Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the Fourth Be With You!

Yes, May 4th, the unofficial Star Wars Day. I am celebrating by wearing my Lego Star Wars shirt that says "Support Our Troops" along with a picture of Lego Stormtroopers. I also have a geeky countdown to share with you: my Top Ten Favorite Aliens from TV and Film.

10. The alien from Alien. When it comes to villainous extraterrestrials, ALIEN can't be beat! From suffocating you, to bursting out of your chest, to managing to single-handedly wipe out almost the entire crew of the Nostromo, this is one seriously dangerous creature. "Fun" fact: in the original ending, the Alien was going to bite off Ripley's head and record a mission log in her voice. I think if it had ended that way, I would still be afraid to go to sleep with the lights off. Brr.

9. Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies. Who doesn't love Chewie? Not only is he incredibly big and strong, he is loyal to his friends and smarter than he appears at first glance. He needs no further explanation.

8. Harry from Third Rock from the Sun. The absent-minded, lovably stupid member of the Solomon family. Probably knows more about Earth pop culture than the rest of the crew, because he spends all of his time watching television. Has hidden depths. And a transmitter in his head, to contact their leader, the Big Giant Head. The BGH made a few appearances in later seasons, played by none. Other. Than. William. Shatner!

7. The guy who turns out to be an alien at the end from UHF. If you have never seen Weird Al's movie, it is worth checking out (and, at least at the moment, it is up in its entirety on YouTube). During the ending scene, it is revealed that one of the characters is actually an alien, complete with a transformation sequence and "beaming up" to his space ship. I do not want to give away who it is, because the surprise gave my brother and me one of the biggest laughs in the entire movie. Johnny still says it is his favorite scene. I will say that his character was originally going to be played by a young comic named Joel Hodgson. Joel declined, because he had this idea for his own TV show where robot puppets make fun of old movies. He probably made a good call there.

6. Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The thing that I find so intriguing about Guinan is all of the mystery surrounding her. She is very old, and wise, and her people were taken over by the Borg. She and Picard apparently have a history, which is never fully explained. Also, I love her costume. It looks like an intergalactic graduation robe and cap, available in multiple metallic colors! Whoopi Goldberg wanted a part in Next Gen because she credits Nichelle Nichols' Uhura as her inspiration to become an actress. So the writers created a character for her. Because Whoopi Goldberg is that awesome.

5. Delenn from Babylon 5. Jason introduced me to B5, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows. It has a complex, well-planned out storyline and includes multiple alien races. Delenn is a member of the Minbari, who were at war with Earth before the show took place. She is the Minbari ambassador, and actually turned down a chance to be the leader of the High Council because it would mean giving up her position on B5. At the beginning of the second season (where I am now) she actually transformed into a sort of human-Minbari hybrid. She is pretty badass. I have a feeling she might move even higher on the list once I get further along in the series.

4. Ranger Mira Nova from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This surprisingly good spin-off from Toy Story featured a host of original characters, including a butt-kicking blue-skinned princess from the planet Tangea. She joined the Space Rangers after Buzz Lightyear saved her planet, and ends up becoming part of his team. Her ability to walk through walls, referred to as "ghosting," comes in handy pretty often. She is also a skilled fighter and knows how to stand up for herself. You know, for kids! And for once, I do not mean that sarcastically.

3. Yoda from Star Wars. Ancient and wise, he is. Voiced by Frank Oz, who was recommended for the part by his good friend Jim Henson. Mentor, dispenser of wisdom, and far more powerful than his size would make him appear. Subject of a song by Weird Al Yankovic. The shiznit Yoda is.

2. Spock from Star Trek. He is my favorite character from the original Trek, bar none. Any other choice would be most illogical. I am not sure exactly what it is about Spock. The ears, for one thing. Beyond that...I think he is a great foil for Kirk and Bones. He is the straight man during the really campy scenes, the outside observer who is not (entirely) human but still finds the human race "fascinating." Leonard Nimoy was actually responsible for most of Spock's trademark actions. He came up with the idea for the Vulcan nerve pinch because he did not think his character should get into fistfights. The idea to say, "Live long and prosper" was his too. He also suggested the Vulcan salute, but actually borrowed the gesture from the rabbi's blessing at the end of Jewish services. Oh, and he looks good in a 1920's gangster suit. On the awesomeness scale of one to ten, Spock is a perfect ten. To top him, someone would have to take the awesomeness up to...eleven.

1. The Doctor from Doctor Who. Oh, snap. See what I did there? 'Cause the Doctor has been played by eleven different actors? Right, then. Moving on. Where to start? The Doctor has been around since 1963, and is still going strong today, which makes it both older and newer than Star Trek. Sure, there was a period of nearly 20 years where all we got was a crummy TV movie, but you cannot keep the good Doctor down. I fell in love with the show during David Tennant's run, so he will always be the definitive Doctor in my mind. Still, Matt Smith and Christopher Eccleston are both very good. From what I have seen of the other Doctors, there is not a bad actor in the lot. The brilliant thing about Doctor Who is that it has evolved to change with the times. Your main actor is not interested in doing another season? No problem. He gets a big, dramatic send-off where he literally changes into his replacement. I could go on and on all day, but this post is long enough already. If you are a fan of the show, you know what I am talking about.

Question for the comments: Who is on your list?

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