This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile M'Ress, a recurring character on The Animated Series. Not to be confused with our friend M'Ress/Renee, who sometimes suggests good characters for this segment.
("A character far better left to animation back then, but now...me-ow")
M'Ress has the honor of being the first Animated Series regular character to be profiled on this segment, and she stands out as one of the more memorable additions to the crew. Although a feline life-form would not have been easy to pull off in the original Star Trek, in animation this is precisely the type of different species that adds more diversity to the crew.
M'Ress was the relief communications officer, although she also served as a backup science officer when Spock was off the ship. She is basically a younger version of the talented main shift communications officer Uhura, having risen to the Lieutenant rank just two years after leaving the Academy.
Most of the appearances for M'Ress are typical communications officer material, although she serves as a key contributor on a couple of missions where regular duty officers were stranded or taken hostage off the Enterprise. Her laid back demeanor and distinctive purr in her voice makes her an interesting analogue for Uhura.
M'Ress was known as a practical joker, which sometimes led to her getting into trouble with the crew. She also had a brief romantic fling with Montgomery Scott thanks to Mudd's love potion, but it didn't work out after the effects of the potion wore off.
Quote of the Week: Scott : (that was a) "hangover to shame all previous hangovers,"
M'Ress: "Not so loud, you fool."
Scott: "Yeah, well, all of a sudden, I don't like you much, either."
According to her character biography, M'Ress is passionate about studying history and anthropology, and she also writes poetry and acts in plays performed onboard. A well rounded cat, to be sure.
It would be interesting to see M'Ress perhaps become a real character in the Abrams reboot movies because filmmakers today have CGI abilities that can make such a character realistic and believable...just ask Guardians of the Galaxy. Although most of the Animated Series can be left in the dustbin of time, this character is long overdue for a reboot. If you can do it for Khan, you can do it for M'Ress!
M'Ress was voiced by Majel Barrett, who of course voiced the ship computer in most iterations of Star Trek as well as played as Christine Chapel and Lwaxana Troi. She became an actress thanks to a failing grade in contracts in her first year of law school, and we can all thank the hell that is law school for giving us such a great talent.
Until next time, live long and prosper...