1. For 79 weeks in 1966 to 1969, fans of the TV series Star Trek ventured into "Space, the final frontier" as the Enterprise crew carried out its mission to "explore new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

2. David Gerrold, a writer for the series, remarked: "The Enterprise is cosmic 'Mary Worth' meddling her way across the galaxy, solving problems as she goes." Star Trek has lived on in the hearts of its fans long after its run ended on television. A directory lists 19 pages of fan clubs and, in honor of the show, the White House even named the new space shuttle "Enterprise."

3. Star Trek — The Motion Picture which at $40 - $50 million cost is one of the most expensive movies ever made — follows more in the spirit of Close Encounter of the Third Kind than of Star Wars. The storyline zeroes in on the perennial science fiction theme of the interaction between human beings and machines downplays George Lucas' role of outer space as the successor to the Wild West.

4. Isaac Asimov: "Science fiction is an escape into reality. It deals with today, and — more importantly — tomorrow." That is the approach producer Gene Roddenberry takes with this film and it has elicited a very negative response from some critics and the segment of the movie-going public which craves another Star Wars.

5. The special effects by Douglas Trumball and John Dykstra are quite spectacular — if you are willing to surrender yourself to an awe of outer space or a curiosity about technology and its manifold mysteries. The pace of the story is quite slow; music by Jerry Goldsmith punctuates the most dramatic scenes.

6. After two years in drydock, the remodeled Enterprise is sent off into space to intercept an "alien force" heading toward the earth and disintegrating everything in its path. Commander James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is called up to lead his search-and-destroy mission. Other show regulars who join the Enterprise are Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and Scotty (James Doohan). Stephen Collins stars as the demoted captain of the ship, and Persis Khambatta as a beautiful navigator from the planet Delta is also featured.

7. The "alien force" turns out to be a "living machine" which has accumulated more and more intelligence. The situation posed by screenplay writer Harold Livingston is quite intriguing — in the future we will be radically altered as a result of the machines we have invented. And there may come a time when humans and machines will merge — becoming extensions of each other. Such an evolutionary development is probed in the finale of Star Trek — The Motion Picture.