The Final Frontier

Star Trek (I’m talking the original series here) was positively ridiculous. It wasn’t the shoddy special effects. It wasn’t the shameless moralizing tone. It certainly wasn’t the concept. The problem with Star Trek is Shatner.

William Shatner simply cannot act. He is merely capable of being Shatner, which is all well and good. Shatner is irritating, though somewhat funny. But casting Shatner as Kirk doomed Star Trek to life as a cult thing. Even the craziest of fans know that Shatner sucked — if you watch footage of a trekkie convention (apparently historical enough for the History Channel) you can see plenty of people settling to dress up as redshirts before donning the James T. Kirk ensemble.

Despite Shatner’s lack of ability, the man is still around, still on TV! Priceline decided that he’s good enough for their advertisements. And I believe he is on the show, Boston Legal (?). Isn’t it strange to think that Shatner still has space in spite of, or perhaps because of, his terrible acting?

I think that Shatner’s inability is what has opened the market for him. Now that he no longer needs to pretend to play a serious character, he can just give in to whatever comes out of his mouth — and I’m pretty certain that’s how Shatner operates. I see a similarity here with Bob Dylan. Love him or hate him, his voice is wretched. Yet his voice is part of his success as a musician! If Bob Dylan could hit more than six notes, and hit them with accuracy, nobody would care about his songs. It really isn’t rare to meet people who like Dylan’s singing because it is so “unorthodox.”

Essentially what I’m trying to get at here is one of the oddities of space. When Shatner tries to be a real actor, like in Star Trek, he just makes a mockery of the whole operation. When Shatner just acts as himself it’s still a mockery, but it works. Bob Dylan sounds good because he sounds so bad. Maybe the lesson in it is that we shouldn’t try to force things, but go with the flow of our inner nature. But I’m not writing an episode of Star Trek, so ignore the moralization overtones; I’m just trying to get this blog finished.

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