Although there have been a number of behind-the-scenes Star Trek books published before (most notably Stephen Whitfield's Making of "Star Trek" and Robert Justman's and Herbert Solow's Inside "Star Trek") These Are The Voyages, TOS, Season 1 is by far the most comprehensive book yet published and has a level of detail and insight that means even the most hardened fan will find something new to discover.
In 1982 Marc Cushman interviewed Gene Roddenberry for a TV special about Star Trek. At one point Roddenberry indicated 70 boxes of Star Trek production notes, memos, letters, budgets and scripts. Roddenberry told him that there was a book to be written from this treasure trove of material, but also said "You couldn't get that into a book, and I dare you to try."
Fast-forward several decades and Cushman has finally taken Roddenberry up on his suggestion. Having both the time and making the effort to methodically go through and study the thousands of documents from the 70 boxes of production materials (eventually donated to the UCLA) is what sets this book apart.
In order to be able to present such a detailed history we are lucky that Star Trek's key players, such as Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman wrote so many memos - this wasn't common amongst television professionals at the time, but the fact they did means that many little nuggets of information have been saved, otherwise these insights would have been lost to the ravages of time. Justman's memos are a special delight - being both witty and incisive.
It's no surprise than Gene Roddenberry is central to this book. During his lifetime he was lauded as the creative genius behind Star Trek, but after his death there were a number of books that treated him as little more than a hack writer who got lucky. The truth, of course, is more complicated - but the Roddenberry that emerges from these pages seems to be a fair portrait. Without his drive the series would never have got off the ground, but if he was a genius then he was definitely a flawed one - and these flaws would come to haunt the series in the years to come.
Whatever the arguments about the positive and negative sides of his character, there's no doubt that during his time on Star Trek he upset many people - from Network executives at NBC to some of the writers who objected to his rewrites of their scripts. And Cushman is able to go through story by story to show which episodes benefited from Roddenberry's rewrites and which didn't, amongst a host of other production trivia and facts which shine new light on familiar stories.
In addition to the information preserved in the production files, Cushman has conducted new interviews and also draws upon the considerable information already published on the series. Combining all of this together, the revised second edition (which contains more interviews and corrects numerous typos from the original hardback) clocks in at an impressive 600 + pages - and it only covers season one!
With Season 2 and Season 3 set to follow later in 2014 this series of books looks set to be the final word on the making of TOS. A fascinating read.
I have been a fan of the original series since the BBC first started showing it here in1969. Over the years I have bought many books on the subject , as a result I like to think I know a fare amount about the shows production history. However there were many new previously unpublished facts within the pages of this book. The many years the author has spent doing his research have certainly paid off. There are photos through out, black and white unfortunately, but that is for technical reasons.This is only volume one of three, I eagerly await the publication of the other two later this year.
A fascinating insight into the iconic TV programme. I was born just before the first series was filmed but it was a year or two before it made it to the UK anyway and I can remember loving the voyages of the Starship Enterprise as I grew up, watching repeats. As a middle-aged person I can see the flaws and the holes in some of the plots but you have to suspend belief sometimes and see things just as they are meant to seem. Now I can see the depth to which the actors inhabited their characters and what good acting the majority of it was. Little details and body language that I didn't notice as a youngster. And the growing chemistry between the main cast which is the sign of a successful programme. It is clear that Marc Cushman really understands what he is writing about and his books are a really good read, plain and simple. Chomp your way through it, or dip in and out, both approaches work equally well. Full of facts and figures but presented in a very digestible way and put into context with news events of the time. I don't think I can find a single thing to pick holes in actually!
Brilliant book covering the first season of STAR TREK, incredibly in depth. Had no real idea now much Gene R rewrote scripts and p****d a few writers off. I wait with eager tension for s2 and s3 books, and hopefully a similar book on the movies. Well researched and well done.
Massively comprehensive and full of information that has not previously seen the light of day...if you thought you knew the "truth" about Star Trek's ratings or the real reasons for NBC's "problems" with the show, expect to be illuminated and surprised. A marvellous, marvellous piece of work, and really very much about time that Star Trek got this kind of in-depth treatment. Bravo, Mr. Cushman!!!
Have not finished reading the book , yet, but what I have read so far, it is ace. Great insight to how it all started. Destination Startrek 3 is on in London at present. Sadly will miss it, went to the first one in London. Worth going to, meet writers, directors, actors etc..
one of the best star trek books i have ever read.i loved the ratings,so we have been lied to all them years star trek was a success,the amount of details per episode is amazing.if you love the original star trek you will love this book