I had a very different start and format for this week’s What’cha Watchin’ planned out, but as I write this the news that Leonard Nimoy has passed is less than an hour old and I’m still reeling from it. I know that other What’cha Reading staff members are going to be writing about what Nimoy meant to them over the next few hours/days, but for now, I’m going to tell you how he entered my life, years and years before he volunteered to become the internet’s honorary grandfather and we all became family.
I clearly remember sitting in my aunt’s living room on a lazy Sunday afternoon back in the 80s—I think I was about 8. On the TV was a show that was new to me, but caught my interest almost immediately because it was like nothing I had ever seen. A team was on an alien planet visiting an archaeologist and his wife who turns out to be a shapeshifting salt vampire. It was “The Man Trap,” the first episode of Star Trek to air back in 1966 (although I didn’t know that at the time). Two more episodes followed, and by the end of them, I was thoroughly entranced and wanting to see more. I asked my aunt if the channel we were watching always played so many episodes on Sundays, and she laughed and told me that we’d been watching a tape—technology that was still so new to me that it had never even occurred to me as an explanation for our Star Trek marathon. It didn’t matter. All I knew was that I loved the show and its characters and I wanted to see more. My geek course in life was set in that living room in Northern Virginia that afternoon, with Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner and crew at the helm of that path. I have never looked back.
So today, in memory of Grandpa Leonard Nimoy, What’cha Watchin’ in its entirety (because somehow at this moment I don’t have the wherewithal to talk about any other shows right now) is what the majority of us will be watching this weekend: Star Trek. It was groundbreaking and exciting at the time, but nearly forty years after it first aired, it’s transcended that and for many of us it’s taken on the familiarity of home movies with beloved family members. Star Trek: The Original Series, the Animated Series, and the movies (1-6) are streaming on Netflix if you don’t have them on DVD. Fringe and The Big Bang Theory are available on Amazon. LLAP.