Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)


Series: The True Story
True Stories (Germany)
Run time: 45 minutes
Director: Phil Stebbing
Release date: 5 January 2013 (Discovery Channel)
9 May 2013 (Channel 5, UK)
Other release date(s): 22 January 2014 (ZDF, Germany)
9 September 2016 (ARTE, France. Germany)
Language: English
Dubbed: German, French

Star Trek: The True Story was a documentary co-produced in 2012 by Blink Films/LOOKS Filmproduktionen GmbH, an US/German production company combination. (see: here) It was first broadcast by the Discovery Channel in the US on 5 January 2013 as the 29th episode of their "The True Story" documentary series. It was also broadcast in the UK by Channel 5 on 9 May 2013. In Germany the documentary was aired by public broadcaster ZDF (the first-time German broadcaster of Star Trek in the mid-1970s) on 22 January 2014 as True Stories: Star Trek, [1] re-airing it on 12 and 13 December. [2] It became re-aired yet again in both Germany and France by ARTE (an European Union-wide operating public broadcaster) on 9 September 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first-time airing in the USA. [3] Discovery, Channel 5, ARTE and ZDF incidentally, were all among the public broadcasters for whom the documentary was commissioned to become produced in the first place. (see: here)

Running for 45 minutes, the documentary broached the subject of Star Trek from two angles. First, it chronicled in broad strokes the genesis of the franchise, from the inception of Star Trek: The Original Series through cancellation and resurgence in syndication and subsequent fandom, to its rebirth in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The second approach was the discussion of the current state of both the theoretical and practical development of the various scientific basic principles, that served, as per Gene Roddenberry's dictum, as a believable basis at the time for The Original Series. For the second approach, several real-world scientists were interviewed, not a few of them unabashedly admitting they went into their chosen field of profession because of Star Trek: The Original Series.

As is currently commonplace with productions of the Discovery Channel, some of the events discussed in regard to the early history of the franchise were re-enacted with the use of actors portraying the main principals, Gene Roddenberry, Herb Solow and the NBC television executives in this case. Roddenberry received a somewhat more critical treatise than usual, as more of his Human fallacies and shortcomings during those years were highlighted, which, however, was met with sympathy by his son, Rod Roddenberry, who stated in the documentary that it helped him to humanize the picture he had of his late father.

Essentially syndicated itself, the documentary got a second lease of live in the USA as it had also been co-commissioned by the Smithsonian Channel who aired it on 30 June 2013 as the slightly adapted Star Trek: The Real Story, as part of their The Real Story documentary series, being the first episode of its fifth season. It was the Smithsonian version that saw a DVD release in 2018.


  • Interviewees
  • Cast
    • Charlie Richards as Young Herb Solow
  • Production staff
    • Mark Bazeley – Narrator
    • Mandy Calder – Production Accountant
    • Phil Stebbing – Director

External link

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