4/29/2011

Y is for Yoda
The wise Jedi master Yoda has been channeled into many animals. Here are the funniest cats and dogs that talk, look or act like Yoda.



4/28/2011

X is for X-Men
The new International trailer for the comic movie X-Men: First Class was released last night on Yahoo and we've got a breakdown of the best screen caps along with quotes from the actors that explain the characters.

Synopsis: "Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN."
W is for Wonder Twins
The "Wonder Twins" kind of suck with lame powers, but, they can suck less. Here's how.

In case you haven't guessed from our motto, my twin brother and I are big fans of the Wonder Twins from Super Friends. There aren't many twin superheroes out there, so we kind of jumped on their bandwagon. But in later years, we became aware of the amount of scorn most people have towards the Wonder Twins.

Some of it is valid.

"Form Of...!"
First of all, their powers are kind of stupid. That is to say, half of their powers are cool, and the other is not. In case you're not familiar with them, Jayna can turn into any animal, and Zan can turn into any water-based object, including ice. The animal thing has possibilities, but the water thing usually came lame.

You'd have episodes where Jayna would go "Form of a seven-foot Xymorgian Death Dragon with three-inch long poison fangs!" And Zan would go "Shape of an ice sled!" Then Jayna the Warrior Monster would jump on Zan, who looked like a toboggan with his little head sticking out, and ride him into battle while Zan tried not to melt.

Okay, that was an exaggeration, but close to the truth. For example, whenever they had to go somewhere, Jayna would turn into an eagle, and Zan would turn into water and jump into a bucket for her to carry. That part wasn't a joke.

But even Jayna's power sucked, because she could only use it when she touched her brother's hand. If they couldn't reach each other or he wasn't around, then she was out of luck. All the bad guys had to do to make them powerless was keep them slightly out of arm's reach.

How Can They Suck Less?
I still think the Wonder Twins can work, though. In the original run of the Super Friends comic book, they were more interesting. Their tragic origin was revealed as aliens whose parents died in a plague. Rejected by their people for their shapeshifting powers, the Wonder Twins were held captive in a space zoo until Superman helped them escape. They also got to expand their powers. Zan turned into more complex ice-related objects like rockets and even an ice giant. Jayna once turned into a Kryptonian animal, which gave her animal abilities as well as Superman's powers.

Today, people have been revisiting the Wonder Twins. Check out Alex Ross' realistic painting of the Wonder Twins that made them look haughty, arrogant, tough, and even cool. Even made Gleek look hardcore. The Wonder Twins have also made recent appearances on other media. They appeared as shapechanging twins in an episode of Smallville. They also appeared in some episodes of Justice League Unlimited as albino superheroes named Shifter and Downpour.

If I could write a comic, I would do an updated version of the Wonder Twins. If they can turn Sandman, Shade, and Animal Man into great comics, there's certainly room for the Wonder Twins.

Do you think the Wonder Twins can ever be cool? Let us know in the comments.

This post is "W is for Wonder Twins," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/26/2011

V is for Vader - A little girl named Sariah Gallego was chosen to perform in a Disneyland skit where she was tempted by Darth Vader. Of course, she was supposed to turn away from the Dark Side. Things didn't go as scripted.


[Video courtesy of YouTube's erndog714]

This post is "V is for Vader," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/25/2011

U as in USS
All the Federation starships in the Star Trek universe have the designator USS, like USS Enterprise or USS Voyager, but what does it mean and where did it come from?

Officially, the designator means "United Star Ship (Federation of Planets)."

The creator of the show, Gene Roddenberry, was a US Navy man and his vision of Star Trek was of a Naval vessel in space.

In fact, the original pitch had the name USS Yorktown after a World War II aircraft carrier. It's usage dates back to the seafaring days when the US Navy used U.S.S. to mean  "United States Ship."

Obviously, this is pretty US-specific, so Gene Roddenberry's described it as a "United Space Ship."

In three episodes of the original series it was called by the name "United Star Ship." In the "The Cage," the Enterprise is refered to as the "United Space Ship Enterprise." Captain Kirk also used the term in "Elaan of Troyius" and Dr. McCoy did in the episode "Space Seed."

To confuse you even more, in the UK comic series it's known as "Universe Star Ship."

[Image Source: Smithsonian]

This post is "U is for USS," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, AlexJ. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/23/2011

T is for TARDIS - Imagine a fan so devoted to the sci-fi series Doctor Who that he was buried in a casket shaped like the time traveling TARDIS. Now imagine two of them. That's right, it happened twice.

In October 2004, long-time Doctor Who fan Tim Haws died of cancer. His brother converted a wardrobe into a replica of the TARDIS for his coffin.

In June 2009, Welsh Sebastian Neale was also an avid fan of the Doctor, partly because he had a strong resemblance to David Tennant. After a fatal head injury, Neale was also buried with a coffin decorated to look like the TARDIS.

Now I know what you're thinking...where can I get a TARDIS coffin? From Creative Coffins, that's where. Place your orders now.

[Pictures courtesy of thesun.co.uk]

This post is "T is for TARDIS," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/22/2011

As many know, Nichelle Nichols almost left the show after the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series until Dr. Martin Luthor King talked her out of it. Now we get to hear, in her own words, how it happened.

Fora.tv's "92Y: Pioneer Women of Television" is hosting an interview with Angie Dickinson, Linda Evans, Stefanie Powers and Nichelle Nichols. A free clip has her telling the famous story of her first meeting with Dr. King.

This was an important moment is Star Trek history. Dr. King understood that the show's depiction of a multi-cultural crew of professionals was unique. We almost lost one of television's greatest role models without his intervention.



Thanks Monica R. from Fora.tv!

What impact do you think Star Trek had for women and minorities on television?
S is for Sarah Jane
Elisabeth Sladen passed away on April 19, 2011 at the age of 63. She was best known for her role as investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith on the long-running scifi series, Doctor Who.

Sarah Jane was the most popular of Doctor Who's companions, having been a sidekick for the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). She made guest appearances on the series in later years, and in 2007 proved to an enduring heroine on her own when she starred in the popular spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

It's hard to express how devastating her loss is to the science fiction community. Sladen was one of the most beloved actresses in the genre. Let's face it - there aren't many strong female characters in sci-fi, and she was one of the greats.

Sarah Jane was bold, intelligent, and feminine. She inspired a generation of women, and was inspiring a new generation with her new series.

While the character was well-written, much of Sarah Jane's popularity came from Sladen herself, who brought the role to life with grace, humor, and charisma. She was also beautiful and many a boy had a crush on her, myself included.

I think the news of her death is more devastating with the fact that Sarah Jane Adventures was hugely popular, and revived interest in the role she played almost 20 years earlier.
 
In addition, her cancer wasn't widely publicized until her death. We could go on, but "Slice of Scifi" wrote an excellent and thorough tribute to Sladen that I'm hard pressed to improve on.
 
Will she be missed? Who was the best Doctor Who companion?
[Image Source: Yr Afr Sanctaidd]

This post is "S is for Sarah Jane," part of the "A-ZBlogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by ArleeBird , Jeffrey
Beesler
, AlexJ. Cavanaugh, JenDaiker, Candace Ganger, KarenJ Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/21/2011

R is for Revolution - The concept of resistance against a powerful enemy is a recurring theme in science fiction. That's because good sci-fi is almost always about metaphor, and a futuristic government or an alien race makes a good analogy for the real governments and organizations that oppress us. There have been some truly inspiring resistance movements in sci-fi, and this is our top ten.

10. V for Vendetta (2006) - Based on the graphic novel, the movie portrayed a fascist British government in the near future. One enigmatic man calling himself V leads the people to overthrow their government. The great thing about this movie is that there is no organized resistance around V - he is a one-man resistance movement who manages to destroy many key government buildings and figures, and ultimately rally the people all by himself. V's story is really about how one man can make a difference, and does it very well.

9. Red Dawn (1984) - This movie isn't typically thought of as science fiction, but it portrays a Cold War alternate reality where the Soviet Union conquers the United States. A group of high school students become freedom fighters, and lead a guerilla war against the Russians. The idea of a bunch of teenagers overcoming the might of the Soviet army may not be realistic, but it's pretty cool.

8. The Terminator (1984) - When a deranged supercomputer launches nuclear weapons and an army of robots to exterminate humankind, the survivors fight back. We succeed, but the computer sends a robot back in time kill the human's commander. In most of the series, we only saw glimpses of the human resistance until Terminator: Salvation. The idea of a war against a mechanized army taps into our fears of technology overwhelming us, but thankfully we won.

7. The Matrix (1999) - A computer hacker nicknamed Neo discovers that his world is just a computer simulation, and in the real world humans are enslaved by machines. Neo joins a group of humans who also escaped their virtual prison and fight to free the human race. We'd have to wait until the appropriately named Matrix: Revolutions to see the ultimate overthrow, but I prefer the way the first movie left it to our imagination.

6. Tron (1982) - When a computer programmer named Flynn gets digitized into his company's computer system, he finds a parallel world. Programs take the form of living, sentient people living in a brutal dictatorship led by the evil Master Control Program. Those who oppose the MCP are forced to fight in videogames where the loser dies. Flynn leads a group of programs to destroy the MCP, freeing the computer system from its tyranny. Who knew a bunch of zeroes and ones could be so exciting?

5. V (1983) - An alien race called the Visitors come to Earth, claiming to be on a mission of peace. In reality, the Visitors have come to enslave Mankind. A small group who know the truth embark on a war to expose the Visitors as the reptilian monsters they are, and undermine their attempts to conquer Earth. The original mini-series was a cautionary tale about fascism, and reminded us to always be vigilant against the erosion of civil liberties.

4. Babylon 5 (1993 - 1998) - In this epic sci-fi series, a lone space station called Babylon 5 becomes the staging ground for a war between an evil alien race called the Shadows and an enigmatic alien race called the Vorlons. Along the way, Babylon 5 is forced to secede from Earth's government, fighting off warships sent to bring them back in line. The battle to escape Earth's tyranny was one of the high points of the series, and left us all cheering for victory.

3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) - In this classic sci-fi novel, the Moon is a prison colonized by criminals and exiles. The colonists rise against Earth to turn the Moon into an independent nation. The main character is a simple repairman named Mannie who eventually brings one of the governors of the new government of the Moon. Of course, it helps that his best friend is Mike, the sentient computer that runs the entire planet. The victory is an open parallel to the efforts of American colonies freeing themselves from the British.

2. Dune (1965) - The original novel shows a distant future, where Paul Atreides is the son of a nobleman ruling Dune, a planet crucial for space travel. When a rival faction seizes control, Paul escapes to lead the natives of Dune in an uprising against the oppressive new government and regain his rightful throne. This is an epic story with Paul becoming a god-like figure to his new legions, who are able to turn the enormous sandworms against the government's armies. There's only one sci-fi story that could top it in terms of scope, and you probably already know what it is.

1. Star Wars (1977) - When it comes to revolt, they don't get much bigger than Star Wars. In the original movie trilogy, they weren't just fighting the government of a country or even a planet. The Rebellion was fighting an entire Galactic Empire. They blow up the Death Star, the main weapon and symbol of the Empire, but the Empire is so powerful that they have to destroy a second Death Star to finish the job. In Return if the Jedi, they also destroy the two highest ranking members of the government at the same time. That's how you do it.

Do you have a favorite revolution from this list? Which other revolutions in science fiction has inspired you?

This post is "R is for Revolution," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!
Q is for Q
The aliens of Star Trek have always been imaginative, from the menacing Klingon to the bizarre Andorians. But, sometimes the make-up department made an alien that took them a coffee break to make.

The all-powerful Q looked exactly like us. His omnipotent powers allowed him to have a British accent though.
Here are nine other Star Trek aliens that took very little effort.

10. Nagilum (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Distinguishing feature: Eyes and mouth suspended in space
Supposedly, an inter-dimensional being of immense power it manifested itself as a two eyes, a nose and mouth in space. He threatened the crew At least they could have done that trick with the upside-down mouth.
Cost $$$
Effort ****

9. Orion Slave Girls (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Distinguishing feature: Green skin

"They're like animals: vicious, seductive. They say no Human male can resist them." That's how these women were described in the episode "The Menagerie." We were delighted by the sexy vision of the Orion Slave girls.

Unfortunately, instead of making them have three eyes or enormous horns, they decided to use greasepaint to cover their body green. No complaints on the final product, but the make-up team just phoned this one in.
Cost $$
Effort ****
P is for Papercraft Science-Fiction
Children have been playing with paper dolls for hundreds of years, but these 3-D paper dolls will crush all in their path using flamethrowers, chainsaws and machine guns.

Grab a sharp pair of scissors, a glue stick and make some of the toughest papercraft models in the universe.
10. Boba Fett
I first ran across Shunichi Makino's SF work when I was looking for a good picture for the Jango Fett post. I was amazed at his intricate paper designs. Here, the ultimate bounty hunter Boba Fett is ready to lay waste to the "Raggedy Ann" paper doll next to him.
Courtesy of SF Papercraft Gallery

4/18/2011

O is for Uncle Owen

Kenner finally got around to making Star Wars Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru action figures...
[Image Source: rebelslair]

This post is "O is for Uncle Owen," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen
Tremp
. Visit them today and every day for the next month!
Tom over at "The Theory" sent us their amazing entry into the Sci-Fi London National 48 Hour Challenge 2011 and it's a simple film that manages to give an emotional punch to the gut in less than five minutes.

It's called, simply, "Sketch Pad."

I don't want to give anything away, but, it reminds me of District 9.

4/17/2011

N is for Ninja - In the media, ninja are everywhere. What martial arts movie would be complete without a ninja? But the truth is that much of what we in the West think of ninja is based on myths, legends, and flat-out lies. So to educate those who feed most on the ninja mystique (i.e. martials arts, superhero, and sci-fi fans)

Myth 1: Ninja were called ninja. - During the fourteenth century, it's generally accepted that the covert assassins and saboteurs we now call "ninja" came into existence. However, during this period of time, they were never called "ninja." In fact, they weren't called anything at all, because they weren't really recognized as a unique or elite group. It was only in the fifteenth century that this activity came to be considered a defined group of people, and the word "shinobi-no-momo" came to be applied to them. "Shinobi" means "to steal away" as in acts of stealth, and "momo" refers to a person. The written characters used to portray "shinobi" can also be pronounced "nin-sha," which evolved into "ninja," which became popular among Westerners after World War II because it's easier to pronounce.

Myth 2: Ninja were an elite and highly specialized group of trained agents. The ninja are synonymous with an image of highly skilled and expert warriors that are immediately identifiable. In reality, the art of ninjitsu was developed over time. In the fourteenth century, acts of sabotage and assassination were considered dishonorable in Japanese culture, so the ninja evolved as a loose collection of people willing to commit disreputable acts. In other words, outcasts and thugs. But even then, there was no formalized training for ninja - they were kind of making it up as they went along. It wasn't until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that anyone started writing it down. These manuals (such as Bansenshukai) became the basis for training in ninjitsu, but that was centuries later.

Myth 3: Ninja were, first and foremost, assassins. Primarily, we think of ninja as ruthless and deadly assassins. The sight of a ninja immediately foreshadows combat and death. But the original ninja were mainly spies and saboteurs. They would infiltrate castles to gather information or cause trouble behind enemy lines. Occasionally, they were called upon to kill someone, but that was pretty rare. In fact, since few written records exist for the actions of ninja in the fourteenth century, many of the assassinations attributed to them during this period are considered unreliable. It was common for high-profile murders to be blamed on the ninja, though they may just have been committed by soldiers, mercenaries, and people close to the target who could be bribed.

Myth 4: Ninja wore ninja uniforms - Black pants. Black long-sleeved shirt. Black shoes with soft soles that outline the toes. Black masks that cover everything except the eyes. The outfit itself has become synonymous with ninjas. In fact, when someone appears on screen wearing it in a kung-fu movie, no one even has to say that the person is a ninja. So it may come as a surprise that real ninjas never wore that outfit. The real ninja would most often disguise themselves as civilians like firewood gatherers or monks who could be considered inconspicuous. In other words, they dressed like everyone else.

The black uniform was actually worn by prop handlers in Japanese theater in the nineteenth century. They would dress in black so when they walked on stage, the audience would know they weren't actors. The audience would ignore them, making them effectively invisible. The same outfit was worn by puppeteers to convey the impression that the puppets and props moved on their own. So when it came time to portray ninja in plays and movies, the black outfit went with them.

Myth 5: Ninjas used shuriken to kill people. In movies and TV shows, the shuriken or throwing star is synonymous with the ninja. Shuriken fly everywhere, burying in people's skulls for a lethal blow.

In reality, the shuriken was used mostly for distraction or annoyance. A shuriken could be buried in the ground with points up, so someone walking over it would get cut. The truly evil ninja would bury the shuriken in feces so it would rust and grow bacteria to infect the unwary. Or a shuriken would be thrown to make a noise in one direction, while the ninja went in a different direction. As a weapon, they might be used as a knife in hand-to-hand combat or thrown to cause cuts with no obvious cause. Most ninja relied on conventional weapons to kill people like good old-fashioned swords.

Myth 6: Ninja were men. In movies, comics, and TV shows, the ninja is virtually always male. In reality, there were female ninja, too. Proof that the female is deadlier than the male, they were actually very effective, because it was unexpected. They could appear helpless and ineffectual before springing into action. They could also seduce their way past guards and soldiers.

Myth 7: Ninja could disappear, change shape, and turn invisible. Do I even need to debunk this one? If you believe these, then you probably think lightsabers are real, too.

Resources
Wikipedia: Ninja, shuriken
Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History Again
Illuminated Lantern: Ninja

This post is "N is for Ninja," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/16/2011

M is for Mace Windu: I love Mace Windu. He made the Jedi more than just stoic philosophers or evil cyborgs. He made the Jedi  cool. I also love Samuel L. Jackson, a guy who is not only extremely suave, but also extremely open in interviews. I read a lot about Jackson's role as Windu, but discovered that all the pieces hadn't really been assembled into a coherent story. Even Wikipedia and Wookiepedia only had part of the story. So here's the full story of how Samuel L. Jackson lived the dream of going from just another fan to a Jedi on the big-screen.

Samuel L. Jackson was a huge Star Wars fan, all the way back to 1977 when he sat in one of the first audiences to see A New Hope in 1977. As a struggling actor, Jackson found himself wondering if and how he could ever be a part of such a huge movie franchise. So in the nineties when he heard that George Lucas was working on a new set of prequels, Jackson desperately wanted to be in them. The turning point was a TV interview in London where they asked what director he most wanted to meet. Jackson said, "George Lucas." To his surprise, Jackson got a call inviting him to Skywalker Ranch. He met George Lucas personally, and told Lucas he would do anything to be in the movie, even settle for playing a stormtrooper.

A few months later, Jackson was pleasantly surprised when Lucasarts called to tell him they had a role for him. Jackson didn't even ask what the part was, just agreed to fly to London to shoot. Jackson didn't realize until they showed him his costume that he would be playing a Jedi. They brought him a metal case of lightsaber hilts and asked him to pick one. Two were missing, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson having had first crack, so Jackson chose his. And yes, Jackson admits that he spent some time in his dressing room striking dramatic poses in the mirror before he went onto the set.

Jackson, of course, ended up playing Jedi Master Mace Windu. Windu was a name that George Lucas had been toying with since he conceived of Star Wars. In fact, in the first draft, Mace Windu was the name of the narrator. The name bounced around in different drafts, assigned to different characters like Leia's brother, until it ended up in The Phantom Menace.

Lucas was so impressed by Jackson's performance that he wrote a larger part for Mace Windu in Attack of the Clones. It was in this movie that Jackson received his infamous purple lightsaber. There's some confusion here. Early news reports claimed that Jackson demanded a purple lightsaber in return for playing Mace Windu. Jackson claims that it came up when he half-jokingly asked George Lucas if his lightsaber could be purple. Partly because purple is Jackson's favorite color, but he also wanted to be able to pick himself out easily in battle scenes. Lucas pointed out there were only two colors of lightsaber blades (red for evil and blue for good), but said he would think about it. Jackson thought that was the end of it until Lucas later showed Jackson some post-production footage where Mace Windu indeed had a purple lightsaber.

Jackson knew since the beginning that Mace Windu would have to die, because he didn't appear in the original trilogy with Yoda and Obi-wan. But Jackson reportedly told Lucas that he didn't want his character to, as he put it, "go out like some punk." Lucas honored his request in Revenge of the Sith by having Windu get blasted out of a skyscraper by force lightning after a battle with Darth Sidious. Jackson was reportedly pleased with the climax.

After the movie wrapped, the prop department presented Jackson with Windu's lightsaber hilt to take home. They had carved the initials "BMF" into it, a reference to his character's wallet in Pulp Fiction (Google it if you're wondering why). There's no doubt that Mace Windu has become an iconic figure in Star Wars, and Samuel L. Jackson has been immortalized forever as one of the coolest geeks who ever lived.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Mace Windu
Wookiepedia: Mace Windu
IMDB: Samuel L. Jackson

This post is "M" is for "Mace Windu," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen
J Gowen
, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!
Every week for the next few months, we'll be creating the ultimate starship crew from the greatest sci-fi characters of movie and TV. You can help create the "Spaceship Dream Team" by voting in the sidebar.

The results of this week's spaceship "Dream Team" poll is in and our communications officer is 

While Inara has virtually no technical experience at communications, she does posses a perfect sense of diplomacy. She's warm, kind and tolerant and should be a great spokeperson for the ship.

Her current job as a high-society courtesan (prostitute) could diminsh her value in the crew's eyes, but she's always carried herself with respect and dignity.

Read more on the spaceship "Dream Team" poll here,and check out the full poll including the other contenders here.

For those following at home, here's the crew so far:
Next week we'll pick the spaceship.

What do you think of our spaceship Dream Team so far?

4/15/2011

Yesterday, the "Geek Twins" got an email about legendary music composer Alan Howarth (They Live, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Escape from New York, Mask):
"Having composed scores for Halloween, Escape From New York, and a slew of other John Carpenter flicks, Alan Howarth may be the consummate '80s boogeyman: http://www.thirteen.org/riffcity/alan-howarth

"For Riff City, the composer speaks about fright music, strange sound contraptions, and working with Snoop, Dre, and Nate Dogg."
Growing up in New York, I remember the public television station WNET with great fondness. It was thanks to that station that I first got to watch Doctor Who! It's a great interview and here are some of his best quotes:

They Live
"All of his work is timeless, and will be viewed for many generations moving forward.
The They Live story has homeless in tent cities, government collusion with unseen forces, an average guy hero — we can all relate to this today. It is what we seen on the TV now.
...I also created many of the alien sound design elements for the film. I had done extensive sci-fi sound design for major features, so it was a natural flow for me."
Escape from New York (1981)
Carpenter was really surprised that I wanted to make a soundtrack album for Escape From New York; he didn’t think anyone would listen to it outside of the movie. I think we sold 80,000 copied of the vinyl in the ’80s.
After that he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Go figure, people really like our stuff.” Time has proven that the music still stands up; this is the real validation of the scores. Halloween III score has certainly out lasted the original film. I like that one a lot.
Follow the link to read about his recording top secret military sounds for Star Trek and how he used a condom for The Hunt for Red October sound effects.

Has Alan Howarth scared you with his music and sounds?
[Image Source http://www.thirteen.org/riffcity/alan-howarth/]

4/14/2011

L is for Lando Calrissian
Today, we have a special guest - the infamous smuggler, gambler, and baron administrator of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian. As a well-known ladies' man and swashbuckler, Lando will be solving your relationship problems in the way only a respectable ex-pirate can.

DEAR LANDO: I don't know why you think you can give advice on women. It's easy for you. You're a good-looking guy. No women would look at me. I'm twenty-three, five-foot-seven, and weigh two hundred and thirty-two pounds. What can I do? -- SCRUFFY NERFHERDER

4/13/2011

K is for Khan
Khan Noonian Singh (Ricardo Montelban) was a Star Trek character and world conqueror of 1996, but only genetic perfection could allow anyone to follow his advice.

Here are six words of wisdom on desire, revenge, parties, fear and ear worms that would send you to the hospital if you follow them.

4/12/2011

J is for Jango Fett
When Lucas made the Star Wars prequel Episode II - Attack of the Clones, he introduced us to a new character in the form of bounty hunter Boba Fett's father. It turns out the apple fell far from the tree as he was the most worthless bounty hunter ever. If you disagree, read on to find out why.

4/11/2011

NOTE: This post is about the final shot of the movie, Inception. While we won't spoil it with any specific details, if you haven't seen the movie, you may want to skip this post.

There's been a lot of talk about the final shot of Inception, and what it means. You won't see any of that coming from me. That's because I refuse to analyze the meaning of Inception's ending. Personally, I don't think it means anything at all. My theory is that the final shot was put there specifically to get people talking, but I don't believe the movie has enough information to support any kind of interpretation.

If you compare the twist ending of Inception to the twist ending of writer/director Christopher Nolan's other movie, The Prestige, you'll see what I mean. The final shot of The Prestige actually answers questions that run throughout the movie. The final shot of Inception does the exact opposite. It raises questions, instead. Without that final shot, Inception has closure. I honestly don't believe that Nolan had a specific meaning in mind for it. I think he made it and said, "Now this will really mess with people's heads." And he's refused to answer any explanation after the movie's been released. That's why I decided a long time ago to clip out the last seconds in my mind, and just enjoy the movie for what it is. It's mind-bending enough.

Do you think the ending of Inception has a meaning or is it just a practical joke on the viewer by Nolan? 

This post is "I is for Inception, part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee BirdJeffrey Beesler, Alex J. CavanaughJen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

4/09/2011

H is for Henry Cavill

Superman: the Man of Steel, the upcoming reboot of Superman, stars Henry Cavill and we have a few things you should know about him, plus some pics that show his superhero qualities.

4/08/2011

With the Green Lantern movie on the horizon, the character is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. You may know a lot about Green Lantern, but we're willing to bet you don't know everything about how he came to be. Here are 9 of the most surprising facts about the creation of Green Lantern. 
Every week for the next few months, we'll be creating the ultimate starship crew from the greatest sci-fi characters of movie and TV. You can help create the "Spaceship Dream Team" by voting in the sidebar.

The results of last week's poll is in and our new Weapons Officer is Jayne Cobb from Firefly!

What's interesting is that Jayne is a mercenary and probably won't join the crew. Does that mean we'll have to keep the paychecks coming or he'll jump ship? Only time will tell, but his intensity and steady shooting hand should make him perfect for the job as head of security.

The voting was close and we almost had the Predator in charge of weapons. As Rick288 pointed out, "I found it funny the way the poll looked like it was going with the [Predator] taking over as the tactical officer on my dream ship. I kept seeing myself on trouble on the bridge and looking [for my] [tactical officer] for advice and can't [find] him because he keeps blending into the background whenever I need him."

For those following at home, here's the crew so far:
  • Captain Han Solo from Star Wars
  • First Officer Spock from Star Trek
  • Engineer Kaylee  from Firefly
  • Pilot "Rommie" from Andromeda
  • Doctor McCoy from Star Trek
  • Science Officer Data from Star Trek
  • Weapons Officer Jayne Cobb from Firefly
Next, we'll find ourselves the communications officer.
Do you feel safer with Cobb at your back?
[Image Source: firefly.wikia.com]

4/07/2011

F is for Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is not only a classic of science-fiction, but, would you believe it was also a dynamite stage play? Read on for more on that show along with nine other plays that are based on science-fiction movies.

1. Return to the Forbidden Planet

Based on: Forbidden Planet (1956).
Loosely based on the movie of the same name, the crew of a spaceship is marooned on an alien planet along with Doctor Prospero and his daughter Miranda. More closely connected with Shakespeare's The Tempest than the movie, it does feature a retro 1950's and 60's soundtrack and a robot called Ariel instead of "Robby the Robot." Shiny suits and campy spaceships helped conceal the drums and other instruments played on-stage.
Album: Return To The Forbidden Planet (1989 Original London Cast)
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_to_the_forbidden_planet

2. Little Shop of Horrors

Based on: Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Summary: A loser working in a flower shop in New York's slums finds an amazing plant that brings him success and fame. However, he soon struggles to feed it's growing appetite for human flesh. An obscure Roger Corman horror film was the beginnings of one of the most popular Broadway plays of all time. Nominated for two Tony Awards (2004 Best Actor in a Musical, 2004 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical) the play was successful enough that it spawned a remake of the original film based on the play.
Album: Little Shop Of Horrors: Original Cast Album (1982 Off-Broadway Cast)
Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Shop_of_Horrors_%28musical)

4/06/2011

The funny thing about today's post is that it's a combination of highs and lows. We have what is generally regarded as the greatest sci-fi movie ever made, but it spawned what is generally regarded as the worst videogame ever made. We speak, of course, of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. It's hard to overstate how bad E.T. was. It's not an exaggeration to say that its failure lead to the dissolving of Atari as a company, as well as the crash of the videogame industry in general. E.T. is frequently ranked as the worst videogame ever made. How did it happen? Where did the game go wrong? Let's find out.

4/05/2011

D is for Doctor Who
The trailers for the new season of Doctor Who are hilarious and we're counting them down.

They're filled with horrific scenes, terrifying creatures, people screaming and promises the Doctor's "darkest hour." Its also got some of the funniest lines.

As scary as Doctor Who gets the show always manages to make you laugh.

For those not familiar with the show, its a highly popular British science-fiction show about an eccentric adventurer, known only as "The Doctor," who travels across time and space looking for adventure.

5. Doctor Playing with an Astronaut helmet (BBC trailer)

Who wouldn't want to wear an astronaut suit? The Doctor yells, "Look how cool this stuff is!" as he flips open the visor. It is cool and we love you for saying so.

4. "By, By Gum."(BBC trailer)

Matt Smith has great comic timing. In one part he says mutters "By, by gum." I'm not sure why he says it or what it means, but it's funny. Kind of like his famous "wibbly-wobbly timey thing" line. He's funny when he laughs in the face of danger.

3. The Clown (BBC trailer)

Clowns are always funny. There's a clown sitting on a bed holding a red balloon. Actually, that one is kind of creepy. Moving on.

2. The Doctor Gets his Cowboy Hat Shot Off...By His Wife (BBC America trailer)

A cowboy getting his hat shot off is a common theme in spaghetti westerns. This season The Doctor, while in Utah, gets his hat shot off his head. Imagine his surprise when he hears that familiar phrase, "Hello Sweetie" and turns to see his future wife holding the gun. River Song, aka The Doctor's wife, has been a running theme for the last three seasons. She always shows up and turns his life upside-down.

1. The Doctor Visits the White House (BBC America trailer)

The Doctor warns "We're in the middle of the most powerful city in the most powerful country on Earth. Let's take it slow."  He then sits in President Nixon's chair in the Oval office. Not surprisingly, guns are drawn and he reacts with a broad smile. Only the Doctor could get away with this.

Season 6 of Doctor Who starts in the U.S. on "BBC America," shown in the UK on "BBC One," and in Canada on "Space" April 23rd 2011.

Are you looking forward to Doctor Who? What's your favorite funny science-fiction moment?

This post is "D is for Doctor Who," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee BirdJeffrey Beesler, Alex J. CavanaughJen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and everyday for the next month!


The trailers are after the jump.

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