Category Archives: Fandom


I was rather surprised to learn today that the Walt Disney Company is buying Marvel Entertainment for a whopping 4 billion dollars. (If that link doesn’t work at first, try it again and then click your browser’s refresh button.)

It’s certainly not a merger I would have expected, the images I have of the two companies’ products are just too wildly different. (Princesses on the one hand, Mutants on the other? Then again….)

One plus side I definitely see however is that Peter and Mary Jane Parker can finally take Aunt May on a trip to Disney World without anybody’s licensing department getting bent out of shape.

Update 9/2/2009: Thanks to Gavroche for pointing out the first of no doubt many Disney/Marvel cross-overs.

And sure enough, The Joy of Tech crossed over too!

When Zombies are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Eat Brains.

The Metro Clothing Company store in Seattle hosted a “Zombie Crawl” on Friday with folks show up at the store dressed as Zombies. There was a contest involved with the three best costumes winning passes to this weekend’s Crypticon.

Evidently the guy who won first place was a little too authentic. Someone who didn’t know what was going on called 911 and the police arrested the zombie. (They released him once the misunderstanding became clear.)

(A tip of the hat to Jim Romensko for noticing this story.)

Rebooting Star Trek

Recently, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun asked me what do fans of TOS think of the plans to “reboot” Star Trek?

I’ll admit to some misgivings. Rebooting worked well for Battlestar Galactica, but the original version of that show only went one season. Trek on the other hand has nearly 43 years worth of stories spanning 5 TV series and (as of Thursday) 11 movies. Within the genre, I believe only Doctor Who has been around longer.

One thing a great many fans seem to enjoy is the way the writers have tried to maintain the series’ continuity. There have been a few slip-ups, but over the years, the various series have built up a fairly intricate web of future history. One of my fears was that the new movie would throw all of that “out the window” without telling a compelling story to keep me interested.

There’s been a half-joke floating around for years that “Trekkies will buy anything if you put the words ‘Star Trek’ on it.” And it’s true that there will always be people willing to give the franchise “one more chance.” But eventually you get to the point where there’ve been too many disappointments, not enough people will give that “one more chance” and the show will die.

After seeing an advance screening of the movie, I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the Star Trek franchise. I know a few die-hard fans of the The Original Series who were disappointed. But I’ve also talked to several people who enjoyed the movie and have found themselves with a renewed interest in the entire series.

So what do you think?

Star Trek

I had an opportunity to see the new Star Trek movie on Thursday evening.

Going in, I had some misgivings about the movie. I knew it was going to be the original Enterprise crew, I’d heard it would be the story of the TOS crew first coming together, and I’d heard Leonard Nimoy would be reprising the role of Spock. The concern with this is that over the past 43 years, Star Trek has a lot of established continuity. Throwing that to the wind would upset a lot of fans. (Putting new actors in familiar roles was a concern as well, though I think Star Trek: Phase II – formerly New Voyages – has demonstrated that this can work.)

J.J. Abrams managed to have his cake and eat it too. Hardcore TOS fans may very well be disappointed by the way the plot is resolved; but by doing the unthinkable this movie does open the door for new adventures in the TOS timeframe without breaking continuity. What’s more, new and casual fans may become interested in both new stories and the existing ones.

Among the things that struck me about the movie:

  • This is a much grittier universe than we’ve ever see. The newly launched Enterprise is all shiny, but what we see of other ships and Federation facilities look a lot more lived in.
  • In the past, all we ever saw of any starship was a room with four walls, a floor and a ceiling. The ships in this movie have actual superstructure.
  • This was a much different style of film making with tight close-ups of faces and shaking cameras. Even the shots of the Enterprise were all close-ups.

Hello Sarah Jane

Probably one of my favorite scenes from the new Doctor Who came in the second series when Sarah Jane Smith was investigating some unusual aspects of a school.

Looking for anything out of the ordinary, Sarah Jane walked into a storage closet where she discovered a large blue Police Box. Looking very much like someone who’s just seen a ghost, she flees the room and immediately encounters The Doctor who greets her, “Hello Sarah Jane.”

Elisabeth Sladen’s performance in that scene was nothing less than brilliant. Completely believable.

I’m taking some time to savor the fourth series instead of just rushing straight through to the conclusion. Since Sarah Jane appears in the final episodes, I’ve decided that in addition to Torchwood, I also want to watch the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. This way I’ll hopefully understand what it is that each character brings to the table.

I’ve known all along that I’m not the target audience (wrong age, wrong gender). But I’m quite impressed by the richness of the Doctor Who universe.

What Happened to Starbuck?

Last night I finally got a chance to watch the final episode of Battlestar Galactica. I’d been wondering how they were going to wrap up all the loose ends (such as “How did Starbuck get to Earth and back?” “Is Baltar a cylon?”), and wanted to watch it when I wouldn’t be distracted by the 70 million other thing going on in my life.

I was pleasantly surprised by it. They wrapped up the storyline in such a way that it was OK to have loose ends. It’s rare to see Science Fiction explaining miracles as miracles and just letting it go at that. Trying to wrap up all the loose ends and explain everything in a two-hour episode would have seem forced. I liked this.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to watch the credits for the final cartoon. Ronald Moore and David Eick finally end up on even terms.