Whether or not William Shatner ever reprises his role as Captain Kirk in a real, canonical Star Trek movie again, he will always be inextricably tied to the series. Earlier in his career, specifically the time right after NBC canceled the original series after only three seasons* and up through most of the 90s (more or less until Free Enterprise was released), Shatner actively tried to distance himself from the character that made him a household name. As he has gotten older, and I suppose as those residual checks continued to come in the mail, the man who also played T.J. Hooker has finally accepted his captain’s chair, embracing the stilted caricature everyone already saw in him.
Arguably, the reason the last decade has seen some of Shatner’s biggest career successes is because rediscovering his inner Kirk is the one thing that is markedly different from what came before. So, I suppose it is still feasible that Shatner could yet play Kirk one more time, but until that stardate, he has directed a documentary devoted to the Star Trek series’ various other captains, entitled, ironically enough, The Captains. Though, based on this trailer, it is possibly as much about “William Shatner” as it is about fellow captains Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and NuKirk. Or, possibly not. It’s also the source of the header photo, which means the Kirk on Kirk segment with Chris Pine ought to be sufficiently entertaining.
Here, I’ll put it on the viewscreen for your… er, viewing pleasure:
I’ve never heard of EpixHD before, probably because Time Warner doesn’t offer it, but it appears to have a web-based subscription service, as well, so it’s feasible to watch its programming on your home computer. They’re offering a 14-Day free trial, but The Captains doesn’t beam down for approximately 18 more days. So, make sure you plan accordingly…
In the meantime, you can pretend like your Netflix Instant Queue is a replicator in which you can devour as much of the just served first two seasons of the remastered original recipe “Star Trek,” and all of “Next Gen,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise.” The Captains will hopefully make for an excellent dessert. I’m actually watching “Mirror,Mirror” as I write this and the upgrades look totally radass. If you’ve never watched the originals, I highly recommend doing so, as they hold up just as well, if not better, as the newer series in many ways.**
* Nerd Alert: The prequel series “Enterprise” also lasted only three seasons, whereas the other Trek TV shows — The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager — all lasted seven seasons. The more you know.
** Okay, no, a lot of it is campy as hell, but it’s good camp.
Rob Payne also writes the indie/web comic The Unstoppable Force and co-hosts the internet radio show/podcast We’re Not Fanboys. He thinks it’s pretty interesting that part of Shatner’s charm is his ego, and the actor knows this, so he plays into it, and people love him even more for that, especially when he then allows that acknowledged ego to be wounded, sincerely or not. As Spock might say: Fascinating.