I was a nerd in high school. I hung with the nerds; I was in the nerd sorority — Future Teachers of America — anchored the varsity bowling team and was a star in the chess club. It’s a good thing I had theatre in my life, or I’d still be living on Long Island, raising nerd children. Nowadays, being a geek is a cool thing, but in the ‘60s, if you were a nerd, kids just looked at you, pointed and giggled. I lived in a sci-fi world, obsessed with quantum physics, time travel and the space-time continuum, so when this new show debuted on TV, that fall day in 1966, featuring a future full of space travel and alien beings, I was glued to the set. Yes, I became a Trekker. Over the years, we’ve lost some of the stars who peopled the Star Trek franchise, but nothing has rocked the Trekker world like the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the seemingly immortal Mr. Spock, and it’s taken me two weeks to finally come to terms with his death.
As some of you might know, I’ve spend the past 18 years with Big Apple Comic Con, New York City’s local comic book and collectibles show. Through my work with Big Apple and my longtime client BarBara Luna, I’ve gotten to know some of the most amazing people who have graced the tiny tube since my childhood. Since Luna was part of one of the three top episodes of the original Star Trek series, “Mirror, Mirror” (spots one and two flip-flop between “Trouble with Tribbles” and “City on the Edge of Forever” with Joan Collins), I’ve had the privilege of attending Trek Cons for years and have come to know and work with most of the original cast. They were all accessible and great people: Walter Koenig (Chekov), George Takei (Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru), James Doohan (Scotty) and William Shatner, who would take an entire year’s worth of columns to discuss. DeForest Kelley — McCoy — is the only one I never met.
Nimoy was different. Not him personally, but the aura that surrounded the enigmatic Spock that seemed to follow him wherever he went. On a personal level, he was smart and articulate, with a wicked sense of humor and creative as an actor, writer, musician and photographer. Something about him always seemed immortal, much like his character, and that’s why his death has elicited such intense reactions from fans, Trekkers and fellow actors. The way Nimoy embodied Spock and gave us a character who became the moral compass for the entire Trek franchise, will forever remain one of the greatest portrayals in sci-fi and TV history.
I think the tag on The Big Bang Theory said it best:
The impact you had on our show and on our lives is everlasting.
Live long and prosper. So say we all.
This Week on the Tube
The two-hour season finale of Empire will be must-see TV. This show is one of the best things I’ve seen in ages. It’s HBO/Showtime-good and kudos to Fox for doing it on a network. Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie is a force to be reckoned with Terrence Howard’s Lucious is learning it fast. Hey, pal: you let her go off to the slammer for 17 years in order to save your ass, you can’t be surprised she picked up a few tricks along the way, including your hunky head of security, played by Derek Luke. Lucious’ ALS is the least of his problems.
What co-star of a major, longtime procedural has been fired by his co-star-slash-executive producer? His head is not the only one on the chopping block, according to my sources. Seems someone is believing their hype and getting a bit jealous of others’ popularity. Oops.
Best TV Moment of the Week
Raven-Symoné’s guest shot on Empire as the mother of Jamal’s daughter. Lots of reveals, but she was great as Olivia, protecting her child from an abusive boyfriend. Her barely audible plea to Jamal — “Help me” — was spot-on. And it does seem Olivia will be back for next season. Is there any question there will be a season two, a season three, a season four…?
And Don’t Get Me Started
What’s up with Fashion Police? First Kelly Osbourne leaves and now Kathy Griffin jumps ship. Methinks it’s the tacky and ever-so-racist comments by Giuiana Rancic that did it. Griffin tweeted that her style did not fit “the creative direction of the show,” and also:
There is plenty to make fun of in pop culture without bringing people’s bodies into it.
Somewhere, Joan Rivers is not amused. Both she and Griffin could be bitchy as hell, but there are lines that were never crossed. Stay tuned.