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Shatner’s Raw Nerve

January 13, 2009

William_Shatner
Right: William Shatner, TV and Movie Star, now host of his own interview show.

Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of William Shatner (it’s not like he has to worry in a “Misery” kind of way, I said “huge” fan, not “number one fan”). For me Shatner will always be the only real captain of the Enterprise. I have even forgiven the Star Trek movie writers from departing from the series Bible. Kirk said he knew he would always “die alone,” and upon consideration the fact that he dies with Captain Picard at his side is in a perfectly existential way, exactly that. Being the captain of a starship is about making tough decisions, following hunches (having hunches in the first place) and taking action. It is not about building community and finding consensus. Captain Kirk. Yep. I’m an original series fan. And I will also admit to enjoying Shatner’s portrayal of Denny Crane on Boston Legal. But I digress…

Shatner has a new gig: interview show host! Shatner’s Raw Nerve can be see on the Biography Channel, Tuesday nights, 9 p.m. CST (Two 30-minute episodes are typically run back to back; a new episode and a repeat.)

Many people have tried to do this gig, few people are successful at it. Shatner is a delight to watch in this capacity because he brings his curiosity and his attention, and an ability to listen. If he doesn’t get an answer from his guest he moves in and asks again. He doesn’t badger; he’s respectful, but he wants to know. His posture, his gaze, his tone, all say it: he wants to know.

He and his producers have also solved the interview show stage layout problem. Shatner meets his guests and sits opposite them in a huge love-seat type arrangement of comfy chairs. This staging allows direct and constant eye contact from Shatner with his guests. Over Shatner’s shoulder shots to the guest or over the guest’s shoulder shots to Shatner provide reactions. This seating also creates a kind of nest to foster intimacy.

Shatner presses Tim Allen on the voice in his head (god, the universe, what?) and Judge Judy on feeling pain and compassion (and she gets delightfully feisty). The questioning is simple, sincere, and sometimes almost too subtle; but always fun to watch. I hope that he includes writers and painters as future guests.

Jimmy Kimmel ended his interview with “Same time next week? Insurance covers this doesn’t it?” 

I wish the shows were an hour long. Catch tonight's episodes.

    • Gina
    • January 13, 2009
    Reply

    I’m an original series fan too, Roz! My original favorite was McCoy but now it’s McCoy and Spock. I’ve read another good review on this series but unfortunately do not get the Biography Channel; hmmm…might they be online? I’m off to check.

    Live Long & Prosper!

    • Roz
    • January 13, 2009
    Reply

    Gina, check the Biography channel link. It said something about viewing full episodes, but since I get it on TV I didn’t look into that. It might work for you. And based on how you signed your message you definitely want to see the interview of Leonard Nimoy!

    Roz

    • Roz
    • January 13, 2009
    Reply

    Trish, I think you are really going to enjoy the book when you are able to get it. It will be worth the cover price. It is packed with images and information. I’ve had mine for a couple months and haven’t been able to read it all yet because I am using a magnifying glass to read the text on some of the smaller journal pages! It’s all fascinating. I think it’s the best journal “facsimile” look at journals book out there. I’m very thrilled to be included.
    Roz

    • Chris
    • January 13, 2009
    Reply

    And he’s not irritating? I find his self-depracating egotism annoying. Or maybe just his craving for the spotlight.

    • Roz
    • January 13, 2009
    Reply

    I think Chris you’ve answered your own question. I haven’t ever found him irritating and I don’t find him so in this show. But I am laughing because it is all so much about taste.

    I was actually amazed to find him so quiet. (Listening). I thought he would talk more and interrupt more. The only person he really interrupts is long time friend Nimoy. But then it’s early days yet.

    I always enjoy watching someone who is listening.

    Give it a go with one episode. Jimmy Kimmel or Tim Allen if you can find that episode showing/on-line, whatever. See what you think.

    Or not. If someone irritated me I probably couldn’t watch their talk show. Unless there were lots of friends over and I was being very lippy.

    Roz

  1. Reply

    I saw this the other day and was pleasantly surprised. I mean I’m a Shatner and original Star Trek fan too. Usually, though, I’m not that interested in these types of shows. I had to giggle at Jimmy Kimmel’s comment because it is sort of like listening in on someone therapy session.

    • Dusty
    • January 15, 2009
    Reply

    I don’t know if you guys south of the border got the William Shatner All-Bran commercials. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself.

    • Roz
    • January 16, 2009
    Reply

    I have not seen the All-Bran commercials, maybe it’s only in Canada? That’s one of the things I like about Shatner, he will poke fun at himself.

    He is fabulous doing voice work in “The Hedge.” I’m sorry I didn’t think of this in the main post. But if people read this far, go see “The Hedge.” There are brilliant bits by Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Steve Carell(sp?) and Gary Shandling too. But Shatner’s is just priceless!!!
    Roz

    • Gina
    • January 18, 2009
    Reply

    Update: 2 full episodes are available online–one with Valerie Bertinelli and one with Jimmy Kimmel.

  2. Reply

    Roz, I love James T. Kirk too. AND Denny Crane. I was never into TJ Hooker because he was still Captain Kirk to me. But then this Jean Luc guy came along and charmed me with an accent straight out of classical Shakespeare. Then I could look at Shatner and Kirk in context and love them all. I always enjoy your blog. Thanks.

    • Roz
    • January 18, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks for the info Gina, I haven’t seen the Bertinelli one! I’ll check it out on line.

    • Roz
    • January 18, 2009
    Reply

    Marilyn, I just can’t be swayed on the Jean Luc topic. New Generation is too “touchy feeling” for me. We’re in space folks, get a grip! But I’m glad you like them all!

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