I rewatched Trek Nation today, and was hit once again with how awesome it is.
If you’re not familiar with it, Trek Nation is a documentary about Star Trek made by Rod Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry’s son. Gene died in 1991, when Rod was just 17 years old, and, as Rod tells us in the show, he grew up not caring about Star Trek at all, and not having a great relationship with his father.
Rod Roddenberry in Science Channel Trailer
“You know, I really learned about Star Trek through the fans,” he said at one point in the movie, and that’s what we see in Trek Nation. It’s not so much a documentary about Star Trek, as it is a movie about Rod searching for his dad and finding him in the show, the show’s fans, the people who worked for and with Gene, and even people who never knew him.
In the process, we learn more about the show and see a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. We are also shown Gene Roddenberry as a man, with both his flaws and genius on display. Rod weaved all of those threads together in a simply wonderful way that makes for a very, very compelling show.
There are lots of Trek documentaries out there, and the Blu-ray version of Star Trek: The Original Series has some great featurettes, but one of the great things about Trek Nation are some of the people who talked to Rod because he was making a show about looking for his father.
For instance, George Lucas sat down with Rod for an interview, and they talked about things like the Star Wars/Star Trek rivalry, the influence Trek had on George, and other things I doubt George Lucas would ever have bothered talking about in other circumstances.
There’s also a great moment when he’s talking to Star Trek reboot director J.J. Abrams. He shows J.J. an interview Gene did in the 1980s where he talked about how he hopes that some day someone will revisit the characters of Kirk and Spock and how they met, and how he hoped that people would say it was better than his version of Star Trek.
Spoiler Alert: That’s what the Trek reboot was (save for being better than Gene’s version—it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison).
In any event, I’d never seen that interview with Gene, and it was frakking cool to see J.J. see it for the first time, too.
Oh, and speaking of frakking, BSG rebooter Ronald Moore is also featured in the documentary. He was a writer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and his thoughts on the show and the passing of Gene Roddenberry were also very interesting.
Anyway, this is a great show, and there’s much more than I’ve mentioned. The Science Channel shows it periodically, and it’s going to be screened at Comic-Con on July 14th, according to the movie’s website. If you like Trek or are interested in the franchise, you should watch it.
Here’s the trailer:
Trek Nation Trailer