It's official: George Takei owns the internet. This is the year that Takei's domination over our assorted cyberwebs became official and final. He's become our greatest meme generator and his mellifluous voice turned out to be perfect for summing up the state of the world circa 2011.
To celebrate our new overlord, here's a collection of George Takei's greatest moments... and his most bizarre.
Greatest: Warlord Shank in Space Cases
As far as I'm concerned, George Takei will always be remembered as "the man who played the awesome Warlord Shank in the short-lived Nickelodeon show Space Cases. Oh, and he also was on some other TV show, I guess." The famous Takei baritone is at its absolute best when he's wearing an alien costume, and he works the hell out of playing a militaristic, pompous, ranting villain. Oh, and hissing. Did we mention the hissing? Watch another awesome Warlord Shank clip here.
Weirdest: "Inscrutable," from Star Trek: The Animated Series.
When I first got the DVDs of the Animated Series, I was so excited to see a whole extra season of Star Trek, written by D.C. Fontana and the rest of the TOS crew, plus people like Larry Niven. But then there are moments like this one. Seriously, what the hell? Why is Sulu telling Kirk that his secret is being "inscrutable?" It's like one of those early 1970s moments where an African American teaches a white dude to talk Jive. Except this moment is redeemed somewhat by Kirk telling Sulu that "you're the most scrutable man I know."
Greatest: "Don't call me Tiny," from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
There's like three things that anybody remembers from this movie. The Enterprise blows up. Spock gets laid. And Sulu says, "Don't call me Tiny." Considering that Sulu's actual role in Search for Spock really is tiny, It's kind of amazing how Takei manages to steal the show.
Best: George Takei is Galactus
We couldn't find a clip online, but Takei has voiced Galactus in the Marvel Super Hero Squad video game as well as the animated series of the same name. It's basically perfect voice casting.
Weirdest: Most of his appearances on Heroes.
As always, Takei does the best he can with the material he's given. It's not like he's capable of turning dross into gold single-handedly. But yeah — his role in Heroes starts out as a fun bit of fanservice and then quickly goes downhill, as part of the show's systematic ruination of Hiro Nakamura. The endless scenes of Hiro and his dad fighting with Samurai swords felt like the kind of bland cultural signifiers that Takei had spent his career avoiding. And then, in this thankfully deleted scene, we find out that Kaito Nakamura's superpower involves being good at math. Really, Heroes?
Greatest: Takei playing himself on Party Down
The season one finale of Party Down features Takei attending a party where he can't even take a leak without someone interrogating him about the Vulcan Mind Meld. There have been approximately 1,000 comedy bits about Star Trek actors dealing with over-obsessed fans, including Shatner's "Get a life" routine. But watching Takei trying and failing to urinate is still piss-your-pants funny.
Weirdest: Supah Ninjas
Sure, it's a kid's show. But so was Space Cases. And gah, the Nickelodeon show Supah Ninjas is horrible. It's about a trio of kids who get ninja powers, or something, and one of them has a dead grandfather (played by Takei) who appears as a holographic ghost to give them advice and stuff. Skip to about 6:40 in this video to watch the holographic Takei announcing, "I programmed this hologram to give you training in the way of the ninja. It is your destiny to be a hero of the shadows." It just gets more and more painful. Although you have to love the line, "Bring it on, Hologramps!"
Greatest: Captain Sulu.
If you're like me, you spend way too much time obsessing about the fact that we never got the Captain Sulu movie or TV series we deserved. Star Trek owed us Captain Sulu, and totally punked on us. Instead, all we have are a few beautiful moments in Star Trek VI, plus that one boring Voyager episode. But at least he gets one of the most beautiful lines of dialogue ever, "Target that explosion and fire." It's like Sulu's answer to "Khaaaan!"
Kinda Greatest and Weirdest at the Same Time: Transformers Animated
Takei plays Yoketron, an ancient "rustbucket" Autobot who decides to give a second chance to a draft-dodging bot named Prowler, who keeps saying stuff like, "Why should I risk my chassis for anyone? Nobody's ever risked their chassis for me!" And Takei basically does his "ninja master" routine again, teaching the way of the "cyber-ninja" to his unwilling pupil. The best part is when Yoketron strips the other Autobot of his armor, leaving him defenseless and ready to learn some skillz. The whole thing is insanely cheesy, but you have to love the scenes of one robot stripping another naked and then shouting "Five Servos of Doom!" This is both best and worst at the same time, really.
Greatest: Adventure Time, "Ricardio the Heart Guy"
How could we have missed that Takei did the voice for this sleazy science-talking heart on Adventure Time, our new favorite show? Thanks to everyone who suggested this one in comments, including Brandchan and JurassicTodd...
Weirdest: Blow'd Up!
Is it wrong that we kind of want to see this movie for real? Takei really should just be blowing shit up constantly. While cackling like a maniac. Thanks to SpaceKnight for suggesting this one in comments!
Greatest: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Defenders of Peace."
Yes, Takei's claim to be the only actor in both Star Wars and Star Trek rests on this episode — if the live-action Star Wars TV show ever gets off the ground, we demand that they get Takei wearing some kind of awesome Lok Durd costume (or else doing mo-cap) so he can play this role properly. In this episode of Clone Wars, Takei voices the evil Separatist general Lok Durd, who's basically a more repulsive Warlord Shank. He works the line, "Ransack this dungheap" for all it's worth. Which is a lot! The awesomeness starts around 1:45 in the above video.
Weirdest: Ninja Cheerleaders
Takei plays Hiroshi, the mentor to a group of cheerleaders who are also strippers and ninjas. And he coaches them on how to, uh, work it. And in the above clip, he cackles like a madman while electrocuting an evil stripper with his sword. Thanks to @Splashthatcat for suggesting this one!
Oh, but we saved the best of the best for last...
Greatest: Star Trek, "The Naked Time"
This is pretty much the best thing ever. Shirtless rapier-fencing Sulu terrorizing the hallways of the Enterprise while coated in enough sweat to make him look like he's lube-wrestling. And then later, when Sulu is in sickbay and he gets injected with the antidote to the contagion, he sits up and makes this face that really has to be seen, over and over again.
But we've honestly just scratched the surface of Takei's best and worst moments here. The man has had a long and varied career. (We were unable to track down his late 1970s science fiction novel, Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe which he cowrote with Robert Asprin, to see if it qualified as "best" or "worst.") What are your favorite (and least favorite) moments featuring the Owner of the Internet? Post them in the comments!