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The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years:…

The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J.… (edition 2016)

by Edward Gross (Author)

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Title:The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek
Authors:Edward Gross (Author)
Info:Thomas Dunne Books (2016), 864 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, nonfiction, star trek

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The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The Next 25 Years, from The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams by Edward Gross



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Still going where no one has gone before. I had waited forever for this book to come through at my library and was thrilled to pieces when it did. The first volume relates the origins of 'Star Trek' and the original series (TOS). Kirk, Spock and the how, when and why of how these characters came to be. This book takes the franchise through 'The Next Generation' (TNG) and through the last J.J. Abrams movie, 'Star Trek: Beyond'.
The format is like the last one. Instead of a flowing narrative the reader reads the words from the various actors, writers, producers, guest stars, studio executives, movie critics, etc. about the next four shows and movies. Unsurprisingly TNG gets the greatest amount of text (it takes up almost half of the book) since it has the show and the movies. Some of it was interesting, some of it was repetitive for me (since I am most familiar with this one). I had hoped to read more from the actors but since the cast gelled fairly well together there wasn't as much drama (although there was some behind the scenes with Roddenberry aging and settling into the first spin-off). The sections on the movies were also helpful and interesting since they also lent to some info I had not read before either.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually found the sections of 'Deep Space: Nine' and 'Voyager' to be really interesting, more so than the TNG sections. Because I'm not as familiar with the last three shows I didn't think I'd care so much but these sections were actually very good. Again, some of it I knew, but much of it I didn't. These casts did NOT get along as well and people butted heads (which is understandable). Some of it was a bit awkward to read and  some people do not come across very well. But some parts, such as Kate Mulgrew talking about her role as a woman captain were new to me (knew only a little bit prior to the book) and it was really interesting. Fans of Ronald D. Moore's 'Battlestar Galactica' might see the seeds of that show being planted when reading his words on DS:9 and 'Voyager'.
The section on 'Enterprise' is like the others but as I'm not sure I've seen any episode of the show in its entirety I'm not sure how well this section was. It might be worth revisiting after watching the show though.
The Abrams films are also covered. Similar format, similar sentiments expressed. What was surprising was seeing actual critical reviews/responses/thoughts regarding the second Abrams film. It was nice to see acknowledgement that this film really didn't do well and was not well-received by the audience. Since it is more recent and Abrams is still involved it seemed like they might gloss over it. It also confirmed my personal belief that Abrams was not *really* into Trek (he has said so) and that unfortunately shows in these films.
Overall, if you like more info on the  ST franchise and liked the first book then this is probably a good library pickup. This book seemed better than the last one but I'm not sure if it was due to my familiarity with the TNG and more recent works, that I knew what to expect in terms of how the book was organized and written or if possibly the authors had the advantage of easier access to the people involved/more material to work with, as these people are still alive (mostly) and still active with 'Star Trek' or working in Hollywood, etc.
It's a big brick of a book though (in this case it's not a bad thing). So if you want to read either book or both you should probably set aside some time. For the right, hard-core fan or historian these might be a really good purchase. Live long and prosper! ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
I never watched "Next Generation" on a regular basis, so the (considerable) sections on Next Gen weren't that interesting to me. Those sections contained lots of accounts of infighting between producers and writers (with lots of different titles, but I think their jobs came down to producing and writing); few contributions from actors, especially beyond Patrick Stuart and Brent Spiner. I liked the stuff about the less-popular series more. I liked reading about how DS9 (the series I really watched) was able to be more serialized, and how they did the casting. The book increased my appreciation for the series. Then there's Voyager, with some problems among the cast, which were described pretty specifically. If you ever wonder what it means when a cast member is "difficult," there are some specific examples here! It was interesting to see how the writers and producers tried with Voyager and Enterprise, what they felt worked and what didn't, and why, and the missed opportunities. There seemed to be quite a bit about Joss Whedon's movies too. For the most in-depth coverage of episodes, I would recommend the "Deep Space Nine Companion" by Terry Erdmann and Paula Block, and Gross & Altman's "Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages." These have comments from actors, writers, directors, producers, and the various production staff, from sets to music to special effects, on individual episodes. ( )
  Beth3511 | Mar 13, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edward Grossprimary authorall editionscalculated
Altman, Mark A.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Fifty-Year Mission: Volume Two is an incisive, no-holds-barred oral history telling the story of post-Original Series Star Trek, told exclusively by the people who were there, in their own words--sharing the inside scoop they've never told before--unveiling the oftentimes shocking true story of the history of Star Trek and chronicling the trials, tribulations--and tribbles--that have remained deeply buried secrets... until now.… (more)

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