January 27, 2014

Top 10 Favorite Star Trek Speeches

A couple weeks ago I did an article on sitcom speeches. This followed an article by Les on movie speeches. It only made sense that we should get togeher to discuss speeches from one of our favorite sci fi genre's--STAR TREK!!

Star Trek has been well known for some of the most memorable, and some would say over the top, speeches heard in movies or TV episodes. They are moments which help to make Star Trek endure, and today Les and I will count down our ten favorite speeches from nearly 50 years of Star Trek!! This covers all films and series and I will provide YouTube links to these whenever possible.

RichB:Hello Les, welcome to the blog my friend!

LES:  Jo Lan Tru, my friend   Thanks for having me aboard for this one.

RichB:The pleasure is mine. Let's not waste any time and get right to it.

#10."We Need Our Pain" from Star Trek V
This is a simple one but I really like it. If the whole movie had been a good as this brief speech, it would have helped. Kirk makes a very true statement here,  that pain is something that makes us who we are.
"You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us--the things that make us who we are. I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain."

Les:  I agree with you, my friend.  Star Trek V was a God-Awful film, but this one moment was powerful, and well acted by William Shatner.
And speaking of which....
#10. "The Corbomite Bluff" from Star Trek: The Original Series episode,"The Corbomite Maneuver."
James T. Kirk was always a master of finding ingenious ways to take a hopeless situation and change it into a chance to survive.  Using the poker bluff here, is a brilliant example of Kirk at his best.
Captain Kirk:  "This is the Captain of the Enterprise. Our respect for other life forms requires that we give you this... warning. One critical item of information that has never been incorporated into the memory banks of any Earth ship. Since the early years of space exploration, Earth vessels have had incorporated into them a substance known as... corbomite. It is a material and a device which prevents attack on us. If any destructive energy touches our vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying -...
Balok (voice): "You now have two minutes."
Capt. Kirk:
"-DESTROYING the attacker. It may interest you to know that since the initial use of corbomite more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has... little meaning to us. If it has none to you then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness."
And, of course...Kirk wins this hand

January 25, 2014

A Look at TV Shows Which Changed Premise-For Better and For Worst!!!!

I talked last week about characters who get ruined by their own shows. The funny thing with TV shows is that it doesn't have to be a character that gets derailed. Sometimes the show itself can go off the tracks! When a premise or setting is getting old, creators will often spice things up and alter said premise or setting.

Once in awhile this creates a new show altogether. For instance the way the clever All in the Family became the run in the mill Archie Bunker's Place. Or when Sanford & Son became Sanford Arms. Or when The Andy Griffith Show became Mayberry RFD. Or when The Golden Girls became The Golden Palace. Or like what NBC did when they bought The Disney Channel's Good Morning Miss Bliss and retooled it into Saved By The Bell.

Home Improvement/NewsRadio both dodged this bullet. If Home Improvment had continued another year they would have had to change things, like make Tim a teacher or something dumb like that. Rather than do that they cancelled the show and had a lovely final episode. NewsRadio ended their fifth season with the tease that the setting was going to be changed from NY to a run down radio station in New Hampshire. That would have been dumb but the network cancelled the show making the season ending cliffhanger the series finale.

But some shows are not so lucky, and the change happens within the run of the one show. It can really catch viewers off gaurd when the show we have grown comfortable with throws us a curve. Sometimes these changes are for the best and even improve the show. But more than often the changes are just a last minute attempt to keep a show going...and it just seal its fate.

Here are some examples of what I mean. I am not limiting this to sitcoms for reasons which you will soon see and yes this is also a TV Trope, this is simply Re Tool.

January 20, 2014

A Look at Sitcom Characters Ruined by Their Own Shows

This is something I have seen happen more often than I would like. A sitcom will have a good character. They are well acted and even popular. Then for whatever reason the character changes during the run.

Now of course most characters evolve. Kids grow up, the irresponsible type learns responsibility, the uptight stick in the mud learns to loosen up, and so on. But once in awhile the natural character evolution will take a sharp turn and take the character into a strange place which makes no sense. Or the character will de-evolve, and become the show's resident goof ball. Why does this happen?

Sometimes the creators of the show decide to change the character, usually because the show is getting stale and the creators decide they need to shake things up. Or maybe they want to tweak something about the show to make it accesible to a wider audience. Damn the people who love the character the way he or she was! And very often this causes the actor or actreess to say f*** this and leave.

The other reason this happens is because I swear the actor/actress just forgets how to play (or maybe gets to comfortable playing) the character to the point the character is just a cartoon vesion of the original. This is especially bad when a series goes a long time. I am no actor but maybe it is hard to play the same character for years. I mean, some can do it. Kelsey Grammar's Frasier feels like the same guy whether you watch an early episode of Cheers or a later episode of Frasier. The same for Henry Winkler as Fonzie on Happy Days. Oh sure he spoke less in the early days but overall the character never changed beyond the natural evolution. But some actors just can't pull it off and the charatcer just loses their direction and because something they weren't when the series began.

Here are some example of what I mean:

January 18, 2014

Analytical Episode Review:Family Ties, "A, My Name is Alex"

Welcome to Analytical Episode Reviews, where I take a look at one or two episodes of different shows. Obviously using the format of my episode guide,except that I will only look at one episode rather than over 200. Today I want to look at one of the mega hits of the 80’s:

“A, My Name is Alex”
This is is a very special episode of Family Ties, coming along during Season 5 and airing March 12, 1987. It got a ton of hype when it first aired. But was all the attention worth it?

Plot Summary-After the sudden loss of a close friend, Alex is experiencing severe denial. It seems his friend Greg was killed in a car accident, in a car Alex was very nearly the passenger of. Ouch. His attempts to deal with the grief and guilt over being alive leads to him a surreal therapy session where he explores his inner psyche on an empty, dark stage.

January 16, 2014

Underrated Trek:Fury (VOY)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek,where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. Today I wanted to take a look at a special episode of Star Trek Voyager that is generally considered a disapointment. Why do I like it? We'll get into that. Let's talk about the season 6 clunker :

This was the 23rd episode of the 6th Season. This is generally considered a bad episode, even by the creators themselves. I kind of liked it, but have to acknowledge the big criticsim. Remember how they treated poor Tasha Yar in "Skin of Evil"? Well, what they do here to Kes is just pure awful! As you may know, Kes was in the first three seasons of Voyager. But the writers had trouble figuring out what to do with her character, and fianlly swapped her for Jerri Ryan. She had a great sendoff only to be returned in this episode. Let's take a closer look:

January 13, 2014

Top 12 Favorite Sitcom Speeches

I haven't done this one yet? Wow. I have done funniest moments and sad moments based on real events. But never did my favorite speeches. It didn't occur to me until my friend Les posted a blog on greatest movie speeches the other day, and it got me thinking. Sitcoms are most remembered when the laughter stops and something important is said. True sometimes these moments are corny, like on Full House. Sometimes they are so  overblown you get sick of them like on The Facts of Life or Diff'rent Strokes, and sometimes they are almost every episode to the point they become just a regular part of the show like Mike's regular speeches on The Brady Bunch, or Wilson's standard lectures on Home Improvement.

But when done just right they can leave a mark that will stay with you forever. Whether they be short and sweet or a bit more drawn out. Now of course, sitcoms are not movies. Where a movie can spend five minutes hammering in a powerful speech, sitcoms have to do the same thing in less time. As a result the speech is more to the point and there is often more going on in the scene then just an audience staring at the speaker silently. But they are still speeches (and scenes) which we never forget.

Here now are twelve moments involving a speech which I saw and never forgot. The only rule with this list is these have to be moments I have seen at least once. Oh, and only one speech per show.

12.The Golden Girls  (Rose helps Sophia come to terms with sons death)

This scene is amazing. Sophia had a son who was never seen, but it was established he was a cross dresser. And that Sophia hated the wife. Well, in this episode the son is dead and Sophia must come to terms with that fact plus the fact that he was a cross dresser is why she hates the wife much. The best part is that it's Rose who helps Sophia here, I love it when she got to be smart once in awhile, and for once her story has a point! It's a nice little speech and one of my favorite Rose moments (and Sophia's scene isn't bad either).

January 11, 2014

Underrated Trek:Skin of Evil (TNG)

What?? I like “Skin of Evil”???Well, yeah. I kind of do. I mean, compared to season one TNG crap like"Angel One" or "Code of Honor" this episode...is still lame. But watchable! Let's take a closer look at one of the worst shaftings to a popular regular character ever seen on Trek.

Skin of Evil was the 23rd episode of the first season, and was an episode swirling in controversy. When Denise Crosby decided her character was pointless (she was, more on that in a bit) she decided to leave the show. For some reason the creators chose to kill her off in a very cold way. Thankfully she would return but at the time this was huge, I still remember the coverage this got in the now defunct Starlog Magazine at the time.By the way, Starlog was an awesome sci-fi magazine and I may even still have those issues somewhere. Oh and yes my friends they in fact had spoilers beforethe internet. So, what happens in the episode? Let’s take a look!

January 7, 2014

Random Thoughts-The Kathie Lee Gifford Syndrome

This is a term I made up, what does it mean? This is what happens when a female celebrity is famous and wealthy, not to mention very nice and happy, and the whole world hates them. Now I am not talking about their work, I get that, I am talking about hating THEM. Now some people are hated with reason. Take Rosie O'Donnel, she was loved unil she started shooting her mouth off and offending people. But some celebrities are hated just because they are nice people who are succesful. That really doesn't seem fair. Here are some examples to explain what I am talking about.

Kathie Lee Gifford

I named this after Kathie Lee because I have never seen a better example of this phenomenon than with her. What in the world did Kathie Lee do to warrant the hate she gets? She has two beutiful kids, a nice husband, and a succesful career. She can sing you know! When her son Cody was born she talked a lot about him, because on her show she and Regis discussed their lives and like any new mother Cody was her life. And man, people would not let it go! I mean yeah I guess it can be annoying listening to someone act like they are the only people to have a kid, but good lord! Then the Wal Mart scandal broke. Even though she had nothing directly to do with it, her name was connected and finally people had something to really hate her for so they did. But this started long before that story broke, and I never understood it. I am glad this has faded, but I just never understood what this woman did to deserve such HATE.

January 6, 2014

Underrated Trek:The Changeling (TOS)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek,where I take a special look at Star Trek episode that I love…which may not bethe most popular or even liked by most. Today we have a real treat. What would you get if you took Star Trek:The Motion Picture, got rid of the abundantly boring special effects and made its running time an hour? You'd have one of my favorite episodes of the original series:

The Changeling was the third episode of Season Two but is not considered one of the greatest episodes of that season. It even escaped my radar at first. I first read about it in the Star Trek Compendium but it wasn’t until the episode popped up on a VHS collection my mother had been getting that I even watched it. But I watched it, and loved it! I think it maybe one of the most watched episodes for me, I have seen it a million times!Yeah it’s a simple bottle/Kirk beats the computer episode. But I still enjoy the heck out of it. Why?


January 4, 2014

Totally Unnecessary Character Analyses:Was Carol Brady's First Marriage A Verbally Abusive One?

Want to start something new. A series of essay's exploring in depth a character or TV series. As some may know, I graduated with a degree in Psychology and so find that kind of stuff interesting. I am no expert, at all, but it's still a subject I enjoy discussing.

The Brady Bunch is one of my favorite TV shows ever! We all know the story, even if you hate the show. Single mother of three girls married to single father of three boys. The result? The perfect TV family! But are they really perfect? Well today I wanted to take a close look at one member of the family in particular. I briefly touched on this way back in a Sitcom Face-Off, but will explore the topic further. And the important thing to remember is this is all in fun of course.

Carol Brady was originally Carol Martin. We know what happened to Mike's wife, but what happened to Carol's husband? While no one can say for sure it's safe to assume he died. The only indication is the line in the pilot "A few years ago I thought it was the end of the world". But, what if he didn't? And why is he never talked about? I have always had one theory. That the guy was abusive to Carol. Now to be reasonable I am not saying she was battered and beaten up (god bless those who are and have to deal with that) but may have been the victim of a short tempered man who when he lost his temper really lost his temper! This was someone who did you not want to upset because if you did, he would flip out.

January 2, 2014

Five "WTF??" Popular Songs

Hey who doesn't love a good song once in awhile! But sometimes a pop song which seems harmless enough really isn't when you really pay attention to the lyrics. Below are five songs which are well liked, but when you realize what the lyrics are saying you have to stop and say WTF???

Everybreath You Take (The Police)

I love this one because it isn't just me who got the message of the song wrong. Many consider this a romantic tune, and even make it their wedding song. Ah, no. It's a song about a man obsessing over a girl to the point where he is watching  "every breath you take; every move you make". I can't even listen to this song now (ok, part of that is because I hate Sting but that's another story).

Baby It's Cold Outside

As Christmas has come to a close there is a question I must ask. WHY IS THIS A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC?? Take away the fact that the song isn't the least bit Christamassy (talk of a storm isn't enough!). The song is about a man refusing to let a woman leave. What? My favorite line is this one : "Say… What's in this drink? ". Ok, I get that this was recording back in the old days but why is it still loved today? It's a guy trying to have sex with a girl whether she wants to or not!!!

Sunny Came Home (Shawn Colvin)

Shawn Colvin is underrated in my opinion. She is a nice singer and I love her soft voice. This was her big hit, and seemed harmless. Until you find out what it's about. A woman returning to her childhood home SO SHE CAN BURN IT DOWN!! And she does!! It is a nice song of liberation from your past but...man! Of all these I liked and still like this song, even if the message is a little dark.

Greased Lightning

Have you ever heard the lyrics to this? They're filthy! This is of course from the very popular play and movie Grease. It sounds like a cool song regarding how much Danny loves his cool car. If you really listen to the lyrics, you realize he REALLY loves his cool car! I mean, wow!

She Bop (Cyndi Lauper)

Maybe I am an idiot, but I had no idea what this was about when I first heard it. It just sounded kind of cool. And I like Cyndi Lauper enough. Then, I found out what it is about. And it's real hard to listen to this one now. If you don't know, the song is about a woman...um, pleasuring herself. The lyrics are pretty tame but when you hear them, you get it. But you know, maybe it's just me and this isn't so bad. Let me see what Wikipedia says about this:

"In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Lauper stated that she recorded the vocals of the song while nude"

I will never listen to this the same way again  

I am sure there are plenty more I could mention, which songs come to your mind that seen nice but are really disturbing?