• Life,  Television

    The TV SF of my formative years – Pre-1980s

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    By which I mean shows made before the 1980s, although a couple of them spill over a bit. A couple of these, I didn’t actually discover until about 1990 and living on my own in second year university.

    I made an offhand comment on Facebook a couple of days ago that I was searching out the “greatest SF television of my formative years” for stretched out binge watching during the shutdown. (As previously noted on more than one occasion, I’m not wired to be able to do standard binge-watching. I can’t do one thing for that long at a time.)

    I even listed the shows I was after, most of which I’ve come up with. I’ll add one, which will surprise no one. Star Trek The Original Series.

    I’ve been a Star Trek fan for literally as long as I can remember. One of my first memories is sitting in my father’s lap watching a rerun of “The Immunity Syndrome”. That’s the one with the giant space amoeba. Not all of it has aged well, but some of it holds up as excellent storytelling and more of it is culturally relevant today than most people would suspect from a distance.

    The rest of the list:

    I remember watching the TV movie of Battlestar Galactica in a hotel room somewhere during the drive across Canada when Dad was posted to the west coast. It only ran one season, plus a 10-episode spin off series that picked up a generation later, and it was cheesy with inconsistent writing, but it was fun, had mostly clear lines between good and evil, and swear words you can still use today if you want to.

    Buck Rogers was produced just after the first season of BG with the same creative team and, I suspect from the shared FX, the same company. The writing wasn’t as good, but the cheese factor ramped up and the idea of a fun space adventure was front and centre.

    Blake’s 7 follows the story of a group of criminals and semi-anarchists as they fight a guerrilla war against the Terran Federation, a totalitarian government that tries to control everything its citizens do and think. Something to keep in mind: 1970s BBC SF production values.

    You never forget your first Doctor, as the saying goes, and Tom Baker was mine, discovered on a local TVO station in the convenient after the bus dropped me off time slot. I watched as often as I could, but even now I don’t think I’ve seen all of the Tom Baker episodes. Time to change that.

    I discovered the Avengers during second year on a bored Sunday afternoon at about the beginning of the Diana Rigg run. Hooked immediately, it’s still the Steed/Peel relationship that defines the show for me even though I’ve seen most of the rest, before and after Ms. Rigg’s time on the show. Worth noting that the first half of her run was in black and white. It was the 60s and things were still transitioning.

    I actually have the Space 1999 theme on my phone as part of a small play list of SF themes, along with a couple of other themes from this list. Ah, that guitar. I used to love this show as a kid, and while I don’t think I’ve watched an episode in a couple of decades, I have fond memories. Fun but a little darker than a lot of stuff happening at the time, and with the FX ramped up as close to realism as could be produced in the 70s. Probably the biggest SF show of the decade next to The Six Million Dollar Man.

    So there’s my list of potential binge watches for the next little while. There are a few other things that might have made the list, but these are what I’m going with.

    Did I miss anyone’s favourite?

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life,  Uncategorized

    That’s My Secret, Cap

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    Why so angry?

    Come on Lance, you’re a white, middle class male in western society. You’ve got it great compared to most of the rest of the people in the world. What can you possibly have to be angry about.

    Really?

    War, human rights abuses, atrocities committed in the name of ideology or religion or politics, ideology and religion and politics generally, inequalities at every level and in every aspect of every society across the planet, animal treatment and factory farming, ecological destruction, ignorance and stupidity, apostrophe abuse. I could go on. There’s so much to be angry about, I wonder quite frequently why everyone else isn’t.

    It should be easy to overlook or dismiss so much of it as not affecting me directly. That’s what most people do with most things. I have to keep my job, support my family, deal with life. Who has time to be angry?

    Apparently I do. It doesn’t take extra time to be angry, but just being angry doesn’t do any good. It does take extra time to react appropriately, and my time, with family, work, and other obligations, comes at a premium. I can’t just respond to everything that pisses me off. I have to pick and choose the things that are really worth the emotion, but just being angry back at something isn’t generally helpful.

    So I have a rule of thumb: respond in stillness.

    Anger has to be focused and channeled to do any good. Flying off the handle when something makes you mad just makes you another troll, whether that’s on the internet or in real life. Only once I’ve examined the cause of the anger and why I’m feeling it, and calmly figured out the appropriate response will I let that response happen.

    So I have to pick and choose (and sometimes I’m still wrong, but that’s okay – when I’m wrong, I get the opportunity to learn something, often about myself) and I have to make the response after consideration.

    But again, why should I bother?

    I think I’ve come up with a very simple answer to that question: no lasting change ever came about because someone was happy about something. Anger pushes things forward, if you can control it.

    Maybe the only thing I’m changing is the way one particular person is looking at an issue, or maybe I’m the pebble that finally starts the avalanche without realizing it. Maybe I’m change the way I think about something. Any of those is worth the time it takes to focus the anger.

    And maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. Maybe someone reading this does, too.

    Stay angry, my friends.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather