History Channel Airing Trek Documentaries – Reviews Not So Good

The History Channel is taking a break from its regular schedule of shows on ancient Rome and World War II to take a look at the history of Star Trek. They are running two documentaries, the first of which ‘Star Trek Tech’ will air tonight (Sunday) at 9pm. ‘Tech’ is a regular show that devotes each episode the the technology of a particular time period or event or in this case a fictional universe. The second and bigger documentary is ‘Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier’, a two hour retrospective on Trek hosted by Leonard Nimoy (airing Monday at 9 pm). ‘Beyond the Final Frontier’ focuses much of its attention on the Christies auction and includes interviews with actors from each of the Trek series, but notably not William Shatner. There are already some reviews in on the longer doc and so far they are mixed at best.

Here is what the TV critics have to say about ‘Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier’:

Using a high-stakes Christies auction of "Trek" memorabilia as its dotted through-line as well as the entire last half-hour, this project does little more than interview cast members and a few of the writer-producers about how they loved their colleagues and the franchise’s impressive longevity. All told, it invites the question: In space, can anyone hear you yawn?
– Brian Lowry, Variety

Can you produce a satisfying Star Trek retrospective without William Shatner? Nope. You need the actor who was, is and always will be Capt. James T. Kirk.
….Repetitive and padded, it keeps going over familiar territory. The special glides over the current resting of the franchise and what it means to the future of Star Trek.
– Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel

The special largely focuses on a high-profile Christie’s auction of "Trek" props, and the Trekkies willing to pay big bucks for starship scale models, Starfleet uniforms, transporter-room control panels and so on. We also learn about makeup techniques, rabid "Trek" fans, "Trek" originator Gene "Great Bird of the Galaxy" Roddenberry, and more. But the documentary does not tell us how "Trek" ran aground. Why did the last TV series, "Enterprise," tank in the ratings? Why did the last movie, "Nemesis," bomb at the box office? How the heck do we get the "Trek" magic back?- Julio Ojeda Zapata, St. Paul Pioneer Press

Nearly all surviving actors in major roles share memories and insights, along with writers, crewmembers from makeup and wardrobe, and many, many others. As they give their insights and anecdotes, the scene shifts regularly back to the auction set to begin more than six months later — six months crammed with activity as 1,000 "Star Trek" artifacts are selected for shipment from Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles to Christie’s in New York. This turns out to be a useful way for the documentary to reveal the time, energy and devotion that went into the films and series. …This documentary will surely say little or nothing new to buffs who have bought the books, DVDs and products. But others will find it more engaging than they might first think.

– Ted Mahar, The Oregonian

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I always thought they show too much Rome and WW2, lloking forward to seeing these.

I don’t belive it. I think if you love Trek you sould love these programs.

What about the Luftwaffe? The ‘Washington Generals’ of the History channel?

I think the “tech” documentary will be interesting, but the BTFF doc doesn’t seem it will provided anything beyond what we already know. Usually when they interview any of the execs and writers especially, they seem to program themselves to tell the same stories and give the same lines. Nice to see something trek on the air though.

Ditto I’d be much more interested in seeing the teck doc.

Seems for years we’ve seen “Star Trek Tech” specials on all sorts of networks. It’s usually all the same stuff: transporters, tricorders, warp drive, etc. They usually get some Trek actor to present it along with interviews of some scientist at some University lab….

….have had the TIVO programmed to record it since it first appeared on the listing two weeks ago!!!!! ;)

Tech? What tech? Did somebody say tech? I didn’t hear anything about any tech. :)


As an aside, I had a professor who once made reference to the History Channel as the “Hitler Channel” since everytime he turned it on there was a documentary on HITLER.

To prove it, he turned on the television at a random time and…well, guess who was on?

I suppose that if a Trek based show was going to be on I bet he’ll turn it on to “Patterns or Force” or an installment of Enterprise with Nazis.

I’ll check it out anyway, no matter what the St Paul Pioneer Press might think.

The History Channel?Star Trek?America is filled with pop culture nit wits who can’t comprehend real historically relevant events.As much as I like Star Trek,one does have to put things in perspective.It sounds to me like a certain powerful entertainment company is grooming a future audience with this infotainment special.

I didn’t know anything about this untill 10 minutes ago. Other than the shows I reguarly record I haven’t watched much lately, I was sitting at my sisters and the preview just happend to come on. :-) Looking forward to it, glad I found out just before rather than just after.

The History channel is currently devoting program time to cattle mutilation by UFO’s.For some reason I thought they were credible.What’s in a name?

I’ll watch it just to get a glimpse of those beautiful models and artifacts from the original series’s run of movies. With computers taking over, the artisans who built these wonderful iconic miniatures are a vanishing breed and are certainly due some recognition. That’s who they should be interviewing as they follow the auction….not the cast members.

#7 – Is that really you, Rick? If so, I just want to say, the Next Generation Technical Manual is still one of my all-time favorite Star Trek books. I read it when it first came out and was amazed at how much thought and attention to detail went into the fictional universe of the show. What really made it special was the way you and Okuda acknowledged (and sometimes fudged around) real-world scientific principles, and I’ll bet that book helped inspire a lot of kids to become scientists and engineers. Thanks so much for the part you played in making Star Trek so great!

Review #2 says it all

“Can you produce a satisfying Star Trek without William Shatner? Nope. You need the one actor who was, is and always will be Captain James T. Kirk”

J.J. Please take notice of this.

Get Shatner back as Kirk in ST XI.


Looks like I picked a bad week to quit satellite…

I want to see remastered In Search of…. on the history channel. I can’t find the show anywhere even an ebay bootleg would do. One of the all time best theme songs and a mustacheod Nimoy in a loud plaid jacket and grey 70’s turtleneck speaking in his huskey smoker’s voice: Could it be that this is indeed the site of the lost city of Atlantis?? or Could this have indeed been the real Jack the Ripper??? That ladies and gents was entertainment!!! God damn did it freak me out as a kid. Please join me in demanding remastered In Search Of…

My campaign continues: SHATNER AND NIMOY: STAR TREK XI. Trek will not be right again until this happens! I also still want for the subtitle:


I love that UFO stuff on the History Channel- not because I’m a UFO buff, but for the narration and editing- if I ever suffer from insomnia, those shows put me to sleep within minutes.

In Search Of…. remastered because we demand it!!!

The History Channel is also rerunning “How William Shatner Changed the World” a couple of times tomorrow, too.

I’m still waiting for someone to suggest the best actor to portray a young James T. Kirk!!

Re 23 – Christian Slater. :P

22 – The thing tonight looked suspiciously similar to HWSCTW. Same interview subject. Less compelling, because the Shat wasn’t there.

Re: the tech show – I didn’t enjoy an hour of being told how most everything on Star Trek is theoretically impossible. That’s no fun. However, it was nice to see the Okudas getting some face time for all their valuable behind the scenes work.

Re: In Search Of … I would kill to have that show uncut on DVD. I loved that show as a kid and it retains considerable charm. Call it schlock, kitsch, whatever – that great opening title theme and sequence, the creepy 70s synth music, Nimoy’s pitch-perfect narration as well as his fantastic sideburns, mustaches and 70s fashion – absolutely love it. I was bitterly disappointed that those History Channel repeats edited out the classic opening. I want the real thing. If every other shitty show from the 70s can be released on DVD, then surely there’s a market for In Search Of …

Oh and those History Channel pseudo documentaries about UFOs, Majestic-12, cattle mutilations? If I am working at home on a Saturday or Sunday, those are definitely my background noise. The cheesier the better. In Search Of … left its mark.

…Bah! Who needs History Channel documentaries on Ancient Rome when we’ve got HBO’s Rome! :-)

I just watched this. There’s nothing wrong with it at all.

#2 Just because someone enjoys Star Trek doesn’t mean you automatically LOVE everythign Trek! Geez!

There have been so many “specials” about Star Trek over the years and while some have been excellent and quite enjoyable, others have been quite lame and boring. I’ll reserve my opinion and judgement about this one until AFTER I’ve watched it!

“In space…can anyone hear you yawn!” Very funny!

Mike :o

Hello all

I’ve helped to translated this shows into portuguese. They ar due to air here in a few weeks. And they are poor pieces of television. Nevertheless, it’s fine to see the “serious” channels to look at trek in a iconic way.

Well I just finished watching the late night rerun of “Star Trek Tech” on the History channel, and here’s my two cents..

Overall, it was pretty much the same stuff I’ve seen many times before in other ST specials, just rehashed and regurgitated.

I guess it would be interesting if you had never seen this information before, but for me it was nothing new.

But the Star Wars documentary that followed this program was surprising good. It’s definately worth watching.

Mike :o

Yeah that Star Wars doc – I think its called “Empire of Dreams”? – was terrific. Seeing all that footage of crowds lined up around the block really reminded me of how enormously huge a thing Star Wars was back in the late 70s and of how much fun and enthusiasm there was for it. The late 70s and early 80s was a great time to grow up if you were a sci-fi kid.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s History Channel show on the Christie’s auction, et al. Its a shame the original series has yet to have a definitive documentary about it, a la that Star Wars one. If there’s ever been a show on television that merits one, it has to be Star Trek.

re: 23. Michael Appleton

“I’m still waiting for someone to suggest the best actor to portray a young James T. Kirk!!”

No one can. They should drop the whole idea.

re: 18. The Artist Formerly Known As Picardsucks

“I want to see remastered In Search of…. on the history channel.”

The last I saw that was back in the late 80s early 90s on some cable channel. Used to love that show. And wouldn’t it be great to see it remastered from the original super 8 negatives?!?

#32 Billy….

Yes I agree with you..I wish there was a comprehensive documentary just on TOS and TOS cast movies. Maybe they have already made such a documentary, but I’ve never seen or heard about it, and it wasn’t included as a DVD extra in any of the TOS season box sets.

I think they could make a very interesting TOS restrospective/documentary with behind the scene footage, deleted scenes etc. It would also be fun if they included those hilarious TOS bloopers too!

Mike :o

I thought the Trek Tech show was pretty interesting, although they focused too much on the nitty-gritty of quantum physics. Am looking forward to the Nimoy documentary tonight.

Is it just me or does Frakes look like he’s been spending a lot of time in Ten Forward chowing down?
33- Stanky, It’s obvious the only one who can take over the Shatner mantle and play Kirk is Britney Spears. She’s got the trained voice and is currently bald. She can lip sync the Shakespearean quotes.

Too bad they never aired the documentary that was shown over in Europe for Trek’s anniversary. It goes quite in depth at times with the actors and the production of the first series. I was unaware of Nimoy’s drinking and actual contemplations of suicide while working on the show until I saw that documentary. It is available on Youtube for anyone who has not see it yet.

re: 34 The Stankster

Hell yes, complete with Nimoy’s thin mustache and grey turtleneck sweater under a plaid 70’s Sportscoat. They have all these psudeo history (What If) type shows to fill space on all the different history and science channels. In Search of… was the father of all these. And it had a freaky Rod Serling type edge to it. It was grainy and spooky and it also startled me as a kid because all of the sudden my beloved Spock had this huskier voice from too many cigarettes. This thing was brilliant on so many different levels. Even JJ has borrowed elements of it on Lost when they found the second hatch with the videotape it had a very In Search of..style and Theme song. and the scientist was dressed exactly like Nimoy from In Search Of.. Could it be that this was in fact the creature known as Bigfoot?? In Search of….. remastered the movement has become a groundswell!!!

Yes, 38, acb. That’s “After They Were Stars” and it’s probably the best of its kind I’ve ever seen on Trek. The Nimoy revelations were surprising to me, too. Didn’t know that even after reading Shatner’s tell-almost-all books. I wish History Channel would show those. They even have nifty new sfx shots of the E.

I laugh everytime I see someone made a snide condescending comment about the UFO phenomenon. It merely reinforces the notion to me that at one time people vehemently believed the Earth was the center of the universe what with the heliocentric theory, and 500 years later people as a whole are STILL brutally egocentric and self absorbed in terms of their place and status in the universe.
As someone who has seen a bonafied “UFO”, it doesn’t really matter what arm-chair skeptics or debunkers rattle on about, theirs is a mindset of “can’t” as opposed to “can,” and merely serves to refrain humanity from getting closer to the concept of truth.
It’s easy to dismiss out of hand UFO reports, but I can unequivocally assure you, not everyone, including myself, is Farmer John down the ranch, and when you have a working knowledge of aerodynamics, meteorology, military hardware, physics, and astronomy, and you experience seeing something that defies all preconcieved beliefs and expectations on what constitutes tangible reality everything we are taught to believe about the nature of the universe, it is very sobering and humbling.
The UFO phenomenon is not pseudo -science, it is a painfully neglected area of reality that has absolutely NOT been given much needed attention and scrutiny.
Just remember always, there are those whose notions on reality are so delicate and sensitive, they will argue in FACE of facts,for no other purpose BUT to argue, simply to preserve and uphold their nebulous views about themselves and the universe. It’s always more comfortable thinking you are the top of the food chain and have a unique understanding on the universe, than to suddenly entertain the notion you perhaps aren’t so special and significant in the universal order of things.

I openly challenge any skeptic or debunker to rationalize what I experienced and conclusively explain for me the nature of what I saw, whether exotic or mundane naturallly occuring phenomenon.

bonafied “UFO”
wouldn’t that be an oxymoron?
Mind you, I want to believe.

Sorry if you have explained it before #41, but what did you see?


Third report down, Clarksville IN

Do I believe in extraterrestrial life? Yes absolutely! Just plain silly to doubt it. Intelligent e.t.? Yes. I have faith that we’re not alone. I’m a little fuzzy on whether we’ve been visited. It could be, but I wonder why it’s always in some obscure part of the world and not a great big ballfield in Washington, DC.
Anyway… I doubt it’s much like this:


I think we have to keep our minds open… and be optimistic.


Why not the visit to the White House?

I think in any discussion on UFO intelligence the first fallacy we always make as people, is to ascribe and apply human logic and rational to any potential outside intelligence. If these beings are infact “alien” in every sense of the word, our motives, purposes, and rational would not apply to them, and we are reflecting our own motives, rational, and expectations onto them or it.


Take a close gander at this video.

That is most certainly not a ballistic missile, notice carefully as it descends initially it is round, and on it’s side, it corrects it’s attitude just before initial impact and infact PULLS UP attempting to avoid collision.


Roddenberry made the dramatic and sensible ‘assumption’ that humans wandering the galaxy would be most interested in ‘Class M’ planets, those similar enough to Earth that our assumptions themselves would make sense.
I’m not saying there aren’t beings so totally different from us we can’t comprehend their intentions, but I suspect they follow their own set of rules. If we can learn those rules, the rest will go more easily.
I’m married to a lovely Chinese gal. Trust me, part of that culture is diffent enough to evoke the word ‘alien,’ UNTIL you quit insisting on your own ideas and just go with it. Then, it works. It’s a stretch, but I think alien relations will be like that. I think that was Ursula K. LeGuin’s point in “Left Hand of Darkness.” In any case, it’s a good read. Kinda Dune on Ice.

Imagine if you were a Polar Bear and you could speak, imagine the story you would tell :

Honey, you will never believe it, I was out getting fish dinner for supper tonight, and suddenly this whirring, noisey THING descended right above me, I felt a sharp sting and felt sleepy suddenly, then I remember these white creatures came towards me, and put something on my ear, some sort of tag or something, then they were gone.

That doesn’t sound very unfamiliar to me.

Hmmm. That would explain my lost afternoon in the arctic, and the damn tag in my ear…

I’m just saying that if there are aliens out there, they may be looking for things familiar to themselves as well as unfamiliar. They may be looking for ‘stuff’ or people to trade with.

Or eat. There’s always that.