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These Are The Voyages TOS Season Two Book Review

Posted by T'Bonz - 16/04/14 at 01:04 pm


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A new book, These are the Voyages TOS Season Two, written by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, has just been released. This is the second book of three in a series.

These are the Voyages TOS Season Two provides details regarding the creation of Star Trek‘s second season, with plot details, anecdotes from the actors and those involved with each episode, and fan reaction to the episodes.

THE FORMAT:

These are the Voyages TOS Season Two follows a similar format to the first book. The book opens with acknowledgments, a foreword by Walter Koenig, and a preface. The episodes follow this, and are typically in the fashion listed below.

  • episode name and number
  • writers/directors
  • episode description
  • sound bites (notable lines from the episode)
  • assessment of the episode
  • story behind the story
  • pre-production
  • production diary
  • post-production
  • release/reactions to the episode
  • ratings for the episode
  • memories of the episode
  • from the mailbag – fan response to the episode
  • aftermath

Other chapters included in the book include: A Second Season; Casting Off, Season Two; Enter John Meredyth Lucas, Enter Jerome Bixby, Enter David Gerrold; Labor Day Break, 1967; A Tale of Two Genes/Roddenberry Versus Coon; Mid Season, 1967, From the Outside…Looking In, The Voyagers That Never Were, For The Record, Stand and Be Counted: The Save Star Trek Campaign, and Appendix/Season Two Quick Reference. These Are The Voyages TOS Season Two concludes with a Bibliography, Quote Index, and a Memo/Letters Index.

These Are The Voyages TOS Season Two is six-hundred-and-eighty-eight pages in length.

THE CONTENT:

The second book in the These Are The Voyages series is a long book, almost seven hundred pages in length, and is chock-full of fascinating information about the second season, which is often thought to be the original series’ best season.

These Are The Voyages TOS Season Two pulls together many sources and interviews to give fans a picture of what it was like during production of each episode. The evolution of the stories is interesting – often the finished project is quite different than what the original draft presented. Sometimes, this was something that angered the original author of a story and it was an occasional cause of friction between the writers and Gene Roddenberry.

For example, in Amok Time, young crewmember Maggie was supposed to be smitten with Spock. But D.C. Fontana suggested that Christine Chapel be used instead of Maggie, as Christine was, “a mature woman we have met before and know” and not “some drippy-eyed kid we don’t care about.”

It’s tidbits like this that make for fascinating reading. Although this reviewer read many of the “how to” books back in the day, I had never come across some of the stories. And having them all together in one volume is rather convenient.

In this second volume, guest stars shared their experiences when it came to working with the Star Trek cast, with most of them having positive experiences. When it came to William Shatner, some loved him, but others found him to be less likeable. Those not fond of him weren’t alone; some of his fellow castmates were angry at Shatner and his habit of getting more lines in an episode at the expense of some of their own lines.

Stuntmen who worked on the series had tales of their days on the show too. One stuntman, Jay Jones, who portrayed Mallory in The Apple, was seriously injured during a mistimed explosion.

One of the fun reads from the book comes from the production diary segment of each episode. In this segment, the author gives a glimpse of what life was like in the US at the time of production – what current events were taking place, which songs and movies were number one at the time of filming, and even how much groceries and merchandise cost at the time. It’s an interesting glimpse into the not-so-long-ago past.

Under the release/reactions section of each chapter, the Nielson ratings for that episode are given, and readers can see how the episode stacked up against the competition the night it aired. More often than not, Star Trek came in second of three places. Sometimes the lack of ratings was due to a lack of promotion; often a show that got some extra coverage in that week’s TV Guide drew the higher ratings instead of Star Trek.

These are the Voyages TOS Season Two also includes information on merchandise associated with Star Trek. The fan mail for the show is also discussed, including the campaign to save Star Trek from cancellation after the second season. Star Trek was suffering from low ratings after having been moved to a bad time slot for its target audience, which were teens and young adults.

The appendix is a quick reference to the second season, with name and number of the episode, along with the writer of the episode. There is also a list of the episodes by production number. This list includes name of director, and how many days it took to film the episode. The third list is a list of the airdates (including repeats and preemptions) of the second season of Star Trek.

The book concludes with a bibliography, quote index, and memos/letters index.

VERDICT:

These are the Voyages TOS Season Two is a must-have for the original series fan. It’s chock-full of all sorts of interesting stories, including some that aren’t as well-known to fans.

There is something for everyone – evolution of the stories, conflicts and human drama, anecdotes, technical details, pictures, and statistics. I have to admit, I really liked this book and even though it is a long book, I had trouble putting it down because it’s just so interesting! It was like stepping through the Guardian of Forever and going back in time, seeing what the world was like in 1967-1968 and how television was created back then.

These are the Voyages TOS Season Two can be purchased here. The cost for this second volume is $29.95.

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  • Guest

    It’s clear that an ENORMOUS amount of love and work and research went
    into producing this volume, and it’s truly a wonderful resource for the
    TOS fan. Yet it also has some very obvious errors, such as
    saying that Leonard Nimoy was nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor, when
    he was actually nominated for Best SUPPORTING Actor. And while much of
    the book is painstakingly well
    documented, there are places where Cushman
    asserts some important and potentially controversial things without
    giving any documentation at all.

    The book is clearly a labor of
    love, and yet Cushman has omitted some obvious steps, making the book a
    strange mixture of the amazingly well
    done and the slapdash. One wonders why Cushman didn’t get the book
    proofread by someone at even my level of Star Trek knowledge — I’d have
    proofread the book for free and would have caught several errors — and
    he really should have gotten the book proofread by someone at the
    level of our most knowledgeable fans.

    I’m thrilled that the book exists, and I’m enjoying it immensely, but with better proofreading and more careful
    documentation and citation, the book could have been truly authoritative,
    rather than the strange mixture of things that it is now.

  • Cosmo

    The first book was weak and messy enough already, so I’ll pass on this one.