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Tag Archives: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The Best Line Ever Written In All Of Star Trek

3 Dec

December 3, 2018

Back in 2015 I introduced you to The Worst Line Ever Written In All Of Star Wars (“space diapers.”)

Today I’d like to introduce you to The Best Line Ever Written In All Of Star Trek. And appropriately, it comes from The Best Film Ever Made In All Of Star Trek, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

(I’ll skip the spoiler warning as I’ll assume that you already know that Spock dies at the end. )

During the climactic battle with Khan, The Enterprise’s engines have been disabled and warp drive is offline. Khan, in his final act of defiance (“From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”) has activated the Genesis device, which will wipe out anything it’s energy touches.

There’s some terrific writing in this scene, as the sense of impending doom is palpable. The Enterprise, flying as fast as it can, is swiftly being overtaken by the detonation and it is only a matter of minutes before everyone on the ship dies. This is driven home by Mr. Sulu, who was always  one of the more positive members of the crew. “We’re not going to make it, are we?”

Sulu looks at Captain Kirk, heroic and unstoppable, who during the course of the film discussed the many ways he’s beaten the unbeatable. Kirk, completely uncharacteristically, is sitting with his arms tightly folded across his chest, and simply looks at his son, David, a scientist behind the Genesis device.

David quietly shakes his head no.

There is doom, there is dread, and there is Mr. Scott, to whom Kirk had earlier said “Scotty, I need warp speed in three minutes or we’re all dead.”

It is a perfect Star Trek line, one we’ve heard dozens of times in the TV series. Scotty is a miracle worker. He’ll get the engines back online. He’s done exactly that in situations as bad as these many times over. It’s almost a joke. So when Captain Kirk tells Scotty he needs warp speed in three minutes, he’s pretty sure he’ll have them back in two.

But he won’t. And we know he won’t, because down in engineering Scotty is barely conscious and being treated by Dr. McCoy. We know but Kirk doesn’t. But Spock does. It is Spock who saves the ship, who sacrifices his own life. (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”)

But Jim Kirk doesn’t know it. So when the engines come online, the ship goes to warp speed and everyone escapes certain doom, Kirk says the best line written in all of Star Trek:

“Bless you Scotty.”

Because we know it wasn’t Scotty. We know it was Spock. We know he’s dying, probably already dead. We see his empty chair on the bridge but Kirk hasn’t seen it yet. In the moment Kirk is blessing his miracle working engineer, we the fans are already mourning his best friend’s death. The line, delivered so thankfully by Kirk, is actually painful to us watching the film.

Alfred Hitchcock defines suspense as, in a nutshell, the audience knowing something bad that the characters do not. It is us seeing the bomb under the table while the couple slowly drinks their morning coffee, oblivious to the countdown. It is good writing. And it is also good writing with us knowing Spock has died while Kirk is praising the wrong man for saving the ship.

But Kirk soon finds out, and it’s when he calls engineering to congratulate Scotty, only to hear Dr. McCoy grimly say, in what is the second best line written in all of Star Trek, “Jim… I think you better get down here.” Followed by “Better hurry.” Kirk looks at Spock’s empty chair, and he knows.

The whole ending of the film, leading up to Spock’s death, is dark and portentous. It is heavy and funerary in a way Star Trek has never gone before. This one film is full of fantastically quotable lines, from the campy “Khaaaaaan!” to the subtle “how we face death is at least as important as how we face life. ” Star Trek II is well-written in the same way every single Star Trek film since 2009 has not been

“Bless you Scotty.” The best line in all of Star Trek. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, written by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer.


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TV Then vs. TV Now (Classic Rerun)

18 Sep

September 18, 2013

Continuing our look at TV, here is a look back at some classic TV shows of the past.

from January 31, 2011

I don’t care what anyone says- TV used to be better. To prove it, all I have to do is say is say two little words- Jersey Shore. There ‘Nuff said. Want more proof? Real Housewives.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking- “But Mr. Blog! TV had crap like My Mother the Car, Manimal, and Supertrain! Not to mention Roseanne Barr.”

That’s all true, but none of them had the ratings of a crapfest like America’s Top Model, despite there being many, many less channels to choose from. Back them you had the stations between 2 and 13 plus some hazy UHF channels. Now your cable box goes into the thousands.

I have no excuse for Roseanne Barr.

I do, however, have proof that television used to be better.
Facts in the form of old TV Guide ads.

Aside from one of the milestones of classic TV- Who Shot J.R.?, this ad features one of the classic over the top shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. Why did I pick this particular ad? Because the Duke boys are using bows and arrows! In a show already totally silly, the Duke boys were not only expert drivers but also expert marksmen- with dynamite tied to their arrows! Does TV get any better than exploding arrows?

But not everyone liked the drama of Dallas or the shenanigans of the Dukes. for them there was family fare.

By “the whole bunch” they meant “everyone but Jan,” who was recast, and “no Alice either.”

And who better to kick off their show but such cheesy TV stalwarts Donnie and Marie? Everyone’s favorite fussy non-homosexual (though everyone thought he was) Tony Randall was along for the fun! Does it get any better?

It just got better.

So far we’ve had variety, action, drama, and jiggly women in tight t-shirts. What about the kids? Think of the children!

OK, I will.

Look at that lineup! Spider-Man! The Fantastic Four! The Beatles! King Kong! Casper! Bullwinkle!
And, uh, something called Milton the Monster.

Kids shows weren’t limited to Saturday mornings either. Remember these specials?

I ask you, where can you find Pac-Man on TV today?

Lest you forget, here is the most infamous TV special of all:

What a cast! All of your Star Wars favorites: Harrison ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, the guy who played Chewbacca, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Art Carney, and Jefferson Starship. Because no one screams “Star Wars” like Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship.

What else did TV air at night? TV movies!

Sally Struthers in Hey, I’m Alive! The jokes just write themselves, and it is a good thing because I can’t come up with one myself. But seriously, think about her career and make up your own.

And of course, the previously bloggged Wonder Woman!

There was Killdozer (great title!)

And there was Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan. This is an example of a simply great ad in a style that you never see nowadays.

And speaking of great ads, check this one out.

Now that is one great ad. Tales of the Gold Monkey was an action/adventure show in the Indiana Jones mold. Seriously, look at that ad. Who wouldn’t watch that show? Turns out a lot of people wouldn’t watch that show. It was cancelled after one season. In the pilot, they went after the fabled Gold Monkey idol and it turned out to be made of lead, which I guess is a parallel to the show’s ratings. However, I was a fan and trust me, it was a good show.

And speaking of shows that feature monkeys:

And speaking of shows that feature other apes:

I may be one of the few people who remember this show. Spun off from Hill Street Blues, it featured Buntz and one of his snitches moving to Beverley Hills, which also happens to be Standard Sitcom Plot number 14 (Fish out of water: low-class guy in ritzy neighborhood.) And notice the sneaky way they stuck in an ad for Cheers.

I have to admit that I never heard of this show, but I was hooked by the description- “St. Louis struck out in the World Series.. now it’s struck by KING TUT’S CURSE!” That is the exact kind of silly plot that my friend Marc and I came up with all the time when we were teenagers. That could be OUR lousy cancelled TV show!

On the other hand, here we have the opposite- a good TV show with a lousy ad.

Were there no photos available? Who came up with this? Gary Coleman looks like he is lost in some sort of romantic reverie. And read that description- “… all of his friends and some of his enemies…” What enemies? All I remember was the Gootch, played by Andrew Dice Clay, looking about ten years too old to be a teenager.

Lastly, TV used to be the home of cheesy movies and horror hosts. Anyone who grew up in New York remembers this Thanksgiving tradition:

Who didn’t stay up late at night to watch some of these?

The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy is a poorly dubbed Mexican film from the 50’s and it is pretty much what you’d expect from the title, just a lot less fun. It shows up on cable from time to time and you really should check it out.

On the face of it this seems like a funny mistake- Movies of the ’50’s featuring Frankenstein 1970. but once you realize that Frankenstein 1970 was made in 1958 it makes sense.

Who would not have stayed home to watch that? Before you say “not me” remember, this was before TiVo and DVRs, before cable, before even VCRs were common. You bet your ass you’d stay home.

So there you have it. Indisputable proof that the television of yesterday was better than the television of today. Want more proof? Turn on BRAVO.

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