Star Trek Stamps from USPS

Posted on January 3, 2016 at 8:00 am

The US Postal Service is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek with a new set of stamps that have four digital illustrations inspired by classic elements of the television program:

the Starship Enterprise inside the outline of a Starfleet insignia against a gold background;
the silhouette of a crewman in a transporter against a red background;
the silhouette of the Enterprise from above against a green background; and,
the Enterprise inside the outline of the Vulcan salute (Spock’s iconic hand gesture) against a blue background

The words “SPACE… THE FINAL FRONTIER,” from Captain Kirk’s famous voice-over appear beneath the stamps against a background of stars. The stamps were designed by Heads of State under the art direction of Antonio Alcalá.

Copyright USPS 2015
Copyright USPS 2015
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Science-Fiction Television

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm

We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, “Star Trek’s” half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original “Star Trek” were provocative political and cultural allegories, but the heart of the show was the reflection of the internal struggle we all try to reconcile: fire and ice, Athenian and Spartan, id and superego — between the passionate, impetuous Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the cerebral, deliberate Mr. Spock.

Adam Bernstein wrote in the Washington Post:

Spock was the ultimate outsider — a trait Mr. Nimoy said he understood. He was Jewish and had grown up in an Irish section of Boston. Going to movies as a child during the Depression, he was drawn to actors who specialized in bringing pathos to the grotesque — especially Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein” (1931) and Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939).

By most accounts, Mr. Nimoy portrayed the most popular character of the “Star Trek” cast. While some critics thought that Mr. Nimoy’s acting was dour or wooden, fans might have argued that these were precisely the characteristics of the emotion-suppressing, logic-obsessed Spock.

Copyright 1968 Paramount
Copyright 1968 Paramount

Nimoy was a fine actor, and he gave a dry wit to Mr. Spock. The character was fascinating because of his emotionless, stoic, purely rational approach.  Once in a while, his human side showed through. And although most of the time he seemed to conclude (rationally) that the Vulcan approach was superior, he occasionally seemed to envy his human colleagues’ capacity for emotion. And certainly, he showed himself capable of friendship with Captain Kirk.

I loved his father’s explanation of why he married a human: “It seemed the logical thing to do at the time.” Spock also had the enviable ability of telepathy and could immobilize a humanoid enemy with a neck nerve-pinch.

Bernstein’s obituary quoted an interview Nimoy gave to the New York Times:

“I knew that we were not playing a man with no emotions, but a man who had great pride, who had learned to control his emotions and who would deny that he knew what emotions were. In a way, he was more human than anyone else on the ship.”

He added: “In spite of being an outcast, being mixed up, looking different, he maintains his point of view. He can’t be bullied or put on. He’s freaky with dignity. There are very few characters who have that kind of pride, cool and ability to lay it out and walk away. Humphrey Bogart played most of them.”

He spoke to Pharrell Williams about his life and career and developing the character of Spock.

The devotion of “Star Trek’s” fans is legendary, and the subject of documentaries including Trekkies and its sequel, and no character had more fans than Mr. Spock.

A particularly fitting tribute was in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” where the hyper-rational Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) has the most emotional reaction in the history of the series because he receives a special gift, a napkin that had been used by Leonard Nimoy.

In another episode, Nimoy provided the voice for Cooper’s Mr. Spock action figure.

Nimoy was the son of Jewish immigrants from what is now Ukraine. It was his idea to use the traditional rabbinic blessing gesture, with the fingers spread apart in a V shape as the Vulcan greeting.

He was also a successful director, not just of “Star Trek” films but also of the popular comedy “Three Men and a Baby” and the Diane Keaton drama “The Good Mother.”

In 1968, Nimoy responded with warmth, generosity, and wisdom to a letter from a biracial girl who identified with his bi-planetary character. He told her to “realize the difference between popularity and true greatness. It has been said that ‘popularity’ is merely the crumbs of greatness. When you think of people who are truly great, and who have improved the world, you can see that they have realized that they are people who do not need popularity because they knew they had something special to offer the world, no matter how small that offering seemed. And they offered it and it was accepted with peace and love.”

He left us with a beautiful final message via Twitter.

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Nimoy gave us many perfect moments.  As long as there are devices to view content, new generations of fans will love and be inspired by Mr. Spock. May his memory be a blessing.

EPIX will pay tribute to Nimoy this weekend.

A Conversation with Leonard Nimoy: AIRING: Friday 2/27 – 11:00PM ET, Saturday 2/28 – 5:40PM ET & 10:00PM ET, Sunday 3/1 – 8:00PM ET 

Leonard Nimoy shares insights and personal anecdotes from his nearly 50-year involvement with the phenomenon that is Star Trek.  

Star Trek Into Darkness: AIRING: Saturday 2/28 – 10:15PM ET, Sunday 3/1 – 8:15PM ET

In the wake of a shocking act of terror from within their own organization, the crew of The Enterprise is called back home to Earth. In defiance of regulations and with a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads his crew on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

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Actors Television Tribute

Star Trek Continues

Posted on June 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

If you’ve ever seen Trekkies and the sequel Trekkies 2 or William Shatner’s The Captains or the affectionate tribute to the super-fans, Galaxy Quest, you will appreciate the Kickstarter-funded new series “Star Trek Continues,” created by uber-Trekker
Vic Mignogna.

Here’s the first episode:

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Internet, Gaming, Podcasts, and Apps Science-Fiction Television

Summer Movie Preview: 2013

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Summer movies are just too big to stay within the calendar months of the season this year. Officially, summer does not begin until June. At the box office, it begins this week, with the first of the year’s guaranteed blockbusters, “Iron Man 3” starring Robert Downey, Jr., People Magazine’s current “most beautiful woman in the world” cover girl Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sir Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.

After that, the next 16 weeks are going to be filled with superheroes, sequels, wild comedies, chases and explosions, animated family films, and indie darlings.

And there’s one great big drama: Baz Luhrman’s “The Great Gatsby,” the third version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic jazz age story — but the first time in 3D.


Here’s a quick look at what’s coming up:man of steel quad


Iron Man 3” Director Shane Black takes over from Jon Favreau and new cast members include Paul Bettany, Guy Pearce, and Rebecca Hall. “Wolverine” Hugh Jackman returns as the adamantine-bladed X-Men star, this time fighting yakuzas and ninjas in Japan.

Man of Steel” British actor Henry Cavill gets to wear the blue tights and red cape of Krypton-survivor turned superhero in this reboot from Zach Snyder, co-starring Amy Adams as Lois Lane and born-to-play-a- supervillain Michael Shannon as General Zod. Watch for Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as George and Martha Kent.


Star Trek Into Darkness” “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch is the bad guy this time as the crew of the Starship Enterprise has to cope with some complex choices in the middle of the action. “Fast & Furious 6” Justin Lin, who made #5 one of the biggest jolts of cinematic adrenalin, returns — and so does Michelle Rodriguez, even though her character was killed off in an earlier episode.

bruce-willis-helen-mirren-red-2-trailer-character-posters“Red 2” The Retired Extremely Dangerous spies are back, directed by “Galaxy Quest’s” Dean Parisot. Joining the cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Kick-Ass 2” Jim Carrey joins the cast of would-be superheroes as Colonel Stars-and-Stripes when they take on the revenge-filled fury of the Red Mist.“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” The next generation of Greek gods undertake a quest for the golden fleece and a fight against the forces of evil.

300: Rise of an Empire” Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes” comes to the screen, with Themistokles defending at sea against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Monsters, Chases, Explosions, and the End of the World:

Elysium_PosterWhite House Down” For the third time this year (and the second time for “Independence Day’s” Roland Emmerich), the White House gets attacked, and this time it’s a cop played by Channing Tatum who has to save the day (and his daughter). James Woods and Maggie Gyllenhaal play Secret Service agents, and Jamie Foxx is President.

After Earth” Will Smith and his son Jaden team up for the first time since “The Pursuit of Happyness” in a story about a return to the post-end-of-the-world third rock from the sun, directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

World War Z” Brad Pitt. Zombies.

Pacific Rim” Aliens. Giant robots. Directed by fanboy-favorite Guillermo del Toro.

The Lone Ranger” Winkelveii-portrayer Armie Hammer plays the title role, but the one to keep your eye on here is Johnny Depp, reuniting with his “Pirates” director Gore Verbinski to play Tonto.

Elysium” Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in this after-the-end-of-the-world movie, directed by “District 9’s” Neill Blomkamp.

2 Guns” Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg play law enforcement officers investigating each other — until they discover they have been framed and have to work together. A strong supporting cast include’s Washington’s “Deja Vu” co-star Paula Patton, as well as James Marsden, Bill Paxton, and Edward James Olmos.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” Lily Collins stars as Clary Fray from the popular fantasy series by Cassandra Clare about the demon-fighting Shadowhunters. The cast also features CCH Pounder and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Animated Family Movies:

epic” A human girl is shrunk down to the size of an insect in this small-scale adventure from the “Ice Age” folks, with voices by Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Jason Sudeikis, Beyoncé, Chris O’Dowd, Colin Farrell, and Christoph Waltz.

monsters universityMonsters University” If there’s a sure bet this summer, this prequel to Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” is it. We’ll get to see how Sully and Mike learned everything they know about scaring in a movie that will have everyone in the family wanting to go to college. Steve Buscemi, Billy Crystal and John Goodman return, joined by new voices Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza, John Krasinski, Alfred Molina, Sean Hays, and Charlie Day.

“Planes” This summer’s big release from Disney feels a bit “Cars”-ish — Dane Cook, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, and Brad Garrett lend their voices to this story of a crop-dusting plane who wants to race.

“Turbo” Another racing underdog story — this one is about a garden snail who gets the power of speed and wants to compete in a car race. Voice talent includes Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hadar, Paul Giamatti, Richard Jenkins, and Maya Rudolph.

“Despicable Me 2” Did you think Gru and the girls were going to live happily ever after? Not quite. Gru (Steve Carrell) is recruited to fight a super-villain in this sequel — we don’t know much more than that, but prepare for lots of minions.

Wild comedies:

Peebles” Funny man Craig Robinson has his first romantic lead as a man who meets the “chocolate Kennedy” family of the girl he loves (“Scandal’s” Kerry Washington) in this Tyler Perry-produced comedy written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, with an all-star cast that includes Diahanne Carroll, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Melvin Van Peebles.

The Heat” “Bridesmaids'” director Paul Feig re-teams with Melissa McCarthy in this female buddy-cop story featuring reliable funny men Marlon Wayans, Tony Hale, and Taran Killam.This-Is-The-End-Rogen-Franco-Hill

This is the End” A comedic take on this year’s popular end-of-the-world theme, this one stars frequent co-stars and off-screen pals Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul, Rudd, Jason Segal, Craig Robinson, Jay Baruchel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Danny McBride, and Seth Rogen, joined by Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, and Rihanna.

The Internship” Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson re-team in a recession comedy, but the real star of the movie is Google, the employer of the title’s highly competitive entry-level positions.

“The Girl Most Likely” The writer-directors of “American Splendor” direct Kristin Wiig in this story of a playwright struggling after success, co-starring Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, and “Glee’s” Darren Criss.

Hangover 3” The Wolf Pack is back.

Indie Darlings:Frances Ha” Indie queen Greta Gerwig stars in the typical indie story — a young woman trying to find herself. With “Squid and the Whale’s” Noah Baumbach writing (with Gerwig) and directing, it is definitely worth a look.

Before Midnight” The third chapter (fourth if you count the segment of “Waking Life”) following “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” shows us what happened to Jesse and Celine.

The East” A former FBI agent now working at a private security firm goes undercover in an activist group plotting some extreme “jams” to expose corporate misbehavior finds herself reconsidering which side she wants to be on. Co-screenwriter Britt Marling stars with Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Jason Ritter, and Patricia Clarkson. austenlandposter

“The Kings of Summer” Three teenage boys run away from home to live in the woods in this smart and endearing story, with terrific performances by newcomer Nick Robinson and the always-reliable Megan Mullally, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman.

Much Ado About Nothing” Joss Whedon called his friends to come over to his house for a couple of weeks to make a stylish, black and white modern-day version of Shakespeare’s most rollicking love story.

The Way, Way Back” This Sundance favorite written by the guys behind “The Descendants” is the story of a boy dragged to his mother’s boyfriend’s beach house. The boyfriend (Steve Carrell) is a bully, but the boy is befriended by a water park manager (Sam Rockwell).

The Spectacular Now” Advance word is that the stars of this story of a party boy who is challenged by a girl are on the brink of a major break-through. Learn those names now: Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley.

Austenland” Have you ever dreamed of living in a Jane Austen novel? In this movie, an Austen-like theme park gives fans the chance at a fantasy regency romance, starring Keri Russell.

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