For 50 years, the character of Spock has had a major cultural impact; one that wouldn’t have happened had Gene Roddenberry not fought the studio. A few years ago, Adam Nimoy—Leonard Nimoy’s son—approached Leonard about doing a documentary about Mr. Spock to be released as part of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary celebrations: For the Love of Spock.
During the creation of this documentary, Leonard Nimoy died. The focus of For the Love of Spock shifted. The result: An honest look at how Spock not only affected fans, but also how playing this character affected Leonard Nimoy, and his family, especially his son Adam.
If you are a lifelong fan, like me, and the type of fan who knows all of the Star Trek trivia, like me, then you won’t learn anything new about how the character of Spock came about, and how Leonard had a very firm hand in shaping that character. These are stories we’ve heard many times from a variety of voices.
However, because some of the interviews were filmed after Leonard’s death, some of them filmed with Leonard shortly before his death, some of them are from radio and television archives, the way it is all cut together, the tone is certainly different. There is an air that definitely will put a smile on your face as Leonard’s life is celebrated, while also causing you to miss him dearly.
And while I’d love to focus on Spock–because I certainly do love Spock and that character has meant the world to me for my entire life—and say things like: “Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the news?” Followed by sharing my own story of being head deep in managing a large gaming convention and putting out fires, at the same time as getting the gut punching news via text message from my kids, For the Love of Spock is so much more than celebrating this one iconic character.
It brought tears to my eyes (though it mostly made me smile). And not for the reasons I thought it would as I mentally prepared myself to watch a film that celebrated one of my touchstones.
The stories that touched me were the honest and painful stories about how playing this character drove a divide in Leonard’s family, manifested into alcoholism, and the eventual reconciliation between Leonard and Adam. Even as I type out the part of how Spock nearly destroyed Leonard and Adam’s relationship but they had the will, courage and strength to work through that divide, something is getting in my eye.
These stories are not new to me, either. I’ve watched Leonard talk about his struggle with alcoholism. I knew that his acting career created rifts in his family. However, seeing them through the eyes and the voice of Adam and other family members, and in more personal detail from Leonard, in such an honest way, was extremely moving.
We don’t always like to think about those to whom we look up as being flawed and human. For me, it’s Leonard’s flaws, the pain with which he lived and the pain his actions caused others, his strength to reconcile that drew me to this man, and not only the love he showed others and his unbelievable work ethic.
Coming from a broken home with addictions and being a parent myself also caused me to appreciate these candid tales even more. Hearing Leonard talk about his struggles with addiction and the impact on others was very powerful. They will do wonders for others who have struggled and their loved ones.
For the Love of Spock caused me to have even more respect for the man behind my most beloved character, especially because he was not perfect.
Adam could have portrayed Leonard as a saint. He could have done so many things to further rocket Leonard and Spock into the mythos of culture by only celebrating the great things he did. Instead, he chose to tell an honest, emotional, and sometimes painful story of this man loved by millions.
In doing so, Adam Nimoy has given all of us a great gift, one of which I think his dad would have been very proud.
If you are wondering if it is safe for your children to watch, I do have two warning. The first, you may be faced with the following question, “What is slashfic?” The second, J.J. Abrams drops one f bomb.
For the Love of Spock is an honest and loving celebration of the life of Leonard Nimoy, exploring the full range of Leonard’s humanity, much in the same way Star Trek explored both the good and the bad of the human experience. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute.
For the Love of Spock can be viewed on TV on Demand by most cable providers in Canada and the US, and Internet on demand through most on-demand services. Visit For The Love of Spock’s website for a complete list of on-demand platforms. You can also purchase physical copies of For the Love of Spock and other goodies.