So, geekrant has been quiet for the last week, “oh no!” I don’t hear you cry, “How have we coped without your opinionated, patronising view upon all things geek”.
Well I’m glad you were concerned, (although I know you really weren’t), over lack of postings. The truth is work has been hard and carrying on a relationship with a 4000 mile distance and a 6 hour time difference is not as flexible as well, any relationship that you have in the same time zone as the other person. But my wonderful fiancé makes it all worthwhile, all the time.
Anyway, Saturday was the birthday of William Shatner, for many the ultimate geek deity. The guy who was captaining the Enterprise while Picard still had hair and before Riker could even grow a beard, the ultimate example of a celebrity not taking themselves seriously in the slightest by appearing to take themselves far too seriously.
He’s also the guy who defies any rules on what should and shouldn’t work on T.V. 1980s crime series “T.J. Hooker” is a perfect example. On paper, this is a series that shouldn’t work, at all. Older actor (desperately fighting against the advances of middle aged spread, I know who am I to make comments about other people’s weight?) plays middle aged plain clothes detective who returns to uniform to teach younger officers how to fight crime. It shouldn’t work! But then you’re forgetting its Shatner, who manages to make it look like some kind of high intensity work-out to fight said middle aged spread combined with an acting class to show just how much of an expert he is at T.V. acting. And despite the fact that series was never phenomenally scripted, Canada’s greatest export since maple syrup and ice hockey still kept it going for 5 seasons. Just watch the intro sequence to see why it shouldn’t work but really does!
William Shatner is one of those unusual actors in geek circles, a man so identified with his iconic character that he can do pretty much anything, even tell Trekkies to “get a life” on an early 80s episode of Saturday Night Live. He’s almost given a free pass. Because HE IS JAMES TIBERIUS KIRK. Chris Pine might play Kirk in the new “Star Trek” movies but Shatner IS Kirk!
If the planet Earth was invaded by monster aliens next week, I wouldn’t send out the Army to fight them or stand like an idiot under their destruction beam with a cardboard sign saying “take me with you” or even fly a jet upwards into said destruction beam while saying “hi boys, I’m back”. No, I’d send Shatner, he’d know what to do. If nothing else he’d make them laugh so much with his jokes that they’d simply give up on eradicating the human race and watch some “Star Trek” while noting that Shatner’s version of “Common People” is as good as anyone can get with a “Pulp” cover version if they don’t come from Sheffield.
So, Shatner gets a free pass in the geek world, why? Because he behaves like he doesn’t deserve it. He knows the severe limitations in the original “Star Trek”. Its effects and scripting and that it’s amazing it’s lasted as long as it has. He knows that his performance by the necessity of the time is slightly melodramatic and that every “Star Trek” Captain has been more believable and realistic, because 1990s and 2000s audiences needed that. But he is James T Kirk and in the heart of every geek, at least every male one, we want to be James T. Kirk.
So, keep on trekking, I’m going to watch “T.J. Hooker” and admire Shatner’s stunt running.