Monday, November 1, 2004

TV Crossover Hall of Fame (November 2004)

With only a day to go (as I write this) before the polls open so that we can pretend we're electing a president, naturally thoughts turn to politics even for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

In the last few years, the inductees in November have been someone connected to the great American tragedy of forty years ago last year. President and Mrs. Kennedy were inducted in 2002 as a couple in the year of the doubles; their son JFK, Jr. was inducted last year; and Walter Cronkite, whose announcement of Kennedy's death was perhaps the most memorable, was chosen in November of 2001 when he celebrated his 85th birthday.

November just has the right mien to showcase those inductees who are newsmakers in TV Land, whether real or fictional. (Or - as with the four mentioned earlier, - a combination of both.)

And even though our theme this year is 'Star Trek' (the original series), it still holds true.

There is a character in the galaxy of 'Trek' who was closely tied to the political process in the Federation of Planets. And although Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan was not a regular, he still played an integral role throughout the franchise, especially in fleshing out the dual nature of his son's character; that of Captain Spock of Starfleet.

We were first introduced to the Vulcan Ambassador on the original series, when we got to see the bonds of love between father and son (despite a communications breakdown) while they were en route to a peace conference on Babel.

Sarek revealed how much he loved his son when requesting the Vulcan High Priestess to restore Spock's katra (his soul) to his body. When it came to his son, Logic failed him. It was an admission not easy for a Vulcan to make.

He also came to the defense of the "mutinous" officers of the Enterprise before the Federation, against charges pushed by the Klingons. However, it became something of a "moot court" once Kirk & Company saved the Earth by bringing whales out of the extinct past.

We also learned that Spock was not Sarek's only son, but the only one who was half-human. Sarek had been married before to a Vulcan "princess", but his wife died in childbirth bringing Sybok into the world.

Many years later, long after his Earth-born second wife Amanda Grayson had died and he had remarried another human named Perrin, Sarek contracted Bendii's Syndrome in his old age. (The disease is something akin to a Vulcan version of Alzheimer's disease.

Thanks to the assistance of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Sarek was able to keep his sanity together long enough to mediate potentially explosive negotiations. Because of the mind-meld involved, Picard was later able to share the remnants of that link with Spock after Sarek passed away.

Sort of a cerebral Shiva.

So, with appearances on two of the 'Star Trek series and in at least three of the franchise films, Ambassador Sarek qualifies for this rather dubious "honor". It may not be as illustrious as acquiring the emblem of the IDIC, but 'twill serve.

Live Long And Prosper.

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