Category Archives: star trek

RIP Lou Scheimer

Lou Scheimer, the father of Filmation, and the king of American television animation for many of our childhoods, has passed away at the age of 84.

Filmation was a small animation studio, one of the few still doing animation in the United States, rather than shipping it overseas. Founded by Scheimer, Hal Sutherland, and Norm Prescott in 1962, they did some little known cartoons like “Rod Rocket.” They really caught fire when they licensed the DC Comics characters in 1966.

Beginning with “The New Adventures of Superman,” they began to expand to shorts that featured other characters like Superboy, Aquaman, Batman and Robin, and later the Justice League of America and the Teen Titans, as well as those groups’ individual members. These cartoons were, along with the 1966 “Batman” TV series on ABC, my gateway drug into comic books. My love of Aquaman, Superboy, and others sprang from early viewings.

The DC deal brought another comics company to Filmation’s offices, and Archie came to Saturday morning animation for years under their guidance. Later in the 1970s, Filmation became a major player in the animation game, producing cartoons of “The Brady Kids,” “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” and “Star Trek: The Animated Series” among many others.

Filmation delved into live-action with shows like “Isis,” “Space Academy” and Shazam.” While the studio began to get a reputation for repeating backgrounds, limited animation, recycling designs, rapid jump cuts, and using the same music over again, they had also produced some real quality programming as well.

In the 1980s Filmation produced some of its most well known shows like “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” which featured, like many of the previous shows, a lesson at the end of every episode. Before closing up shop in 1989, Filmation also produced over the years some very cool versions of Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and the Lone Ranger, using then fairly new rotoscoping techniques.

With the loss of Lou Scheimer on Friday, we have lost one the legends of animation, and for me, a big chunk of my childhood. He’ll be missed.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness ~ There was so much hype about is-it-Khan-or-isn’t-it that I think it really overshadowed what a great film this truly is. Maybe if J.J. Abrams hadn’t kept it such a big secret, and just not made a big deal about it, maybe the reception would have been different. Sure this sequel did well, and there will be a third, but I think it could have done better. I mean, seriously, if it came out that this was going to be a remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, different or exactly the same, couldn’t that have only helped box office sales?

Yes, the circumstances are different, and yes, things play out very Bizarro World in some places, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. I think it’s cool. Abrams did a wonderful thing with the first movie. He found a way for old fans and new fans of Trek to get the best of both worlds. There’s a new continuity without jettisoning the old one, can it get much better than that? New and old fans get a new Khan story, and old fans get to see a parallel universe to the one they know. This is a good thing.

I liked the parallels. I like the new and known dynamics of the Kirk/Spock relationship, and well all the other character relationships. While I do yearn for a seasoned Kirk who knows what to do, I like this young guy too. All the characters get good screen time, the actors give great performances, and the villain(s) do as well. Benedict Cumberbatch is both a compelling actor, but a very compelling villain as well. His casting was golden. He’s no Ricardo Montelban, but he is Khan.

The other thing I loved is probably something that the old Trekkies and Trekkers hate. I loved the action. It never stops. Star Trek Into Darkness is a fast rollercoaster ride of an action movie. This is not your grandfather’s Star Trek where they talk their enemies to death, this is, again, the best of both worlds. I should note that the story has some problems, both in logic and in flow, but you don’t have time to think about it until after it’s over.

And many folks I know had a problem with what seems at first a cop out in the story. That would be young Spock confronting old Spock on a situation he had already encountered. Hello? If your alternate universe future self were readily available for you to access his experience, wouldn’t the logical thing be to consult him, and consult him as much as possible? Eat Vulcan logic, Trekkies.

Visually stunning, wonderfully written, directed, and acted, this is one hell of a movie. I will grant you, this isn’t as good as the first one, but it continues the story suitably and respectfully. Maybe for the new Trek series, the odd-numbered sequels are the good ones.

Richard Matheson 1926-2013

We have truly lost one of the legends of the writing game. Celebrated multiple award-winning author Richard Matheson passed away this weekend, surrounded by family and friends. He was 87.

Even if you didn’t know his name (shame on you!), you know his work. Here is just a sampler – the following movies are all based on his work – The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere in Time, What Dreams May Come, Real Steel, Trilogy of Terror, The Box, Loose Cannons, The Legend of Hell House Burn Witch Burn, Jaws 3-D (hey, a paycheck is a paycheck), and the these last three, all based on the same novel, The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I Am Legend.

That’s not all, all of the good “Twilight Zone” episodes that weren’t written by Rod Serling, they’re all Matheson too. He wrote hundreds of short stories and books, and countless hours of television in many different genres, including episodes for “Star Trek,” “Combat!,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Thriller,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” Other than “The Twilight Zone,” possibly his two greatest contributions to television were the Steven Spielberg-directed Duel and The Night Stalker, which became a fondly remembered cult TV series.

We have lost another legend.

Total Recall

Total Recall ~ I thought it might be worth taking another look at this 2012 remake of the 1990 scifi classic, especially in the light of seeing Iron Man Three and Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as anticipating Man of Steel later this month. All of these films have one thing in common. Everything you think you know is wrong, here’s the new spin, enjoy the irony and the fun references to what you thought was going on.

Anyone walking into Total Recall, or any of those other flicks, is going to get what they thought they would, and that’s part if the ride. And rollercoaster ride is principally what Total Recall is. It barely ever stops from start to finish, the action is full on forward, barely giving the viewer time to catch their breath.

Those expecting star Colin Farrell to play Arnold Schwarzeneggar are to be disappointed. This flick is both a remake of the 1990 film and loosely (as loosely as the original) based on the Philip K. Dick story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Keep in mind, the original protagonist was based on Richard Dreyfus so Farrell is not right either. As far as cast goes however, only he and antagonist, Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad,” really shine.

The setting is different, rather than Mars, this is set fully on Earth, even as Earth as a tunnel through the world from London to Australia features solidly. It’s still a dystopian future, and our hero still has memory issues and may not be who he thinks he is. Same s#!t, different day, if you’ll pardon the expletive.

The references are plentiful and amusing, as long as you’re not a purist to the first movie, or the story. Just sit back, turn off your brain and enjoy the ride. I loved the flying car chase, amped up unbelievably over the one in The Fifth Element, and the more original vertical/horizontal elevator chase. Bring seat belts!

And if you’re a fan of Philip K. Dick, don’t forget about the Radio Free Albemuth Kickstarter, as mentioned on this week’s GAR! Podcast.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for June 2013

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (X-Wing Pilot) Evans, Allison (Get Off My Lawn) Eckel, and Glenn (Blue Lantern) Walker, as they discuss the new comics, trends, games, and toys out this month! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in the special June 2013 episode includes: The Movement by Gail Simone, Green Team, Batman/Superman, Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, Larfleeze by Keith Giffen, Trinity War, Age of Ultron, Avengers/Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Hawkeye, Star Trek comics and games, the original Battlestar Galactica, Ten Grand by JMS and Ben Templesmith, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Free RPG Day, Star Wars from Fantasy Flight, Cherry Hill Comic-Con, and the Legendary Marvel deck-building game.

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the newly revamped All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store – located on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ.

And don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

Evolve or Die, A Star Trek Rant

Those Star Trek people infuriate me. You know the ones I mean. Whether they call themselves Trekkers or Trekkies (and yes, I do know the difference), it makes no difference when it comes to the 2009 reboot of the franchise, and its upcoming sequel in just a few weeks.

Let’s be serious now – if Gene Roddenberry had actually gotten his “Star Trek: Phase II” on the air when he wanted to, would we be still talking about Trek now or would the proposed series just be an embarrassing footnote like “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch Hour”? Let’s all be thankful that Star Wars was so successful, and Paramount made Roddenberry move it to the big screen.

And while we’re being thankful, let’s be thankful for J.J. Abrams for finding a way to both be faithful to continuity, and to free himself of it. He paid respect to the fans, and opened up the field for a new generation of fans. It works in the story, and you have the old continuity and the new continuity existing side by side. And come on, it’s not like time paradoxes and parallel universes are foreign territory for the franchise. It’s almost the norm if you look at the original series.

Let’s talk about TOS, as “The Original Series” is called. It may as well stand for The Old Series, because it’s dated. Worse than that, “Next Gen” is even more painful when it comes to looking dated. Special effects and hairstyles weigh down TOS, but man oh man, ST:TNG just screams eighties. It’s so bad, it’s almost embarrassing. And for most of these Trek people, TNG is the gospel canon.

I lost interest in Trek television, when “Deep Space Nine” came along, and once the Captains met in the movies, I was out of there too. “Enterprise” brought me back. The Trek people hate “Enterprise.” I think it was great, it not only brought me back to Trek, it brought The Bride as well. The Trek folks whined about how the Vulcan protagonist behaved, behavior that was rationalized in the context of the series by the way.

These are the same people that don’t have a problem with Klingons not having ridges in TOS, faulty physics, jumbled histories and timelines, and of course the fantasy of a cashless society. But a Vulcan enacting free will, that’s wrong. It’s okay for Spock, but nobody else.

Seems to me that the Trek folks have a problem with the mainstream taking their toys. It was okay when no one else liked Star Trek, but when there’s a blockbuster movie, they get defensive. And I throw the “Doctor Who” latecomers into the same garbage bin.

I loved Abrams’ Star Trek, and can not wait for the sequel. All y’all old Trekkies and Trekkers, feel free to stay home and not see it, just shut up about it. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 12-19-12

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (Hank Hall Smash) Evans, Allison (Dr. Mrs. The Monarch) Eckel, and Glenn (What Is Wrong with My Hair??) Walker, as they discuss the new comics out this week! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in this week’s Special Ninja Please Transition Hell episode includes: The Last Minute Midnight Madness Sale and Holiday Celebration, the Wheel of Fish, Hank Hall smash, Masks #2, pulp comics, Mars Attacks #6, Bionic Woman #6, Star Treks, MacGyver #3, Bad Transition Theater, Freelancers #2, Fables #124, The Bat Cave, Sword of Sorcery #3, Wonder Woman #15, Green Lantern #15, Blue Beetle #15, Avengery goodness, X-Men action, Hawkeye #6, Spider-Man Spoiler Warning, Indestructible Hulk #2, Captain Marvel #8, Allison’s kids comics, secret gift for The Bride, and Ed’s trades and toys.

Be sure to check out the rockin’ All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ. Don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

Dredd in 3D

Dredd ~ I wasn’t sure I was going to get to see this flick. It painfully underperformed at the box office, and I wasn’t sure it would last more than a week. Considering that most people only know the Judge Dredd character from that terrible Sylvester Stallone movie from 1995, it doesn’t seem that off of a chance that folks would give this new one a pass. Thankfully however, Dredd has little to do with the Sly film except for the source material. I’m not a big Judge Dredd fan myself, but I have read a handful of the Judge’s tales and know that very little of that movie was accurate.

I was excited about this new version after hearing interviews with its title star Karl Urban (known for his brilliant Bones in the latest Star Trek), director Peter Travis, and writer/producer Alex Garland. It seemed as though they both knew and loved the character, and were going to do Dredd right. The Judge was in the hands of true fans. I couldn’t wait, as far as I’m concerned, characters handled by those who love them are usually done well.

Two weeks out from release I was surprised to find the flick still playing and checked it out. The surprises kept coming. This was not a great film, but it was a damned good Judge Dredd film. I thought about it. I got everything I could possibly want in a Judge Dredd movie. I had no complaints. Besides that, the casting was terrific, the 3D was amongst the best I’ve seen, and the soundtrack by Paul Leonard-Morgan was purchased from iTunes when I got home. What more can I say?

Dredd is not a perfect movie, but I do think it’s the perfect Judge Dredd movie. Urban was on target, we got a story that fit both the standard action thriller genre (R-rated, mind you) and the future dystopian fantasy of Dredd’s world. Unlike most superhero movies, it was story-centric, not origin-centric, that’s a big plus for me. See it if you’re a fan, catch it in 3D if you can. Well worth seeing.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 9-19-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Silky Smooth) Evans, Allison (Amethyst) Eckel, and Glenn (Shazam) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s special creepy old man episode includes: Ed’s silky smooth radio voice, Green Lantern Corps: New Guardians #0, Sword of Sorcery #0 featuring Amethyst, sooo much Allison love for Amethyst, Beowulf, Wonder Woman #0, Justice League #0 featuring the little bastich, The Super Cool Secret Word Contest, the rest of the DC zeroes, rushing through Marvels, New Mutants #49, Ultimates United We Stand, The Walking Dead #102, Ed’s indies, Ghost #0, Star Treks and red shirts, Allison’s kids comics, and Ed’s trades.

Be sure to check out the wild new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, now featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Don’t forget to get your secret word in to feedback@allthingsfun.net by Friday!

The Ghost of Portal

I hate Q. You know, Q from “Star Trek The Next Generation.” Or more accurately I hate John de Lancie, who provides the voice that annoys in the game Quantum Conundrum.

More than a year ago, maybe two, when I discovered what a great place for customer service the Marlton Game Stop was (sadly, it’s gone now), I asked for a gift recommendation for The Bride, who at the time was well immersed in Portal. I wanted something like Portal for when she finally finished Portal. A game that was not yet out was suggested – Quantum Conundrum.

The game never came out. At least that I know of. I looked and asked and asked and looked, but for the most part no one else had heard of it. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as a download from the PlayStation Store. It was quickly purchased and brought to the attention of The Bride. Happy way late Christmas/Birthday/whatever present. She took to it, like, well, like The Bride to Portal.

In the game John de Lancie voices Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, who much like like GLaDOS in Portal, never shuts up. It’s to the point of madness, and it’s not even about cake this time. The professor’s house has become a maze of alternate dimensions, and you the player, his nephew, have to navigate your way through the house, with the help of his clueless disembodied voice, until the house and the professor are all back in the same right dimension.

Quantum Conundrum is a puzzle game, so it infuriates me almost as much as de Lancie’s voice annoys me. I can’t play it, but The Bride loves it, so I can’t complain.