I'm a huge Star Trek fan, and it's a pleasure to receive a new reference book on the franchise (this time, centered around the original series, aka TOS). The Encyclopedia and Chronology were great in their time, but with all the information in the later Deep Space Nine and Voyager episodes (as well as Enterprise and the last few movies), they've become outdated. I expected 365 to be similar to the excellent Art of Star Trek (1997), and it is a great companion piece to that book, offering some beautiful images along with insights into the production and the impact of the classic series over the last 40 years.
In general, the layout has images on the right side, with brief episode teasers and other information on the left.
I'm going to note a few things that came to mind as I read through the book:
+365 comes in hardcover, with a beautiful image of the Enterprise on the front and a picture of Spock, Kirk, McCoy and Scott (from "Spectre of the Gun") on the back. The pages are semi-glossy and easy to flip through. The page numbers are colored the same as the dvd sets - yellow for season 1, blue for season 2, red for season 3 (and black otherwise).
-The cover can scratch and dent easily, and mine already has a sort of "haze" around the edges. The pages pick up fingerprints (wash your hands before reading!), and several of the text pages had ink smears and other blemishes (not a big deal, but worth noting). The page numbers are all on the text (left) sides and are cut off slightly. I guess this was a stylistic choice, but they're often hard to read.
+The episodes are presented in production order. Though this was often different from airdate order ("The Man Trap" aired before "Where No Man Has Gone Before", even though "Before" was actually the second pilot), the layout is much more logical and easier to read through.
-There's no table of contents, so it's hard to find your favorite episode or get a sense of which shows aired in which season. The opening page for each episode has a teaser for the show, which might whet your appetite, but doesn't reveal too much. They could have put the episode number on the page (1-79), the stardate, the original airdate, a list of personnel (directors, guest stars, etc) or other things, yet those are all missing. A few notes on specific actors or props might be included on subsequent pages, but you never really know what's coming.
+The big draw for 365 is in its images, and here it rarely disappoints. Many of the pictures are razor-sharp and look like they could have been shot yesterday (Spock mind-melding with Van Gelder from "Dagger of the Mind"). I've read the comments about the rest, which sometimes look a bit grainy; knowing they are from the original negatives and have been cleaned up makes up for this at times, though other times you wish they just chose another shot.
-Sometimes the pictures are from the remastered episodes (the Enterprise and Balok's ship from "The Corbomite Maneuver") without any note of that fact. It wouldn't bother me if it was consistent, but sometimes there is a really crummy original shot (The USS Constellation approaching "The Doomsday Machine") that would have looked much better if they used the remastered footage instead (the original shot used a model with almost no detail). There are also some episodes that are missing things that should be there...for instance, there are no pictures of Elaan in the collection for "Elaan of Troyius" (!), or of Mudd, who was in two episodes ("Mudd's Women" [5 pictures with the women, none of him!] and "I, Mudd"). Actually, several villains should be pictured but aren't, like Merik from "Bread and Circuses" or the Klingons from "A Private Little War".
+I guarantee you'll not only learn a lot about TOS, you'll learn things that will make you smile (like how Vaal - the big dragon head from "The Apple" - was actually made of aluminum foil!). There are nice tidbits on some of the guest actors, locations, costumes, episode scores and more. You'll find out why several planets seem "just like Earth," why Sulu was missing for most of season 2, and why William Shatner sometimes kept...pausing in the middle...of his dialogue!
-Some of the information is presented randomly (a comment on the look of the transporter platform comes in-between episode summaries for season 3). They keep mentioning how NBC gave the show a small budget, but not WHY this was so, or WHY so many people left before the third season (also no mention of Freiberger, the producer for that season). Also, there's too much information in some places and not enough in others. For instance, we get a whole page of text dedicated to the belly dancer from "Wolf in the Fold" yet nothing on Klingon warrior Kor ("Errand of Mercy") or Kodos the Executioner ("The Conscience of the King"). I also expected more interviews and actual quotes from the actors and others; how did Ricardo Montalban approach the role of Khan? What did Mark Lenard think about Sarek's relationship with Spock ("Journey to Babel", as well as the third and fourth movies)? Surely these people (and the main cast) had something to say about the show (and its effect on their lives) that could have been reproduced here. Finally, it would have been cool to include a bit on the 2009 movie, like a trivia section on the little homages to TOS people might have missed.
I know I've piled on the book a bit, but what it all boils down to is: did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. It was fun to go through once, and I'll surely be checking back to it whenever I view the episodes again. I still think the DS9 Companion is the best Trek book out there though (even if it's only in black and white).