Archive for June, 2017

Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

June 28, 2017

Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

ABC is reviving the 1970s and 1980s celebrity “sports” competition, Battle of the Network Stars!

It was a popular show: it wasn’t about seeing incredible physical feats, it was more about seeing the non-athletes being their authentic selves, doing the best they can.

The original series included some geek favorites: Lynda Carter, Richard Hatch, Lee Meriwether, William Shatner, Lou Ferrigno…

That last one is important, because he is one of a number of celebrities returning for the new series! Looking at the list of who is participating, my guess is that they invited many of the people back…quite a few are repeating, in addition to newbies.

The different format (twenty teams of five each) means that we get roughly four times the number of participants participants as the old show…and the geek is strong in this one. ūüėČ

Each show has themed teams: obviously, we’ll be interested in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy team, but John Barrowman isn’t there…he’s on Troublemakers.

Here are the teams, with some geeky (and other) context. First, we define “geek-friendly” works as those presented as fiction which include elements that are presented to the audience as being outside of consensus reality (even if it is later revealed in the story that the “impossible” element is a mistake or a hoax). That can be fuzzy, but it’s rule of thumb.

We also are going to give you a geek factor score, which is also, of course, somewhat subjective:

Geek Factor

  • Non-geek (NG): no geek-friendly credits
  • Geek Factor 1 (GF1): perhaps a few scattered minor roles
  • Geek Factor 2 (GF2): at least one featured geek-friendly role
  • Geek Factor 3 (GF3): at least one starring geek-friendly role, or a featured geek-friendly role based on an existing gf character, or multiple featured geek-friendly roles
  • Geek Factor 4 (GF4): more than one starring gf role, or a starring GF role based on an existing GF character, or an established career as a geek-friendly supporting player…thought of by the public as a geek-friendly actor
  • Geek Factor 5 (GF5): icon

Additionally, we’ll indicate previous years of participation for the returners.

The teams (we expect to continue to update the individual listings throughout the season until we have done them all):

TV Sitcoms

  • Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers) GF3: he does have some geek-friendly roles, especially voicework. He played The Prankster on Lois and Clark
  • Tom Arnold¬†(Roseanne) GF2: his geek-friendly roles have been mostly voicework, cameos, and small parts
  • Dave Coulier¬†(Full House) GF2: geek-friendly voicework includes Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters, and Animal in Muppet Babies
  • AJ Michalka (The Goldbergs) GF3: she played the young Dinah Lance in Birds of Prey, and appeared in The Lovely Bones and Super 8
  • Tracey Gold¬†(Growing Pains) GF1: a few scattered geek-friendly roles

versus

TV Kids

  • Joey Lawrence¬†(Blossom) (GF3): quite a bit of voicework, including as Zeus (The Dog Who Saved…) and on screen in Isle of the Dead
  • Corbin Bleu¬†(High School Musical) ¬†GF3: played Young Tommy in Galaxy Quest and Butch in Mystery Men
  • Nolan Gould¬†(Modern Family) GF3: Young Jimmy on Out of Jimmy’s Head, John Warner in Eleventh Hour, Sam in Space Buddies, Young Jonas Stein in Monster Heroes, Timmy Graco in Ghoul, Adam in Abominable Christmas, two roles on R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour
  • Lisa Whelchel¬†(The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: 1984) : she was a Mousketeer and appeared in Shadow of Fear
  • Kim Fields¬†(The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: May 1984; December 1984): guested on Mork & Mindy and Cupid, and was in The Kid with the Broken Halo and Monster Mutt

Primetime Soaps

  • Ian Ziering¬†(Beverly Hills, 90210) GF4: Fin Shepard in the Sharknado TV movies (and Lavantula), Vinnie in Biker Mice from Mars, Wildwing on Mighty Ducks, and Harry Osborn in the 2003 Spider-Man series
  • Josh Henderson¬†(Dallas ((2012))) ¬†(GF1): appeared n Leaches and in Betwixt
  • Gabrielle Carteris¬†(Beverly Hills, 90210) (GF3) : Nan in Raising Cain, voices in Batman Beyond, Men in Black: The Series, Johnny Bravo, Gargoyles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Elektra¬†and Enchantress on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Laethwen/Vicki Vale in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Donna Mills¬†(Knots Landing) ¬†(GF1) (Returner: 1977; 1980; 1981; 1983): Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, Fantasy Island, Alice in Wonderland (1985), The Stepford Husbands, Cursed Part 3, A Very Cool Christmas, Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens
  • Mischa Barton¬†(The O.C.) : Betty Ann Blongo on Kablam!, Kyra Collins in The Sixth Sense, Jessie Parker in A Resurrection, Ms. Monica in Gutsy Frog

versus

ABC Stars

  • Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) (GF4) (Returner: 1988): Princess Jehna in Conan the Destroyer, Amanda Rogers on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sonya Blade in Mortal Combat: Defenders of the Realm, Ten in Batman Beyond: The Movie, Star Sapphire on Justice League, Shannon in the 2002 The Twilight Zone, Jane Porter in The Legend of Tarzan TV series, Black Widow in Ultimate Avengers, Luminara Unduli in Star Wars: Clone Wars, many more
  • Shari Belafonte¬†(Hotel) (GF3) (Returner: 1983; May 1984; co-host December 1984; co-host 1988) : Blanche on Gravedale High, Laura Wingate on Beyond Reality, Lupe in Sonic the Hedgehog, Diana Cruz on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Doc Halliday in Mars, Mrs. Johanssen on Hey Arnold!, Elizabeth Trent on Babylon 5: Thirdspace
  • Michael Fishman¬†(Roseanne) (GF2): Joey on Hey Arnold!, Mike Holliday in Little Bigfoot 2, Teen in Van in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets
  • Jason Hervey¬†(The Wonder Years) (GF3) : Frank Dale in Frankenweenie, Milton Baines in Back to the Future, Kevin Morton in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, E.J. in The Monster Squad, Troll King in Return to Zork, Eddie McDowd in 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, Dove in Justice League Unlimited
  • Anson Williams¬†(Happy Days) (GF1) : Fantasy Island, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour

Variety

  • Joanna Krupa¬†(model) (GF1): Friend at Leo’s Party in the 2001 Planet of the Apes
  • Nick Lachey¬†(98 Degrees) (GF2) : Leslie St. Claire on Charmed, Vietnam Soldier in the Nicole Kidman Bewitched, Dwayne in Rise: Blood Hunter, Justin Towers in Star vs. The Forces of Evil
  • Vanessa Lachey¬†(The Bold and the Beautiful) ¬†(GF1): Johnny’s Wedding Date in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Amy in Disaster Movie
  • Gilles Marini¬†(Sex and the City) (GF2) : Henri in Screech of the Decapitated, Captain of the Guard/Paolo the Squire in Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, Sebastien Valet in Teen Wolf TV series, Jacques Duchamp in Daredevil
  • Jack Osbourne (The Osbournes) (GF1): himself in Austin Powers in Goldmember

versus

TV Sex Symbols

  • Keegan Allen (Pretty Little Liars) (NG)
  • Traci Bingham (Baywatch) (GF2) : Party Babe in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Featured Reporter on Battlebots (2000), Vapor in the Life’s a Gas episode of Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion
  • Rosa Blasi (The Thundermans) (GF3): Dawn in Lost on Earth, Carolina Marquez in Avalon: Beyond the Abyss, Maria in The Grudge, Jeanine Winthrop on American Dad!, Barb Thunderman in The Thundermans
  • Brant Daugherty (Pretty Little Liars) (GF2): Ballistico in Super Sportlets, Dale in The Starving Games,
  • Galen Gering (Days of Our Lives) (GF1): Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald on Passions

Cops

  • Erik Estrada (CHiPs) (GF3) : Pepe in the Legacy of Terror episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Prince Sakari on The Six Million Dollar Man, Dr. Stone in Alien Seed, Duke in Earth Angel, Mr. Dork in Homeboys in Outer Space, Detective Francisco in Visions, Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Sealab 2021, Ambulance Driver Hero on Higglytown Heroes, voice on Phineas and Ferb, King Worm and Court Giant on Adventure Time, Carlos Sequin in Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, Nick ‘Loop’n Lopez in Planes: Fire & Rescue, Erik in Cool Cat Saves the Kids
  • Larry Wilcox¬†(CHiPs) (GF2): Executive Producer, The Ray Bradbury Theatre
  • Kelly Hu¬† (Nash Bridges) (GF4): Eva Watanabe in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, L.A.X. 2194, Ensign Yukiko Fujisaki in Star Command (AKA In the Fold), Christine Hung in the Cypher episode of The Sentinel, The Sorceress in the Scorpion King, Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike in X-Men 2, Lana in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Visas Marr in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lord (videogame), Dr. Julia Hoffman in the 2005 version of Dark Shadows, Caitlin in Devil’s Den, Okiku in Afro Samurai, Detective Pei in Succubus: H*ll-Bent, various voices on Robot Chicken including Olive Oyl and Rainbow Brite, Dr. Annabelle Fermi in Area 57, Shen in Dead Space: Downfall (videogame), Suki Toyoma in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (videogame), Ryoko Kurokama in Ninja Blade (videogame), Sha Shan Nguyen/Titania in The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series), Miyumi/Miss Mirimoto in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, Wells in Terminator Salvation (videogame), Ms. Li in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Laira in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Stacy Hirano in Phineas and Ferb, Pearl Zhu on The Vampire Diaries, Jade Nguyen/Cheshire on Young Justice, Maizy in Scooby-Doo! Spooky Scarecrow, Abigail Chow on Warehouse 13, Dr. Gordon in Age of Tomorrow, Denise Brady in High School Possession, Katana in Infinite Crisis (videogame), D’Vorah/Sindel/Frost in Mortal Combat X (videogame), China White on Arrow, Karai on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013 series). For more information, see the Kelly Hu born entry at The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip
  • Jodi Lyn O’Keefe¬†(GF3) (Nash Bridges): Sarah in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Lauren Randall in The Crow: Salvation, Cancace Aimes in Tru Calling, Layla Simmons in Out for Blood, Spider Demon in Charmed, Kelly Weaver in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – Uprising (videogame), Mikayla in The Big Bang Theory, Lilith Reborn in Soul Fire Rising, Ava in Lost, Lisa in the A Cinderella Story episode of The Finder, Ronnie in the The Would-Be Prince of Darkness episode of Lucifer, Dr. Jo Laughlin on The Vampire Diaries¬†
  • Lorenzo Lamas¬†(GF) (Renegade): Father Diaz in Real Blood: The True Beginning, Tom Astor in the Trust Me episode of The Hitchhiker, Sergeant Bobby Chase in Terminal Justice, Cale Oosha on Invasion America, Raphael “Rafe” Cain on The Immortal (2000 TV series), Dane Quatrell in Dark Waters, Trainor in Deep Evil, Hacket in Raptor Island, Andrew Dean in Sci-Fighter, Biggs in Unseen Evil 2, Mr. Jones in Thralls, Flight Instructor in Succubus: Hell-Bent, Lieutenant Michael Arronax in 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Allan Baxter in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Lorenzo Lamas in Pee-wee goes to Sturgis, Special Agent Logan in Raptor Ranch, Meap on Phineas and Ferb, John on Ghost Girls, guest on American Dad!, Sargent Rock in Sharknado 3: Oh H*ll No!, Steve in Exorcist Academy, Julio Garcia in Scorpion Girl

versus

TV Sitcoms

  • Todd Bridges¬†(Diff’rent Strokes) (GF2) : Petie in Twice Dead, Baron in The Darkling, Power Plant Guard in Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail, Ruben Herardo in Evil Grave: Curse of the Maya, Peter in Alien Express, Rick in The Damned, Larry Goleman in Monsters on Main Street, Mantus in Tesla Effect (videogame), College Fright Night, Hayden Webber in 2064: Read Only Memories (videogame)
  • Leigh-Allyn Baker (Good Luck Charlie) (GF4) : Mitzi in Shrunken Heads; Waitress in Leprechaun 3; Taylor/Maureen in The Incredible Hulk (guest voice, 1996 animated series); Alisa Silvermane on the 1995 Spider-Man animated series (voice); Hannah Webster on Charmed; Kate O’Rourke in the Luck o’ the Irish episode of Early Edition; Crewman Juliet Jurot in the Star Trek Voyage: Elite Force videogame and Star Trek: Elite Force II; Dr. Sidney Mobius in the Command & Conquer: Renegade videogame; Miyako Sudo in the Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly videogame; Jean Grey in the X-Men Legends videogame and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse videogame; Merchant/Mender/Weaponsmith in the Everquest II videogame; Margie in the It’s Good to be the Queen episode of American Dad!; voice in Ninety-Nine Nights videogame; Flushed Away (videogame); Lakhesis in Gods of War II videogame; Major Elena Flores/Rebekah Petrovsky in Mass Effect (videogame); voice in Endwar videogame; various voices in Gears of War 2; Alice 1-30 in Halo Wars; Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (videogame); Bella Bon Bueno in The Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Abby the Cow on the Back at the Barnyard TV series; additional voices in Star Wars: The Old Republic (videogame);¬†Bong Cha / Erin Mahler / Madame Rog√™t / Shani / Sophie in The Secret World (videogame); Bong Cha/Scenario Operator 2 in The Secret World: Issue 8 – The Venetian Agenda (videogame); Bong Cha in additional voices in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII; Cherri Pickford in Dog with a Blog; Queen Coralie/Mermaids in Jake and the Never Land Pirates; Queen Delightful/Snazzy Shazam on 7D (TV animated series)
  • Dave Foley¬†(NewsRadio) (GF3): Alan Bean in From the Earth to the Moon (1998 miniseries); Flik in A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2; Troy in Blast from the Past; The Baldwin Brothers in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; Hank the Technician in Cyberworld; Herb in Monkeybone; Francis in the Arthur, Interrupted episode of the 2002 live action version of The Tick; Laslow Oswald in What’s New, Scooby-Doo?; Priest in Lilo & Stitch: The Series; Mr. Boy in Sky High; Randall in Goose on the Loose; Francis Grey in the Seconds episode of The Batman; Henry Welby in Netherbeast Incorporated; Cult Cat in Slacker Cats; Malcolm Tunney in the Brain Storm episode of Project Atlantis; Principal Smith in Vampires Suck; Wayne in Prep & Landing; Yes Man in Fallout: Las Vegas (videogame); Buzz Chambers in Monster Brawl; Agent Rick in the Homeward Pound episode of Pound Puppies; Dr. Plotkin in the ONe Giant Leap episode of Eureka; Terry in Monsters University; Scientist in The Lair episode of Mr. Pickles; Dave Foley in International Ghost Investigators; Moff on Harvey Beaks
  • Willie Garson¬†(Sex and the City) (GF3) : Board Member in Brain Dead (1990); Nerd Student in Repossessed; Heavy Metal Roadie in the original Twin Peaks; Alik Idell/Lee Harvey Oswald and Seymour in Quantum Leap (TV guest spots); Phil’s Assistant Kenny in Groundhog Day; The Barefoot Executive (1995 TV movie); Eddie Brenner on Touched by an Angel; Corporate Guy in Mars Attacks!; Strange Guy in VR. 5 (TV guest spot); Security Guard in the Killed by Death episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (TV guest spot); Riga in Star Trek: Voyager; Guy in Restaurant in Being John Malkovich; Willie Dretler in Early Edition; Henry Weems and Quinton “Roach” Freely in The X-Files; Stanley Nussbaum in Fortress 2; Brett in What Planet Are You From?; Bones on Level 9 TV series; Ross Bowman/Amphorian/Cupid/Little Brother in Special Unit 2 (two episodes); Dr. Kreutz in Taken (Steven Spielberg alien abduction TV miniseries); Evan in the Lindsay Lohan version of Freaky Friday; Martin Lloyd on Stargate SG-1; Meyer Dickstein on John from Cincinnati; Mr. Frenchy on Wizards of Waverly Place; Dick Dicker in Pushing Daisies; Alan Hitchens in Medium; Tom Trudell in Monster Heroes
  • Jenna von O√Ņ¬†(Blossom) (GF2) : Mary Ann on The Kingdom Chums: Little David’s; Stefa in the Seasons of Belief episode of Tales from the Darkside; Amy in the Glim-Glim episode of Monsters (1989 TV series); Stacey in A Goofy Movie; Pandora in Hercules and the Green-Eyed Monster episode of (Disney’s) Hercules TV series; Sioned in Lands of Lore III (videogame); Co-Ed in An Extremely Goofy Movie; Rory in Family Guy; Gracie in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice)

White House

  • Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal) (GF1) : Fabian North in the The Pugilist Break episode of Forever (TV guest spot); Case in the One Door Closes episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Marlee Matlin (The West Wing) (GF3): April Hare in the The Sound and the Furry episode of Adventures in Wonderland; Jennifer Winter in the The Message episode of the 1995 Outer Limits; Mayor Laurie Bey on Picket Fences; Marlee the Librarian on Blue’s Clues; Lead in¬†What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?; Baby Einstein: Baby Wordsworth; Stella on Family Guy; Annie Jump Cannon on Cosmos: a SpaceTime Odyssey; Harriett on The Magicians
  • Joshua Malina (West Wing/Scandal) : Calculator Kid #3 in Infinity; Egghead Announcer in the Rules of the Game episode of Sliders; Tim Messick in the We Have Cleared the Tower episode of From the Earth to the Moon; Cicero in the Bad Guy episode of Stargate SG-1 (TV guest spot); Tim Carmer in the Car Trouble episode of Medium; Agent Auldridge in the Born to Run episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Duncan in the Hound Dog episode of Valentine; Dr. David Curan in the Spooky Little Girl episode of American Horror Story; President Siebert on The Big Bang Theory; Travis in Knights of Badassdom; Dr. Gavin Beck in What on Earth is Wrong episode of Extant (TV guest spot); Barkeep in Thrilling Adventure Hour Live
  • LaMonica Garrett (Designated Survivor) (GF2) : Fireman in the Bonfire and Betrayal episode of Eastwick (TV guest spot); Morshower’s Aide in Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Lt. TAO Cameron Burke on The Last Ship
  • Mary McCormack (The West Wing) (GF2) : Myrna Foy in Miracle on 34th Street (1994); Forest Ranger in Chaos (videogame); Andrea Baker in Deep Impact; Lily in 1408; Sarah Sandalls in¬†Operation Nefarion: Mystery of the Horriversity – A Natasha Fighterblade Adventure; Ms. Richards in Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery; Mary McCormack in International Ghost Investigators

versus

Lawyers

  • Elisabeth R√∂hm¬†(Law & Order) (GF4) : Beautiful Cindy in the We’re Not Worthy episode of the 1998 Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); The Invisible Man (TV movie with Kyle MacClachlan as Jack Griffin); Detective Kate Lockley on Angel; Dr. Laurie Graves in Briar & Graves; Jennifer Zellan in Ghost Image; Lt. granger in The Awakening episode of Masters of Science Fiction; Lauren Gilmore on Heroes; Sheriff Glove in Lake Place: The Final Chapter; Rosie on Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark; FBI Special Agent Dana Landon on Beauty and the Beast (2014 TV series); Allison Shaw on The Last Ship; Johanna Shannon in Wish Upon; Tiffany in Scales: Mermaids Are Real; Zelda in Starbright
  • Corbin Bernsen¬†(LA Law) (GF4): Reporter in 1976 King Kong; Jason Chadman in Hello Again; Mickey’s 60th Birthday; Q2 in the Deja Q episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Chad in the Evie Nightingale episode of Out of This World; Host of The Extraordinary; General Morgan Breslaw in Final Mission; Duke Metger in Tales from the Hood; Foster Carver in Inhumanoid; Felix Medina in Menno’s Mind; Eric Weiss in the Angel of Death episode of Touched by an Angel; John Wahl in Tidal Wave: No Escape; USAF Colonel Henry “Bull” Eckert; Barnes in Spacejacked; Rob Preston in The Fairy King of Ar; Roger Stovall/Bill Water in the Death and Taxes episode of Twice in a Lifetime; Virgil Nygard in the Abaddon episode of the 2000 version of The Outer Limits; Dr. Hyde in Raptor; Carl Hart in Fangs; Larry in The Tomorrow Man; Sheriff C.B. Bishop in Atomic Twister; Mark Mallory in Dead Above Ground; Chief Spivak in The Santa Trap; Norbert in They Are Among Us; Captain Riley in Raging Sharks; Ira in the Right to Die episode of Masters of Horror; Rowland in House of Fallen; Burton in Vipers; Dr. F in Dead Air (also directed); Barry Polk in Suing the Devil; Bob Connelly in the Shorthanded episode of Scorpion; Mr. Friedrich in Sensory Perception; Buck in Dead Man Rising; Vanderveer Wayne Sr. in Powerless; Vulcan in the A Murder of Gods episode of American Gods; Alfred (Grandpa) in Jessica Frost
  • Matt McGorry¬†(How to Get Away with Murder) (GF2) : Gorm in Gizor and Gorm; Spider-Man on One Life to Live; EMT#1 in the Foe episode of Person of Interest; Jacob in the Twilight Explains the European Debt Crisis episode of Jest Originals;¬†
  • Romi Dias (Doubt) (NG)
  • Catherine Bell¬†(JAG) : Cop in Alien Nation: Body and Soul (TV movie); Cynea in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; Susan Ortega in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty; Emily Patterson on The Triangle; Daphne Larson in the Outbreak episode of Threshold; Cassandra (Cassie) Nightingale in The Good Witch TV movies and series; Joanne in The Bandit Hound

TV Moms & Dads

  • Chad Lowe
  • Greg Evigan
  • Ted McGinley
  • Lesley Fera
  • Jackee Harry

versus

TV Kids

  • Jimmie Walker
  • Mackenzie Phillips
  • Jonathan Lipnicki
  • Krista Marie Yu
  • Jeremy Miller

Famous TV Families

  • Danny Bonaduce¬†(The Partridge Family) (GF3) : Small Boy in the Luke’s First Christmas episode of The Second Hundred Years (TV guest spot); Danny Shoemaker in the Jonathan Tells It Like It Was episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (TV guest spot); two guest spots on Bewitched; Avery Arable in Charlotte’s Web; Danny Partridge on Goober and the Ghost Chasers (voice) and on Partridge Family 2200 AD (voice); Paul in the Speak No Evil episode of Shazam!; voice on Fred Flintstone and Friends; Hot Rod on Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); Smirch in the Street Up episode of Ozzy & Drix; Ranch Steer in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice); Harley Anderson in Bigfoot (2012 TV movie)
  • Barry Williams
  • Beverley Mitchell
  • Willie Aames
  • Charlene Tilton

versus

Doctors

Troublemakers

  • Vivica A. Fox
  • Paul Johansson
  • John Barrowman (GF5)
  • Julie Benz
  • Catherine Bach

versus

TV Lifeguards

  • David Chokachi
  • Brande Roderick
  • Parker Stevenson
  • Nicole Eggert
  • Gena Lee Nolin

ABC Stars

  • Ted Lange
  • Troy Gentile
  • Jill Whelan
  • Denise Richards
  • Joely Fisher

versus

Variety

  • Lance Bass
  • Joey Fatone
  • Adrienne Houghton
  • Cameron Mathison
  • Kelly Osbourne

Cops

  • Marisol Nichols¬†(Riverdale) (GF3): Sargeant Joanne Yarrow in the Hunted episode of the 2002 The Twilight Zone (TV guest spot); Bianca in the Chris-Crossed episode of Chamed; Detective Devon Williams in The Storm; Sarah Monohan on The Gates; Corinne on Teen Wolf
  • Roma Maffia
  • Adrian Zmed
  • Fred Dryer
  • Ryan Paevey

versus

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

  • Lou Ferrigno (GF5)
  • Vinnie Jones
  • Charisma Carpenter
  • Kevin Sorbo (GF5)
  • Jill Wagner

Should be fun! In looking back at early editions, which you can watch on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=battle+of+the+network+stars

there are some elements we are likely to see…and five things you probably (or definitely) won’t see in the revival.

One thing is that there were a lot of quips, and yet, there was a serious competition. People did get injured, and there was some real passion. Part of what probably made it popular was the disputed running relay in the first episode. Robert Conrad challenged it, saying that one of the teams had cheated (by having a faster runner go back and take the baton early, outside of the designated area). That got referenced many times afterwards.

The commentators were also important…not just the lead, Howard Cossell, but others as well. Cossell was in classic mode, ridiculing performances. He had a tendency to call many people by diminuitives (an actor known as Richard might be called “Dicky”, that kind of thing).

The shows are fun to watch, but there are some dated elements…

5 Things You Probably (or Definitely) Won’t See in the 2017 Revival of Battle of the Network Stars

  1. Blatant sexism: there were so many comments about the female competitors’ appearance! Intros for men might talk about them being “bright” or strong, while women might just be “beautiful”. The women often also had “easier” versions of the obstacles
  2. Ethnic humor: “I’m a this so I’ll behave in this stereotypical manner”. That may not be entirely absent, but I doubt we’ll see it as much
  3. War imagery: after the first several episodes, they toned down the idea of it being an actual war, with cartoons of tanks and the like
  4. Participants smoking, as frequent Captain Robert Conrad would be shown doing…not during the event, but in video clips
  5. The idea of three networks…that’s clearly gone, both on the show and in real life

I do hope we’ll have great moments with the stars, both the newbies and returners! Amazing seeing Robin Williams in his rising Mork days on the old show, for example! While some of the stars have passed on, or won’t be likely to participate in 2017 or future possible seasons for other reasons, there are some I’d still like back. ūüôā

Let the battle begin!

Update: having now watched several of the new episodes, and having gone back and watched more than a dozen (in order) of the old, I have a few suggestions in the hope of a second season:

  • We aren’t seeing enough of the actual competitions. In the old shows, you really did care about how the “game” was going. Take the three on three football: they didn’t show us every play, or even every exchange of plays, but we did see maybe ten plays in a row. The show was produced by the sports department, and it showed. They now have ten events being done in a shorter show, so we don’t see much of most of them. Cut down the number of events…I understand that the show probably can’t be lengthened. It’s okay to only show us part of something silly, like they did with the Simon Says segments in the past. Maybe show us the running relay, the kayak race, the dunk tank, the obstacle race, and the tug of war pretty much in full (the dunk tank can be abbreviated…they used to do that)
  • One big issue, interestingly, is that these aren’t teams who know each other or seem to have a team mentality. On the old show, they may not have known each other well, but they had an identity as ABC, CBS, or NBC, and there was a genuine real world competition. These tend to seem more like people who have never met each other before, and don’t have a shared goal. I recommend the book¬†The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines¬†by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen for good insight on how you form teams. On the old show, it seemed like they worked out together for something like a week before the show…presumably, around their respective studios. That’s clearly not happening, and not likely to happen here…so you need clearcut team identities. Update: the best way to do this might be to have them play for charities, as they do on Celebrity Family Feud. That would bond them and give them additional motivation
  • Another thing we aren’t seeing is any real insight into the celebrities as individuals. I actually didn’t show the old one with Robin Williams to my Significant Other…you can see the emotional challenges he has. That was a tough decision, and I wouldn’t have my SO not watch Robin Williams acting…but this is different and insightful. Perhaps the right thing there would be web segments with the background pieces, and a “teaser” for that during the maincast
  • The original took people outside of their comfort zones, and we respected them for braving that. The new one seems to…do less of that. Yes, social media is going to be much tougher on someone who doesn’t look perfect now, than it did then, and I get that. I’m not talking about swimsuits or the body judgment Cosell and others made so often. We just want to get the sense that what they are doing is hard for them, that they are challenging themselves. Some of them definitely are, I want to be clear of that. It’s not that we want to see people fail or look foolish…it’s that we want to see them strive and grow

I am enjoying the revival, just not as much. Having some of the returners is definitely a big plus the original didn’t have, but they need to make it more engaging for new audiences.

The season begins Thursday, June 29th at 9:00 PM

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Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Man

June 24, 2017

Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Man

(sung to the tune of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

It was many years* ago today
Kenneth Arnold taught the world to say
“There’s a flying saucer in the air”
And it gave the people quite a scare
Now here’s another term you know
Today we just say U.F.O

Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Ma-an!

What’s in the sky,
Lighted up, flying by?
Could it be a real alien craft?
Perhaps it’s a star or lights from a car
Or maybe I’m just going daft…

Oh, it’s giving me the ontological bends
Oh, I hate it when a paradigm ends

Could it beeee a delusion?
I just know there’s something there
Or an optical illusion?
I’m getting to the point I don’t care

Oh, this is one of those long-lasting trends
Mm, I don’t know just what message it sends
Message it sennnnnds!


* I think I first published this in 1994…a version I found said, “It was was forty-seven years ago…” I’ve updated it for today, the 70th anniversary of the Kenneth Arnold sighting that established the term “flying saucer” by changing it to “many years”, which will enable me to keep using it for future anniversaries. ūüôā

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

Adam West has reportedly died

June 10, 2017

Adam West has reportedly died

So long, old chum.

I feel like Adam West was a friend, although I never met him.

For me, and many others, Adam West was Batman. Sure, he wasn’t purely, or even much, like Batman in the comics…but the 1966 TV series did have a big influence on the comics.

It was a huge hit, due in part to West’s clever, straight-faced portrayal. Allan Sherman referenced the popularity in his comedy song, “The Rebel”: “They even took Batman off the TV screen to show the rebel!”

West, though, was smart about the part. He didn’t disrespect it or the fans. He had reportedly been a Batman comics fan as a kid.

He would return to voice the character in a 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series (and others)…and was working on the latest animated Batman movie (with original co-stars Burt Ward and Julie Newmar) when he died (or at least, it was in post-production).

I also remember him literally sticking his tongue in his bat-cheek for the comedy superhero roast, Legend of the Superheroes in 1979 (which also had DC characters Green Lantern, Black Canary, Hawkman and more).

He played other characters in the Batman universe, including Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father.

While that would certainly be enough to put him in the geek pantheon, it was hardly his only geek-friendly work:

  • A very early uncredited role was a radio operator in the Boris Karloff movie, Voodoo Island
  • He played the supporting part of Colonel Dan McReady in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (the first part is reminiscent of the recent hit movie, The Martian)
  • Many people still remember the “sand sharks” episode of the original The Outer Limits, “The Invisible Enemy”, with West again as an astronaut
  • He guest-starred on Bewitched…all of this was pre-Batman
  • He played Mr. Hyde on Night Gallery
  • He was in the TV movie The Eyes of Charles Sand
  • Christopher Lee played Lucifer in Poor Devil (featuring West)
  • He was the voice of Hercules in Shazam! (for a single episode)
  • Warp Speed (a TV movie) had Adam West voicing Captain Lofton; that same year saw him as a different character in Time Warp
  • He took a trip to Fantasy Island
  • 1987 saw Adam West in Zombie Nightmare
  • The next year, 1988, he was in Doin’ Time on Planet Earth
  • Adam West was the big name in Omega Cop, ushering in the 1990s
  • He was pseudonymously credited when he played “Hippy Guy” in the 1990s Flash TV series
  • When the Rugrats needed a Captain Blasto, they cast Adam West
  • 1993 saw him on Tales from the Crypt
  • Space Ghost interviewed him on Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  • Still supporting DC, he was Jerry Retchen on Lois & Clark
  • He voiced the Galloping Gazelle on Goosebumps (and the videogame)
  • An American Vampire Story? Adam West as The Big Kahuna
  • Johnny Bravo, Animaniacs, The Secret Files of the SpyDogs (where he was Dog Zero)…Adam West was busy doing voices in the 1990s
  • For Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion series, Adam West was The Breathtaker
  • The 2000s saw Adam West voicing characters on Kim Possible and Scooby-Doo, and as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy
  • 2004’s Monster Island had Adam West as “Dr. Harryhausen”
  • The 2000’s included Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Sexina, and The Fairly OddParents
  • Amusingly, Adam West was the young Mermaid Man (a Batman-like parody) on SpongeBob SquarePants
  • This decade, he was in The Super Hero Squad as Nighthawk, Funny or Die, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Grand Theft Auto V, he was the announcer for the FanAddicts! TV series, was on Robot Chicken and The Big Bang Theory, as well as Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero
  • He was Chairman West in TV’s recently canceled Powerless, a series about people on the periphery when superheroes exist

He shared a TV Land Award for Favorite Crimestopper with Burt Ward, and got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was recognized by the mainstream, and beloved by geeks.

You will be missed, Adam West…thank you.


For more geeky good-byes for this year, see

2017 Geeky Good-byes


My current Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

 

 

 

Why AR gear needs to be able to become irrelevant to become important

June 7, 2017

Why AR gear needs to be able to become irrelevant to become important

Welcome, Vammers**!

I am in Virtual Reality every day, and increasingly, in Augmented Reality as well. The distinction is important.

When you are in Virtual Reality, you are in a different world: you can’t see what’s around you. In Augmented Reality, you¬†do¬†see the world…and you see more (it has had something added to it).

There are two other terms you may hear: Mixed Reality and Merged Reality, but really, those are enhanced versions of the above. They both have to do with awareness: do the fictional overlays on the real world have an awareness of reality (does a fictional character who is walking walk in the air and through buildings, or does it follow the ground? If there is a table in your family room and you are walking through a forest in Virtual Reality, will you just bump into the table, or will it appear in the forest as, perhaps, a rock?).

Augmented Reality is the one that will have value in day to day life. I already have seen that work. I have some color vision deficiency (“color blindness”, although I do see colors…just not all shades and not the way that other people see them). My

Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

can correct those colors for me in the real world…or, and I like this one, make the color I am trying to see the only color visible in the room. I use an experience (VAM terminology for what would be called an “app” on a phone) called Reality Hacker, although it takes a step or two to get to it (I use “Play Cardboard” to make it work with my Samsung Gear).

I was also able to use that with someone who, because of a medical condition, can’t see edges well. That makes it very hard to read signs…but Reality Hacker has a setting with an edge enhancer, and that made all the difference. Solid letters on a sign would “hollow out” in the middle, making them discernible to that person.

However…

I can’t wear my Gear all the time, and neither could the person with the edge challenge.

The battery charge only lasts so long. While they’ve improved this, the phone can overheat (especially if it’s hot outside). Even with Reality Hacker, there is limited peripheral vision, since I’m wearing something that is like a SCUBA mask.

I can not wear my Gear without constantly being aware of it.

Augmented Reality has the potential to become indispensable for some people. Are you wearing bifocals or even trifocals? Are you constantly switching glasses to go from the computer to the road, or peering over the top of them to talk to people or watch TV? AR sets will be able to tell where you are trying to look, and automatically  adjust the focus correction so you can see freely, regardless of the distance.

The issue at this point is that the correction is only going to happen when you put on your headgear. Some people complain about having to pull a phone out of a pocket: it’s a whole lot harder to pull out your headset and put it on your head. ūüôā

For AR to become part of our lives, it needs to be irrelevant that we are wearing it most of the time.

In other words, I need to be able to wear my Augmented Reality gear all the time, and be able to forget about the fact that I’m wearing it.

It needs to become lighter, with full peripheral vision, and power that lasts all day.

That doesn’t all have to be perfect, by the way. I’ve had people say that no one would want something in front of their eyes, adjusting how they see the world, all day long.

You mean like glasses? ūüėČ

Contact lenses are even harder to wear than glasses…and I’m wearing reading glasses right now. If I think about it, I can see the top, bottom, and outer sides of my frames, and the stems (only comfortably one stem at a time).

AR gear should be able to be even less intrusive than glasses without too much trouble. Google is going to introduce something later this year that looks like it may lay much more flatly against the face. Oh, and of course, it will be wirelessr..that’s coming for many sets.

I think the biggest problem may be in making the eyes visible to others (George C. Scott once played the Beast in a Beauty and the Beast adaptation…but insisted that his eyes be visible). There are situations where dark glasses are considered inappropriate, and having it where people can’t see your eyes at all would really make them uncomfortable.

There are four possibilities I see right off (not all equally probable):

  • Transparency: I don’t see how you could make the actual device transparent
  • Projection: the actual device would not cover your eyes, but would project the AR onto your eyes…this is under development, but you would likely wear a fairly obvious device. It could look like glasses, although that does require a really tiny projector system
  • Simulated expressions: on the back of the device, there would be an “avatar” showing how you are feeling. This is a realistic possibility: MindMaze is working on electrical sensors that determine, through what your muscles are doing in your face, what your avatar in VR’s expression should be. When you smile, it smiles. Would emojis be sufficient?
  • Showing your actual eyes in real time on the back of the device. This is complicated, but seems possible to me. There is already eye-tracking happening, so your eyes can be seen by the device. It might be power-intensive, though…and would people trust it? You also run the risk of the “uncanny valley”…if your eyes were slightly the wrong size, or otherwise imperfectly shown, it might be really creepy…in that case, people might prefer the simulated expressions

Whichever way it ends up happening, the ability to wear AR gear and to be unaware of it most of the time is key to mainstream, widespread acceptance.

Irrelevancy is the path to importance.

One more thought:

Manipulating that reality is going to be possible as well.  Last year, I wrote

How Augmented Reality will hide advertising

but I’ve also been thinking about how it could be used in law enforcement.

Let’s say everyone in a bank is wearing AR gear: customers, tellers…and a bank robber.

They aren’t even thinking about it: they wear their AR gear constantly, and it is so useful, they wouldn’t think of not wearing it. The robber may be wearing it for 360 awareness: it will alert that person if someone is approaching from behind.

The police, though, could have the ability to either simply black out the robber’s headset…or to instruct it to make them invisible to it. The SWAT team could walk right up to the robber without being able to be seen at all.

Obviously, there could be real possibilities for misuse…both by legal agencies, and potentially by hackers. You could commit a murder by making someone’s AR headset fail to see cars that were approaching, so that they stepped out into traffic, for example.

I think that risk is small, and much smaller than the types of physical assaults AR could prevent, both through awareness and documentation. If your AR headset could detect someone hiding in an alley with a weapon who is in a high emotional state and simply direct you down a different path, that would be a big preventative to physical crime.

AR needs to continue to increase its ability to sense things (including emotional states), and that will happen. It needs to be faster, lighter, and more powerful…and invisible to you most of the time.

What do you think? Is this exciting? Scary? Both? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

**VAMMers is my term for people who use Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality: for more information, see Welcome, vammers! Our Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality coverage starts here


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