Which Star Trek actor (Classic or Next) gave the best performance in a different TV series or movie and why?
I think an interesting use of talent is William Shatner's 1957 show, "The Defender". He plays a young lawyer presented with his first murder case. This episode was used 50 years later as the basis of an episode of LA Law - where the Denny Crane Character was being forced to reexamine the case by a man who claimed he had not seen justice done. Fascinating.
Walter Koenig as Alfred Bester in Babylon 5. At first I thought his acting in this series was kind of dull, it lacked emotion, but as the character was revealed throughout the series it all made sense and blossomed. The writing of J. Michael Straczynski didn't hurt either. Bester had a tame, mild veneer but an strong, evil, lived within. Good job all around.
I believe it was Boston Legal, not LA Law where William Shatner was Danny Crane. But you are totally correct in that it as a fantastic episode and a very clever use of his long career to create something new, interesting, and thought-provoking.
I did a little digging and I have been amazed at how many of these Star Trek people where on soap operas - not their finest moment, perhaps, but it paid the bills for a while. Leonard Nimoy was a pill pusher called Bernie on General Hospital, for instance. Hilarious - illogical!!
My favorite episode of Bonanza was the one entitled, "The Ape" where Leonard Nimoy plays a manipulation, controlling card shark who pimps a local saloon girl into hustling drinks for their meals.
Every (other) thing I have ever seen Leonard in, it was always the same, beady-eyed character with only a passable acting performance...except for the creation of Spock in 1966. The actor just disappears completely and this icon emerges. Wow...I guess there really is such a thing as fate and one perfect part for some actors.
I'd have to agree with tgoyette. Bester was, by far, one of the more outstanding characters in B5 and had nowhere near enough plot-time. But that, perhaps, was the strength of the character and Walter Koenig's portrayal - despite so few appearances his malevolence pervaded the station and tainted the lives of many.
The only other Trek actor who springs readily to mind is Wil Wheaton. His continued taunting of Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory is sublime. Wheaton seems to have fondly embraced the concept of playing a comedic version of himself, and as an entity distinct from the stain of Wesley Crusher.
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