“Better Late Than Never”: Shatner boldly goes where he hasn’t gone before

It”s hard to imagine that between the Star Trek conventions, countless movie press tours and a nearly 20-year affiliation with travel website Priceline, William Shatner had never been to Japan or Southeast Asia. But somehow the 85-year old acting legend never had.

“The tickets were too expensive,” he joked at a July press screening for his new NBC series Better Late Than Never. With the Peacock footing the bill, the former Captain Kirk finally got to experience this part of the world with his new best TV friends – Henry Winkler, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw and comedian Jeff Dye.

The show is essentially The Bucket List turned into an unscripted television series. During the four episode season, the five travel to South Korea, Japan and Thailand among other countries in the region. It”s here they”ll do everything from visiting historical treasures to eating the best (and strangest) food these countries have to offer to performing karaoke on a tour bus. Shatner took to the trip…although he did seem to mind the climate.

“We had a great time. We had an illuminating time,” Shatner explained. But as for the weather, “It was beyond anything we've ever experienced; that humidity, those threatening thunderstorms and the sweat. Because there's always sweat.”

On Better Late Than Never, the interplay between Shatner and “The Fonz” Winkler (who also happens to be one of the show”s executive producers) is easily the highlight. They bicker like an old married couple in a way that makes you wonder why they haven”t been paired up before now.

“Henry is very funny,” Shatner said. “The jousting between us has a form to it. It”s really fun. I enjoy our moments where we”re pretending to be at odds.” Although one might dispute the idea of “pretending” when it comes to the legendarily opinionated Shatner. (For proof, check out his “Sabatage v. Sabotage” clip on YouTube). 

But the 35-day adventure was not without its scary moments. As Winkler explained, one of their planned destinations, Bangkok, ended up being scrapped because of the August 2015 terrorist attack in the city”s Pathum Wan District that killed 20 an injured 125.

Reflecting on his travels, Shatner seemed enthused but a little exhausted. When asked if he would embark somewhere else for a second season of Better Late Than Never, he quickly declined.

“I”m not going,” Shatner said. Then admitted his true motivation, “I”m starting a negotiation right now.”

Better Late Than Never premieres on NBC on Tuesday, August 23 at 10 p.m. ET.