William Shatner is trying on yet another hat.
Shatner’s resume is so long at this point, and so diverse too, that it seems long ago and far away that he played Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek and in seven of the films, that he co-wrote all those Star Trek novels and attended all those Star Trek conventions. In fact, not to diminish Star Trek in the slightest, not that we would or could, but Shatner has very nearly succeeded in transforming Star Trek into an afterthought among his credits. Take a peek at just a few of the gigs currently on his plate: hosting the talk shows Raw Nerve and Aftermath, planning his next Hollywood Charity Horse Show, and hosting yet another program, the reality series William Shatner: Weird or What? Now, add to that list a first: $#*! My Dad Says marks the Emmy Award-winning actor’s first foray into the sitcom galaxy. He’s made guest appearances on sitcoms before and even had a recurring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun, but $#*! represents his maiden voyage as a sitcom lead.
Set to debut tonight at 8:30/7:30c on CBS, $#*! My Dad Says is based on the wildly popular Twitter feed – and ensuing best-selling book – by Justin Halpern. The show is already generating controversy over its title, but we’ll stay away from that discussion except to say that CBS is pronouncing “$#*!” as “bleep.” Anyway, Shatner stars as Ed Goodson, a 70-something man who speaks his mind how and when he sees fit, consequences be damned. The character is far from PC, decidedly cantankerous, always unpredictable and borderline unlikable as he rants about life, its injustices and, mostly, about his children, Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) and Vince (Will Sasso). And the primary target is Henry, a writer/blogger who suffers the great indignity of moving in with dear old dad when the money gets tight. As one might expect, dad says a whole lot of $#*!.
“It is totally different from anything I’ve ever done,” Shatner recently said of the show. “This is a combination of many things that I have done. It’s its own self. It is an exciting hybrid of all those things.” And he added, “It’s a funny character. In the end, it’s all sort of done with love.”
For those Star Trek fans out there who hope to see Shatner as Kirk again in something, anything, Shatner won’t rule it out, but he doesn’t seem to be counting on it, either. Future Kirk-centric novels are possible and Shatner plans to remain a presence at Star Trek conventions. And one of his many projects is very Trek-oriented. He’s directing a documentary called The Captains, in which he’ll chat with actors and actresses who have played captains and commanders across the Star Trek franchise. It’s still in production, with a release date still to be determined.
And for anyone who worries that Shatner will pull a Leonard Nimoy and retire, don’t bet on it. It’s not in his blood. He made his feelings on the matter known recently in an interview with the New York Times. “Retire!” he said. “Retire! You mean go fishing in Montana? What does that mean: you hated the whole life you lived? I love to act, write, generate ideas. I’m crazy about horses, my wife, my kids” — he has three grown daughters — “my grandkids, my next part, the words that I learn so that they come out indigenously.”