IN SEARCH OF… New Episodes and Leonard Nimoy (or a reasonable facsimile)by Bill Knell
The original IN SEARCH OF... was a very popular series on TV from 1977 to 1982. Rod Serling was the host for a brief time before his passing. Leonard Nimoy became the face of the show and the one we remember best. His smooth delivery of lines, voice inflections and easy-going personality helped garner huge ratings. Add to that the show’s content which covered popular subjects that were listed in the opening sequence by Nimoy in his best Spock voice: “Lost civilizations, extraterrestrials, myths and monsters, missing persons, magic and witchcraft, unexplained phenomena.”
Leonard Nimoy was such an iconic part of the original series. I'm thinking the upcoming History Channel reboot needs him as much as the original did. The problem is that he passed away a while ago. So, I thought maybe the History Channel could figure out a way to bring him back? Maybe use a Spiritualist Medium or find a kid who says, “I see dead people.” Or, try some digital re-creation and voice mixing. Then, it dawned on me… All they need is a clone of Nimoy and one is readily available!
Zachary Quinto played a young Spock in the Star Trek movie reboot, and played him again in two more Trek films. Quinto is a talented actor and, even with the original Spock standing right next to him, delivered the character in an almost supernatural way. That performance forever linked him with Nimoy and I am guessing that's why he was chosen to host the new IN SEARCH OF…
Quinto is also the Executive Producer. He offered this statement about the reboot: “I am so excited to be re-imagining ‘In Search Of’ and exploring new questions and phenomena with all of the advancements in science and technology from which we have benefitted in the past forty years since the original series first aired. In the spirit of my late dear friend Leonard Nimoy, we intend to honor and perpetuate his endless curiosity about the world – and universe – in which we live. Our director Eddie Schmidt and our partners at Propagate, Universal Television Alternative Studio and FremantleMedia International have ignited the process with enthusiasm and intelligence, and History is the perfect home for this unique and compelling series.”
He is not Nimoy and doesn't try to be. Yet, it's difficult to look at Zachary Quinto as anyone else in the hosting role of the reboot. There's the slight resemblance without the Spock makeup, but there's more. Zachary Quinto provides the same understated, positive delivery as Leonard Nimoy did while he was the host of the original show. The reboot also gives Quinto the chance to shine because it is not just a reboot, but an experiment.
The show is listed as an “unscripted television” program. As Spock might say, “lf one assumes that the host will be reading from some sort of prepared material to introduce various segments of each show, I fail to see how it would be unscripted.” And if Bones were to answer him, he might say, “For once I have to agree with that green blooded, inhuman computer.” Spock might thank him for the compliment, but I also wonder what “unscripted” means in this case.
I hope and believe that we will see something new and unique. A reality-investigative-documentary-style program that better suits today's viewers. The original IN SEARCH OF… might have run another five years if had not tried to do the Seventies in the Eighties. It retained the iconic, but very dated 1970s theme with outdated synthesizer music from the late 1960s.
The original show aired in reruns on cable a while back and garnered good ratings. However, it was not a program that would attract viewers under fifty. I loved the original for its content, but watching those episodes was like watching the AIRPORT films from the 1970s with that bad camera work, over the top characters and silent film star Gloria Swanson squeezed into her last film role before changing planes for the trip to Heaven. The shows just gave off that Seventies vibe.
The reboot has to be something new and different, but not too different. We don't need another Gong Show reboot with Mike Meyers playing a fictional British Comedian who never was as the Host, and doing a bad impression of himself. That explains Quinto’s presence. He satisfies the nostalgia crowd, while also appealing to a younger audience. They have not only borrowed Spock from Star Trek, but a successful concept. Some of the most popular episodes have dealt with Time Travel. Likewise, Star Trek IV is beloved by most fans. Time Travel will be one of the ten episodes that are forthcoming and, hopefully, ratings on The History Channel will provide the reasons for more. The show will premiere in the fall of 2018.
The only advice I can offer to Zachary Quinto is the same advice that Bones offered to Scotty in STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME. They were in a plastics factory trying to rangle enough materials to build a whale tank aboard their confiscated Klingon spaceship without money or anything to barter. Scotty was supposed to be a visiting expert from Scotland and was giving an over the top performance. Bones looked at Scotty and said, “Don't lose yourself in the part!”
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