It is hard to imagine an actor with a longer reach across the arc of television history than William Shatner. He is 88 years old, long past the time when most people have moved onto the next plane, let alone maintained an ongoing presence in popular culture. However, a career in front of the camera that dates all the way back to 1955 just keeps going. He made his film debut in The Brothers Karamazov, which starred Yul Brynner. He made guest-star appearances on such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone starting in 1955, and he got his starship in Star Trek: The Original Series, beginning in 1966. Despite the fact that that show only lasted three seasons, it made Captain James T. Kirk a popular icon. According to IMDB.com, his career just kept going, as Star Trek made it to the screen for six movies. He was not typecast by the role of Kirk, though, as he was a star in T.J. Hooker, playing a policeman, and he also received Emmy notice for his work in Boston Legal.
Reality programs have also drawn Shatner onboard, perhaps to add his star power to their lineup. He and Henry Winkler were two of the four stars in Better Late than Never, a show that took those two elder statesmen of show business, along with sports legends George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw, to different destinations around the world. According to Variety, the purpose of the show was to serve as a sort of “bucket list” for the four, showing their responses to different spots in the world that they had always wanted to see.
The next program that will be graced by the august presence of William Shatner is The Curse of Oak Island. The skinny on this show is that Oak Island ostensibly has treasure, but according to a curse, seven people seeking the treasure have to die before the actual treasure can be discovered. On the February 25 episode of this program, on the History Channel, Shatner will ask questions about this curse. There are already clips available for viewing ahead of time. Shatner notes that, at first, he was skeptical about the presence of treasure, but instead it was the process of searching for the treasure, the journey along the way, that was most interesting to him.
Oak Island lies off the south shore of Nova Scotia, on the eastern tip of Canada. In his episode, you can watch him asking Marty and Rick Lagina, the two brothers who have led the treasure hunt, as well as others in their research team. He also has visited several of the intriguing sites associated with the hunt, such as a swamp that has unclear origins and may be artificial, as the hunters have already found some tools that date well back into antiquity. According to TV Insider, Shatner brings his expertise from his own History Channel series about mysterious stories, The UnXplained, to his conversations on Oak Island.
This episode marks the start of the new season, which will bring an unprecedented amount of technology to the island, as the brothers are committed to solving this mystery that dates back over two centuries. Some of the tests they performed near the end of last season showed that there could be a ship down in this mysterious swamp. The plan is to incorporate strategic diving, sonic core drilling and one significant digging expedition to find out what is actually there. In previous seasons, the hunters had to deal with an unwilling land owner, but now the heir to the acreage is on board with the project, which will make getting into the swamp simpler, as there will be no chance of problems due to claims of trespassing.
Other additions to the technology of the hunt include a more thorough series of detection actions, focusing on metal, across the island. The places where Samuel Ball and Daniel McGinnis built their homesteads will also serve as the focal points of more thorough archaeological excavations. Additionally, Smith’s Cove will undergo an expansion at the cofferdam so that the team can investigate that area more exhaustively. Last season brought several man-made structures in the area that appeared to be at least twenty years older than the Money Pit. Two seasons ago, the crew found a lead cross that dates back to the fourteenth century, and they will undertake a search for more artifacts like that. There is the belief that the box drains that they found will join into one tunnel that leads to that Money Pit, but the team will spend time looking for that confluence point.
Within the area around the Money Pit, the team plans to bring in radar that penetrates deep into the ground, to search for the flood tunnel. They also hope to excavate searcher shafts from the nineteenth century to move back toward the Money Pit. The end result of all of this, they hope, is to find the Chappell Vault. The team is closer to solving the Oak Island mystery than ever before. According to History.com, this is the most promising season yet.
It makes sense, then, that William Shatner would show up just as matters are approaching a climax. After all, who has more of a presence when it comes to undertaking the greatest quests of all popular culture? The idea of taking a starship out to the “third star on the right and on to morning,” as Shatner’s Kirk would say, is a terrific adventure. Whether it is in spoken word poetry, reminiscences about a life in front of the camera, or speeches about the importance of legal freedoms, Shatner has been at the forefront of many of the important ideas in our society. That he would show up for the discovery of untold treasure will just make one more legend in a lifetime full of them.