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Feature: Primetime

Invasion Iowa

The crew

William Shatner spoofs a town into thinking he is shooting a big-budget, action-adventure film

In this new reality mini-series, William Shatner, and a faux dysfunctional film crew, invade Riverside, Iowa, pretending to make a Science Fiction movie, enlisting the entire town in assisting with the production. Why pick on the poor inhabitants of Riverside? It’s the self-proclaimed fictional future birthplace of Shatner’s Star Trek icon, Captain James T Kirk. “A Star Trek script mentioned Captain Kirk was from Iowa,” says Shatner, “but it didn’t say where. There was an enterprising gentleman in Riverside who laid claim to the birthplace as his town.”

The residents’ excitement soon turns to bewilderment and disappointment when the actor, portraying an over-the-top version of his persona, arrives with his phony entourage, including a neurotic assistant, a spiritual advisor, a ditzy leading actress and a Hollywood studio executive, all played by improvisational performers.

Of the show’s premise, Shatner comments enthusiastically, “What a delicious idea to take a movie company to a small town, play the goings-on and film it. We designed everything to the best of our ability not to hurt people’s feelings, so we discarded many of the gags, and we tried our best when we did our jokes, to make them palatable. I think the American public who are watching Hollywood’s foibles will laugh along with us. We’re not laughing at the town’s people, they’re laughing at us.”

by Judy Sloane

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Photo © Spike TV
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #187
April 2005
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