TOS Producer Herb Solow Reviews New Star Trek Movie

Herb Solow is one of the founding fathers of Star Trek, who was there at the beginning with Gene Roddenberry. And today he has reviewed the new Star Trek movie where he focuses on how the characters were handled in the new film. Plus Doug Drexler remembers another one Trek’s founding fathers, Robert Justman.

 

Solow on Star Trek
Herb Solow was an executive at Desilu in the 60s and worked very closely with Gene Roddebenberry creating, selling and producing the original Star Trek. He had a hand in many aspects of Star Trek that have lasted decades. In a new review for the BBC, Solow takes a look at what JJ Abrams and his team have done with the franchise he helped launch:

The production looked flawless. The photography, graphics and sound effects were brilliant. But, was it our Star Trek? I had some reservations.

The assembling of the new team was interesting and, for the most part set a genuine tone for the characters. Most of the characters rang true.

Solow goes on to say he liked how Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura were handled, but he felt that Chekov was too "hyper" and he wasn’t impressed with John Cho’s performance as Sulu. However, Solow was impressed with how the new Star Trek film honored the original series, including the little touches. Solow concluded with some mixed feelings for the new Mr. Spock (a character he says was created by himself, Roddenberry and Nimoy). Of the new Spock, Solow notes:

The young Mr Spock was certainly commendable. But I missed the depth of Leonard’s Spock, and the centuries of knowledge that always lurked in his eyes.

But in the end Solow hopes the new Star Trek will ‘live long and prosper.’ Read Solow’s full review at bbc.co.uk


Solow with Nimoy at party
(image TrekCore)

Drexler Remembers Justman
Speaking of the old guard, we just passed the one year anniversary of the passing of another one of Star Trek’s founding fathers, Robert Justman who was a producer on both TOS and TNG. Veteran Star Trek designer Doug Drexler has a new moving and interesting post on his excellent blog remembering Mr. Justman, including many behind the scenes photos.

Mr. Justman had spoken very enthusiastically about the new JJ Abrams team while the film was in production, and it quite sad that he passed away before he was able to see the final film.

 

Justman & Solow’s Book
By the way, if you have not read it, "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story" by Herb Solow and Robert Justman is a must-read for any serious fan of Star Trek.

More on Solow and Justman at Memory Alpha.

 

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Oh, thank god. Someone who was involved with the original Star Trek who has reservations about this new movie.

Quatlo

Spell his name right please.

Quatlo

And Solow’s book with Bob Justman is indeed excellent.

The Last Maquis

Honored sir, Honored.

Sybok's Secret Brother

Not a bad review from someone who was on the original “Supreme Court”

Van Banoovong

I was fascinated in how both Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow were involved in creating Star Trek. Credit should be given to Solow as well. Both Leonard Nimoy and Herb Solow are the only ones left from Star Trek’s beginning.

Christine

A good, clean, honest review. Nice to see something that didn’t simply bash the movie left and right. I can understand that he’d have reservations, but the review was more-or-less positive. Also kind of him to wish Star Trek well in the future. ^__^

The Great Barrier

Damn…it’s SOLOW!!!

You even posted a jpeg of a book cover that spells his name correctly!

JEEZ LOUISE!!!!

StevenPDX

IMHO, his review is spot-on. I’m a die-hard Trek fan; have been for decades. Really enjoyed the movie…and was sad about it at the same time. It had exciting effects, a fast pace, an interesting backstory…and a formulaic (sp?) approach that lacked the depth that I’ve loved so much about Star Trek over the years. I know that was what was necessary to bring Trek to the masses and keep the franchise alive, and as I’ve posted many times here, some Trek is **way** better than no Trek at all. But torch has passed.

It was very nice to read Mr. Salow’s views–a nice bridge between the original and the new.

all of the people who majorly complained about the spelling error have imbalanced lives.

people, there i no reason to get worked up over a spelling oversite.

–on to Solow’s review.. i like that, and he hit Nimoy’s Spock dot on! with the, “tthe centuries of knowledge that always lurked in his eyes.” comment.

perfect.
i think Quinto will put that into Spock as the movies progress.. ;)

ICANT WAIT!

-im going to watch this movie again this weekend :)

ClassicTrek

Herb Solow is very often overlooked. I respect his views on this.

Greg UK

"Check the Circuit!"

@8

Simmer down there fella. It’s a website, not the New York Times. You try managing something with this much content then think about complaining.

Sorry TrekMovie team. Love your site and visit everyday because it’s so full of rich material. The occasional typo or mistake? It doesn’t bother most of us.

Max

I think of it like this, The true fans of Star Trek who don’t support this film whereas the ones who do are the Pah Wraiths.

The Pah Wraiths being the same as the prophets yet still wrong.

@13………….WTF?

I am not Herbert

Herbert certainly knows his Trek and his Spock! Good review!!

THX-1138

#13

Oh God….Still with this stuff? I look at it like this:

You either like the movie or you don’t. You are not a bad fan in either case. Or a good fan in either case.

I agree with Solow’s “review”. But I guess I really enjoyed the movie because it was fun and ALL of my kids had an ABSOLUTE BLAST at a Star Trek movie with me. That’s really all I required of it.

Mr. Fanboy

No one should be able to call themselves a Star Trek fan without having read Justman & Solow’s excellent book. It is an amazing work of documentation and a fascinatingly entertaining read. All due respect to Mr. Solow. I also am saddened that we cannot read Mr. Justman’s review of the new Star Trek film as well. I found Herb’s comments to be dead on and hope he’s around to review the next Star Trek movie!

Nathan

“The young Mr Spock was certainly commendable. But I missed the depth of Leonard’s Spock, and the centuries of knowledge that always lurked in his eyes.”

Absolutely, 100% agree. Quinto’s Spock was good, but there seemed to be something…missing there. But, then again, Spock didn’t really have time in this movie to be the silent, calm, and collected Nimoy Spock–for most of the movie, he’s going through one emotional shock after another. Hopefully, the sequel will improve upon this.

Harry Ballz

This movie is SO MUCH FUN I think it will have many people going back to see it several more times over it’s Summer run…..how many current films can lay claim to that level of interest?

This should bode well for it’s final box office tallies!

Kev-1

He offers a valuable perspective. Like his points although the character of Kirk seemed very off to me ( he seemed a young version of Trek II Kirk– lots of bluster), but it is what it is. It seemed very much the college version of Trek with characters who are still learning. But quite a few people enjoyed the film, so in that respect it succeeded.

dalek

Nice review.

I agree with his Spock comment. When I stare into the new Spock’s eyes, i see Sylar.

That moment in the High Council when young Spock says “Live Long and Prosper” he looks like Sylar about to go on a killing spree.

Quinto was cast well tho. I’m sure he’ll develop more into the roll and make Spock less sinister.

Chekov did feel like an awful spoof caricature. I didn’t like the actor or the accent. Killing Chevov would therefore be the best move in the next feature.

Scotty didn’t ring true for me. The performance was brilliant, actor brilliant. But Scotty wasn’t a wise-cracking comedian. Let’s see more of the characters skills and genius and less one-liners. Whenever he was put in command in TOS he was formidable and had quite frightening opinions “The best diplomatic I know is a fully loaded phaser bank!”

Sulu I thought he was unfair about. John Cho was fine!

Pine and Urban were brilliant. And I’m not sure I have an unbiased view on Uhura other than she was hot, but I hated the Spock romance.

Julio

The book “Inside Star Trek” by Solow and Justman is indeed a must read for Trek fans. I just listened to the audio version last week during my commutes to and from work, and I learned a lot of cool stuff about the beginnings of TOS.

Rarehero

Simply cut Chekov’s hair and give him some lessons in correct pronunciation – or give him a red shirt and kill him.

John Kirk

Everyone needs to get a grip. This is the best Trek movie we’ve seen in like… forever. Yet we still find ways and reasons to complain. Would you rather have seen another “Nemesis???” It’s amazing to me that the studio, writers, directors, etc., can release a movie from a franchise that was going nowhere – and bring it back to life – and yet still hear complaints from the fans that should be grateful. It’s ridiculous. I for one can’t wait until the next picture. All of you that hate it so much should stay home next time.
John.

John Kirk

Oh, by the way, Mr. Solow, I loved your book. This is about the fans that just can’t seem to be happy. No matter what.
John.

Rocket Scentist

I enjoyed Yelchin’s Chekov quite a bit. Pegg as Scotty too. They were entertaining variations on beloved characters. We’ve only seen a couple of facets to them. Give them more screen time and I’m confident they’ll develop nicely.

jonboc

Great interview! Now how about some reactions from other TOS alumni. What about George, Walter and Nichelle? Has anyone heard their thoughts on the film? Or David Gerrold or DC Fontana? I mean they blew up Vulcan, I’m sure she has some thoughts on that! I also have to wonder about the reaction of Bjo Trimble. Lots of potential there for future articles Trekmovie!

dfinn

I’m with 26 — Give the ‘secondary’ characters more to do, and we’ll see the same intelligence, craftiness and teamwork, that we saw from the ‘original’ crew.

I keep thinking about one moment in STIII –

Kirk: “Dr. McCoy and I have to do this, the rest of you do not…”
Chekov: “We’re losing precious time Admiral…”
Sulu: “What course, please, Admiral?”
Kirk: “Scotty?”
Scott: “I’d be grateful, Admiral, if ye give the word.”

Plus, Uhura’s comment a moment before:

“All my hopes…”

A Great reading of that line from Nichols, and a sweet moment. In both cases, small moments, I spose, but for me (at least), moments that demonstrated the tight-knit relationships that _made_ Trek.

So long as JJ, et al, can get that sense, that bonding, can create those situations where those characters develop, grow and BOND, then everything will be as good, or better than ever.

IMHO, of course.

sean

#21

“Chekov did feel like an awful spoof caricature. I didn’t like the actor or the accent. Killing Chevov would therefore be the best move in the next feature.”

But the original Chekov was a caricature of Davy Jones to begin with! I thought Yelchin actually added some smarts to Chekov. It’s not like he had much to do in TOS in the first place, other than to make the token cracks about everything originating in Russia.

Dr. Image

#29 Ah. So true!

Mr. Solow,
Everyone with any interest in Trek needs to read your book. It is truly the last word.
The good thing is, the movie is making a ton of money, and Trek lives on!

CarlG

That’s an interesting point he made about Quinto’s Spock compared to Nimoy’s Spock. To be fair, he’s comparing Spock at the start of his life’s journey to the same character closer to the end.
The “centuries of knowledege” are yet to come.

Wonderful interview.

How does “Inside Star Trek” compare with Stephen E Whitfield’s “The Making of Star Trek”, by the way?

Ultimate Trekker

Spock comment was spot on and I hope quinto is considering these comments. Something missing in this spock and this is the first time somebody really nailed it and pointed it out.

Also agree about the new Chekov and Sulu. Chekov’s accent was a bit over the top and sulu was dull.

Great review and accurate.

Duane

I’ve always greatly appreciated the contributions made by HS. But when he says:

“The Mr Spock character was 20% created by Gene Roddenberry, 20% created by me and 60% created by Leonard Nimoy”

he is ignoring the fact that Leonard Nimoy himself gives significant credit to one of the early directors for helping him “find” the Spock character. In the interview I read, he did not mention a name and did not seem to remember the name, from from various comments he made it was most likely Joseph Sargant, and it occured while filming “The Corbomite Manuever.”

Of course, HS was a busy man in those days and he may be unaware of Leonard’s feelings on the subject.

I loved getting HS’s views on the movie and I hope we hear from many, many others who were involved with TOS.

thandrahan

I feel it is hard to gauge Quinto’s performance as Spock with Nimoy also making an appearance as Spock. You are just starting to appreciate his performance when Nimoy appears. 78 years old or not, Nimoy was flawless! His presence even when he is not on screen is dominating.

spock

That is one of my favorite Trek books. Gives good insight into the series.

TrekkieJan

Solow and Justman’s book is highly recommended reading. Great to see his take on the new film (and yes, wish we could hear Justman’s).
I don’t agree about Sulu – I thought John Cho was fantastic.
And agree with previous posters here that Quinto, given a chance, will grow into the Spock we know and love. I also thought the changes to Chekov were interesting.

Robert Gillis

A true honor, sir! (The book IS a must-read, BTW). So glad he shared his thoughts! Has Bob Justman commented on the film? Ron Moore? Rod Roddenberry?

Trek Nerd Central

I agree with everyone on Solow & Justman’s book.

Trek Nerd Central

I agree with everyone on Solow & Justman’s book.

Michael Hall

Always interesting to hear from Solow. Gracious as always, and, in this instance, far too kind. :-)

May he continue to live long and prosper.

ster julie

37. Uh, he’s dead, Jim.

From the article above: “Mr. Justman had spoken very enthusiastically about the new JJ Abrams team while the film was in production, and it quite sad that he passed away before he was able to see the final film. ”

I believe Rod had his say at the Catalina viewing (attended by Nichelle Nichols and George Takei) that was reported earlier.

lostrod

#24

Those of us who have been with ST since day one hardly need a lecture from you.

I can appreciate the movie as a highly entertaining movie, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree that it is “the best Star Trek ever”. As a Star Trek story it has many flaws (in my opinion).

Please stop bashing anyone who disagrees with your opinion that the movie is perfect.

In other words (or yours), get a grip.

Regards.

I respect Mr. Solow a lot. I really appreciate his thoughts and involvement with TOS. I have his book that’s mentioned and it’s great.

I disagree with him on Chekov’s character in the new film however. I actually felt it rang the most true, yet independent -making it his own- of the whole new cast. Keonig, I still think was way underrated from the original show. However, as the time went on he seemed to be known for letting out a good yell or scream. I remember being aware, and pleased that that characteristic made it into the first movie. Evidently others liked it too because it made it’s way into the second movie. (I wonder if it ever crossed his mind “wow,..how did this become my lot in life?”)

And I agree with a few others that this is not the greatest Trek movie ever made. I still have issues with the movie and Abrams sensibilities. He seems to know the mechanics of movie making but exhibits a level of unsophistication about some things that smacks me wrong. My opinion, (and this is the least of my complaints ) but if you place a Beastie Boys song in the movie because you “dig it” then there’s part of your problem. Plenty of better choices to convey an emotion through song.

Good review- though most of my remaining reservations are pointed at Scotty. This film is not the deepest version of Star Trek…. but it’s no Spock’s Brain either. I still found it remarkably entertaining, and with plenty of room to grow.

Jefferies Tuber

I have so much respect for Solow, not least for his humility over the years as nearly all of the credit has gone to Roddenberry. I think his review is quite gracious and maybe a bit timid.

The criticism of Sulu, Chekov and Spock is all true, really, but maybe a bit misplaced. After all, these are much younger men than the ‘settled in’ crew we came to know.

Chekov never really struck me as being anything like Solow intended. And the idea that his/Koenig’s Chekov was anything but a parody is kind of funny, especially since Yelchin is… Russian. Koenig’s Chekov always struck me as young, nervous and easily provoked into to Russian bravado. The addition of Chekov as ‘boy genius’ was totally cool. I kind of loved it when he said, “I can do that” over and over. It was sweet and authentic and very much the act of a hero in the works.

Sulu’s dignity and Spock’s gravitas are both very insightful observations. But it’s called character DEVELOPMENT, as in develop and grow–the things that living things do. These men arrived at stoic dignity and mystical wisdom through experience, not just genetics.

If anything, Solow’s genteel criticisms only highlight the depth of what the filmmakers have done with this prequel. This movie had the courage to show the characters before they became the people we know. In TOS, Kirk could fix his gaze on screen and rely on Spock and Sulu to perform without so much as a sidelong glance. That’s confidence borne of experience. I look forward to seeing these characters ARRIVE at the TOS characterizations.

But he’s spot-on about the Alexander Courage music. The same analysis above applies, in that this movie is about delivering us to the point where the Courage music kicks in. But in all honesty, I didn’t like the art direction of the closing credits. And the fact that Giacchino only wove the Courage music in to his own theme strikes me as arrogant. You can whistle the first few notes of the Courage music anywhere in the world and someone around you will smile and nod. The Courage music is as sacrosanct as pointed ears and the ‘three tubes and a disk’ shape of the Enterprise.

Great article. It’s cool seeing something that truly relates how the appeal and sucess of TOS was the result of a production team consisting of Solow, Justman, Fontana, Coon and countless others including the acting team as well… the same can be said for every version of TREK made since 1964… that being it was a team effort.

I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Solow’s remarks, however, his comments are based on the viewing of a one-time event. Each of the characters we have come to know and love are based on the the growth from episode 1 to 79 (or 100 if you count TAS– and I do).

Give the new crew a chance and I am sure their performances will gel with each forthcoming film.

This is, of course, the biggest disadvantage of TREK being a film franchise, that being that we have to wait for two to three years between productions instead of the weekly exposure we get on television. This is the trade-off we have to accept… or not.

And yeah, I’d love to know what DC Fontana and David Gerrold think (David’s web-site is down under construction)… and a few others as well.

Bradley1701

Of course Zach’s Spock doesn’t have the same depth of Leonard’s Spock…this is pre-TOS Star Trek…Spock is younger and inexperienced so it is illogical to expect Zach’s Spock to have the same depth.

That is like saying that I was the same man when I was 27 that I was when I was 17 and that I’ll be the same man 10 years or 20 years from now.

You cannot compare Spock of one age to that of another. This is a young Spock, and he seemed young. I liked that…I want to see him grow over the years into what Leonard’s Spock was.

Bill Hiro

Using a citation of Doug Drexler’s beautiful tribute to Bob Justman as an opportunity to again push the movie is really tacky.

Valar1

The biggest thing I missed about the new Spock was the way the old Spock always showed a hint of emotion around the eyes- the rest of the face was stone cold dead but you could always sense a deeper feeling in the eyes. The only time I saw that was when new Spock returns to the bridge and offers to go to the Narada and steal back the black hole device- there he nailed it, in that one scene.

Buzz Cagney

I think he’s being hard on Cho there- the poor guy wasn’t given all that much to do, was he. And as for Chekov- remember, he is younger than we have seen him before- he’s got time to calm down! I liked him anyway!