William Shatner Can Do Anything: Raw Nerve and Aftermath Latest Ventures

He's been an actor, writer, recording artist, commercial pitchman, and is now the host of two television talk shows.

By , Columnist
Throughout his career, William Shatner has proved he can be more than proficient at anything he puts his mind to do. In the 1960s, he played the iconic Star Trek captain James T. Kirk and could have easily let that character totally define him, but he did not. He has since played roles in many successful (and not so successful) projects both for TV and film. He has written books, won an Emmy, made records, and been a pitchman on commercials. Now William Shatner is the host of not one but two television talk shows.

His first foray into the talk show arena was with Shatner’s Raw Nerve, where he has interviewed celebrities like Kevin Nealon, Levar Burton, Ed Asner, and fellow Star Trek captain Scott Bakula about their lives and careers. The half-hour show, which recently completed its third season on the Biography Channel, is lively and upbeat.  To his credit, Shatner is not a pushy interviewer. He brings out the best in his guests by allowing them tell their stories, expertly directing the flow of the conversation rather than interrupting it with his comments.

Aftermath With William Shatner, now in its second season, could be considered Raw Nerve’s morose little brother. It is more topical than its predecessor, with themes that are darker and occasionally tragic.

The most moving of this season's episodes so far is Shatner’s interview with Robbie and Casey O’Donnell. The O’Donnells are the wife and eldest son of Robert O’ Donnell, the paramedic who worked for fifty-eight hours to save toddler “Baby Jessica,” who in 1986 became trapped down a well in Midland, Texas.

The aftermath of O’Donnell’s heroic actions saw him fall into despair, drugs, and eventually death. Shatner moves the interview along, step by step, eliciting details from his subjects, which are painful yet necessary pieces of the story. He has a sympathetic manner and a calm willingness to listen. However, the eerie background music that is the soundtrack to the interview added to the dramatized footage are overkill. They give the show a scripted feel, making it seem like a less honest effort than Raw Nerve.

Still, it’s rare to hear Ed Smart recount in detail the events following his daughter Elizabeth’s kidnapping, or driller Jeff Hart tell of his life after he helped rescue the thirty-three Chilean miners trapped underground. These are reasons enough to watch the show at least once, if you can.

What’s next for William Shatner? It's anybody’s guess. A predictable man he is not.

Aftermath With William Shatner airs Tuesdays at 10PM ET on BIO Channel

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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