December 31, 2013

My Six Best/Worst for 2013

Well my friends, we come to the end of an amazing year for me here. I have done so many blogs, especially at the start of the year. One thing I can promise for 2014 is that you will not see quite so much from me. But we can discuss that later.

I wanted to wrap the year up with a look back of some kind. But I did a mistake list a few months ago. And I sure haven't made that many since then. Well, I did somehow confuse STar Trek-Nemesis with Star Trek-First Contact. I also confused Mrs.Garret from The Facts of Life with Mrs.Johnson from Punky Brewster (the actress was Susie Garrett, so an honest mistake I guess). But still....

So instead I am going to look back at six articles I am especially proud of, and six articles that I think were a bit of a miss.

Let's start with the good stuff. These all pretty much have one thing in common, they started from a nothing idea and I never thought they would go anywhere. Instead they turned out great. My five favorite articles from the past year (in no particular order) :

#6.Top 12 SNL Recurring Characters/Sketches

There are a few articles like these this year including dumbest husbands, non-human characters, Favorite Characters, and best TV villains but I decided to pick this one as my favorite because this list was near impossible. How do you choose from all the characters SNL has had over the years? Not easily! But in the end I was satisfied with my choices and think this turned out well.

December 29, 2013

A Special Look at "Man of Steel"

I was real excited about a new Superman movie. Then The Man of Steel came out. I have never seen a movie so poliarizing! People either love it, or hate it! I heard enough about it to decide not to see it. Since then I have heard all the comments. I have seen all the reviews from Nostalgia Critic to Confused Matthew to Cinema Sins. And I am happy to say, I finally sat through the movie. So, do I agree with  the criticism or think this movie was great?

Well, let's say that it's not as bad as Superman Returns. But it has problems. And so today I wanted to take a look at them. What I wanted to do was to go over eight topics about the movie, and discuss whether or not the criticisms are valid. To help me with this I asked my good friend Les, who loved the movie, if he would share his thoughts.

As you might imagine, spoilers!!! Les, welcome to the blog my friend!

LES:  Hi richb.  Thanks for having me aboard for this discussion. 

RichB:My Pleasure! Let's drive right in :

1.Krypton/Jor El
RichB:So let's talk about the opening. Well, chronologically anyway. More on that in a bit. Anyway, as usual we get a different take on Krypton and Jor-El. This is the one aspect of Superman's history that is always changing. Seems every version, comic, TV, or movie, has their own take. And as a result, I can't really find fault with it. We also meet Zod and again I have no gripes with it. It set up the story and had enough action. We all know this is just set up and the movie treats it as just that.


December 20, 2013

How I Saved Christmas!!!

No, no, no..... I am just kidding, I didn't save Christmas.

But..have you ever noticed just how many people have in TV and movies? And not just people either, everything from our pets to our toys have saved Christmas! It guess it sounds exciting, but the word "saved" has been so overused! I was at a Best Buy and saw a DVD about a dog saving Christmas, only to glance over and see another similar film!

The movies are often about Santa being out of comission, or an evil villain wanting to ruin the holiday. But there are exceptions too. Today I thought it would be fun to run down a list of all these movies and TV specials. Get comfortable, there's a few.

Ernest Saves Christmas

Let's start with the first that come to most people's minds. I am not sure if I have seen it. I don't remember watching it, but when I see the NC review some of it seems very familiar. Either way, for an Ernest movie it's harmless enough. Not a perennial favorite of mine. Ernest has to help when Santa loses his bag during his attempt to recruit the next Santa Claus. And by the way, while the Santa in this is nice it it not my favoite Santa.

Elmo Saves Christmas

I decided to finally watch this for this article. And the funny thing? It's really good! It's a different spin on the "Christmas Every Day" concept. Except rather than repeat the day over and over Elmo sees the future to experience what the world would be like if everyday were Christmas, where it loses all meaning and shuts the world down. So does Elmo actually "save" Christmas? Well, he does in the first ten minutes by aiding Santa. After that the show is about teaching Elmo an "important lesson". Ok it's still Sesame Street but points for a creative concept. It also has a "It a Wonderful Life" gag with Bert and Ernie which is really funny.

December 17, 2013

Top 5 WORST Direct to Video Christmas Specials (That I've Actually Seen)

I have already talked about two specials which I did not like. But they are not the worst I have ever seen. That award goes to the horrible Direct to Video specials out there.

The fact that something is direct to video is usually not a good sign. If it does not start out in theaters or on TV it probably means the show is so bad that no one wanted anything to do with it. Well, sometimes that isn't true. Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas was really good for example. Beauty and the Beast:The Enchanted Christmas was OK.Just to name two.

And other times it is REALLY true. We Wish you a Turtle Christmas anyone? How about A Christmas Story 2? I already talked about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys and Casper's Haunted Christmas. Today I wanted to look at five more direct to video or dvd Christmas specials which I watched,,,and just HATED! Are these the worst out  there? Maybe not, but I sure hate them.

#5.Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas

This isn't the worst thing the Looney Tunes have done, or even the worst of these kind of specials, but it just isn't that good either. The idea is to do A Christmas Carol with Daffy. Ok, that sounds fine. The problem? They disregard the characters we are familiar with and give them new identities. Now, before everyone goes nuts I am not saying they are THAT different. But why is Daffy head of a massive supermarket? Why is Porky his assistant? What in the world is Bugs here for? The special doesn't feel like Looney Tunes, you could rename the characters anything and it would be the same. As a result it just isn't interesting, it's just boring.

December 15, 2013

Top 5 BEST Sitcom Theme Songs

Today is my birthday and I thought I would treat myself to a little nostalgia. I love theme songs! Just listening to a classic TV show theme is enough to bring back such good memories. I have every compilation CD and my IPOD is full of them.  When done right, a really good theme becomes bigger than the show.

Awhile back I did a few articles on my favorite theme songs. But my inability to pick and choose made the lists have 11 choices! So today I want to talk about the cream of the crop. The five best Sitcom theme songs of them all (in my opinion anyway)!

#5.The Brady Bunch

Is there anyone in the world who doesn't know this theme? Even if you despise the show, you know the way ths goes. I know most would choose Gilligan's Island, but for me it will always be the story of the lovely lady that tops my list.

#4.Welcome Back, Kotter

I hated this show, but what can I say? The theme song is great! John Sebastian wrote a song which perfectly captures the series, and it was released as a full length song (as was all of these except the first). 70's had a lot of good themes like Taxi and Mary Tyler Moore but this is the one I think is the best.

#3.Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley

Is a tie cheating? Ah, who cares. What can you say? Both of these songs are simply fantastic. I have mixed feelings for these shows, but the theme songs are awesome! These shows were both so groundbreaking, and who doesn't love The Fonz?


I could be wrong but I think I knew the song before I became a fan of the show. That's how great this song is! It just fits the show perfectly, not just the lyrics but the whole piano melody. I think Les has said he still gets request for this, please correct me if I'm wrong, and I have no doubt about it. Family Ties was nice but dull and Cosby doesn't cound as a theme song. This is the ideal theme, perfect marriage of song and show.


I know, I know. But this theme does everything right. It's a catchy song, it fits the mood of the show, and it even gives you an idea of what it's about. Well, sort of anyway. I love this song and it's not wonder it was such hit in the 90's.The 90's is when theme songs were starting to fall out of fashion, and so this was a refreshing way to show that good theme songs will always be loved.

The list of honorable mentions is way to long. But from the non-sitcom world we have the theme to The Greatest American Hero. I adore this song, heck Cinema Snob even uses it, and it is perfect. I leave you with it:

I did a BEST list today, so I guess I should do a WORST list. And I think I have a good idea for one! Look out for that in a couple days.

December 11, 2013

My Tribute to Paul Frees

It's possible you are saying, who? I can say that because for the longest time that would have been my response too. But over the years I have come to really admire and respect the work of the late, great Paul Frees. Actor, composer, songwriter, voice over artist and author. But what I admire him for is his voice over work. It's not coincidence this article is appearing now. He was a voice over artist who did dozens of characters, many of them appearing in the classic Rankin/Bass Christmas specials!

I would be here all day if I listed every role (seriously, his IMDB page is HUGE!) so I will instead list some of my favorites.

Frosty The Snowman/Frosty's Winter Wonderland

When people remember this classic they think of Jimmy Durante or Jackie Vernon who was Frosty. But Paul Frees played three characters in this one! He was the police man, the ticket agent, and Santa Claus. Not enough? In the god awful follow up Frees plays Jack Frost!

Mr.Magoo's Christmas Carol

Yeah I know this was not Rankin/Bass. This was not a favorite of mine but it is highly regarded by many. In this Paul Frees provided the voices for the stage director, Fezzwig, and one of the charity men.

December 10, 2013

Special TV-Muppet Letters to Santa

Remember a few months ago I did an article on John Denver and The Muppets:A Rocky Mountain Holiday? It's dreadfully slow and boring, but I went easy on it and said it was decent. Want to know why? BECAUSE THERE ARE WORST THINGS OUT THERE MY FRIENDS! I give you:

Ok, Ok. It's not the worst thing ever. But it has problems. This came out a few years ago on NBC, and watching it makes me understand why The Muppets don't appear on NBC anymore. Let's take a closer look :

December 8, 2013

Five Christmas TV Movies I Actually Like

Sigh. ABCFamily has done it again my friends! There new holiday movie this year features a successful woman played by Jennie Garth who returns home, and gets to experience her life if she had never left and instead married her high school sweetheart. What is it with ABCFamily that every movie has the moral of if you have a successful career you are  a loser? Oh, and the movie is called Holidaze. Wow, real original guys! I even used that once in a story!

Anyway, I decided rather than once again rant on the horrible TV Christmas movies out there, I would discuss five that I actually liked. Sure they're silly...even ridiculous in some cases, but I actually enjoy them.

A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

This has gotten mixed opinions. People don't think its god awful, but they dont really think it was great either. Me? To me it's the Deep Space Nine of the Muppet franchise. It is a darker but decent, solid film but for some reason it just doesn't have that charm the other Muppet movies have so many stay away. I really like it! I like it more than The Muppets in some ways. I like the references to various other Christmas movies, especially It's a Wonderful Life. I also like the Muppet references within. For instance, when Kermit sees the world where he was never born he sees a stand for Doc Hopper's Frog Legs. A very clever reference to the original Muppet Movie. I guess I also like this because unlike crap like Bah Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas it takes place in and even respects the established Muppet canon. Heck the setting is the classic studio where The Muppet Show was done! How could you not love that??? Does it have flaws? Sure. For instance Piggy walks off the show just to be coaxed back ten minutes later, what was the point? But flaws and all I still enjoy it.

December 5, 2013

Five "WTF??" Christmas Movie Moments

I love Christmas movies! They are so warm and cheerful, and just put you in the best spirits this time of year. However, even the really good movies will occasionally have a scene which seems to come out of nowhere and either be really strange or just make no sense.

Here are five odd scenes from otherwise fine movies that make me say "WTF???"

Abraham Song (Holiday Inn)

This may be cheating, but it is considered a Christmas classic. For some reason. I mean, yeah Bing Crosby sings White Christmas in it but this is hardly a great Christmas movie. But the most infamous part is the President's Day segment, where Bing Crosby sings a song about how Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. What makes this odd? HE DOES IT IN BLACK FACE! We can argue all day whether ot no this is offensive or not, the bottom line is that the scene is just disturbing. Watching these actors sing what is admirredly a nice somg in black face is just....WTF? I know it was 1942, but why? The scene is often cut from TV airings. I tried to watch it for this, but it is so awkward I just can't.

Squirrel Attacks Family (Christmas Vacaction)

I love this movie, it's a real guilty pleasure. The jokes work and some still make me laugh. But when the climax approaches, the movie tries to one up itself by making every joke bigger and broader. This brings us to the squirrel scene. This scene is simply not funny. It happens after Clark drags a tree inside the house. Why isn't it funny? I finally realized the reason. For almost the whole movie the only person at any risk of getting hurt is Clark. That ends in this scene. Ok, maybe I am taking this a little to seriously, but really what if his kids had gotten bitten or something? Guess it's no surprise the next shot after the squirrel escapes is the family packed up to leave. It's just  not funny. Bad scene in an otherwise great movie.

December 3, 2013

Let's Talk About Star Trek:Into Darkness

Rating:To Boldly Go...Where we Went Thirty Years Ago!!!!

I was against the reboot of the Star Trek franchise. I admit it, I was appalled at the very notion. Well, aspects of it anyway. I mean I can live with different actors playing the characters, but to wipe out 40 years of history? I was not happy with that! What was worst? Getting this guy to direct:

I goddamn hate JJ Abrams. I mean yeah he has a good reputation, but I am not a fan. I just don't like the stuff he does. His style tends to be confusing not to mention loud and noisy, and Star Trek is not Star Wars. There is more going on than a cosmic odyssey with space battles.  However, I went to see the 2009 Star Trek anyway. And it was...loud and confusing. It wasn't all bad, but there were things I didn't like, such as that awful time travel plot. But that is what the 2009 Star Trek felt like. They had turned Star Trek into Star Wars. I had so many problems with this film I did a whole article on it.

So when the sequel came out this past spring I had zero interest in it. Then the word started coming out about the villain (big shock!) and the questionable ending. The hype made me curious. So curious that I went to check it out. I am happy to say that many of the problems I did have with the 2009 Star Trek were not found in Into Darkness. This really did feel like a Star Trek movie, much to my surprise.

(What? This isn't THAT Kind of movie?)

Scotty went from being an overbearing jerk to a character I really liked. I don't know why, maybe because he had something important to do in the story. The Spock/Uhura romance bullcrap didn't bother me as much. Even the Enterprise felt like, well, The Enterprise. I loved Khan (yeah no Ricardo Montalban but whatever) and what Spock does with the torpedos to save the say was an awesome moment!

December 1, 2013

Special TV-Elmo's Christmas Countdown

It's that time of year again. CHRISTMAS! I got a few special blogs coming in the next few weeks, starting with this special. What a cute idea...that sucked hard! Let's talk a look at one of the worst things I have ever seen. I give you:

I was looking forward to this when it first came on. It sounded really good! Then I watched it. Let's take a closer look:

Plot-Stiller the Elf narrates this story concerning Elmo. Stiller gives Oscar the job of counting down Christmas with the Christmas Countdowner. The Counter-Downer contains ten boxes (numbered  1-10) that help count down the last 10 days to Christmas. Without it, Christmas can't happen.After Oscar the Grouch throws away the offical Christmas Countdowner, it's up to Elmo to find all ten numbers and put it back together in time. Every time he finds a number it segues into another music number and/or sketch. In the end they find all ten, until Cookie Monster eats the Countdowner! Will Christmas be lost forever?

November 25, 2013

Special Look at Roseanne Thanksgiving Episodes

I wanted to do something special for Thanksgiving, but wasn't sure what to talk about. But then I remembered this show, and I have a lot to say about these episodes. I decided that the only way to do it correctly is as a whole article. So today I am taking a look at all the Thanksgiving episodes of Roseanne. And be warned, some ranting is coming!

Roseanne was of course the classic 90's sitcom which portrayed an average blue collar family just trying to get by. It was funny but more importantly, it was real. Well as real as it got back then anyway. This show is more famous for its Halloween shows, but there were Thanksgiving episodes which ranged from personal favorites to gut wrenching awful. Let's take a look:

"We Gather Together"

The first and one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes. It does what Roseanne did best, portray regular struggles of an average family. The show is filled with story lines competing for attention, and yet the show manages to find sufficient time for them all. We have Dan's mother with a new boyfriend while his father flirts with Crystal, Jackie stressed out from her mother and announcing she is becoming a cop, and Roseanne trying to find the best way to tell her parents she has booked a nice hotel room for them. All the characters feel real (this was an early episode, before Bev became a cartoon character) and the situations entirely familiar. It feels like we are peeking in on some family's Thanksgiving dinner, and I love it.

November 24, 2013

A Look at The Dark Side of "TGIF"

Much like NBC and their Must See TV, ABC had a fantastic block of programs under the brand TGIF. These family friendly shows aired on Friday nights and were perfect. The concept lasted ten years before being dropped, and then brought back, and dropped again.

There were some great shows on TGIF including Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, Step By Step, Hangin' with Mr Cooper, and Boy Meets World. But the truth is, there were some less than stellar shows that came and went to. So let's talk a look at the dark side of "TGIF"

Going Places

Not all the Miller/Boyett shows were big hits. Meet one of the exceptions. I never watched it either, but the truth is the show didn't look all bad. It was about a group of comedy writers who lived together in a beach house. It featured some big names such as Alan Ruck, Hallie Todd, Staci Keanen before appearing in Step By Step, and Heather Locklear. For whatever reason it just didn't find the audience the other Miller/Boyett shows did and quietly disappeared. I think the problem with this show was there wasn't enough kid appeal. Every show on TGIF has kids in the cast somewhere. Also the four were successful so there was nothing to make the characters interesting. It was almost a rip off of Friends except that came out years later. They did shake up the premise by adding a kid and giving the group more interesting job, but to little to late. There is a reason The Hogan Family never aired on Friday's, it was stronger on Monday nights which is not so kid heavy and if ABC had put this show on a different night it may have had a chance.

November 22, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches-Next Top 5 Most Annoying Cliches

At the start of the year I listed five cliches which always appear in sitcoms, and always drive me nuts. Here are five more!

#5.The Gay Gag

Not sure if this is still around but man was it around back in the 90's! The gag is simple, someone things one of the characters is gay. Frasier had one of its best episodes around that when a co-worker thinks Frasier is gay. Seinfeld did it in "The Outing", not that there's anything wrong with that. Chandler was believed to be gay more than once on Friends. On Just Shoot Me Finch had to convince his own father he wasn't gay. It didn't start in the 90's, back on an episode of WKRP a man thinks Les Nessman is gay which sends Les into a crisis!  

#4.The Kids Trash the House

You'd think parents on sitcoms would no not to go away and leave the kids alone in the house. I guess it wouldn't be a family show if they didn't portray this rite of passage. Theo threw a wild party that got his house trashed on The Cosby Show. Mike did the same thing on Growing Pains. On Home Improvement Brad threw a wild Halloween party which got broken up before any serious damage could be done.

November 19, 2013

Sitcom Story Arcs I Hated

Sitcoms often don't get attention for their ongoing story arc's. Usually when you think of story lines you think soap operas of dramatic series. But sitcoms do story arc's also, and sometimes they are really good. And sometimes not so much. The story lines are either not interesting or just plain ruin the show!

Here are five sitcom story arc's which I never liked.

Murphy Brown-Eldin is rich, so what?

This is a small one. In the third season there was an episode which ended with Eldin the house painter selling a painting and getting rich. The rest of the season every time we see Eldin we are reminded he has the money and informed he of the trouble it is causing. Problem is these scenes were always short and we never really got invested. In the final episode of the season we are told Eldin got rid of the money, and the whole thing is forgotten fast.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air-Will gets engaged and the show jumps the shark

I guess this wasn't so bad, but for me it was the point where the series jumped the shark and I stopped watching. Will gets a girlfriend named Lisa, and through the course of the season they get engaged. In the final episode of the season, Will and Lisa realize that maybe they are going to fast. So, not only did this ruin the show (who wants a mature Will?) but it is totally forgotten the next year.

Seinfeld-Kramer's jacket......

This one was just plain dumb. In "The Parking Garage", Kramer mentions he got a jacket he is wearing at his mothers house. In "The Cafe", we find out the original owner of the jacket wants the jacket back. In the end he gets it back. In "The Nose Job" we discover the owner is in prison, so Kramer asks Elaine for her help to require the jacket. Here is the question-WHO CARES ABOUT THIS STUPID JACKET! Not sure what the thinking was, but the story of the jacket sucked. In "The Cheever Letters" Kramer ends up giving it away to get some Cuban cigars, so what was the point???

Friends-Joey and Rachel,  WHY????

Yeah, this again. I had no problem with Joey falling for Rachel. It made a little sense and was played out just right. But the creators apparently ran out of ideas, so they went back to the well. Our of nowhere Rachel decides she has feelings for Joey. But that is interrupted when Joey falls for Charlie, a woman Ross was interested in. After going back and forth it all comes out in Barbados. Joey and Rachel kiss, and no one cares. I did like the episode where Ross is fine, and I do admit that this whole waste of time ended very nicely when Joey and Rachel realize they don't want a physical relationship after all. But still, why even go there? Rachel falling for Joey made NO sense and just felt like the creators were getting desperate.

Night Court-Season 7 & 8!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I have been waiting to go on this rant for a long time. Night Court was a fun little slapstick show. I fell in love with the re-runs and became a real fan. But somewhere around the 6th or 7th season, the show started to lose focus. Suddenly the show became more about the people and less about the courtroom. For some reason, the show got serious. Harry fell in love with a woman who causes him to stop being silly and fun. He becomes boring and she ends up breaking his heart when she leaves him to enter the witness protection program. Later he gets stuck teaching a night class which was boring and made no sense. Christine gets pregnant after a one night stand with a guy she barely knows. When the guy goes off on assignment she goes through the year worrying about how she will be a single mother and it's boring. Christine tries to marry Tony but ends up divorcing him  and raising the child alone while going through a depression. Meanwhile, Dan goes through a HORRIBLE arc after another character named Phil gets killed. Dan becomes a happy person, totally unlikable by the way, and after he gets taken advantage of he ends up a bum on the street.

This is a little hard to summarize, I realize. Thankfully, the next and last season brought the show back to form. For the most part. It was funny again, and these dramatic stories were done away with. Mostly. Dan was returned to his lecherous ways in a hilarious scene. A woman slaps him, and suddenly his old self emerges. If I could find a clip I would share it because it is a fantastic moment! To bad the show was basically DOA by that point.

Yes sitcom story arc's do work. Seinfeld had two, and Friends had several. But very often they are boring and drag the show down. When that happens the show usually never fully recovers.

November 17, 2013

Five Shocking Supehero Deaths in Comic Books

Death is a part of comics, ever since the day Gwen Stacy met her tragic end in the pages of Spider-Man we have seen major characters get killed off in shocking moments which are often of triumph for them and in stories which affected our heroes for a long while after that. Today I want to talk about five character deaths which were very sudden, and in many ways changed everything for the characters who survived.

These are character deaths which I was affected by. As always, I read comics in the 80's so most of these are from that era. I know most of these have been retconned away by now, but that doesn't make the initial impact any less. And of course, they are all DC.

Star Spangled Kid

This one was a total surprise, and has been kind of forgotten over the years. Star Spangled Kid was a hero in All Star Squadron who went off to for his one team called Infinity Inc. It was a decent book I read off an on. I like Skyman, as he later called himself. Then in one of the last issues, he was suddenly killed off. During a fight with Solomon Grundy, Grundy makes Mr.Bones touch Skyman. Now Mr.Bones had a cyanide body which killed you instantly if you touched him or if he touched you. And that's what happened. The death basically tore the team apart, they disbanded soon after.

November 14, 2013

Five "WTF??" Ridiculous TV Taboos

TV Taboo's are something which you never see on TV because the networks are afraid of offending and/or losing viewers. Talking about AIDS was one, which shows like A Different World help abolish. But while some of these taboos make sense, a lot of them were just plain silly. Would you believe when Murphy Brown was pregnant there was an uproar about an unmarried single mother? I mean, there are single parents in the world Dan Quayle! Here are five taboo's which were so silly that they have not been considered taboo in years.

#5.Can't Have a Gay Character be a Lead Character

Gay characters were around in the 70's and 80's but the usually were minor characters in trhe show. Take Billy Crystal in Soap who whose character was very gay but a  minor role. Or they pretended to be gay but they were sure to show how non gay they were like Jack Tripper in Three's Company. Of course this made no sense, what difference did it make if the lead character was gay? Ellen Degerneres shattered this one which led to shows such Will & Grace and Modern Family.

#4.Interracial Kissing is OUT!

Star Trek's awful episode "Plato's Stepchildren" will always have a place in history. Why? Because it featured the first interracial kiss, between Kirk and Uhura. I suppose in the racially sensitive era of the 60's this sort of makes sense, but I am sure glad this little episode came along and shattered that barrier. It's just dumb, if two people are in love color shouldn't matter. In real life, or in a TV program! 

November 10, 2013

A Look at Time Travel in Star Trek

Today I wanted to talk about something I used to absolutely adore. That would be time travel. There is just something about the idea, being able to go back in time and correct a wrong. Or going ahead to see where things would go. I wrote many stories as a kid using time travel as a plot device. Most of them ripped of Back to the Future, but it was still fun.BTTF  is near perfect in my opinion, and just works on almost every level. But that being said, the time travel stuff is hard to swallow. I mean, how could you possibly set a time machine for a specific day and time, right down to the minute? They do make a good case for how the Delorean is how to do this but it still makes no sense. Plus, if Marty's actions changed his family in the present then shouldn't he be changed also? This griping doesn't take away from the movie of course, which I have loved for nearly 30 years!

I guess that's one of the fun things about time travel, it can lead to many questions and "paradoxes". I decided the best way to look at all the different types of time travel is by checking out all the episodes of Star Trek that used it. And there are a few my friends.

Before I begin since there are so many episode and I don't want to be here all day, I am not going to give an in depth plot breakdown or analysis. Just a very simple overview and my opinion on the time travel used. I will also skip over some where the time travel element just is not large enough to warrant a mention.

Tomorrow is Yesterday (TOS)

This is a classic episode, written by the great D.C. Fontana. The Enterprise is thrown into the 60's where they accidentally bring aboard an air force captain. Nice episode but the more I watch it, the more I realize the ending makes no sense. How does the Enterprise sling shotting around the sun cancel out their first arrival? And if it does, then why do they have to transport Captain Christopher back? If he never went to the Enterprise, shouldn't he just vanish? They have to beam the other version back? Either it happened or it didn't! The time travel stuff makes no sense but it's still a nice little episode. Maybe they are operating under the rule that two versions of yourself can't exit in the same place twice, something DC Comics loved to use in the old days and was utterly ridiculous.

November 7, 2013

Five Underrated Cartoons I LOVED as a Kid

We all remember the great cartoons of our youth. From He-Man to G.I.Joe to Ducktails to Batman:The Animated Series. Today I wanted to talk about five cartoon shows which I loved growing up that haven't quite survived the test of time. But I remember them fondly. By the way, I know I am playing with adjectives again so please forgive me if these are not "underrated".

Shirt Tales

This was such a silly and cute show. So what if it made no sense at all. And so what if it was so sugary it gave me a cavity. I still loved it! Based on a series of greeting cards which animals wearing T Shirts that carried a message. The series followed the adventures of Tyg the Tiger, Pammy Panda, Digger Mole, Rick Raccoon, and Bogey Orangutan. Later they were joined by a little rabbit named Kip. They live in Oak Tree Park and tease the park ranger Mr.Dinkle (who I think may have been Ranger Smith's lame cousin). They basically helped people who got into trouble, and I loved watching it.

November 4, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Episodes of "Scrubs"

When Scrubs first came around in 2002, I had no interest in it. The way the show was promoted by NBC made it look a little to weird and so I did not watch until the final episode of the first season. But I realized that the show was actually really good, and before long was a serious fan watching right through season 8. 'To be honest, I had stopped watching in Season 8 after the show left NBC but did see the final episode which was fantastic. And if you're wondering why I am not talking about that awful season 9, well I have decided that never happened!

I think this show worked the same way MASH worked in my opinion. Ok, Sacred Heart wasn't the Korean War but working as a doctor can be depressing anywhere, and this show was about how these characters cope every day and in the end come together as a family in the face of tragedy.

The show has a lot going for it, including the silly slapstick style of humor. But if you get past that you find a well written show which knew how to be serious, and gave us some very memorable characters. There was as much drama as laughs, and the way they incorporated music into each episode was fantastic. The main character is J.D. who narrates every episode, and is usually the center of the odd daydreams littered through every episode. Sarah Chalke was great in this making people forget she was ever on Roseanne, and what can you say about John McGinley and his character of Dr.Cox? His rants were hilarious and really made that character.

But rather than talk about the characters, especially since I did so in depth in a sitcom face off with Night Court, I decided to discuss my five favorite episodes of this series. One notable episode missing is the classic Season 2 episode, "My Screw Up" featuring Brendan Frasier since I talked about it in depth in a different article. Let's call that an honorary sixth spot. Here are five more episode I loved.

#5."My Butterfly" (Season 3)

Yeah this episode is a little gimmicky, but hey it still really works. It's basically a take on the Butterfly Effect. When a butterfly lands on a woman we see the events of the episode that unfold afterward. After the halfway point, the episode literally rewinds back to the start. This time the butterfly lands on someone else, which creates a totally different series of events. This is a clever idea which really works, especially in the end when we find out even with the change the tragic outcome was inevitable.

November 2, 2013

Favorite Faces of Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic characters ever, going strong since his debut in 1928. I love him! Have for as long as I can remember. As the years have gone by we have seen several different versions of the lovable mouse, but no matter what changes they may make to the lovable guy it's always Mickey! Today I wanted to take a look at some of my favorite versions.

Before I begin let me stress that I am by no means an expert in animation or graphic arts. This isn't intended to be a comprehensive analysis, I am just a fan.

So let's start with the live version. Actually, Mickey's look has changed a lot over the years since Walt Disney World first opened. They keep modifying the look and making it more sleek. A few years ago they gave the characters an articulated head which made it possible for all the characters mouths to move and eyes to blink when they talk! Nice change from having the voice mysteriously come out of the character while they just stare at you. In fact  the evolution of his look at Disney is amazing, the costumes being just plain scary in the old days! There are video's out there which showcase the changes so check them out.

Of course it's the animation side which has seen the most change. Sure, the look is basically the same but as time goes by it is inevitable that the character will look different. Here are some examples :

So here is how he looked when he first appeared in "Steamboat Willie" back in 1939! And he kind of looked different. Black eyes, kind of scrawny, a tail, and he also didn't speak, preferring to squeak. The animation had a way to go but it's still Mickey.

October 28, 2013

Underrated Trek-Catspaw (TOS)

Next year I plan on doing a series on Star Trek episodes I love that may not be the most popular episodes. But I decided I wanted to talk about Catspaw now for reasons which will soon be obvious. So, enjoy this sneak peek. I give you :

Catspaw was the first episode of Season 2 (though not the first to air, Amok Time holds that honor). It was written by horror writer Robert Bloch, and may be the one time Star Trek did a theme episode. What was the theme? Halloween!!  Yep, this is a Halloween episode. Don't believe me? Not only does Captain Kirk point out that Spock would be a natural at trick or treating, but McCoy flat out used]s the word Halloween at one point when describing the castle they are exploring. The episode has black cats, castles, witches, skeletons...and is kind of lame to be honest. It isn't the worst but it has its flaws. Let's take a closer look.

October 26, 2013

Top 5 Hated Sitcom Characters....I Love!

Last week I talked about those sitcom characters we are supposed to like, but I do not. And it got me thinking, what about the flipside? Are there any characters that I love that most people seem to hate? I talked about The Big Bang Theory the other day and that could easily be on here since as I noted as many people hate that show as love it. Leonard and Sheldon especially fit the bill as characters I love that many others seem to hate.

But here now are five more characters that get a lot of hate, but I love them. Before I begin let me explain, when I say that people hate them I am speaking in very general terms. I am certainly not suggesting there aren't some people out there who like these characters.

#5.Jan Brady (The Brady Bunch)

Do I need to get into this again? Jan is one of the most interesting characters on that show, she has real problems that teenagers deal with even today, but because it's The Brady Bunch her neuroses and problems get spun into a parody. And the parody is all people seem to remember when they think of her! Eve Plumb can be a bit irritated with fans and I don't blame her, if I had fans coming up to me and telling me to recite a stupid line Jan only said once but was made famous on SNL I would be annoyed to. I already did a whole speel on this, so I will just leave it at that and move on to the next one.

October 21, 2013

Top 5 Dumbest Moments from "The Big Bang Theory"

I wanted to do an article on this show but since it is still on the air it didn't seem right to do a face off or anything.

I have already talked about about how much I love this series. But that doesn't mean it's without flaws. In fact this show amazes me with how polarizing it is. For everyone who loves it, there are people who despise it. Some find it flat out offensive, hate Sheldon Cooper with a passion, and condemn the low brow humor. So to be fair to the people who do hate this show today I am going to look at the other side of the coin, and discuss five moments on this show that even I do not like.

By the way, as to the three complaints I listed the third one is not that valid. If this show were bad with the lowbrow stuff I would not watch it. It's not Two and a Half Men. The first point I already dissected in depth elsewhere. As for the second, well, I guess I can see how someone would hate Sheldon but I love him. I give credit to Jim Parsons for making thing funny and keeping him from being truly obnoxious. But that's my opinion.

Before I complain about the moments I hate let me explain why I like this show. It's funny. Do you need more? Ok,ok..the truth is I like the characters. Sheldon is funny to me in his attempt to keep his world under control. While some find him annoying he just cracks me up. He has evolved over the years though not as much as Amy. When we first met Amy she was exactly like Sheldon. But where Sheldon has resisted changing she has turned more normal, admitting she has needs and desires which Sheldon still cannot meet. I didn't like Amy and Berndaette at first but it was time for Penny to have her own friends, it makes her a more well rounded character. As for Howard and Raj, it took me awhile to like them and Raj is the one character I can do without. I love the evolution of Howard, going from a jerk with sex on his mind to a married man who only has eyes for Bernadette. Finally, Leonard and Penny go back and forth and while it's kind of cliche it's still fun to watch the two. Leonard has become more confident while Penny has become more rounded as a character. All the characters work well, and I am glad the show is not afraid to change things up here and there.

Now, all that said let's discuss my top five dumbest moments!

#5.Leonard contrively advances the plot ("The Work Song Nanocluster")

I realize the description is a little meta, but that is what makes this fail so much. The episode from season 2 has Penny wanting to start up a business selling hair barrettes. Sheldon helps her make them and the guys chip in with a business strategy. But we need wacky conflict, so when Leonard sets up the website where people can order these things, he puts a one day rush on it. Why??? Is he not aware that there are only five people making these? Then of course a gay and lesbian group order 1,000 of them one day rush so the group has to stay up all night to make these things. Then to make things even dumber they give Sheldon coffee which makes him race around like a loon. Yeah, they didn't see that coming? It's a contrived plot which is so contrived that the episode loses all realism.


October 20, 2013

Top 5 Lovable Sitcom Characters....I Do Not Love!

I once did an article on characters who would be hated if they were real people. I noted that overall those characters are likable they just have quirks that, if they were real, would make them annoying. On their shows it works and they are loved characters. I also once discussed characters who are supposed to be jerks, but we love to hate them. Today I want to talk about five characters who probably would not be hated if they were real, and more than that are liked by many. And even I like them at times, but for one reason or another there are those other moments when I just hate them.

#5.Jack MacFarlane (Will & Grace)

I have heard Julia Louis Dreyfuss comment that she had no idea why Elaine on Seinfeld continued to hang out with Jerry, George, and Kramer and she should have moved on. I feel the same way about Will being best friends with Jack. I get it in the beginning when they first met, but by the time the series has rolled around why Will puts up with Jack is beyond me. This guy is a a**hole! I'm sorry, but he really is. Believe it or not, Karen shows more heart and compassion than this guy does! That may be a testament to the actors more than the writing, but either way Jack is a jerk. The guy is so self involved that when he is face to face with his idol Cher, he fails to notice! Unlike the rest of these I don't have one big example, with Jack its all little things. Take the pilot episode, when Will explains that he doesn't talk to his brother and Jack's first response is regarding himself. The guy can be a good friend, but it just seems more often like he is around to sponge off Will & Grace more than anything. In one episode he notes that Karen pays half his rent, when Will comments he pays half his rent. Will then responds "yeah, so does my mother". Nice guy.

October 16, 2013

Five Halloween Guilty Pleasures

When Halloween comes around we love to pull out the classic movies and specials. For me they include Charlie Brown, Garfield, Winnie The Pooh, Saturday Night Live, and classic sitcom episodes. Some watch horror movies which is cool. When I was younger I read Halloween themed comic books. We even have music like The Monster Mash and the one I talked about the other day, Thriller. I commented that I have to watch it every Halloween. It's a true Halloweeen guilty pleasure. But I have to admit, it's not the only one.

Here now are five more movies or porgrams that I am kind of embarassed to admit I like. I mean a few of them are not even intended for me. Yet, I can't imaging Halloween without them. These are in order from the not so embarassing to the much more so.

The Simpsons TreeHouse of Horror/Halloween Specials

I am not a fan of The Simpsons. I don't have a problem with it, I just never really watch it. I never watch any first run episodes. I pretty much never catch a re-run (is it even playing anymore?). I never saw the movie, and just don't care about the show. That is, until Halloween rolls around. I admit it, I really like their Halloween specials which were called The Treehouse of Horror in the early days. Now I am not saying thet are all perfect, but these specials can be downright creepy and fun to watch. The Simpson creators pull out all the stops for these, and it shows. The best part is that these shows are not tied to any continuity, so they can pretty much do what they want. My favorites? I love the 3-D one where Homer arrives in our reality. A very early episode had an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven which was always a favorite. The time travel one was clever (which? all of them). On the other hand the Y2K episode creeped me out, and the episode about the gypsy curse was stupid. Of course listing five is barely a drop in the bucket. There are so many I have seen, and many I have not, that there is no way to remember them all. Some are better than others, but no matter what The Simpsons are one of my Halloween favorites.

October 13, 2013

A Look at Michael Jackson's Thriller!!

Welcome back my friends to Manic Expression's 31 Days of Halloween. I was trying to decide what to talk about. It had to be something nostalgic, preferably from the 80's. Then a little song came on my Ipod, it was a massive hit 30 years ago and I realized it was the perfect thing. My friends, I give you one of the most epic music videos of all time. I am of course talking about :

Try to imagine it's 1983. You are a kid about nine years old, and have just begun to be aware of a singer named Michael, something. You hear people talking about him and how amazing his music is, but have never really heard his music. Then something comes along called Thriller. You buy the album, and listen to the song, and watch the video...and it's freaking amazing! You are hooked from then on, you ware such a fan you want that red jacket and even try to learn how to moonwalk. Ok, to be fair I am embellishing a bit since I really don't remember all that well but for the most part that was me when Thriller came out...30 years ago!

Yes, Thriller is 30 years old this year. Well, technically the anniversary of the release date for the single and video will be 30 years on November 12. The album came out in 1982. And no, I don't know how that works. But man does that make me feel old! I mean, where the heck did the time go? I will always remember one day I said I would not turn MTV off until a Michael Jackson song came on. And then Thriller came on. That worked. Oh, and yes kids MTV did show music videos once upon a time. Thriller was different, awesome...and scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. But I was only nine and wasn't ready for that werewolf scene. But that aside, the video was freaking awesome right down to that cool red jacket he wore!

October 12, 2013

Random Thoughts-Gravity

Hey folks, I just came back from seeing Gravity in the theatre and wanted to share my thoughs off the cuff real quick and no spoilers. So what did I think? It was really good. The effects were amazing, it really felt like you were out there.

I know, this has been said to death. Pretty much I agree with the consensus. It's not the worst way to kill an hour and a half. In fact, I like that the running time is so short. There are so many times I wish a movie would just tell its story and not feel the need to pad the thing out. For the most part, everything happens the way you would imagine it might happen in real life (ok, maybe a bit faster here and there).

The effects were superb. There was only one small moment when I could tell it was CGI, and considering how much CGI makes up this thing that is high praise! What about the actors? Sandra Bullock was great. She can be hit or miss and I have to say she is 100% hit here. She has to hold the whole movie and does wonderful job giving us a good character and keeping the film from being a borefest. George Cloony is also very good in the movie. While its true this is not a story driven movie they did an adequate job of giving characters that feel real and letting us know just enough to care about them.

Is this the greatest movie ever? It would be more fair to see it is one of the best LOOKING movies ever. At times it almost felt like a 3-D attraction at Disney World, but I swear that is meant more as a compliment. I also like that the movie gives this intense action moments while also giving us time to breathe and just soak everything in.

I do have a few gripes. Don't I always? The third astrronaut may as well have been left out entirely. And the trailers did spoil some moments. I once did an article on movies that were ruined by trailers showing to much, and while I am not saying it is in that category I do think it would have been more exciting to go in fresh. Also, avoid spoilers if you can since this is one time they can spoil things a bit.  How was the 3-D? As good as usual I guess. As for the ending, I think that it could be open to interpretation to be honest. The story ended where it should have, nice.

So bottom line, I am glad I got to see it in theatres but this is one of  those movies I will probably never have the desire to see again on DVD or anything. I say check it out, if you you're looking for a fun ride that is not that deep in story or character developmentt than this will not disappoint.

October 7, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches:The Plan (aka The Lesson)

At first I thought this would be a tough one because these don't stand out a dramatically as others I have covered. But when I started thinking about it examples just started coming to me.

Another of my favorite plot devices! The plan can take a few forms. The most popular is that a character on the show, a regular or a guest star, is out of line but not aware of it. So the other characters hatch a plan to get the characer to realize the errors of his ways. Sometimes the plan can be simple but usually the plan is elaborate and, to be fair, far fetched. It can also be used as a practical joke just meant for laughs and not to deliver a message.  It's fun because it gives the characters a chance to break out a bit, beyond their normal roles. This shouldn't be confused with The Misunderstanding. That is another topic my friends.

Here are some examples:

The Brady Bunch

Sometimes this is used to convince a regular that something they believe is incorrect. In this case, Alice has decided that with Carol around, she no longer has a place and will leave. The Brady's rally to convince her that she is very  much needed with an elaborate plan. Suddenly the house goes into chaos as Mike and Carol try to get ready for a last minute engagement, the Marcia realizes she forgot a club meeting, Peter comes in to report that Tiger is missing, Greg needs a ride home, Cindy and Bobby are fighting, all while trying to get dinner made, and for no reason Bobby and Peter come in and splatter mud all over Mike's tuxedo. It's the last one which makes Alice realize she is being tricked, and acknowledge she may still be needed after all. Season 1 of this show mostly sucked, but this episode is one of the few stand outs.


Not as bad at the last article, but still this show really liked this one. Here are some examples. One episode has Ms.Kraus get scammed by a record label. In order to get her money back, Benson concocts and elaborate plan by pretending to a Calypso singer. In another episode, Denise goes on a date with the son of a friend of the governors. The date ends badly, Denise is almost raped which is a bit dark, so once again a plan is put into motion to scare the guy into confessing he is a jerk. Benson pretends to be a detective looking for Denise who has been missing. The plan is almost botched but all works in the end. Another episode involves Benson getting revenge on the condo owner who scammed him by moving into the show condo and threatening to blow a prospective new renter by telling the new tenants how awful his real place is. Finally, when a the governor starts to rely to much on a cool new robot who has taken over every job in the mansion (have I ever mentioned how weird this show could be?) Benson plans to teach the governor a lesson by simply having all the employees gone and the governor realizes he can't trust the robot to do everything.

October 5, 2013

Top 5 Nostalgic Network Bumpers

It's nostalgia time!

Yeah this is a strange idea, I admit it. But even the little things can bring back fond memories. I have talked a lot about tv shows and commercials from the good old days, but what about the little program bumpers used to advertise the network being watched? These aired right before or in the middle of the show, and some of these are so memorable that wacthing them now still makes me feel like a kid again.

#5.Saturday Morning Cartoons

It makes sense, you have kids as your audience you want to keep them interested as possible. The ad breaks were usuallty very clever, and while there are dozens of examples here is one I always remember from NBC


Oh hell yeah. This one is so famous it has been parodied to death. It really got you pumped and ready for the coolness to come

#3.HBO Feature Presentation

I freaking loved this! I swear I would turn the channel on just to see the bumper HBO used before their movies. It brings chills everytime I see it.


Ah, Nickelodeon in the golden age. I loved that network and most of the shows on it. The bumpers made it even better, with cool animation. Check it out :

#1.CBS Special Presentation

I am not saying a word, just click the link. If you are my age or older, I know this wil bring back fond memories of great times. Nothing else needs to be said, when you saw this you knew awesomness was coming.

Ah, memories.

October 2, 2013

Action Movies I Actually Loved!

If you read my stuff than you probably know I am a story person more than an action person. I get bored watching endless explosions, car chases, and people being gunned down. I want a good story with interesting characters. However, that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed a good action movie from time to time.  So here are five action movies that I just loved.


Just a fantastic concept done very well! And it stars Keanue Reeves, who knew? This is one of the few action movies I have happily watched over and over again. The premise is so simple but effective, bus can't go over 55mph or it explodes. Dennis Hopper is also great as the villain, maybe one of the few really decent roles he had. This is also the movie that put Sandra Bullock on the map, and she is really adorable here. For some reason they made a stupid sequel, but I was smart enough to avoid that.


Speed was a brilliant premise done very well. This was an absurd premise done vey well. I mean really, switching faces with someone? Who came up with that? But to be fair, it is done great! John Travolta and Nicholas Cage are just fantastic. The film manages to be exciting, action packed, and also even works as a psychological thriller. I loved the first sceen when we see John Travolta after the face switch, it just works so well! We know it's coming, but seeing Travola when we know he is really the one chained up just worked. This movie always fascinated me, how many films can an actor die as the villain only to walk back in as the hero?

September 29, 2013

SPECIAL Face-Off - Peanuts vs Garfield

I have decided to settle once and for all who were the better characters. Were they the Peanuts gang, or Garfield and co who have been going strong for 35 years! This is a grudge match of epic proportions!

As you may guess I am using the format of my sitcom face-off's, with some tweaks of course. I have confessed my love for Garfield before but promise this will be fair.

Peanuts was created by Charles Shulz in 1950. Garfield was created by Jim Davis and premiered in comics in 1972. Both have been enormous successes with a long lasting and enduring appeal. But which is truly better?


September 26, 2013

Sitcoms Based on Hit Movies

ASH was one of the best comedies every to air on TV. It was well written, had a stellar cast, and the finale set records that still have not been met. The funny thing is that MASH was a  hit movie. Of course, MASH was a Robert Altman film (that I hated, but I digress) and it successfully made the transition to TV series. This can happen once in awhile. Private Benjamin is another example. Alice was a successful adaptation And what do you think of when I say Buffy? However, the sad fact is that the majority of attempts to adapt hit movies into TV shows fail pitifully.

Normally I only discuss shows which had a short lifespan here, but I am going to go against that so I can discuss a few shows which did manage to last for a bit. Here are a few examples of sitcoms based on movies.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I already did a whole article on this, so rather than repeat myself I will share the link if you're curious what I thought about this awful series.

The Courtship of Eddie's Father

I hated this show, and that's all I have to say about it. Oh, ok. It starred Bill Bixby as a single father and basically the premise was that the kid keeps trying to set his father up with women. Kind of like Sleepless in Seattle I guess. I just could not get into this show, but I respect Bill Bixby and the series did have a healthy run. The movie starred Glen Ford and Ron Howard.

September 23, 2013

Five Funniest Sitcom Moments I ever Watched

Have you ever laughed so hard that you remember laughing, even years later? Humor is subjetive, what makes one laugh may not make another laugh. I have seen lots of sitcoms, and many didn't really make me laugh. I mean really laugh, so hard that you never forget it. However, a few did and here are the top five scenes and/or episodes from classic sitcoms that made me laugh so hard that I still remember it, even thrity years later!

#5. Seinfeld "The Contest"

This episode wasn't funny the first time I saw, the second time I found it extremely funny. Now there's a very personal admission. But this episode set a standard, being able to discuss a touchy subject by never specifically using the specific word they are discussing. I have seen shows do this since and it usually works, but Seinfeld was the first. The other reason the show works is because it's just quintessential Seinfeld. We see Jerry sitting watching TV in one scene. The scene has nothing really to do with the plot, any other show would probably delete it and lose nothing. But its here because Seinfeld captured everyday life so well. However, the best part of the episode is the opening scene which is so funny, and so genuine. Leave it to find Seinfeld to find a way to make talking about a sensitive subject into the funniest thing ever.

September 22, 2013

Random Thoughts-To Boldly Flee:One Year Later

Doing something a little different, I had some thoughts I wanted to share and will be doing this off the cuff so to speak. This article is directed to fans of TGWTG, so if you aren't then you may find this article confusing.

It was a year ago (give or take a week or two) that To Boldly Flee ended and we were all left in shock. No more Nostalgia Critic??????? I knew it was coming but that didn't lessen the impact. I mean, wow! Nostalgia Critic had come into my life at a very low point and become a very important routine. The laughs I got from watching were genuine and real, and I couldn't imagine not having him around.

However, we know now that even Doug Walker himself couldn't imagine having him around and the critic was back six months later. True, the character has changed a bit but it's still funny and I still enjoy it. But it raises the question, how does his return affect the ending to To Bodlly Flee? Is it still as strong now that the critic is back?

Let's talk about the amazing 4th anniversary movie for a second. It was a space story and considering the time and budget, done very well. All the characters, and there were a lot, got their big moment and the story makes sense. Yeah it could have used a little trimming here and there. They should have dropped the Prick character entriely and they never did resolve the SUCKA story line. All the acting was decent and yes the references got annoying but overall they were used in a context that made sense. For instance Lupa didn't just rip off the line from Alien for no reason, it made perfect sense in the context of the scene. But the plot hole stuff was done well and had a satisfying payoff.  The final space battle was awesome, including Linkara's appearance in Comicron One which I loved!