Preview Tuesday’s ‘Pioneers of Television’ On PBS – Focusing on Gene Roddenberry & SciFi |
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Preview Tuesday’s ‘Pioneers of Television’ On PBS – Focusing on Gene Roddenberry & SciFi January 17, 2011

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Celebrity,Nimoy,Sci-Fi,Shatner,TOS,Trek Franchise , trackback

On Tuesday the PBS series Pioneers of Television airs turns its attention to science fiction, with an episode honoring a number of luminaries in the field, including Gene Roddenberry. The episode will feature new interviews with Star Trek stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols. Watch preview clips below.


Pioneers of Television honors Gene Roddenberry

The PBS series Pioneers of Television returns for its second season on Tuesday January 18th at 8 PM (7 central). The series focuses on "the visionaries who shaped a fledgling medium with their creativity, foresight and wisdom." This season will look at the originators of innovative television formats, with four episodes dedicated to a different genre: science fiction, Westerns, crime dramas and local kids’ TV, each narrated by Kelsey Grammer.

Here is a preview of the season:

Watch the full episode. See more Pioneers of Television.

Tuesday’s episode will focus on science fiction pioneers including Gene Roddenberry, Rod Serling, and Irwin Allen, and will include interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and other science-fiction stars.

Here is a preview of Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols from the science fiction episode:

Watch the full episode. See more Pioneers of Television.

And here are some clips of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from the "Westerns" episode, airing January 25th.

Watch the full episode. See more Pioneers of Television.

Watch the full episode. See more Pioneers of Television.

More information on Tuesday’s episode of Pioneers of Television on "science fiction" available at


1. Jesustrek - January 17, 2011

Yesss liked ;)

2. Andy Patterson - January 17, 2011

Did not know about this. Looks very cool.

3. Vultan - January 17, 2011

Commando Cody! I had no idea Nimoy was in one of those serials.
Thanks, PBS. I’ll be watching….

4. jas_montreal - January 17, 2011

When is that Rod Roddenberry documentary about Star Trek going to air ? I remember watching the trailer a while ago.

5. losira - January 17, 2011

#4 Last l read He is looking for a network willing to air it. I wish SyFy would be willing to . As for this special I cannot wait my DVR and myself await.

6. VZX - January 17, 2011

I think a movie about the life of Gene Roddenberry would be pretty cool.

7. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - January 17, 2011

Gene was a True Visionary. He created the best Show on T.V and or Movies. Star Trek. My Tivo will be recording and can’t wait to see it.

8. CmdrR - January 17, 2011

First time I’ve seen the Zombies clip. Was it in character for zombies to speak with that accent? “wah-tuh” Anyway, glad Leonard got that out of his system before he pasted on the ears.

9. Hat Rick - January 17, 2011

I have a great deal of respect for Gene Roddenberry, who from all accounts was not just a great writer and producer, but an extraordinary human being.

10. Harry Ballz - January 17, 2011

So, let’s see, Gene Roddenberry basically ripped off most of the premise for Star Trek from “Forbidden Planet”, hired Gene Coon who fleshed out MOST of the Trek mythology for TOS, and poo-pooed every creative idea from anyone else who came along, right up to, and including, the movies and TNG.

Therefore, all he did, back in the early 60’s was, in a pitch meeting, essentially sell a studio on “Wagon Train in space”. Honestly, other than that, what exactly did he contribute to anything? Take off the rose-colored glasses and really look at this, people!

I really hate it when people get credit for doing next to nothing! It seems that Hollywood being out of ideas is NOT a recent development!

11. Vultan - January 18, 2011

Too much wine, Harry. Too much.

12. Harry Ballz - January 18, 2011

Don’t whine about my wine………….consumption! :>)

13. skyjedi - January 18, 2011

Gene was the ultimate salesman, but i think Samuel Peoples, Gene Coon, and DC Fontana made star trek a success.

14. MJ - January 18, 2011

@10 ” So, let’s see, Gene Roddenberry basically ripped off most of the premise for Star Trek from “Forbidden Planet”, hired Gene Coon who fleshed out MOST of the Trek mythology for TOS, and poo-pooed every creative idea from anyone else who came along, right up to, and including, the movies and TNG. Therefore, all he did, back in the early 60’s was, in a pitch meeting, essentially sell a studio on “Wagon Train in space”. Honestly, other than that, what exactly did he contribute to anything? Take off the rose-colored glasses and really look at this, people! I really hate it when people get credit for doing next to nothing! It seems that Hollywood being out of ideas is NOT a recent development!”

You are missing the key point. He made it happen and he orchestrated it all. How many basketball championships did Michael Jordan win before Phil Jackson became coach, and how many basketball championships did Shaq and Kobe win before Phil Jackson became coach…ZERO. So one could easily say, Phil can’t even play on the court and Michael, Shaq and Kobe are the greatest players of all time, so Phil is a useless piece of furniture, right? Wrong!!! Phil had the vision, built the team chemistry and led the effort that turned into 11 world championships, championships that those players could not win with coaches the preceded Phil Jackson.

15. MJ - January 18, 2011

BTW guys, Gene’s son reads these threads on this website regularly, so please keep your criticisms of Gene Sr. at a polite level with some respect for the Roddenberry family.

16. jas_montreal - January 18, 2011

@ 10.

Gene’s vision for Star Trek was quite unique, but his inspirations were through his life experiences, unlike most other hollywood writer/producers. I’m sure there were many writers who contributed on-top of Gene’s vision. Soo many people have contributed too Gene’s dream of the future. Ron Moore, D.C Fontana, etc….

17. ster j - January 18, 2011

#8. Oh, Spock spoke with a Bostonian accent, too. On “City on the Edge of Forever” Spock spoke how Edith Keeler’s interference caused the US to delay entering into WWII allowing Germany “to complete their heavy ‘woddur’ experiments”!

18. ster j - January 18, 2011

And how beautiful is Nichelle Nichols?! She’s aged like a fine wine.

19. Harry Ballz - January 18, 2011

MJ, I appreciate your point of view, as always! :>)

20. Michael Hall - January 18, 2011

“I really hate it when people get credit for doing next to nothing! It seems that Hollywood being out of ideas is NOT a recent development!

And I really hate it when little pissants, who have never had a real idea in their entire lives, get their kickies from defaming the reputations of those no longer in a position to defend themselves. What really makes it especially perverse in this case is that the person in question’s offense seems to have been, whatever his well-documented flaws, the creation of an entertainment franchise that has brought hope and inspiration to millions of viewers–including, most notably, the pissant. Truly, no good deed goes unpunished. . .

21. Harry Ballz - January 18, 2011

Don’t make sweeping assumptions about people, moron.

22. Anthony Pascale - January 18, 2011

In the last week or so there has been a lot of talk about the importance of civility. I would like to see a more civil tone here

and if not, you are not welcome here

23. THX-1138 - January 18, 2011


But what Harry said was funny.

Roddenberry was a figurehead, but he was not the well spring of all things Trek. His importance was of having an idea for a TV show and pitching it properly. And of having a hand in the execution of such a good failed pilot that he got the network to bankroll another one. He was fighter for the show. But he was not the deity that some fans make him out to be.

24. Vultan - January 18, 2011

Well, it is true Roddenberry’s Trek owed much to Forbidden Planet… just as that movie owed much to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And I’m sure The Bard had plenty of inspirations.

It’s a deep well this thing called creation. Some put water in, others take it out. Let’s just hope it never goes completely dry! :D

25. Harry Ballz - January 18, 2011

24. “It’s a deep well this thing called creation. Some put water in, others take it out”

Vultan, very nicely put! I will have to remember that line!

26. Harry Ballz - January 18, 2011

23. Thanks, THX!

27. Vultan - January 18, 2011


Thanks, Harry. But I can’t take credit for the metaphor. I was paraphrasing something I heard from—well, I really don’t remember who it was, but he was defending Elvis Presley from the accusation that he “ripped-off” black musicians in his rise to stardom.

28. CmdrR - January 18, 2011

Nothing new under the sun. Or under the 300,000,000,000 or so suns of our galaxy.

29. Shalot - January 18, 2011

Star Trek entertained…asked moral questions…and shaped allot of us as we grew up with it. Without Gene our lives would have been so much poorer. Bless you Mr Roddenberry. Thank you.

30. VulcanFilmCritic - January 18, 2011

I’ve just finished watching the show and I got the same queasy feeling I experienced after watching Ken Burns’ documentary on Jazz. Hours of TV time wasted on Wynton Marsalis talking endlessly about Louis Armstrong. Nothing about Miles Davis or Bill Evans or anybody really.

Here you have an hour of TV time (and my life) wasted on endless drivel about “Lost In Space!” Really!!!???

I’m not even going to mention the bitchslapping given to “Star Trek” by Rod Serling: “unenven” “at times carnival-like.” Thanks PBS, thanks a lot.

But horror of horrors my worst fears have been confirmed. That Leonard Nimoy was NOT, repeat NOT the first choice for Mr. Spock. For the past 45 years everyone has denied this rumor, but now the only person in the room still alive who could deny or confirm the rumor has at last CONFIRMED it:
All I can say is: I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight.

P.S. With all due respect to Mr. Landau (and I really do respect his talent), given the way he has aged, I think we should be grateful that we have had 45 years of the truly amazing looking Mr. Nimoy as Spock.

31. gingerly - January 18, 2011


“I’m not even going to mention the bitchslapping given to “Star Trek” by Rod Serling: “unenven” “at times carnival-like.” Thanks PBS, thanks a lot. “

This brings to mind Jon Stewart’s frequent lampooning of Fox News’ tendency to replay Democrat speeches out of context in order to make a negative point about that party.

I do believe Serling said (paraphrasing) that Trek was brilliant and tackled relevant social issues, as well.

It’s just that, and this is true, his point was that it it was frustrating to see those light jokey episodes like Spock’s Brain when he saw such innovation and social relevance in episodes like City on the Edge of Forever.

Serling certainly understood the pressure that lead to doing those kinds of episodes as it was the reason why he stopped doing TV, himself, for a good while.

I wouldn’t have minded Landau back in the day:

Though, you’re right Nimoy wouldn’t held onto one of the side reasons Spock was conceived in the first place (that devilish sex-appeal) MUCH longer. :)

32. TJ Trek - January 18, 2011

Thanks to Anthony for his post about civility. Granted Gene never was the largest creative force in making star trek work, but what would you say if we x’d him out of the equation…..nothing, because we really wouldn’t be talking. There would be no Star Trek, no nothin’. so there you go. If you have something nasty to say, please right it down in a journal, or find another board. This is suppose to be about the love of star trek, not the almost hate filled nit picking of the universe and the franchise. X out the hate, and we can all get along.

I think I just fell off my soap box, so I’ll give it rest. But as long as we still get such crap in these posts, I will continue to champion “civility” as Anthony put it.

33. VulcanFilmCritic - January 18, 2011

@31 OK, OK maybe I was a little rash, but my skin crawled when I heard Serling say that. You see, I have been reading Gordon Sanders’ biography of Serling, who referred to Hollywood as “the land of mink-lined swimming pools.” Serling had more than a little conflict in his own soul about selling out.

Overall, I guess the documentary treated the subject matter with some respect, but IMHO, not enough. And certainly not enough credit given to Star Trek. It’s influence on the shape of the future: personal PC’s and cell phones look the way they do because of Star Trek. Multi-culturalism is a good thing, in part because of Star Trek. and I don’t think we would have been prepared for a president named Barack Obama if it were not for Star Trek. No other Sci-Fi show, NO OTHER SHOW has had that kind of influence on the minds of young people and culture as this one. It’s just in another category compared to “Lost In Space.”

And while I’m ranting, let me say that there were other Sci-Fi shows that at least deserved some mention: “The Outer Limits” which was about as true to the concept of Sci-Fi as you could get on TV. “My Favorite Martian,” satire to be sure, but the inspiration for Mr. Spock (and Nurse Chapel) and all of the British imports: “Dr. Who” and “H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man.”

34. TJ Trek - January 18, 2011

to #23, That’s what I am talking about. You agree with Harry and do so in a polite tone. Thank you

35. Xai - January 18, 2011

I watched this earlier this eve. I wasn’t aware or the “competition” between LIS and Trek (at least from the networks point of views.) Enjoyed the whole hour

Jack Lord as Captain JT Kirk
Martin Landau as Spock

Hard to imagine…

“Book ’em, Spocko”

36. keachick - January 18, 2011

How anyone can compare Lost in Space with Star Trek in terms of quality in production, script, acting… is beyond me.

When Star Trek first aired on NZ television it was put on a Thursday at 8.00pm, then Saturday 8.00pm. On the other hand, Lost in Space was screened between 5.00 and 6.00pm, considered the children’s time slot.

Need I say more?

37. MJ - January 18, 2011

@36. Keachick, I could not agree more!

38. MJ - January 18, 2011

@23 “Roddenberry was a figurehead..”

Metaphorically speaking, “you lost me at hello” with this statement…I didn’t need to read any further into your post.

I spent some time with GR in the late 70’s, and I can assure you that he was much more than the studio bureaucrat that you and some others claim. The guy loved and breathed Trek.

39. CmdrR - January 19, 2011

Roddenberry was clearly the father of Trek, as in Washington being the father of his country. No one says Washington won the revolution on his lonesome, or contributed so much as a quill stroke to The Constitution. But, he is important. Roddenberry set things in motion and shepherded most of the important developments. Why blast the man? It’s in our nature to cheer for one person, rather than applaud the team. So be it. We get-a-lifers know how many people it takes, still, to keep Trek vibrant and engrossing. On it goes…

40. CmdrR - January 19, 2011

BTW, for the chance to be a part of Trek, I would not only drive the honeywagon, but I’d still cheer on Gene and JJ whole-heartedly.

41. gingerly - January 19, 2011


I do agree with you there. Though I think they were hardest on Irwin Allen, not Trek. Maybe they should have done a two-parter to cover everything.

I have to give the actors from Lost in Space credit for being humble enough to be appreciative of their legacy, no matter how ‘light’ or heavy.

42. THX-1138 - January 19, 2011


Wow. Way to be civil. You don’t even read my comment and yet you slam what I have to say. I guess I have gotten under your skin.

I have no qualms with what I said. Your comments seem to verify my position that Trek fans deify the cast and crew. At least I give you the benefit of the doubt of reading your entire statement before I form an opinion about what you have to say.

43. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some think Roddenberry was everything to Trek, fine. Others think he was an overrated hack, fine. Each opinion is valid in it’s own way. Don’t get your panties in a knot if someone disagrees with your opinion!

44. THX-1138 - January 19, 2011

That’s right, Harry. Tying panties into a knot was for the pourn thread.

45. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011

,,,and then sticking said panties up a certain opening, then pulling them out slowly, one knot at a time?

(oops, was that my outside voice?)

46. Aurore - January 19, 2011

So, “something” is outside and you call it a voice.

Now, some people are going to expect you to sing. One note at a time.

47. Aurore - January 19, 2011

@ 46

This is outrageous!!!

48. MJ - January 19, 2011

@42. Come on now THX-1138, my post #38 was not uncivil…you are really exaggerating. And I did read your post, but was obviously having some fun with the pop culture (Jerry Maguire) line about “I had you at hello.”

Clever way though of ignoring the comment I had and instead making this something “allegedly” uncivil me, which is isn’t Your response certainly takes the conversation aware from you calling Roddenberry a figurehead, so it worked from your perceptive, I guess. :-)

With all due civility,


49. Aurore - January 19, 2011


Forgive me.

50. MJ - January 19, 2011

@43. Thanks Harry — agreed!

51. Balled Peennis - January 19, 2011

None of us would be here without the genius of Gene Roddenberry.

52. THX-1138 - January 19, 2011


Actually I was tweeking you a bit in reference to the recent call for civility from the Powers That Be (Anthony).

Still, you didn’t bother to read what I had to say. I don’t think you can comment on my opinion if you don’t truly know what it is. And I still say that Roddenberry’s most important function to Star Trek was to be a figurehead. You don’t need to take that as a slam against his character or contribution. I’m not saying that his contribution was invalid. But I still feel that the most creative contributions came from people other than him. Matt Jeffries designed the Enterprise. Gene Coon handled the bulk of the actual production of the series. Heck, some of the best and brightest writers of science fiction wrote the stories, while Gene wrote none that I can recall. And in truth, Gene Roddenberry wasn’t even present for some of the second season and most of the third season, if at all.

And I AM getting under your skin. But it’s why you love me so.

53. VulcanFilmCritic - January 19, 2011

After 45 years, what is “Star Trek” I mean really, what is it?

It’s not great art.
It’s not a religion.
It’s not deeply philosophical.
It’s a TV show. But so were “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and “The Man from Uncle” So what’s the difference?

Love. Most people who worked in TV (at least in those days and I suspect even today) did not enjoy watching the product that they broadcast. In fact they were downright contemptuous of their audience and of the shows themselves.

Gene Roddenberry was different. He actually loved “Star Trek.”
James Doohan, George Takei and Deforrest Kelly loved Mr. Scott, Lt. Sulu and Dr. McCoy and I suppose on some level, Nimoy and Shatner loved their respective characters, too. Or they at least came to love them over the years. And most of the crew loved what they did. This cannot be faked. And at the conventions, their love was returned by the fans a thousand times over.

Nowhere else could you have access to the stars the way you did with “Star Trek.” Oh sure, today there are plenty of other venues for panels, photo-ops, and for flogging your product to the fan-boys but the feeling in the room is not the same.

Love is what separates “Star Trek” from “Lost in Space” or any other attempt at Sci-Fi.

54. MJ - January 19, 2011

@ 52.

figure·head (fig′yər hed′)
1. a carved figure on the bow of a ship
2. a person put in a position of leadership because of name, rank, etc., but having no real power, authority, or responsibility

See #2 above. When you use this work regarding Roddenberry, don’t be surprised where you are challenged here on these boards. And in reading your original and latest post on this (yes, I read them, so please stop whining that I have not…note: joke here — meant with civility), I don’t see where you have proven your claim that Roddenberry was a figurehead — again, referring to the common definition of figurehead above. If you would care to respond by addressing this directly, I am here to listen and engage in civil discourse on this topic with you further.

You’re are only getting under my skin in that way that a clown at circus might irritate me. And I mean that with the utmost civility and fondness. :-)

55. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011


I think I can help here…..when the word “figure head” is used regarding Roddenberry, I take it to mean something else. As THX mentioned, during the show’s run there was Matt Jeffries and Gene Coon to run things, leaving Roddenberry with little to do on a daily basis. Being the notorious womanizer that he was, he turned to getting oral sex from lots of women. His logic was, “hey! if i can’t run the show, i figure head will do!”

56. MJ - January 19, 2011

@55. Well that would be preferable to being “a carved figure on the bow of a ship.”

57. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011

Both involve wood!

58. Vultan - January 19, 2011

Wow, from the looks of some of these posts I wondering why anybody would want to be a “pioneer.”

Just stay in the covered-wagons, everybody. A lot of arrows flying out there….

59. Vultan - January 19, 2011

Correction: …I’M wondering…

60. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011

Hey, if someone is going to try and be first, that just begs commentary!

61. MJ - January 19, 2011

@57. Sheesh, that is about the funniest thing you have ever said — I nearly spit up my drink.

62. Harry Ballz - January 19, 2011


We were discussing the bow of a ship so don’t be STERN with me! :>)

63. VulcanFilmCritic - January 20, 2011

Ah, children, children, children! Do you think it is any different anywhere else?
Do you think that sex, drugs, and booze don’t play a role in business, medicine, academia, the arts and politics? It’s everywhere! That’s what the world of (powerful) men is like, kids.

So can we please get past Gene Roddenberry, the somewhat flawed individual and concentrate on what he actually contributed to the show?

None of you were actually there in the 1960’s. Everything you know about the man you’ve gleaned from someone else’s tell-all book. What you might like to listen to is “Inside Star Trek.” It’s a series of interviews and talks given by The Great Bird himself. It comes with the special two disc edition of (I think) Star Trek:The Motion Picture Soundtack CD.

On this CD, Mr. Roddenberry admits to the REAL reason he walked away from ‘Star Trek.” It was FATIGUE and medical problems. He had been battling the networks for years, and he was exhausted. He also had some health issues which were considerable. He admits that that whole story about the network calling his bluff about the Friday time slot simply gave him an excuse to leave.

I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of illness and emotional problems in changing people’s lives. Leonard Nimoy left “Mission Impossible” after two seasons despite making great money. He says sometimes that it was out of boredom, but he also recounts that he was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer (brought on by drinking probably.)

Before you rush to judgement about someone, listen to their side of the story, but better yet, concentrate on their work.

64. Michael - January 20, 2011

I missed this when it aired! aaarrrrggggg! But I just preordered the dvd from PBS to ship on or before 3/1! They have my $ now and are not shipping me the episode over 2 months! Take about money in the bank “way” before product ships! At least I got their $2.00 media shipping special, guaranteed to make the ait even LONGER when it finally does ship!

65. Michael - January 20, 2011

OMG, why doesn’t this forum have a delete post or edit option! My last post makes it look like I’m an illiterate idiot!
Corrected words: FOR, over 2 months. Take, should be TALK.
Ait should be WAIT.

66. THX-1138 - January 20, 2011

Jeez MJ, I must really annoy you.

I don’t have any sort of issue with Gene Roddenberry. I cringe at all the idol worship. It’s part of my personality. I get that you liked the dude. I see it happen on this board a lot. They do it with Nimoy and Shatner all the time. Those guys played iconic characters that people enjoyed watching. We got caught up in their adventures. But it rings in my ears with dissonance when I hear people practically bow in their praise for someone they met once or not at all. I just find it distasteful.

Now about this attempt at civility you claim to be making:

It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to see through such a thinly veiled insult such as your circus clown crack to see it for what it is. No matter where our “discourse” has taken us on this issue, I haven’t resorted to name calling. You don’t know me at all. You disagree with my position but that doesn’t make me a lesser person than you. You are not superior to me in any way. I can regard you as an equal. But perhaps this allows you to see how elevating people, either oneself or others, provides for hollow argument and can give you insight to my position.

67. Red Dead Ryan - January 20, 2011


Let me introduce you to my good friend Harry Ballz. Harry Ballz, meet Balled Peennis! :-)

68. Donald G - January 20, 2011

This is going to sound blasphemous on a Trek forum, but Trek has been so documented over the decades that the portions of the documentary dealing with the program were little more than the over-the-top mythologizing that we’ve been exposed to all through our formative years as fans.

I actually found myself more interested in the Irwin Allen/”Lost in Space” parts of the documentary because, while admittedly, Irwin Allen was a schlockmeister and “Star Trek” was clearly the superior program, those portions told me things I hadn’t heard a million times before.

69. Harry Ballz - January 20, 2011


No need for introductions, Ryan!

Balled Peennis has been my upstairs neighbour for many years now!

70. keachick - January 20, 2011

Gosh, I feel so *lucky* being born Kiwi in the land of Long White Cloud at the bottom of a very big ocean on one of two small islands, whose closest neighbour is another BIG island or a very big iceblock. I doubt I’ll ever get to see the latest “over-the-top mythologizing” of Star Trek. Actually I can only recall seeing one documentary about TOS and it was narrated by Leonard Nimoy and very good it was too. In that, he clearly demonstrated the difference in style and delivery between Jeffrey Hunter and William Shatner, and why Shatner’s handling of the Kirk character was good for Nimoy’s Spock character.

I guess there may be some advantages to coming from a small, isolated part of the world, because I’ve managed to miss most of the crappola. It does mean that I’ve probably missed some of the good stuff as well. At least, I got to see all the movies, the TOS series (at least three re-runs) and all the other spin-off series (some of them more than once, as in re-runs) on TV.

71. Vultan - January 20, 2011


This post was brought to you by the New Zealand Travel Board.

72. MJ - January 20, 2011

@71. I’ve been to NZ, and can attest to the fact that they have the Internet and modern communications/telecom infrastructure, so I am not sure I get Keachick’s post here???

73. Donald Gillikin - January 20, 2011

@72: I think keachick was offended by my word choice, particularly “over-the-top mythologizing” in describing the Star Trek portion of the documentary. I think that she believes that I have shown disrespect to the legend that has grown up around the creation of and meaning of Star Trek.

Back in the seventies, I bought into all that rhetoric about Trek being visionary and groundbreaking, and it is in many ways true, even if overstated. These days I tend to roll my eyes at the “glurge”.

This takes nothing away from the accomplishments of the two Genes, Matt Jefferies, Bob Justman, Dorothy Fontana, John Meredyth Lucas or anyone else associated with the show.

74. Red Dead Ryan - January 20, 2011


So, how does he “unwind” after a “hard” day at work?

75. Harry Ballz - January 20, 2011

I find he just tends to hang around, a little shy, kind of a smaller version of his work self!

76. MJ - January 20, 2011

@73. You sound jaded and depressed, my friend. Cheer up, the glass if half full with Star Trek’s legacy.

77. Donald G - January 20, 2011

@76: No, no, MJ, not at all.

I’ll always love Star Trek, from its soaring highs to its less successful moments. I’ve lived and breathed this show since I was six years old, devoured every piece of Trek lore I could get my hands on, even during the Wilderness Years.

I married a fan just as rabid as myself – in fact our first conversation was over Trek on the day we met and me offering a spirited defense of TMP. I raised our children on this show.

I defended TNG during its first two seasons when other old-school fans were tempted to write it off.

When I do actually criticize aspects of the show, it’s actually out of love for the concept, much as David Gerrold did in his 1973 treatise, THE WORLD OF STAR TREK.

78. keachick - January 20, 2011

Yes, it is true that we have a modern communication/telecom and internet infrastructure. We’ve got most of the computer stuff, all the latest Macs, Ipads, Blackberrys, Plasma and LCD TVs, people with their own satellite dishes etc. We were the first to get Windows 95, because NZ is ahead of everyone by at least two hours. We were the first to see the dawn of the new millenium.

However, in the seventies and eighties, there was not a lot here about Star Trek. Perhaps I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I can’t recall there being conventions, merchandise or anything like that. Not that I am that interested in wearing fake Starfleet uniforms anyway. As I said, I can only recall seeing one documentary about Star Trek (TOS). No doubt there were comics around, but I could never find them, nor the kind of merchandise I had read was available in the US. It is still very likely that if I wanted any merchandise I would have to order it through mail order or whatever. Not that I am complaining. I don’t need that stuff, I never have.

Bear in mind, NZ did not get its third television channel until 1991. We have about six or seven free to air channels, more than adequate a number; some would say – too many. People like a variety of television shows, from the UK, USA, Australia mostly; always have, but we don’t seem to get into this fandom stuff much.. most of the time, or we keep it to ourselves, as I have for the most part.

I can only speak for myself.

79. DesiluTrek - January 21, 2011

After 45 years, and 20 years since his death, there sure seems to have developed a lot of revisionism and bile about Gene Roddenberry and the creation of Star Trek.

Interesting how some can blast Roddenberry as a “hack” and at the same time cite him for hiring Gene Coon, yet not give him credit for doing that. And we know his contributions were far greater than just that.

A commercial television show on a mainstream network owned by a major corporation is a collaborative effort full of compromises. It is not art, it is designed to sell soap, and if you’re lucky, you get to engage in some creativity and messaging that makes it a cut above the norm. Roddenberry had to make some compromises to sell Star Trek, but he did stand his ground on the Spock character, which made all the difference. He did have an eye for talent in the collaborators he hired for the show, from those behind the scenes to the actors he helped cast, and the chemistry they had. (I don’t buy Landau’s claim, which isn’t new; Roddenberry knew and liked Nimoy for Spock from the first, based on his appearance on “The Lieutenant.” Landau was a backup plan.)

Was Roddenberry a perfect model of a human being? No. Who is? Was he responsible for creating something that proved to be far greater than the sum of its parts? Absolutely. So I respectfully say to the revisionists who seem to take delight in trashing the man and his legacy — screw off!

(And a p.s.: The Pioneers of Television series has been rather lame from its outset, unfortunately typical of much of what’s on PBS these days.)

80. Harry Ballz - January 22, 2011

Desilu Trek, I LOVE a reasonable argument. You write real purty! Where do I sign up?

81. keachick - January 22, 2011

Some people are more (grand) ideas people while others are more the nuts n bolts type people. I suspect that Gene Roddenberry fitted more in the former category and realising his limitations, had the insight and foresight to find the most talented people he could to flesh out his ideas and bring something of their own as well.

That is a great skill in itself. Kudos to Gene Roddenberry -creator of Star Trek!

82. MJ - January 22, 2011

@81. Exactly. Part of the genius of Gene is that he surrounded himself with outstanding people to implement his vision. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.