Learn how the original Motorola cell phone, affectionately called “the brick”, was inspired by the classic Star Trek communicator.
Learn how Star Trek helped pioneer the civil rights movement – in 1968 the show featured a kiss between Captain Kirk and Commander Uhura, it was the first interracial kiss on US television!
Learn how Star Trek inspired the NESE-based SETI-institute (Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence) and the search for aliens.
The special is based on Shatners book I’m Working on That, and features interviews with Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking as well as some of the famous inventors who were inspired by Star Trek.
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
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