Posts Tagged ‘Doctor Who’

4 Strange Cameos by Sci-Fi Characters–Friday Four

Daleks Looney TunesWe’ve talked about cameos a few times on here before. Cameos by celebrity fans are fairly common, and scientists are a great choice when you’re looking to lend your sci-fi some scientific credibility. However, there’s also the other side of the coin–when sci-fi characters drop out of their own universes and make cameos in shows where they wouldn’t usually belong. This isn’t just using the actor or referencing their famous role; we’ve actually got a pseudo-crossover on our hands. (The big difference between these cameos and crossovers is that these aren’t canon to their sci-fi origins.) Who does that? Let’s find out!

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4 Signs Your Utopia Might Secretly Be A Dystopia–Friday Four

Stratos RMThings are pretty great here in Utopia-land, aren’t they? Everyone’s got enough to eat, and they have plenty of time to relax. The weather’s always good, nothing ever breaks down, the lost Doctor Who episodes have been found and Half-Life 3 is totally coming out next week, you guys. A false utopia? Pshaw. Who could possibly have a problem with such a place?

Well, maybe you should. Utopia’s not all it’s cracked up to be; a lot of the time, if you stop to think about it, that wonderful place is actually pretty horrifying. Or even if it is, if you have any experience with the real world, you might start to ask yourself questions, like “how did things become so perfect?”–which is often the first step to learning that it’s not so perfect after all. So, if you find yourself in an apparent utopia, it might be time to dust off that deerstalker and magnifying glass and do a little investigating, and these four signs are as good a place to start as any.

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4 Good Entry Points to Big Franchises–Friday Four

Guardian of ForeverFor those still developing a taste for sci-fi, the prospect of jumping into a major franchise can be an understandably daunting one. With some of them having literal weeks worth of footage accumulated, it’s hard for a newcomer to know where to start. The beginning would seem to be the obvious answer, but that’s not always the case, especially with the numerous shows that suffered through low quality in their early days. Sometimes it can just end up turning you off a show that you might otherwise love; I know I personally had a hard time getting into both Babylon 5 and Stargate when starting from the beginning, but was able to try again with later episodes and really dig in. Other shows have just been running so long that early installments can be hard to watch with how dated they are, something a pre-existing investment in the show can help to counter. The best way, often enough, is to find a so-called “gateway episode,” one that’s enticing enough on its own to pique a viewer’s curiosity into continuing on their own.

So if you’ve found your way here and are wondering how to try out a big franchise, or if you’ve got a friend or loved one you’re eager to convince to watch with you, here are 4 big franchises and the episodes that I personally feel are perfect for introducing people to them.

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4 Clues That Your Alien Predecessors Are Guilty of Abuse–Friday Four

PhoenixIf you’re a member of a relatively young race, just emerging onto the interstellar scene after discovering some means of traveling faster than light, it’s a big old galaxy out there. Odds are, you’re not the first to go into space. Heck, you might’ve been beaten to the punch by millions of years, by alien species that no longer exist (at least on this plane of reality). The lucky ones will strike out into a galaxy with adventure and hidden treasures around every corner, all set up by their thoughtful predecessors. If you aren’t so lucky, you might find yourself in a galaxy of traps and disasters lying in wait, left behind by those negligent early races… or worse, the situation you’re left with is outright malevolent!

Here’s how you can quickly survey the galaxy and decide what’s in store for you out there among the stars.

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4 Celebrity Fan Cameos–Friday Four

GuinanWhen you’re a celebrity, it’s a little bit easier to pull some strings and get a bit part on a TV show that you love than it would be for the average fan. Whoopie Goldberg famously got the role for Guinan after hearing about TNG from LeVar Burton and calling up Gene Roddenberry directly. And most celebrities don’t get quite so large a role as she did–sometimes you can’t even recognize them there at all!┬áThis is a little different from the Noteworthy Cameos from a few months back, as those were all people who were relevant or had a good reason for being on the shows, where as these were more for fun, either on the part of the actor or the producers. So with that in mind, here are 4 celebrities who showed up on sci-fi shows in some particularly unusual situations.

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4 of the Most Unusual Aliens on TV–Friday Four

8472One of the things that TV-based sci-fi often gets ragged on for is that the aliens tend to look suspiciously like ordinary humans. Sure, they might have cranial ridges (bumpy foreheads), or extra fingers/less fingers, or maybe even extra eyes or tails. But they’re still two arms, two legs, one head, approximately 5-7 feet tall. This is definitely a limitation of the medium, and there’s no arguing against it. Even as CGI gets cheaper and more realistic, it’s still far too expensive to use as extensively as most viewers and writers would like.

But those restrictions only stand on alien characters or species that have to show up often. When it’s an alien that only has to appear once or twice, however… the sky’s the limit, as these 4 bizarre alien species prove.

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4 Ways Your Trip Through Time Can Go Wrong–Friday Four

Doctor TARDISAre you planning on building a time machine? Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what to do with the one you’ve already got? Well, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. I have here four of the big mistakes that new time travelers make early in their careers. If you don’t want to return home to a future of Nazi Zombies from Space, or even just get back, excited to share your invention, only to find that no one remembers who you are, then you better read over these sci-fi missteps first.

And for the love of all that exists, DON’T EVEN GO NEAR HITLER!

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4 Sci-Fi Wars with Massive Repercussions–Friday Four

Firefly WarAfter looking at 4 of the biggest changes to the status quo just a few weeks ago, I thought it might be an opportune time to take a moment to see just how that status quo emerged in the first place. In most sci-fi works, or hell, most works set in the future at all, there are a few easy ways to fill in that gap between the story’s setting and the present era, and the main one is with a war. Wars happen all the time in real life, so it’s a logical thing to carry forward into the future; and wars, as most obviously seen in World War 2, often have huge effects on the balance of power and shape the world for decades to come. It’s a good way to explain why things are so different, or even why they aren’t quite as different as they should be. So here are 4 (usually offscreen) wars that helped establish the sci-fi worlds we’ve come to know and love.

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4 of the Biggest Unanswered Questions–Friday Four

ParasiteA lot of the time in long-running shows, or even just shows that manage a few seasons, there will be some big things that are brought up, and then never heard from again. Often it’s because the answer would’ve been a huge shakeup for the status quo, but not always. Sometimes it’s just a plot thread that was left hanging in case the writers ever decided they wanted to revisit it. But then the story started to go in a different direction, and it didn’t really make sense any more to dust that idea off and drag it out of the closet. So looking back on the finished shows later, it can become a rather large mystery for the fandoms: what is the deal with this unresolved plot thread?

In that vein, here are 4 big questions raised by series, usually early in their runs, that were never answered.

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4 Episodes That Rocked the Status Quo–Friday Four

FireIn the time of episodic television, the status quo was king. No matter how bad things got, you’d always know that by the end of the episode, things would be back to normal. The rare exceptions were two-parters, but even then, it almost never had a lasting effect on the characters or the world. In sci-fi, this was usually a little more justifiable; when Kirk and company take off, they leave the planet of the week behind, and all the problems along with it. Other shows that didn’t have a starship at their disposal had a much harder time escaping that fact, often to the show’s detriment. And even running away aboard the Enterprise didn’t excuse the lack of character development that, say, Kirk’s infamous trysts should have had on him.

But once in a while, an otherwise episodic TV series would make a bold step, and that changed the show (or sometimes the entire franchise) forever. It might be a profound character moment, or the side effect of a planned retool, or even something as simple as a marked change in tone, but for whatever reason, these episodes took that status quo and shook it up so much that it never was quite the same.

And surprise, surprise, this list includes SPOILERS for the tagged shows, so proceed at your own risk if you aren’t caught up.

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