Ahh... this is the life. Watching dreadful science fiction TV while eating nachos. Earlier this week I processed the second and third seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series at my library, and immediately borrowed the fifth disc of season two, which contains three Star Trek Tribble episodes: "Trouble with Tribbles" from The Original Series, "More Trouble, More Tribbles" from The Animated Series, and "Trials and Tribble-ations" from Deep Space Nine.
"Trouble with Tribbles" was good in a nostalgic classic-science-fiction kind of way - not really fantastic in and of itself (in fact quite dreadful by today's standards), but nonetheless enjoyable. While trying to protect storehouses of grain from the Klingon, the Enterprise is overrun by Tribbles - tiny, furry creatures that multiply at an incredible rate. The Tribbles also have a strangely calming effect on all non-Klingon races, and send Klingons into a rage. The episode is very funny - at least I'm fairly sure I was laughing at the jokes most of the time, and not the show itself.
The Animated Series, it seems, is truly dreadful - and the 20 minute "More Trouble, More Tribbles" felt more like 20 hours. The cast of The Original Series are certainly not voice actors, since they all sounded incredibly bored for the entire episode (so they sounded like I felt). Furthermore, the animation was virtually non-existent, with most scenes being stationary people with slightly moving lips - though this was probably more due to the shocking animation technology of the time.
The Deep Space Nine episode, however, was thoroughly enjoyable - by far the best of the three. Yes, "Trouble with Tribbles" is classic, but "Trials and Tribble-ations" is good. I knew that the DS9 episode was a "crossover", but I still wasn't sure exactly what to expect. The episode actually runs, for the most part, concurrently with "The Trouble with Tribbles", and scenes from the original episode are spliced in. DS9 crew are forced to disguise themselves as Enterprise crew in order to infiltrate the station and the Enterprise and foil the plan of a villain that travelled back in time with them. In doing this, the DS9 crew become the 'extras' and 'behind the scenes' characters of "The Trouble with Tribbles". They are digitally inserted into scenes from the earlier episode quite seamlessly, and the result is hilarious (see, for instance, the bar fight). The writing of the episode is also brilliant, with many nods to (and parodies of) The Original Series. It is also, in many ways, a pastiche of other time travel stories, being very self-conscious. It is plain to see why "Trials and Tribble-ations" was nominated for a Hugo Award. I highly recommend it! You should watch "The Trouble with Tribbles" first to truly appreciate the episode. But skip The Animated Series. Trust me.