Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

It’s award season: how geeky is it?

December 15, 2016

It’s award season: how geeky is it?

Oh, it’s going to be an interesting award season!

This week,¬†we’ve had three major announcements. Sunday was the 22nd annual

Critics’ Choice Awards

For me, there were very few surprises there. It seems like any reader of Entertainment Weekly (and I’ve been reading it for a very long time) would be very familiar with almost all of the winners

That’s interesting, in part because I think people believe critics tend to like movies that audiences don’t (hypothetically showing their more refined sensibilities), but I wouldn’t say that’s the case this year. Making a lot of money did not rule you out for an award…and in at least a couple of awards, the winner had the highest dogro (domestic gross) as well.

It was also quite geek-friendly.

I haven’t seen La La Land yet, and I’m not sure if there is actual fantasy in it, so I won’t count that as a geek-friendly winner…yet.;)

Best Picture

Interesting to me here that Arrival was nominated. That seems to have a chance for some prestige Oscar noms…

Best Comedy Series

Silicon Valley won.

Best Drama Series

Game of Thrones won, but Westworld and Stranger Things were also nominated, along with Mr. Robot (and Better Call Saul, The Crown, and This Is Us).

Best Actor in a Drama Series

While Bob Odenkirk won for Better Call Saul, Sam Heughan was nominated for Outlander, as was Rami Malek for Mr. Robot.

Best Structured Reality Show

Penn & Teller: Fool Us was nominated, although James Corden won.

Best Animated Series

The winner was BoJack Horseman: other nominees were Archer, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, South Park, and hybrid Son of Zorn.

Entertainer of the Year Award

Ryan Reynolds, obviously primarily for Deadpool.

Best Actress

Amy Adams was nominated for Arrival; Natalie Portman won for Jackie.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Evan Rachel Wood brought it home for Westworld…but Caitriona Balfe (Outlander) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) were both nominated.

Best Comedy

Deadpool won…and was the highest domestic grossing of the nominees.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve got a nom for Arrival, but the win went to Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who should easily see an Oscar nom as well).

Best Supporting Actress

Fences got Viola Davis the award, and Janelle Monae was nominated for Hidden Figures.

Best Song

City of Stars from La La Land was lauded, but Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls was nominated. Interestingly, the nominee for Moana was How Far I’ll Go, not You’re Welcome, which has had a much higher social media presence.

Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series

Jeffrey Dean Morgan hit a home run (so to speak) for The Walking Dead.

See Her Award

This was a special award which went to Viola Davis…although I don’t think they were primarily thinking Suicide Squad.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Ryan Reynolds showed the maximum result from his maximum effort as Deadpool. The future Doc Savage, Dwayne Johnson, was one of the other nominees for Central Intelligence.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Hey, Kate McKinnon, if you are going to be beaten by somebody for your Ghostbusters performance, Meryl Streep is a good choice. ūüėČ

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia won, and has been a great success story (although Finding Dory, also nominated, had a higher dogro). Other nominees included Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, The Red Turtle, and Trolls.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali won for Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve seen Alphas or The 4400 mentioned in all the coverage he has been getting as a “rising star”.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series was won by Donald Glover for Atlanta, although Will Forte was also nominated for The Last Man on Earth.

Best Score

Johan Johansson was nominated for Arrival; La La Land’s Justin Hurwitz won.

Best Visual Effects

The hybrid The Jungle Book won, with other nominees being Arrival, A Monster Calls, Doctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Best Production Design

Winner is La La Land, but Arrival and Fantastic Beasts also got noms.

Hair and Makeup

Jackie won: Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts, and Star Trek Beyond were also nominated.

Editing

La La Land scores again, but Arrival had yet another nomination.

Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts was nominated; Jackie won.

Cinematography

Hopefully, Arrival hadn’t worn out the “I’m glad you won…you really deserve it” smile by the time they got to this category. ūüėČ

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow took it for The Crown. Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington were nominated for Game of Thrones, along with Christian Slater for Mr. Robot.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Thandie Newton made it a double for Westworld in acting. Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey were nominated for Game of Thrones.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Here’s a win for Arrival! Hidden Figures was also nominated.

Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series

American Crime Story’s Courtney B. Vance won, with Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for The Abominable Bride.

Best Original Screenplay

Congrats to Chazelle for La La Land; Yorgos Lanthimos was also nominated for The Lobster.

Best Actress in an Action Movie

No question that all of these geeky movies were also action movies…but it’s worth noting that no non-geeky movie had a best actress nominated. Are powerful women still more acceptable in a fantasy world…just as they were in the days of the pulps? Margot Robbie won for Suicide Squad (and will again play Harley Quinn in another movie), with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War, and Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange also nominated.

Best Actor in an Action Movie

Andrew Garfield wins for a non-geeky role (Hacksaw Ridge). Also nominated were Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Matt Damon for Jason Bourne, Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: Civil War, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (meaning he could have won two Critics Choice Awards in the same year for the same role).

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Arrival, which may be the most Oscar-nommed of this bunch, won. Other nominees were 10 Cloverfield Lane, Doctor Strange, Don’t Breathe, Star Trek Beyond, and The Witch.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson won for Baskets, and T.J. Miller was nominated for Silicon Valley.

Best Young Actor/Actress

Manchester by the Sea is picking up awards for Amazon. Lewis MacDougall got a nomination for A Monster Calls.

Best Acting Ensemble

Moonlight shines as the winner, and Hidden Figures was in the running.

Best Action Movie

Yep, the non-geeky Hacksaw Ridge wins, over Civil War, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Jason Bourne.


The Golden Globes nominations were announced Monday (the ceremony is January 8th). Often more geek-friendly than the Oscars, it is still seen by some as a predictor (even though the categories don’t really line up).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Deadpool gets a nom, along with La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Amy Adams is nominated.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Colin Farrell was nominated for The Lobster, as was Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool and Ryan Gosling for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone is up for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Octavia Spencer gets a nomination for Hidden Figures…a different way than the Critics Choice went.

Best Director – Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle will likely get an Oscar nom, and got a Globe nom as well.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

La La Land lands another nomination.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

City of Stars from La La Land, How Far I’ll Go from Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Faith from Sing (Stevie Wonder co-write with Ryan Tedder and Francis Farewell Starlite), and Can’t Stop the Feeling (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback).

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Arrival, Hidden Figures, and La La Land are competing.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Sing, Zootopia…and in one of those left field Golden Globe noms, My Life as a Zucchini.

Best Television Series – Drama

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld means that more than half of this category is geeky.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot is up.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

60% geeky, with Caitriona Balfe for Outlander, Winona Ryder for Stranger Things, and Evan Rachel Wood for Westworld.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Mr. Robot strikes again with Christian Slater.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Lena Heady in Game of Thrones versus Thandie Newton in Westworld.


The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be given out on January 29th, and nominations were announced Wednesday.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The NASA true story inspired Hidden Figures is on the Launchpad.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Ryan Gosling is in contention for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Will Amy Adams, nominated here, get that rarity and be nominated for an Oscar for a geeky role? Emma Stone was also nominated for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

SAG agrees with the Globes, nominating Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory gets a nomination here…as does the non-geeky Black-ish, which has a number of acting noms this year. Why is that worth noting? They are both from the former big three networks (as is Modern Family, one more nominated in this category).

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld will battle again.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage continues to get recognition in Game of Thrones; Rami Malek is again nommed for Mr. Robot.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Nice to see Millie Bobby Brown nominated for Stranger Things, along with here co-star, Wynona Ryder. Thandie Newton is also competing, representing Westworld.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a television Movie or Miniseries

Glory is reflected on Bryce Dallas Howard through a Black Mirror.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

All geeky, with Daredevil, Game of Thrones, Luke Cage, The Walking Dead, and Westworld.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Film

People have been talking about this for the Oscars for years, but SAG has it. Captain America: Civil War, Jason Bourne, and Doctor Strange are up against Hacksaw Ridge and Nocturnal Animals.

SAG Life Achievement Award goes to Lily Tomlin.


Update: The National Film Registry (from The Library of Congress) inductees for this year were announced Wednesday morning. Geek-friendly titles included

  • The Birds
  • The Lion King
  • Lost Horizon (1937)
  • The Princess Bride
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Overall, this is an unusually geek-friendly awards season so far. We can thank, in part, Arrival, Hidden Figures, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld.

Clearly, geek-friendly works are becoming more respectable…

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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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2016 Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees: recognizing geek-friendly acting

November 15, 2016

2016 Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees: recognizing geek-friendly acting

Acting in geek-friendly roles has generally not been recognized for awards because, you know, it’s so much easy acting in something which isn’t only outside of your actual experience, but anybody’s actual experience. ūüėČ

It’s not that it never happens: Leonard Nimoy was nominated three times for a Primetime Emmy for playing Spock on the original Star Trek, Peter Dinklage has twice that (with two wins) for Game of Thrones, and Tatiana Maslany has been nominated twice and won once for a Primetime Emmy for Orphan Black (batting 500).

The latter two have also been nominated for The Critics’ Choice Television Awards (which weren’t around when ST:TOS was on). Those nominations are out for this year, and there are quite a few geek-friendly acting noms:

http://www.criticschoice.com/critics-choice-awards

It feels like a real move in the direction of the continued mainstreaming of geekery. Not only are geek-friendly actors being nominated in the drama category (often seen as the most prestigious, although that’s a debatable impression), but this time, there is actually more than one nominee in some categories…making a non-win not only probable, but virtually inevitable (outside of ties). ūüėČ

Before we look at those nominees, it’s worth noting a couple of factors which may be influencing the choices.

First, there is the rise of non-broadcast television in nominations…HBO leads this year, Netflix tied with ABC for second, and FX was fourth. Subscription television is regulated differently, and isn’t dependent on mainstream advertisers in the same way.

Second, this year there has been a split in the critics in the pool, because it has aligned with Entertainment Weekly. That reminded me a bit of special effects artists bowing out of the Academy Awards when the 1976 was nominated.

That might not have directly impacted these nominations, but it shows an evolution that might have changed the direction a bit.

Okay, geek-friendly noms!

  • Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth
  • Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Christine Baranski in The Big Bang Theory
  • Best Animated Series: Archer | BoJack Horseman | Son of Zorn | South Park | The Simpsons
  • Best Structured Reality Series: ¬†Penn & Teller: Fool Us
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington in Game of Thrones | Christian Slater in Mr. Robot
  • Best Actress in a Drama Series: Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey in Game of Thrones | Thandie Newton in Westworld
  • Best Actor in a Drama Series: Sam Heughan in Outlander¬†| Rami Malek in Mr. Robot
  • Best Actress in a Drama Series: Caitriona Balfe in Outlander¬†| Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black | Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
  • Best Drama Series: Game of Thrones | Mr. Robot¬†| Stranger Things | Westworld
  • Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead
  • Best Actor in a Movie made for Television or a Limited Series: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Congratulations to first-timers Westworld (which did quite well in noms), and Stranger Things (where some might have expected more noms)!

I would say that many of these acting nominees have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, although, of course, many actors featured in EW weren’t nominated.

Winners will be announced on Sunday, December 11th with T.J. Miller (Deadpool) hosting.

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* 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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

 

Is My Favorite Martian’s “Uncle Martin” a Jedi?

September 22, 2016

Is My Favorite Martian’s “Uncle Martin” a Jedi?

My Favorite Martian was a popular “mermaid out of water”* sitcom which aired from 1963 to 1966. I’ve recently been re-watching it on Hulu, and it got me thinking.

“Uncle Martin”, the Martian (whose real name is Exigius) has a number of “unearthly abilities”. They are fairly well established in the first season (although they arguably expand in the third season).

Some of them seemed a bit familiar to me, and then it struck me: they reminded me of the Jedi abilities in Star Wars.

Now, let me be very clear: I’m not suggesting that George Lucas copied My Favorite Martian! Certainly, it seems likely that he saw the series (he was 19 when it debuted), but was undoubtedly familiar with the themes through other science fiction. Nothing here originated with the John L. Greene/Jack Chertok’s sitcom.

It’s more the idea for me that “Uncle Martin” may be a Jedi…even though Star Wars takes place in a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago (perhaps the Martian Jedi philosophy was a survivor from an ancient time).

Let’s take a look at what Uncle Martin can do, and compare it to Jedi.

Telekinesis

This is one of the most obvious parallels. Uncle Martin uses his “levitation finger” to move things with his mind. It may look sillier (this is a comedy, after all) when he wiggles his finger, but it’s actually less effort than when a Jedi makes full arm swings. Darth Vader comes close when he chokes someone. There are certainly limitations…Uncle Martin can’t influence things which are very far away, and neither can Jedi. If they could, they’d be able to take fighter spacecraft out of the sky with a gesture. Martin, who is quite a techie, did create a levitation machine with an extended range…something we don’t see in Star Wars.

Acrobatics

One of the things that defines Jedi for me is the acrobatics. The Martian does do very Jedi moves in one episode, The Disastro-Nauts. He is applying to be an astronaut on an Earth rocket to Mars, and despite appearing to be a meek, older human, shows up all of the young military types. That includes demonstrating extraordinary strength. We don’t usually see this, but he is a quiet type most of the time (not unlike the Jedi).

Telempathy/reading minds

Martin can sense emotions from somewhat far away…a “disturbance in the Force”, so to speak. However, again, Martin would win in a contest…he can read actual thoughts. If Lord Vader could do that, they would have a much simpler time fighting the rebellion. It’s not easy: he needs to be close, and generally, the other person has to concentrate (as does Martin). Martin sometimes tricks people into thinking about a topic (by asking questions)¬†so he can get the details of it as he reads their minds.

Talking to animals

Interestingly, the Martian can speak with non-human animals…perhaps not surprising, since his telepathy already crosses species with humans. The animals appear to be cognitively much more advanced than would generally be accepted, but their motivations and perspectives are generally reasonably appropriate. A cat may be motivated by food, but hides an object to affect future events and understands what that object is and its importance. Can Jedi speak with animals? There are a lot of species involved in Star Wars, in addition to artificially intelligent droids. I can’t say that I’ve seen Jedi have the kind of communication Martin has with dogs and cats…they don’t appear to ask Tauntauns for specific information, for instance.

Jedi mind tricks

As is the case with Jedi, Uncle Martin can’t possess someone and control their actions. He can push them physically around with telekinesis, of course. However, he is also able to confuse them…we see a scene quite a bit like the “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” scene. Martin is speeding (to help Tim), and two police officers chase him. He slows them down, and after they catch up, they can’t figure out why they were after him.

Invisibility

Uncle Martin can actually become invisible at will (unless something like a lightning storm messes it up). That’s an ability that Jedi don’t have (they do a lot of sneaking around in the movies which they wouldn’t have to do if they could just go transparent). That appears to be an inherent Martian ability, though…Martin needs his (metallic appearing, but apparently biological) retractable antennae to work for that. They may be implants of some kind, and the invisibility might be technological, but it’s clear that Martians generally have them. Martin is clearly not a Homo sapiens (for one thing, he is about 450 years old…and those are Martian years, not Earth years), but neither is Yoda.

Those are really Uncle Martin’s signature abilities. Now, Martin doesn’t have a light saber and isn’t a warrior (he’s a professor of anthropology), but do you have to have that to be a Jedi? If a Jedi loses their light saber, does that make them not a Jedi any more? It might make it hard for them to be a Jedi knight, but isn’t it possible there are Jedi who aren’t knights? If not, why add the¬†term “knight” at all?

There are other parallels with Uncle Martin and Yoda: they are both relatively long-lived; they both dispense advise (Uncle Martin advised many famous humans over the centuries, on return trips to Earth…as far as we know, he just hasn’t been stranded on Earth before)…although Uncle Martin probably physically resembles Ben Kenobi more.

Could the Jedi philosophy have survived on Mars a long time later? By the way, Martin makes so many references to the actual planet Mars (trying to hideaway on an Earth probe there, for one thing) that it is hard to argue that he really isn’t from Mars…unless he has some form of transportation there that gets him to the actually more life-friendly location he describes.

What do you think? Is Uncle Martin a Jedi? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

¬†* “Mermaid out of water” is a term I use for a situation that is like the classic “fish out of water”, but the outsider is magical, from another time, from another planet, or something otherwise outside of the human norm

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All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Emmy nominations 2016: not your grandparents’ Emmys…or, um, your older sibling’s

July 18, 2016

Emmy nominations 2016: not your grandparents’ Emmys…or, um, your older sibling’s

Primetime Emmy nominees were just released…and it feels a lot fresher than we saw even just a few years ago.

Sure, no question that non-broadcast network shows have been dominant in recent years, but this year we’ve got nominees you might never have seen on anything bigger than your phone. Both Epic Rap Battles of History and Honest Trailers were nominated in the new Outstanding Short Form Variety Series category. Yep, YouTube series nominated for Emmys!

It also seems like more geek-friendly (GF) artists and works are nominated this year…it was just recently that the Clone Club was lamenting the omission of Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany…but she does appear in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category this year (and no, not as all of the nominees). Yes, this is the second year a row, but still. ūüôā Since Game of Thrones is really an ensemble show, look for the acting nominees in the Supporting categories…where a third of the total nominees are from that one show! You want an Emmy as a guest star? Take a look at Big Bang Theory! That’s a testament in part to the security of a cast who has been working together so well for so long.

Let’s take a look at GF nominees:

  • Outstanding Drama Series: Game of Thrones, Mr. Robot
  • Outstanding Comedy Series: Silicon Valley
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth)
  • Outstanding Television Movie: Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Abominable Bride)
  • Outstanding Reality Competition Series: American Ninja Warrior
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Bob Newhart (The Big Bang Theory)
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:¬†Christine Baranski¬†(The Big Bang Theory)
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:¬†Laurie Metcalfe¬†(The Big Bang Theory)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:¬†Kit Harington¬†(Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:¬†Emilia Clarke¬†(Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:¬†Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:¬†Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Max von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Hotel)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:¬†Kathy Bates¬†(American Horror Story: Hotel)
  • Outstanding Structured Reality Program: MythBusters
  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Jack Bender (Game of Thrones: The Door)
  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series:¬†Miguel Sapochnik¬†(Game of Thrones: Battle of the B*stards)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones: Battle of the B*stards)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot: eps1.0_hellofriend.mov ((Pilot)))
  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Mike Judge (Silicon Valley: Founder Friendly)
  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series:¬†Alec Berg¬†(Silicon Valley: Daily Active Users)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:¬†Rob Delaney and¬†Sharon Horgan¬†(Catastrophe: Episode 1)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:¬†Alec Berg¬†(Silicon Valley: The Uptick)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:¬†Dan O’Keefe¬†(Silicon Valley: Founder Friendly)
  • Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series: Patrika¬†Darbo (Acting Dead)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series:¬†Michelle Ang¬†(Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462)
  • Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series: A Year in Space
  • Outstanding Short Form Variety Series: Epic Rap Battles of History
  • Outstanding Short Form Variety Series: Gay of Thrones
  • Outstanding Short Form Variety Series: Honest Trailers
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special: Robert Smigel, David Feldman, RJ Fried, Michael Koman, Brian Reich, Andy Breckman, Josh Comers, Raj Desai, Jarrett Grode, Ben Joseph, Matthew Kirsch, Matthew Lawrence, Craig Rowin, Zach Smilovitz, David Taylor and Andy Weinberg: Triumph’s Election Special 2016

While you can always come up with “snubs” (and feel free to mention them by commenting on this post), I think this year’s list is continuing evidence of the mainstreaming of the geek.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get. :) Shop ‚Äôtil you help! :) By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

50 years ago: a golden time in geeky TV

January 17, 2016

50 years ago: a golden time in geeky TV

We are in a terrific time for geeky TV. From bright and light superheroes, to dark and dangerous ones, from Doctor Who to Game of Thrones, from Black Mirror to Orphan Black’s clones, with Emmy recognition, Golden Globes, and top rated shows, geeks rule the screens.

However, fifty years ago, in a world of three TV networks and no home recording, a magical year happened which still impacts the pop culture landscape today.

It is the year 1966 in America.

Certainly, geeky TV already existed…people were being called “Space Cadets” a decade earlier, Twilight Zone had its original run, and Lost in Space debuted the year before.

Still, we can start an era in 1966…let’s take a look at some of the series which debuted that year:

Star Trek (the original series) (September 8)

All fandom is compared to Star Trek fandom, and with good reason (it had the original “Save Our Show” campaign). It was¬†recognized with 13 Primetime Emmy nominations…and Hugo nominations. It spawned conventions, canonical original novels, fanfic (fan fiction), bumper stickers (“Beam me up, Scotty”), catchphrases, parodies, a classic Saturday Night Live sketch (“Get a life!”)…and, of course, many follow-on media productions, including TV series (both live action and animated), movies, and internet series. There will be official US postage stamps this year. It would be hard to argue that any geeky TV series (or, possibly any TV series), has been more influential. Still alive? Yes, with a new movie coming out this year.

Batman (January 12)

Yes, Batman had been on the big screen, but this was something new which created a giant craze in¬†the USA. Frank Gorshin’s manic¬†portrayal¬†of The Riddler in the first episode was nominated for an Emmy…and set the standard for batvillains throughout the series. Actors campaigned to be on the show. Pow! Bang! Holy headline news! Allan Sherman even mentioned it in a song…to show the importance of “The Rebel”, he sings, “They even took Batman off the TV screen!” It’s safe to say we wouldn’t have the Batman movies we do now if this series hadn’t been so successful (even if it did flame out, perhaps from overexposure). Based on that, still alive? Yes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will open huge this year.

Mission: Impossible (September 17)

We decided to accept the mission. While MI was very different in the first season (Peter Graves wasn’t the initial head of the Force), it was¬†nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 1966…and would go on to Emmy and Golden Globe recognition. Still alive? Yes, with 2015’s Rogue Nation being one of the most successful movies in the series, and another in development.

Dark Shadows (June 27)

It was like a soap opera…with fangs. It had a broader appeal than some geeky series, and spawned a top 20 Billboard song (Quentin’s theme). The novels were also embraced by fans. Still alive? While some may think that the Tim Burton version was an unintentional stake to the heart, Barnabas is not dispatched easily. We’ll call this one undead.

The Monkees (September 12)

Is this a geek series? Yes! Not only did they encounter vampires and such, they became superheroes as the Monkee Men! Still alive? Well, it doesn’t see likely that we’ll see a new Monkees TV series or movie, but the Monkees still perform and fandom is still strong.

Here are some other geek series which debuted in 1966:

  • The Time Tunnel: it started out with some straight forward adventure with an historical bent…and pretty quickly got into Irwin Allen silliness with ghosts and silver-faced aliens. I re-recently rewatched the whole series
  • The Green Hornet: more serious than Batman, but with a crossover…a bit like the Arrow and the Flash now. Oh, and…Bruce Lee!
  • It’s About Time: a different kind of American 1960s time travel, which was an intentionally silly sitcom, including Joe E. Ross and Imogene Coco
  • Tarzan (with Ron Ely): an articulate version of Lord Greystoke
  • The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.: yes, she was a girl and they were men, but a female lead on an adventure show was unusual
  • Space Ghost: Spaaaaaaace Ghoooooost! (later a talk show host)
  • Marvel superhero cartoons (Captain America/Iron Man…): catchy theme songs, limited animation
  • Ultraman: I still love Ultraman! One of the most unusual superhero origins (and that’s saying a lot), he basically got run over by a powerful being coming to Earth who then shared its life with him…from roadkill to Kaiju fighter!¬†I raise my beta capsule!
  • Adam Adamant Lives!: it seemed like the clear inspiration for Austin Powers to me, with an Edwardian “spy” dealing with the 1960s, instead of one from the 1960s dealing with the¬†1990s
  • Raumpatrouille Orion: trust me, if you were a geek in West Germany in 1966, you’d know it ūüėČ
  • Mystery and Imagination: British anthology based on classic geek lit horror stories
  • New Adventures of Superman: animated, with Bud Collyer (the voice of Superman on the radio show)
  • King Kong: animated (“You know the name of…”)
  • Rocket Robin Hood
  • Go Go Gophers: animated
  • The Lone Ranger: animated
  • Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles: animated (a robot Frankenstein’s monster and superheroes disguise as a rock band…you know, the usual)
  • Camberwick Green: British animation
  • Cool McCool: animated James Bond parody
  • The Super 6: animated, and voices include both Paul Frees and Daws Butler
  • The Space Kidettes: animated
  • The Beagles: animated Beatles satire…with dogs

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Christopher Lee has reportedly died

June 13, 2015

Christopher Lee has reportedly died

Power.

That’s what I think of when I think of

Christopher Lee

From Dracula to Saruman to Lord Summerisle in the Wicker Man to James Bond villain Scaramanga, Christopher Lee always radiated power.

It didn’t matter if the role employed the actor’s majestic voice (and Lee did a lot of work with only his voice), or was without speech. In every case, that old clich√© of being a force of nature applied.

Few actors have carried so many movies, or been so geek friendly. He brought a really original interpretation to Bram Stoker’s infamous Count, and (along with Peter Cushing) established Hammer horror. Arguably, our modern culture of “rebooting” pop culture classics owes a lot to Hammer and Lee.

He appeared in geeky TV shows, including a regular role The Tomorrow People.

Clearly, working with Lee was often a good experience, leading to lasting professional relationships with Tim Burton and Terry Pratchett.

In 2001, after more than forty years on screen, Lee appeared in two of the biggest movies of the year…and most successful franchises ever (Lord of the Rings and Star Wars).

Geek friendly roles include:

  • Corridor of Mirrors (1948)
  • Hamlet (with Laurence Olivier)…geek friendly? It is a ghost story, after all
  • Tales of Hans Anderson (TV series…various roles)
  • The Curse of Frankenstein (as the “creature”)…he played this role for Hammer before he played Dracula for the. Peter Cushing was Dr. Frankenstein
  • Horror of Dracula (1958) as Dracula
  • Corridors of Blood (as Resurrection Joe…costarring with Boris Karloff)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (as Sir Henry)
  • The Man Who Could Cheat Death
  • The Mummy (as the mummy/Kharis)
  • Uncle was a Vampire
  • The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
  • The City of the Dead
  • The Hands of Orlac
  • Scream of Fear
  • One Step Beyond (TV series)
  • Hercules in the Haunted World
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (as Holmes)
  • Katarsis (as¬†Mephistopheles)
  • Horror Castle
  • The Whip and the Body
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV series)
  • Crypt of the Vampire
  • Castle of the Living Dead
  • The Gorgon
  • Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors
  • She
  • Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians
  • The Skull
  • The Face of Dr. Manchu (as Fu Manchu)
  • Dracula: Prince of Darkness
  • Rasputin: The Mad Monk
  • Psycho-Circus
  • The Brides of Fu Manchu
  • Island of the Burning Damned
  • The Vengeance of Fu Manchu
  • Blood Fiend
  • Five Golden Dragons
  • The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism
  • The Devil Rides Out
  • Eve
  • The Blood of Fu Manchu
  • Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
  • Curse of the Crimson Altar
  • Two episodes of the John Steed The Avengers (one with Mrs. Peel, one with Tara Kng)
  • Sax Rohmer’s The Castle of Fu Manchu
  • The Oblong Box
  • The Magic Christian
  • Scream and Scream Again
  • The Bloody Judge
  • Eugenie
  • Count Dracula
  • One More Time
  • Taste the Blood of Dracula
  • The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (as Mycroft Holmes)
  • Scars of Dracula
  • The House that Dripped Blood
  • I, Monster
  • Dracula A.D. 1972
  • Horror Express (I find this an interesting movie, with some big ideas…it has fallen into the public domain, so it’s pretty easy to find)
  • Nothing But the Night
  • Dark Places
  • The Creeping Flesh
  • Poor Devil
  • The Satanic Rites of Dracula
  • The Wicker Man
  • The Three Musketeers (and The Four Musketeers, and The Return of the Musketeers) (the Michael York version, as Rochefort)
  • The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond)
  • Space 1999 (TV series)
  • To the Devil a Daughter
  • Dracula and Son
  • The Keeper
  • Meatcleaver Massacre
  • End of the World
  • Starship Invasions
  • Return from Witch Mountain (Disney)
  • Circle of Iron
  • Nutcracker Fantasy
  • Jaguar Lives!
  • Captain America II: Death to Soon (TV movie with Reb Brown as Cap)
  • 1941 (Steven Spielberg)
  • Once Upon a Spy
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Tales of the Haunted (TV movie)
  • Goliath Awaits (TV movie)
  • Massarati and the Brain
  • The Last Unicorn
  • House of the Long Shadows
  • The Return of Captain Invincible
  • Faerie Tale Theatre
  • Howling II…Your Sister Is as Werewolf
  • Mio in the Land of Faraway
  • Mask of Murder
  • Around the World in 80 Days (TV mini-series)
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  • Curse III: Blood Sacrifice
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (as Sherlock Holmes)
  • Beauty and the Beast (British animation)
  • Incident at Victoria Falls (as Sherlock Holmes)
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
  • Cyber Eden
  • Detonator (TV movie)
  • Ghosts (videogame)
  • A Feast at Midnight
  • The Tomorrow People (TV series)
  • Tales of Mystery and Imagination (TV series)
  • Welcome to the Discworld (as Death…yes, by Terry Pratchett)
  • Wyrd Sisters (again based on Pratchett)
  • The Odyssey
  • Tales of the Mummy
  • Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton)
  • The Rocky Interactive Horror Show (videogame…as the narrator)
  • Gormenghast
  • In the Beginning (as Rameses I)
  • Ghost Stories for Christmas (as M.R. James)
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars (videogame)
  • The Lord of the Rings (as Saruman…the Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, as well as videogame versions…and then The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies)
  • Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (and Episode III: Revenge ¬†of the Sith, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars) (as Lord Dooku)
  • Freelancer (videogame)
  • Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse
  • EverQuest II
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (James Bond videogame…reprising Scaramanga)
  • Greyfriar’s Bobby
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton)
  • Corpse Bride (Burton, again)
  • Kingdom Hearts II (videogame)
  • The Golden Compass
  • The Color of Magic (Pratchett)
  • Alice in Wonderland (for Burton, as the Jabberwocky)
  • Burke and Hare
  • Season of the Witch
  • The Wicker Tree
  • Hugo
  • The Hunting of the Snark
  • Dark Shadows (Burton)
  • Extraordinary Tales
  • Angels in Notting Hill

Good-bye, Christopher Lee….the world is weaker without you.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The Geeky Seventies

June 9, 2015

The Geeky Seventies

CNN is following up their successful series on the 1960s with one on the 1970s:

http://www.cnn.com/shows/the-seventies

Tom Hanks is an Executive Producer.

The existence of this series is kind of funny to me. I did a comedy bit years ago on our community access TV show (Freedom from Fear) called “In Search of the Seventies”. I treated it as a mystery as to whether or not the Seventies even (culturally) existed. I asked if they were really just “…the end of the Sixties and the start of the Eighties”.

I think that’s because I was too close to it. I was really engaging in pop culture in the Seventies…well, often culture that wasn’t so popular, but you know what I mean. ūüėČ I didn’t have the distance from it and maturity to recognize what was special about it.

Certainly, I thought the 1960s had a unique culture…with the Beatles in part driving the bus.

As to the 1980s, well, New Wave music seemed to stand out to me.

The 1970s? At that time, I wasn’t seeing what made it special.

Now I do. ūüôā

This post is going to give you an overview of geek-friendly culture in the 1970s.

It was definitely¬†a transformative decade…even if the Transformers didn’t arrive until the 1980s. ūüėČ

Geek culture moved mainstream in very big ways. Predominantly, there was Star Wars, which made space opera a blockbuster, but we could also look at The Exorcist for horror, and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) for vampires.

We saw the arrival of Stephen King as a novelist, and the publication of Dungeons and Dragons.

Home video technology meant that people could easily watch movies after they were out of theatres…decades after, in some cases. Prior to that, some of us had three-minute long Super 8 movies, and the real hobbyists might have 16mm reels, but the Betamax and others meant our cinematic history (including the geeky part) was much more accessible.

Star Trek: the Original Series was canceled in 1969…but the fandom continued. That led to the first Star Trek convention in the 1970s. Science fiction conventions went back to 1939, but this was different.

Batman in the 1960s might have made superheroes a hit on TV, but Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were part of the 1970s scene.

The Weird World interested a lot more people…the In Search Of TV series was only one part of that, but was many viewers’ first exposure to some of these topics.

Let’s look at some of the highlights in different areas:

Movies

How times have changed!

When you look at the top ten US grossing movies released in the 1960s, arguably only two are geek-friendly (GF) and not specifically intended for the family/children’s market:

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. 101 Dalmations
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Doctor Zhivago
  5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. My Fair Lady
  8. Thunderball (GF)
  9. Cleopatra
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (GF)

By the end of the 1970s, that picture had entirely changed, and would look more like our box office today:

  1. Star Wars (GF)
  2. Jaws (GF)
  3. The Sting
  4. Animal House
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (eventually) GF
  6. The Godfather
  7. Superman (GF)
  8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (GF)
  9. Smokey and the Bandit
  10. Blazing Saddles

The Exorcist (1973) brought straight up horror to blockbuster status and mainstream acceptance (along with a lot of protests).

In 1975, Steven Spielberg changed the summer. Up to that point, it had largely been a season of cheapo exploitation movies. People actually went outside (including drive-ins), not to the movies. Jaws reshaped all that, giving us the summer blockbuster season. There have been heated debates about whether or not Jaws is a fantasy (are we supposed to believe the shark is just a shark, or something more?), but it was clearly a monster movie.

Then in 1977, Star Wars changed it all.

While those movies were all big hits, there were a lot of other significant geek movies. Undeniably, we have to count the Rocky Horror Picture Show as establishing midnight movies and a special kind of cult film. It flopped when it came out, but then got a new life in a new way. He’s the hero…that’s right, the hero. ūüėČ

Here are some other stand-outs:

  • Alien (1979)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Eraserhead (1977)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Logan’s Run (1979)
  • The Wicker Man (1973)
  • Live and Let Die (1973) (the first Roger Moore James Bond)
  • Soylent Green (1973)
  • Enter the Dragon (193)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Zardoz (1974)
  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Westworld¬†(1973)
  • Four of the original Planet of the Apes movies
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  • Tommy (1975)
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978) (Ralph Bakshi)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
  • Phantasm (1979)
  • The Sentinel (1977)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Death Race 2000 (1975)
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  • The Omega Man (1971)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972)
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
  • Freaky Friday (1976)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • The Car (1977)
  • The Muppet Movie (1979)
  • The ¬†Stepford Wives (1975)
  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Eraserhead (1977)

TV

Sure, the 1960s had been huge for high concept TV (with 1964 particularly important), but the 1970s built on that with many geek-friendly hits. Batman on TV had burned out by 1970, but opened the field for other superheroes (DC, Marvel, and bionic). Star Wars and James Bond were both big in movie theatres, and we saw their effect on the small screen as well. Home video arrived, which began to give us more options (although cable wouldn’t be a factor until the 1980s). Saturday morning got trippy with the Kroffts (although H.R. Pufnstuf debuted in 1969), and saw the return of Star Trek with the original cast…in animated form.

Some geek-friendly series:

  • Wonder Woman
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Saturday Night Live (Coneheads! Land Shark!)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Fantasy Island
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Land of the Lost
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Kung Fu
  • Space: 1999
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • The Bionic Woman
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Isis
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Blakes 7
  • The Amazing Spier-Man
  • Nanny and the Professor
  • Shazam!
  • Tales of the Unexpected
  • SCTV
  • Paddington Bear
  • The New Avengers
  • Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Super Friends
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Man from Atlantis
  • Return to the Planet of the Apes
  • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
  • Sapphire & Steel
  • Star Blazers
  • The Prisoner
  • Quark
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • The Invisible Man (David McCallum)
  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
  • Doctor Who in the United States
  • Monty Python in the United States

Books/literature

I’ve gone into depth on the general topic of literature of the 1970s in another blog of mine:

I Love My Kindle: Books in the 1970s

In terms of geek-friendly, it was a huge decade! Just as movies saw the mainstreaming of geek-friendly genres, bookstores saw bestsellers from a new author named Stephen King, and a vampire hit (Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice).

While geek-specific bookstores (and comic book stores) were crucial, you could walk into a the newly national Barnes & Noble chain and get a variety of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural horror. You wanted military SF? You had Joe Haldeman. Light fantasy? Enter Xanth by Piers Anthony. Social science fiction? The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. Ringworld…Riverworld…we weren’t only reaching out to new planets, we were visiting new worlds and universes.

Here are some of the stand-out titles and authors:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
  • Gateway by Frederick Pohl
  • Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by¬†Philip Jos√© Farmer
  • Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
  • Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky
  • Autumn Angels by Arthur Byron Cover
  • The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure) by Edward Packard

Gaming

1974 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons…and we had Advanced D&D by the end of the decade. This was really the decade that saw the RPG (Role-Playing Game) world established, and would include Runequest and Traveller.

Fandom

Star Trek:  The Original Series ended in 1969, but the people who had come together to fight for a third season kept at it. That included the first Star Trek convention (well, the first widely available to the public one in 1972), the return of the original cast for the animated series, and eventually, 1979, to the big screen.

Comics

Again, there was a transition happening, with some significant experimentation.

  • Jack Kirby jumped from Marvel to DC, and introduced Darkseid
  • The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide first appeared
  • Green Lantern and Green Arrow take a philosophical walk-about across America
  • Mister Miracle debuts
  • An arc in Spider-Man features drug use, and defies the Comics Code Authority
  • Ra’s Al Ghul first appears
  • The Kree-Skrull War storyline
  • The Sandman
  • War Machine makes his first appearance
  • Wonder Woman gives up her powers

The Weird World

  • The TV series In Search of… (hosted by Leonard Nimoy) was instrumental in reinteresting people in the Roswell Incident
  • 1973 was dubbed “The Year of the Humanoids” by UFO researcher David Webb…one of the most famous was the Pascagoula incident
  • Uri Geller was famous, even appearing on the Tonight Show in 1973 to “bend spoons”
  • Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain by¬†Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander was published in 1970
  • The Mysterious Monsters was a Sunn Classics documentary, featuring Peter Graves
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek was released in 1972
  • The Unidentified, published in 1975, by Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark, is Coleman’s first “name on the cover” book
  • John A. Keel’s inimitable The Mothman Prophecies was published in 1975
  • Momo, the Missouri Monster, was just one of many hairy bipeds
  • Newsstands had magazines galore, including Ancient Astronauts
  • The “flipper photo” of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1972 by Dr. Robert Rines’ team
  • In 1975, Travis Walton is missing for several days, and a report emerges of an abduction by aliens

Records

Listening to LPs was definitely a 1970s thing, and there were some definitely geeky concept albums.

  • 1972: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 1973: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
  • 1978: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
  • 1978:¬†Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Science/Tech

  • Home computers became a thing in 1977, with the Apple II, the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor), and the TRS-80 (Tandy Radio Shack)
  • Skylab launched in 1973…and docked with the Russian Soyuz in 1975
  • The Atari 2600 was released in 1977
  • The first Pong arcade game was put to use in 1972. Arcade games would really take off with Space Invaders in 1978

There’s a bit of the geeky 1970s for you! We certainly didn’t cover everything, but you can see the big shift from geek culture being kids and niche to becoming the mainstream pop culture force that it is today. Want to add something? Feel free to comment on this post.

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Do reality competition shows discriminate in hiring based on sex?

May 24, 2015

Do reality competition shows discriminate in hiring based on sex?

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has an

online petition

asking film and television professionals to ask the U.S. Government to look into hiring (or perhaps, non-hiring might be more accurate) practices of studios for female directors (statistics suggest they are underrepresented, which may be indicative of illegal discrimination based on sex).

When the Survivor “Second Chance” cast (picked by the audience) was recently revealed, though, a question was raised for me again about another example of hiring discrimination based on sex.

You see, they hired ten women and ten men (based on the show’s defined categories).

That means that if eleven people of one gender were the best candidates, one of them wouldn’t have made it on this national, highly-rated show, based solely on sex.

How is that not discrimination?

Now, I realize that Hollywood is allowed to hire characters, for example, based on protected class. You can require that Juliet (as in Romeo and…) has to be a female. It can be argued that it is a requirement of the job. That is not an argument Shakespeare would have made though..men played Juliet in the Bard’s time.

I don’t see how you can argue that there is a requirement of the Survivor role that means you need to hire either a man or a woman.

There’s one simple reason for that…either one can win the job and fulfill the requirements of being the “sole survivor”.

The same thing seems true to¬†me for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. If the winning role can be filled by a man or a woman, than eliminating somebody from the opportunity to get that position because your gender quota is already filled seems…unfair.

I wonder if the argument is that people aren’t being hired for the position…regardless, keeping somebody out based on an inherent characteristic (which is a protected class) appears to be, at the least, unethical.

Why would they possibly pick someone who wasn’t as telegenic just to maintain a balance?

Perhaps they would argue that they want to reflect the potential audience. If that’s so, based on the 2010 census (and the categories they use), we would also expect the contestants to be approximately:

  • 72% white
  • 12.5% black or African American
  • 5% Asian

among others.

I doubt that breakdown matches how contestants would identify themselves….or, for that matter, how casting directors would identify them.

So, I’m curious: how is that sex-based casting on reality competition shows legal?

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Grace Lee Whitney has reportedly died

May 4, 2015

Grace Lee Whitney has reportedly died

Grace Lee Whitney was an integral part of Star Trek.

While Yeoman Rand disappeared from the series, Whitney never disappeared from the fandom.

It was a complicated set of circumstances.

Rand was intended to be an unrequited love interest of Captain Kirk’s, and writers for the series included her in episodes they wrote before her exit (and where her parts had to be reassigned).

Was it because the show wanted Kirk to be unfettered?

Regardless, Whitney had a complicated life, and she overcame hurdles to later return for the Star Trek movies.

It’s important to note that she had almost two decades of screen credits before first appearing in Star Trek…and she had been a successful singer before that (reportedly working with Billie Holiday, Buddy Rich, and Spike Jones).

I actually first think of Yeoman Rand’s interactions not with Kirk, but with Charlie X. Her handling of the unwanted attentions of a super-powered adolescent had a ring of truth…it made me wonder (in later years) about parallels with her real life experiences. That’s not to suggest it wasn’t a strong acting performance: I thought it was, and the way that she has remained in fans’ thoughts show that others did, too.

Geek-friendly credits include:

  • The Unexpected (TV series)
  • House of Wax (in 3D with Vincent Price…as an uncredited Can Can dancer)
  • The original The Outer Limits (Controlled Experiment…starring Carroll O’Connor and Barry Morse as Martians)
  • Bewitched
  • Batman (the Adam West series, in a King Tut two-parter)
  • Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (with Butch Patrick of The Munsters)
  • The Next Step Beyond (TV series)

Good-bye, Grace Lee Whitney: you showed us that being a beautiful fantasy can be a harsh reality…but one that can be conquered¬†with inner strength.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Free for all Friday: Orphan Black S1 from Amazon

April 17, 2015

Free for all Friday: Orphan Black S1 from Amazon

This Friday, April 17th, Amazon is making the first season/series (what people in the USA call a “season”, people in the UK call as “series”) of Orphan Black free to stream.

press release

Just to be clear, you aren’t going to own it, and you aren’t going to download it to watch later.

You can binge watch the whole thing, but just on Friday. You can get to it here:

Orphan Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Why are they doing this?

The third season/series debuts in the USA on Saturday…that, and it’s good. ūüėČ Of course, after you see the first one, you may want to rent or buy season two…or even better, as far as Amazon is concerned, you might want to become an Amazon Prime member,

so you can watch the first two seasons/series for no additional cost. I think a lot of people won’t get through ten episode in a day…and they may want to watch them again.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t say much about it.

Two things I will say:

  1. Tatiana Maslany deserved an Emmy nomination
  2. It’s NSFW (Not Safe For Work). I’d heard it was good and was watching it with someone…and there was a sex scene that was, well, not what we were expecting. I did go back and watch the first season/series, but the other person didn’t

Do check the price before you start streaming: I would guess tis only applies in the USA.

Enjoy!

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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