Review: Put together by acclaimed entertainment journalists Ian Spelling and Ben Robinson. Star Trek – Celebration boldly accepts the challenge of giving us a new take on the creation of the original Star Trek series. Indeed, with over 50 years of content already out there. This was a tough challenge to take on. But I am pleased to say that both Robinson and Spelling have succeeded in their mission. They do so by speaking to a fair number of people who have never really spoken of their Star Trek journey before.
Star Trek – A Celebration is the second of a series, which began last year with Star Trek: Voyager – A Celebration.
Boldly Going Where No Other Star Trek: Original Series Book Has Gone Before…
One of the challenges that the writers faced in doing this book were coming up with content and interviews that no one has seen before. This is pretty much accomplished over the first 100 pages and beyond. As we get never before seen interviews with cast members from the original Star Trek Pilot ‘The Cage’ as well as interviews with other much-loved guest stars. This book cleverly uses these new interviews and weaves them together to tell the story of the original trek. It’s a real page-turner for anyone interested in TV production.
In terms of Gene Roddenberry. The book paints a respectful picture of a complex man. And doesn’t shy away from any of his flaws or petty behavior. But instead makes The Great Bird of The Galaxy as he was nicknamed seem very human and grounded.
New interviews have been done and we get some great interviews with Andrea Dromm who played Yoeman Smith in ‘Where No Man has Gone Before’. As well as an interview with Carey Foster who got cut from ‘The Cage’, but wound up playing multiple roles throughout the original series run.
We also get a rare interview with April Tatro who played the humanoid embodiment of Isis in one of my favorite Trek episodes ‘Assignment Earth’, which introduced us all to Gary Seven.
As a fan of classic Trek. I was pretty impressed with the level of research and new information that we get about the earlier episodes of the series. In particular when it comes to ‘The Cage’ and ‘Where No Man has Gone Before’.
It’s obvious that the writers spend a serious amount of time with the original series casting director Joe D’Agosta.
Designing The Future
One of the great aspects of any book about the production of films or TV is the behind-the-scenes artistry that goes into designing the sets and props. The book talks quite often about the budgetary constraints that were imposed on the series and how the prop and set designers got around it. Of course, we once more hear about the hassle they had with Spock’s ears. But this book offers so much more than that. We also hear about how the very first Klingon ship came into being. As well as how the Romulan cloaking device was more out of an effort to save money on effects shots than it was to cloak the Romulans.
Indeed, the sheer creativity to design strange new worlds on a budget is inspirational. And we get to read lots of stories about that in this book with some great photographs of original drawings by set designer Matt Jeffreys, which really show what a design genius he was.
Some Final Thoughts
I read this book cover to cover over a period of a few days. And though the book isn’t designed to be read in that way. I did get some enjoyment in approaching the book that way. Ideally, you want this book sat proudly on your coffee table so you can flip through it and read about your favorite aspects of Star Trek. But me being the completest. I just read the whole lot in order. As noted earlier we get some new interviews as well as archived interviews with actors who are sadly no longer with us.
Overall though. For the princely sum of £27.99 from Eaglemoss Hero Collector. Star Trek – A Celebration is well worth the credits and perhaps near enough the definitive book about classic Trek.
My only gripe, which is a minor complaint is that I found the typeface a bit challenging to read at times. But that may have been because I was reading via a PDF file and not reading from a physical copy of the book.
- Cover Art10
- Interviews & Features10