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PREVIEW: ‘Trek Nation’ Special Edition Must-Have

… even if it does have you yearning for more

It’s been almost two years since the Star Trek documentary “Trek Nation” premiered on Science channel to great ratings and solid reviews.

More than six years in the making, “Trek Nation” was a journey by Eugene W. Roddenberry Jr. into what made the creation of his father, Gene Roddenberry, so special and enduring. And the final result was spectacular.

Now, Roddenberry Entertainment, Atmosphere Pictures and New Animal Productions, bring “Trek Nation” to a new special edition two-disc release filled with expanded interviews, home movies from the Roddenberry family, and even a chat about the origins of “Star Trek” itself as explained to one Roddenberry friend at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game in the 1960s.

For anyone fascinated by the life of Roddenberry, the special edition of “Trek Nation” is a must-have for the DVD shelf. Even if it’s for just having the long version of Roddenberry receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986 (what’s up with those glasses, Nichelle Nichols?)

The only drawback, however, is that once you get through the second disc of bonus material, you are left wondering why there isn’t more.

For the home movies, for example, the disc provides some great footage, especially of the Japanese wedding of Roddenberry and wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, as well as the first video of the younger Roddenberry as an infant. We then get additional scenes of a playset being constructed in the Roddenberry back yard, and later of the family out on Roddenberry’s boat, aptly named “Star Trek.” The music that accompanies the video is fantastic, as well as Rod Roddenberry’s narration of what’s happening, giving fans great context in what they’re seeing.

But then it suddenly ends. This is a family that has had cameras with them for decades, and “Trek Nation” itself (including an early trailer) featured some fascinating home videos of Gene Roddenberry after letting his hair down. Yet, none of those appear here. Don’t get me wrong, the home movies that are included are well worth it, but knowing there’s so much more out there leaves you wanting for just a little more.

What was even more exciting was Rod Roddenberry’s interview with Christopher Knopf, the head of the Writers Guild of America-West during the time that “Star Trek” premiered in the late 1960s, who shared the original concept of “Star Trek” as told to him by Roddenberry very early in development. I’m not going to spoil that here — you’ll have to get the DVD — but once again, it’s not a very long segment at all. What was said was totally captivating, but there is just a wonder on if there was a followup question in there somewhere.

One thing there is not a short supply of are the expanded interviews with science-fiction icons and other famous names like George Lucas, Seth MacFarlane and Stan Lee. When making a documentary and talking to so many people, some hard cuts have to be made. This is where special edition DVDs really come in handy, because then you can get even more that was shared from people who were influenced and even inspired by Star Trek.

“Trek Nation” the special edition DVD set is not perfect, but nothing is ever perfect. There is plenty of material on this set that makes it well worth owning when it is released on July 9.

“Trek Nation” is produced in part by Roddenberry Entertainment, a partner in the ownership team of 1701News. This review was not subject to approval by Roddenberry Entertainment. Also, the author of this piece did do minor uncredited camera work for the final documentary.

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