Sunday, March 29, 2009

Muppetstar Galactica

Hah, now THIS was funny...

So. The ending of Battlestar Galactica has upset some people, and I'm trying to figure out why. I think the reason why is because these people never actually watched the original series, or they watched it and don't remember how incredibly religious the characters were. They were, after all, following the prophecies handed down by their gods, y'know?

I think a lot of people I know are irked that it would actually turn out that the show actually contained apparitions that must be labeled "angels" and such. Let's face it, many of my acquaintences are either atheist or at the very least agnostic, and being forced to face up with the fact that one of their favorite shows was thinly veiled religious dogma is a bit upsetting. But I think they're not really thinking things through, and are just taking things at face value a little too seriously.

First, the first BSG was way more religious than this one. And they even went so far as to give us a character who actually seemed to be the Biblical devil... Count Iblis, in the two part War of the Gods episodes. When shot with a blaster, he transforms briefly into a demon of sorts.

Lots of people are upset that Kara died and came back to life as some kind of angel given flesh. The same thing happened to Apollo in the original series... he sacrificed himself to save a fellow crew member who had fallen under Count Iblis' influence. Then suddenly his body disappears!

Sound familiar?

Now don't get me wrong. I really don't think this is what they were shooting for when they originally put the series on the table. In fact, I don't think they had anything lined up except that Galactica would make it to Earth in primitive times and populate it, mating with the primitive man living there, eventually leading to our present day society. See, the whole BSG mythos has always been based on Erich Von Daniken's Ancient Astronaut theories. His, and Zechariah Sitchin's ideas. Do any of them hold water? Not really, if you do your research. Granted, reading their books, Chariots of the Gods from Daniken and Sitchin's whole saga about the planet Nebiru... those books are all very gripping, but when you research them, they just don't hold that much water.

Arthur C. Clarke said that any technology, sufficiently advanced of a society, would appear to be magickal in nature. Now, magic, at least to me, is synonymous with religion. Miracles? Magic. Immortality? Magic. Religion? All about magic. The unexplainable. Nobody can explain magic, that's its nature. Nobody can explain religion to a scientific mind, either.

So where do these "Angels" appear in the original BSG time frame? In The Ship of Lights. The Seraphs, as they were referred to in the script but not actually on the series, were these white-clad mysterious beings who told the Colonials "We were once what you are, we are what you may be." Or something like that. Well, anyway, they resurrected Apollo after this devil-being struck him down. They made his body disappear.

My point is: nothing happened that hasn't happened before in BSG. Well, okay, lots of things did, but what's causing so much commotion among fans has happened before.

My ideas:

The "Angels" were part of a sufficiently-advanced society that tried to accelerate man's evolution more than once. The first trial led to the creation of Cylons, which led to war and the depopulation of both species. The Angels (Seraphs... seraphim?) saw the damage they had done by interfering, felt appropriately guilty, and resolved to help both races to break the cycle they saw them performing. They weren't really Angels... they were an alien race sufficiently advanced to seem magickal. Is that so hard a stretch?

Oh there were things I didn't like. Starbuck being an agent of Death. I don't mind President Roslin not dying before finding the real Earth, because she rejected prophecy... she saw that prophecy was not infallible. Our paths are our own. But the Angels? Angel Six and Angel Baltar? Those were master strokes. I mean, how else were you going to explain them? What, Caprica Six stuffing Baltar's face in her junk during a nuke imprints her programming on his subconscious as she returns to the Resurrection Hub while he survives? That seemed to be the popular reasoning until Head Baltar started showing up with Caprica Six's subconscious.

No, they're not really Angels. That's how the Colonials perceive them, because the Seraphs, the aliens, are so far advanced that's all we can do to resolve them into our reality.

So there were disappointments with the ending, but not enough for me to really be upset. I think a lot of people aren't really thinking things through, or they just don't know the history of the show. Sorry, guys, but all this has happened before, and it will happen again... you should have done a little research when you heard that the first time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Let's talk Shogun Warriors.

The Shogun Warriors were a really cool toy when I was a kid. I actually saved up my lawn mowing money and bought Raideen myself, the first major toy I did that for. I had no access to the fledgling anime market making the rounds, syndicated on independent channels, so only the commercials I'd see on Saturday morning TV fed my imagination for these Jumbo Machinders, these giant robots who would eventually be the progenitors of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and more importantly, Dynaman.

Occasionally you can catch people putting their Dynaman clips up on Youtube. The only ones I can find nowadays are the clips from the episode The Lizard of Oz. Originally, see, when Saban Entertainment brought the whole sentai culture to the US, he was trying to market it as a comedy, with lines redubbed with insanely funny dialogue that had little to do with the original plot. In fact, a couple of the Kids in the Hall were responsible for the original episodes, which contrary to what you might read on the internet, didn't premiere on Night Flight... they were syndicated.

I'm thinking they take down the Dynaman clips on Youtube because they'd really like to release the Dynaman eps on DVD but can't while they're not protecting their copyright. But then again, why don't they go ahead and release the eps? Probably music rights. The original Dynaman parodies were so well put together that they had an epic 80s soundtrack to them. "Hip To Be Square," by Huey Lewis. "Kids Wanna Rock," by Bryan Adams. It was so In The Moment with 80s pop culture, I have no idea why it didn't originally succeed. Later, Night Flight would employ its lesser talented staff to make new eps. The Power Rangers followed a few years after, and were a hit.

But as far as I can tell, this all started way back when with the Japanese Spider-man series. Toei Studios (who I believe were responsible for many of the super sentai series) bought the rights to Spider-Man in Japan at the same time that the US show starring Nicholas Hammond was making the rounds. As fondly as I remember that show, I really wish Supaidaman was the one I'd been weaned on. Because it is screwed up.

One of the things I used to like to do, before the Power Rangers ruined it, is make my friends watch the original (well... American-dubbed original) Dynaman and watch them freak out when suddenly there's a giant freakin' robot in the middle of everything. That kind of originated with Supaidaman... yes, Spider-Man had a giant robot. Leopardon, who knows where he got that name from.

My point in all of this is that if you have patience for subtitles, you can enjoy the Japanese take on Spider-Man right now on Marvel's website. They are streaming eps every week, with the subtitles, although somehow it's more enjoyable not knowing what's going on. Currently my brothers and I are trying to find a way to Dynaman the Japanese Spider-Man... I have one of the most talented female voice-talents willing to do voices for me, plus I'm not a stiff myself. Hopefully we can get something going, if we can figure out enough jokes and a storyline. And a soundtrack.

In the meantime, freak yourself out to the first episode!

And here's the third ep!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Next time on Battlestar Fawlty

Basil gives his Colonial Viper a damn good thrashing.

Other awesome Star Trek Mashups

While I quite like my own mashup of Shatner's Common People, I found this one to be freakikng hilarious.