4 Character Actors You Didn’t Know You Knew–Friday Four

CantonIn the past, we’ve talked about some weird casting situations, where patterns emerged or unusual relationships between characters and actors (or even whole franchises) appeared. Most of those involved the big names of the show’s cast, the people with their names right after the opening credits. And as important as the main cast can be for a show’s success, it’s often the recurring character who help to give a show its flavor, often coming out of the shadows to emerge as fan favorites. This week, continuing on from our focus on recurring characters in the SHIELD review, we’re going to look at some of the actors whose names aren’t quite so prominently displayed, but whose work you’re probably more familiar with than you realize.

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6 Degrees of Science Fiction–Friday Four(-ish)

Kevin Bacon X-MenEver heard of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” It’s a little game people like to play with celebrities, based on the idea that you can get from any one actor to another (typically the aforementioned Kevin Bacon) by naming someone who was in a movie with another actor, who starred alongside a third in a different movie, and so on, until you make it to an actor who appeared on screen with Kevin Bacon. Today’s Friday Four (well, six, this week) is going to engage in some fun trivia by pulling the sci-fi version of this–counting each jump from universe to universe, how many jumps away are some of the biggest Sci-Fi heroes from each other? Let’s find out!

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4 of the Most Respectable One-off Villains–Friday Four

Commander Harken 2In the days of episodic television, there were always villains of the week, showing up just in time for the next episode and being dispatched within the hour. Usually, they had little explanation and even less characterization, and that was okay because no one really cared about the background of this one episode bad guy. Once in a while, though, a villain would appear on the scene who warranted more. He was skilled, not just another in an endless line of mooks. He had a code of honor. He had things he believed in and fought for, and just as often, died for. And for once, we in the audience were forced to stop and rethink the position of our heroes. These 4 bad guys below were doing their jobs, exactly as the heroes do, and from another perspective, they might even be a hero.

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4 of the Best Developed Sci-Fi Relationships — Friday Four

Zoe and Wash 2With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and carrying on our theme from last week, I thought it’d be nice to honor those couples who are really shown to have a great relationship. Whether that relationship blossomed before our eyes on screen, went through dozens of horrible obstacles, or just came together through a shared need, these couples show that sci-fi romance doesn’t have to happen only at the end of the story, nor does it have to be a shallow “Hero’s Reward” sort of thing. So here are four couples that both earned and proved their love.

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Psychic and Sci-Fi: Why the connection?

Psi CorpsSo, after the abysmal premiere of a certain recent miniseries, people’s reactions to the various twists seemed to suggest a question was forming in the minds of sci-fi fans everywhere: why, exactly, are psychic or telekinetic powers considered to be an acceptable plot device in sci-fi? It’s certainly a divergence from most of the other tropes of sci-fi. After all, one of the ground rules that separates sci-fi from fantasy is “technical possibility.” We believe aliens could exist; we believe Artificial Intelligences are possible; traveling through the stars in massive spaceships? Well, we’re already halfway there. Sure, the execution isn’t always terribly realistic, but those are generally concessions to storytelling than deliberate breaks from reality. Star Trek‘s aliens mostly look like humans because Star Trek is a TV show and the characters have to be played by human actors (at least, until very recently with CGI). Psychic powers are the one exception that’s still often considered to be part of the sci-fi writers’ workbag–so why?

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