William Shatner had a distinct acting style on Star Trek: The Original Series.
The ridicule William Shatner has experienced because of his acting style as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series is legion. He’s been parodied by actors Jim Carrey, Kevin Pollack, and more and has even watched impressions of himself, offering his input on the results. And he isn’t above participating in skits that parodied his former character. But some criticism has gone over the top, and that’s something Star Trek fans on Reddit have pointed out.
A Reddit user posed the question: What do you think is the most ridiculous Star Trek criticisim, and the fans were quick to point out the unnecessary barbs taken at Shatner, most offering reasons why they felt he acted the way he did on camera.
"“It’s also important to remember that screen acting was still something of an emerging art form. Shatner used a lot more techniques developed for the stage in TOS than Nimoy did, but that doesn’t mean he was acting poorly, just that he was using a different form of acting. Kelley used a sort of in-between style, more stage than Nimoy, but more screen than Shatner.” —Vindictive Judge/Reddit user"
This comment makes a lot of sense as Shatner had spent a lot of time on stage, and if you’ve ever been to a play, you’ve seen that those actors have a different manner of working off the script.
Sullanfield said that when Shatner overacted, he was because the script wasn’t good, and he was trying to squeeze something out of it.”
"“When Shatner overdid it, it was virtually always because the script wasn’t good and he was trying to at least squeeze something out of it. When the story and script are already solid, he’s great and right on point.”—Sullanfield/Reddit user"
William Shatner made Captain Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series
Whatever some want to say about Shatner’s Captain Kirk, he made that character his own, and he had some brilliant stand-out scenes both in the series and in the movies that followed after. And had the powers that be had a problem with his interpretation of Kirk, that most likely would have been brought to his attention during filming. But those of us who are fans of Shatner’s Kirk know there are always reasons behind why someone acts the way they do.
"“Shatner was a theater actor. Hamming it up is par for the course on stage because many in the audience are too far away to see your facial expressions. Some have also suggested that the weird pauses were because he was speaking in meter.” —ChronoLegion2/Reddit User"
Whatever the reasons for Shatner’s acting style, one can say with certainity that he made it work and, in doing so, created fans that would stick by (and defend him) for the past fifty-plus years.