William Shatner, awful actor?

How many of you Trekkies (Trekkers, whatever) thought that William Shatner was a horrible actor? A ham? Someone that went way over the top in every scene every time? Personally, I think if it was not for Star Trek and Roddenberry, he would of ended up doing soaps all of his life.

I think Shatner knows he is a B-Grade actor and he plays upon that, especially in commercials and other appearences. Although I personally think Shatner’s acting is camp at best, I think he always did his best and carved himself a lucrative niche in Hollywood. Being handsome and slightly dopey looking is always in too. Look at Ben Affleck.

On the other hand, Leonard Nimoy is an excellent actor. he was Spock, it was just natural for him. I also believe that George Tekai (Sulu) and DeForrest Kelly (Bones) were also excellent character actors.

Lastly, I have heard that ol’ Bill is going to be in Enterprise as Kirk’s great-great grandfather. I have always thought it would be cool if Hoshi married a guy named Sulu and be an ancestor of…Sulu.

Oh well, my favorite ST captain is still Kate Mulgrew. She’s a definite MILF.

What’s your opinion.

Shatner was awful in Star Trek. However, I don’t think he’s an utterly horrible actor period - rent Free Enterprise sometime.

Well, most of thr acting in Star Trek was awful. Thats one of the reasons it succeeded. :wink:

Shatner’s a Method Actor. He should have chosen a different method.

All actors are method actors ever since Streetcar Named Desire.

I don’t think Shatner was awful in Star Trek. In fact, I think he was quite good. He had some rather unique mannerisms and an identifying style, but then a lot of good actors do. Christopher Walken comes to mind.

No one thought Shatner was particularly bad when ST first ran, and he worked pretty regularly before that, so Hollywood didn’t think so, either.

What happened is that people have seen ST reruns so many times that the mannerisms become more apparent. The viewer knows the plot of every episode, so you can concentrate on picking out how Shatner says his lines and realize that it’s similar to how he did it on another episode. But it’s no reflection on his acting.

I also guarantee that every time you see a particular ST episode, Shatner won’t vary his performance one iota. This allows people to mock him for doing exactly the same thing every time, but doesn’t reflect on his acting ability.

Really, I don’t think Shatner’s that bad. Everything else I’ve seen him in he’s been at least passable (didn’t he even win an award for a tv miniseries he did before Star Trek?). Sometimes he’s even pretty good. Hell, that scene with Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan still breaks my heart whenever I watch it.

If anything, he’s always struck me as being more of a stage actor transplanted into Hollywood–most of his more dramatic mannerisms are the sort of thing that would help people see him if they were, say, sitting at the back of a large audience. That thing he does where he suddenly faces the camera while delivering a line or his gestures both come to mind.

Anyway, like RealityChuck said, people have singled him out as a bad actor because he is, due to syndication, extremely visible.

Another Star Trek actor who doesn’t get proper credit for his skills is Walter Koenig. I am somewhat in awe of his Bester on Babylon 5.

FWIW< Bill Shatner (as well as Patric Stewart) was a classicly trained stage actor who did the Shakespear bit before TV. Shakespearian actors have a tendancy to be a bit overt in thier motions and mannerisms because they are viewed by an audience live and from a distance. Movie acting and stage acting can be two differnt bananas.

Piccard rocks my world

I think he’s actually quite good at intentional comedy—did you see his turn on 3rd Rock from the Sun, as the Big Giant Head?

I think that’s closer to the truth. If you watch the guest stars, many of them are so over the top they make Shatner look like Bob Newhart.

Shatner’s style was both the old-fashioned Shakespearean stage actor and the 50s method actor. That’s an uneasy blend (if you think method acting is automatically great, or at least more “natural,” I invite you to watch some of the Brando films of the 1950s.)

Go back and look at Jeffrey Hunter in the series pilot. Hunter was considered a better actor than Shatner, but how soon would you have gotten sick of watching him strike that heroic profile pose?

Nimoy chose to underplay the role of Spock (and even that developed over the course of the series, certainly not in the pilots and early in the first season). As as a result, his performances seem less irritating after you’ve seen any particular episode 600 times.

And Kate Mulgrew certainly didn’t share crazy grady’s opinion of her looks. She once said Hollywood had a beauty line past which an actress (especially an older actress) wouldn’t even be considered for a lead role, and that she felt she was “very close” to that line.

Whatever his manifest failings as an actor were, Shatner was the perfect Captain Kirk. Plug any actor of the time in there. No one could ever have done it better in the context of what the show and the role were trying to convey. Without Star Trek Shatner may well have faded away as another promising, but forgettable B actor, but in Star Trek as Captain Kirk, he was magic. Shatner was not crappy as Kirk he was Kirk. He inhabited the role completely while on screen.

Passable actor, EXCELLENT singer. :wink:

“I’m a Rocket Man. Rock. Et. Man.”

Shatner is one of those actors who’s good at one thing, and that one thing he’s really good at. Captain Kirk is one of the best Star Trek characters ever, and only Shatner could have done it. He isn’t a versatile actor, but he seems to be aware of it and has fun with it, which is cool.

Watch Shatner in Judgement at Nuremburg. While no Olivier, he is quite passable as a member of the prosecution team.

Laurence Olivier: The Mother Teresa of Great Actors.*

  • “Great” by reputation only; actually, he was a ghastly ham.

I think people consider Shatner a bad actor because nowadays he deliberately hams it up. He’s in the same bit that Leslie Neilsen is in – he’s got a rep for being a particular kind of actor (ham for Shatner, goofball for Neilsen), so he plays to that expectation and satisfies the masses.

I will kill Berman and Braga if they do either of the things you suggested. I really hate how in a galaxy so huge, everyone already seems to know everyone else and people keep bumping into each other. Gah! Hate, hate, hate! KILL! KILL!

And, also, Sisko is the man, followed closely by Picard.

Shatner isn’t a great actor, but with the right direction he can be quite good. He needs a director with a firm hand (that is where you’ll see his better work) that helps tone him down. Some actors have a natural feel for how far to push things. I don’t believe Shatner ever developed this – and even some great actors don’t manage it. He really needs a director he trusts and respects to help rein him in a bit and pull him back. It is a testament to his commitment as an actor that he goes so far, it is unfortunate that his ego gets in the way of his ability to do better work.

Whatever. You get the point – Shatner was OK in Judgement at Nuremburg.

Oh, I totally agree. Love that movie, too. “Did you think we knew? I tell you, we did not know.”