05/19/2009 at 09:00 AM EDT
While the Star Trek
franchise he helped make famous is achieving success at warp speed at the box office, the original Captain Kirk is exploring the final frontier of cyberspace.
In The Gavones
, his new YouTube cartoon, William Shatner directs and voices Don Salmonella Gavone, who's struggling to pick an heir from his four misfit sons. The pilot episode has just been posted
, with the next installment due out within a month.
Think of the Gavone family as the-Sopranos-meets-Hollywood, says Shatner.
"It's the mafia in Hollywood trying to make a hit – and half the family think it's murder and the other half thinks it's a movie," Shatner told PEOPLE.com exclusively. "It's a comedic Soprano family."
In the pilot, Shatner used friends and family to voice the characters. Down the line, Shatner says that Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese are likely to appear – their cartoon likenesses, anyway.
"We can get anybody we want with the flick [of a pen]," he says.
So why has Shatner, who most recently starred in Boston Legal
, turned his hand to animation?
"I decided a cartoon on YouTube would be really fun," he says. "All those media forms like Facebook and Twitter, we don't know where they're going to take us; certainly YouTube is unique in its form. So it seemed like a good idea to investigate how to do entertainment on it."
Priceline is sponsoring the series, which will comprise 6-7 episodes and run twice a month.