Star Trek Documentary Creator Explains Why The Center Seat Is So Special

This Friday will see The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek debut on The History Channel, billed as a deep and detailed exploration of Star Trek history. Each of the ten episodes will delve into a specific chapter in the franchise and feature a wealth of new interviews with cast, crew, and experts who’ll give fresh insights into bringing the universe to life.

The show features one of Leonard Nimoy’s final in-depth interviews prior to his death and promises never-before-seen backstage stories. Now creator Brian Volk-Weiss has given a wide-ranging interview with TrekMovie and explains why The Center Seat is crucial watching for any Trek fan:

Each episode could be a movie – and this is kind of the secret to our sauce – about something very specific. So, for example, we don’t have to short-change The Animated Series, we have an entire episode dedicated to it. I think this is the deepest dive ever into Star Trek history for a documentary. 

Volk-Weiss also touched on how critical the show would be of “complicated guy” Gene Roddenberry:

“I never want to make the audience uncomfortable. So were there some not-the-greatest stories we heard that we did not put into the doc? Yes. I’m a big believer in not punching down. Anytime you’re talking about somebody who’s passed away, that can’t talk back, you have to be so careful to tell the story, but also not be punching down. So, I feel like we gave a very honest portrayal of Gene Roddenberry, as well as some other people.”

One key factor in this has been The Next Generation‘s Gates McFadden, who was instrumental in securing many of the cast interviews and narrates the series:

I’ve never worked with anyone who’s more true, honest, and hardworking. We would not have Brent Spiner, we would not have Rick Berman, we would not have Denise Crosby, we would not have Kate Mulgrew… she got all of those people. And I’ll be honest with you, a lot of these people who have been talking about Star Trek for 20, 30, 50 years maybe are not excited to talk about Star Trek every single day. So Gates convincing them to do these interviews was a game-changer for the series, to put it mildly.

The show will cover up to the end of Enterprise, but there are plans for more. The Center Seat has been conceived as a “living series” and a planned second season will focus on The Next Generation movies, the Kelvinverse Trilogy, and the current crop of Star Trek shows airing now. Interviews have already begun for these, so here’s hoping they follow at some point in 2022.

The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek will premiere on November 5 at 10 pm (ET/PT) on the History Channel.