Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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The Aftermath of Captain Kirk

September 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Media

William Shatner is on Fire.

The chairs have changed, so have the victims and villains, but 40 years later, William Shatner continues to engage viewers and hold them for an hour at a time with his candid demeanor, honest delivery and absorbing performance.

From Star Trek, T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal to his latest show (based on a blog called S*#! My Dad Says), William Shatner keeps going and going and going, coming up with winning characters and shows – even commercials like Priceline, that stand the test of time.

Granted (at least for me), he will forever be identified first and foremost with Captain Kirk, for others perhaps it’s Denny Crane. But it’s his show “Aftermath” on the Biography Channel, that perhaps provides the most insight as to why Americans love this Canadian born actor.

Tonight I watched William Shatner and his “guest” Bernard Goetz – New York City’s Subway Vigilante.

Over the years most New Yorkers I would think thought they knew all the elements of the story. Threatened nerd fights off four subway thugs. We’ve heard from Bernie’s advocates such as Curtis Sliwa, and his detractors like Ron Kuby who sued him on behalf of one of the shooting victims.

While I generally for instance would side with Ron Kuby over Curtis Sliwa, I sided with the position of the latter on this case…. Until I saw Aftermath.

Shatner’s ability to draw his subjects in and ask them questions off the cuff are the journalistic equivalent to a colorist adding to the foundation laid by a penciler or inker on a storyboard. When Goetz describes how he leaves the subway train and what happened next, Shatner slows Goetz down and asks him what he’s feeling, what’s going through his mind.

We’ve seen the interrogation tapes – this is extra. Not the kind of stuff that the cops care about or that makes the papers.

Shatner disarms his interview subjects and “Goetz” (in this case), Bernie to admit he has no feeling for the would thugs, and that a bullet and the damage it can cause is the problem of the person responsible for initiating the encounter.

I have to admit – I agree. That’s what the 2nd Amendment is about.

It goes beyond the “tell us what happened next” route. Shatner always comes off as being sympathetic but it doesn’t mean he is necessarily so.

Bernie reveals that he has more respect for his pet squirrel than he apparently does for human beings,. At the end of the interview, Shatner in a poignant moment (while re-enacting the subway encounter Goetz is wielding the gun around almost gleefully), is able to distinguish the difference between himself and Bernie.

When asked about the ease with which Bernie could deliver bullets into another’s chest, Bernie says almost boyishly, “What’s the difference?

Shatner responds, “That’s the difference between you and me.”

Here is a video on YouTube which someone took with a cell phone at a talk Shatner gave on his appearances on Boston Legal and Aftermath.

The Aftermath of Captain Kirk

The Aftermath of Captain Kirk

Brian McLane is the President of, a New Media Marketing and Mobile Content Delivery Services Organization based in Midtown Manhattan.

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