William Shatner isn't exactly a normal guy. He's played a captain on "Star Trek," he stars in random Priceline commercials, and hell, he's even dabbled in porn. He's seen a lot and done even more, so it's not a stretch to have him host something like "William Shatner's Weird Or What?"
Now in its third season, the show examines three strange real-life cases every episode, and weighs the pros, cons and in-betweens of each. Examples include the man who claims he developed a relationship with aliens while they were held captive at an army base, or the woman who truly believes she's half extraterrestrial. Shatner and his team take a close look at each, and after presenting all the information, leave it up to the viewer to decide.
Shatner spoke to HuffPost TV again (we spoke to him last year about "Weird Or What?") about the show and how it's changed. He also let us know what he truly believes in -- and what he's a skeptic about.
Has anything changed with the show since then? Or are you still covering the same sorts of topics? Same format?
It's basically the same, and now we've really figured out how to do it. The line between being amusing and intriguing is a fine one. You know, these things happened, these things are real -- we want to present them in an entertaining fashion. But at the same time we can't cast doubt on the validity of what we're talking about. Being amusing and being serious is the line we try to tread.
Like that episode where you introduce the story while riding a horse?
There you are! That horse had a mind of its own, too. By the time I got up and down on that horse, over the course of the day, I ruined my left leg. Everybody thought that was very funny. There were definitely layers of amusement there. The horse wrangler came up to me at the end of the day and said, "You're a horseman!" It was the finest compliment I've received in a long time.
What about you, personally? Has your viewpoint on "weird" things changed at all?
No, but we seem to be dealing with the weird stories in a more efficient way. We have better researchers now, too. We need three stories an hour, and we have 10 episodes, so that means we need 30 stories overall - and that's a lot. I don't think weird stories run out, but it can be tough to find them, and we have to be the first there.
Some of these stories are unbelievable!
Oh, I know! This is a show that's challenging on many, many levels. You sit there, laugh at Shatner, and get amazed by the story.
Technology has added a real wild card to weirdness, meaning camerawork and editing software can create something out of nothing. Things can be modified. Have you seen more of that sort of thing, or hoaxes?
Some things are weird only because they were made weird by technology. I'm sure technology plays a part in people trying to tell a story that hasn't happened as they've suggested it's happened. We do our diligence and try to ignore all of that. The many pictures you see of flying saucers, we know they're doctored; but then 10 years later, the same pictures surface, and people say, "Oh! Look at that! A flying saucer!" Until another expert turns up and says they're doctored.
One episode that blew my mind was that one where they found that creature in a cage in Mexico.
Oh, yes! That one is real! What IS that? [Laughs] That's the thing -- the magical thing about this series. It's fascinating, and most of these cases you've never heard of.
Everything can be debunked, yet people still believe in the face of proven fact. Why do you think that is?
Well, I don't agree with your premise. I don't think everything can be debunked. Take that one part of an episode of "Weird or What?" when that man falls about 50 storeys from a skyscraper and he manages to live. That cannot be debunked -- it happened. The fact that he tumbled a certain way, the fact that some part of a platform broke his fall ... you just don't know why or how.
What, then, is this desire to believe in something extraterrestrial, to believe in something paranormal?
It's human curiosity. The idea that we're not alone -- that life exists everywhere. Life seems to be mobile and move up, and in the face of complexity and intelligence, as time goes on, humans seek to explain it and understand it.
Is there anything out there that you're a total skeptic of?
I'm a total skeptic of the concept that we know everything. I wish this were my quote, but I'll take it as mine: All scientists are doing as they respect the laws of nature are promoting rumours. Nobody knows anything.
On the flipside, besides your belief in psychic abilities, is there anything you're a true believer of?
The flipside of knowing that everything we know will change momentarily, is the certainty that that will happen.
"William Shatner's Weird or What?" airs on History Television in Canada at 10:00 p.m. ET on Mondays.