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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Captains Close Up

October 23rd, 2013

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The Captains Close Up was a TV series that aired earlier this year and had William Shatner interviewing, and being interviewed by, the other captains in the Star Trek franchise. The show is obviously aimed at Trekkies, but will it appeal to them? Will it have a broader appeal outside of the core fan base?

The Show

The first episode focuses on William Shatner, who is interviewed in the most part by Kate Mulgrew, but also by Chris Pine. There are also tons of other Star Trek alumni talking about the first captain and there is also a look at William Shatner's other work, including his singing career. (I like how he points out that he can't sing, but how that doesn't stop him.)

Up next is Patrick Stewart. We learn quite a bit about his early life, including how he got his name, his memories of the war, etc. We also learn about his decision to become an actor and his rise to fame on stage, first in Britain and then on Broadway. As we are learning about how Patrick Stewart was cast in Star Trek: The Next Generation, his son, Daniel, who is also an actor, shows up and the three men discuss their trade. It was interesting to hear from others how Gene Roddenberry wasn't keen on having an older, bald, British actor as the Captain, and how Patrick Stewart was convinced he was going to be fired right away. We also hear about his family life, which wasn't good as a child growing up.

We then move to Deep Space Nine and Avery Brooks. Avery Brooks is a character. He was the first black lead of a Star Trek and he is very aware of the pioneers of African-American entertainers that helped make that possible (and was from a very young age). But he also doesn't want that to define him. We learn more about the behind-the-scenes of the show, how he commanded the set with his presence, but also how he knew everyone on set.

Kate Mulgrew was the first female Captain. Apparently she didn't know what Star Trek was not too long before she was cast and has much more experience in theater and loves that world a lot. We learn more about that. We even get to meet some of Kate Mulgrew's family.

Scott Bakula's interview begins with a fact that I didn't know. He's a singer. Since William Shatner loves singing, he takes an instant shine to Scott Bakula. The pair talk while doing something William Shatner loves as much as singing, riding horses. We learn about Scott Bakula's love of musical theater and how it started, his work on Quantum Leap, and of course his work on Enterprise. Meanwhile, while we learn this, we watch him learn how to ride a horse.

The Extras

There are a couple of extras, interview bits with William Shatner, each between 1 minute and 2 minutes long.

The Verdict

The Captains Close Up is a fun show that should entertain fans of the Star Trek franchise. I think the more you enjoy a particular incarnation of the show, the more you will like the episode dedicated to that particular captain. If you look at the DVD as a TV on DVD release, it is very expensive. On the other hand, if you look at it as a two-and-a-half hour long documentary, then it is worth picking up for fans.

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Filed under: Video Review, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Chris Pine, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart