Sunday, February 20, 2005
William Shatner is having the last laugh. After years of (well justified) ridicule for his acting tics, the erstwhile Captain Kirk has found a character to which he can bring not only his blustery, outsized persona but also some wonderfully subtle and poignant nuance: Denny Crane.
David E. Kelley's Boston Legal (a spin-off from The Practice) is a sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, often engaging show about a high-powered legal practice. The writing is sharp (if occasionally a bit preachy) and the cast...Shatner, James Spader, Candice Bergen, Rene Auberjonois, Betty White...is top-notch and firing on all cylinders.
Shatner is at the top of his game as the (yes) blustery Crane, pompous (self-important enough to think just the portentous mention of his name..."Denny Crane"...is all that's needed to inspire both fear and awe in opponents and co-workers alike) and yet sympathetic (and not just because the character is battling early symptoms of Alzheimer's.) It's a tour-de-force...showcasing, among other things, real emotional gravity as well as a deft sense of comic timing... and the good Captain already has two Emmys on his mantle to show for it.
"Denny Crane." Damn right.