Review of The Smithsonian Channel’s The Real Story: Star Trek


Star Trek is by far my most beloved fandom. With an almost 50-year history, I learn something new about it daily and I’m always happy to watch a documentary on the franchise. The Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, The Real Story: Star Trek, was no exception and I leaped at the opportunity to get an early viewing of it.

The documentary itself is only about 45 minutes long and covers just The Original Series, so it’s a very basic look inside what would become one of the most successful entertainment franchises in history. It covers creator Gene Roddenberry’s early careers and how he slowly transitioned into the world of sci-fi television. The struggle to get the show on air and keep the show on air is a remarkable story, although I was disappointed that Desilu Productions didn’t get a mention. Lucille Ball, after all, personally approved the show and was partially responsible for keeping it alive after the first pilot was rejected. The interview with Herb Solow, a producer who worked closely with Roddenberry, is incredibly insightful, as were the interview portions with Leonard Nimoy, Roddenberry’s son, Rod, and Bjo Trimble, an original Trekkie who led the campaign to keep the show on-air.


The segments on the number of scientific advancements that have been inspired by Star Trek I found fascinating though. From cell phones to the theory of warping space for travel, the interviews they had with scientists who are at the top of their fields made the documentary worth the watch.

Ultimately, if you are a die-hard fan, you won’t learn a ton of new information about the original series or Roddenberry himself. If you’re a casual fan, however, you may. That being said, I feel as though any viewer would learn a great deal about the science behind Star Trek.


Grade: B

The Real Story: Star Trek airs on The Smithsonian Channel on June 30th at 8pm.

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