Star Trek Voyager Turns 16

16-Jan-11 10:58 AM by
Filed under Humor, Star Trek; 1 comment.

On this day in 1995, Star Trek: Voyager made its premiere, launching Paramount's own television network, UPN. Though building on plot threads developed in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (most noticeably the existence of the Maquis rebel faction), by stranding a Starfleet vessel in the far reaches of the Delta Quadrant, the show promised to return the franchise to its founding premise of exploration and discovery, something that was often absent from the more operatic DS9.

For all that potential, Voyager is often maligned as the worst Star Trek series of all. Consistent plot holes (no stranger to the Star Trek universe), atrocious writing (Threshold beats out Shades of Gray anytime), sexy but shallow characters (Kes, Seven of Nine), non-threatening adversaries (leave it to Voyager to defang the Borg), and an over-reliance on spatial anomalies (including time travel as a series finale deus ex machina) hamstrung the show.

Voyager had its strong points as well, and I enjoyed its episodes more often than I didn't. But a proper roast doesn't focus on a subject's admirable qualities, so to bid a happy sweet sixteenth birthday to the fourth live-action Star Trek series, I offer this breakdown of Voyager's secret formula (note: the following video contains a subtitle with the f-word — you have been warned):

Happy anniversary, Voyager. May you live long and prosper!

(Hat tip to uncultured via ROFLrazzi)

Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin

20-Jan-10 12:05 PM by
Filed under Celebrities; Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin

It's not easy to find a hero. Celebrities and athletes are often idolized, but for less than ideal reasons, such as superficial strength and fleeting victories. And the high standards to which role models are held makes it all the easier for them to fall.

So it is an honor today to acknowledge the 80th birthday of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to ever walk on the moon. In 1969, he and his team risked their lives to boldly go where no human had gone before. They didn't know if they'd return, but they believed in the scientific and inspirational value of their mission, and they accepted all its inherent dangers.

Mr. Aldrin's reputation isn't limited to that one event forty years ago. Since then, he has continued to be an outspoken supporter of space exploration — and, when need be, a critic of NASA. His public appearances run the gamut from interviews in the Ron Howard documentary In the Shadow of the Moon to an avuncular encounter on Sesame Street:

Like many celebrities, Mr. Aldrin has a versatile online presence. His official Web site has news, interviews, and videos. There, you can purchase his autobiography, Magnificent Desolation, released on June 23, 2009, in which he relates his post-retirement battles with depression and alcoholism; or learn about his upcoming iPhone application. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheRealBuzz and be his fan on Facebook.

A hero takes every opportunity he can to make the world a better place, and Mr. Aldrin's eightieth birthday is no exception: he asks that you please donate whatever you can afford to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund for disaster relief.

Thank you, Mr. Aldrin, for all your work in lifting this planet's inhabitants to the stars.

(Hat tip to Dayton Ward)

The Circle Is Now Complete

25-May-07 9:18 AM by
Filed under Star Wars; 4 comments.

At last, this is the day we've all been counting down to: the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. On May 25th, 1977, A New Hope debuted, forever changing the scape of film and American culture.

I don't remember Star Wars having ever been in the news this much — not even when the prequels were coming out. With the commemorative stamps coming out today, documentaries being filmed, and specials on television airing soon, it seems everyone has their minds on a galaxy far, far away. Here are some of the best Star Wars spotlights for you to observe today:

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11-Jan-07 8:27 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Films; 3 comments.

TRON comic book cover

A TRON comic book! It's an original story set six months after the events of the TRON 2.0 computer game. I almost missed this book, and chances are I'm not the only one. Be sure to visit your local comic book shop to pick up the third issue, hitting stands on January 17th.

The original TRON is a must-have in any geek's library, such that I included it in the curriculum of the film class I taught, to ensure its legacy is not lost upon the next generation of geeks. I shan't waste time preaching to the choir, waxing its clearly evident values — but I will share my two favorite tangential memories it inspired.

I once got to see this classic film presented on the silver screen, "enhanced" by a pre-scripted, MST3K-style commentary written and performed by the crew of The Truly Dangerous Company, makers of fine Star Wars spoofs. I've asked many times if the script is available for public presentation, but no dice thus far.

Better still was when I attended the (now-defunct) Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2003. I knew Bruce Boxleitner would be on hand to promote TRON 2.0, so I brought my 20th anniversary TRON DVD set for him, Cindy Morgan, and Steve Lisberger to autograph. (As I waited in line, even at this nerd Mecca would passersby would ask me what TRON was. Isn't that grounds for expulsion?) Though I never watch television, my hotel suitemate had the news on as we got ready for the show that morning, and the marquee at the bottom of the screen displayed among that day's top headlines: "Bruce Boxleitner's birthday!" Why the continued existence of a relatively obscure actor was deemed noteworthy, I'll never know. But after Mr. Boxleitner signed my DVD, I shook his hand and sincerely wished him, "Happy Birthday!"

Upon hearing this, Ms. Morgan, sitting next to him, stopped signing my disc, turned to her former castmate, and punched him in the arm: "It's your birthday?! You didn't tell me that!" To Mr. Lisberger: "Hey, it's Bruce's birthday!"

I embarrassed an icon. How cool is that?