In the first episode of the new Star Trek animated shorts series Very Short Treks, everyone’s favorite Vulcan meets an untimely—and thankfully non-canon—demise. Unlike Star Trek II, however, the fact of Spock’s death in this new short, “Skin a Cat,” is hardly the focus of the episode, let alone a noble act. In fact, many viewers may come away from the less than 4 minute short without even thinking about the momentous event that just took place.
Yes, Star Trek killed Spock once again, but very incidentally and as part of what is essentially a sight gag. The entire point of Very Short Treks is not to be real Star Trek, but to tell non-canon, silly, comical stories in the style of Star Trek: The Animated Series with the first episode being released on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of that series.
The first episode of Very Short Treks kills off Spock, along with the rest of the crew of the Enterprise.
We’re not sure a crew member whose head is a talking human hind end is exactly the tribute Star Trek: The Animated Series would have asked for, nor that Spock really deserves to go down with this particular version of the Enterprise. But this brief comic jaunt is certainly a quirky addition to an era of Trek that has more than ever learned to laugh at itself.
Starting with the Short Treks episode “The Trouble with Edward” and epitomized in the current animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks, comedy has played a greater and greater role in contemporary Trek.
We’re certain some Star Trek fans will be dismayed and even appalled at the silliness of this short, so much so that they might miss the inherent tragedy of the loss of not only Spock, but also M’Ress, Scotty, and Arex.
The wonderful thing about the Very Short Treks episodes is that they bring in actors from the main series to reprise their roles. While future episodes will bring in stars like Armin Shimmerman as Quark and Doug Jones as Saru, “Skin a Cat” features Ethan Peck in his current Strange New Worlds role as Spock. It also features probably the clumsiest captain in Star Trek history, played by Pete Holmes and credited only as Captain.
We’re certain some Star Trek fans will be dismayed and even appalled at the silliness of this short, so much so that they might miss the inherent tragedy of the loss of not only Spock, but also M’Ress, Scotty, and Arex. That’s not to mention, of course, the increasingly ridiculous cast of characters that magically appear on the bridge during the scene. It’s a far cry from the humanity-affirming, hopeful vision of the future we’re used to from the franchise but it’s a great deal of fun.
Such a focus is somewhat ironic in light of the recent removal of Star Trek: Prodigy, which also featured Spock in one episode, from Paramount+.
“Skin a Cat” even got a theatrical premiere in several cities across the United States as part of Star Trek: The Animated Celebration during this year’s Star Trek Day, technically marking Ethan Peck’s big screen debut as Spock.
The event takes place every September 8th, marking the anniversary of the premiere of The Original Series in 1966. The date also happens to coincide with the premiere of The Animated Series in 1973, hence this year’s focus on animation.
Such a focus is somewhat ironic in light of the recent removal of Star Trek: Prodigy, which also featured Spock in one episode, from Paramount+. Despite this, Prodigy was actually represented somewhat prominently in some of the promotional packages shown during Star Trek: The Animated Celebration. The event also included a teaser for an apparent upcoming collaboration between Star Trek and Kid Cudi.
All of this shows that there’s not just more than one way to skin a cat, but more than one way to do Star Trek. And, incidentally, more than one way to kill Spock.