'Beyond the Final Frontier' Doesn't Reach New Vistas

By Michelle
February 22, 2007 - 6:20 PM

The History Channel's newest Star Trek retrospective, Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier, did not receive particularly enthusiastic reviews despite the presence of Leonard Nimoy (Spock) as host. Critic objected to the emphasis on the Christie's auction that raised money for Paramount, claiming that the special arrived too late for the franchise's 40th anniversary and "goes nowhere."

  • Diane Werts of Newsday described the special and auction as "boldly exploiting the 'Trek' phenomenon", using familiar episode clips and trite sound bytes by Star Trek actors who have already discussed the franchise on numerous other specials. "Trekkers have seen it all dozens of times before. So maybe 'Beyond' is meant for newbies," she stated. However, much of the program "is on something only devotees could love: staff preparation for the October sale of 1,000 'Trek' props." Both the studio's exploitation of fan affluence and the boring details of the special left her unimpressed.

  • "When you canít get camera whore William Shatner to show up for your special, thatís a bad sign. Star TrekĒ fans, beware," wrote The Boston Herald's Mark A. Perigard. "The fans are depicted as either having more expendable currency than Ferengi royalty or acting as certifiable loons...if Paramount was so willing to part with costumes, props and ship models, some held for four decades, what does that say about the future of the franchise?"

  • Syndicated in The Morning Call from The Washington Post, Judith S. Gillies was more interested in the comments of Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart, though she echoed an organizer's regret that Shatner and Scott Bakula, who did not take part. She echoed as well the idea that Star Trek offered a hopeful future during a turbulent time.

  • Frazier MOore at the Courier Press observed that the program analyzed the overriding mythology of Star Trek in addition to its celebrity appearances. "The program goes behind the scenes with many of the people (writers, model makers, set designers, technicians and directors) responsible for developing the 'Star Trek' universe."

  • Oregon Live gave the special a more favorable review, as Ted Mahar observed that the focus on preparations for the Christie's auction "turns out to be a useful way for the documentary to reveal the time, energy and devotion that went into the films and series." He added that the influence of Star Trek on science fiction overall "is incalculable, but actress Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi) mentions the obvious -- George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were patently 'Star Trek' buffs."
Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier, which debuted on Monday night, reruns several times on The History Channel. The next airing is Saturday, February 24th at 8 p.m.

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