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Shatner in Space

On a recent flight I watched Shatner in Space. The why is a little complicated. I’m on oddball that isn’t a Trekkie, but I’m still a fan of William Shatner. I find him funny and weird and interesting.

I think my Shatner interest all started after the release of his album, Has Been. Ben Folds produced and arranged the album, which is certainly why it ended up on my radar as I’m a huge Ben Folds fan. I find Shatner’s spoken words to be soothing. Combining them with music is kind of genius. Some of the album is cheesy, some is wonderful. “Common People” with Joe Jackson definitely represents the latter.

(Little did I know that album also spawned a ballet, which spawned a documentary. I’ll have to check that out.)

So I’m Shatner-curious. When I saw there was a short documentary about his forays into space on the shoulders of Jeff Bezos, I plugged my nose and flipped it on. I don’t have much to say about the documentary. The parts with Shatner and Shatner’s thoughts on the experience were generally nice. The parts with Shatner’s thoughts on Bezos were generally cringe.

It’s clearly a puff piece on Bezos, and to some degree his billionaire friends. It didn’t spend nearly enough time with Shatner’s philosophical thoughts on going to and being in space. It didn’t spend nearly enough time reveling in how quick and clever Shatner still was at ninety years old. It didn’t talk about the obvious questions around how a ninety-year-old prepares for space flight.

Perhaps the goal was to keep the documentary tight? While I’m trying to avoid cynicism in my life, I think the goal was to feature statements about Bezos saving us from global warming and making space travel affordable. The goal was to improve Bezos’s public image. Shatner was a convenient hook into that message.

So I’d say don’t watch it! Unless you just like to spend a little time with Shatner and you’re willing to pay the price.