Star Trek #1577: The New Trek Programme Guide

Category: ST Non-Fiction
Last article published: 19 June 2022
This is the 22nd post under this label

Note that I am placing the numbered count for the few Star Trek books I have endeavored to review as part of posting one article per label AFTER the first season of Strange New Worlds, which explains the discrepancy.

PUBLICATION: Virgin Books, 1995

CREATORS: Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping

STARDATE: Covers all 7 seasons of TNG, and DS9's first 2, plus a few from the third.

TOPIC: In the style of their Doctor Who DisContinuity Guide, the authors have fun covering each episode with amusing or irreverent categories like Dialogue Triumphs/Disasters and tracking Poker Games, the Picard Maneuver (the snapping of the shirt), and whether Troi is underused (often). Among other things.


DIVERGENCES: It's definitely a British take (therefore, the way Programme is spelled). Factual errors are inevitable in a book like this, so I won't bore you with them.

REVIEW: I enjoyed the DisContinuity Guide (and its continuation for books and audios online) quite a lot. The Trek book, however, is only so-so. Where the authors were experts on Who, I would only call them fans of Trek, and it makes a difference in the value of the information. Listing tech and planet names is a boring use of page space, for example, and while it's amusing to track the various tropes of the show(s), telling me Picard snaps his shirt twice, Wesley once, in any given episode gets repetitive. I also take exception with the way the content is structured, throwing all the facts and trivia as part of "Notes" after the episode review. Those reviews, while short, and pithy and the best thing about the New Trek Guide, no question. So why undermine their impact by following them up with dull factoids? The Who book was also full of fan theories and ways to connect different things. Nothing like that here, except for Cornell's essay on metaphor, thrown at the back like an afterthought. Indeed, we could also inquire of Virgin Books how it made sense to make the book end in the middle of things, with a just episode titles to end DS9 S3 and give us a peek at Voyager, instead of letting the authors shop further volumes down the line. During a certain rewatch of these episodes, I did follow each episode with just the one-paragraph review to compare thoughts, but I have rarely revisited anything else.