshit. Nerdy accountant Cyril is a hyper-awkward, ineffectual Spock, while Ray and Krieger become Sulu and Scotty respectively. Fear not, Archer fans, as the creators of Starcher Trek managed to find appropriate counterparts for Malory, Pam, and Cheryl/Carol as well.
As of now, there are three episodes of Starcher Trek to savor. As in any actual episode of Archer, the heroics generally take a backseat to adolescent sexual innuendo and counterproductive bickering. In retrospect, the combination of snarky modern repartee with stiff vintage animation is reminiscent of Sealab 2021, the Adult Swim series created by Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, who went on to work on Archer. So it all comes full circle.
Starcher Trek has been in hibernation for a while now. The most recent episode dropped in August 2013; the Starcher Trek homepage and Twitter account have been dormant since then. But the web series continues to attract views and arouse media attention—like Geek & Sundry’s recent appreciation—to this day. Happily, on July 8, an encouraging message finally appeared on the official Starcher Trek Facebook account. “The Starcher Trek Editing Suite will be dusted off soon,” the creators promise, “and more episodes are on the way.”