This should have gone up yesterday, but it's definitely not too late to begin enjoying the Shat-tastic delights of EPIX network's super special event Shatnerpalooza, now through the end of the month. If you're a fan of William Shatner as Captain Kirk, you will be in heaven -- I know we will be around here! Celebrating the many talents of Shatner -- as actor, icon, interviewer, legend -- Shatnerpalooza features an incredible line-up of Star Trek-related programs, plus other treats from Shatner's prodigious TV output.
The centerpiece of the event is the premiere tonight at 8pm of a brand-new documentary entitled The Captains, where Shatner interviews the select few actors and actresses who have played Captains over the life of the Star Trek franchise. From Patrick Stewart to Kate Mulgrew to Avery Brooks and beyond, The Captains is sure to be amusing and enlightening. In case you've missed it, William Shatner is enjoying quite a nice run lately as a tremendously gifted interviewer, with his great work talking with fellow celebrities and historic newsmakers on his two Biography Channel series Raw Nerve and Aftermath. He's incredibly good on both of them, exhibiting a keen intelligence, asking fascinating questions, and also coming across as an enlightened human being with a huge well of compassion. There aren't THAT many 79-year-old actors out there doing anything close to the level or quantity of work Shatner is -- are there any others? -- and if anything, he's just getting better with age.
Among the other treats of Shatnerpalooza are his classic The Outer Limits episode "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" as an astronaut whose mission to Venus has unintended after-effects, and episodes of the U.S. version of Iron Chef hosted by Shatner. TV fans will thrill to the inclusion of the rarely-seen 1979 TV movie Disaster on the Coastliner, co-starring Raymond Burr, E.G. Marshall, Yvette Mimieux, Pat Hingle and Lloyd Bridges. It definitely doesn't get any better than that! Also featured is a new special about the staging of a dance performance to Shatner's album with Ben Folds entitled Gonzo Ballet, and I see one airing tonight at 2am Eastern of the great and frequently filthy Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner, uncensored. Hilarious!
But wait, there's more! You'll also want to catch Shatner in 1974's sexy Bonnie-and-Clyde-ish action film Big Bad Mama co-starring Angie Dickinson and Tom Skerrit, and in his controversial race relations film from 1962 The Intruder, with Shatner giving a powerful and unusual performance under the director of Roger Corman, with a screenplay by frequent Twilight Zone writer Charles Beaumont. Also on tap is the really good and provocative 1961 film The Explosive Generation, co-starring Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed), Lee Kinsolving, Billy Gray (Father Knows Best) and Ed Platt in the story of a high school teacher who dares to introduce sex education into his classroom, and the hell he gets for it. (Obviously -- and sadly -- this is a plotline that would still be relevant today in some parts of the country.)
EPIX has a strong online presence, and also is presenting a couple of movies only on the web, including a couple more TV movies -- Pioneer Woman and Broken Angel -- and a really terrific event coming live from ComicCon in San Diego this afternoon, open to anyone (I think!). Director Kevin Smith will be talking live to William Shatner at 6pm EST (3pm on the West Coast), and you can tune into to it here at that time and watch. It should be fascinating -- Smith is smart and so is Shatner! (I'm sure this will be available later if you miss it and I'll be sure to post the details as soon as I find them.) Check the EPIX schedule for more information on the entire Shatnerpalooza line-up! EPIX is also allowing to many of these movies and definitely The Captains special free to everyone, so check it out even if you don't have EPIX on your system.
There's also an online challenge called "The Long Khan" which takes Shatner's famous "KHAN!" shout from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and asks viewers to upload their own versions. I haven't done it but I encourage it!
Shatnerpalooza continues on EPIX through the end of this month. Check out EPIX online for more information, and though it's not exactly intuitive to find what you want there's a lot there!