An Ode to William Shatner by Ed S.
William Shatner is "Star Trek"
Who is responsible more than any other human being for the
overwhelming success of "Star Trek"?
Without William Shatner, "Star Trek" would be nothing but a
distant memory nowadays, a obscure fact known only to sci-fi
afficionados, a trivia question.
The luckiest thing that ever happened to Gene Roddenberry
was to come across an actor like William Shatner to portray
his starship captain.
Why did "Star Trek" become so popular?
Was it because the general public loved science fiction so much?
Was it because of three seasons of award-winning scripts?
Was it because Gene Roddenberry was such a genius?
The reason for "Star Trek"'s success is simple: William Shatner.
"Star Trek"'s premise
The whole premise of "Star Trek" was the ongoing quest for
adventure and discovery by James T. Kirk, a premise borrowed
from C. S. Forrester's "Horatio Hornblower", by
Roddenberry's own admission.
The role of James Kirk required a strong actor to lead the Enterprise, a commanding
actor, a flamboyant actor. It needed a charismatic actor.
It behooved William Shatner to be larger than
life in that role.
And he was.
Watch Shatner carefully
Watch Shatner in the first season of the original series.
He is nothing short of brilliant.
He is a commanding presence. Everyone on screen is looking
at him and everyone in front of the TV is watching him,
except for the silly teenage girls who are in love with Mr.
He holds everyone's attention when he speaks.
He is the energy that drives that show.
But the second- and third-season episodes were generally
awful, weren't they?
Did you think that Shatner overacted in many of those
Did he ham it up too much?
Was he a bad actor in those episodes?
Shatner knew exactly what he was doing in those awful
He did what needed to be done.
Those episodes could only be rescued through the acting of
the lead character.
Why do we still like watching those terrible episodes?
Because of William Shatner.
Try watching "The Tholian Web" again, an episode that keeps
Shatner off the screen most of the time. Notice how your
eyes glaze over while Bones, Spock, and Scotty try to keep
themselves from falling asleep.
Without William Shatner, there is no story.
Was Shatner hard to work with?
Did William Shatner promote himself too heavily and promote
the show too vigourously?
Did he take advantage of his position as the star of the
show to get himself too much publicity?
Did the other actors feel envious of the exposure that he
William Shatner did what was necessary to make that show
work and to bring it to the public's attention. And why
shouldn't he promote himself as the star of the show?
Are the other actors upset with Shatner and his antics?
I don't give a Klingon's keister.
Those other actors are icons today because of
It doesn't end with "Star Trek"
Why has William Shatner been nominated for so many Emmys and
Because he's a damned fine actor.
How to respond
I will add all your boneheaded replies to this page.
How to respond if you are William Shatner
If you are William Shatner then the least you could do is to
offer me a walk-on part on "Boston Legal".