Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween

Bones: He's dead J-, err... Jim is dead Scotty.

Scotty: A better question, why is he naked?

Bones: It's Jim Scotty, not exactly shocking.

Just joking everyone. Jim is NOT dead!
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HAPPY HALLOWEEN
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No actual doll was harmed in the making of this image. Special thanks to tomato ketchup from the cupboard. Now please get some clothes on Jim.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #13: Jupiter Jazz Part 2

When we last left off our fearless hero, Spike, was laying lifeless and face-up in the snow following one Vicious escape. Questions remain regarding Julia. She is clearly Spike's former lover, but where is she?

Mr. Saxophone shares some backstory with Faye in Cowboy Bebop, Session #13, Jupiter Jazz Part 2. It would appear the transsexual was a comrade of Vicious on a planet called Titan. It was windswept sandscape ravaged by a raging war and all were once comrades in battle. I'm not sure if Spike was there at this point.
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When Mr. Saxophone returned from the war he was placed in prison. Word has it Vicious testified against him. Mr. Saxophone was utilized as a kind of government guinea pig and placed on a drug program which forced his hormones to go out of control which is how he grew breasts. This is all very odd I know. He tells Faye he wants to know if Vicious turned him in and that he's not afraid to die. Faye is dubious and fires upon him, but he grabs her.
*
Meanwhile, Jet is looking for Faye and learns she was at the bar he visits. The barkeep tells him Faye had been in the establishment. Julia also frequented the joint. "She was a real woman." Oddly, no women appear to live on Jupiter. So it's a rare sight.
Spike flashes back to a conversation with Julia and his plans to leave the Syndicate. Spike awakens in the snow and nonchalantly notes, "I'm not dead, how 'bout that?" He was taken down with a tranquilizer gun. How 'bout that? That explains it. Why wasn't he killed?
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Jet finds Faye cuffed in a building. I like Jet in his Russian cossack's hat. The music that plays over the middle segment is quite mellow and once again works with the images of our character's search beautifully.
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Meanwhile, Gren [aka Mr Saxophone] has gone to meet Vicious. Linn gives a package to Gren as part of an exchange atop a tower. Gren calls Vicious a liar for selling him down the river, slides the package back to him, shoots it and it explodes. It was a bomb. Spike sees the explosion from afar and gets in the Swordfish. Gren tells Vicious the music box he gave him in the war was opened because Gren was a friend of Julia at the bar. She knew it was a gift from Vicious. The music box had a solar transmitter in it. Gren asks if he was trying to kill him again. He tells Vicious he looked up to him and believed in him. Linn jumps in front of Vicious and sacrifices his life for him. Off rockets Vicious. Gren is a pretty tough customer for a guy turned girl. It does all seem kind of random having Gren show up in this episode. Maybe there will be more to his involvement later.

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In the skies above, Spike and Vicious enter into a deadly dogfight and the half-woman, half-man that is Gren joins the fray shortly thereafter. Vicious takes out Mr. Saxophone and goes after Spike. Spike averts two heat-seeking missiles. Suddenly aboard Vicious' ship he hears the twinkle of the music box he gave Gren. It ignites into an explosion and Vicious actually shows fear when he hears it. Vicious makes it back to his Syndicate vessel. Spike checks on Gren on the planet below.
Coughing blood, Spike holds a dying Gren. He tells Spike he wants to go back to Titan. He asks Spike to lift him back into his vessel out of the snow. He tells Spike Julia always talked about him. She told Gren Spike's eyes were different in color. "You get a strange feeling if you keep looking straight into his eyes." Gren recalls the lilting tune he used to play for her that gave her a smile. It was a sad, beautiful smile. It's here that I recollect the flashbacks of what appears like doctors working on Spike and the reference to the eye combined with the conversation here that alerts me to the fact that somehow Spike was given a bionic or false eye. If this is true, he's a considerably good shot with just one eye unless it truly is a bionic eye.
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Spike delivers Gren in tow back to space to die enroute to Titan before heading back to the BeBop. Jet is happy to have Spike back.
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And so endeth the next chapter in the Spike & Vicious thread. Some consider Jupiter Jazz to be one of the finest entries in the series. I'm not falling in love with the series like I thought I might. Having said that, I do like the characters, concepts and the general idea. Still, it has been a solid anime production on the whole. Giddyup!
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Jupiter Jazz Part 2: B+

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John Carpenter's The Thing

Seriously, what is better than classic John Carpenter? His golden days as a filmmaker are long over, but he had a run of films for a period that were simply to die for [poor choice of words maybe]. The Fog, The Thing, They Live, Prince Of Darkness, Escape From New York and of course Halloween. He hit a stride that was simply off the charts brilliant. John Carpenter's The Thing [1982] is a pure classic. Is there anyone out there who hasn't seen this film?

This was a remake of the Howard Hawk-Christian Nyby film The Thing From Another World [1951], another classic, and Carpenter's take is allegedly closer in content to the short story from which it is based, Who Goes There?. Although, running through The Thing From Another World it's easy to see where the two films intersect.

To pick one perfect scene out of the deliciously entertaining yarn that is The Thing is no easy task as shot for shot it is near perfect from start to finish. It also ranks as one of actor Kurt Russell's best in the role of R.J. MacReady. Russell also starred in Carpenter's Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China and Escape From L.A..

To complement the icy cold temperatures of the film's Arctic research station, Carpenter gives us isolation, paranoia and bloody terrific visual effects thanks to one Rob Bottin. It's more body-snatching, body horror with one of the best executions of the concept to ever grace film. An extra-terrestrial is unearthed and de-iced killing a Norwegian research group. Before long a Siberian Husky brings it back to the American Unit where it begins assimilating its victims one by one, leaving distrust as the group's only friend. Slowly, the wonderful, all-male cast begins to tear one another apart out of self-preservation.

Films like Slither owe a debt of gratitude to films like The Thing as The Thing does to films before it. Not unlike Event Horizon, The Thing was a box office failure financially speaking, but cultivated its support base following its departure from theatres. Oddly, The Thing has become a phenomenon and achieved classic status that rivals it initial competition, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, within its own genre.

The mood and atmosphere is taut and heightened by a simple score from composer Ennio Morricone. The simplicity of the music merely serves to underscore the tension in the silence. Either way both serve to emphasize the group's trapped, claustrophobic isolation within the station. The amazing direction of the film is buoyed by an all-star male cast of terrific character actors that give the proceedings genuine credibility. They ground the horror in a sense of reality. Richard Dysart, Peter Maloney, David Keith, Wilford Brimley, Richard Masur and a host of others make this film something special. The Thing is a treasure to own and must be part of any proper film library.

Here is one of the classic gross out moments from the film. I must have replayed the scene a hundred times just to hear Palmer's reaction to the critter. Actor David Clennon's delivery is bloody hysterical.

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Yeah, that hideous sound will raise the hair on your back. I've also clipped a scene exemplifying a bit of the chemistry between the characters in the film. It's really part of what makes this film work so well. It's hard to believe, in retrospect, but when the film originally came out it was lambasted by critics. Time has treated the film kindly and critical reassessment has garnered it a certain respect giving the entire production the prestige it deserves.

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For more on this amazing film be sure to check out the original documentary Terror Takes Shape which is included on most DVD versions of the film. It's an 80 minute humdinger that interviews everyone and their brother involved in the film. It's a real inside look that gives you insight into how they pulled a film like this off. Folks, it still looks brilliant today. Trust me. It is really me. I swear.

The Thing: A

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dark City

I suppose technically Dark City [1998] doesn't qualify as a scary movie, but it's a heck of a fine science fiction thriller. Honestly, you could show this to any kid under 13 and I guarantee they would be cowering under a pillow. Granted, it is Rated R and they shouldn't be watching it so perish the thought.

This is a truly special science fiction thriller, a game changer for the genre, at least that's how it felt when I first saw the film. It is loaded with noir-ish atmosphere and perpetual darkness. There are alien creatures inhabiting the bodies of beings called The Strangers. Dressed in leather outfits and other dark clothes complete with bleached skin and the occasionally chattering teeth giving them all a touch of the Cenobite [those nasty things in Hellraiser]. Now that's scary!

I had seen The Crow and that was a good. That was the first film I had seen from Director Alex Proyas, but then came Dark City. It was a revelation in ways that reminded me of my virgin experience in witnessing the eye-opener that was Blade Runner when I first saw that film. Dark City weaves a mysterious tale that often feels confusing to the untamed mind and that's because Dark City was so fresh and original it really throws you a curve. It played within its own world and its own rules and you didn't have comfort in your footing because nothing like it existed. Seeing it again years later it makes more sense now, but it was definitely a hard film to swallow upon initial viewing. First and foremost, it's a visual feast. It was clearly a triumph of visual flair and style over substance for me. Years later I would say pay attention and you will find the substance is in evidence too.

After seeing Dark City I thought Alex Proyas was a genius, an auteur that would soar heights never before witnessed by man. I came down to Earth as did Proyas. He's a fine director and I, Robot was good. However, Knowing? Anyway, Dark City is a masterpiece and I believe he will never top it ever again in this lifetime. Don't believe me, there are plenty that felt the same way about the film. DVD Extras include comments from Neil Gaiman and a full film commentary by Roger Ebert. The DVD includes comparisons to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. There's no faint praise here. There is no shortage of accolades for the film's genius.

Dark City sports a great cast too, not least of which is virtual unknown at the time Rufus Sewell whom I loved in this film. He was perfect in the role for me. Kiefer Sutherland plays a peculiar scientist and the antithesis of his current action persona found on 24. Seeing him here you can't imagine him for Jack Bauer. The screenplay is also by Proyas along with David S. Goyer and Lem Dobbs. It is a tour de force of science fiction imagination and it is frightening on a number of levels. It easily qualifies as a thriller, and it is epic.

It's a wonderful picture and I can't say enough about it. Here's a terrific scene that opens the film and leaves you with many questions in one simple sequence. What is the blood red hole on the forehead? Why is there a dead woman? Who are the pasty-faced, pale-skinned, shadowy Strangers? There are many questions and the answers are there for you to discover. There are many details and hints here having seen the film so many times and of course the plot device that drives the film forward, coined by Alfred Hitchcock as the MacGuffin.

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John Murdoch versus The Strangers. The old "sleep" trick doesn't pan out for these creatures because Murdoch is special. Who is John Murdoch? Whos are the Strangers? What do they want? What is this place? You need to find out.

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Dark City is a visionary classic. It sounds like a bunch of gobbledy-gook lip service coming from this fan, but it's that damn good. It's disturbing, beautiful, mysterious, sexy and offers much that plumbs the depths of who we really are and what makes us human from the head to the heart. There's much to consider here. This film actually deserves far greater treatment from me, but that will be for another day. If you haven't seen this film you are doing yourseld a disservice. This is terrific science fiction, the best. So head on over to Shell Beach if you can find it.

Dark City: A

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Slither

Slither [2006] is just good, gory, scarefest fun. It has its moments to creep you right the heck out, but it's usually followed by a laugh. This is a fresh take on the zombie idea and the whole Invasion Of The Body Snatchers concept and fresh mainly thanks to Writer/ Director James Gunn. The dialogue sparkles throughout the film as a band of local yokels attempt to survive an alien takeover by space slugs that force massive human mutilation - never a good thing.

Our dear Firefly lead Nathan Fillion stars with Elizabeth Banks and keeps a fairly good fright film light and funny throughout. The film is Rated R and not for the squeamish, but Fillion is hysterical as local sheriff Bill Pardy. This is a pretty good example of the kind of scares and laughter mixed throughout Slither. It's definitely one of the best of the genre in years.
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Tell me Fillion isn't a flat out character! It's freakin' brilliant! You even get Jenna Fischer from The Office.

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This is nasty stuff.

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Is that not the funniest line ever?! F'ed up indeed, but a cult classic to be sure!

Slither: A

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Host

The Host is essentially a tribute to the Japanese kaiju film or monster movie. Toho remains Japan's king of the genre and has released a whole host of classic, perfectly delicious, man-in-the-rubber-suit Godzilla films. Who doesn't love them all?

The Host [2006] is Korea's answer to the genre and Director Joon Bong-ho's homage, perhaps unintentionally so, to those pictures captures much of the hysteria found in those classics. There's a mood, intensity and atmosphere to much of the film that is uniquely modern and slick, but remains particularly intimate thanks to a, er-herm, a host of fine characters. It's a solid little monster movie. It's worth a look if you enjoy the monster-on-the-loose pictures. I'm a geek for them.

In fact, much to my surprise there are some outstanding sequences shot refreshingly in broad daylight. How many monster films are shot in broad daylight? What a concept.



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This is terrifying stuff and I remember having loads of sleepless nights with vivid nightmares when I was a kid running from the crafted monster of my mind. This captures the essence of all of our worst fears. Do you remember hiding behind buildings and running for your life? Somehow I was always quite clever.

But why would anyone taunt this thing? I mean for the love of God RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!



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In the end, The Host is a solid picture, but a truly exceptional genre film for those who look for and love giant monster movies.

The Host: A

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #12: Jupiter Jazz Part 1

Has there ever been a more picture perfect slice of cel animation? Ay karumba! That is gorgeous.

Vicious is back! We revisit the continuing Vicious thread and probably the most engaging portion of the series with the legacy of Spike's past returning to haunt him. This is Cowboy Bebop, Session #12, Jupiter Jazz Part 1.

Vicious is really quite an evil, unpleasant fellow.
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Lord give us strength! Faye has left a note ditching the crew of the BeBop and emptying their safe in the process. They'll be hunting her down next. Ed is attempting to find Faye via cyberspace but stumbles upon codename: Julia. He intercepts from The Blue Crow on Calisto. Spike gets excited. He should because Julia would excite anyone.

Spike heads out in the Swordfish to find Julia. Jet, mildly pissed, tells him not to come back. Jet's angry he's not seeking out Faye who has left them high and dry. Spike shrugs it off. "That's your call pal." We learn Jet and Spike have been teamed together for three years. There is quite the dysfunctional family aboard the BeBop.
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Faye is ironically drinking and smoking in a place that appears to be The Blue Crow. Spike is looking for Julia.
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Back at The Blue Crow Mr. Saxophone tells Faye there are no women in the town. Faye reckons she'll be very popular there.
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Spike gets followed into a back alley. They suspect he is Vicious. Needless to say Spike is not pleased with being mistaken for the scumbag and opens up a ripe old can of whoop ass on several men. He cleans the alley up with them. He gives the leader a good, old-fashioned knuckle sandwich when he refers to the name Julia as a "sleazy wench's name." That's not a very good idea- WHAMMO!
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Next, Faye runs into the back alley scum, puts her gloves on and begins to kick their asses when she's suddenly rescued by Mr. Saxophone [not that she needed rescuing]. Too bad, I was really looking forward to Faye kicking their asses. Some of the animation of Faye running through the snow reminded me of the lovely anime film Millennium Actress by Director Satoshi Kon.

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Back at Mr. Saxophone's place he takes a shower. Faye is perusing his wall photos when she notices what appears to be Vicious in a cloak standing next to him in the image. The phone rings and the voice of Vicious startles Faye into recognition.
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Spike finds Vicious and calls him out on his using Julia's name to handle his drug deals and other sordid affairs. Spike won't have it. He has Vicious at gunpoint, but one of Vicious' minions steps in front of him.
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Meanwhile, Julia pulls open the shower curtain at Mr. Saxophone's place with her pistola drawn.
In a strange turn, Mr. Saxophone is both a mister and a miss as we are greeted with the sight of him, or rather her, naked with boobs. Faye is more or less shocked and does not fire.
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Elsewhere, Linn pulls his gun on Spike and for whatever reason he will not fire upon Linn. To his detriment Linn fires upon Spike leaving him laying in the snow.
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To be continued...
Jupiter Jazz Part 1: A

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 10: Stargate SG-1

So what exactly were some of my favorite Stargate SG-1 episodes over the course of its ten season run?

Here are ten of my favorites.

Hathor [Season One]: I thought the performance by Suanne Braun made this entry particularly seductive for me. Plus I can't resist chicks with guns. This is not a particular noteworthy highlight from Season One for many, but I loved it. Plus Braun plays a redheaded hottie!

Deadman Switch [Season Three]: I love Sam Jones as the bounty hunter in this one. The comedic timing and humor combined with effects and action made this one infinitely watchable for me. It was also terrific seeing the star of the sci-fi classic Flash Gordon in the flesh once again. He's very good in the role.

Nemesis [Season Three]: This one introduced the Replicators. It blew me away. As time went on the Replicators arc grew a bit tiresome for me in spots, but this first introduction to the little varmints was Stargate SG-1 in pure science fiction mode.

Small Victories [Season Four]: This was one of the best season openers of any show and concluded an essential two-parter of must see sci-fi television.

Enemies [Season Five]: Another terrific season opener. A brilliant mix of Goa'uld and Replicators. What more could you want?

Unnatural Selection [Season Six]: Another replicators story that included the Asgard. This is a dark tale and one of the highlights for me regarding the Replicators arc. When you have the Asgard in trouble you have real problems.

Evolution Part 1 & 2 [Season Seven]: For all intents and purposes we will make these two episodes one entry. I love the whole super soldiers arc. A tip of the cap to the designers of the creature and costume effects. It was very Star Wars-like and very bad ass cool. It's entries like this that really make you miss Richard Dean Anderson and company.

Heroes Part 1 & 2 [Season Seven]: Part Two in particular is one of my all-time favorite Stargate SG-1 episodes. It may be my favorite. It blew me away. The action is amazing. It's Stargate SG-1 meets Black Hawk Down. The drama's emotional intensity after getting to know these characters for seven years really socks it to you. To see one of these beloved characters die just threw me for a loop. I didn't see it coming and it had a potent impact on my viewing experience.

Lost City Part Two [Season Seven]: A wonderful season ender with loads of emotional power.

Prometheus Unbound [Season Eight]: This was an awesome Michael Shanks episode for me especially given he was my least favorite character. I also loved Claudia Black here. The sexual tension is note perfect. In fact, funny enough, this is hands down my favorite Claudia Black episode from all of her appearances on the show. She became a regular and grew tiresome for me in her role. She packs all the punch of her character in this one installment literally.

Threads [Season Eight]: This is a powerful episode with loads of great character drama. It's a personal favorite and amounts to being Stargate SG-1 soap. Call me a Jack and Carter fan, but it's all in there. It's a beautifully executed story.

Unending [Season Ten] I'm a sucker for dramatic finishes and love it when they pull at the old heartstrings, which is why this one ranks up there as one of my favorite episodes. There's something about seeing all of our characters age before our very eyes and to see them saying goodbye with such affection for one another really got to me. Not to mention, the use of Credence Clearwater Revival's Have You Ever Seen The Rain? is one of the best applications of a pop song in television I've ever seen. There's a nostalgic, warm ring to it that really pulls you into the moment.

Well, there you have it. There are so many entries that come close to perfection and many more with great moments or sequences, but these are my favorites and the episodes I would gladly pull out to share with a friend. Granted, these entries taken out of context from the entire ten season arc would certainly not have the same emotional impact as they did for us by starting with Season One. Indeed.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Doctor Who: The Mighty 200!

Doctor Who Magazine Issue #413 includes a run down of The Mighty 200!. A total of 6,700 people voted and ranked all 200 episodes of Doctor Who from the First Doctor on down to the Tenth Doctor. Wow! No one contacted me. I would have enjoyed being 6,701. My personal favorite, the Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker is quickly followed by David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith. As of this writing there are eleven Doctors and as far as we know The Doctor can regenerate just twelve times. After that, well, I'm not sure. It has probably been well-covered in certain circles. They would hardly ruin a franchise based upon original mythology when it's as successful as this one.

So I thought I would present to you the order of the episodes, as ranked by the voters, for the doctors I plan on watching here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic. I plan on taking the stroll down memory lane with Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor then moving on to Chistopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor for a single season wrapping up with David Tennant's Tenth Doctor for three seasons.  I'll get to them all someday.

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker.
Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston.
Tenth Doctor: David Tennant.

197. Underworld [4th Doctor].
192. Fear Her [10th].
189. The Horns Of Nimon [4th].
188. Meglos [4th].
184. The Creature From The Pit [4th].
174. The Power Of Kroll [4th].
168. The Armageddon Factor [4th].
167. Nightmare Of Eden [4th].
165. The Long Game [9th].
164. The Invisible Enemy [4th].
155. The Invasion Of Time [4th].
153. Love & Monsters [10th].
152. Daleks In Manhattan/ Evolution Of The Daleks [10th].
150. The Lazarus Experiment [10th].
149. The Leisure Hive [4th].
147. The Sun Makers [4th].
143. New Earth [10th].
141. Boom Town [9th].
140. The Doctor's Daughter [10th].
138. The Idiot's Lantern [10th].
136. 42 [10th].
132. Aliens Of The World/ World War Three [9th].
130. Revenge Of The Cybermen [4th].
123. The Android Invasion [4th].
121. Destiny Of The Daleks [4th].
116. The Face Of Evil [4th].
115. The Runaway Bride [10th].
114. Voyage Of The Damned [10th].
109. The Pirate Planet [4th].
107. The Next Doctor [10th].
106. Robot [4th].
105. The Ribos Operation [4th].
103. The Sontaran Experiment [4th]
101. Full Circle [4th].
99. Planet Of The Dead [10th].
98. Partners In Crime [10th].
96. The Hand Of Fear [4th].
95. The Androids Of Tara [4th].
94. The End Of The World [9th].
91. The Sontaran Strategem/ The Poison Sky [10th].
88. The Masque Of Mandragora [4th].
87. State Of Decay [4th].
84. Planet Of Evil [4th].
83. The Unicorn And The Wasp [10th].
81. Warrior's Gate [4th].
79. Planet Of The Ood [10th].
74. Gridlock [10th].
73. Image Of The Fendahl [4th].
70. The Keeper Of Traken [4th].
68. Rise Of The Cybermen/ The Age Of Steel [10th].
67. The Stones Of Blood [4th].
66. Smith & Jones [10th].
64. The Shakespeare Code [10th].
63. Rose [9th].
56. The Fires Of Pompeii [10th].
54. The Unquiet Dead [9th].
53. Logopolis [4th].
52. Tooth And Claw [10th].
49. Father's Day [9th].
48. The Christmas Invasion [10th].
43. Midnight [10th].
40. The Brain Of Morbius [4th].
35. The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit [10th].
33. School Reunion [10th].
28. The Ark In Space [4th].
27. Utopia/ The Sound Of Drums/ The Last Of The Time Lords [10th].
26. Horror Of Fang Rock [4th]/
24. Silence In The Library/ Forest Of The Dead [10th].
22. Army Of Ghosts/ Doomsday [10th].
20. The Deadly Assassin [4th].
19. Earth Shock [5th: Peter Davison].
18. The Evil Of The Daleks [2nd: Patrick Troughton].
17. Terror Of The Zygons [4th].
16. The Seeds Of Doom [4th].
15. Dalek [9th].
14. Remembrance Of The Daleks [7th: Sylvester McCoy].
13. The Stolen Earth/ Journey's End [10th]
12. Turn Left [10th].
11. The Girl In The Fireplace [10th].
10. Bad Wolf/ The Parting Of The Ways [9th].
9. The Robots Of Death [4th].
8. City Of Death [4th].
7. Pyramids Of Mars [4th].
6. Human Nature/ The Family Of Blood [10th].
5. The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances [9th].
4. The Talons Of Weng-Chiang [4th].
3. Genesis Of The Daleks [4th].
2. Blink [10th].
1. The Caves Of Androzani [5th: Peter Davison].

As you can see, I'll be skipping the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors. There's just too damn many stories to cover, but I will make exceptions. Remember, each so-called episode is sometimes made up of two, four and six or more parts. I did note a few in the Top 20 from the other doctors as the stories must be pretty strong. I will note that Peter Davison peaks my curiosity because my grandmother loved a show in which he starred called All Creatures Great And Small based upon the novel by James Herriot. She loved that book. But I have my work cut out for me just concentrating on one Doctor. Further, I might add, you might note a sizable amount of the Top 25 is certainly held by the three Doctors I am highlighting here today. I'm pleased to see my youth was populated with one of the most fruitful periods of Doctor Who. The poll even goes on to show these three Doctors as the most popular of all.

1. Christopher Eccleston [74.4%].
2. David Tennant [73.6%].
3. Tom Baker [70.7%]. This is how they ranked in order of popularity.

I can't help but wonder if some stories might have been better received had the actors delivered on their part of the bargain, in particular for the 6th Doctor. Was it the script or actor Colin Baker that failed there? Let's face it, it is a collective enterprise and perhaps some of these would have been higher or lower based on performance. Also, I can't say enough about the companion chemistry central to Doctor Who. Elisabeth Sladen, Billie Piper and Louise Jameson really rank among the best for me. Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen were magic. These ladies really brought out elements in their respective stories that elevated the material. I love them.


Anyway, I told you I loved lists and polls and this one was a whopper from Doctor Who #413. There was so much information to feast on. It was good fun a poll addict like myself.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #11: Toys In The Attic

Faye and Jet are playing a bit of strip poker or some sort of strip gambling and Faye has got Jet down to his skivvies in Cowboy Bebop, Session #10, Toys In The Attic.

Make that naked!
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Lesson 1: "Humans were meant to work and sweat to earn a living. Those that try to get rich quick or live at the expense of others all get divine retribution somewhere along the line. That's the lesson. Unfortunately we quickly forget the lessons we learn and then we have to learn them all over again." Boy, well said.
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Lesson 2: "Survival of the fittest is the law of nature. We deceive or we are deceived. Thus we flourish or perish. Nothing good ever happened to me when I trusted others."
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Jet gets knocked for a loop and bitten by an unknown creature loose aboard the BeBop. Jet keels over and passes out from the bite to the back of his neck which appears to be growing more and more inflamed due to its poisonous effect.
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Spike begins looking for a matching virus in the database. Ed suspects it's a spooky space alien. Spike thinks it could be a mutated rat. Faye thinks they're both crazy.
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Later, while bathing, Faye sees some shmeg drop from the ceiling hole and is bitten. She runs to Spike with her leg now infected.
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Lesson 3: "If you see a stranger follow him."
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Ein and Ed are running around seeking out the alien lifeform, while Spike is looking for them. Ein is bitten. Spike grabs Ein and runs away from the swift-moving gelatinous substance. One by one each of our fearless crew members is plucked off by the ferocious, man-eating jello mold. This is a good monster-on-the-loose space yarn a la Alien, but anime style, as it pays a bit of homage to the genre, despite the lack of a really well designed alien creature. This captures the general vibe of the installment. I love good, old-fashioned suspense. I love a good alien on the loose story, but this alien comes up a bit short for me. Then again, the Slither-like space slime doesn't kind of creep one out.
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Spike goes on the hunt with all manner of weaponry [net guns, smoke bombs, flame thrower, pistols]. To get the beast Spike has a vast array of equipment at his disposal. He could rival Neo in The Matrix. Spike remembers an old refrigerator that had some food in it and it is now filled with all sorts of nasty bacterium. Spike is bit while pushing the fridge out of the airlock.
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Lesson 4: "Don't leave things in the fridge." I'm glad they noted Lesson 4, because I was thinking just that and was prepared to make up my own. This actually is a great lesson. Old food can get out of hand and quite frightening very quickly. I've seen a fridge a time or two in my day, not my own, that could have required intervention by the CDC [Centers For Disease Control].
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Meanwhile, Ed comes across the alien space blob and grabs it perceiving it to be pudding and eats it. There are some zany ass moments in Cowboy Bebop.
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We are left with our fearless heroes floating around in zero gravity to a classical number. I was left wondering what the hell just happened. Oddly enough it kind of works. Still, I'm not sure what happened to everyone. I can only surmise everyone ate bad food and began hallucinating despite everything I had just seen. Odd this little show. I do love the application of musical genres in the series to any number of moods and sequences. It is a highlight!
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Toys In The Attic: B