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Harve Bennett

Although he will likely be best remembered by genre fans for his work on the Star Trek film franchise, Harve Bennett was a super-producer. His career began in the fifties – with his first credited work on Now is Tomorrow, a television movie starring actors Robert Culp and Sydney Pollack. However, Bennett really came into his own as a producer of seventies television. He helped to create The Mod Squad and The Invisible Man. However, he is perhaps most noted in geek circles for his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Along with director Nicholas Meyer, Harve Bennett effectively reinvented Star Trek. Taking over the reins from Gene Roddenberry after that creator’s bloated (if ambitious) work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Bennett stumbled upon an ingenious idea. Instead of trying to hide the fact that the cast and crew were getting older, he would embrace it. Bennett effectively came up with the idea of allowing the characters to grow older, coming up with an approach that would help to distinguish the Star Trek films from their source material.

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It would be too much to suggest that Harve Bennett was the first writer to reinvent Star Trek, paving the way for creators like Michael Piller or Ira Steven Behr or Brannon Braga or Manny Coto. After all, Star Trek had already been reinvented by Gene L. Coon and D.C. Fontana before Bennett come on board. However, Bennett was part of the first creative team to reinvent Star Trek in a very overt and very conscious way. Meyer and Bennett were the first creators to be overt (rather than subversive) in how they were updating and revising the Star Trek canon.

Bennett was part of the creative team that oversaw the first truly seismic transition in what Star Trek actually was, the first without any major behind-the-scenes continuity. In doing so, Bennett was one of the first creators to demonstrate the versitility and the potential of Star Trek. In shepherding the movie franchise, Bennett was a vital part of keeping Star Trek alive long enough for the franchise to prove that it could be self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. Bennett is a much bigger figure in Star Trek history than he is given credit for.

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Non-Review Review: Star Trek III – The Search for Spock

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

I have a soft spot for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It’s a weird thing to admit, but it was really my first encounter with the crew of the original Star Trek television show. I was only eight or nine at the time, and I’d grown up watching and loving Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course, this was in an era before DVD and blu ray made it feasible (and affordable) to collect the whole thing. So I branched out by trying the movies.

Being a young child in the era before the internet, I didn’t know that the second through fourth films formed a loose thematic trilogy. I just picked the film with the title that jumped out at me. Since “Spock” was an iconic part of Star Trek, and I knew him from his guest appearance on The Next Generation, The Search for Spock seemed the logical choice.

And it retains a special place in my heart.

"I have been, and always shall be, your friend..."

“I have been, and always shall be, your friend…”

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Non-Review Review: Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

In many respects, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan represents the franchise’s first true “reboot.”

There have been various points in the history of the franchise when the show has undergone a reinvention of some description, a radical shift from what it was into what it would be. The third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation represented such a dramatic update, a shift turn-around from the show’s first troubled two seasons. The third and fifth seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did something similar. Star Trek: Enterprise tried to affect some radical shift, but only managed to accomplish it in the third season. JJ Abrams’ recent summer blockbuster represented its own dramatic alteration to what Star Trek was or could be.

However, The Wrath of Khan represents the show’s first massive shift, the first point at which the franchise effectively evolved into something markedly different from what it had been before.

You Khan do it!

You Khan do it!

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