The greatest space captain ever turns 78 today. Oh, sure, some of you will argue for Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama in Battlestar Galactica, which just concluded its run, but I say that man cried too much. James Tiberius Kirk never cried, at least, not as played by William Shatner. Shatner as Captain Kirk embodied the ideal symbol of authority: strong, decisive, and smart. Yet he also had a delightful sense of humor, valued his longtime friends, and was something of a ladies' man.
Shatner has fielded plenty of criticism for his supposedly stiff manner and his distinctive, rat-a-tat style of delivering dialogue, which has made him an easy target for imitators and detractors. On the other hand, one of his best performances came in Robert Meyer Burnett's Free Enterprise, in which he played himself -- or a fictional variation of "Bill Shatner" -- as a lonely soul, a ladies' man gone to seed, with impossible dreams of mounting a six-hour rap musical version of Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar.
In recent years, I never missed an episode of Shatner as Denny Crane in Boston Legal -- he and James Spader had a chemistry rarely seen on TV -- but I've missed seeing him on the big screen. I've always heard great things about Roger Corman's The Intruder. Are there other hidden gems in his movie career awaiting discovery?
Getting back to Star Trek, what are your favorite Shatner performances as Captain James T. Kirk? I favor the traditional even-numbered ones, but do you think Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is ready for reevaluation? Should Bill have gotten some kind of role in J.J. Abram's upcoming Star Trek?