The Middle Seat – 55 Years of Star Trek: 55 Years of Trek: The Full, Unauthorized Oral Historical past of Star Trek
Written by Peter  Holmstrom
Hardcover | $24.24
E-book | $12.99
Printed by Nacelle Books | 374 Pages

This oral historical past of Star Trek has its origin within the Historical past Channel documentary collection narrated by Gates McFadden that got here out in 2021. The guide guarantees to ship data that didn’t make it into the 10-part collection, and there it undoubtedly delivers, portray a vivid image of particular areas of Star Trek historical past—some extra vivid than others.

One fast caveat is that the scope of the guide covers the franchise by means of to Star Trek: Enterprise, making it technically about 40-41 years of Star Trek. Nonetheless, there’s nonetheless wealthy materials right here, carrying out the identical juggling act because the documentary because it goals to hook informal followers, newcomers to the franchise, and savvy followers who suppose they’ve already heard all of it earlier than, all on the similar time.

There’s a really deep dive into the origins of The Unique Collection and The Subsequent Era, with smaller (however nonetheless meaty) sections about Deep Area 9, Voyager, and Enterprise. Relating to the flicks, the sample repeats: There’s an excessive amount of element on Star Trek: The Movement Image and The Wrath of Khan, however the different films don’t get as a lot consideration: As soon as Leonard Nimoy is secured because the director of The Seek for Spock, that story ends, and the remainder of the movies are whipped by means of pretty shortly as nicely.

Tidbits about what was and what may’ve been

There are nice gems in right here, tales that can be new to many, and nice first-hand tales that battle, however such is the character of recollection. Clearly, many of those recollections have made it into DVD extras and different making-of books, however it’s nonetheless enjoyable to listen to them from the individuals who have been there.

Listed here are just a few of my favourite tales from the guide:

  • After they have been casting for the captain on Voyager, they thought of Lindsay Wagner, well-known for The Bionic Girl, however her agent didn’t even ship her the provide.
  • Earlier than Voyager, Robert Beltran auditioned to play a Klingon, almost definitely for Star Trek III: The Seek for Spock. He went to Leonard Nimoy’s home, the place there have been 20 individuals (together with Leonard) sitting across the desk, and somebody requested if he had any questions. He did: “What’s a Klingon?” He stated Leonard sighed and recommended he simply learn. No person was amused.
  • The primary time director/producer David Livingston met Patrick Stewart, Sir Patrick was in search of instructions to the hair division and carrying a “little field of fur balls”—the wigs he’d been advised to deliver from England.
  • Nana Customer had an accident early on within the present; she fell down the steps leaving the make-up trailer and couldn’t transfer, so she was rushed to pressing care, the place the physician took one look and went “OH MY GOD YOUR NOSE!!!,” assuming that’s why she was there.
  • Roxann Dawson used to reside behind William Shatner and she or he and his daughter Leslie have been childhood mates. Leslie all the time needed to observe Star Trek after faculty to see her dad on TV, however Roxann all the time needed to play basketball as a substitute.
  • An govt needed Jeri Ryan’s Seven costume to have “falling-out cleavage,” however Robert Blackman stated it had nothing to do with the character, and that he may nonetheless make the costume attractive. (For the document, Jeri Ryan stated she had “no drawback with the costume. Truthfully.”)
  • Manny Coto describes the concept they needed to deliver William Shatner as Kirk to Enterprise, and talks about having lunch with Shatner and pitching him the concept, which he liked, and says the studio wouldn’t pay regardless that he wasn’t asking for something exorbitant; he thinks Paramount simply needed the present to die at that time.

The guide is a superb learn for Star Trek followers (whether or not or not they’ve seen the doc) who love behind-the-scenes particulars in addition to the big-picture perspective; it delivers each. Leonard Nimoy’s closing interview is in there in its entirety (damaged up throughout applicable sections of the guide), together with illuminating info from insiders who provide up distinctive views, all of whom have been additionally within the documentary. Writers, actors, administrators, producers, costume designers, make-up artists, VFX producers, manufacturing designers and extra assist weave the story of the Star Trek franchise from TOS by means of Enterprise. 

Star Trek insiders abound

The guide’s energy lies in its first-person anecdotes from the individuals who labored straight on the exhibits and films. To offer you a way of the vary of Trek alumni you’ll hear from, listed below are just some:

  • Joe D’Agosta
  • Dorothy Fontana
  • Walter Koenig
  • Bob Kline (designer, Star Trek: The Animated Collection)
  • David Gautreaux (the actor who would’ve performed Xon in Star Trek: Section II)
  • Nicholas Meyer
  • Robert Sallin
  • Rick Berman
  • Lucie Salhany (president of Paramount Home Tv from 1985-1991)
  • Ron D. Moore
  • Jeri Taylor
  • Michael Westmore
  • Jeri Taylor
  • Brannon Braga
  • Ira Steven Behr
  • David Livingston
  • Lisa Klink
  • Manny Coto
  • Brent Spiner
  • Nana Customer
  • Penny Johnson Jerald
  • Andrew Robinson
  • John Billingsley

It’s a worthy addition to the documentary and to your Star Trek reference shelf, even when it ends earlier than the J.J. Abrams movies or the brand new period of Star Trek TV on Paramount+ that began with Discovery. There are occasions you’ll be relishing within the element and others you’ll be hankering for extra, however both method, it’s a enjoyable trip.

On sale now

The Middle Seat is offered at Amazon in hardcover for $24.24 or as an e book for $14.03.

The Center Seat by Peter Holmstrom

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