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directed by Joel Gallen
USA 2006


One of my earliest memories of watching TV involves William Shatner. My first exposure to Shatner was watching T.J. Hooker with my family. I actually don’t remember T.J. Hooker at all except that I saw it. Little did I know that two of its stars, Shatner and James Darren, were/would be major figures in Star Trek. Shatner played Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and seven big-screen features. Darren played Vic Fontaine, a holosuite-based crooner, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Eventually, while still a kid in Hawaii during the early-1980s, I saw Shatner-as-Kirk in re-runs of ST:TOS. To be honest, I don’t remember much of TOS from those days, either. Although I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager on and off while they were on the air, I didn’t become a full-blown Trekkie until I started reviewing Star Trek on DVD and interned with I now have a vinyl banner of Shatner-as-Kirk in my living room.

Shatner has always been considered something of a ham, but he seemed reluctant to embrace that role until the mid-1990s, when he began making fun of himself, appearing in commercials even though he professed little knowledge of computer use, and making comedy albums. He is such a lovable, silly goof that he even won Emmies for his role as Denny Crane in The Practice and Boston Legal. Shatner is now praised by the mainstream for the very traits that once marginalized him.

Cable channel Comedy Central saw fit to add Shatner to its list of roastees, and the Roast of William Shatner is a chance for Trekkies to see Shatner, Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), and George Takei (Sulu) together for possibly one last time. The three spew outrageous jokes about each other. Not meaning to sound politically-incorrect, I must admit that some of the program’s best jokes involve George Takei’s homosexuality. Unfortunately, most of the roast is rather boring and even downright lame. Most of the roasters have nothing to do with Shatner or with Star Trek, and most of the roasters roast each other rather than roasting Shatner. This misses the point in two ways. First, the show is supposed to be a roast of Shatner, not of other people. Second, people usually roast the successful, not the nobodies that Comedy Central subsidizes for times when the channel runs out of programs to air.

David McCoy


Theatrical Release: 20 August 2006

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DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to David McCoy for the Review!

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 80 minutes

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Red Carpet Interviews
• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Making of the Roast
• Comedy Central Quickies
• Previews

DVD Release Date: 20 March 2007

Chapters 24





The 1.33:1 video mostly exhibits a glossy sheen which is probably attributable to the use of high-def video cameras. However, the up-close shots of audience members look very dark and lacking in resolution, so I’m guessing that standard-def video cameras were used, too. The high-def stuff looks great, but all the standard-def shots were soft and ugly. The video is interlaced, though I don’t know if this was due to the source (cameras recording in interlaced) or to the mastering (encoding in interlaced).

The program features a plain-vanilla Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English audio track. This is just fine since the show is simply a “live”, on-stage events show. There are a few stereo effects based on people walking back and forth across a stage, but for the most part, the audio sounds like a mono mix.

Optional English closed captions support the audio.

The disc has a couple of extras, but they’re boring and worthless since so much of the material focuses on the roasters and not on Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, or George Takei. “Red Carpet Interviews” and “Behind the Scenes Footage” offer snippets from the day of the event. “Making of the Roast” looks at some planning that took place in Shatner’s offices. “Comedy Central Quickies” are skits that aired on the cable channel. There are previews of other Comedy Central DVDs, too.

 - David McCoy


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