‘The Wrath of Khan’ goes where ‘Star Trek’ went before

EPIX presents sci-fi franchise's first movie sequel

William Shatner

Though fans of the franchise were glad to see it revived as a movie in 1979, the first “Star Trek” film also had its detractors. Much of what they didn’t like was course-corrected in the first of the big-screen sequels, 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which EPIX presents (along with several other “Trek” feature films) Saturday, Aug. 20.

The tale expands on the original television series’ episode “Space Seed,” with Ricardo Montalban reprising the role of the villainous Khan, banished to a desolate planet by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) — and given the means to even the score when a team including Enterprise crew veteran Chekov (Walter Koenig) arrives there. Much happens in the fast-paced adventure, which gave Kirstie Alley her first major role as Lt. Saavik, a fellow Vulcan of Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

More Retro Rewinds

“Cleopatra” (Turner Classic Movies, Sunday, Aug. 14): The 1963 epic from director and co-writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz that almost sank 20th Century Fox, because of its excesses in financing and scheduling, remains a fascinating part of Hollywood history for a number of reasons … not the least being the charisma between Elizabeth Taylor (whose “Summer Under the Stars” day this is part of) and Richard Burton, whose then-blossoming romance was being scrutinized by the public. Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, Martin Landau, Hume Cronyn and Carroll O’Connor are among other prominent cast members.

“Any Given Sunday” (Hulu, streaming): For whatever condition the NFL might be in the soon-to-start season, director Oliver Stone’s 1999 drama is an engrossing ode to the game that certainly contains enough gridiron action. Al Pacino heads a huge cast as a Miami coach whose new star quarterback (Jamie Foxx) has as much attitude as athletic prowess. Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J, James Woods and actual NFL legend Jim Brown are among other notables appearing here.

“Leave It to Beaver” (MeTV, Friday, Aug. 19): Ken Osmond gets a big showcase as the famously mock-sincere Eddie Haskell in “Eddie Spends the Night,” with the character conniving his way into an extended stay with the Cleavers. That’s a whole lot of Eddie, as even Wally (Tony Dow) eventually realizes, prompting an argument between the buddies that reveals why Eddie is so keen on not going home.

“Harry O” (Decades, Saturday, Aug. 20): The weekend Decades “Binge” again proves handy for giving a marathon to a series rarely if ever seen now. One of David Janssen’s post-“The Fugitive” dramas, this mystery casts him as an ex-cop turned beachfront private detective. Co-star Anthony Zerbe earned an Emmy as Harry’s police contact Lt. Trench, and Farrah Fawcett-Majors (as she was billed then) had a recurring role as a neighbor.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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