Saturday, July 11, 2009

Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Become the Classic Star Trek Episode
by Harlan Ellison [791.457 StaYe]

Fans of the original Star Trek television series [1966-1969] generally agree that the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" is arguably the most popular and "best" of all the original episodes. The story involves Kirk and Spock traveling back in time to Depression-era Earth to stop a drugged-out McCoy from saving the life of a social worker (whose anti-war activitism would ultimately lead to a different outcome in WWII). What casual viewers of Star Trek may not be aware of is that this thought-provoking and emotional episode faced a great deal of turmoil in its production. Famed author and screenwriter Harlan Ellison won multiple awards for his original script for this episode, and in this intriguing book he traces the history of the creation of this moment in television history. Ellison, who was extremely upset at the changes wrought to his original script (which could have been a fascinating episode in its own right), can be vitriolic at times, but he also provides an insightful look at how a television show is produced, from story-idea to final airing. The number of people who can influence the plot of an episodes is truly mind-boggling. This book is a must for Star Trek fans, especially as the release of this summer's new movie reinvigorates interest in the classic franchise. But I would also recommend it for anyone who's interested in the history of television production in general, and definitely for fans of Harlan Ellison. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[This episode of Star Trek is available in the Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One boxed DVD set.]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

No comments: