Two new issues of Star Trek Magazine will be Star Trek “Ultimate Guides,” covering the time period from 1966-1993 and then from 1993 through present day.
The two issues, featuring the work of thirty contributors, will debut with issue #36 releasing today and the second part of the Ultimate Guide, issue #37, to debut on September 29.
Each issue will contain detailed episode synopses and reviews, essays, Top Ten lists, and new photos. Star Trek Magazine Editor Paul Simpson explained why he wanted to do “Ultimate Guides” for Star Trek. “One of the things that I’ve felt is missing from the printed Trek universe is a full guide to the shows,” he said. “Paula [M. Block] and Terry [J. Erdmann]’s Star Trek 101 did finally give us something that covered Enterprise, but what wasn’t there was a complete list, in broadcast order, with writers, directors and date of release.
“Back in 2009, Brian Robb had asked me to come up with ideas for a special issue of the mag to be published in the fall of 2011, to mark the 45th anniversary of Trek, which is when I pitched this idea and started the preparatory work. I then emailed out to the various writers who had contributed to the mag in recent times, and asked them to pick their favorite season… I wanted each of these to be written by people who weren’t going to complain about re-watching up to twenty-six hours of TV because it was stuff they enjoyed.”
Simpson explained what readers might expect to see when it comes to the Ultimate Guide. “The absolute minimum any episode gets is title, writer, director, airdate and a mark out of five, but the vast majority get a lot more than that,” he said. “The production overviews are, deliberately, subjective: what I might have picked out from that season’s history isn’t necessarily at all what the writers have. And it’s very important to note that no one has been asked to change what they said: it means that occasionally we have the same person awarded the MVP in successive seasons, or that what one person suggests in their piece will be a fantastic year of a show is revealed in the next article to be one of the less successful ones, in the next author’s opinion.”
Star Trek literature will not be included in the Ultimate Guide. “Some people – noticeably those who wrote books which might be eligible! – asked if we were including books and comic strips, etc., in the Ultimate Guide, and the sad answer had to be ‘no,'” said Simpson. “We’re already using 168 pages of issues over this – the only regular features in the issues are the news, Trek Life, Treknology and Lost and Found – and if we’d expanded it to the novels, I’m not sure exactly how we could have coped.”
Issue #36, the first part of the Ultimate Guide, debuts on newsstands today and will sell for $6.99. The second part of the Ultimate Guide, out next month, will sell for $9.99.