Thursday, November 15, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch: Late Season 4

Farscape marches on!  The return to Earth has given the show a new purpose that had seemed sorely lacking ever since the gang blew up Scorpius' command carrier.  We start off with what is the last stand-alone episode along the mode of season one: S04E14: Twice Shy.  Chiana frees a pretty slave from some rough traders, but she turns out to be an emotional vampire spider creature! It's not spectacular,  but it's fun.  Some fun pop culture and geeky references in here.  John tells pilot that he's "smart enough, good enough, and doggonit, people like you," slightly paraphrasing the SNL character Stuart Smalley.  He also calls Aeryn "my Achilleus," for the greek myth.  He also riffed on the nursery rhyme when he quips to the monster, "along came a spider, exploded beside her."  We also get some nice continuity lampshading when John describes the spider creature's actions as "doing a T'raltixx."  Cute.

S04E15: Mental As Anything splits up the gang.  The men go off to get anti-Skarran mind probe training, while the women go off to the next episode.   We get some unexpected resolution to the D'Argo / Macton storyline, as he's also here doing training.  In retrospect, it feels like the writers are putting their ducks in a row for the endgame, and that's not a bad thing.  John's references include:
* his frequent "riddle me this"
* the whistling of the Colonel Bogey March
*a nice Simpson's reference when he calls their instructor Mrs. Krabapple
* Doctor Seuss, as he lists off reasons as "Little Cat A," "Little Cat B," and "Little Cat C."
 Scorpius also picks up the nickname Scorpy-Sue. 

S04E16: Bringing Home the Beacon is a horrible pun that isn't apparent until the last minute or so of the episode.  Aeryn and the gals stumble onto a Peacekeeper / Scarran meeting and witness the Scarrans double-cross Grayza and Braca.  They disrupt the Scarran plans, but Aeryn gets replaced with a replicant with a built-in beacon.  Due to the almost complete lack of John in the episode, no geek references here.  

S04E17: A Constellation of Doubt seems to take a detour, as a distraught John watches and rewatches an intercepted broadcast from Earth about their visit.  It was well set up back in Terra Firma, with his nephew Bobby walking around with a video camera.  It turns out, his subconscious was trying to give him some critical information about where he'd heard the word "Katratzi" before.  When Sikozu momentarily covers her face with a plate, he flashes back to the Stark/Sikozu hybrid, a fantastic moment.  The only real geek reference was bobby calling Crichton the "first and only human to boldly go where no man has gone before," another Trek reference.  

S04E18: Prayer is an uncomfortable episode.  John and Scorpius finally come to an understanding; John gives Scorpy wormhole tech if Scorpius helps him rescue Aeryn.   In the process, they wind up taking a wormhole to "Bizarro Moya" (ultimately a reference to Superman, of course, though Bizarro has entered the lexicon.)  Things get downright nasty when Scorpius determines that Sikozu/Stark can only access the Katratzi information when crossing over a soul.  He proceeds to slaughter many of the denizens of this strange Moya, including an Aeryn/Chiana hybrid.  (Claudia Black plays an EXCELLENT Chiana, getting the mannerisms perfect.)  It's also kind of cool to know why Scorpius was torturing Stark back in season one.  Stark had said it was a place... now we know, or suspect, that place was Katratzi. 

There's a bit more geek besides Bizarro.  As John explains the concept of alternate realities to Scorpy, he illustrates it by saying that "somewhere the Cubs are winning the world series," a reference to the perennial losing baseball team.  We also revisit one of Scorpius' nickname when Scorpius insists on sealing their deal with blood.  "Nosferatu... my first instinct is always right." 

And thus is the three part near-season finale set up. John has embraced life aboard Moya with Aeryn as his new reality, but to defend that reality he's forced to make a deal with the devil.  We'll see how things play out in the next, and last, four episodes of Farscape.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Traitor

Welcome back, to another edition of The Ark Addendum.  This week, the classic G1 Season Two episode Traitor!

Traitor is quite a fun episode.  Mirage's anti-war sentiments were explored a bit in More than Meets the Eye, so it's fun to see the ultra gung-ho Cliffjumper confront him.  The episode had enough resonance to be echoed decades later in All Hail Megatron, so that's something.  There are some really neat Floro Dery designs, too.  I love the Insecticon lair.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Mid Season 4

Hola, amigos!  Let's return to some Farscape, when S4 starts to pick up again after meandering a bit unsuccessfully around the question 'how will Scorpius fit in with the crew of Moya.'  (Spoiler alert: not well.)  S04E11, Unrealized Realities, introduces some new plot elements and some much needed energy into what had been an unimpressive season.  John, floating in his space suit outside of Moya, gets sucked into a wormhole and encounters a representative of the beings who created the ancients.  Einstein, as he's dubbed by John, is deciding if John should be executed for the good of the galaxy.  We get to see snippets of alternate realities, more and more strange as the episode progresses. From a world where someone who looks a lot like Scorpius is John's father on a Scarran occupied Earth to a Moya where the crew has all swapped species to a world where John is a Peacekeeper captain and Sikozu a Skarran spy, we see all manner of 'unrealized realities. 

It's quite intriguing, especially when Einstein introduces the idea that wormholes bridge not just space but time.  It makes sense... exceeding the speed of light, in a very real relativistic sense, allows travel backwards in time and upsets causality.  The episode ends with John returned home... to Earth, that is, floating above the atmosphere in his space suit, wondering what exactly this portends.  A great episode, and it was fun seeing Stark, Crais, Zhan, Jool again.  There's also a couple of little pieces of foreshadowing embedded, such as when Stark/Sikozu mutters the word "katratzi" during a trance, or when spy Sikozu calls Peacekeepers "weak species." 

Worry not, for it's also probably the geek-heaviest episode in the entire series.  Where to start, where to start.  Well, John, upon meeting 'Einstein' (I won't explain who Einstein is) says "Nanook, Bealzebub," simultaneously referencing Mork and Mindy and Christian mythology.  Einstein repeatedly asks John "time," prompting the responses " 's up", "bandits", "wounds all heels", "rosemary and thyme."  John managed to sneak in Simon and Garfunkle, Groucho Marx, and the cult classic Terry Gilliam movie all in a few lines.  In response to Einstein's philisophical musings on time, John says "very Morrissey," a nod to the indy musician.  The tiny snowy island created by Einstein for the interrogation, John calls the "island of misfit toys," in reference to the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer claymation.  In response to the alternate worlds Einstein was showing him, John stated "now I know how Copperfield got Shiffer," referring to illusionist David Copperfield's long engagement to model Claudia Schiffer. When Peacekeeper Captain Crichton attempts to save spy Sikozu and she expresses skepticism, he echoes Gone with the Wind and quips "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." 

But all of that, lovely that it is, pales in comparison to John's final speech of the episode.  "I am not Kirk, Spock, Luke, Flash, Buck, or Arthur frelling Dent.  I am Dorothy.  From Kansas."  So, Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, and even Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, rejected, in favor of the frequently referenced The Wizard of Oz.  It's a lovely speech, summing up much of what we've come to love about Farscape. 

S04E12, Kansas, continues the momentum set up last episode.  Moya follows John through the wormhole and retrieves him, but there's a problem.  It's 1986, and Jack Crichton is supposed to be on the Challenger.  The gang has to keep him from going up, to his doom, while avoiding creating a stir with an early first contact. 

It's light on the geek but heavy on the pop culture.  Of milk, John says it "does a body good," the classic advertising slogan.   Of Aeryn's outfit, he says she "kinda looks like Cher."  When D'Argo wonders why their plans never work, John's response is "Murphy's law."  And when the time schenanigans start to make John fade in and out of reality, he grouses that he's "Casper the freakin' joke."  I also noted that, when Rygel is eating tons of candy, John calls him "Mr. Burroughs."  I'm not sure what the significance of that is. 

S04E13, Terra Firma, deals with the team in modern day Earth, and John's reverse culture shock at being home in a post 9/11 world.  His dad seems unrecognizable and he fears what the US government will do with exclusive access to Moya's tech.  I find placing John's homecoming in the middle of a season to be a bold choice.  He's been seeking this for years, but now that he has it, he's not sure he wants it. 

It's light on the pop culture, though.  Caroline, John's ex, calls him Buck Rogers, which is cute.  And John does an ET voice and places his finger on his sister's head.  "Don't worry" was the line. 

It's a very strong trilogy, expanding the universe and putting our characters in terrifically interesting situations.  John finds Earth, only to have to abandon it.  At least this time, it's a choice.  And now, with that out of the way, John can approach the rest of the season with a lighter burden.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Groove High

Friend of the blog Ras, who contributed some excellent pieces for the upcoming Transformers Legacy book, is starring in Disney's Groove High, premiering today!  Check it out on the Disney Channel.  He's playing The Baz, Lex and Sasha. 

Kudos, Ras!  I'm sure you'll knock our socks off.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Changing Gears

Happy Election Day, to all my US based readers.  Hope that you informed yourself on the issues and voted.  Sending those politicians a message by staying home as a clown only leads to gargantuan cyborg overlords. 

It's Tuesday, which means it's Ark Addendum day.  This week, we go back to Changing Gears, on of the last episodes that I have substantial background images for.  The centerpiece is the Solar Needle, identified as the Star Needle on the model.  It's quite a lovely design. 

I don't really like the episode, though.  The drastic personality alteration that Gears undergoes should have deeper implications than it does, really.  That it's accidental only makes things worse.  For a better examination of personality shifting, see the S1 episode of Beast Wars, Dark Designs.  Evil Rhinox is pretty badass, as we learn there and confirm in late season one of Beast Machines. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Early to Mid Season 4

We enter the midpoint of the final season of Farscape with a truly fun episode, S04E08, I Shrink, Therefore I Am.  A gang of raiders wearing mechanical armor boards the ship, leaving John to, in his own words, go "one by one, the Die Hard way" through the baddies. If that and the title (a reference to Descartes famous rebuttal of radical skepticism) aren't clue enough, there are plenty of geek references, nods, and movie titles bandied about.

Dargo is called "James T. Dargo."  Sweet.  John declares "I'm goin'... wabbit hunting!", a lovely Looney Toons quote.  Even better, John calls the head armored baddie "Imperious Leader", after he comms "Paging the head Cylon," recalling the classic Battlestar Galactica.  John utters "Klaatu barada nikto", the famous phrase from the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.  (That line itself has been referenced numerous times, from the Star Wars expanded universe to Army of Darkness.)  After the shrinking starts, John declares that he's "gone from Die Hard to Honey I Shrunk the Prisoners," in reference to the Honey I Shrunk The... franchise.  Less geeky but still of interest is John quoting Neil Armstrong, "one small step for man,"  and the "best laid plans", a paraphrase of the Robert Burns poem "To a Mouse."

Another terrific exchange in the "we're not Star Trek" vein is Sikozu's argument with Rygel about how shrinking is impossible.  If the molocules were shrunk, how could they breath?  If they lost atoms proportionately, how could they think?  Rygel shuts her up with the wry observation that they clearly ARE shrunk, so it IS possible, so just deal with it.  Lovely.

There's less going on in S04E09, A Prefect Murder.  The gang needs some gear to survive in Tormented Space, but Chiana's loose ways and a love affair between Sikozu and a native complicate things, especially when the gang lose control of themselves and start bumping off natives.  It's rather forgettable, really.  There's a bit of the geek, when John assumes a Scottish accent and grouses, "I don't knew if I can get the system back on line, cap'n."  That's about it, except for John singing "You take the high road..." from the old classic song, The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond.  (Also Scottish!)

S04E10, Coup by Clam, is surprisingly fun, though I'll bet most fans don't appreciate it.  True, there's a jumbled feminist message that doesn't really work.   But the idea that the crew gets psychically linked together by eating mental mollusks is cute, and seeing the gang cross-dress is silly and fun in a very Farscape way.  I also like the villain attempting to explain the technical specifics of what happened, only to have the crew moan that they just don't care.  There's one fantasy reference here.  John states that he isn't going to infiltrate a girl's only club "as Maid Marian," Robin Hood's sweetheart.

I think I'll end it here.  As we hit the halfway point of the season, we start off on an exciting new plotline that propels the series through to the end.  Much merriment and mirth awaits!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Ginrai (Alternate Models)

Welcome to another exciting edition of The Ark Addendum!  This week, I give yet another page to Ginrai.  Long-time readers will no doubt realize that I've already given him three pages of transformations, as well as six pages in The Complete Ark.  (I think it was 5 in The Ark II.)  What can I say?  He's the main character in Masterforce, he's got 3 robot modes, a drone, an alternate mode, a human form with and without armor... it adds up! 

This will, in all likelihood, be the last time I devote a page to Ginrai, though, as it represents my last unused Ginrai models.  Sure, I suppose I may come across a new cache of material that might include the transformation for Godbomber or GodGinrai, but barring that, this is it.

So, what are we looking at here?  First up, we've got regular Ginrai with a pair of guns.  They look pretty badass on him, mostly because they're sized for his super form. 

I also include the UNarmed character model for Super Ginrai.  For some reason, I used his armed version in the book.  I'm pretty sure I had both versions, so I'm not sure why I went with that version.  Usually I used the unarmed version if I had it.  Maybe it just looked better on the page; it certainly has a nice flow.  Maybe it was because I'd already included the stand-alone guns on the Ginrai page, and wanted to indicate that, indeed, he has weapons. 

Finally, there's a version of Super Ginrai crouching.  This model partially made it into the book.  I believe that it's mostly there to show what his collar area looks like, so for space I cut off his legs.  Now you can enjoy him in all his squatting splendor!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Early Season 4

Let's do it Farscape style, no?  When last we left our heroes, they had just discovered Aeryn and Scorpius, together, Aeryn in bad shape.  S04E05: Promises picks up there (hey, it's Farscape, I wouldn't put it past 'em to go to a completely different plot) and we learn that Scorpy has saved Areyn... in exchange for asylum on Moya.  Only Aeryn's promise restrains John.  It's an... awkward development, to be sure.  Worse, it feels like a retread of Crais' arc, so recently and satisfyingly concluded.  Scorpy promptly gets rid of Harvey, probably because having two of them running around on Moya doesn't make much sense... but then, that only underscores how awkward a fit Scorpy really is on the crew.  On the plus side, Aeryn in a cooling suit looks hot. 

Geekintology is here in plenty.  "Knock knock... candygram!" is a nice Blazing Saddles nod.  There's also a lovely sequence where a frustrated John asks Scorpius, "Kryptonite, sliver bullet, Buffy, what's it gonna take to put you in the grave?"  This isn't the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference we've heard, but it's a good one.  I can't remember if Superman has popped up before either... I feel like he must have.  There's also a bit about how Moya must have a sign offering free HBO, not really geek culture but definitely pop culture.

S04E06: Natural Election features the crew's attempt to pick a leader.  After defeating the plant infestation, the crew selects D'Argo, which is a nice subversion of expectations.  John didn't get a single vote, which puts him behind Scorpius and Rygel in that respect.  Cute.

As far as the geek goes, John quips of the plant monster, "seems that Audry has taste," a Little Shop of Horrors nod.  Noranti is called 'school lunch lady', which is pretty cute, and Glenda, which is another Wizard of Oz reference.  PBS is also namechecked.

S04E07: John Quixiote makes up for it.  It's a real oddball of an episode, even by Farscape standards.  Stark has unleashed a VR game into the universe that involves events from their past, starting with the Gammak base where Stark encountered the gang.  Crichton and Chiana get trapped in the game, and it seems like it was designed to capture Crichton.

I like the chance to see Stark,  Zhan, Jool, and Crais, though in bizarre and stylized forms.  Seeing how Stark perceives the rest of the crew and himself (Scorpius as a fop, Crais as an ogre, Aeryn as a twit, John as bizarre, and himself mirror imaged) is kind of neat. The writers use a clever little trick to try to convince us that the characters really did get out of the game about halfway through the episode, by having John use the game in a simulation of Moya to try to combat Scorpius.  Still, it's hard for me to accept that Stark was trying to capture/kill/lobotomize Crichton.

The geek! First off, the John in the game is a video personality based on Max Headroom.  (I'm skeptical that Stark, taking the dying John's memories, got to Max Headroom, but it's still neat.)  He gives the real John his marching orders by saying "your mission, should you choose to accept it," from Mission: Impossible.  There are nods to classical fantasy and nursery rhymes.  A Sheyang in the story is called the frog princess, and we get namechecks for Grettle and King Arthur.  Finally, John Headroom suggests possible names for the real John's VR sword: Cameron and Uma, presumably for James Cameron and Uma Therman.

And that seems like a nice one to end on.   The season is still wobbly, and will be for a few more episodes before finding its real footing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Dinobot Island

I thought I'd take a break from the Japanese series to see what I had left from the US.  To be honest, it's not all that much at this point.  Still, going episode by episode, I managed to locate some gems from Dinobot Island. 

Funny story... I recently finished writing an article for the G.I. Joe fanclub magazine about crossovers, including a character model for Hector Rameriz done up in the style of the G.I. Joe Field Manual.  I rattled off a bunch of crossover events and considered bringing up this one.  Ultimately I opted not to. 

You see, G.I. Joe featured an episoded, Primordial Plot, where Cobra cloned some Dinosaurs on an island.  Could it be Dinobot Island? Well... probably not.  There are too many differences.  It's clear that Dinobot Island exists out-of-time.  It's surrounded by an energy field, and when the Decepticons begin to extract energon from the island it starts to open time portals.  It's a bit too much for me to accept that Cobra happened to be cloning dinosaurs on an island where there were strange fluctuations in chronal energy.  (I'm sure James Roberts could tie it all up in a story, but I didn't want to do too much hand-waving in a non-fiction article.)  I think it's more likely that Don Glut really liked dinosaurs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Fortress' (Cerebros') Transform

What's this?  I'm going a week without skipping an Ark Addendum?  Could it be that my life is settling back down to something approaching normal? 

Since I seem to be on a roll with Transformations, I figured I'd see if I had any more.  This one is a funny one... Fortress.  Or, if you prefer western naming conventions, Cerebros.  Despite being a giant head, he manages a pretty interesting transformation.

This is a particularly timely model, since TakaraTomy has recently announced Encore #23... Fortress Maximus!  Now, I've already got a MIB Fort Max, Japanese style with the swords, so I'm not directly excited by this.  But we also have the possibility of an eHobby FM repaint.  Oh, my, that could be a LOT of fun.  Anyway, if you've always wanted a Fort Max, this is your chance to get one for something approaching reasonable:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch - Season 4 begins! (plus Field Manual stuff)

It's been far too long, but Farscape is about to enter its fourth season here on Disciples of Boltax.

Things open unevenly with 4x01 Crichton Kicks.  Our man John has found himself an elderly leviathan, Elac, so he hasn't run out of food or oxygen yet.  Heck, he's even just about cracked 'wormholes for dummies,' a non-genre pop-culture reference.  Things get interesting when a new girl, Sikozu, shows up with some Leviathan hunters hot on her tail.  We also learn that Grayza has put huge bounties on all there heads when Chiana & Rygel return.

Mixed though the episode was, it introduces Elac's DRD 1812, John's new pet.  He's awesome, and Bill named a snake after him.

In terms of sci-fi goodness, there's plenty.  Crichton calls the villains of the week Klingon, and even goes so far as to bark some Klingon phrases at them.  Yup, John studied at least a bit of Klingon at some point or another.  Wild.  He also calls them "Pirates of the Caribbean," after the ride, (Farscape predates the movie franchise) and Slaughterhouse Five in reference to them cutting up the Leviathan.  Finally, both of John's nicknames for Sikozu are at least a bit geeky, as he calls her Tinkerbell (as she's so small and light) and Sputnik (after her hairstyle.) Non-genre references include Mother Theresa, Jacques Cousteau, and Baywatch.

We then move on to the two-part episode, Sacrifice, 4x02 and 4x03.  D'Argo and Jool have struck up a relationship on an archeological dig.  Interestingly, John finds a toy with Egyptian, Sebacian, and Interon symbols on it.  This will prove important in The Peacekeeper Wars, but this episode sort of drags.  We learn that Scorpius has fallen out of favor with high command and seemingly see him shot and buried alive by Braca. Jool stays behind in the end, as we've swapped one intellectual red-head with strange powers for another.  Odd choice.  They must have really not liked her.

References include The Simpsons, as John calls Braca Smithers.  He also paraphrases Dirty Harry, rather hilariously. "Now, I don't know if you fired 500 shots or 600...", and calls a swamp monster "the creature from the Black Lagoon," Non-genre references include calling Grayza Mata Hari after the infamous WWI double agent, Steve McQueen for his part in The Great Escape, and baseball players Gaylord Perry and Joe Neikro.

We move on to a nice pun, Lava's a Many Splendored Thing, 4x04.  (Of course, a reference to the book & film.)  The gang, suffering from GrandmaNoranti's cooking, make a pitstop near a cache of wealth and interrupt some burgers. They've got shield belts that protect them from weapons fire, and lava is indeed everywhere.  It's a fun little episode, though you start to feel the lack of Moya and Aeryn right about now.  To be fair, they show up right at the very end... but that'll have to wait for next episode.

We get another Wizard of Oz nod, with the head baddie called 'Tin Man.'  John also calls one of his henchman 'Redshirt,' after the tendency of members of Kirk's away team to die horribly.    Non sci-fi references include the three stooges and Abbot & Costello (again), the city of Pompei, and the old Life Cereal commercial.  "Hey, what do you know? Mikey likes it."

Rocky start, for sure.  The show doesn't seem to know what it wants to be without the overarching threat that was Scorpius that we've had for over two years now. 

On to the Field Manual!  We're up to 9 Amazon reviews.  Seven were five stars, but there's a one and a two in there too.  Sigh.  There's also a nice discussion of it on the Powetcast Podcast episode 137: Check them out, they seem like cool guys.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Snapdragon's Transform (dinosaur)

What's this?  I didn't skip a week?  Amazing!  Maybe I'm actually settling into the new house.

The Ark Addendum for this week is, as promised, the other half of Snapdragon's Transform, this time to a dinosaur.  While his jet mode is, in all fairness, pretty decent, this mode suffers from triple-changer-itus.  His head, specifically, seems too small for his rather massive torso.  His arms a pretty puny too.  (I know, the t. rex has small arms, but his are especially awkward.)  Using the legs of Krunk as the working jaw was a pretty clever idea, though, and one of the redeeming features of this figure.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BISH!!! Longtime contributor (and wouldn't it be nice to get him back?) David Bishop turns 26 today.  Kick some ass, friend!

Settling into the new home.  Just last week my folks bought me some new flatware to replace our ancient and mismatched set.  We also picked out outdoor furniture for my various decks and patios.  Still to be done, interior furnishing!

I figured that, since I've been talking about the move-in a lot, I should post at least a few photos, so here goes.  Let's start with the new car!  We picked up a 2012 Mustang to replace my aging 2001.  My wife and I love it, it's zippy and nice to look at and comfortable to drive.

And here's a pic of the interior of the house, the curved stairway to the upstairs.  My folks were visiting last week for the Albuqerque balloon festival and snapped some pics for us.  There's more on my facebook account if you're interested!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Snapdragon's Transform (jet)

Howdy, y'all!  Once again, time slips away.  I meant to get this up last week, but I remain swamped!  It's a good thing, but I hate to leave you hanging. 

This week, one of my two transformation boards for Snapdragon.  This is the jet version.  It's a pretty simple transform, which is I suppose fitting for a pretty simple toy. 

I never had Apeface as a kid, but Snapdragon was one that found its way into my big box o' toys.  I didn't care for the name, and still don't.  I suppose they wanted to emphasize the jaw, hence the 'snap', but it doesn't work for me.  Especially since most of the other names were all overtly head related: Apeface, Mindwipe, Skullcruncher, Hardhead, Brainstorm, Chromedome, Highbrow.  (Weirdwolf is the other odd man out.)  Also, his dino mode is pretty lackluster.  He makes a decent jet, at least.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch: Season 3 Endgame

It's been nearly a month since I sat down to examine some Farscape.  The move has sucked up all my spare time and energy, and I've got a deadline approaching for the Field Manual V2.  Still, gotta make time for the things you love, no?

S03E17: The Choice is the last episode to follow the Talyn/Moya dichotomy.  Aeryn retreats to a planet of mystics to deal with her grief, and encounters her mother and, possibly, her father.  Stark also departs, though he won't be gone forever.  Because Crichton is hardly in this one at all, just a few visions, no geek references to speak of. 

S03E18: Fractures deals with the inevitable reunion.  Things are complicated by a transport pod full of prisoners who were to be the subjects of a Peacekeeper weapon test.  Things go badly, of course.  By the end of the episode, John has decided to pick up where the other Crichton left off and make sure Scorpius can't ever use the wormhole knowledge from the chip. 

In terms of the geek, one good reference: John calls a hynerian woman, whom Rygel is smitten with, Barbarella.  Some Disney characters are also namechecked as part of a list of parts.  So too is William Burrough's classic novel Naked Lunch, though I haven't actually read the book. 

S03E19: I-Yensch, You-Yensch follows up on John's conviction, as Rygel and D'Argo meet with Scorpius and Braca to secure passage to the Command Carrier.  Oddly, the threat comes not from Scorpius but from a bumbling pair of arsonists who plan to burn down the meeting spot for the insurance money.  Meanwhile, Talyn finally breaks down and fires on a hospital ship, then Moya, leaving the crew no choice but to shut down his higher functions with the intention of giving him a complete retrofit and a new personality.

No real geek here, though.  Yensch sounds very yiddish, doesn't it, but refers to the I-Yensch bracelets introduced here, which transmit pain from one wearer to the other.  Crichton will wear one, Scorpius the other, so no betrayal is possible.

S03E20-21: Into the Lion's Den (with the terrific subtitles Lambs to the Slaughter and Wolf in Sheep's Clothing) is a terrific almost-season-finale.  Under the guise of helping Scorpius, John finds out that the entire Command Carrier is part of the wormhole research project.  The only way to set Scorpy back far enough is to blow it up.  The gang turns to Crais, as former captain of the ship, and ask him if it's possible.  Crais tells them yes, but then sets them up for a full pardon... or so we think.  Actually, he uses the distraction to gain access to Talyn and reactivates him, starbursting from INSIDE the carrier, causing a chain reaction that destroys the ship.  The cost is his own life, and Talyn's.  Scorpius reveals that he has located Earth, but with his research destroyed he seems doomed to banishment or worse from the Peacekeepers.  He and John release their bracelets and go their separate ways... for now.

I love the noble sacrifice Crais makes.  He's come a long, long, LONG way from the one-dimensional villain we met in the pilot.  (No, not THAT Pilot, the other pilot.  Though, of course, Lani Tupu does play Pilot too... but I digress.)  There is some great imagery in the episode too, like the shot of Scorpius standing in front of his ship with water running down the stairs.  You don't think of water on starships, but of course they must have tons. 

There's a bit of geek too.  My favorite is the introduction of a long-running nickname for Scorpius: Grasshopper, from Kung-Fu.  It shows up a few times in these episodes, then quite a bit in season four.  There's also a double-whammy sentence: "I've got Dick Tracy's freakin' neural bracelet linkin' me to Bram Stoker's nightmare."  There's also the awesome line, "Flying through wormholes ain't like dustin' crops, farmboy," a paraphrase of Han Solo's quip to Luke from A New Hope.  Less geeky pop-culture nods include The Caine Mutiny ("Scorpy's in Captain Queeg mode. Somebody's stolen his strawberries") and John ironically calling Scorpius Ghandi.

S03E22: Dog with Two Bones caps off the season.  It's an odd episode, coming down from the high that was Into the Lion's Den.  Absent the threat of Scorpius, the crew disintigrates, and John and Aeryn go their separate ways.  We do meet a new character, unnamed as of yet, an older mystic woman with three eyes.  In some ways, she's stepping in to the role that Zhaan filled.  Despite a large number of dreams of Earth, no real pop culture references here.  It's a ton of fun to see Chiana hanging all over Jack Crichton, though! She sure looks hot in human garb.

That's it for season three!  Overall, probably the strongest of the four offerings.  One was two slow, and four has an odd vibe to it.  Two was pretty terrific, but the two Crichton story arc gave the whole show terrific momentum.  We also benefit from the increased presence of Scorpius, one of the best sci-fi villains ever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Ark Addendum: Apeface's Transform

Hola, amigos!  I know it's been a long time since I rapped at you, but I've been HELLA busy with my move to Albuquerque.  I love my new home, but between closing the deal and repairing all the minor things wrong with it and unpacking and furnishing it, it's sucked up just about all of my time.

Anyway, it's been a couple of weeks, but I should be back on track for a while as life calms down.  So, checking on Martin's tally of my missing model sheets, I come to... APEFACE!

Full disclosure: I don't have the model sheet of his transformation to jet mode.  I dunno why, I just don't.  I do have both sets for Snapdragon, so look for that soon.

My main memory of Apeface is trying to hunt down a spare gun for him.  You see, you can snap his gun into either side of his jet mode, but that seemed awkward to me, so I went ahead and got an extra.  The gun isn't perfectly symmetrical, so that doesn't work 100% either, but it was neat at the time.  He never got a lot of screen time, but in the Underbase arc he used his own arm to bludgeon another Decepticon into pulp.  You gotta love that!

Friday, August 31, 2012

G. I. Joe Field Manual Volume Two!

So, there's no secret that I've been working on a second volume of the G.I. Joe Field Manual, Volume Two.  As it turns out, now has the book for preorder!  You can see the lovely cover.  As it mentions, we cover season two, though we go beyond that to cover the Sunbow commercial years and even the DiC series.

Preorder your copy today: G.I. JOE: Field Manual Volume 2 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch: Mid season 3

My Geekwatch continues through mid season three, with two ships and two Crichtons.

S03E10, Relativity, features the confrontation between Aeryn and her mother, Xhalax. No real genre references to speak of, though John gets some pop culture references in there.  "We left a trail Stevie Wonder could follow," he remarks of their progress through the woods.  When observing some acidic berries, he quips that they're not something he'd put on his Cocoa Puffs. 

S03E11, Incubator, is a Scorpy-centric episode.  We see his background as he attempts to convince the John remnants inside the Neuro-Chip to help him.  Good episode, minimal geekdom.  Crichton Neuro-Clone asks if he's a ghost, a soul, or 'Holodeck Crichton.'

S03E12, Meltdown, features the crew of Talyn attempting to avoid plunging into a sun.  The real fun is that Talyn's systems are pumping out a gas making everyone a bit exaggerated, with Stark crazier than usual, Crais more controlling, Rygel hungrier, and John & Aeryn horny as hell.

There's plenty here for the sci-fi fan, too.  John tells Crais to "Never say never again, 007," regarding his prospect of returning to the Peacekeepers.  When the alien Mu-Quellis appears on Talyn, John asks him if he just 'beamed in', another of the ubiquitous Trek references.  "Phantom, new tune for the opera," John quips to Stark, a play on his mask. "The Pied Piper's found a new tune," John informs Crais of Mu-Quellis' machinations.

S03E13, Scratch 'N Sniff, is a light-hearted episode told retrospectively by John to Pilot, about a misadventure on a pleasure planet.  Ren & Stimpy get namedropped, but that's about it for the connoisseur of geekiness.  (John calls D'Argo Lassie, and the Clover's song Love Potion Number 9 is mentioned as well, for other pop-culture nods.)

S03E14-15, Infinite Possibilities, kills off our extraneous John.  It really was quite clever, since the one that died was the one who had the more weighty stories, and the one who survived the one who was cracking up a bit.  It really did seem like the 'real' John was the guy who passed away, at least for a little while.  No real geek references in the episodes, though the titles (Icarus Abides, Daedalus Demands) are pulled from geekGreek mythology.  The closest we get is John telling Harvey, "my, grandma, what big teeth you have."

S03E16, Revenging Angel, takes us back to Moya, as the still living John is almost (accidentally) killed by D'Argo and languishes in a coma.

In his head, the environment often takes the form of an animated Looney Toons landscape, specifically the Road Runner cartoons.  This is, itself, a nice geek reference.  I won't attempt to annotate where every cartoon comes from, though they borrow from the various Road Runner (and, to a lesser extent, other Warner cartoons) extensively.  Naturally, they got Trek in there, with John riding around on an animated Enterprise.  I did have to look this one up, though: "I know this guy. Dr. Chuck Jones. Wrote the...Dr. Chuck Jones wrote the book on these situations."  Chuck Jones was one of the animation greats, who directed many an episode of Looney Toons and helped create many memorable characters, including the Coyote and the Road Runner. 

An aside: when I first started watching Farscape, the episodes were in reruns on Sci-Fi.  For some reason, they were all mixed up, so I saw some random 1st season, 4th season, and 3rd season episodes.  Of course, the third season episodes had the two Crichton splits, so even there the crew kept changing.  It was almost impossible to keep track. Somehow I managed to see this episode immediately after Part II of Infinite Possibilities... and instantly dismissed it as some episode from earlier or later in the series.  I still wondered how they'd bring John back. 

Some other geeky highlights include a HILARIOUS exchange between Harvey and John about Kirk/Shatner. John: "Kirk wouldn't stoop that low."  Harvey: "That was a television show, John. And he made Priceline commercials. But if you insist...then look to Kirk the way he really was -- savage when he had to be." Harvey also asks John for reasons for him to stay alive, calling it... The Letterman List. 

Finally, there's a brilliant section chock-a-block with pop culture references wherein an animated fantasy Aeryn shows up.  It must be seen:

References here include various sexy ladies, including a Baywatch babe, Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Rabbit, Cleopatra (crossed with Romeo & Juliet), Dorothy Gale from the frequently referenced Wizard of Oz, and Madonna.  When John pushes it a bit too far, she retreats to Nancy Regan of all people.  Oh, and she ends with a Forrest Gump reference, "Run, Forrest, run!"

And, as John closes out the episode, so shall I close out this segment of the blog: That's all, folks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

G.I. Joe Field Manual -- Official Reaction Thread

OK, the The G.I. Joe Field Manual: Volume 1 is out today!  That means that I'll be making an official reaction thread here.  Loved it?  Hated it?  Wondering why it's not in color?  Post here and let me know.

Here's the first review of the book that I've found, from Pendragon's Posts:

He gives it three out of three Yo Joes!  "Nothing like reliving the eighties style of cartoons with some files cards thrown in the mix." Sounds like so far I'm one for one!

Here's a nice unboxing.  1:36 in or so he gets to the Field Manual and has some very nice things to say.

G.I. JoeVersity posted some rather kind thoughts on the book.  Here's an excerpt: "It’s a fantastic resource for fans of the toys, the cartoon series, and the comics. It’s wonderfully laid out, and contains just about every design and character sheet for the first season and a half of A Real American Hero." has a couple of five-star reviews!  Some quotes include these gems: "I'll add that this works very well as a 'how to draw G.I. Joe' book - and if I'd had it in the mid-eighties I probably would never have left my little drawing table!" and "The 'G.I. Joe Field Manual' is an absolute joy. It is a behind-the-scenes visual delight of Season 1 (and the pre-Season 1 mini-series) of the 80's G.I. Joe cartoon by Sunbow, and a wish come true for G.I. Joe collectors (especially 'Joe cartoon fans), or even fans of cartoon "bibles" in general." 

Look to The Lottery Party for another in-depth review.  "Tons of interesting research from the two authors, and I look forward to checking out volume two."  Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Metalhawk's Transform; The Field Manual!

Busy week for me!  I've moved out of Los Angeles... more or less.  Actually, I've only removed my person from the environs, my stuff won't follow me for a few more days.  But I've not headed down to Albuquerque yet, no.  I'm in New York, visiting family in advance of my brother's wedding.  After that, breeze over to New Mexico, close on my new house, and then maybe settle down to some writing.

This week's Addendum is Metalhawk's Transformation.  Martin, you missed this one!  This well and truly DOES finish off my Masterforce Pretender transformations.  Not a bad one to go out on, is he.  Metalhawk is the Cybertron leader for the first part of Masterforce, until Ginrai takes up the mantle.  He's also one of the handful of Japanese exclusive molds to the Masterforce line (along with, from memory, God Bomber, Overlord, Browning, and some new tooling on Ginrai, Grand Maximus, and Black Zarak.)  His die-cast metal bits made him stand out, as these had largely been abandoned by the tail end of 1986.

YO JOE!!!   The G.I. Joe Field Manual: Volume 1 hits stores TOMORROW! Get on down to your local comic book shop and pick up a copy.  I'll post an official reaction thread, and I'd surely love to hear your thoughts.

For those of you who missed it, this is my compilation of G.I. Joe animation models from the 1983-1985 period.  That includes both mini-series as well as season one.  From Ace to Zap, from the A.S.P. to Zartan, it's a more than comprehensive guide to the G.I. Joe cartoon covering the Joe team, Cobra, and plenty of guests.  M.A.S.S. Device? Check!  Weather Dominator? Don't you know it! Honda Lou West?  But of course! Oktober Guard? I'd be remiss otherwise.
en abandoned by the tail end of 1986.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Perceptor's Transform

Hey, y'all!  Sorry I took a week off, moving from LA to Albuquerque is taking up much of my time.  I found the time today, though, to share a fun model sheet... Perceptor's transformation!

Oddly, I don't have too many of the American transformation sheets.  Most of what I had I shared in The Ark, albeit small.  I acquired a few more, when I got the model packs for Webworld and Madman's Paradise.  Perceptor was among these.  (As was Sludge, so expect to see him and no other Dinobot at some point.)

I like step 4... I wonder if it didn't, many years later, inspire the rather excellent Vitruvian Man Perceptor cover to All Hail Megatron 15 by all-around cool guy Casey Coller

Can't neglect my dozens of Farscape fans either, now, can I?  Let's see, where did I leave off?  Oh, yes, early Season Three.  (I'm up to S4 now, so I've got some catching up to do.)  S03E05, Different Destinations, is Farscape's take on time travel.  True to form, the gang just makes things worse and worse, and while things don't wind up at their nadir, they leave history worse than they found it.  One geektastic reference here, when Crichton gives Stark the nickname Astroboy.  Gotta love it.  Other pop-culture references include Scarface ("Woah, Tony Montana") and The Andy Griffith Show, when he calls the peacekeeper hero "Opie."

S03E06, Eat Me, kicks off one of the best storylines in Farscape, bar none... the two Crichton arc.  On board a dying leviathan, the gang encounters a madman who can 'twin' people.  Two copies, both equal and original, though repeated twinning can result in degradation and brain damage.   The biggest geek reference in the ep is John calling the degraded, too-often twinned Peacekeepers "Night of the Living Dead."  Hammer Films is also name-checked.  Other pop-culture references include additional nods to The Wizard of Oz ("ding, dong, the pod is dead") and Kentucky Fried Chicken ("it's finger-lickin' good.")  Oh, and John mentions Abbot & Costello again.
S03E07, Thanks for Sharing, continues the ramifications of two Crichtons running around, and introduces Aeryn's mother Xhalax, as a recurring villain.  The main story, about local intrigue as the gang tries to fix Talyn, falls a bit flat though.  Geek references, there are two.  My favorite is this: "I know it's not as bad as the last time. It's not the Cro-Magnon copy or the Alien Nation reject, but you can tell I'm the original, right?"  Alien Nation, a terrific sci-fi show, was created by Rockne O'Bannon, one of Farscape's creators.  I also enjoy the continuity nod to the last time we had multiple Crichtons running about. The other geek reference was to The Dark Crystal, when John lists the Skeksis among people Crais might have pissed off.  Non geek references include Captain Crunch as a nickname for Crais, the Gotti family as a nickname for the ruling family on the planet in question, and A Few Good men ("you want the truth? you can't handle... aw, let's cut the crap."

S03E08, Green Eyed Monster, starts off the format of the season.  Half the episodes take place on Talyn, with Crichton, Aeryn, Rygel, Stark, and Crais.  Half take place on Moya, with Crichton, D'Argo, Chiana, Jool, and Pilot.  Monster is one of the former, and involves Talyn getting swallowed by a living budong (See Home on the Remains.)  Only one Geek reference, but it's lovely.  "That's no moon... That's a budong!" (If you need me to explain this, then why are you even reading this blog?)  Other less geeky reference include the obligatory bible reference when John calls Crais 'Jonah' and the famous Apollo (mis)quote, "Houston, we have a problem."

S03E09, Losing Time, is a Moya episode. The gang takes on a couple of energy beings who can possess them, and hilarity ensues.  PLENTY of geekdom here, so it's a good one to end on.  One of the incorporeal beings he addresses as Casper.  In a nice Exorcist nod, John argues that he can't be the one possessed, because "If I'm Linda Blair, why am I telling you guys anything?" John also informs a DRD "All right, we don't understand the R2-D2 crap. We're going to use the Star Trek system: one blink for yes, two blinks for no. You understand?"  This is a beautiful Star Trek/Star Wars reference.  One blink for yes, two for no comes from The Menagerie two-parter in the original series of Trek.

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and needless to say is well worth the money.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Sureshot's Transform (and even more Farscape)

The Ark Addendum marches on!  I'm honestly not sure what I'll bring you next week, but this week I finish off the last of many partial sequences I've been through, the transformations for the Headmaster characters.

Sureshot's our boy this time.  I'd say my favorite image is probably step 1, just showing the car zooming along at high speed.  It's nice that they didn't just reuse the basic car model.  It's a bit odd that they violate the 180 degree rule from that shot to the next one, though.

Farscape Geekwatch also continues!  The wife and I are enjoying plowing through the show as a nice break from my work and her studies.  It's my second, MAYBE third time watching it, her first.  It remains mucho fun, mainly for the rich characterization though the arc episodes are quite well done.

S03E02, Suns and Lovers continues with the Zhaan dying plotline. The gang just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, when some religious zealots target the station they're resupplying at.  The only genre reference of note is Scooby Doo.  John calls the gang's heroism "Scooby time" and then name-drops Scooby snacks.  Non-genre references include John calling D'Argo Heavy D, after a rapper.

S0E03-04, Could'a, Would'a, Should'a, introduces Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis (aka Jool), writes Zhaan out (Virginia Hay was having a bad time with the make-up), and gives us an inside look at Wormholes.  Many fans seem to hate Jool, and I can see why.  My first exposure to her was from mid-S3, when she was a contributing crew member, but in her first few appearances she was annoying as frell.  That was probably a bad choice, and probably why they'd write her out in early S4.

Sci-Fi and geek references include another Trek reference (John to Jool: "Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.) and Aeryn, of all people, asking if a broadcast clip John saw was 'Yoda of Dagobah.'  Also to Jool, he expresses some sympathy as he knows that "this trip to Krugerland was not on your itinerary," a Nightmare on Elm Street references.  Non-genre references include infamous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey ("can it, F.Lee", he quips to Rygel), Adam-12 ("One-Adam-Twelve, guys."  Adam-12 starred frequent Farscape guest star Kent McCord, aka Jack Crichton), and Hogan's Heroes (he calls one of the aliens Colonel Klink.)

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and if you don't own it, buy it now now now!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farscape: Geekwatch

Let's finish off season two of  Farscape Geekwatch!  S02E19-21, Liars, Guns and Money (a nod to the Warren Zevon song, Lawyers, Guns and Money) is great episode and a continuity freak's delight.  Stark returns from dispersal (that didn't take long) with a plan to rescue D'Argo's son, who is to be auctioned off in a lot of 10,000 slaves.  His idea is simple... rob a bank!  Not just any bank, a Shadow Depository, where knaves and rogues store their ill-gotten wealth.  Stark's more devious than previously shown.  We find that many of the slaves are his fellow Banicks, and that the guy they are robbing is Scorpius, who of course tortured Stark for months.

What's especially fun is that, when things go south, the gang comes up with a Plan B that involves gathering up villains from previous episodes to help rob the bank.  They gather up the Vorcarion blood trackers from 'Till the Blood Runs Clear, the Sheyang fish men to burn through the walls with their firebreath from PK Tech Girl, gauntlet wielding TavloidsTavleks from Throne for a Loss, and the Zenetian Pirates so they can deploy the Flax to stop any pursuit, from The Flax. Those latter have fallen in with Durka, from PK Tech Girl and Durka Returns, though Rygel dispatches him very casually.  Besides continuity porn, we get to see Scorpius engage in what can only be described as vigerous sex with the bank's proprietor, Natira, complete with his cooling rod popping out at climax.  Oh, my!

But that's not the point of this blog, really.  Let's look at genre references!  Crichton calls Scorpius 'Leatherface' and then even points out where it's from: Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  There are also a couple of Young Frankenstein references thrown in, with Crichton calling Natira 'Frau Bl├╝cher' and Scorpius 'Fronkensteen.'  There's also a 2001: A Space Odyssey nod, when John sings Daisy while slowly going out of his mind right at the end.  Non-genre references include John bluffing his way into the Shadow Depository by claiming that KFC is, "to my knowledge, unique in the universe, and unique is always valuable. Now, we have managed to procure all eleven secret ingredients."  (Note how he echoes Scorpius here.)  John also name drops Baywatch, and quotes the National Enquirer's tagline 'enquiring minds want to know.'

 S02E22, Die Me Dichotomy, finishes off the season.  The Neuro-chip takes over completely, leading to tragic consequences.  The episode ends, in true Farscape fashion, with Aeryn dead and John lying helpless on the operating table, the speech center of his brain destroyed, his surgeon seemingly dead, and Scorpius in possession of the chip.  Minimal references, though.  All I can find is the clone exclaiming "ooo, fireworks!" in a Robin Williams Mork from Orc voice.  (Mork & Mindy, naturally.)

And, hey, since I'm in the mood, S03E01, Season of Death starts things off.  Despite the ominous title, we get the rebirth of Aeryn and the restoration of John, though Scorpius does get away with the chip.  My favorite bit from the episode was Scorpius' torturing of Grunchlk, who was pretty smarmy last episode.  Aeryn's resurrection seems a bit cheap, though drains Zhaan to the point that she will most likely die. 

No genre references to speak of, though Harvy (now just a shadow of his former self with no chip to rely on) quotes the bible and John counters with Shakespeare.
  Harvey: "Death is the only sensible course, John. For everything there is a season, a time to be born, and..."
  John: "A time to die, yes, yes, yes. The Devil quotes scripture."

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, so what are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Farscape: Geekwatch

After a blazingly rich Geekwatch last time, Farscape gives us a bit of a dry spell, at least as far as geek references go.  S02E16, The Locket tells the tale of Aeryn and John growing old together due to a time anomaly.  No geek or pop culture references of note. On the plus side, hey, Stark is back! S02E17, The Ugly Truth, likewise features no references of note.  It does borrow its structure from the classic Rashomon, as each crew member recounts a disastrous meeting between Crais, Talyn, and some arms dealers.  Oh, and Stark buys it!  Easy come, easy go.

S02E18, A Clockwork Nebari (the title, of course, a reference to the Kubrick's amazing sci-fi dystopian tale A Clockwork Orange) features a bit.  The geekiest reference is Crichton asking if his captor's actions violate "the Nebari Prime Directive," which can only be read as a Star Trek reference.  Also notable is the fact that John has named his pulse pistol Winona.  Not sure what that's a reference to, possibly Winona Ryder (great actress, staring in such genre films as Beetlejuice and Alien Resurrection) or Wynonna Judd, singer.  Other pop culture references include Blondie (not only is the villain called "Debroah Harry", but Crichton says she's gonna "getcha-getcha-getcha,") the $100,000 pyramid, Jim Belushi ("you're gonna Belushi out" he tells Rygel") and a pastish of western refereneces, ("I'm bringing Miss Kitty back from the O.K. Corral.  Any word on Aeryn or Doc Rygel?")  Oh, and isn't the Nebari method of drug induction, by a patch on the optic nerve, creepy as hell?

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and it's amazing.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Pointblank's Transform (and Farscape continues)

Welcome, faithful readers, to another edition of The Ark Addendum.  I've been endeavoring, with long-time reader Martin's help, to finish off some gaps in my previous postings.  With that in mind, here's the Transformation for Pointech, AKA Pointblank.

My favorite part of this drawing is the underside of the car, in step 2A.  It seems very Back to the Future somehow.

And while we're on the subject of other Sci-Fi, let's examine some Farscape, shall we, as my Geekwatch continues.

We're up to the mid-season three-parter, Look At The Princess, S02E10 - S02E12.  The story kind of dragged, truth be told.  Originally this was a two-part episode that got expanded.  I think they would have been better off keeping it tight.  The Scorpius stuff is great, and we get our first look at the Scarrans, but the local politics winds up tedious.

Lots of great genre references, though.  When D'Argo leaps through the air to catch a plummeting Chiana and knock her away from boiling acid, John's reaction is an earnest "how Batman was that?"  As John contemplates the downside of 80 years spent as a sentient statue, he lists out all the people who will be dead when he's revived, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  John also likens a floating probe to the one used by Obi-Wan in Star Wars. Prince Valiant is namechecked. Finally, when Crichton finds out that he is to wed the princess, because only he is genetically compatible for siring children, he calls himself the reverse King Arthur.  "I'm the one who can put the sword INTO the stone!"  Cute.  (Non genre references include Blazing Saddles ["Get back, or the white boy gets it. Oh, man, don't let 'em kill me!"], Apocalypse Now, and John Wayne Bobbit.)

S02E13, My Three Crichtons is much stronger.  Crichton gets hit with a probe and a prehistoric and highly evolved version extrapolated.  Two good sci-fi references here.  John refers to the probe which duplicates him as a 'body snatcher', a nice nod to the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Perhaps more fun is a confused Crichton stating that he's "in Bill and Ted land here," referring to the amusing time travel parody Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.   Other pop culture references include The $64,000 Question and My Three Sons

S02E14, Beware of Dog, is a fun little story about parasites on the ship and the Vorc the gang buys to try to help deal with them.  Hardly profound, but an enjoyable outing.  Good genre references abound.  Crichton calls the parasites body snatchers (a better use of the term, though a bit repetitive.)  He refers to the Vorc as an "Ewok gone bad" (because it's cuddly and cute) and as "The Incredible Vorc" (due to its ability to Hulk out).  John also employs the Riddler's catch phrase, "riddle me this."  Non-sci-fi references include Lassie ("Look, Lassie here is trying to communicate with us,") and some dialog paraphrased from Caddyshack.

I'll end with S02E15, Won't Get Fooled Again.  This is a terrific episode, where John wakes up seemingly on Earth.  Since they played this beat last season, the audience isn't buying it and neither is John.  It turns out that the scenario isn't designed to fool him, just to drive him bonkers.  I love John opening the door to a woman's room and seeing... a woman's room.  It's also clear the production team had a ton of fun putting the gang in unusual costumes and situations.  Crais as a police officer in red high-heeled shoes? Priceless.  Getting the girls to dress up in fetish outfits is fun too.

Reference-wise, there are a TON of Wizard of Oz references.  (Let's see... John thinks he's got it all figured out, and it's a plot to "show you how I create the giant blue twister that sucks me down to Oz." Crais as a police officer calls a dog Toto.  John calls the Scorpius neuro-clone, which manifests itself for the first time here, "the man behind the curtain."  John says he feels like he's been hit by a house.  And John's rhyme, "Come out, come out, wherever you are, and see the young man who fell from the star" echoes a similar rhyme from the Good Witch.  Other references include Hamlet, Dirty Harry, The Beatles, and The Who (the eponymous song, naturally.) I find it amusing that it's between two Jimmy Stewart movies that Crichton picks the Scorpius Clone's name from.  Harvey is an invisible rabbit from the film of the same name, Clarence is the invisible angel from It's a Wonderful Life.

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and everyone should watch it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

TFCon Reminder!

Hey, guys, remember that I'll be at TFCON this weekend.  Look for the fool in the Fez and say hi to me if you're there.  My panel on Legacy runs at 11 AM on Sunday.  Look for a surprise guest or two!  I'll show off some Legacy work, then answer any questions you may have about whatever.  Hope to see you there!  Now, I've got a flight to catch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Diver's Transform (and Farscape's Geekwatch marches on!)

Filling in the gaps in previous series continues with Diver, the last Pretender I'm missing from Masterforce.  (Martin, who am I still missing now?)

I think my favorite bit from the Diver model isn't represented here.  It's the tattoo on his human form that reads "perked up anchor."  Oh, Japan!

Farscape Geekwatch!  S02E06: Picture if You Will features the return of Maldis.  We won't see him again (though, without looking it up, he seems like a sure bet for a comic appearance) but he'll be mentioned a few more times.  I hated the character the first time through, seemed too mystical for my taste, though really in retrospect he's not much different than Q or Trellain or any other energy being.  The geekiest bit in the episode is when Crichton criticizes Maldis for not reading the supervillain's handbook.  Not specific, but geeky none-the-less.  (specific non-geek references include The Price Is Right, The Sound of Music, and Magical Mystery Tour.)

S02E07: The Way We Weren't is an episode largely motivated around a series of flashbacks to the days of Crais and Aeryn as Peacekeepers.  Man, if they'd made Crais this badass in S1 they might not have had to replace him!  Nothing too geeky here, though John saying that "I don't think Pilot's in a 'Leviathan for Dummies' kinda mood right now" almost counts.

S02E08: Home on the Remains (ugh!) is another weaker episode, again with a Chiana focus.  Good geek cred, though, with John shouting "shazam!" (Captain Marvel, natch.  From memory, Soloman, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury. Yeah, I like my Captain Marvel.)  John also tells the bad guy "No more Captain Kirk chitchat." Other references include Dominoes pizza, Jenny Craig's weight loss ads, and the Donner party.

I'll end with S02E09: Out of their Minds, a hilarious episode with body swapping all around.  No geek references here, I'm afraid.  No real references of any kind that I noticed, outside from Crichton calling Rygel (in his own body none-the-less) Einstein and referring to his body smacking his ego (residing in Aeryn's body) as a Three Stooges routine.  I'll forgive much, though, since John goes ahead and takes advantage of his time in Aeryn's body to feel up her boobs, then dance around with her shirt open. 

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and unless you're homeless you should own it.