March 29, 2014

Underrated Trek:And the Children Shall Lead (TOS)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek,where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I enjoy…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. Today I have a simple question. Is it possible to enjoy a really bad episode? Let's discuss one of the disasters from Season 3 classic series :








Well my friends, so far in this series the episodes I have discussed aren't so bad. They may have problems, but all in all the episodes are ok compared to others. Today I want to talk about an episode I like which is generally considered awful! Why do I like it? Ummm..let's discuss and try to find out.




Plot Synopsis:



The Enterprise arrives at a planet to discover that the Federation colony has been wiped out. But they weren't killed by something, they all apparently killed themselves! All the people are dead, except the children. But that isn't the odd part. The children appear to be happy and want to play...around thier parents dead bodies.



Kirk brings the kids aboard the Enterprise, wondering why the kids show no sign of grief at all. Turns out the kids are in league with a....whatever he is named Gorgon. The alien convinces his kids to use the evil power he had granted to make everyone confront their "demons" as a way to seize control of the ship. Why does he need these kids? It's never made clear.



The kids make the crew experience all sorts of hallucinations and control what they actually do. Uhura sees herself old, Sulu sees the ship about to be destroyed, Kirk and Scotty do some horrible overacting. Finally, Kirk helps the kids tap into the grief over their parents death which causes Gorgon to lose his power over the kids. He is banished from the ship while the kids finally start the road to recovery.



There is so much to talk about, let's take it one step at a time.


March 26, 2014

Top 5 Favorite Comic Book Writers


Like every medium out there, the writers of comic tend to get lost in the shuffle of the character. We know Superman and the actors who have brought him to life on screen, but what about the writers who actually did so in comic books? Just like people forget there are writers writing the jokes in sitcoms and writers writing the wonderful dialogue in movies, comic books simply could not exist without talented people to create good stories and make the characters interesting.

Here now are five writers I have come to respect and even admire. I love their stories and could read them a million times.



#5.Alan Moore


I know most people would probably put this one higher. Let me explain why he is so high on my list. First, it took me a long time to figure out how good this guy was. And second, I haven't read what he is most famous for. Watchman and Swamp Thing. However what I have read is more than fantastic writing. He did one of my favorite Superman stories ("For the Man who Has Everything") and one of the best Batman stories ("The Killing Joke"). No to mention the classic final Superman story of the pre-Crisis universe. There is a whole trade collecting many of the stories he wrote for DC, and it's one of my favorite TPB's.




#4.Gerry Conway


Most people would think I was about to talk about the big Spider-Man event when Gwen Stacy was killed. Well, he did script that and I respect that but I never really read Spider-Man. I have read his issues of Justice League of America that I loved! I also loved Firestorm which he co-created and wrote many issues of. He also did the Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man crossover which I enjoyed.


March 23, 2014

Top Six Funniest Movies I Ever Saw

This list has been a long time in coming. I am not sure why, guess a few reasons. One is that it was harder than you would think to come up with just five choices. In fact as you can see I had to make it six because there was one I HAD to have on here. Another reason was because others put out their own fantastic lists and I didn't want to look like I was stealing their ideas.


But I think now is the time, and so I present the five funniest movies I ever saw. I am not saying that these are necessarily the greatest comedies ever made, just that these five movie made me laugh my a** off, and still do to this day.



#6.THREE AMIGOS

This movie is just amazing. Why I find this movie funny I never got. But I do and I love it. Of course one obvious reason are the three leads. Chevy Chase, Martin Short, and Steve Martin who give fantastic performances. They are dimwitted yet lovable guys who get involved with a situation they should have never gotten involved in. The plot is nothing special, it was done again in A Bug's Life!, but the movie is a fun watch because of how serious it takes itself, which makes the crazy situations even more funny. Not quite a parody but close. This was written by Lorne Michaels of SNL fame and is just a lot of fun. Now some way say, "but Caddyshack was way funnier than this!". That may be, but the only time I watched that film I just didn't get it. It's the one Bill Murray role that didn't make me laugh. Maybe that movie is due for a re-watch.




March 19, 2014

Next Top 5 Sitcom Tropes That Could Never Happen in Real Life

The other day I talked about sitcom tropes which could never happen in real life. Now, as many pointed out I should mention that is a little misleading. Those tropes could happen but it seems like in sitcoms they come so naturally, when in real life those kind of situations are more rare.

Anyway, here are five more examples I came up with :

#5.Fake Baby Cry


This one may just be me, but if you watch as many sitcoms as I have you notice a few things that happen. There will be a baby who cries when it's convenient to the story. Worst than that there may be an episode where the crying is based on nothing! The characters will state it has been hours and the baby is still crying. Does that really happen if the baby is healthy? But worst, these shows use that fake baby cry which sounds like a seagull got something stuck in its throat. I am so sick of hearing that awful and totally fake sound! I can sure understand why you don't want a real kid crying, but is it so hard to get a recording of a real baby??


#4.Whole Family involved with project

This one is a little far fetched, and The Brady Bunch owned it! One of the kids will have a play or something, and everyone has something to do! Mike is bulding sets while the other kids are rehearsing lines. You get the idea. What should be a little play for one kid becomes a family project! You almost have to wonder, is anyone else in the school working on this? We see many versions of this in sitcoms where no matter what happens it always involves our main characters. Heck, even Star Trek does this! Why does the entire bride crew leave the Bridge to beam down to a planet? Who's running the ship??


March 16, 2014

Top 5 Sitcom Tropes That Could Never Happen in Real Life


As you all know,  love sitcoms. But even I acknowledge that things that we see in these shows just could hardly ever happen in real life.

Here are five examples:


#5.Heavy Husbands with hot wife

This is top of the list because it isn't fair to say it's impossible for a heavy or dimwitted man to marry a hot and/or smart wife. But let's be honest....what are the chances in real life that most of these couples would really be together? This one goes all the way back to The Honeymooners!The list of series to have this include Still Standing, King of Queens, Fresh Prince, According to Jim, The Simpsons, and I am sure plenty more! It also works for dimwitted husbands which the wife is much smarter than. Everybody Loves Raymond anyone?



#4.Beautiful home/apt characters should not be able to afford

I love Friends, but how in the world does Monica afford that apartment? We know she sublets it from her grandmother but still! How about that year she was out of work? For some shows this works. For instance, Cliff and Clair Huxtable are high paid professionals so that beautiful home seems believable.But this is especially hard to believe when the show is set in New York. Could Jerry really afford his apartment in Seinfeld? Will must have been one heck of a lawyer to live in his apartment in Will & Grace. How about Paul and Jamie's place on Mad About You? And this isn’t limited to apartments of course.How in the world did Danny Tanner, a sportscaster, afford that beautiful three story town house on Full House?? And I know on Who's The Boss? that Angela was president of an advertising firm, but how she managed to afford that Connecticut home is beyond me.


March 9, 2014

Five Things I Hated in "Ghostbusters"

1984 was an amazing year for TV and movies. Today I want to discuss one of the monster hits of that year.

I love this movie, it just does so much right! The characters are memorable, the actors portraying them are perfect, the comedy is funny and still makes us laugh with memorable lines that are repeated to this day (when someone asks if you’re a god-you say yes!!), the story works, and just the right amount of action and special effects. This movie is a classic and with good reason. Today I want to discuss it for two reasons. This year marks the 30th anniversary (wow) and of course Harold Ramis passed away a few weeks ago.I loved him in this and I loved his other movie, Groundhog Day. That is another movie I have watched a million times.


So if this movie is so great, what could I find wrong with it? Well, most of these things are the result of being young when I saw the film. But even now they are things in the movie which either bug me or just did not work for me. As always, just my opinion. This is all meant in good fun.



#5.That stupid dream sequence

I admit, this is a personal one. Most of these are really since this movie has very few real flaws. This comes after the awesome ballroom scene (we came, we saw it…we kicked its ass!) and the even more cool montage. We see the men sleeping when suddenly we take a dive into Ray's subconscious as he dreams of a ghost...well, you know. What was the point of that exactly? If this had been Peter at least it would have been consistent with his character.  It's a small scene but it never did anything for me. By the way, how weird is it that the four guys smoke constantly through the film? Ah, the 80’s.

March 6, 2014

Top 5 Greatest TV Goodbye's!

TV is an amazing medium. What else can come into our homes and almost become a part of our family the way our favorite programs have. The hardest thing a show can do is say goodbye. Sometimes it's to a character when the actor has decided to move on. And other times it's because the show has simply run its course and is ending.

Today I wanted to talk about five TV farewells so emotional that people still talk about it. They are shows or characters that left a permanent mark on culture, and when they had to say goodbye it was like a part of us was going with them.


#5.Cheers


This is hard to believe today, but when Shelly Long left Cheers EVERYONE knew about it. This show wasn't quite a monster hit then but the Sam/Dian relationship was huge. It was said when she left the show would never survive. Thankfully the critics were wrong. She would come back for the series finale but I am saving that discussing for another day. The final scene between Diane and Sam is bittersweet and very sad. Lovely way to say goodbye.







#4.The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson & Jay Leno)


It was 1992 and several TV shows were saying goodbye. Cosby Show, Who's The Boss, Night Court. But the one everyone was talking about was The Tonight Show. How could it possibly go on without Johnny Carson? He was king of late night for thirty years. No one could top him (or still can in fact). The final show was hyped up by the media, but the show itself was quiet and simple. In the end Johnny said a very sweet and honest goodbye. His words were so moving Jay Leno echoed them in his goodbye a few weeks ago in the clip I am sharing below. The end of an era indeed.




March 4, 2014

Five Small Star Trek Moments THAT ROCK!!



Star Trek is full of big moments. You know the one's, moments like a classic Kirk speech or a fantasic space battle. Scenes which we love that people always remember. But what about the smaller moments? Those little scenes which only last a few minutes or even seconds, maybe just a line of dialogue, but leave as big an impact as any big moment.

Here are five of my favorite little moments from various TOS and TNG episodes. Some of these moments come from less than memorable episodes, but these are fantastic moments anyway. And I am sure this I will find more, but here is a good place to start!


#5. Mirror Mirror (TOS)

I love this! Mirror Mirror is a fantastic episode, starting with that opening scene! It may be THE best teaser in any episode, it does everything perfect. It sets up the situation and makes us realize things are not what they should be. Beautiful. The best part is the shot of the ship as the crew beam up, I LOVE the way the image switches around. I have been known and rewind and rewatch that a few times. Beautiful! Especially for the time period, this opening is why ahead of its time IMHO.





#4.Hero Worship (TNG)


Data is awesome! Want proof? Check out this awesome scene from a flat episode. "Hero Worship" is about a boy who just lost his family, who emulates Data. The episode is only so-so. Not the worst ever but not the best. There is nothing very memorable, except this one moment when Data tells Picard to drop the shields. That sounds like madness, until Picard looks at Data's face and realizes the android aint kidding around!


March 2, 2014

Random Thoughts-Star Trek:No Time Like the Past


Doing something different today folks. Gonna talk about a book I just read, which is truly a first for me. Warning-minor spoilers.





I saw the description of this book and just had to check it out. Why? It was a crossover featuring Kirk and Seven of Nine!! Only in a book could this be possible, and I was intrigued!


No Time Like The Past was written by Greg Cox who has written lots of Star Trek stuff. So what is the plot? A diplomatic mission is interrupted by some Orion pirates, and Kirk stumbles across a youg woman named Anika. This is Seven, who years in the future and many light years away had stumbled onto an odd artifact with the Voyager crew. In a flash Seven of Nine found her self with Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. How did she get there? How can she get home? And what she should tell them about the future, if anything?


What a great premise! Does it deliver? Yes...and no!


There is a lot of good in this book. The mystery around how Seven got into the past is very well done. It involves Kirk and the crew helping her to find the answers on different planets and put the pieces together. It's a good mystery and the characterizations feel strong. The characters act as they should and having Seven with Kirk and co actually works.  I have read lots of Star Trek books where the characters don't feel like Kirk and co at all and here the feel is right. Of course along the way they debate what Seven should or should not reveal about the future, which is Star Trek at its best. There are also many callbacks to classic episodes which staid true to the original episodes while expanding on them very effectively. For the first 1/3 of the book I was hooked in and enjoying it.



What was so bad then? I don't want to give to much away but some of the scenes run a bit to long. And then the mystery which is really cool gets stopped cold for a very long space battle with the Orions. At this point the crossover kind of fades away and it just becomes a story of Kirk and the Enterprise fighting the space pirates. It is to long, Seven nearly disappears from the story, and quite frankly this has no impact on the main story aside from holding it off for a few chapters. I skimmed most of it and missed NOTHING. There is also a traitor in the story who was bloody OBVIOUS.


A few other gripes. The Voyager crew basically get a glorified cameo and that is a shame. I mean The Enterprise crew are there and all get something to do, why treat the Voyager crew like they were secondary characters? I mean would a chapter or two back with them discussing the situation from their point of view been so bad? Finally, the solution to the mystery was satisfying but the ending itself was kind of...well, let's just say I wasn't thrilled with how it ended. There was a lot of things Cox could have done and instead he took the safest way out.


So should you check it out? If you were a fan of Kirk or Seven of Nine than yes. There are some fantastic scenes between the characters. It's a crossover that makes no sense but the story works by focusing more on the characters then the action. It's also a pretty breezy read even if the book is a bit long. It just came out so feel free to pick it up or download it. These days good Star Trek books are hard to come by.

Let me know if you liked this and maybe I will try it again sometime.