William Shatner

March 22, 2013 | 1:14 p.m.

‘Star Trek': Watch every episode to celebrate William Shatner’s birth

William Shatner as Captain Kirk, stardate 1960s (Los Angeles Times archives)
Got plans this weekend? You do now. Beginning Friday and running through March 31, the video streaming service Hulu is making every episode of the original “Star Trek” television series and all its offshoots — including “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space 9,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise” — available free for online viewing to celebrate William Shatner’s birthday. The actor who played Captain Kirk in the original series and in several subsequent movies turned 82 Friday. Fans have their work cut out for them: There are 693 episodes in all and just nine days to watch them. TV’s top 50 sci-fi characters: Mr. Spock, Starbuck and…TOBOR? For anyone interested in help navigating the “Star Trek” universe, Hulu has created a mini-playlist of episodes grouped together thematically. Kirk Outsmarts Computers is a six-episode set that shows Shatner’s tough-guy facing off against technology (and […]
Feb. 25, 2013 | 4:01 p.m.

When Captain Kirk is not at the Oscars, he’s naming Pluto moons

William Shatner: One night he's doing a cameo at the Oscars, the next day he's naming one of Pluto's moons.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
William Shatner, moon-namer? That’s right. The actor, who appeared opposite Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars on Sunday night in the guise of “Star Trek’s” Captain Kirk, has spent the last week and a half waging a Twitter campaign to name one of Pluto’s two recently discovered moons “Vulcan.” And as of Monday, it appears he will be successful. More than 450,000 ballots were cast in an online vote at the website Plutorocks.com, and the name Vulcan, which was originally suggested by Shatner,  has emerged as the clear winner. “174,062 votes and Vulcan came out on top of the voting for the naming of Pluto’s moons. Thank you to all who voted! MBB” Shatner wrote on his Twitter feed.  (“MBB” stands for “My best, Bill”) The dwarf planet already has three named moons — Hydra, Nix and Charon. Like the name Pluto, they […]
May 23, 2012 | 6:52 p.m.

‘Star Trek': Leonard Nimoy’s best William Shatner impression

leonard Nimoy self portrait
We’ve just posted the third episode of “Hero Complex: The Show” and it’s a good one: Part 2 of our interview with Leonard Nimoy at his home has the “Star Trek” icon talking about the origins of the Vulcan salute, the satisfactions of stage work, the vagaries of typecasting and, to top it off, we even talked him into doing an impression of … William Shatner. Yes, that’s right, Nimoy’s take on Kirk’s eulogy scene from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” You can watch it all right here, but only if you’ve already seen Part 1. If you’re just joining us, a quick explanation of who we are and what we do: I’ve been writing for the Los Angeles Times for 21 years on a variety of things (crime, local politics and the music industry among them) but I […]
Feb. 14, 2012 | 8:18 p.m.

William Shatner boldly goes just about everywhere in his career

William Shatner (featured image)
William Shatner is standing in a mostly bare rehearsal room in Hollywood, his arms outstretched as he recites the closing lines to his Broadway-bound one-man show. Naturally, the subject of the moment is his career — that strange, constantly mutating accumulation of TV series, movies, guest spots, online projects, commercials and more. “It’s easy to say no,” he says, addressing an invisible audience. “Saying yes carries more danger to it. Saying yes is risky business — but how much richer my life has been because of it.” If there is one inviolable law of the Shatnerverse, it is simply that: Say yes. Shatner’s career is defined by a bottomless capacity to try it all. Nothing is too weird or outlandish; selling out is nothing to be ashamed of. His oddball career choices form the backbone of “Shatner’s World: We Just […]
Oct. 06, 2011 | 8:55 a.m.

William Shatner delivers new album, book and … dead rats?

William Shatner (featured image)
William Shatner never really rides off into the sunset, he just switches saddles — actor, pitchman, author, equestrian, recording artist, interviewer, filmmaker or, um, starship captain. The 80-year-old is back this month with a new spoken-word album that features plenty of famous collaborators (Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Dave Davies and Johnny Winter are part of the classic-rock contingent while Lyle Lovett, Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow represent younger generations representing twang districts) and a new book called “Shatner Rules” (written with Emmy-winning comedy writer Chris Regan) that promises both insight into the universe and the tenets needed to live life in a more Shatneresque way. (You can read an excerpt here.) “It’s autobiographical,” Shatner says of the book, which hit shelves this week. “It’s an amusing, light read, but at times I try to introduce more serious themes. I’m at the age where I think […]
Aug. 03, 2011 | 2:19 p.m.

William Shatner and Adam West reflect on their toga days

Adam West and William Shatner (Los Angeles Times archive, left; Paramount Pictures, right)
Capt. Kirk and Bruce Wayne together – and in togas? Yes, before they took on their iconic roles on “Star Trek” and “Batman,” actors William Shatner and Adam West worked together on a buddy project called “Alexander the Great” that never aired – maybe no show was big enough to hold those outsized on-screen personas. “It was so long ago,” Shatner said of the fizzled project, which started life as a 1964 television pilot but was shelved before it reached the air. “It was great fun to make. It was a pilot that was monumental for ABC just before I went and did ‘Star Trek.’ And I was deeply, deeply, horrendously disappointed when this series didn’t sell and then the following year or so I started work on ‘Star Trek.’” The pilot depicted the Battle of Issus with a then-unknown […]
June 08, 2011 | 6:01 p.m.

‘Star Trek': Twitter users give James T. Kirk the death he deserved

Actor Malcolm McDowell spoke some cosmic truth when he said that James T. Kirk, the lion of Starfleet, deserved a better death than the one he got in “Star Trek: Generations” almost two decades ago.  “It was a paltry screen moment in a situation that called for something dramatic and inspired, something spectacular, even,” said McDowell, who happened to play the on-screen villain who sent William Shatner’s iconic character to his dusty doom. So we opened up the question to you — what sort of death would have been befitting the gold-shirted hero who bested the Kobayashi Maru simulation and also bedded half of the humanoid females in the universe? Through the miracle of Twitter, Facebook and comment board, you gave us the answers we were looking for — and few that we’d rather just forget. (Comic-book fans will recognize the […]
June 07, 2011 | 6:57 a.m.

‘Star Trek': Malcolm McDowell says Captain Kirk deserved a better death scene

James T. Kirk plunged to his death some 17 years ago in the film “Star Trek: Generations,” and Malcolm McDowell played the villain who sent him on his way — but the actor says that in hindsight he wishes the lion of Starfleet had been given a more memorable offing. “It was a paltry screen moment in a situation that called for something dramatic and inspired, something spectacular, even,” McDowell said. I sat down recently with McDowell to discuss the 40th anniversary of “A Clockwork Orange,” but at the end of breakfast, the topic turned to the 1994 Starfleet movie that sent Kirk beyond the final frontier but did so in ungainly fashion. The hero defined by his cosmic gusto essentially took a bad fall off some scaffolding on a bleak, rocky planet. It’s a topic that comes up whenever McDowell runs into William Shatner, the colorful sci-fi […]
March 07, 2011 | 4:35 p.m.

William Shatner wakes up shuttle Discovery crew

William Shatner as Captain Kirk, stardate 1960s (Los Angeles Times archives)
The crew members of the space shuttle Discovery already know that they are on “The Voyage Home” — their ship will be retired after landing Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — but they got a startling reminder on Monday when their “wake-up call” from Earth was a pre-recorded message from William Shatner along with the theme from “Star Trek.” “These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery,” the 79-year-old actor said with all the gravity you might expect. “Her 30-year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before…” The shuttle program — which dates back to the February 1977 flight of a craft named Enterprise – is scheduled to end later this year, a heartbreaking decision for many […]
Feb. 16, 2011 | 4:26 p.m.

‘Star Trek': Six to beam up — Egyptian will screen half-dozen Starfleet films [Updated]

trek poster
The Egyptian Theatre will present all six “Star Trek” films that feature both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy — a string of Starfleet films that spanned a dozen years — and three of them will be presented in 70 mm. Our very own Geoff Boucher will be on hand for the finale of the four-day event to handle the stage interview with Nicholas Meyer after the screening of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” Here’s the information directly from the upcoming American Cinematheque release (UPDATE: The press release below misstated the wording of one film, we corrected it): Thursday, March 24 – 7:30 PM STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, 1979, Paramount, 132 min. Director Robert Wise, ably assisted by Harold Michelson’s (“Dick Tracy”) otherworldly production design, Jerry Goldsmith’s stirring score and a special effects team including Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra and Ramon Sanchez, delivers […]
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