The Top 3 Superhero Side Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spotlight

Sometimes there are side characters in the superhero story that really deserve their own chance to shine. These are the three that I would love to see get there own spotlight… in no particular order…

1. ROBIN John Blake

johnblakeMy husband and I recently rewatched the three movies of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may know that I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan in general, and in the very infantile stages of my blog I fangirled about ROBIN John Blake from The Dark Knight Rises and why he needed his own movie. These feelings only intensified upon my rewatch. I want to see Christopher Nolan turn Joseph Gordon-Levitt into the new Batman and push Batfleck aside.

Why do I love John Blake so much? He’s intelligent, resourceful, and brave. He isn’t dramatic and he doesn’t get distracted. I’m not saying he’s perfect, but… he’s pretty awesome. And he deserves his own trilogy!

2. Peggy Carter

260364422177501418_KTseeC91_cMy love for Peggy Carter and my enthusiasm for the upcoming Agent Carter TV show is unending! I adore how she is feminine yet tough and able to handle herself. She grew to care for Steve for his courage and heart, and she possesses those qualities as well. And though it was hard, she was able to move past his death and accomplish great things. She’s amazing and totally deserves this show and I cannot WAIT!

3. Lady Sif

lady-sifLady Sif is awesome. More awesome than Jane, more awesome than Thor. She doesn’t need some silly hammer to knock down the enemy. She did appear in an episode of Agents of SHIELD, which was GREAT, but I could definitely use more Sif! A Sif movie? TV show? Even a one-shot! Just give me more SIF, please!

Which side character from a superhero story would you like to see in the spotlight? 

Advertisements

Star Trek TOS Season 1: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see what she said about her top 5 favorite episodes of the first season of The Original Series.

5. Shore Leave

tos_shore_leaveAside from Kirk’s annoying old rival and old flame with bad fashion, this was a pretty entertaining episode that I remembered from the first time around, but did not remember being as entertained by it before as I was this time around. And it feels like a precursor to the Deep Space Nine episode “If Wishes Were Horses.”

4. Space Seed

tos_spaceseedI’ve technically seen Space Seed twice before this rewatch, once during my first watch of the series, and a second time before I rewatched Wrath of Khan one time. I wasn’t impressed with it either time. Quite frankly, though this is blasphemous to say as a Trek fan, The Wrath of Khan has never done a whole lot for me either. This time, I don’t know what happened, but I was WAY more into this episode. You know what I think it for me this time?

intodarkness-khanThat’s right, Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal as Khan in Into Darkness made me appreciate Khan as a villain, because I found him to be so much more charismatic than Ricardo Montalban. YOU HEARD ME. I have said it and will not apologize for it. Benedict Cumberbatch is not the original Khan, and Montalban was a great Khan for the original series, but for me, I could relate to Cumberbath’s performance much more. I almost believed him in Into Darkness, even though I completely knew better! He really was tricky; not clearly the abusive jerk I found Montalban’s Khan to be. And yet, watching Space Seed again, I bought into it better, even though he wasn’t Cumberbatch. They’re both Khan and they play different dynamics of him and they both look so completely different but WHATEVER. It’s OK.

I got off on a tangent, and all that is just to say I never dreamed this would make my top five favorite episodes of season one. But it did.

3. The Menagerie

tos_themenagerieThis is technically two episodes, but I’m counting them as one since they go together. Plus, they also feature the original Star Trek pilot, The Cage, which never aired. I technically like The Cage better since it’s one storyline instead of an interesting story within a convoluted storyline about Spock completely disregarding rules to help his old captain out, but again, since it’s not really part of season one, I’m going with The Menagerie instead. I have always found the idea thought-provoking: what if you were offered the chance to live out fantasies for the rest of your life? They wouldn’t be real, but they would be everything you wanted. Would you accept it, or fight back for reality? Those kinds of questions are why I love Star Trek to begin with.

2. The Naked Time

tos_thenakedtimeI just love this episode because it is so much fun. Sulu runs around like crazy fencing, Spock has emotions, an officer named O’Riley serenades the whole ship with his off-key rendition of an Irish tune. Sometimes, you just need a fun episode. However, there is also a pretty poignant scene with Spock when he breaks down, full of emotion.

1. The City on the Edge of Forever

tos_cityontheedgeHow Kirk, Spock, and McCoy end up back in time is a little convoluted, but really, there is just something special about this episode. (Charlene agrees because it’s her #1 pick too!) Again there’s a question: Would you allow events to unfold as they must to save millions, if it means watching someone you love suffer? It’s good stuff, people.

And just for fun, here are my two favorite aliens featured in season 1…

tos-season1-aliensThat’s right folks, it’s a dog wearing an “alien” costume and (presumably) a man underneath some sort of lasagna-looking rug (I refer to this creature affectionately as Pasta Puppy) that are my favorite aliens of season one. Forget the introduction of the Romulans or the Klingons and forget the Gorn. This is where it’s at.

I also wanted to say that this season my favorite character has actually turned out to be Scotty! After my first time watching the original series I really loved Spock, and Spock is great, but Scotty didn’t take crap from anyone in season one, which I respect.

tos_scottyIf you’re a Star Trek fan, let me know what your favorite episodes of the original series, season one, are! 

Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is my Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

Seeing as I do write, while compiling this list I wondered: Why aren’t I writing these stories? And the answer is, I haven’t been so particularly inspired to yet. But who knows, maybe one day I will! But in the meantime, if someone else wants to write on of these stories, that’s be great because I would love to read them! This week’s list is in no particular order, and all these are YA story ideas unless otherwise specified.

1. WWII Historical Fiction Set in America

There’s been a fair share of WWII historical fiction lately, set in other countries: The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, Code Name Verity, etc. And I’m grateful for these, because for those of us who do live in America, sometimes we need to get outside of our USA bubble and see how the rest of the world sees things. But remember Molly from American Girl?

meet-mollyI’ve been interested in WWII history for a long time, so even as a girl I was fascinated by the story of a girl my age and how she coped with the war at home in America. I would absolutely love to see a YA story like this!

2. Story Set in Monaco

monte_carlo_casino_monacoOnce upon a time, I saw something about the country of Monaco on TV, and since then, I’ve been mildly curious about it. We see books set in France, Italy, Australia, etc., but what about Monaco? How’s life look like there? I actually wrote a short story about a teen American girl visiting Monaco when I was in high school, but I haven’t been able to find it and quite frankly, I knew very little about the country. I’d love to read the story from someone who knew what they were talking about.

3. A Little Women Retelling

little-women-retellIt’s no secret that I love Little Women. Because of this, I have attempted a couple different retellings, but neither of them have stuck for me yet, but we’ll see… maybe one day something will. (BTW, I will finish my Little Women movie dreamcast posts one day…). I love this story and want to see a truly justifiable retelling of it, either in a contemporary or futuristic setting. Also, bonus points if Jo and Laurie hook up this time. 🙂

4. Jane Austen Contemporary Retellings, a la Lizzie Bennet and Emma Approved

ja-retellingsBasically, I want to see stories very similar to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved as novels, and obviously more suited for that than the video format. I suppose they would be more New Adult, but I would want them to not be too focused on sexytimes, but rather stay true to the nature of Jane Austen’s stories. And I know there are Jane Austen retellings out there, but I would love for the same author to write six books based on Jane Austen’s six books and that would be in the same universe, and be as awesome as these Pemberley Digital videos. I would DEVOUR these books, so someone give them to me!

5. Retelling of Alice in Wonderland that Involves Traveling to Other Worlds/Dimensions

I came up with this one very randomly. I have nothing else to add, but I think it sounds awesome.

6. Set in Well-Known Cities That Aren’t LA/NYC/Chicago

I love big cities, but it seems the same ones get all the love. Why not more books in Seattle, Houston, Phoenix, Nashville (though I think this one is rising in popularity… I just wish we could see more Nashville stories NOT involving country music), etc.? I’ll admit I don’t think much about where the story is set when I seek out a book, probably largely because I’m usually reading things set in the future, but if a book was set in Houston or Nashville (the two areas where I have spent the vast majority of my life) my interest would be at least piqued.

 7. Teens Who Work in a Comic Book Store and Go on Geeky Adventures

geek-costumesI think this one is self-explanatory, and would be so fun!

8. Teen Science Geniuses a la Fitz-Simmons

fitz-simmons2Fitz and Simmons are the two scientists on the show Agents of SHIELD, and they’re also my favorite characters from the show. They totally play off each other with their science facts and geeky quips and I want a book with a duo like them! But since I fail at science, I will not be writing it.

9. Teen Olympian Athlete

Eiskunstlauf: Tara Lipinski zeigt ihr WM-Gold

Was anyone else totally into Tara Lipinski, 1998 Olympic gold medalist?

As someone who has never been particularly good at sports, I have long been fascinated by the ability of Olympian athletes, and would love to read a YA book about a teen playing in the games, particularly a gymnast, a swimmer, or an ice skater. I would love to read a realistic look of what it takes to train for, qualify for, and be in the Olympics as a teen athlete.

10. Teens/Young Adults Flying in Space, a la the Red Squad from Star Trek

Red_SquadIn the Star Trek franchise, there are references to an elite group of cadets from Starfleet Academy called Red Squad who receive special and advanced training flying in space. In an episode of Deep Space Nine called “Valiant,” the Red Squad cadets were aboard the U.S.S. Valiant with an adult crew, when all the adult crew were killed in enemy fire and the cadets were forced to step up and take charge of the ship. It was a very interesting look on how a spaceship run by young people would work, how they would respond to having to answer to one another as officers, etc. Basically, I would love to see some of the ideas from this episode expounded on and explored in a book (something other than a Star Trek book). And I would love to hear the perspective of the specially trained teens about flying in space and their hopes for their future in a space career.

So what’s on your reading wishlist?

Star Trek Convention 2013: Part One

As I mentioned before, I recently had the chance to attend the Star Trek convention held in Nashville. I went with my husband and two of our friends and we had so much fun! Even though I was more excited about the line-up last year, I ended up enjoying the people who came this year more!

The conventions are run by a group called Creation Entertainment, and they have Star Trek and other conventions all over the country throughout the year. This was our third experience with them, though our first year we only attended on Sunday, so we missed the Saturday morning rush. Last year, we experienced it. We got to there at a time we thought was early, only to find ourselves at the back of a really long line, and we ended up missing most of the first guest of the convention, John deLancie, who played Q in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. I was determined we not miss the first guest this year, Dominic Keating, so we showed up even earlier.

And just like last year, there was no clear signage as to what was going on. There were two lines to the ticket counter, one which was actually going to the ticket counter, and the other we soon realized was at a complete standstill and actually started several yards away from the ticket counter. We were trying to figure out why people were in a line like this, and what line we were in, but didn’t learn much.

You see, there were a couple of different packages available for the weekend, as well as general admission tickets. We don’t live too far away, so we went home on Saturday night instead of staying in the hotel, and one of our friends found a good deal for the general admission tickets through Deal Chicken, so needless to say, we just bought general admission. We heard mumblings that we might be in the gold package line, but no real confirmation. Ultimately, my husband stood in the non-moving line, just in case, and the two other guys and I stayed in the moving line. SO GLAD WE DID.

I let my guy friends go ahead of me to make sure we were clear to get our tickets, and they were got their tickets processed no problem. So I called my husband to come over STAT, right before I handed the lady both of our tickets for the weekend, and he showed up just in time to get our wristbands for the weekend. We were done before the doors to the big room where all the action happens were opened, so we all congratulated ourselves on working the system. We would find out later that several people did miss Dominic, just like we had missed John last year.

Meanwhile, we were first in line to wait to get inside. Others who had gotten their tickets situated were milling about the vendor room or elsewhere, but since we did not have reserved seats, we wanted to make sure we could get in the room ASAP. We had plenty of time so I walked across the hallway to go to the restroom when I suddenly stopped at the sight of Dominic Keating! I was so excited and scurried back over to my husband and friends. “I’m glad I wore the t-shirt, that was quite a hike,” he looked back said to us. TO US! The four of us were just standing there geeking out. Then he disappeared into a room and I flailed my arms as I went back to the restroom (not really, but I might as well have).

Later, after I had gotten back to the guys, we saw Chase Masterson, another one of the guests, walking by. She stopped to talked to someone who worked for Creation, looked over to us, and gave us a little wave! One of my friends and I, somewhat belatedly, returned weak oh-my-gosh-did-Chase-Masterson-just-wave-at-us? waves back.

Finally we got to go in the room and scouted out the best seats you can get when you don’t have reserved seats, and again, were happy with our success. Then after a while it finally began and out on the stage came Dominic Keating!

dominicDominic Keating played Malcom Reed on Enterprise, and he’s British, so he’s fun to listen to! He was also so funny, spending his time telling us the story of how he got the role of Malcom and answering questions from people in the audience. Something else I also noticed about him right away was how gracious he was to the fans. There are some Star Trek actors who are rarely come to conventions because they seem bitter about their Star Trek past, which is so disappointing. But Dominic was very grateful and recognized the importance of fan support, which we all appreciated.

shuttlepod1

From the episode Shuttlepod One, which might be my favorite season one Enterprise episode. It’s about Malcolm and Tripp getting stuck together, thinking they’re going to die, and annoying each other, ha ha.

Next was Suzie Plakson, who played a couple of small roles in Star Trek: K’Ehleyr (AKA Worf’s girlfriend) on The Next Generation and the female Q on Voyager. She was mostly there for a makeup artist to do a demonstration of Klingon makeup on her. But first, she  told us she wanted to sing us a few songs.

This is something I have noticed is common among Star Trek actors… they want to sing for us. This year I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s because we’re in Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry was literally right next door. But regardless, she started singing, and we decided to leave after a couple of songs, because it was the best time for lunch (the scheduled lunch break wasn’t until about 2) and we weren’t interested in more singing or the make-up.

trekcon-susieAs we were leaving for lunch, we saw Dominic in the hallway again. One of my friends told him, “That was brilliant, thanks for that.” And he said something kind in return and went about his way. We geeked out again and my husband mentioned we should have asked him if he wanted to eat with us, but ah well, he was long gone by then. I imagine he had arrangements and a schedule he had to stick with anyways,

So after our lunch, we were thankfully able to still to sit in the same area as before and waited for Chase Masterson. Chase played Leeta on Deep Space Nine, and my husband and I had seen her last year. We were happy to see her again this year because she is super sweet. She also clearly loves her fans, and people in general really. She works with several charity organizations and her congenial disposition shines through.

trekcon-chaseChase sang for us too, which was expected after last year.

Then next was Garrett Wang, who played (the forever Ensign) Harry Kim on Star Trek Voyager. I think we were all surprised by how cool and funny and awesome he was in real life! He, like all of us, wondered why Harry was always getting picked on and never promoted. Poor Harry! But seriously, he was funny, down-to-earth, and so enjoyable to listen to. We didn’t know it on Saturday, but we were going to get to see him again on Sunday…

trekcon-garrettNext was the scheduled lunch break, during which one of the guys stood in line for Walter Koeing’s autograph, while my husband and our other friend decided they needed some coffee. Since I don’t drink coffee, I got some frozen yogurt, just for fun. We walked around and chatted, hit up the vendor room, and then it was time for Terry Ferrell, who played Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine. I was super excited to see her as she was one of my favorites on the show.

trekcon-terryShe is pretty much like her character was on the show: energetic and spontaneous! We also got to see her again on Sunday, but more on that later…

dax_kira_quark

We got to see Quark and Kira too; more about that next time!

There was a little bit of down time with trivia games and such, and then it was time for Walter Koeing, who played Checkov from The Original Series!

trekcon-walterI have to admit that when I heard Walter Koeing was coming, I was more excited about it because of his role as Bester on Babylon 5 than that of Star Trek. I know it may  sound blasphemous coming from a Trekkie, but seriously, BESTER ON BABYLON 5!!! He was awesome at being evil. And Walter actually flat out said that he was his favorite TV character he played. Anyhow, it was neat to see him.

chekov-besterAnd then that was it for the day, at least for us! Sadly, we had to miss the karaoke party hosted by Dominic and Garrett. That was probably some seriously fun times. But unfortunately, it was going to be too late of a night for us, so we went out for dinner, went home, and then hit the sack so that we could be ready for Day #2!

Have you ever been to a Star Trek convention? Who of these Star Trek actors would you be most excited to see?

Your Star Trek Introduction

Are you guys ready to become Trekkies?! I know you are! 😉

So I worked very hard on this flowchart in Excel to help guide you in starting you venture with Star Trek. Turns out converting it to any sort of viable picture if a complete pain in the butt. The following was the best I could do, and if you click on the picture, you can see it in a much more decent (i.e. readable) size:

Star Trek chart

However, the top part of the chart was cut off. If you click on the link to the Excel file on Google drive (you’ll have to do maximum zoom to be able to read it) you can see the top, but I think the size is about the same as clicking on the image above. So my apologies I could not do better! I promise it looked nice in Excel!

The first question on top is supposed to be “How do you feel about science fiction?” and your two options are: “I enjoy Star Wars and other science fiction” and “I am uncertain about science fiction.” Now, I am going ahead and say that even though I think more of you would like Star Trek than you realize, I also fully recognize it is NOT for everyone. If you watch a few of these episodes and still find yourself saying “meh,” you probably won’t like the show overall. Some (but not all) of the episodes included on the chart are universally claimed by fans to be some of the best, so if you don’t like something we consider to be the best in the series, you’re probably not going to like the rest of it either. Star Trek does include a lot of “technobabble” (difficult and probably made up talk about science fiction-y things), space battles, and aliens, but it also includes a close look at humanity, philosophy, and characters. However, if you trust my judgment on anything and the idea of a space-based show doesn’t totally weird you out, I think you should at least try out a few episodes (all episodes available for streaming on Netflix or at startrek.com) and see what you think.

I was originally going to divide my chart based on people’s perceived ideas on Star Trek, but really I kept hearing the same thing: “Star Trek looks dated, hokey, and/or cheesy.” 

I can understand these concerns, as they were probably mine as well when I first started watching. The original series was filmed in the 60s, and it has it share of cheese at times, but some of the episodes are also really good and full of meaning. Yes, it was obviously filmed in the 60s, but if you can get past that and enjoy the story, I think you’ll be glad you did. The series was actually culturally groundbreaking in many ways.

The Next Generation might be the most beloved of the series, and it (especially the early seasons) is so clearly from the 80s. Again, once you get past the look, you can really enjoy what the episodes have to offer.

263671753153401481_dAnVkeq6_c

If you’re familiar with Wil Wheaton/Wesley Crusher, here he is looking 80s-tastic in one episode. He was more commonly seen in uniform or in ugly 80s sweaters.

I think once you get to Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and definitely Enterprise, you see a lot less of the hokey-looking stuff. And of course, I think the new J.J. movies look slick and can be a nice introduction to Trek if you’re thinking about whether or not you want to delve into the deeper waters of the TV shows.

53128470574452926_ccWvH2fN_c

Don’t let Chris Pine down now!

If I was told you could only watch two episodes of Star Trek to give you the scope of what it stands for, I would go with the fun and quirky Star Trek original series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” and the Deep Space Nine episode “In the Pale Moonlight.” The latter is my absolute favorite of all Trek and I almost would hate to give it away out of the gate, but at the same time I would hate for anyone to judge the series without having seen it. The funny thing about me liking this episode so much is that the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, was probably rolling in his grave when it aired.

You see, Gene Roddenberry had a vision of the future that was a utopia, at least for Earth and its allies within the Federation. They were clearly the good guys, they did all the right things, period. But we know things aren’t that clear cut in real life. The reason why I love Deep Space Nine so much is because it shows the dirty underbelly of what happens when good people find themselves in desperate circumstances. The series contains amazing character story arcs, and this sixth season episode is a big turning point for Captain Benjamin Sisko.

pale-moonlight

“The Trouble With Tribbles” is the exact opposite of “In The Pale Moonlight.” It’s light and fun but also a favorite among Star Trek fans. Deep Space Nine paid a wonderful homage to the episode with their episode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” but you should see the original first. What can you not love about an endless number of furry, cooing space animals?

274227064779931434_w6ZLLtWx_cSo if you’re interested in trying Trek out, open the chart and follow the statements that most apply to you. Watch the episodes. When you’re finished with them, if you enjoyed them, try out another statement and those episodes, and try that for as long as you want. Then if you’re ready for more, you can try the new movies, or start from the beginning of the series that seems the most interesting to you, and go from there.

If you want, you can go with the order the shows were created, which would obviously mean begin with The Original Series (TOS). As mentioned before, you have to remember that this show was created in the 1960s and can be hokey at times, but there are plenty of episodes that show depth. It’s also only three seasons, a light commitment compared to all of the other series (not including The Animated Series… but we’re not talking about it today). It also has a few movies.

80150068338489935_QH9kf43o_c

You could also start with the chronological beginning, which would be Enterprise (ENT). The first season is not the best and the finale of the show is the worst episode of Star Trek ever, but it does pick up after a time and has a really interesting and intense story arc that pretty much takes up the third season of the show. It has four seasons overall.

If you are looking for quintessential Star Trek, that can be light-hearted or deep, but was better produced than the original series, check out Voyager (VOY). Its pilot might be the best in all of Star Trek. It has seven seasons and is the favorite of Kelley’s from Another Novel Read.

If you like philosophy and psychology, you might enjoy starting with The Next Generation (TNG), but you will have to patient and forgive the first season or two. After that though, it’s quite enjoyable! It has seven seasons and a few movies.

20477373275756178_V0qqgam5_cAnd then if you love continuing story and character arcs and stories that really make you think, Deep Space Nine (DS9) might be a good place for you to start. It is the best developed series of Trek, in my opinion, and really starts kicking late in the second season. Its finale is probably my favorite of all the series. It’s also known for being the “darkest” of the Treks, but I think it also has some of the most fun episodes as well. It also has seven seasons.

32440059785871062_aIkc3Jpu_c

And Tweet me anytime (@acps927) if you have a question about Trek! I will recommend episodes, movies, podcasts, or answer general questions you may have (unless they deal with spoilers… then I’ll make you find out on your own!).

Being a Star Trek fan is a lot of fun. It’s a culture of its own. We love the best episodes and love to hate the worst. It will undoubtedly take some time to understand the difference between a Vulcan and a Romulan or to get used to certain things, but in the end, I think it’s worth it and quite a fun ride.

Are you going to give Trek a try? Let me know if I’ve piqued your interest or if you have more questions!