The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years (2016) -Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman

Space, the final frontier…

These words have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From my first introduction to the series I was a fan, watching the show, getting my hands on comics, the first Pocket Book novels when they started out, the other collectible, behind-the-scenes books, anything I could get my hands on.

I thought I knew Star Trek, the ins and outs of its creation, the writing, the feuds, the stars, the production of series and films, but this book, written by Edward Gross and Mark A.Altman may be the definitive look at the iconic series and all that it has spawned.

The first volume, talked about in this review, covers the classic series, the first twenty-five years. Featuring interviews with cast, crew, and those the series influenced, we are taken through the original three seasons, the fight to get them made, the letter writing campaigns, the line counting, the cancellation. We see its rebirth in animation, the talk of a secind series, which grew instead, into six feature films with the series’ original cast.

A fascinating, to coin a phrase, read the book, a wonderful oral history takesus through everything, the triumphs, the blemishes, and on top of it, the authors make it compelling and enjoyable reading. 

There are interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, Roddenberry, Kelley, Bennett, Takei, Koenig, Doohan, and Nichols. Interwoven with them are commentary by show runners and writers who were influenced by them, as well as countless behind the scenes personnel.

The look at the television series was truly eye-opening as I discovered things I hadn’t known before, while at the same time, it fired me up to watch more and more Trek (good thing I’m only on season three of the original series, there is still so much to watch and write about!).
It is sometimes bothersome to realise that the cast and crew weren’t like their characters, or at ,east weren’t as close to one another as the characters they portrayed were, but one has to be able to seperate the art from the artist. Still, over the course of twenty-five years these people worked together to create somthing that continues to resonate not only through popular culture, but also influences the world around us in terms of science and creation.

I’m eager to dig into volume two, which takes us through the next twenty-five years via The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and the series of films as it continued. I think I’m going to try to wait until I’ve at least started reviewing The Next Gen. We’ll see if I can hold out…

Yes, this is one that most Trek fans will clamor to read, and while it is a captivating read for Trekkers or Trekkies, it’s also a fascinating look at writing and producing television and film, and that makes it an invaluable industy tool.

Meanwhile the Human Adventure continues…


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