Leonard Nimoy was Spock


spock eyebrowsLeonard Nimoy, the actor who portrayed the character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek TV shows and movies for much of his acting career, died this week at 83.

More than any other character of the franchise, Spock was iconic of Star Trek, a character recognized worldwide and cherished within the Trek community.  No doubt volumes will be spoken about Mr. Nimoy, and the great acting talent that shaped and formed the concept of Vulcans for the generations.  I’d just like to contribute this:

The character of Spock was much more than his emotionally-suppressed countenance: He was the voice of reason in trying and emotional times. He provided wise counsel and offered a shoulder to lean on.

And if you ever watched closely… you also discovered that Spock was clumsy as hell.  Nimoy could barely run, apparently.  His fighting skills were not very impressive.  But through his talent (and clever scene setups), you probably never noticed.

And his eyebrows.  They weren’t just mobile; given that in many scenes, Nimoy was restricted in his expressions and movements, he made those eyebrows positively manic in compensation.  And today, it’s pretty much impossible for anyone in America to cock an eyebrow and not conjure up images of Mr. Spock to everyone around them.

Leonard NimoyBut most importantly, Mr. Spock was the outsider trying to be a part of a team, and in the process becoming a trusted and needed member of a family.  He was emblematic of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of disparate peoples coming together, defeating prejudice and distrust of the stranger, and working together in harmony.

The combination of Roddenberry’s imagination and Leonard Nimoy’s talents gave us one of America’s most enduring characters, one which will live on in legend and hold its iconic status for generations.

Leonard Nimoy—and Mr. Spock—will both be missed.

Khan, failed savior: A better alternate history


KhanMust be all these hours snow-bound in front of my computer… maybe the sub-zero cold is starting to freeze some (some?) of my brain cells… but it occurred to me the other day that Khan Noonian Singh must have been railroaded.  (And so were we.)


Star Trek’s Federation history includes, among many other things, the fact that Earth had a World War III, and later, a Eugenics War, the combination of which tore Terran countries and societies apart.  It was from this series of disasters that Earth’s leaders finally started working together on a platform of mutual trust and cooperation, rebuilding the first truly global society.  This society eventually came to provide a universal living wage, food and housing for all, worldwide access to medicine, education and opportunities to do what they wanted beyond basic subsistence.

We also know, from the Star Trek Original Series episode “Space Seed,” that Khan and his followers were part of a group of genetically-engineered superior humans who tried, in Khan’s own words, to “give the world order.”  He and his people were soundly defeated in the Eugenics Wars and forced to flee Earth to escape prosecution.

But I now believe there’s more to the story than that… and a hint as to how Star Trek Into Daftness could have actually become a great movie. Continue reading