Happy Halloween. (Text below the fold)
“You’re on the air…” Bill Shatner is best known these days as the larger-than-life lawyer Denny Crane on Boston Legal, but once upon a time, nerds around the world knew him as Captain James T. Kirk of the 1960s series Star Trek. The long-defunct franchise was once considered Doctor Who‘s chief rival on the international sci-fi circuit, so his guest appearance in this seventh-season episode was in many ways a burying of the hatchet between old enemies. But that wasn’t the only hatchet that got buried…
This isn’t Shatner’s first foray into the horror genre — and that’s unapologetically what this episode is: Doctor Who crashing into a straight-up slasher film. As Mayer Michaels, he manages to transform the traditionally soothing, empathetic tones of a late-night radio host into a performance that is as enticing as it is frightening. And the remarkable thing is that he doesn’t even appear for the first half of the episode. It isn’t even clear until the end of act 2 that he is a character in the story, and not some sort of omniscient narrator. When the reveal comes, the connection between the victims — their radios — suddenly becomes obvious, and this DJ who somehow knows things he shouldn’t becomes an ominous figure.
But, of course, the final scene turns everything on its head, when we learn that Michaels