My fellow Nerds and Nerdettes, it is with true sadness that I look back at the career of Leonard Nimoy who died yesterday. He had been suffering from chronic lung disease and his death was caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary, he was 83.
All fans of science fiction will remember Leonard Nimoy’s unforgettable portrayal of the half human-half Vulcan character of Spock from Star Trek. It’s worth noting that when Star Trek first aired on television in 1966, many letters were written by concerned viewers who were concerned that Spock looked somewhat demonic with raised eyebrows and pointed ears.
However, as the series grew in popularity so did Spock’s sex appeal and indeed he received sacks and sacks of fan mail, not just from eager young fans whose imagination he fired, but also from many ladies who found his character to be “charming and appealing.”
So, in true FTN style, I pay homage to Leonard Nimoy with Spock’s greatest moments:
10. Fascinating! In any number of episodes – or the films – one of Spock’s most signature phrases was “Fascinating.” This could be for any number of reasons, from the discussion of love to the scanning of a star from his console on the USS Enterprise. Fans were able to discover new worlds and share his character’s inquisitiveness through this simple word.
9. Spock’s Vulcan Lute: Who would have ever thought that an ancient Earth instrument would be resurrected so skilfully for a sci-fi television show? Spock’s Lute playing gave the audience a rare glimpse into Spock’s more musical side as he would serenade crew members in the rec room (often with Lt Uhura singing in the episode “Charlie X”).
8. Spock gets nasty: The Mirror Universe saw Spock go from loyal confidant and friend of Cpt. Kirk to a scheming, backstabbing, selfish wannabe Captain. The episode “Mirror, Mirror” revealed that Leonard Nimoy could take one of the most loved characters on television and transform him into an evil son of a Klingon; oh and he sported a beard aswell, really bad ass!
7. Spock crying: There were a few time in the show’s running that we actually saw Spock Cry and these scenes were some of the most touching that ever involved his character. Spock tried to hide his human side constantly, but these brief moments of vulnerability meant that the viewer would sympathise with Spock as if he was born on their street.
6. Spock cursing: In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Spock learns some “colourful metaphors” from Kirk. Whilst it takes some time for him to learn when to use these, he picks his moments brilliantly in later years. Near the end of this movie, he brilliantly quips to Kirk “One Damn Minute Admiral”, whilst his last line and appearance with the full (original crew) in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was “Go to Hell”; a response he said he would make… if he were human!
5. Spock’s Back: Fans of Star Trek know that you can’t keep a good Vulcan off the screen and due to the financial and critical success of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock was found to be alive. With the phenomenal of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ambassador Spock was once again back on the Enterprise, though this time is it under the command of Capt. Picard and it was the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D. The two part episode of Unification saw Spock dealing with old age and finding it increasingly difficult to maintain his Logic (I had to mention that wonderful word). These two episodes are still loved today, perhaps more so than any other returning cast member episode of Star Trek as both script and acting are what fans craved for the most; that and a raised eyebrow!
4. That is not Nancy: Fans of the original series will remember this line from the episode Man Trap. Nancy, a friend of Doctor McCoy, is NOT what she appears to be and Spock literally fights her. This is especially important as it featured a man punching a woman on prime time television, yet there were no shouts for domestic abuse as Nancy was a Salt Vampire. A very interesting scene that, if made today, would most certainly carry a warning for violence.
3. Banter! Throughout Star Trek’s long voyage through television and movies there has been brilliant banter between Kirk, Spock and Doctor (Bones) McCoy; and in fairness, most of the banter came from Spock quipping at the expense of Doctor McCoy. Star Trek took great pains to show the fun to be had between three work colleagues who still made jokes even in the darkest of times.
2. Friendship! This probably goes along with number 3 on the list as Spock’s friendship to Kirk and McCoy showed time and time again that he would risk everything he could for his friends. Pick any memorable scene you like, whether it’s the fight scene of Kirk vs Spock (I bet you are humming that fight music now) in which we knew Spock wouldn’t kill him, to about the only memorable scene in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier when the three are camping, toasting marshmallows and Spock singing “Row, Row, Row your Boat”…. Life is indeed but a dream.
1. “The Needs of the Many…Out way the Needs of the few”: This is probably the most memorable moment out in ALL of the Star Trek Universe! In the climatic scenes of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock, having realised that the Enterprise isn’t going to make it from the explosive wave of the Genesis Device, barges his way to the main engine room and through battling fatal radiation doses, gets the ship’s propulsion back on-line, thus saving the crew. The price for this heroism is that it has cost him his life, and his last words brilliantly convey his character’s true Logic. Through the clear partition, we are able to see Spock’s wounds and feel Captain Kirk’s pain, a moment that especially now evokes sympathy and admiration!
For non fans of Star Trek, it is worth noting that Leonard Nimoy also had a great stint on the television series Mission: Impossible as Paris and was a notable film Director; not only did he direct Star Trek 3 & 4, he directed Three Men and a Baby. He was also a singer, who is best know for his hit song “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” and he was a prolific writer of poetry too.
In more recent times, fans of sci-fi will remember his electrifying performance as William Bell in the TV series Fringe and, of course, after playing Galvatron in the original Transformers animated movie, he returned to the Robots in Disguise fold for Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Dark of the Moon where he played one of the greatest Autobots ever, Sentinel Prime. He also had a hilarious cameo in The Big Bang Theory where he was the voice of a Spock action figure belonging to Sheldon.
He was never afraid to have fun with his legacy; a legacy that is far to prolific to fully encapsulate – just writing this reminds me of his fantastic turn in the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers alongside the great Donald Sutherland – and we will simply say that almost everything he did left an indelible mark on us here at FTN HQ.
For making us believe that extra-terrestrials could be our close allies, for proving that friendship doesn’t matter on the colour of your blood (he was green-blooded after all) and for making us believe in life among the stars, we passionately remember Leonard Nimoy; We Vulcan Salute You.
RIP Leonard Nimoy