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How William Shatner Changed the World (2005)

William Shatner , Ira Steven Behr , Julian Jones  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Ira Steven Behr, George Takei, Stephen Hawking, Colm Meaney
  • Directors: Julian Jones
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Allumination
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000M9BSBO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,907 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How William Shatner Changed the World" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great, Fun Show! January 26, 2007
By Geena
This show originally aired on The Discovery Channel. In it, William Shatner hosts an hour-long program about how the technology and ideas presented in classic Star Trek have affected both real-world technology and our ideas about what is possible in the future. Footage of the erstwhile Captain Kirk goofing on his own image (that guy has very possibly the BEST sense of humor about himself of any celebrity) is intercut with interviews and documentary-style footage (narrated by Shatner, of course) of real scientists and engineers (many of whom, you will be unsurprised to learn, were inspired as youngsters by the original Star Trek series). The result is an informative, funny and often inspiring view of what it REALLY means to live "in the future."

It's good to be reminded that the lives we live now used to be someone else's future, and the future we look forward to is a place where people are going to live.

Highly recommended.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The program, How William Shatner Changed the World is great. I have shown it to my Students in my Astronomy classes while we talk about space explortation and the future. I wanted my students to see how our facination with space has influenced our daily lives and how it affected our technology and it's change over time. All of my students were mesmerized and enthralled through the whole show. They loved it.

Thanks William Shatner,


Kendall Keane

Science Teacher

East High School

Wichita, KS
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mix of Sci-Fi and Hard Science May 13, 2007
This documentary does an excellent job of showing how real-life scientists were inspired by inventions shown on Star Trek. Shatner is a delightful host, too, moving us swiftly and humorously between segments. I plan on using parts of this DVD when teaching my classes this fall.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly There February 22, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I initially watched this on cable, and after viewing my DVD copy, came away somewhat disappointed that the DVD version is edited, having left out or abbreviated at least two scenes. As an example, why did the editors of this DVD leave in Shatner's utterance of foul language (g--d---) and a brief and not necessarily funny scene of group nudity, yet completely excise a really funny scene in which the camera is panning a landscape over which Shatner is heard talking, only for the camera to settle on the closed door of an industrial outhouse? The door opens and there is Shatner holding an opened newspaper, still talking, and yes, sitting on the can. But, alas, you and I are deprived of this and remain a victim of some questionable editing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half world-changing/half Star Trek chronicling June 8, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The first half of the video is a fascinating look at how Star Trek inspired the invention of cell phones, personal computers, and medical imaging devices. It's enhanced by the appearance of some of the actual inventors of those seminal devices (though, sadly, no Steve Wozniak). This part is delightful and of special interest to those who study the interaction of the arts and technology.

The second half concentrates on the evolution of Star Trek from Roddenberry's original vision (through TNG) and then its slow decline through subsequent spin-offs. This section might be of interest to Trekkers and others who are interested in art criticism.

The first half is made lively by William Shatner's over-the-top narration and some rather quirky (perhaps irritating) directing; the second half tones it down noticeably.

All in all, it's an enjoyable watch for me, a humanities prof who enjoyed the original Star Trek, the TNG spin-off, and several of the movies (my favorite was IV). I purchased it primarily to show the first section in some of my classes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Shatner & the Wold July 14, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
om Mr. Shatner's view's on what Star Trek's effect on society may be realistic to a point but I honestly don't agree with everything he has to say. He does have some interesting things to say & he has some interesting things to make. I am not sure if I would recommend it to someone who is not a true Trekkie fan. If an individual is not a true Trekkie fan, I'm not sure they would enjoy the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Have to be a Shatner/Star Trek fan to enjoy October 19, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bought this for a friend who loves William Shatner and Star Trek. If you do not, then pass this by. For those who love Shatner and Star Trek, the price justifys the purchase. Just one more to add to the collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shatner Makes Self-Promotion Easily Enjoyable December 13, 2007
By jartwo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Shatner has seemingly made a career out of the art of self-promotion (countless commercials, books and short films to that effect), but I think that's because he's one of the few Hollywood types that is actually successful (a la George Hamilton) at it. The light-hearted humor and sly self-parody are almost enough to give self-promotion (in their cases, anyway) a good name. Plus, I enjoy watching someone who has as much fun as he has being serious! There is also some meat, at least, to the science-fact part of what he's talking about, so, of course, it works on that level just fine, in fact, even if you're NOT religiously familiar with Star Trek - but, it's just as eye-opening if you are, too. Highly recommended - a very enjoyable 120 minutes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great show for sci-fi fans & geeks
A must buy/own for any trekkie !!!!!!! Enough said !
A great show for sci-fi fans & geeks !
It explains how Gene Roddenberry inspired many of today's top scientists... Read more
Published 7 days ago by David Dashiell
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
It wasn't William Shatner. It was Star Trek that inspired invention and seems to be doing so today. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nancy Price-Hobday
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful spin on progress
This has so many interesting tidbits in it about the influence of Trek and Shatner is such an obnoxious jewel. I love him!
Published 8 months ago by E. Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting video
this is realy about how star trek has changed the world. things that were on the show back in the 60's have become a realty now.
Published 9 months ago by edward mcleod
1.0 out of 5 stars Shatner didn't "change the world"
only a jerk like Shatner would claim credit for the entire Star Trek if a man named Roddenberry had nothing to do with it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Wikileaker
5.0 out of 5 stars So timely
When my son, a fellow trekie, was a teen, I commented to him how the new cell phones were so like the communicators on Star Trek.
Published 16 months ago by Elizabeth Stingo
5.0 out of 5 stars Shatner as Kirk sets the record straight!
Bill Shatner as Kirk explains thru humor, dialog, and several Star Trek clips how several gadgets commonplace in the 21st century from ST TOS. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Michael E. Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars It really is true that you can sometimes predict the future.
I made the connection from the communicator to the flip phone, my dad didn't, so I shared this with him and we both enjoyed seeing how someone's vision of the future influenced... Read more
Published 19 months ago by coral
5.0 out of 5 stars Geektastic
This is an excellent documentary that weaves a historiography of technological innovation into a timeline of Star Trek in its various film and TV forms. Read more
Published 21 months ago by DP
5.0 out of 5 stars great fun
William Shatner IS great fun and this video is terrific. Just saw Shatner in concert, "Shatner's World", very different from 'How Shatner Changed the World", but... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Nanc
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