Review: The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood

The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood
The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood by Nicholas Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While Star Trek fans may never agree on which series is the best (it will always be Original Series, hands down), most fans will agree that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the best entry in the long-running film franchise. In fact, were it not for Khan and it’s success, it’s likely we’d only have the original 79 episodes and a couple of movies to discuss when it comes to one of the greatest franchises in modern entertainment history.

A lot of ink has been spilled in recent years on the “kiss and tell” behind the scenes looks at the making of Star Trek. This time the behind the scenes look comes from director Nicholas Meyer, who admits that he had very little familiarity with Star Trek before he took on the task of crafting the story for Khan and serving as director for the second installment. And yet it’s Meyer, along with Harve Bennett, who arguably have had the biggest impact on the Trek franchise outside of Gene Roddenberry himself and the oft-overlooked classic Trek producer Gene Coon.

The View from the Bridge offers a look at Meyer’s life and career pre and post Trek and it’s every bit as interesting as you’d hope it would be. It’s also refreshingly honest from Meyer, who admits that all he ever wanted to do is grow up to write the kind of stories he liked. Meyer examines his career with honesty and little self-delusion. He is quick to point out things he believes he did right, but also to call himself for shortcomings or mistakes made along the way. (Most telling are a few comments about how Roddenberry was treated by the time Meyer assumed the director’s seat for the sixth installment in the franchise).

If you’re a Trek fan like I am, you’re likely to eat this up with a spoon. But this memoir holds more than just the standard look at the franchise or serving as another kiss and tell book. Reading it made me want to re-visit much, if not all of, Meyer’s output over the years to examine them again after seeing this inside look. I will admit I’ve never been a huge fan of his Holmes pastiche The Seven Percent Solution but after reading this book, I’m curious to look at it again, taking into account the behind-the-scenes information Meyer details here. And, of course, after reading this book, I want to dust off my oft-watched copy of Wrath of Khan and view it again.

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