Legendary Star William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek television and movie fame, explores the questions: Could a TV show propel us into a real-life final frontier? Could a fictional captain change the way we interact with our world? Join William Shatner as he hosts this light-hearted look at how the fictional "U.S.S. Enterprise" and crew in reality inspired the world of science and today's technologies. From "communicator"-style flip phones, medical imaging, virtual reality, space-craft propulsion and more, this special explores how much of the Star Trek science fiction now permeates our everyday life and influences advanced sciences.
With tongue firmly in cheek, How William Shatner Changed the World
makes an entertaining and altogether convincing case for the positive influence of Star Trek
. While the title may be slightly misleading, we can forgive Shatner's light-hearted self-promotion (based on his book I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact
, written with Chip Walter) because this Emmy-nominated Discovery Channel program is such a constant pleasure to watch, not just for devoted Trekkies but for anyone with a passion for exploration, innovation, and the promise of the future. Originally broadcast in November 2005, the program serves a dual purpose, chronicling the history of Star Trek
since its TV premiere in 1966, and demonstrating how series creator Gene Roddenberry's hopeful vision of the future has affected millions of lives, influenced the development of modern technologies, and shaped our future by presenting an inspirational example of humanity's potential.
As he cruises around Los Angeles in a burgundy-colored Aston Martin DB8, Shatner (in the capable hands of director Julian Jones) introduces us to a wide variety of people whose bright, forward-thinking careers were inspired by Star Trek. Along with personal observations by Star Trek veterans George Takei ("Sulu"), Walter Koenig ("Chekov"), writer D.C. Fontana, and Next Generation alumnus Jonathan Frakes, these top scientists, inventors, and space explorers are combined with Shatner's lively narration and highly humorous editing of Star Trek film clips, archival footage, and expert testimonies to show how Star Trek's fiction has had a ripple effect on scientific fact. As a breezy primer on the cultural, technological, and scientific impact of Star Trek, How William Shatner Changed the World is more entertaining than purely educational, but it's still an excellent program for family viewing and classrooms alike, guaranteed to open bright, young minds to a dazzling universe of exciting possibilities. --Jeff Shannon