Following up from their 2010 Star Trek The Original Series 365 photo book (positively reviewed at TrekMovie), Abrams Books recently released a follow-up, this time revealing rare images from Star Trek: The Next Generation. TrekMovie continues our look at new exciting Star Trek non-fiction books with our review of Paula Block and Terry Erdmann’s new mini-coffee table book below.
REVIEW: "Star Trek: The Next Generation 365"
by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann
Hardcover – 744 pages
Abrams – October 2012 – $29.95
Star Trek episode guides have been through various incarnations. Some were unauthorized collections put together by fans or unlicensed publishing houses, others were classic reference works (such as “The Star Trek Compendium” by Allan Asherman). To be sure, Star Trek: The Next Generation has received its fair share of authorized and unauthorized episode coverage, most notably Larry Nemecek’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion”, most recently updated in 2003. But “Star Trek: The Next Generation 365” is in a league, and a genre, of its own.
Authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are no strangers to Star Trek. Block oversaw licensing for Paramount during the run of TNG (and beyond), and as a collaborative team, the two have published in many venues. Given their mutual love of the subject matter, and their deep, long term connection with Star Trek, the pair bring a loving retrospective of the Next Generation forward as one breaks open the pages of their latest ‘brick.’
Thank goodness these uniforms weren’t used!
After an engaging introduction by Ronald D. Moore, Block and Erdmann begin the TNG story with pre-production photography, insight, and behind the scenes information that, while not new, remains endearing. The same methodology permeates 365 from start to finish… sharing interviews with writers, producers, and actors that have been collected over a span of two and a half decades to give a wide-ranging exposure to what went into TNG in general, and specific episodes in particular.
The pages are richly illustrated with behind the scenes photos ranging from makeup tests to rehearsals, and also with screen-grabs from episodes which are the only real detraction from the book. The quality of the grabs is lacking in many instances, with obvious pixelation to be noticed, especially in pictures that are rendered full page.
Production design graphics are provided throughout
However, while the photos are nice, and having little episode teasers (they can hardly be called summaries) is nice, the real value of 365 can be wrapped up in the following description: “Star Trek: The Next Generation 365” is like attending a Star Trek convention with every star, writer, director, producer, behind the scenes personage, and guest… all between two boards.
Having been to my fair share of conventions in earlier years, I have heard many of the stories presented here before, and yet reading them in this format, paired with behind the scenes pictures, was a priceless and uplifting revisitation of my own childhood. Just as I would spend each Saturday afternoon in eager anticipation of the 7 PM unveiling of the week’s syndicated TNG adventure, I spent each page of TNG 365 eagerly anticipating what would come with the next flip of the page. That anticipation was heightened because there were stories I hadn’t heard and photos I hadn’t seen, like Patrick Stewart in Picard’s costume… with a wig. Some of the stories will be completely new to many fans, and, perhaps, some of the stories will be old hat to a fraction of TNG’s fans, but having this memory brick at hand will be an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes, or an afternoon.
Assimilating the script…just one example of a humorous touch that helps TNG:365 feel like you are spending time with actors at a convention.
What Block and Erdmann have created is a Star Trek convention in a box, lovingly resurrecting memories for TNG fans who, like me, remember the giddy feeling we all got each weekend when we heard the first notes of music and the almost invariable words “Captain’s Log: Stardate…” coming forth from the screen. “Star Trek: The Next Generation 365” easily deserves a place in any Trek fan’s library.
If you are simply looking for an ‘episode guide’ to Star Trek: The Next Generation, don’t bother buying this book. It won’t satisfy you. If you are looking for a rich, immersive journey into the production and life of TNG, then “Star Trek: The Next Generation 365” is definitely a book that is for you.
Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 (Star Trek 365) is in book stores now and can be ordered from Amazon.
Our special thanks to Abrams for providing a review copy of this book.
Abrams Books? JJ has a book publishing company too? He must be a Borg assimilating the Earth! ;)
I’m delighted to see that printed reference material of this quality is still being authored and produced about Trek.
Thank you for this review.
Very cool, but why did they use the Season 5 cast picture instead of Season 7’s? Worf’s old “bob” hairstyle….ugh.
I hope 2013 will see “Deep Space Nine 365” in time for the 20th Anniversary! Be sure it’s also in Kindle format as well…
I bought this book a couple months ago, and even though I’m not a big TNG fan anymore, I found the book so fascinating I couldn’t put it down when perusing it at my local bookstore.
It brought back a lot of memories and it was chock full of anecdotes that I’ve never heard before (even when I was an avid CFQ magazine junkie in the ’90s). I also very much enjoyed the other 365 books; the Star Wars and TOS Star Trek editions.
My only nit? The low resolution frame blowups used from the original SD resolution videos of the episodes (and not from the much better HD-remastered versions); and the book apologizes for this right up front, too.
Ihr seid so Scheisse! “Thank goodness these uniforms weren’t used!” Dankt Gott, daß es überhaupt Star Trek gibt – denn wenn es nach eurer Meinung und der vieler moderner “Fans” gehen würde, dann würde es Star Trek wohl gar nicht geben. Es ist einfach nur grauenhaft solch unüberlegte und destruktive Worte auf dem größten TrekBlog zu lesen. Sorry das sagen zu müssen! Es lebe das gute alte Star Trek Universum – ebenso wie das neue Abrams Universum! Denkt mal darüber nach -es gibt auch noch Fans außerhalb der USA die mitlesen.
Author Block gives us a different 365 than she did with TOS, but this is just as fascinating and pictorially gratifying as the original tome (though I agree w/ the reviewer that some of the photos here are grainy). The approach here had to be different because TNG had so many more eps than TOS had. Nevertheless, TNG is covered thoroughly. This is a must – have.
Do you think they will do the same for VOY and DS9?
I have the TOS version. Well worth it. Hoping for the DS9 edition also!!
I’m already getting in line for a DS9 edition! That would be sooo great!!!
Neato! I always loved Deanna Troi’s uniforms, but I did appreciate when she wore a regular one in season seven.
The synopsis reminded me of my summmer project in 1975 …clipping out the tos tv guide episode listing and putting them in my scrapbook….simple 14 year old fun…about the sametime when the monthly highlight of my life was the arrival of the new Starlog and it’s latest “complete episode guide” to whatever failed tv sersies was being honored.
I got one earlier this month and its worth every penny!
It’s cool that they got Ron Moore to write the intro.
A treasure trove of cool photos, great trivia and information.
Highly recommended! A must for every TNG fan– buy it now. (No, I don’t work for the publisher- I’m just an admiring fan, desperate for quality stuff.)
For those who are interested in good deals, I checked on Amazon.com and it was available for a very fair price at the time.
I can’t wait to get it now!! And I hope they do the same for DS9, VOY and ENT!!
@7: Calm down, dude!
Not related to this thread really, but the U.S. Navy today retired the USS Enterprise, CVN-65 and the Secretary of the Navy said today that the third Gerald Ford-class carrier (CVN-80) will be named USS Enterprise.
This is also available as a digital ebook on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK. It looks spectacular on the HD+!
Really like those alternative TNG uniform prototypes. Would’ve loved to have seen them as a Class-B or alternative duty uniform on the show.
#7: the BLUE pills! The BLUE ones! NOT the green!