You’ll notice I didn’t say the best, but most recognizable. Put Shatner into a show and his style of acting is instantly recognizable. It may not be the best, but it’s always evident when he’s on-screen.
Of course, Shatner brought to life the greatest captain in all of Star Trek history, the original and still the best Captain James T. Kirk. As most of you know, I love classic Star Trek. It’s second only to Doctor Who as my all-time favorite television show.
If you’re interested in seeing some of Shatner at his best and most memorable, here are a few recommendations.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — Arguably the best performance Shatner has ever given period. Interestingly, the commentary on the DVD reveals that director Nicholas Meyer did so many takes of certain scenes to get Shatner “tired” of doing Shatner and then actually acting. The proof is in the final result.
Star Trek: The Enemy Within. Kirk is split into two halves thanks to a transporter malfunction. One is good, one is evil. Shatner has a field day and does a great job of portraying the good and evil half of Kirk.
Star Trek: City on the Edge of Forever. Those who say the man can’t act should either see this episode of Wrath of Khan. Shatner delivers here. The final line of the show is haunting.
Twilight Zone: Terror at 20,000 Feet. One of the most famous episodes of this great series. One of the stepping stones to the greatness that is Captain Kirk.
Free Enterprise Shatner plays a character called Bill. Two middle-aged Trek fans see Bill in the bookstore, browsing porn and go up and talk to him. The movie follows the two trying to put together a movie with Bill as its star. Worth the price of admission alone to hear Shatner rap and the opening sequence with one of our young heroes channeling Shatner when being beat up on the playground. When Bill asks why the young guy is getting the crap knocked out of him, the guy replies “He said Han Solo could beat up Captain Kirk.” Response by Bill: “Kick his ass.” Pure and total brilliance.