‘Building Star Trek’ links TV with future tech

Image: Starship Enterprise
A model of the Starship Enterprise hangs from the ceiling at “Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds,” an exhibit at Seattle’s EMP Museum marking the TV show’s 50th anniversary. (GeekWire photo by Kevin Lisota)

The vision of the future that “Star Trek” laid out in 1966 may have been bright and shiny, but 50 years later, the most valuable artifacts that the show left behind were a real mess.

“Building Star Trek,” premiering on the Smithsonian Channel on Sept. 4, tells how those artifacts were restored to their 23rd-century glory – for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, and for Seattle’s EMP Museum.

You can see the fruits of the conservators’ labors at the EMP’s 50th-anniversary “Star Trek” exhibit, but “Building Star Trek” shows you much more: glimpses behind the scenes at what it takes to preserve the past, parallels between the futuristic fiction of “Star Trek” and cultural trends of the 1960s, and present-day technological developments that echo the show’s sci-fi innovations.

There are even enough cheesy clips from the original series to remind you that this was a TV program from the days before computer-generated wizardry took hold, when “Bonanza” led the ratings.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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