I ended up watching both Trek Nation and The Captains on Netflix last night (stayed up til 2:45 am!). Really enjoyed both.
In The Captains, Shatner interviews all the captains of all the Star Trek shows and movies. Fickleone tried to get me to watch this a year of so ago. Shatner is a really good interviewer. It's like he really connects with the person he is talking with. I swear Patrick Stewart was about to go into tears at one point when Shatner asked him about the toll being on the show took on his marriages. I loved the bit where Patrick Stewart talks about how working on TNG helped him to learn that it was okay to both work *and* have fun. Actually I found myself being both astounded and interested in all the interviews. Kate Mulgrew is a very strong woman. I like how she admitted that she had a strong ego. I was very interested in her recounting of how her profession has impacted her personal life. How upfront she was about the toll it took on her children (and how they still resent it.) I even found the exchange between Shatner and Mulgrew about women leaders to be interesting. Not sure I completely agree, but the fact they had the discussion and the way the discussion was held and their responses, I found interesting. (BTW, I loved the "captain in a box bit.") I really enjoyed Scott Bakula a lot and even Chris Pine, My jury is still very out about how I feel Pine is representing Kirk, but this interview gave me hope about that.
I also found the various conversations about the long and hard work days/weeks/years. It matched up with what we've heard from the Js over the years. As I listened to Stewart and Mulgrew and Bakula and Shatner talk about the toll it took on their personal relationship and their children, I couldn't help but think of the boys and hope that somehow they've found a magic way of resolving the conflict of long hours and also having a personal life. Yes I know many of us, me included, have been less than pleased at some of the recent character and plot points of the show and how the brothers are just as frequently not together as together. I think we've all realized that the guys must have negotiated some free time into their contracts. I know they get paid a lot and it's a choice and all. But despite the toll on the story at times, I'm still happy that they may be able to find some personal time as well. I also found Stewart's comment about how long the crew worked (usually 6 days) and that the crew likely had even less breaks than the cast. I'm all over the place with this, but bottom line is that the conversations about long work hours and personal life and choices and balance - have come at a point in my own life when I'm internally fighting through some of these issues myself. Each of these people have reached a level of success in their professions (and I'm not really talking monetary success) that is rare. And that success demanded sacrifice. Most of them expressed regret about those sacrifices, but they also seemed ultimately happy. Obviously (despite the ignorance of youth) you cannot get through life without regrets.
And on a related note, I found it interesting learning about Gene Roddenberry's own son who produced and was the interviewer in Trek Nation. He also would have said that his father's profession (and ST) had a negative impact on his life as Gene's son. Until he became an adult and started learning more about his father from the perspective of others. Didn't chance his own feelings of hurt as Gene's son, but it did give him a different perspective.
Avery Brooks was fascinating. Towards the end I was murmuring that he was a bit "wacka-doodle" - but I meant it in a interesting and good way. In fact after watching his sequences I found myself wanting to watch all of DS9, shich I'm sorry to say is my least favorite of the shows, although I know for many ST fans, it is considered the best. I never enjoyed the more war-like and conflict centric aspect of that series. In fact, while watching Trek Nation, as Roddenberry was describing his vision of what ST was about, I realized how much I had embraced that vision as a child and DS9 breaks, or perhaps goes beyond?, that vision. From what I gathered from watching Trek Nation, Roddenberry might not have embraced DS9 either. This is not to say DS9 was not a great show. I suspect in many ways it *was* one of/the best of the all the series. It's look and feel were just far enough away from why I watched ST that I couldn't get into it. As someone said during Trek Nation, the original premise of ST was more cerebral and less action oriented.
At various parts during The Captains, Shatner goes to the Creation Vegas Star Trek convention. And Valerie and Stephanie show up at a couple points during those sequences. Kinda took me aback and out of the film for a moment (in a good way.) :) And wow. The SIZE of the Star Trek convention. Sheesh. Seriously. At various points over the past 15 years I've considered going to a Star Trek con. The most serious time was for the 40th reunion, before I got into SPN at all. I remember looking up information about the 40th reunion Vegas con (which was Creation, but that was meaningless to me), and deciding against going because a) WOW, the ticket prices were outrageous! (lol) and b) the best seats (aka Gold) looked sold out and only day tickets were available way in the back. As much as I wanted to see Nimoy and Shatner together I could not justify buying two tickets (for me and my husband) at that cost. LOL, oh the irony.
It was great to be reminded that I really *like* Shatner. Yeah I hear he was a bit of a dick back during the day until he got a sense of humor about himself. But once he got that sense of humor about himself, he is really fun to watch. He definitely does have that charisma that draws you in. Below is a clip from an appearance of Shatner, Brooks, and Bakula. It's funny and entertaining. Glad to be reminded how much I love this franchise and Shatner.