Top Ten Performances as a Comic Book Villain

As I’m sure most of my readers over on rtgomer.com are aware, this month is DC comics’ villains month, a month long tribute to the DCU’s best bad guys. While working on my weekly reviews of this event, I got to thinking, most people know these characters less from the comics, and more from their appearances in movies and television. Over the years there have been a lot of great actors who have portrayed the best of the worst, and I say it’s time we gave them their due. So today, I’m counting down the top 10 greatest performances as a comic book villain.

But before we get started, here’s an honorable mention.

HM: Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn

Before discussing Harley, first, I have an unfortunate confession to get out of the way. Aside from Harley here, there will be no female characters on the list from here on out. I assure you that this is not by design. It just so happens that comic book villainesses are a sadly underrepresented minority in film and television these days.

Anywho, let’s talk about Harley. There is no denying it, Harley Quinn is one of, if not the most popular female comic book characters today, and there are two very awesome people we can thank for that. The first is Paul Dini, co-writer of Batman the Animated Series who created Harley specifically for that series. The first, and most important, is voice actress Arleen Sorkin, who with her incredible voice, breathed life into the character we all know and love. I believe that if it weren’t for the talent of Ms Sorkin, Harley would not have become as popular as she was. When you look past the bubbly personality, Harley is an incredibly tragic figure, and so to hit that perfect balance between comedy and tragedy you needed someone who could demonstrate incredible comedic talent, as well as an beautiful singing voice (see the episode Harlequinade for an example), but at the drop of a switch to sadness and rage (see the episode Mad Love). Reminiscing about Harley in this light makes it all the more enraging to see what that sick bastard Jim Lee has done to her, the less said about that crime against feminism, comic book fandom and general good taste, the better. The only thing keeping the Harley and Arleen off the main list is the fact that this list is meant to pay tribute to those who have taken an established comic book character and made it their own. Harley Quinn was created specifically for Batman the Animated series and specifically for Arleen Sorkin. No disrespect to talented voice actresses like Tara Strong, but there is no one who could ever do Harley justice better than Arleen, the original and the best.

And now, on with the list

10. Mark Strong as Sinestro

Let’s get a few things out of the way right off the bat. Was Green Lantern a perfect movie? No. Was it a horrible movie? No. Do I regret going to see it? No. If they were to make a sequel that focused more on the character of Sinestro, would I see it? Hell yes! In what was more or less a forgettable and lackluster Superhero film that was destined to be forgotten in the wake of blockbusters like Captain America and X-Men: First Class. However, any time that the movie was good, was usually thanks to the skillful acting of Mark Strong as Sinestro, the man who would one day be the arch-nemesis of The Green Lantern. Hell, half the time, I found him to be a more interesting character than Ryan Reynolds’ Hal Jordan. (Not to far off from the comics now that I think about it.) You don’t see him as a mustache twirling bad guy who could turn evil at the drop of a hat. Instead, you see him as a man who takes his role as a leader very seriously and is tortured by the loss of his best friend and mentor. The comics often say that Sinestro was once considered the greatest of all Green Lanterns. Seeing Mark Strong, one of the most underrated actors of our time bring the same gravitas to the role as with his parts in movies like Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass made me believe it.

9. Colin Farrell as Bullseye

For those of you unfamiliar with Daredevil’s Rogue’s gallery, Bullseye is a very basic character. He’s an assassin in silly blue tights who has really good aim, that’s about it. So, when Colin Farrell was cast as Bullseye for the Daredevil movie, he had an opportunity to add his own flair to the character. Using his native Irish accent, donning a long black trench-coat and delivering gleefully evil one-liners, Colin took that simple character, and made him into a deadly and chilling threat. Every time he was on screen, I got excited because I wanted to see what awesome thing we would do next. Killing a guy with a piece of a paper clip, that’s pretty cool, but I think he can top it. Killing someone with a peanut, okay, that’s pretty original. Every move he makes is like he’s constantly trying to one-up both himself and his enemies. Whether you liked, or didn’t like the Daredevil movie, you can’t deny that Bullseye was one of the best things about it.

8. Tom Hardy as Bane

Yes, I am well aware of the fact that this character sounds like General Grievous attempting a Sean Connery impression. Everybody laugh so we can move on.

Bane, as a character, needed this. If you’ll recall, the last time Bane appeared in a motion picture was in the much maligned Bat Man and Robin, in which the man who broke Bat Man and nearly destroyed all of Gotham City was downgraded to generic minion status. That is inexcusable. So, naturally, Tom Hardy had a lot of work to do in order to redeem the image of the character, and good lord, did he succeed. This is someone I can see as the Dark Knight’s greatest challenge. Gone is Bane’s customary luchadore mask, exchanged for a terrifying breather mask. While the comic book Bane relied on chemicals for his enhanced strength, this Bane relied only on his natural muscle and cunning. Everytime Bane was around and you heard that chilling voice, you knew something bad was about to go down. Tom Hardy managed to transform himself masterfully for the role, putting on 31 lbs of solid muscle for this specific purpose. Bane was the logical choice for a villain in Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, and Tom Hardy proved himself to be more than up to the task.

7. Tom Hiddleston as Loki

You all knew he had to show up on this list eventually. A relative unknown prior to Thor and Avengers, with a single character role, Hiddleston catapulted himself to well deserved super stardom. Prior to the films, Loki was always a character I was fairly indifferent to, but seeing Hiddleston bring the character to life in a way that no one else could changed my mind entirely. In norse mythology, Loki is the god of mischief, so naturally an actor playing Loki would have to play him as someone who is a sly and ambitious master of deception. Hiddleston achieved all of that and more. This is a man with the perfect look for the character, everything about him screams devious, especially that smile of his, seriously, every time he smiles I feel like any minute he’s going to do something unspeakable. His chemistry with his co-stars is also noteworthy. Alongside Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, he plays the prodigal brother with no interest in returning to his home of Asgard. With Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, he plays a powerful deity with unlimited confidence that this foe poses no threat to him. With Robert Downey Junior’s Iron Man, the roles are reversed and he is now a man desperately trying to assert his power over an opponent who’s own confidence won’t allow it. My personal favorite however is his scene with Scarlett Johanssen’s Black Widow, in which he does everything in his power to get inside her head, leading to a very amusing payoff when he realizes that she was playing him the whole time. A fantastic actor who I hope to see more of in the future, Hiddleston more than deserves a spot on this list. Let’s hope his momentum as Loki continues with the upcoming Thor: The Darkworld.

6. Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor

One of the most well known villains in the history of comic books, Lex Luthor has been portrayed by many a great actor over the years, including Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey and Michael Rosenbaum. However, in my mind, the man who did it best was Clancy Brown and his incredible voice talent. Not only did he play Lex Luthor for several years in both the Superman and Justice League cartoons as well as various animated films and video games, he has played nearly every incarnation of Lex Luthor, from the mad scientist, to the scheming businessman to the corrupt U.S. president. Just by listening to the man’s incredible pipes, you can hear the entire story of a man who once thought himself to be on top of the world until he was consumed by his obsession with Superman. One of my favorite DC Animated Universe Lex Luthor moments comes in the Justice League episode Hereafter, in which a funeral is held for the presumed dead Superman and Lex Luthor shows up to pay his respects. You can hear the heartbreak in Clancy’s voice as he declares he will miss Superman and instantly, you know how empty this man’s life has become with the absence of his obsession. If Lex Luthor does make an appearance in a sequel to Man of Steel, I can think of no one better to finally portray the character in live-action than Clancy Brown. Hopefully the demand will be great enough that this fan boy dream finally comes true.

5. Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face

With so many great performances in The Dark Knight, some of which from actors who may or may not appear later on this list, Aaron Eckhart’s performance as Harvey Dent is sadly over-looked. This is actually really sad because most of the film hinges on the actions of his character. As SF Debris put it, while the film is about Bat Man and The Joker, the two are both merely players in the story of Harvey Dent. Wisely, Nolan opted to shy away from the goofy nature of the character with the ridiculous Two-toned suits and the fixation with the number two, and instead placed the focus firmly on the tragedy of the character. When we meet Harvey Dent, we’re instantly drawn to the guy. He’s very likeable and he has the potential to be a force for good that Bat Man could only hope to be. Aaron has a lot of work to do here. First, he has to capture the shining beacon of hope in the Darkness of Gotham that is Harvey Dent, then, he has to show the darkness within that light just waiting beneath the surface, and finally, when Harvey has lost everything, he needs to show that darkness completely take hold as he begins his transformation into the monstrous Two-Face. All of that is performed seamlessly by Eckhart. An excellent portrayal of my favorite member of Bat Man’s Rogues gallery, thank you Aaron Eckhart, you deserve to be in the top five.

4. Terence Stamp as General Zod

No disrespect to the likes of Callum Blue and Michael Shannon, both of whom portrayed fine Zods in their own right, but the man who did it first was the man who did it best. All Stamp need do is stare into one’s soul with his cold authoritative gaze and that would be more than enough, but then he opens his mouth and delivers the line that to this day has been synonymous with the character. That line: KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!! Every move the character makes is that of a seasoned and disciplined warrior with a gift for strategy and conquest. It is rare that you truly feel as though Superman is outmatched, but with Zod and his followers, you begin to believe. Very rarely does an actor come along who plays a character so well that their interpretation completely eclipses the original, but I do believe this to be one of those times. I salute Terrence Stamp, the man who countless generations of Superman fans, KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!

3. Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto

To directly quote McKellen’s biography on Wikipedia, “Sir Ian McKellen is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation and one of the greatest British actors of all time.” You know, they’re not wrong. Even at the age of 74, this knight of the realm continues to be one of the most noteworthy actors in history, his amazing mastery of his craft being shown in all of his roles. His portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men films is no exception to this. Magneto is one of the most complex villains ever committed to ink. Having grown up a jew in Hitler’s Poland, young Erik Lehnsherr literally experienced the worst of humanity. As he grew up, and his mutant powers manifested, he used them to wage war against all of humanity and establish mutant dominance, all the while never realizing that he has become the very thing he hates in the process. McKellen plays Magneto as a man with complete mastery of his powers who uses a calm demeanor to mask the great rage he harbors within him. I especially love his lines that degrade those who he sees as inferior. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his incredible chemistry with Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier. One of the greatest hero/villain relationships of all time brought to life by two of the finest actors who ever drew breath. These two are so great together that their appearance in the end credits scene of this past Summer’s The Wolverine, (Spoilers, sorry) turned a movie that was just okay, into a movie that was awesome. Ian McKellen kicks all kinds of ass and here’s hoping that he continues to do so in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

2. Heath Ledger as The Joker

There is truly nothing I can say about this performance that hasn’t already been said. It would be a travesty not to include this performance on my list. I could nitpick The Dark Knight, one of my favorite movies of all time, beyond recognition, and I would be unable to find a single negative thing to say about this performance. This performance is nothing short of perfection in acting. I have seen this movie a million times, and still, I have been able to find no trace of Heath Ledger within the character, all I can see is the Joker. The fact that this would turn out to be the late Heath Ledger’s final role before his all-too-soon death in 2008 is an incredible tragedy, but my god, did he go out with one hell of a bang. Every time he’s on screen, the audience can’t decide weather to be terrified or captivated by his disturbing antics. I personally have always imagined The Joker as the epitome of the evil a human being is capable of, and no actor has ever been able to capture that side of the character better than Ledger. I am certain that I will receive plenty of hate mail for not putting Ledger at number one. Believe me, I wanted to, and in any other list, he’d be more than worthy of that honor, but at the end of the day this is my list, and I have to be honest with myself. So without any further ado, I give to you, my number one choice.

1. Mark Hamill as The Joker

If I haven’t made it clear already, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was, and still is, in a word, untouchable. However, that simply isn’t enough to top this list. To explain what is, first, I’ll take you back to my childhood, back when I was only about four or five. My older brother had introduced me to this character called Bat Man through this really cool cartoon. All of Bat Man’s enemies were memorable, some of them even pretty scary, but none of them left more of an impact than The Joker, due in no small part to the voice talent of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. In the nineteen years that followed, every time I would read a comic book, play a video game, or even simply devise a story of my own that featured The Joker it has always been, and always will be Mark Hamill’s voice I hear in my head. Hamill, using only his incredible range, was able to hit that perfect balance between the comedic nature of the character, and the terrifying evil that lurked just beneath the surface. And speaking of Hamill’s range, if anyone says to you that Mark never did anything after Start Wars, slap them upside the head because Mark Hamill went on to become one of the most talented voice over artists working today. Here’s a test for you. Listen to him play Luke Skywalker, then Listen to him as The Joker, and then listen to him as Master Eraqus from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Without me having just told you, there’s no way you’d ever guess that these three very different characters were all played by the same guy. When Mark Hamill officially announced that the video game Arkham City would be his final time playing The Joker, I was almost heartbroken. It was truly the end of a glorious era. Sure Richard Epcar has done a great job, but at the end of the day, there is simply no one who can fill the void left by Mark Hamill and his chilling Joker laugh.

And that about does it for this humble list. If there’s anyone you didn’t see on the list who you think deserved a spot, please let me know in the comments. Just be sure to keep it civil. And be sure to join me later this week for out final look at villains month over at RT Gomer Productions. Until next time.

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Top Ten LGBT Characters in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comic Books

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of irrational and, quite frankly, stupid arguments against the equal rights of the LGBT community. It greatly saddens and irritates me that such ignorance still exists in the world today. I myself am a straight man, but I am a proud supporter of gay rights and have several very close friends who are either gay or bisexual. While still a sadly underrepresented minority, popular culture has produced several great characters over the years who are of LGBT persuasion. Today, I pay tribute to my LGBT brothers and sisters by counting down my personal top 10 LGBT men, women and couples in Science fiction, Fantasy and Comic books.

10. Brain and Mallah from DC comics

The idea behind these two characters is so gloriously ludicrous that I simply had to include them. One is a super intelligent gorilla that speaks French, and the other is a brain in a jar. I don’t care how enlightened the government gets, I don’t think they’ll be passing any bills that will allow these two to get married anytime soon.

Mallah began as a science experiment by a French scientist who later became The Brain to give a gorilla enhanced strength and super intelligence. Together, they founded the Brotherhood of Evil and fought many battles against such heroic teams as The Doom Patrol and The Teen Titans. During Grant Morrison’s run on the book, The two villains admitted their love for one another and have been together ever since.

As completely ridiculous as all of that sounds, there is something very sweet about the relationship between these two. According to some idiots who think that they're being good Christians, marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, but in reality, true love is blind and can be between any two people who are capable of caring for one another, be it a man and a woman, a man and another man, or even a disembodied brain and a super-intelligent French gorilla.

9. Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street

It may seem a bit of a stretch to include Sesame Street in a list of characters from sci-fi and fantasy, but anything that includes vampires, space aliens and fuzzy green garbage dwellers probably qualifies. Besides, I don’t think I could make this list without including these two. Though the nature of their relationship has never been officially confirmed, it’s become a widely accepted truth that these two child icons are, in fact, gay lovers. I’ll admit, growing up, I was never a Sesame Street kid. When most toddlers were watching Sesame Street, I was already watching Star Trek and Power Rangers. But that having been said, the few times I did watch Sesame Street, these two guys could always make me laugh, and in fact can still get a few chuckles out of me today. When I watch them together, I can honestly say that even if they weren’t gay in their creator’s mind, their interactions really do make them feel like a real couple. Ernie drives Bert up the wall, but Bert always forgives him. Ernie leans on Bert when he’s sad or scared and Bert tries to help him out.

My favorite Bert and Ernie moment is in the special called Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, in which they each sell their most prized possessions in order to buy gifts for each other. (It almost makes me cry when Ernie gives away Rubber Duckie) That’s the sort of thing that you’d only do for someone with a special place in your heart. So carry on Bert and Ernie, gay or not, you both definitely have a special place in our hearts.

8. Charlie Bradbury from Supernatural

Though only having made two appearances in the show, I still feel that this character is one of the coolest characters in the series. Played by the always awesome Felicia Day, Charlie is one of us, a normal everyday girl, not a larger than life hunter like Sam and Dean. Like the actress portraying her, Charlie is a massive nerd, obsessed with Star Trek and Lord of The Rings. As an expert hacker, Charlie proves an invaluable ally to the Winchesters as her skills eventually lead to the destruction of the main villain of season seven. In her most recent appearance, Charlie is shown to be the warrior queen of a LARP group. In this appearance she aids the Winchesters in freeing a fairy who’s been enslaved by a jealous boy who can’t handle rejection. (Apparently, he wasn’t aware that he wasn’t her type.) The cool part of the episode comes when Charlie acts as the night in shining armor in order to save the beautiful fairy whom she has fallen in love with. It’s a shame that Charlie has had so few appearances, because she’s an excellent example of a strong, smart, sexy and nerdy gay woman. Charlie knows exactly who she is and is damn proud of it. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of her.

7. Green Lantern Alan Scott from DC Comics

Here’s a character who caused quite a bit of controversy when he was first introduced, or more accurately re-introduced. When DC rebooted their continuity in September of 2011, several iconic characters underwent a drastic revamp. As such Alan Scott, the original Golden Age Green Lantern was changed into a gay man. While initially, this change upset many fans of the character, I felt that at the end of the day, it doesn’t really change the essence of who Alan Scott is. I actually have previously covered my feelings on this character in my review of Earth 2 issue 2 where his homosexuality was first revealed, so if you want more details, check out that review. Though his arrogance can be a little grating at times, I still feel that Alan is, at his core, a hero who will face any foe to protect the people, and the planet, he cares about.

6. Mystique from Marvel Comics

Appropriately enough, the character with the ability to change herself into either a man or a woman goes both ways. The original appeal of X-Men, before it became an unrecognizable mess, was to create characters that are persecuted for being different for readers who have felt similar persecution to relate to. One of the things I love about X-Men, is the fact that that sentiment is not limited to the heroes of the story. Several X-villains also have levels of nuance that can allow readers to relate to them, and I believe that is especially true with Mystique. What I personally love about the character is the fact that, despite her ability to appear however she wishes, and free herself from persecution, she chooses to have blue skin and yellow eyes. Mystique may use her shape-shifting for her own personal gain, but at the end of the day, she is proud of being a mutant and a bisexual woman, and has no intention of being anyone or anything else.

It is well known that Mystique is the mother of the X-Man known as Nightcrawler. What is not so well known is the original plan for Nightcrawler’s origin. Originally, Mystique was supposed to have taken the form of a man and impregnated her lover, the mutant called destiny. Personally, I actually wish that Marvel decided to go forward with this plan, not only because it sounds like an interesting concept, but it also would have been hilarious if Nightcrawler, the devout Christian, was spawned by a same-sex couple. Mystique may be a woman of many faces, but she’s never ashamed of who she truly is.

5. Tara Maclay from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I’ll bet a lot of Buffy fans were probably expecting me to put Willow on this list, or at least Willow and Tara together, but I decided to include Tara by herself. I like Willow fine, but after season 5, she really starts to annoy me. In fact, I’m pretty sure all of the bad things that happen after that season can be said to have been Willows fault. Also, she starts dating Kennedy, and I hate Kennedy.

Tara, played by the lovely Amber Benson, is a much more endearing character. Introduced in season 4, shortly after Willow’s relationship with Oz falls apart, Tara begins as a shy introvert with hardly any social skills to speak of. Her only real outlet for expressing herself is her skill with witchcraft, which is how she first meets Willow. With Willow’s help, Tara soon begins open up and becomes a member of the scoobie gang and soon she and Willow become lovers.

Tara’s upbringing, as we learn in season 5, was not a happy one, (her father used an old family superstition involving demons to keep the women of the family subservient) so it’s very heartwarming to see Tara find the family she never had in Buffy and the gang. Though she uses magic when needed, Tara’s primary role in the group is to act as the groups moral center, comforting the others when their distressed and intervening when they’ve gone too far. Tara was a natural fit for the group and it was so satisfying to see her and Willow in a truly happy relationship.

And then, Joss “I’m a sadist who bathes in the tears of my fans” Whedon had to step in and decided that Tara should be unceremoniously killed off at the end of season 6. Any Buffy fan will tell you that Tara’s death is one of the most heart wrenching moments in the entire franchise, and a top contender for most heart wrenching moment in any work of fiction. Her death had such an impact that it sent Willow into a blinding rage that almost caused her to destroy the world. Tara may be gone, but she lives on in the hearts of every Buffy fan.

4. Tie: Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer from DC Comics

I put these two characters together because they actually have quite a bit in common. Both of them are police officers, they were both introduced in an animated series before becoming a mainstay in the regular comic canon, and they were both created by the always awesome Bruce Timm, which leads me to an interesting anecdote.

Renee Montoya, introduced in the critically acclaimed Batman the animated series, is often considered to be the first lesbian character in a Saturday morning cartoon. However, Renee’s homosexuality did not become apparent until sometime after she had already been introduced in the comics, making that status highly debatable. Later, Maggie Sawyer however, introduced in Batman’s sister show, Superman the animated series, was created with the full intent of her being a lesbian. In fact we even see her comforted by her lover when she is put into the hospital in one episode. So, technically, Bruce Timm created the first Lesbian character in a Saturday morning cartoon twice. Hats off to you Brucie, there aren’t many people who can put that on their resume.

Both of these characters are strong and courageous women who are just as good at stopping crime as their male colleagues. Renee was actually so affective, that Vic Sage, the hero known as The Question, handed his mantle over to her after he retired. I hope both of these women continue kicking ass in the comics to come.

3. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood

I’ll bet the second any of you saw this list, you knew this was coming. What more can I really say? It’s Jack freakin’ Harkness. He’s not quite a homosexual, a heterosexual, or even a bisexual, he’s just Jack, and he is awesome. Played by the amazing human being known as John Barrowman, Jack Harkness is my favorite companion in the entire history of Doctor Who. A time traveler from the 51st century, where all sexual barriers appear to have been pretty much done away with, Jack needs only to smile and wink at you and your putty in his hands, no matter what gender you are. Hell, he once avoided getting executed by sleeping with both of his executioners. Lovely couple, they kept in touch, can’t say that about most executioners. However, if we peal away the layers of sheer unadulterated sexual awesome surrounding him, we find an incredibly brave, noble and loyal man, who will gladly give his life to protect the people he cares about. Or at least he would if he could die. Yup, Captain Jack is immortal, just one more reason that he’s awesome. When Jack is separated from The Doctor, he does everything he can to fight evil and injustice in the Doctor’s name. This eventually causes him to become the leader of Torchwood, an organization dedicated to dealing with extraterrestrial threats to Earth when the Doctor is unavailable. Beneath that bubbly personality, Jack is an old soul who’s seen many great and terrible things who takes his position as a protector of Earth very seriously. Whether he’s kicking alien ass, or … doing other things with it, one thing will always be true, He is Jack, and he is awesome.

2. Vastra & Jenny from Doctor Who

“Hello, I’m a Lizard Woman from the Dawn of Time, and this is my Wife.”

Yup, that about sums it up. In the first draft of this list, these two held the number 1 spot. I hate to have two Doctor Who characters in a row, but I simply wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I didn’t include these characters. Let me spell out what these characters are all about for you non-whovians. Two lesbians, one of them a prehistoric lizard woman, the other a skilled ninja assassin, fighting crime on the streets of Victorian London with Samurai Swords along with their lovably violent alien sidekick. Never mind Doctor Who, where can I watch that show? Those of you who read my Top 20 episodes of Doctor Who will remember that my number 1 episode was called A Good Man Goes to War. A major reason for that was because it introduced us to these absolutely awesome characters. That one appearance was so memorable that they have since been brought back three times during the show’s most recent season, each time earning more and more love from the fans.

Vastra is a Silurian, a race of Lizard people that were the dominant species on Earth long before the human race existed. Several million years later, Vastra awoke from her cryosleep and found herself in the London underground. It was there that she met, and through an as of yet unexplained circumstance, became indebted to The Doctor. Like Jack, Vastra takes it upon herself to protect the earth when the Doctor cannot, and she has done so by starting a detective agency with her beloved wife Jenny. Even though Jenny is also her maid, the two appear to be equals in the relationship, which is always nice to see.

Recently, in the season seven finale, Vastra and Jenny were attacked in their home and Jenny was nearly killed. Let me tell you, if she had died, then it would have easily trumped Tara’s death as one of the saddest moments in any show I’ve seen. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a hell of a lot more from these two going forward. I for one am keeping my fingers crossed hoping they’ll get their own spinoff.

1. Steve Cortez from Mass Effect

Before we get started, I’m sure there are several Mass Effect fans out there who are upset that I didn’t include any of those lovely Asari, who, for the uninitiated, are an all female race of blue aliens with the ability to mate with anyone regardless of species or gender. While I adore characters like Liara, Samara, and even Aria in all her devious glory, I didn’t give any of them a spot, mostly because sexual orientation is kind of a moot point when the entire species is the same gender.

That brings us to our friend Steve. Steve Cortez is the shuttle pilot aboard the SSV Normandy and one the possible choices to be male Shepard’s love interest. I think the thing I love most about Steve is the fact that the fact that he’s gay is completely incidental to his character. Often times, when a gay character is introduced in a show or story, their sexual orientation becomes their sole defining characteristic, which in my mind, is lazy writing. With Steve however, his orientation is only one small part of his character, and if Shepard doesn’t choose to pursue a relationship, it is only brought up when he talks about his late husband, Robert, and even then, it would be easy to change the character to a wife with little change necessary.

If Commander Shepard does choose to pursue a relationship with Steve, your key goal will be to help him let go of the memories of his husband and move on with his life, like Robert would have wanted. With his past now fully behind him, Steve learns that the present is what is truly important and that no moment is to be taken for granted.

Steve is a loyal friend, a gifted pilot and mechanic, and generally a fun guy to be around. His friendship with James Vega is also a ton of fun, the two often cracking good-natured jokes about each other throughout the game.

The main appeal of the Mass Effect series, for me at least, is the fact that the people you encounter throughout the game feel like real people rather than characters, and Steve is no exception to this. Even if you don’t choose to pursue a romantic relationship with him, you still find yourself growing to care about him as a friend. He’s not over-the-top like Jack or an ass-kicking hero like Vastra, he’s just a great guy who happens to be gay, but for me, he made enough of an impression to earn the number one spot on this list. So carry on Steve, and remember, not one moment for granted.

So this brings us to the end of our little list. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, no matter what gender you prefer, be proud of who you are and be kind to one another. There’s too much hate in this world already for us to waste time with needless discrimination. So, to all of my readers, both gay, straight or otherwise, have an excellent day. This is Bloodwolf, signing out.

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Bloodwolfassassin's top 20 favorite Movies

So far, I’ve used these top 10/20 list to share with you my love of Power Rangers, Star Trek and Doctor Who, but today I’m going to use it to share with you something on a much broader scale, my favorite movies.

As an aspiring writer and a film student, I have a deep passion for movies, but to pick one’s favorites can be incredibly difficult. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite films before and every time the list has been different. This is because my opinions and tastes are constantly changing. If I were to make this list again in a year or so, it may be completely different than the one I’m about to share with you, so what I seek to accomplish with this list is compile several movies that have held spots on this list several times in the past in order to provide a cross section of me, my taste in films, and the various aspects of the art of film making and what they mean to me.

Because of how broad the subject matter is this time around, I’ve decided to forgo my customary honorable mentions. My only rule as far as this list is concerned is that it must have been at least one year since I have first seen the movie. This is because it is my belief that it takes that long for one’s opinion on a film to truly develop. Here’s an example. In late 2009, everyone was really excited about James Cameron’s Avatar, so I decided to see what the fuss was all about. When I first saw it, I really liked it and I put it on the list. As time passed however, I realized that the film was nothing more than a dated premise with flashy special effects. Finally, this is my opinion. If you agree, that’s great, if you disagree, you are encouraged to voice your own opinion in the comments, just keep it civil. With all that out of the way, let’s begin with our list.

Some movies tend to keep getting better with every time you watch them. Our first entry on this list is one such film. I first saw it when I was a little kid around maybe nine or ten years old. I enjoyed it, but at that point I was perhaps too young to fully appreciate it. It’s possible that movies get better with time because of the increased maturity of the viewer. As a young child, I saw this film as a cool and funny action flick and nothing more, but now that I’m older and studying writing and film I now have a full grasp of why this movie is so great.

You'll dress only in attire specially sanctioned by MIB special services. You'll conform to the identity we give you, eat where we tell you, live where we tell you. From now on you'll have no identifying marks of any kind. You'll not stand out in any way. Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter. You're a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. You don't exist; you were never even born. Anonymity is your name. Silence your native tongue. You're no longer part of the System. You're above the System. Over it. Beyond it. We're "them." We're "they." We are the Men in Black.

20. Men in Black

We’re starting this list out with a bang with Men in Black. The story, for those who don’t know, is about a secret government organization that is in charge of monitoring and policing alien activity on Earth. In this world, there are several alien species living amongst us, some of them are friendly enough, others have more malevolent intentions, and it’s up to the Men in Black to keep it all under wraps. Agent K is the organization’s most experienced field agent, who has taken it upon himself to train his new partner, the young Agent J. Both are soon put to the test when a deadly space insect with designs to start an intergalactic war arrives on Earth.

Many casual fans of this film might not be aware of this, but this film was originally adapted from a comic book. I’ve only read one issue, and that was a long time ago, but from what I’ve heard the book was very dark and disturbing, similar to the real life men in black conspiracy theories. This movie could have tried to stay true to it’s source material, but frankly I don’t think it would have worked half as well as it did. Instead this film opts for a more light hearted and comedic tone, but never to the point where it feels like it’s not taking itself seriously. There’s never a point in the film where the tension and threat posed by the main conflict feels diminished. That’s something that’s really not easy to accomplish but hell if this movie doesn’t pull it off, too bad that couldn’t have been replicated in those god-awful sequels.

The greatest part of this movie, more so than it’s fascinating story, more than it’s witty and intelligent humor or it’s gripping action, even more than it’s excellent supporting cast which includes such names as Rip Torn or Vincent Donofrio, is it’s two leads. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are two of the most charismatic actors in the business and the chemistry they have with one another is incredible. As Agent J, Smith serves as a proxy for the audience in that all these strange things are new to him and so he reacts to them as an ordinary man would. In contrast, Jones’s Agent K is the seasoned veteran who has seen it all before, so he reacts to the things that astound J like every day occurences. The two compliment each other very well to make for an excellent viewing experience.

Of the films on this list, this is one of the few that I do not actually own, which in this case has made each experience seem that much more special. As I said, as a kid, I didn’t think much of this film beyond the obvious action and comedy, but now that I’ve learned more about the complexities of storytelling and the details regarding what makes a motion picture great, I have gained a deep appreciation for this film and have found that I enjoy it more with each subsequent viewing.

Often times, certain individuals tend to enjoy certain movies more than most because the movie captures something from their personal lives that they can relate to on a level that others may not be able to. While it is true that the idea behind film and television is an escape from reality, many tend to gravitate to what they find familiar, especially if it is presented in a way that is humorous and yet still accurate.

Okay... About three months ago I, uh, just finished my shift, and I really had to take a piss. So, uh, I go into the bathroom. And, uh, I'm at the urinal just waiting for the flow, minding my own business. When, ah, I notice out of my peripheral vision the guy standing next to me was looking straight at my dick. And he's just staring at it like they're old pals. I could practically hear what he was thinking. 'Whoa. That's a nice dick.' And that's it. Yeah, since that time, I haven't been able to use a public bathroom.

19. Waiting

If you, like me, have ever had a job working in a restaurant, you should see this movie, because this was made specifically for you guys. Those of you who haven’t will probably look at this as a funny B-comedy that pops up on Comedy Central every now and then, but to those select few, this is a movie about your daily lives.

The film doesn’t exactly have a story per se, it’s more of a day in the lives of people who work at a restaurant and the shenanigans they get into. Every character in this film is an exaggerated version someone I have met at my job. The irritable waitress with anger issues, the cute hostess who everyone has a crush on, the cook who’s always making sex jokes, I could go on with how accurately this movie portrays the type of people I work with, but I don’t want to run the risk that a health inspector is reading this post. Suffice to say, this movie does a perfect job of capturing the chaos of restaurant work. On a busy night at work, everyone is running all over the place and yelling at each other trying to keep everything moving, and sometimes people start to lose their minds. This movie captures that feeling with surprising detail. I especially like the seen where customers come in a minute before closing time when everyone is ready to leave. The reaction of the kitchen staff is as priceless as it is realistic.

The cast of the film is great to, with such names as Justin Long, Anna Farris, Luis Guzman and the best of the bunch, Ryan Reynolds, who plays an excellent asshole. Though the focus of the film is primarily on Dean, Justin Long’s character, I feel that from a philosophical standpoint, the main character is actually Mitch the trainee. The character barely has any lines in the film, but that’s not the point here. He, like Agent J in our previous entry, is the character who serves as the proxy for the audience and the one who is experiencing this for the first time. He honestly reminds me a lot of myself when I first started my job.

Waiting is an excellent comedy in it’s own right, but for me it’s much more than that. It’s a humorous reflection of a part of my life, and that is why I put it on this list.

Sometimes a movie can pass you by at the height of its popularity. When a movie comes out in theatres and you don’t see it because you either have no interest or you’re not old enough to see it unaccompanied, it’s easy to forget about it after the fact. Our next entry is a movie I had always heard was a great movie but knew nothing about beyond its supposedly self-explanatory title. It was only a few years ago that I first discovered what this movie really was. At the time, I felt late to the party but was still excited to be a part of this film’s fan base.

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: No shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

18. Fight Club

Like I said, I was a little late to the party when I first saw this flick. All I really had to go by before actually seeing it was the title. Naturally, I was under the impression that this movie was just about guys who fight each other, and yes that is part of it, but that isn’t what this movie really is. This movie taught me the valuable lesson to never draw a conclusion about a movie unless you’ve seen it first, which is precisely why I decided to watch Dragonball Evolution. The way I see it, if you’re going to hate something, at least be able to say you’ve seen it. Fortunately, this movie was a far less painful experience than that.

The movie deals with an insomniac, played by Edward Norton, who believes that a release of base and primal human emotion will help him to sleep. Circumstances cause him to cross paths with Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, a soap making anarchist who together with Norton’s character starts Fight Club, a group of guys who meet every Saturday night to essentially beat the sh*t out of each other. Things go smoothly, until a woman named Marla Singer, played by Helena Bonham Carter, enters the picture and starts sending everything spiraling out of control.

Fight Club is one of those movies that one cannot simply watch once. There are several aspects of the film that would only make sense in retrospect, especially given the twist, which I dare not spoil here. The three lead actors are excellent in their roles, especially Helena Bonham Carter who, despite retaining her customary aura of “crazy old cat lady at the end of the street” which she carries with her to every one of Tim Burton’s films, could be considered one of the most talented actresses working today. It’s a movie that leaves you speechless by the end, and not in the way that you would think.

Let’s talk for a minute about the romance genre. I consider myself a romantic individual, and will often go above and beyond to impress a member of the opposite sex. (Most of the girls I knew in high school can attest to that) That having been said, I honestly can’t say that I care much for it as a genre of film. A love story within another genre like action or comedy is okay, but when a film’s only focus is its love story, it tends to be incredibly predictable and often times quite boring, or at least that’s how I see it. Maybe it’s because there doesn’t seem to be any real tension in these sorts of films, you know the two lovers will end up together despite the protests of the stuffy parents or the jealous ex or whatever cliché may be used. The whole reason that romance is added to other genres is because the genre cannot stand by itself. In order to make a tired and formulaic concept work something new and unique has to be added.

For six hundred years we taught you to control your impulses with reason, then in 1910 we stepped back. Within fifty years, you'd brought us World War I, the Depression, Fascism, the Holocaust and capped it off by bringing the entire planet to the brink of destruction in the Cuban Missile Crisis. At that point a decision was taken to step back in again before you did something that even we couldn't fix. You don't have free will, David. You have the appearance of free will.

17. The Adjustment Bureau

Before addressing why I personally think this movie is great, let’s discuss some of the concepts. This movie presents us with the idea that the world is secretly run by an organization of omnipotent beings known as the adjustment bureau. Their job is to make sure that everything goes according to the plan as written by an entity described only as the chairman who, though never explicitly stated, is heavily implied to be God. To do this, they make small adjustments to a person’s path through life to keep them on course. For example, if someone is not supposed to make the bus that day, the adjustment bureau will cause the person to spill their coffee and have to go home and change their clothes. This movie was adapted from a short story by sci-fi legend Phillip K. Dick, who had a reputation for being incredibly paranoid in real life, so this sort of story probably stems from that paranoia, but in my mind the movie takes on a life of it’s own.

Enter our main character, David Norris, played by Matt Damon, a young politician with aspirations of being elected as senator and possibly one day, president. One day, through pure chance, he meets a woman named Elise, played by Emily blunt and the two fall for one another. The problem is, this wasn’t part of the plan, and the adjustment bureau is authorized to keep them apart by any means necessary, but once David learns of the bureau’s existence, he vows to defy fate to be with the woman he loves.

Despite the inventive science fiction aspects, I consider this story to be, at its core, not only a romance movie, but the most powerful romance movie I’ve ever seen. I’m not trying to diminish small gestures of love. Giving a girl flowers and reminding her how beautiful she is to you is always important in a relationship, but in a feature film, that just seems so small in scale. In this movie however, we have a man who is basically told that the universe itself does not want him to be with the woman he loves. Let’s take a step back and analyze that. This is not like someone’s father not approving of a relationship and the couple has to love each other in secret or something like that. These people have basically said point blank that if you try to seek out this woman we will destroy both of your lives and erase your brain, and on top of that, they have demonstrated that they are more than capable of doing just that with nothing more than a wave of their hands. And so, knowing all of that, David Norris still defies fate, because love is more important to him, and he wants to be with Elise for the rest of his life even if that’s only a few minutes. That, my friends, is a powerful expression of love.

This is an excellent film that any audience will enjoy, though I would recommend renting it for a date night with your significant other. The story is excellent and the acting is top notch, especially from our two leads who have incredible chemistry, making their romance that much more believable. The phrase love conquers all may have become a cliché by this point, but there if you’re looking for a movie that best exemplifies that sentiment, look no further than this movie.

Many of my friends are surprised to learn that one of my favorite film genres is the musical. It is my belief that the right music can bolster any plot or situation so having the music be the focus would only seem like a natural evolution of this concept. However, music can also take a rather disturbing and unusual concept that would be otherwise sickening to watch into a surreal and wonderful experience. The next entry is a film that at first I had every reason to hate, but watching it and hearing the music has cemented it’s place as one of my all time favorites.

Industrialization has crippled the globe/Nature failed as technology spread/And in this wake, a market erected/An entire city built on top of the dead/And you can finance your bones and your kidneys/For every market, a sub-market grows./But best you be punctual with making your payments/Lest it be you on the concrete below./It's quick. It's clean. It's pure./It could change your life, rest assured./It's the 21st century cure,/And it's my job to steal and rob GRAVES!

16. Repo the Genetic Opera

This is one of those films where you either love it or you hate it. I am proud to say that I love it, but I understand to reasons why others may not. The director himself on the DVD commentary freely admits that this movie isn’t for everybody. As I said above, this was a movie that, going into it, I had every reason to hate. It’s from the director of the later Saw sequels, I believe that all of the Saw movies after number 1 have been terrible. The imagery is dark, gritty and heavily stylized, something that I don’t necessarily dislike, but nonetheless can be a detriment to one’s enjoyment of a film. This film contains copious amounts of gore, something I can handle but have never enjoyed. Paris Hilton is in this movie, I hate Paris Hilton with every fiber of my sole, barring the fibers reserved for my hatred of Bam Margera of course. So, as you can imagine, this movie really had to impress me in order to get me to like it, much less earn a spot on this list. Fortunately, this movie did just that.

The story is very complicated. In the not too distant future, the world is ravaged by a pandemic of organ failure. The salvation comes in the form of Rotti Largo, the head of a company called Geneco, which makes artificial organs, as long as the customers can pay. However, because the demand is so high, those who don’t keep up with their payments need to have their “property” repossessed. Enter the Repo Man, Rotti’s henchman who’s job it is to hunt down those who can’t pay and take back their organs, killing them in the process. Meanwhile, Shilo Wallace, a young girl with a disease that prevents her from going outside, is approached by a now terminally ill Rotti who offers her a cure, but in turn, she must reject her overbearing, but still loving father and become his heir. Nathan, Shilo’s father, who is secretly the Repo Man, knows that Rotti is a despicable man and is not about to let him corrupt his beloved daughter.

This movie has some elements that most may not care for, and if that’s the case, that’s fine, I’m not trying to persuade you to think the same as I do. But, if one looks past those elements, you’ll find a fascinating story told through incredible music. Also, did I mention the cast is chock full great actors and singers. Names like Paul Sorvino, who gets a chance to show off his background in opera here, Anthony Stewart Head, who got to show off his pipes in my favorite episode of Buffy gets to put them to good use here, and finally Sarah Brightman, who is best known for being the original Christine in Phantom of the Opera all give stellar performances in this flick. If you ever come across this film, give it a watch and see for yourself what it’s all about.

I consider myself a fan of anime but I would not consider myself an otaku per se. Mostly because my favorite anime or manga series’ tend to lean more towards the mainstream shows that several otaku snobs look down on. So when I tell the anime club that my favorite anime is Dragon Ball Z and have never seen Cowboy Bebop or Evangelion, I get looked at like the little kid still playing with action figures when everyone else has grown up. Frankly I think Dragon Ball is a very complex series and hope to one day do an sfdebris style vlog that explains why, but at the moment, it seems I still can’t hang with the anime experts. At least, that’s how I felt until I discovered a man by the name of Miyazaki.

In ancient times, the land lay covered in forests, where, from ages long past, dwelt the spirits of the gods. Back then, man and beast lived in harmony, but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed. Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts who owed their allegiances to the Great Forest Spirit, for those were the days of gods and of demons.

15. Princess Mononoke

I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the work of Hayao Miyazaki, most of his movies tend to be just okay for me. Spirited away was good, but very confusing with a lot of unnecessary elements, Ponyo was just really weird, and (I’m so going to catch heat for this) I found Castle in the Sky to be boring as hell. However, each of those movies, despite their flaws has it’s own unique charm. Princess Mononoke on the other hand is a film that I would consider to be a cut above all others that the man has produced.

The story begins with Prince Ashitaka becoming infected by a demonic curse. To find a cure he must travel west to find the forest spirit. After coming upon a technologically advanced (for the time period that is) settlement called iron town, he discovers that humanity and the animal spirits of the forest are in conflict with one another. What I like about this is the fact that neither side is depicted as good or evil. Both sides simply wish to perpetuate their own survival, and unfortunately, the other sided presents an obstacle to that. Eventually, we are introduced to San, a young human girl who was raised by the wolf god who Ashitaka immediately falls for.

There’s a common problem with film’s that have an environmental message. That is, they tend to be incredibly preachy and favor one side over the other. This movie on the other hand paints neither side as good or evil. On top of all that, the movie looks beautiful. This is some of the best animation I’ve seen in my life. This is a story with a lot of strength and I’m proud to call it one of my favorites. Not that I care what a bunch of anime nerds think of me, but it is always nice to be able to talk about a subject you appreciate with other fans on an intellectual level.

Movies may be one of my passions but there are still several classic films that I’ve only seen recently, and even more that I haven’t seen at all. When I reveal to people that I’ve missed out on these classics they often reply with surprise and something to the nature of “where the hell have you been all this time.” However, with one such case in particular, I was told that the fact that I had not seen this film was simply unacceptable, and as such I was told that I had no choice but to borrow this movie and watch it, and I’ll tell you this right now, I’m glad I did.

For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.

14. Goodfellas

One day in high school I was shooting the breeze with a friend and I let slip that I had not seen this movie. This particular person was so insulted by the fact that I had never seen it, that the next day he had not only left the movie in my locker (how he got the combination I’m not exactly sure) but also left a copy of The Untouchables as well. So, with that sort of conviction from my friend, I suppose I had no other choice but to check out this movie, and I’m glad I did.

According to another friend of mine, this film is probably the most accurate depiction of the Italian mafia ever put to film, and that aspect of it is certainly spectacular. These characters do not feel like characters who have been romanticized for Hollywood, they feel like real people.

The film centers around Henry Hill, a man who works his way up in the Mafia. It provides details of what that entails and the feelings of power and importance that comes with it. The film is based on true events and though I have no way of knowing how these events really happened, if I was told that they happened exactly like they did in the film, I’d probably believe it.

What really makes this film however, is its cast. Ray Liotta is great, Robert De Niro proves why he’s an acting legend, Joe Pesci provides a nice blend of humor and menace and Paul Sorvino… need I say more. Little known fact, whenever a movie is made about the Italian mafia, Paul Sorvino magically appears on set.

This is a great film and a true classic. There was definitely a reason my friend was so adamant about having me see it.

Comedy is a complicated genre and as a writer I find it to be one of the most difficult to write. This is mostly due to the fact that everyone has a different sense of humor. What one person finds funny, another may not. One of the contributing factors of how successful a comedy can be is how smart the writing is and how good the actors are. Here we have a movie with some ingenious dialogue and some excellent delivery by its actors. It’s not the best comedy I’ve seen nor is it the highest comedy on the list, but regardless it’s one that has a special place in my heart.

There was a time, a time before cable. When the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV. This was an age when only men were allowed to read the news. And in San Diego, one anchorman was more man then the rest. His name was Ron Burgundy. He was like a god walking amongst mere mortals. He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words, Ron Burgundy was the balls.

13. Anchorman

This movie is hilarious. Really, that sums up my thoughts on the movie, there really isn’t much more to add. Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar.” I think a similar principle can be applied to my enjoyment of this film. Sometimes a movie is great just because it’s funny. I wanted to find a deep philosophical reason for why this movie earns a spot on this list, but honestly, this movie is on the list purely because it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

The movie’s story centers around big shot news anchor, Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell at his absolute funniest, who feels threatened when a woman becomes his co-anchor. The cast of this film features some of the biggest names in comedy, including Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, doing some of their best work. On top of that, the movie has so many legendary quotes in it. Next to one other movie on this list, this is probably the most quotable movie I’ve ever seen.

If you’re looking for a movie that’s deep, you probably won’t find it here. This is simply a hilarious movie with great writing and great acting. That alone is more than enough for me to add it to this list.

It’s time now to talk about adaptations. This film, like many on the list, is adapted from a book. In these cases there tends to be a divide between people who prefer the book and people who prefer the movie. I can’t tell you how annoying it was after I saw The Hunger Games when every time I talked about how much I enjoyed the film a fan-girl would pop out of the ground and berate me for never having read the book. It has always been my belief that an adaptation should be judged on it’s own merits, not by how it compares to the original. I love this next movie and the book it’s based on, but for completely different reasons. They’re similar of course, but different enough that the two have become separated in the minds of most, as it should be.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

12. Blade Runner

There are very few science fiction enthusiasts that I know who would not list this movie among the greatest sci-fi flicks of all time. The movie is great with excellent action, acting and thought provoking concepts. Once again, we have an adaptation of a story from science fiction great, Phillip K. Dick. The book this is based on, entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, is one of my favorite books and while comparing an adaptation to its source material is inevitable, I find that I can separate the book and the movie enough in my mind so that neither is superior or inferior to its counterpart. It is my belief that all film adaptations should be judged as such.

In the gritty distant future, the world is run by corporations. One such corporation, the Tyrell corporation has created an advanced model of artificial humans called Replicants. They are far stronger, faster and smarter than most humans, but in turn, they only live a short time. A rogue group of Replicants, lead by the imposing Roy Batty, seeks to find a way to increase their life span, even if they have to kill in order to obtain it. Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner, which means it’s his job to eliminate Rogue replicants. It is his mission to hunt down Roy and the others, along the way his physical and moral limits are both tested.

This movie is fascinating. There is so much going on, so many questions this movie raises about the nature of humanity and the soul that discussing all of it here in detail would be impossible. Harrison Ford does an excellent job as Deckard and the supporting cast are great in their respective roles, but in my mind the strongest performance comes from Rutger Hauer as Roy. He’s intimidating and shown to be physically impressive, but by the same token he doesn’t come off as an unabashed killer robot like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. Instead, he feels very human and you sympathize with his plight.

Bottom line, this movie is a must see for any fan of the sci-fi genre. It is every thing one could want out of a futuristic action film.

Some films intentionally have a very thin plot because its story is only a vehicle to explore its various characters. The story of our next film is practically nonexistent and we barely see any of it take place, but it’s characters are very complex and a great deal of time is devoted to exploring who they are and why they ended up in this situation as well as seeing them play off one another.

So, you guys like to tell jokes, huh? Gigglin' and laughin' like a bunch of young broads sittin' in a schoolyard. Well, let me tell a joke. Five guys, sittin' in a bullpen, in San Quentin. All wondering how the fuck they got there. What should we have done, what didn't we do, who's fault is it, is it my fault, your fault, his fault, all that bullshit. Then one of them says, hey. Wait a minute. When we were planning this caper, all we did was sit around tellin' fuckin' jokes! Get the message?

11. Reservoir Dogs

Ah Tarantino, you crazy son of a bitch. Your movies range from really cool, to incredibly weird and confusing. Fortunately, this entry is one of the former. As I said, the story for this film is more than anything, a vehicle to explore it’s various characters

At the beginning of the film, we think we know the story, and that story is that of a bunch of guys planning a heist at a jewelry store, each one going by code names, but as the film progresses we gain insight into the various aspects of each man’s character. Who are these people? Are they decent men who are making their living through indecent means? Are they utter psychotics with no concept of human compassion? What secrets do they hold within? Are they cowards or are they brave men? This movie, as I see it, seeks to answer these questions about these people and add complexity to the story in doing so.

There’s a lot to this film that I can’t talk about so as not to spoil it, but I can say that a lot of Tarantino’s regular’s are here delivering excellent performances. Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Michael Madson are all great in their roles. This is a movie with a lot to offer and it’s easily Tarantino’s best.

That's all for today, keep a close eye on my blog for part 2

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Internet Bullying

This will not be like my usual blog posts. I know normally I write silly top 20 lists about Star Trek or Doctor Who or what have you, and it’s rare that I speak from the heart. However, in light of some recent events I have decided that I should speak up about a certain issue in the only way I know how.

Those of you who are familiar with the website, ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, you probably are aware of the recent departure of Noah Antwiler aka The Spoony One due to a certain incident. I have not the faintest idea what exactly happened. All I know is that something happened with Noah that caused quite a bit of controversy on twitter and Allison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa) was involved in some capacity. Beyond that, neither know, nor wish to know what exactly what happened, mostly because it is no one’s business other than that of those involved. I blame no one for what happened and refuse to take sides in this issue.

This essay isn’t really about them, it was merely the catalyst for me deciding to write this post. One thing I noticed about over the course of that incident is that several people, most likely people who had no more understanding of what was going on that I do, were leaving mean spirited remarks on the twitter accounts of the two involved. Neither person deserves such treatment regardless of what may have happened, which brings me to my point. I’ve been noticing this more and more, and have been growing more and more sick of it. People using the internet to be hurtful or rude to others. I believe the term is trolls, a term I only learned the meaning of a few months ago, and a term I truly do not like.

People who use the internet in such a way are the worst sort of bullies. Being any sort of bully is bad enough, but doing so online towards people you’ve never met and know nothing of on a personal level is not only cruel, it is also incredibly cowardly. Too many people tend to forget that behind a username or a twitter account, there is a human being, possibly a human being with enough problems in their life outside the internet, that should not need to deal with some jerk putting them down because of a comment they made, or worse yet, a video they worked hard to bring to people. Even worse yet, I have also seen people make hurtful comments about people online because of their race, religion, orientation, etc. I’m well aware that prejudice is unfortunately alive and well in our modern world and probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but that does not mean it should be tolerated in an area of the internet where people are meant to be having fun and enjoying themselves. Bringing negativity and cruelty into a place where it is not welcome should not have to be tolerated.

I will not lie and say that I have not been guilty of this from time to time, I am not trying to play morally superior here. I have said things on the web to people I’ve never met that I should not have, thinking it was my right to be a jerk and all that was accomplished was both parties being offended and removed from the forum on which the argument was started. The worst part about the whole thing: The argument was over a silly video game.

I know that we have freedom of speech, and each and every one of us has a right to their opinion, but when we use that to be cruel or offensive towards others, especially those whom we do not know, we are not invoking our right to freedom of speech, we are abusing it.

I am not saying not to make the occasional irreverent joke or good-natured jab at another on the internet, but it is important to be careful about what you say and make sure it is appropriate for the occasion and does not come off as intentionally cruel. One rule I’ve set for myself is: Never say anything to anyone online that you are not prepared to say to that person’s face, and even then, make sure it’s something that you absolutely will not regret having said.

I write this essay because I am tired of these people hiding behind their twitter accounts, youtube channels, or whatever else may be used in this way, and getting away with being a bully and ruining the internet for the rest of us. I know that my voice is just one among billions on the world wide web, and it is not a very loud voice at that. It is doubtful that anyone will read this post and even more doubtful that it will make any sort of difference in the greater scheme of things, but this is all that I can do. My only hope is that at least one person takes what I have said to heart.

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My Top 20 Episodes of Doctor Who Part 2

Well, once more unto the breach dear friends. It is time to finish off my Top 20 favorite episodes of Doctor Who. Here we go with the Top 10.

But first, another honorable mention.

Aliens in the Backyard

People don't see Hobbes the way you do, Calvin, I can see him as he is, and so can Martha, but ordinary human beings think he's just a toy you carry around and pretend is real. – The 10th Doctor

I’d wager that even the most hardcore Whovians amongst you have no idea what the hell this is. Well there’s a very good reason for that. This fine little tale is not a part of any official Doctor Who cannon, but is instead a fan fiction, but not just any fan fiction, a fan fiction that is a crossover between Doctor Who and, of all things, Calvin and Hobbes. And now, you’re all scratching your heads and wondering why something like this is even worth mentioning, especially after I tell you that my choice for the second honorable mention was between this and the classic Doctor Who Big Finish Audio Drama, The Sirens of Time, a story that features The 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors joining forces to save Gallifrey from an all powerful invasion of intergalactic knights. You’re probably wondering how a silly little fan fiction can win out over something like that. Well the short answer is: It’s my list that’s how, but I feel I owe you guys an explanation anyway. I can’t reveal too much about the story itself, because it’s one of those things that really should be read to be experienced properly. Suffice to say that this is a story with more effort put into it than one would think a story like this calls for. The author of this tale goes by the name of Raven Aorla, and whoever this person is, they not only have a great deal of knowledge and respect for Doctor Who, but also a great deal of love and appreciation for Calvin and Hobbes. The ending of this story actually brought a tear to my eye, not something you expect too often from a silly little fan fiction is it? Raven, who ever you are, if by some massively unlikely coincidence you happen upon this particular blog post, thank you, and well done. Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite comic strip as a little kid and seeing it and Doctor Who come together was a joy to read. If you’re curious, you can read the story in its entirety by following this link.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5750795/3/Aliens_in_the_Backyard

Oh, and if you have never heard of Calvin and Hobbes, then I suggest you move out from beneath that rock you’ve been living for the past 25 years and go buy yourself one of the classic Calvin and Hobbes collections.

And now back to the list, Allons-y

10.

The Three Doctors

Yes, well, the party's over now. You young men and I go back to our time zones. Though considering the way things have been going, well, I shudder to think what you'll do with out me.

Goodbye. Well, goodbye, everybody. Goodbye. It's been so nice to meet me.

Yes, I see what you mean. I hope I don't meet me again. – The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Doctors.

Sweet, a Jon Pertwee episode, haven’t gotten to one of these yet. This episode was the first of the three “multi-Doctor stories” throughout the classic series. While The Five Doctors was had some excellent moments, and The Two Doctors, while silly at times, was enjoyable and allowed us to see Frazier Hines reprise the role of Jamie, The Three Doctors is easily the best of the three. Before getting into the plot, a little background. In Patrick Troughton’s final episode in the role, the Doctor did something to piss off the Timelords and wound up exiled on Earth stripped of his ability to operate the Tardis. It certainly was something different and innovative for the series and gave us multiple classic episodes, including the Sea Devils, an episode that barely missed the cut for this list, eventually, the status quo had to be restored. This episode also coincided with the 10 year anniversary of the series, so we needed to do something big. As such, all three of the existing Doctors were brought together. The Timelords are facing a threat from a deadly adversary and they need the Doctor’s help. Unfortunately, dealing with this threat is something not even the Doctor can do by himself. Since no one on Gallifrey can be spared, the Timelords have no choice but to violate the laws of time and extract the Doctor his previous incarnations from the time stream to assist himself. Unfortunately, because of health problems, 1st Doctor William Hartnell was limited to a cameo appearance, but Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton have such great on screen chemistry that it’s more than enough to carry the episode. This episode is one that appears on the top ten lists for many and it’s easy to see why. The interplay between the main actors is phenomenal and the story is one of the best. At the end of the episode, The Doctor’s ability to operate the Tardis is restored and he goes on to new adventures. Adventures which may or may not pop up further down the line.

9.

The Shakespeare Code

It made me question everything. The futility of this fleeting existence. To be or not to be. Oh, that's quite good.

You should write that down.

Maybe not. A bit pretentious? – William Shakespeare and The 10th Doctor

This is an episode I recommend for people who are just getting into the series. Seeing as how it’s Martha’s first adventure with the Doctor, she still requires some explanation for what’s going on, so new viewers learn as she does. As you can guess, this episode features the doctor and his companion, Martha Jones, going back to Elizabethan England to see a play by William Shakespeare. Meanwhile, a group of witches have some wicked plans brewing to bring about the end of the world and somehow, Shakespeare is key to it. A lot of the credit for the success of this episode should go to Dean Lennox Kelly who plays a very interesting Shakespeare. The man has incredible screen presence and wit to rival that of Tennant. There are a lot of concepts present in this episode that I really like. The first being the concept of how magic works in the Doctor Who universe, or rather, how it doesn’t work. You see the Witches are actually aliens and their magic isn’t magic at all but rather a complex science based on the power of words that’s so difference from our own that we would perceive it as magic. There’s a phrase used often to describe unexplained occurrences in fiction that I absolutely cannot stand. “It’s Magic, you don’t have to explain.” I think that is a prime example of lazy writing. If you can’t explain something, then don’t bother writing about it. This episode also introduces a running joke that at some point in his history, The Doctor slighted Elizabeth the First and the queen declared him her sworn enemy. Also, Shakespeare defeat the witches with an Expelliarmus curse. Make of that what you will. This is a must see for a fan of the new series and one of the all time greats on either side.

8.

Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways

Time Lords have this little trick, it's sort of a way of cheating death. Except it means I'm going to change, and I'm not going to see you again. Not like this. Not with this daft old face. And before I go I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I. – The 9th Doctor

There is a lot going on in this two parter so I’ll try to take you through it step by step. We start off with the Doctor, Rose and Jack all trapped in futuristic reality shows. The only problem, these games have deadly consequences for the losers. The Doctor deduces that he was brought there for a reason and escapes. Learning that someone has manipulated time to turn the human race into a bunch of lazy couch potatoes, (a stretch I’m sure) the Doctor decides to get to the bottom of it, and in doing so, reunites with Captain Jack, who escaped by pulling a gun out of his ass. Not a metaphor by the way. After a long search, the two find Rose, shortly before she’s captured by the true masterminds behind this turn of events, The Daleks. That’s right, The Daleks are responsible for reality TV. That makes way too much sense. The Doctor is now faced with a choice. You see, he has an opportunity to wipe out the Daleks forever, but in doing so, he’d also be destroying every human on Earth. Due to some issues with the production team, this would be Christopher Eccleston’s last episode as The Doctor, but boy does he go out with a bang. He gives this episode his all, as do Billie Piper and John Barrowman. The Daleks are great here too. It had been a long time since they’d been seen en masse like this and this episode did a great job replicating the threat they presented in the old series as well as the extremes they would push the Doctor to. However, even with all of that, the thing that really makes the episode is the 9th Doctor’s regeneration. As great as it would have been to have seen Chris Eccleston stick around a little longer, I think his regeneration came at just the right time. Remember, at the time, Doctor Who had been off the air for the better part of 15 years and new viewers were still getting used to the idea, and so in order to expose this group to the full Who package, we needed to introduce them to the idea of regeneration. This scene is easily the best regeneration scene in the franchise. Like many, I was not fond of David Tennant’s regeneration. It wasn’t terrible, it was just too depressing for my taste. But with Eccelston, it was a whole different ball game. Whereas Tennant faced his end with sadness, Eccelston faced his with optimism. Sure he was sad to be losing this incarnation, just like I’m sure he was sad with all of the others, but he knows that he’ll live on, and more importantly, he knows that in this incarnation, he made difference, or to use the Doctors own words, he was fantastic. And so, the 9th Doctor meets his end with a smile on his face and hope in his heart for a bright future.

7.

Frontier in Space

You know as well as I do that this man does not fear death. I want him to suffer a much worse punishment. Look, my skill and cunning has brought about this war which will make you the masters of the galaxy. Leave the Doctor with me, and let him see the result of that war. Let him see the galaxy in ruins. Let him see the planet Earth, that he loves so much, in ruins, then exterminate him. – The Master

I told you we’d be getting to another Pertwee episode. This one comes shortly after The Three Doctors, with the Doctor’s ability to operate the Tardis restored. The Doctor and Jo Grant arrive in the future in the middle of a heated political conflict between the human race and the Draconian Empire, a conflict that could erupt into all out war at any time. If that wasn’t bad enough, someone is manipulating both sides in order to push the inevitable war in which neither side will survive. That someone is revealed to be none other than The Master, in what would be the late Roger Delgado’s final performance as the character prior to his tragic death. Delgado and Pertwee’s chemistry is excellent as usual as the two giants of acting perform alongside one another one last time. The Master’s plot is quite a sinister one. He uses a device that causes people to see other’s as what they fear the most, in the cases of the two feuding parties, that would be the opposite party. The episode serves as a strong commentary on the idea of prejudice and how it is born out of fear, which in the end allows something that is truly terrifying to take over. I won’t spoil who that is, but suffice to say it’s a pretty chilling reveal. This episode shows Pertwee and Delgado at their best and it’s definitely worth a watch.

6.

Remembrance of The Daleks

The Daleks shall become Lords of Time! We shall become all-

Powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! Unimaginable power! Unlimited rice pudding, et cetera, et cetera!

Do not anger me, Doctor. I can destroy you and this miserable, insignificant planet.

Oh, wonderful. What power, what brilliance. You can wipe out the odd civilisation, enslave the occasional culture, but it still won't detract from the basic fundamental truth of your own impotence! – Davros and The 7th Doctor

Finally we get to the one Doctor we have yet to cover, lucky number seven, Sylvester McCoy, and what an episode we have. The 7th Doctor and Ace land on Earth in 1963, right smack in the middle of a Dalek civil war. The Dalek’s are searching for a relic of unimaginable power that the Doctor left here during his 1st incarnation. The Doctor needs to do everything in his power to stop the Daleks before the human race is destroyed in their crossfire. This episode is the first to feature Ace as a full-fledged companion, and she has no problem settling into her role. For those who don’t know who Ace is, she’s a tomboy from the 80’s whose hobbies include: blowing stuff up, blowing stuff up, blowing stuff up, and, here’s a shock, blowing stuff up. There’s a lot of nice little Easter eggs in this episode. For example, the friendly fellow who serves the Doctor his coffee is played by Joseph Marcell, who would later go on to play Geoffrey the Butler on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. There’s a brief scene when a television announces a new science fiction show soon to debut on the BBC. We never hear the name of the show, but we do know that it begins with a D. Hmm, curiouser and curiouser. Sylvester McCoy is excellent in this episode and the unique nature of his Doctor as a manipulative chess master really gets to shine here. This would be the final time we would see the Daleks before 2005, but boy do they go out with a bang.

5.

The Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords

And so it came to pass that the human race fell, and the Earth was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion as Master of all, and I thought it good. – The Master

My love for this episode can be summed up in four simple words: HERE COME THE DRUMS!!

I will tell you right now, this was the exact moment when Doctor Who became my favorite show.

And this was the moment when The Master became my favorite villain of all time

After resurrecting the Daleks and The Cybermen, it was time for the new series to bring back the Doctors greatest rival, The Master. They brought him back all right, oh boy did they bring back The Master. After stealing The Doctor’s Tardis, The Doctor and friends arrive back in modern day England to find that The Master is now the new prime minister. First order of business, kill the entire cabinet with poison gas, murder the President of the United States on live TV and tear a hole in the fabric of Time and Space with the power of rock and roll. Once again, that’s just in the first half. If I could complain about just one thing, the ending is incredibly cheesy, even for this show, but that can easily be ignored with all the other great things going on. John Simm is great as The Master. Gloriously over the top and having great chemistry with David Tennant. No disrespect to Ainley and Delgado, but John Simm, in my humble opinion, is the best of The Masters. Here’s hoping that he makes a triumphant return in the upcoming 50th anniversary episode.

4.

Blink

The angels are coming for you. But listen, your life could depend on this. Don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck. – The 10th Doctor

This was the first episode of Doctor Who I ever saw, and boy did it impress me. It’s a strange episode, mostly because The Doctor is barely in it. Instead, the focus is on a girl named Sally Sparrow who finds her name written on the wall in an abandoned house. This episode also introduces the Weeping Angels, one of the most inventive villains of the new series who have since taken their place along side the Daleks and the Cybermen as the classic monsters of Doctor Who. The gimmick of the Angels: When you’re looking at them, they’re just statues, but when you turn your head, when you blink, they attack. It’s a really terrifying thought that something that seems so ordinary can be deadly and terrifying. In case it’s not obvious, the message for Sally was written by the Doctor. The Doctor and Martha are stranded in the year 1969 and the Angels have the Tardis. All the Doctor can do is leave clues for Sally, well that and record half of a conversation with her and install it as an Easter egg on few DVDs. By the way, the DVD conversation scene is one of the best parts of the episode. This is another one from Stephen Moffat, who like I said has a talent for horror stories. When he finally took full creative control he revived the Angels in the Flesh and Stone two-parter. That’s a pretty good episode, but I think Moffat could have saved money by taking a machine gun and shooting a bunch of plot holes in this episode. Oh well, this is one of the greatest episodes I’ve ever seen and has made me think twice about taking my eyes off that creepy statue in my buddy’s driveway.

3.

The Pirate Planet

A plank. The theory is very simple. You walk along it. At the end, you fall off, drop one thousand feet. Dead.

You can't be serious. Is he? Captain, you don't realise what you're doing. If you just listen to me.

I shall listen to you when I hear you scream. – The Captain and The 4th Doctor

Another Tom Baker episode, and a damn good one at that. The Doctor and Romana arrive on a planet that is ruled by an insane cyborg pirate captain who sails the planet around the stars, consuming other planets and mining them for riches, only moving on when they’ve stripped the last planet of all of it’s recources. Naturally, the Doctor has to put a stop to this madness, especially when he learns that the next target is Earth. This episode is one of the absolute best. Tom Baker is great as always and the way he plays off Mary Tam’s Romana is excellent. Truth be told, I’ve always preferred Mary Tam to Lalla Ward. (Hark, is that the sound of hate mail being typed by angry fan boys I hear?) The Captain is easily one of the most memorable one-off villains in the series, and it’s all due to the performance. This performance… wow. This is one of the most over the top performances in the history of the entire series, and that, my friends, is saying something. The character is so gloriously quotable that and enjoyable hammy that you can’t help but laugh at the character. But that’s only half of what makes this character great. Underneath all of the anger and the shouting of “BY THE LEFT FRONTAL LOBE OF THE SKY DEMON MR. FIBULI, IF YOU SCUTTLE THIS PLANET I WILL HAVE YOUR BONES BLEACHED!!!” there’s a far more intelligent and far more dangerous man putting on an act to lure his enemies into a false sense of security. Another noteworthy point is that this episode, along with many others from this era, was written by legendary science fiction writer, Douglas Adams, who had been the head writer for the show long before he began work on the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy series. I guess we can see where he got some of his inspiration. When I started this list, I knew I had to pick at least one episode from the classic Key to Time epic, and I personally believe that this is the episode that stands out the most from that group. Tom Baker’s happy-go-lucky attitude and the Captain’s unfiltered rage are great when working off one another. If you go out and watch any entry on this list after reading this blog, this one should probably be it. Not only is it one of my favorites, it’s one of the undisputed classics.

2.

Battlefield

Pitiful. Can this world do no better than you as their champion?

Probably. I just do the best I can. – The Destroyer and The Brigadier

This is a fantastic episode. The Doctor and Ace find themselves in the middle of a conflict between futuristic Arthurian knights from another dimension who are using our world as their Battlefield. That premise in and of itself is enough to make for a superb episode. Now I pile on the revelation that The Doctor is, or rather will be at some unspecified point in his future, Merlin the Magician, which believe it or not is pretty consistent with the mythology. Then add the evil witch queen Morgaine to the mix to add to the threat level of the villains. Then poor in Sylvester McCoy’s darker edge really shining brightly in this episode, making this easily one of his best performances, and you got the recipe for one hell of an episode. However, aside from all that, the thing that really makes this episode a memorable classic is the fact that it would be the final time that the recently late but always great Nicholas Courtney would play Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the main series. He had a cameo in the non-continuity charity special, Dimensions in Time and a brief appearance in an episode of the spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, but this would be the final adventure that The Doctor and The Brigadier would face together. The Brigadier is one of the most beloved companions in the entire history of the series and it’s great to see the character get the sendoff he deserves. That’s not to say the other actors don’t shine here as well. McCoy is great as always, Sophie Aldred’s Ace is as loveable as ever, and the supporting cast are all memorable and fun. There’s also this interesting modern day Arthurian legend thing their going for in this one with various supporting characters filling the roles of characters in the mythos. The Doctor, as I said before, is Merlin, Ace is the Lady of the Lake, The Brigadier is King Arthur himself, Bambera, a UNIT soldier, is Guenivere and so on. I like that, it puts an interesting twist on the whole thing. Like the Shakespeare code, this one also goes for that whole magic is just advanced science, The Doctor even quoting Arthur C. Clarke. The best part of the episode however, comes at the very end. Morgaine has just unleashed a powerful world-consuming demon known only as The Destroyer. The only man standing between it and the destruction of Earth is The Brigadier. Bravely, The Brigadier faces down this monster, and knowing full well that he may not survive, shoot the beast with a silver bullet, killing it. It’s easily the greatest scene the characters ever had. I love this episode, there’s simply nothing in it to dislike.

Before we get to number 1, here’s a short list of episodes that unfortunately did not make the final cut for this list but are still worth a watch.

The Sea Devils, Genesis of The Daleks, The Talons of Weng Chieng, The Ribos Operation, Resurrection of The Daleks, The King’s Demons, The Caves of Adrozani, The Happiness Patrol, School Reunion, The Sontaran Stratagem, The Poison Sky, Silence of the Library, Forest of The Dead, Victory of The Daleks, The Doctor’s Wife, Closing Time.

And now, The Moment you’ve all been waiting for.

1.

A Good Man Goes To War

Demons run when a good man goes to war

Night will fall and drown in sun

When a good man goes to war

Friendship dies and true love lies

Night will fall and the dark will rise

When a good man goes to war

Demons run but count the cost

The battles won but the child is lost – River Song

This may seem like an odd choice for the number one spot, not because it’s a bad episode, quite the contrary, but rather because it really does not feel like an episode of Doctor Who. It feels much more like a weird cross between Star Wars and The Expendables. We’ll get more into that a bit later, but for now let’s get into the story itself. Amy, along with her newborn child, Melody, have been kidnapped by a religious movement that sees The Doctor as a threat. Knowing that even he can’t pull off this rescue alone, The Doctor calls in a lot of favors from across space and time, building a veritable commando army. Among the Doctors ally’s are such colorful characters as Dorium Maldovar, a slippery con man with some inside information on the enemy base, Commander Strax, a Sontaran nurse serving a penance for to restore the honor of his clone batch… who’s capable of breast feeding… gross, and finally Vastra and Jenny. Let’s see, how to describe Vastra and Jenny? A sexy green lizard woman and her cute and quirky side-kick/implied lover fighting crime on the streets of Victorian London with samurai swords… to hell with Doctor Who, I want to watch that show. Aiding this team are Silurian warriors, Judoon soldiers, WWII fighter pilots, even the pirates from Curse of the Black Spot show up. (Did I mention they kept the spaceship at the end of the episode?) However, the character that shines the most in this episode, even more than The Doctor himself, is Rory. In a single episode, this character goes from being the Kenny McCormick of Doctor Who to Rorannicus Williams, lord of all things badass. Gone is the man who was so much of a weenie that his own wife wouldn’t even take his last name, and replacing him is the man who in the next episode will punch Adolf Hitler in the face and lock him in a broom cupboard, and it all starts right here,

I know right! That was freaking awesome. Not to undersell Matt Smith in this episode either, who turns in what I consider to be, hands down, his best performance ever. He runs the full spectrum of emotion in this episode, from his customary manic and witty, to genuine and heartfelt, to angry and forceful. If The Pandorica Opens quieted Matt Smith’s skeptics, this one converted them into full-fledged fans. This was also one of the most hyped episodes of the Matt Smith era, if not the new series as a whole. Series 4 introduced a mysterious woman from The Doctor’s future named River Song who seemed to know more about him than he did. Throughout series 5 there where a few hints about her, but this was the episode that was finally going to reveal her true identity. I was going back and forth on whether or not to reveal the secret. Ultimately I decided it’s something that has to be found out for oneself, but I will say that The Doctor’s reaction to discovering the truth is absolutely priceless. He goes from seething anger, to acting like a ten-year-old kid who just stole his father’s playboys, excited, a little nervous, and even a bit confused. It is one of his best moments as The Doctor and a great moment in the series. I mentioned before that the over emphasis on story in series 6 bugged me a bit, but it never bothered me here, simply because this is such a great episode that it doesn’t matter. This episode is jam-packed with greatness and it is one that should be watched by any and all Whovians.

0.

Time Crash

You know, I loved being you. Back when I first started at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important like you do when you're young, and then I was you. And I was all dashing about and playing cricket and my voice going all squeaky when I shout and I still do that! The voice thing, I got that from you! Because you know what, Doctor? You were my Doctor. – The 10th Doctor

What? You thought we were done? Come now, you should know me better than that by now. It’s true that a good man goes to war is my favorite official episode, but if I was to share my real favorite it’s this one. Doctor Who has a grand tradition of producing short, humorous specials for charity, like the enjoyable romp that was Space and Time, or the hilarious Curse of Fatal Death, or Dimensions in Time, which… exists… I guess. Anywho, this eight-minute gem occurs shortly after the events of Last of the Timelords. The Doctor has just parted ways with Martha and something goes screwy with the Tardis causing it to merge with another version of itself from another point in time, bringing The Doctor face to face with his 5th incarnation, and really, that’s all there is to it, the rest of the eight minutes are spent on Peter Davison and David Tennant playing off one another. Two fine actors doing what they do best. David Tennant in real life has often been described as the ultimate Doctor Who fan boy. He grew up watching this show and always dreamed of one day being able to play the character. He has said several times that growing up, Peter Davison was his favorite Doctor and adopted several of his mannerisms when he finally took up the role, so the excitement expressed by the Doctor at meeting his 5th incarnation feels genuine. Lucky you, I actually get to show you this episode in it’s entirety.

This episode may have been intended as a special for children in need, but at it’s core this was an episode made for fans, by fans, and it’s my favorite episode of Doctor Who.

Thank you very much for joining me in my look back at my 21 favorite episodes of Doctor Who. Until I feel like doing another one of these, Geronimo!

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My Top 20 Favorite Episodes of Doctor Who Part 1

My Top 20 Doctor Who Episodes

Howdy Y’all, I had a blast doing the Top 20 Star Trek villains list, which is still up on the blog if you want to check it out. Today however, we’re talking about another great Science Fiction series, one that also happens to be my favorite show of all time. I speak of course of Doctor Who. I love this show. I love the old series and the new series. This series has been around for very nigh on 50 years and in that time it has produced several episodes that could be considered classics. Everyone has their favorites, and as such, I’ve decided to share mine.

Before we get started here’s a few things you should know going into it. This will be a much more opinion-based list than my previous one. If I forget to include one of your favorites or an episode that most consider to be one of the all time greats it is either because I personally did not see fit to include it or, more likely, I have not seen it. I have not seen every episode of the show. My Knowledge of the Patrick Troughton era is limited at best and I’ve hardly seen any episodes from the William Hartnell era. Incidentally, William Hartnell and Paul McGann are the only Doctors whose eras will not be represented on my list. No disrespect to either of them or their fans, it’s just the way it happened. As I said, I’m not as familiar with the Hartnell era and McGann only had the one appearance. Old and new series will both be included. I’ve tried my best not to show favoritism to one or the other. Multi-part episodes will be counted as one unless I state otherwise in the description of the review. Finally, and most importantly, some of my descriptions of these episodes will contain some spoilers. I apologize for this, but in some cases it is necessary in order to convey why a certain episode belongs on the list. If you come across an episode you haven’t seen but would like to, the best suggestion I can offer is to watch the episode yourself. Part of the intention of this list is to recommend some of the better episodes of the series.

Now with all that out of the way let’s reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and get on with the list.

As usual, we start with an honorable mention.

The World Shapers

I’ll be brief here because I’ve already reviewed this back in November. I will however post the link to the original review.

http://www.comicvine.com/grant-morrisons-doctor-who-the-world-shapers/37-141550/user-reviews/?review_id=25759

In addition to the main series, Doctor Who has had several comic books, animated features, Audio Dramas made about it. This particular issue, written by comic book great grant Morrison has a lot of what makes Doctor Who great. It has Cybermen, it has time distortions, it has the return of the classic character Jaime McCrimmon. It even has a talking penguin, but I’m rambling, all you need to know about this one is at the other end of that link.

20.

Castrovalva

I feel quite like my old self. Well, whoever I feel like, it's absolutely splendid. – The 5th Doctor

I’ll freely admit that production wise, this episode is a little bit of a mess and parts tend to drag here and there but I still have a lot of love for this episode. The episode begins with the Doctor’s regeneration into his 5th incarnation, and he’s not doing so hot. The regeneration has had some unexpected side effects on the Doctor’s mind and he needs some time to recover. To make matters worse, the Doctor’s nemesis, The Master has kidnapped one of the Doctors companions and has set a deadly trap for the Doctor and friends. The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan arrive on a remote, yet hospitable and welcoming planet called Castrovalva where they believe the Doctor can get help, but not all is as it seems. This episode, and the one that preceded it, Logopolis, represented a significant change in the status quo of the series. We have two new companions in Nyssa and Tegan, who do a good job carrying the first few parts of the episodes, a new Master in Anthony Ainley, who would be staying in the role for the rest of the classic series and of course, a new Doctor in Peter Davison, one of my personal favorites. Davison had a big challenge ahead of him. 4th Doctor Tom Baker had been in the role for so long and had grown so popular that no one could imagine him not being in the role anymore. It’s like when your best employee retires after thirty years of outstanding work for the company and having to hire a young upstart to fill his shoes. It’s hard to escape from the shadow of ones predecessor, especially when those shoes belong to someone like Tom Baker. Fortunately, Davison rose to the challenge and it all started here in Castrovalva. Davison is great in this episode, he’s funny when the situation calls for it, the scenes where he’s having a mental breakdown are not too over the top, which is fitting for his version of the Doctor, and on top of all that, the story is fairly interesting with a pretty surprising twist. Speaking of which, one thing that really cements this episode on my list is one specific viewing. Last summer, I introduced my cousins to the series. They immediately took to it, but one of my cousins started to annoy me by always being able to guess the twist of the episode. Finally I got the idea to show her Castrovalva. Spoilers: In the city of Castrovalva the doctor encounters a kindly old man called the Portreeve and shady fellow in black named Shardovan. Now, which one would you think would turn out to be the villain? If you, like my cousin, said Shardovan, you are dead wrong, because not only is the Portreeve evil, he’s actually the Master in disguise. Not only was this incredibly well hidden by the makeup people, but it’s also a credit to how great an actor Anthony Ainley is. When listening to and looking at the two characters back to back, they don’t sound or look anything alike, and yet it’s the same guy. At this point, the master had not made frequent appearances since the passing of Roger Delgado, the original Master, but after this episode Ainley’s master would have multiple encounters 5th 6th and 7th Doctors. Looks like Davison wasn’t the only one who did a good job of filling the old shoes. Castrovalva was a great start in a new era for Doctor Who and a great start for this countdown.

19.

Mindwarp

AMBUSH!! A WOMAN’S WAY OF FIGHTING!! IF THESE GUARDS OF THE MENTORS WERE REAL MEN, THEY WOULD SHOW THEIR BANNERS AND FIGHT IN THE OPEN!! – King Yrcanos

Poor Colin Baker, a great actor and all things considered a most excellent Doctor, but thanks to some issues with the BBC production company, the head of which was trying to kill the show while um… using his sonic screwdriver to open Colin’s Ex-wife’s Tardis, he got saddled with quite a few sub par scripts. However, it wasn’t all bad, because the era of the 6th Doctor gave us the enjoyable epic known as trial of a Timelord. I know that many choose to count the entire four episode arc as one, but seeing as how, aside from the framing device, the four stories don’t have much to do with each other. In any case, I felt that I should include at least one episode from this arc in the countdown, but which one? Terror of the Vervoids is enjoyably ridiculous and The Ultimate Foe features a showdown with a great villain in the Valeyard and some great acting from the 6th Doctor, but ultimately I had to go with Mindwarp, if for no other reason than its Guest Star.

BRIAN BLESSED!!!!

By the way, that is the proper way to spell BRIAN BLESSED!!!!, in all caps with four exclamation points at the end. The episode itself features an evil slimy little slug man who’s dying rapidly and is looking for a new body. Meanwhile, he’s also performing some sick experiments on the indigenous people including their warrior king, Yrcanos, played by BRIAN BLESSED!!!! This episode is a lot of fun, Colin is great, the villain, despite being a slug thing, is actually a decent actor, and of course, BRIAN BLESSED!!!! This is also the last episode to feature Peri, played by Nicola “I can’t do an American accent to save my life” Bryany as a companion, and thank god for that, I never thought I’d find someone more annoying than Adric. At first the Doctor is lead to believe that she died, but it is later revealed in an outside story that she married Yrcanos and became his manager in an intergalactic professional wrestling circuit. And now I’m imagining BRIAN BLESSED!!!! doing a Macho Man Randy Savage impression. Awesome on that level can blow up the planet if you’re not careful. The story may not be too great on this one, but the characters more than make up for it.

18.

The Mind Robber

Jamie, Zoe, concentrate only on my words. Think of me. Think of the Tardis. They are the only real things here. Everything else is unreality. It is only in your minds. Now, concentrate. Come to me now. Now! Walk straight to the Tardis. Don't stop! – The 2nd Doctor

This is another fun episode, and the only one from the black and white days that earns a spot on this countdown. The Tardis goes haywire and the The Doctor and friends find themselves in a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen, a world where fictional characters, such as Gulliver, The Minotaur, and Rapunzel are given physical form. There’s a lot of fascinating concepts in this episode and the excellence that was the late Patrick Troughton gives it his all. This was still early in the shows history so there are still a lot of kinks that have yet to be worked out, but even still, the episode is a classic for many. Also, you have to love how inventive the production team was in dealing with some of their behind the scenes problems. Here’s a great example: During the shooting of one of the episodes in this serial, Frazier Hines, who played Jamie, had the Chicken Pox and had to be replaced with Hamish Wilson. Instead of just hoping no one would notice, they decided to make it part of the episode. At one point in the episode, Jamie is transformed into a cardboard cut out and parts of his face are turned into refrigerator magnets that are mixed in with other, different facial feature magnets. The Doctor tries to reassemble his face, but gets it wrong and Jamie turns into the different actor, and if you think that this is the craziest thing to happen in this episode, wait until you hear what comes next. As I said, this is a world of fiction, but not just fiction from the past. One of the Doctor’s companions at the time, Zoe was from the UNIMAGINABLY ADVANCED FUTURE OF THE YEAR 2000, and during their adventures in this world, the gang encounters a popular comic book character from that era named The Karkus. This character has large, unrealistic muscle proportions, a massive and impractical gun, and a name that is intentionally spelled wrong because poor literacy is kewl. Now why does this sound so familiar? Where have I seen this before?

…Wow. Either Rob Leifeld is a big Doctor Who fan, or this is one of the rare instances of science fiction accurately predicting the future. Either way… wow. This is a delightfully insane bit of fun and a must see for any proper Whovian.

17.

The Sun Makers

These taxes, they are like sacrifices to tribal gods?

Well, roughly speaking, but paying tax is more painful. – Leela and The 4th Doctor

Ooh, a Tom Baker episode, these are always a blast. The Doctor and his Companion, the badass tribal woman, Leela, arrive on Pluto and are surprised to find it not only populated, but also having a prosperous economy. However, the ruling class of the planet, known as the company, has taxed its citizens into near poverty and some folks are not too happy about it. While the Doctor investigates the inner workings of the company, Leela and a small group of sewer dwelling tax evaders incite a revolution among the workers to overthrow the oppressive government. This is a really great episode. The side characters in this episode do not feel like the side characters of the week, but rather like actual people who you can relate to. The villains are very despicable, making it all the more satisfying when they fall from grace, and of course, Tom Baker, as always, turns in an excellent performance, with all the charm, wit, and arrogance we’ve come to expect. However, the real star of this episode, moreso than Baker, is Louise Jameson as Leela. There’s a scene where she tries to rally the sewer-dwellers into taking action, claiming that they have no honor and no fight in them. Jameson absolutely owns this scene and every other one she has in this episode for that matter. Plus, it’s always nice to see Leela grab someone, hold a knife to their throat and threaten to fillet them. This episode has only gotten better with age, and is especially relatable today with the economy in the shape that it’s in. It’s easily one of the best of the Tom Baker era.

16.

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

Last time I was sentenced to death, I ordered four hyper-vodkas for my breakfast. All a bit of a blur after that. Woke up in bed with both my executioners. Mmm, lovely couple. They stayed in touch. Can't say that about most executioners. – Captain Jack Harkness

Well, we finally get to a new series episode, and a rather special one at that. This episode introduced two very important people to the world of Doctor Who. First, this episode was the first to be written by Stephen Moffat, who today is the head writer of the series and would go on to write several classic episodes, many of which will appear later on this list. Second, this episode introduced my personal favorite companion, Captain Jack Harkness, who would later become the main character of a spinoff show called Torchwood. Jack Harkness is a time agent from the 51 century who will um… sleep comfortably in anyone’s house regardless of what’s going on downstairs. Little known fact, there are no straight men, only men who have never met Jack Harkness. The 9th Doctor and Rose land in WWII era London during the night of the London blitz and immediately there’s something unsettling going on. There’s a tiny little child with a gas mask is roaming the streets asking, “Are you my mommy?” But is this child as harmless as he seems or something far more frightening. This episode has fantastic atmosphere. Stephen Moffat has an incredible talent for writing horror stories in Doctor Who as we’ll see further down the line. The lead actors play off each other well and John Barrowman is great as Jack Harkness. I won’t spoil the rest of it for you but suffice to say it’s a hell of a ride with chilling atmosphere, terrifying villains and great writing and acting and the ending is one of the 9th Doctors greatest moments. I promise, after you see this one, it’ll be a while before you can hear the phrase, “Are you my Mommy?” without breaking into a cold sweat.

15.

Attack of The Cybermen

Unstable? Unstable? Unstable! This is me, Peri. At this very moment I am as stable as you will ever see me! You must forget how I used to be. I'm a Time Lord. A man of science, temperament and passion.

And a very loud voice. – The 6th Doctor and Peri Brown

Time once again to discuss our old pal Colin Baker. This time, we have an episode that had a lot of work to do. The previous episode, The Twin Dilemma was Colin’s first adventure as the Doctor. How’d it go you ask? Well, in an opinion poll, fans voted the Peter Davison’s final adventure, The Caves of Adrozani, the number one episode. (Ironically, that episode will not appear on this list, sorry Davison fans) Coming in dead last on that poll as the worst episode in the series, The Twin Dilemma. Damn, that’s a hell of a steep curve. You’re starting to see enormity of the task that Attack of the Cybermen had ahead of it. If people were going to take Colin Baker seriously as the Doctor we needed something big. What we got was Attack of the Cybermen and it did the job quite nicely. In London 1985, The Doctor encounters an old enemy, a mercenary named Lytton who had previously appeared in The 5 Doctor serial Resurrection of The Daleks, and he’s got some new friends, classic Doctor Who foe the Cybermen. In my humble opinion, this is the Cybermen at their most threatening, if not their absolute best, even if their costumes in the old series were not the greatest. The Cybermen’s plan is to restore their home world of Mondas, a reasonable enough goal, accept for the fact that they will accomplish this by destroying Earth. The addition of Lytton in this episode is what really makes it, at least for me. The character is great, menacing, intimidating, intelligent and witty. Pitty that this character only had two appearances, he would have made a fine recurring character, someone whose wit and cunning can rival the doctors, but isn’t necessarily a villain. Colin Baker does a great job here too, still carrying some of that mental instability and arrogance from The Twin Dilemma carries over, but this time, it serves to teach the Doctor a lesson and from then on he mellows out, at least a bit. If you’re a fan of the Cybermen, or the 6 Doctor definitely give this one a watch.

14.

The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

Hello Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe! But bad news every one, cause guess who. Ha! Except, you lot, you’re all whizzing about, it’s really very distracting. Could you all stay still for a minute because I! AM! TALKING! Question of the hour is, Who’s got the Pandorica? Answer: I do. Next question: Who’s coming to take it from me? Come on!? Look at me. No plan, no back up, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else I don’t have? Anything to lose. So if you’re sitting up there, in your silly little spaceships, with your silly little guns, and you’ve got any plans of taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way. Remember every black day I stopped you. And then, AND THEN, do the smart thing. Let somebody else try first. – The 11th Doctor

A lot of fans are probably going to be upset that this epic isn’t higher, but like I said it’s my opinion. I have my reasons for having it where it is. This episode was the season finale for Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor and Stephen Moffat’s first season as head writer. These guys really needed to pull off something huge in order to impress the fans who were still having a hard time getting over the loss of David Tennant. So what did they do? Why they blew up the universe of course. Okay, this one requires a bit more explanation than that. The Doctor and his companion Amy Pond, played by the very sexy and very Scottish Karen Gillan, arrive in days of the Roman Empire, Amy still unable to remember her fiancée, Rory. (Long story there) From there they meet up with River Song (Even longer story there) and travel to Stonehenge to find the mysterious artifact known as the Pandorica. As it turns out, the Pandorica is an item of great importance to a lot of people, so much so that it has forced an alliance between a veritable who’s who of The Doctor’s enemies, including the Daleks, The Cybermen, The Sontarans, The Slitheen, The Judoon, The Sycorax, The Silurians, The Kryptonians, The Skrulls, The Cardassians, The Decepticons, The Namekians, The Rolling Stones, The Chicago Bears, The Cast of Mad TV… you get the idea, The Pandorica’s a big deal. Meanwhile Rory is revealed to be alive, and a Roman soldier for some reason. River enters the Tardis and it goes haywire causing every star in the universe to cease to exist. Later it turns out the Roman soldiers, including Rory, are all Autons controlled by that big scary Alliance I mentioned, and they seal the Doctor away in a place where he can’t do anything to solve the crisis. And ALL of that is only part one. You should see the madness that happens in part two. This is one of the all time classics for any fan of the new series. Matt Smith is amazing as always, with his incredible energy and his epic speeches. It is also in this episode that we start to get a sense of Stephen Moffat’s writing style. Whereas the Russell T. Davies era’s seasons would just end with a big showdown with the Daleks or The Master or whoever, (not necessarily a bad thing mind you) Moffat had been slowly building towards the series finale with subtle clues as to what’s going on, but never revealing the mystery in its entirety. Moffat likes to play around with fear of the unknown, and it really shows in this episode. This is a fantastic episode and it certainly shut up the Matt Smith skeptics.

13.

The Girl in the Fireplace

Have you met the French? My god, they know how to party.

Oh, look at what the cat dragged in. The Oncoming Storm.

Oh, you sound just like your mother.

What've you been doing? Where've you been?

Well, among other things, I think just invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early. Do you know, they've never even seen a banana before. Always take a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good. Oh ho, ho, ho, ho, brilliant. It's you. You're my favourite, you are. You are the best! Do you know why? Because you're so thick. You're Mister Thick Thick Thickity Thick Face from Thicktown, Thickania. And so's your dad. – The 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler

Well, it was only a matter of time before we got to an episode featuring my absolute favorite Doctor, The 10th Doctor, David Tennant. This is a delightfully dark episode with its fair share of nightmare fuel. The Doctor, Rose and Mickey arrive on a derelict space ship with some rather unusual things going on. There’s a White Horse roaming the corridors, the console is powered by an actual human heart, and strangest of all, throughout the ship there are several time portals that lead to different points in the life of pre-revolutionary French aristocrat Madame de Pompadour. Things get worse when the poor girl is stalked by sinister looking clockwork androids that are planning on stealing her brain. Tennant is great as always in this episode, especially in the scene where he pretends to be drunk. I swear, he is channeling Sylvester McCoy in these scenes. This episode maintains the perfect balance of comedy, horror, and even some tragedy. There’s rarely a joke that fails, rarely a jump scare that doesn’t terrify. It’s damn close to being a perfect episode for any true blue Whovian.

12.

The Unicorn and The Wasp

It's a giant wasp.

What do you mean, a giant wasp?

I mean, a wasp that's giant.

It's only a silly little insect.

When I say giant, I don't mean big, I mean flipping enormous! – Donna Noble, The 10th Doctor and Agatha Christie

Two Tennant episodes in a row, curious isn’t it. This is one of those episodes that I just love to describe to my friends to illustrate just how gloriously ridiculous this show can get. Imagine this: A murder mystery at a 1920’s English garden party where the culprit is a giant alien wasp, and somehow, Agatha Christie has something to do with it. Even if you’re thinking, “That sounds ridiculous” you can’t deny that your curiosity has been peaked. The Doctor and Donna arrive at an English garden party where famous mystery writer, Agatha Christie, is the guest of honor. Things quickly turn serious when one of the guests is murdered in a similar fashion to one of Agatha’s stories and The Doctor gets caught up in the investigation, all while contending with a giant wasp and a devious jewel thief. This is primarily a comedic episode and a damn good one at that. The jokes are all incredibly funny, The 10th Doctor’s enthusiasm shines brightly, and the incredible chemistry between David Tennant and Katherine Tate is in full force. The actress playing Agatha Christie also does a very good job. A fun episode with some excellent character moments, it’s the kind of episode that reminds me why I fell in love with this show in the first place.

11.

Curse of The Black Spot

You couldn't give up the gold, could you?! That's why you turned pirate! Your commission, Your wife, your son. Just how much is that treasure worth to you, man?! – The 11th Doctor

Ah series six, overall a flawed but still quite enjoyable season. The problems with this series stem from the fact that it feels too story heavy leaving little room for fun filler episodes like the previous two entries on the list. Fortunately, after a pretty exasperating series premiere we had this little romp. The Doctor and friends arrive aboard a 17th century pirate ship, that’s being tormented by a deadly and seductive siren. The episode, believe it or not, feels a lot like a slasher film, not in a blood and gore sort of way, but rather in a tension and atmospheric sort of way. There’s this constant feeling of uneasiness as you wonder who’s going to be taken by the siren next. The Captain of the ship is a great presence in the episode. He doesn’t come off like a stereotypical pirate, but more like a good honorable man who unfortunately let his greed get the better of him in life. You genuinely like the character and really don’t want to see him fall to the siren. The Siren herself is very well done. The actress they used has very distinct facial features that make her appear both beautiful and at the same time haunting. It’s also clever how she is able to move through any reflective surface, adding to the frightening tone when you realize that se could attack at any time. Another fine moment in the episode involves… well, take a look.

That might be the single most sexy thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Okay, I hate to do this, but this is one of those episodes where I’m going to spoil the ending, because it’s part of why this episode is so great. As it turns out, the siren is not a siren at all, but rather an Emergency Medical Hologram for a spaceship that had crashed in an alternate dimension occupying the same space as the pirate ship. The Siren EMH is programmed to take anyone who is sick or injured back to the ship’s sickbay for treatment. I really like this concept. It takes an established legend and turns it into something you probably would not have expected it to be. Like The Unicorn and The Wasp, ts episodes like this that remind me why I feel in love with this show in the first place.

Stay tuned for the second half of the list. I hope that so far you've enjoyed it so far. Next time, we have Daleks, Sylvester McCoy The Master, commando raids, David Tennant, Jon Pertwee, ancient alien monsters, and of course, more David Tennant. Allons -y

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Top 20 Star Trek Villains Part 2

Welcome back to the Top 20 Star Trek Villains countdown. And now we start with the top 10, but before you do, be sure to check below for part 1.

Like last time, we have an honorable mention before we get started, though this time a far more unusual one, seeing as how technically this character was never in the show.

Gul Darhe'el

Oh, no, no, Major... you can't dismiss me that easily. I did what had to be done. My men understood that, and that's why they loved me. I would order them to go out and kill Bajoran scum, and they'd do it, they'd murder them! They'd come back covered in blood but they felt clean! Now why did they feel that way, Major? Because they were clean! – DS9, Episode 1x19: Duet

This is a hard character to discuss because like I said, he doesn’t actually appear in the series. However, the enormity of this man’s crimes simply cannot be ignored. The commandant of Gallitep, a Cardassian forced labor camp during the Bajoran occupation, Darhe’el committed countless atrocities against the Bajoran people, earning him the nickname the butcher of Gallitep. His crimes were so appalling and so numerous that even after his death, the echo of his evil remains. Years after the death of Darhe’el, a filing clerk at Gallitep named Amon Maritza had been driven so mad by the atrocities he witnessed that he impersonated Darhe’el in the hopes of being punished, simply for the crime of inaction. That sort of evil would have been enough to top the list, but it remains here in the HM section for two reasons. 1. He doesn’t appear in the show. 2. The guy who is at the number 1 spot is far far worse.

10.

Empress Hoshi Sato of the Mirror Universe

You are speaking with Empress Sato. Prepare to receive instructions - ENT, Episode 4x19 In a Mirror Darkly Part II

Maybe I spoke too soon in part one when I said that Seska was the master of seduction and deception. This character is not only a master of manipulating the characters, but the audience as well. Throughout the entire two-parter, she leads everyone to believe that she’s well… the office loose chick, spreading her legs for anyone in power. But this is all an act. She uses this persona to manipulate the ones with power until she finds her opportunity to seize it for herself. Unlike Archer in this episode, who’s nuttier that a payday bar, Hoshi is focused and goal oriented. Like a coiled snake she waits for her opportunity to strike, and when Archer lets his guard down, she sinks her venomous teeth in.

9.

Nero

There was a tradition on Romulus that when a loved one died you would paint your grief upon your skin. Ancient symbols of love and loss. In time the paint would fade, and with it the period of mourning. Life would go on. We paint these symbols on our skin now. But we burn them deep. So that they will never fade. Because life does not go on. We died with our friends. We died with our families. We died with Romulus. And all that is left is revenge – Star Trek: Countdown

In the late 24 century, long after the defeat of Praetor Shinzon and the peace treaty between Romulus and the Federation, The Planet Romulus was in danger of being consumed by a supernova. A Romulan miner named Nero collaborated with Ambassador Spock in order to prevent the destruction of his home planet. When Spock failed in his task, Nero was stricken with uncontrollable grief at the loss of his home, including his wife and child. That grief quickly turned into rage and a deep desire for vengeance on Spock, whom he blames for everything. Using his powerful mining vessel, retrofitted with Borg technology, he tries to destroy Spock but both fall through a black hole and end up in the 23 century. After killing the crew of the USS Kelvin, including the father of James T. Kirk, Nero waited patiently, letting his hatred and madness grow, for 25 years until Spock falls through the singularity, just so they could force him to watch the destruction of Vulcan, just as Nero was forced to watch the destruction of Romulus. Unlike Soran and Annorax, Nero does not try to revive his wife and child, but instead only cares about making others suffer as he has. The only thing preventing this guy from being higher on the list is the fact that the movie incarnation does not reflect the darker origin presented in the prequel comic book. This guy has one of the biggest body counts, if not the biggest body count of any villain on this list. While Spock tried desperately to save Romulus and mourned the loss of life, Nero murdered countless innocents in cold blood. With a Rage that transcends time, there’s no question that Nero belongs on this list.

8.

Luther Sloan

I'll spare you the 'ends justify the means' speech and you spare me the 'we must do what's right' speech – DS9, Episode 7x16: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

It’s easy to see the egomaniacal dictator or the vengeance obsessed madman as your enemy, but what about the evil in your own ranks. Luther Sloan is the leader of the covert Federation group known as section 31. This organization exists to do the morally questionable things that the higher ups in the federation cannot do, lest they lose their image of a peaceful and diplomatic force in the universe. To quote Captain Picard for a moment

The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based! And if you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don't deserve to wear that uniform! – TNG, Episode 5x19: The First Duty

This is the moral standard that every Starfleet officer claims to uphold, when in reality, several of the higher-ups are looking the other way while Luther Sloan and his group are planning assassinations and biological warfare. Starfleet claims to be the moral authority of the Alpha Quadrant, but section 13 shows their true colors. Sloan himself is quite a scumbag, putting poor doctor Bashir through the mental ringer just as part of his recruitment drive, and even after he refuses, Sloane still uses him as a tool for his twisted goals. With the existence of section 31, the moral utopia that Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned the future to be crumbles at the feet of Luther Sloan.

7.

The Female Changeling

You may win this war, Commander; but I promise you, when it is over, you will have lost so many ships, so many lives, that your victory will taste as bitter as defeat – DS9, Episode 7x25: What You Leave Behind

In the Gamma Quadrant, countless planets and races have been conquered by a powerful force known only as The Dominion. At the head of this destructive and oppressive force is a race of shape shifters who call themselves The Founders. They can take any shape they desire and use this talent to breed mistrust among their enemies. Their leader, or rather their representative, is identified only as the Female Changeling, and she is one evil bitch. The Changeling modus operandi is a pretty nasty one, utilizing powerful soldier race known as the Jem’Hadar to take planets by force and place their agents, a clone race called the Vorta, in positions of power. They don’t really wish to conquer because of a lust for power so much as a sense of entitlement. They simply do not understand why the “Solids” resist them, believing themselves to be inherently superior. They do not care about the suffering of others, they only care about themselves. I guess when you’re entire race exists as a giant ocean of brown slime it’s pretty easy to wash the blood off your hands.

6.

Lore

The reign of biological life-forms is coming to an end. You, Picard, and those like you, are obsolete! – TNG, Episode 7x01: Descent Part II

Those of you who are only casual fans of Star Trek are probably thinking, “Why is Data on this list, isn’t he one of the most memorable and beloved characters of the TNG era?” I got news for you guys; this ain’t Data. Before the genius cyberneticist, Dr. Noonian Soong built everyone’s favorite socially awkward science officer, he built the android known as Lore. Unfortunately, Soong’s first attempt to simulate emotions in a positronic brain worked all too well. Lore could experience emotions like jealousy, greed, megalomania, but that shouldn’t be a problem should it? Soong built him with an ethical subroutine, that’s foolproof isn’t it? Those of you who said yes, go sit in the corner. Lore has all of Data’s strength and intelligence but has a mind filled with evil thoughts. That alone would be enough to make him a serious threat, but let’s pile on his ability to communicate with the powerful Crystalline Entity, that has the power to destroy entire planets. Not enough for you? Okay, let’s add on the fact that in his final appearance, he is not only leading an army of renegade Borg but also using the emotion chip that he murdered his creator to steal to take control of his brother Data. Now let’s get to why Lore is really on this list. Lore is a dick. That sounds so simple and crude but it’s true. Lore is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocents and all the while grinning that smug grin of his. But why does he do it? I don’t know. Lore doesn’t really have a clear-cut motivation beyond general desire for power and destruction. Really, everything he does in this series, he does simply because he’s an asshole. Lore is another example of “the face of a friend turned into the face of the enemy” but that’s only a small portion of what makes him who he really is, and who he really is, is the twisted fusion of Doctor Doom and Bender from Futurama. Douchebaggery on a cosmic scale, that’s more than enough to earn Lore the number six spot on this countdown.

5.

Weyoun

The Dominion has endured for two thousand years and will continue to endure long after the Federation has crumbled into dust, but we’ll leave that to history – DS9, Episode 4x22: To the Death

Deep Space Nine fans are probably feeling very puzzled right about now. I know what you’re thinking. “Why is this guy higher on the list that the Female Changeling, isn’t he the Founder’s servant and spend most of the series sucking up to them?” Well you’re absolutely right on that account. Weyoun is fiercely loyal to the Founders and is pretty much their stooge, but I still think he deserves a spot above his masters. While the Founders rule their world silently from their ocean of apathy, Weyoun and the other Vorta are acting as the movers and the shakers of the Dominion. Weyoun loves every minute of what he does. As the dominion conquers more worlds, the Founders just take Solace in the fact that the rightful order is falling into place. Weyoun on the other hand takes great pleasure in every act of evil that is perpetrated by himself and his masters. Not to mention the fact that he’s such an oily bastard that I’m surprised he’s able to sit in chairs without slipping out. Like Garak, he comes to you as with a friendly and happy-go-lucky demeanor. Unlike Garak, he cannot hide the enormity of the dominion’s evil behind that serpentine smile. And did I mention that if you kill him the founders will just clone him back, making it damn near impossible to get rid of this asshole. A conniving scumbag gleefully serving a race of apathetic dictators with a god complex, Weyoun is one puddle of slime you’ll wish you never stepped in.

4.

General Chang

Oh, now be honest, Captain, warrior to warrior. You do prefer it this way, don't you, as it was meant to be? No peace in our time. Once more unto the breach, dear friends – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

This guy is a lot more like what Kruge should have been. A Klingon general who so hated the idea of peace with the federation that he was willing to partake in a conspiracy to assassinate the Klingon high chancellor in order to keep the war going. In many ways he represents a dark mirror for Captain Kirk. Kirk despises the Klingons for killing his son and hates the idea of peace just as much as Chang does, but unlike Kirk, Chang is willing to take it one step further. Unlike most Klingons we see in the series, who are usually loud and short tempered, Chang is very subdued, which makes him much more intimidating. With a powerful ship that can fire while cloaked and a penchant for menacingly quoting Shakespeare, Chang has a lot of the classic villain bases covered. The things he was willing to do in the name of hatred and fear make him one of the strongest Star Trek villains ever, more than worthy of the number four spot.

3.

Khan Noonien Singh

I've done far worse than kill you. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me. As you left her. Marooned for all eternity at the center of a dead planet. Buried alive...buried alive – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

You all knew this one was coming. This is quite possibly the single most recognizable villain in the history of Star Trek. During the Eugenics Wars of the 1990’s, (What? You don’t remember?) the genetically enhanced superman known as Khan Noonien Singh ruled most of Asia with an iron fist. After the war, Khan escaped into space with his loyal servants in the sleeper ship, the Botany Bay. Two hundred years later, Khan was awakened by James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. He tried to take the Enterprise for himself and use it to reclaim his empire and nearly succeeded if not for the intervention of Kirk. Kirk marooned him on the planet of Ceti Alpha V where he remained for several years with only vengeance on his mind. When Khan finally escaped his exile, he took control of a Federation Starship and stole a powerful bio-weapon. This would have been enough for most bad guys, but Khan needs his vengeance. He needs to not only kill Kirk, but look into his eyes as he dies. See that look of shock and terror when he knows exactly who defeated him. Khan’s obsession with vengeance is both his greatest strength and his Achilles heal. It is what drives him, what motivates him, what gives him purpose, but it will also ultimately destroy him. Kirk is essentially the White Whale to Khan’s Ahab. There’s almost no point in talking about Khan at length as so many have done it already. Suffice to say he’s a powerful threat and a perfect rival for Kirk. Kirk may not believe in a no win scenario, but the genetically enhanced monomaniacal madman almost made a believer out of him.

2.

Locutus of Borg

I am Locutus...of Borg. Resistance...is futile. Your life, as it has been...is over. From this time forward...you will service...us – TNG, Episode 3x26: Best of Both Worlds Part I

The phrase “Face of a friend, face of an enemy… blah blah blah” has been thrown around quite a bit in this list. The idea adds interesting dimensions to certain villains and sometimes shows the heroes what they may have become if their lives had been different. However, at the end of the day, Lore is not Data, Sela is not Tasha Yar and Shinzon is not Picard. Locutus on the other hand IS Picard. No matter how many times Picard tries to forget the thousands of noble Starfleet officers who died by Locutus’s hand, no matter how much he convinces himself that the thousands more that lost their very souls when he assimilated them into the collective were because he was under the influence of the hive mind, he cannot escape the fact that he did all of these evil deeds. But do not think that the memories of Locutus haunt only Picard. During the battle, a young Benjamin Sisko lost his beloved wife at the hands of Locutus and the Borg. Years later when he meets Picard, instead of seeing one of the most decorated and respected Starfleet officers, all he sees is the monster that took his wife from him. Locutus may be long gone, but the memory of him and the destruction caused will plague Picard and several others for years to come. Resistance is futile.

1.

Gul Dukat

I'm so glad we had this time together, Benjamin, because we won't be seeing each other for a while. I have unfinished business on Bajor. They thought I was their enemy? They don't know what it is to be my enemy, but they will. From this day forward, Bajor is dead! All of Bajor! And this time, even their Emissary won't be able to save them! – DS9, Episode 6x11: Waltz

Where… do I even… start? Not only is Gul Dukat the greatest villain in the entire Star Trek franchise, bar none, he is also a strong contender for the most well developed and complex villain in the history of fiction. The episode quoted above is called Waltz, in which Dukat and Captain Sisko are trapped on a planet together and Dukat is forced by his own insanity to confess to the atrocities he committed during the occupation of Bajor. At the end of the episode there is another quote relevant to Dukat’s character.

Sometimes life seems so complicated, nothing is truly good or truly evil. Everything seems to be a shade of grey. And then you spend some time with a man like Dukat, and you realize that there is such a thing as truly evil ­– DS9, Episode 6x11: Waltz

Yeah, that just about sums it up. Really, anything that the 19 other villains on this list are capable of, Dukat can do it better. During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, Dukat committed nearly every act of evil that an invading force can commit towards the people of the occupied territory, including forcing Major Kira’s mother to become his sex slave, and she probably was not the only one given how many illegitimate children this guy has fostered. There are times during the series where he seems like a sympathetic, even good man, but then he starts lusting after major Kira or reminding everyone of the occupation. The sickest part about the latter, he believes that for atrocities the Bajoran people suffered under his rule, he should not only be thanked, but worshipped. He genuinely believes that he did the Bajorans a favor when he occupied their planet and placed them into forced labor camps. When the Dominion makes its presence known, Dukat sees an opportunity to regain the power that his people have lost, and so he joins their side. He knows he cannot trust them, but does not care. He knows that this will make him the power in the universe that he believes he deserves to be. When Sisko and the federation retake Deep Space Nine and Dukat’s daughter Ziyal is killed in the ensuing chaos, Dukat’s sanity finally cracks. When alone on the planet with Sisko in Waltz, he begins hallucinating and he confesses his hatred for the Bajorans. He says that he should have killed every last one of them because they didn’t appreciate what he did for them. Through it all, he has no regrets. After that, he becomes a desciple of the Pah Wraiths, who are pretty much the closest thing in the Star Trek universe to The Devil. This new-found faith leads him to murder Jadzia Dax and manipulate Kai Winn into freeing his gods and unleashing an unholy fire in which the entire Alpha Quadrant will burn. In the fire caves, he is granted all the power of the Pah Wraiths for a final confrontation with the Emissary of the Prophets, Ben Sisko. Dukat has let his own evil consume him until he has become evil incarnate. Dukat stands alone as the only character to act as the main villain for an entire Star Trek series. The closest Next Generation had was Q, and we’ve been over him. Dukat is one of the most complex villains ever conceived. He has multiple layers to his character, but at the end of the day, he is pure, unabashed evil.

And thus ends my countdown of the top 20 Star Trek villains. Please feel free to comment about who you think should or should not be on this list. Until next time, Live Long and Prosper.

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Top 20 Star Trek Villains Part 1

Top 20 Star Trek Villains 20-11

I am a huge fan of Star Trek, I always have been, from when I was a little kind watching TNG to seeing the 2009 film in theatres. As I am want to do, I like analyzing the villains of many franchises and Trek is no exception. So as a follow-up to the success(?) of my previous list I humbly present, My top 20 Star Trek Villains List.

First, a few rules. I know several similar list tend to cop out and put the entire Klingon Race or the entire Borg Collective. Well that’s not how I do things. This is a list about individuals and their impact in the Trek universe. Don’t worry trekkies, I’m sure several of your favorite antagonistic races will be well represented on this list.

As like before, we start with an honorable mention.

Elim Garak

My Dear Doctor, all my stories are true, especially the lies - DS9, Episode 2x22: The Wire

The reason this guy is relocated to honorable mention is because he’s not really a villain. Don’t get me wrong, he’s about as far from being a hero as any character could be but he’s not a villain either. In fact, we’re never quite sure what he is. As a former spy for the Cardassian Obsidian Order, Garak is a master of Deception. Is he a ruthless and calculating spy and assassin or a humble tailor? Is he your best friend or your worst enemy? There’s no possible way to be sure. Every time you see him he carries this friendly and happy go lucky demeanor, but you can’t help but feel uneasy. His friendship with Dr. Bashir shows a lot of this. Garak talks to Bashir a lot, but he never really says anything about himself, even when his life depends on it. When confronted about it, he says that he always tells the truth, even when he’s lying, effectively making him the opposite of Fox News *Badum Tsh.* He is a man who knows how to get things done, and get inside the heads of even the most strong willed of men. No matter whose side he’s really on, all sides need to watch their backs when he’s around.

20.

Q

Oh, you'd like me to connect the dots for you, lead you from A to B to C, so that your puny mind could comprehend. How boring - TNG, Episode 7x25: All Good Things…

I was at first hesitant to include this particular character, mostly because, like Garak, he’s not exactly a villain either. However, Q’s threat level and treatment of the human race do earn him a spot here at the bottom. Part of an omnipotent race of Cosmic beings known as the Q continuum, Q possesses powers beyond the imagination of any normal man. He treats the “lesser races” like their nothing but playthings. If he wanted to, he could easily make an entire fleet of starships cease to exist with nothing more than a thought, but he’d rather put them into impossible situations and watch them beg for his help. He believes he can put all of humanity on trial for being an immature child race, when in reality it’s Q who acts like a child. But I’m dancing around the issue here, we all know the worst crime Q has committed. It was Q who introduced the federation to their greatest adversary, the Borg. All that suffering, all that death, all that trauma, all because Q wanted to prove a point to Picard. Q has the powers of a God but the pettiness of a spoiled child, making him a perfect starter for this list.

19.

Commander Sela

Everything in me that was human died that day with my mother. All that's left now is Romulan. Never doubt that - TNG, Episode 5x01: Redemption Part II

In an alternate timeline where Klingons and the Federation never made peace, the Tasha Yar of that reality was sent back in time with the temporally displaced Enterprise-C. The timeline was restored, but the other Tasha remained and was captured by Romulans. Eventually, she became the consort of a Romulan general and the two conceived a child, Sela. After her mother was executed for trying to take her away from her home, Sela became resentful of her human heritage. Before long, she became a high-ranking commander in the Romulan military. Sela is a cruel, opportunistic and ruthless adversary to be sure, but that’s not what earns her a spot here. It’s the fact that she bears her mothers face. Just a warning, expect to hear the phrase, “face of a friend turned into the face of an enemy” a lot over the course of this list, it’s a surprisingly common theme in this series. The crew of the Enterprise would normally have no problem dealing with the Romulans, but Sela isn’t just any Romulan, she’s one who acts as a constant reminder of a close comrade who died on their watch, making it harder for them to stay on their toes when in combat with her. With the cunning of a Romulan and the will of a human, Sela is definitely a force to contend with.

18.

Professor James Moriarty

I became more than a character in a story. I became self-aware. I am alive - TNG, Episode 6x12: Ship in a Bottle

When helping Data to indulge his fascination with Sherlock Holmes, Geordi attempts to program a mystery on the holodeck that would challenge even the mind of his android friend. What he meant to do was create an adversary who could defeat Holmes. What he actually did was create an enemy that could defeat Data. A programming error caused the holographic character of Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis to gain sentience and eventually, a degree of understanding of how to control the ship. Upon learning that he was confined to the holodeck, Moriarty agreed to be deactivated until a day when he would be able to walk free. Years later, he was accidentally reactivated and none too pleased about having been forgotten. The intelligence necessary to defeat a super intelligent android, the ability to take control of the Enterprise, the willingness to do anything in order to earn his right to live, and all of it driven by one of the most devious criminal minds in the history of fiction. Moriarty may have evolved beyond the intent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but he is still a serious threat to those who cross him.

17.

Captain Jonathan Archer of the Mirror Universe

Great men are not peacemakers. Great men are conquerors! - ENT, Episode 4x19 In a Mirror Darkly Part II

I’ll be the first to admit that Enterprise was a bit of a low point in the rich history of Star Trek. That having been said, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have the occasional diamond in the rough here and there. Such is the case with In a Mirror Darkly, which details the rise of the Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe. This version of Jonathan Archer is actually a perfect demonstration of how the path of evil can lead to one’s own destruction. In the episode Archer becomes captain through stabbing his superior officer in the back and taking control of a 23 century ship from the original universe with enough power to turn the tide of the war. Upon learning of the accomplishments of his alternate reality counterpart, he was overcome with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that it drove him mad with power. This insanity eventually led to his downfall, but that’s something we’ll get into a bit later.

16.

Seska

Federation rules. Federation nobility. Federation compassion? Do you understand? If this had been a Cardassian ship, we would be home now - VOY, Episode 1x11: State of Flux

A Cardassian spy who infiltrated Chakotay’s crew when the USS Voyager was trapped in the Delta Quadrant, Seska is a pretty slimy customer. She definitely leads the list in the category of seduction and deception (with the exception of Garak, but he’s an honorable mention). She was able to successfully seduce Chakotay to easily infiltrate the crew, and when her cover is blown, she seduces the leader of the Kazon Nistrom, again for her own ends. But neither are of any importance to her, they are only pawns for her to achieve her goals. Seska’s first and only loyalty is to herself and will destroy all who stand in her way, not with brute force, but from the inside.

15.

Doctor Tolian Soran

They say time is like the fire in which we burn – Star Trek Generations (1994)

Once an innocent scientist, his entire world was shattered when the Borg assimilated his entire planet, including his beloved wife and children. One day, he was trapped in this temporal anomaly called The Nexus, a realm where one is placed in a state of pure happiness. In Soran’s case, it reunites him with his family. When he is pulled from the Nexus by the Enterprise-B, Soran spends the next 78 years trying to get back by any means necessary, even if that means blowing up a star and causing the deaths of countless innocents. I should mention before going any further that I’m actually one of the few Trek fans who likes Generations, flawed though it may be. Malcolm McDowell is a fine actor and he knocks this role out of the park with every bit of the menace we’ve come to know him for. The story I’m about to tell you is absolutely true. A friend of mine met Malcolm McDowell at a Q&A panel once and he revealed that he used to receive death threats from Trek fans for killing Captain Kirk. When he asked if there were any Star Trek fans in the audience, my friend raised his hand and was met with British snark the likes of which even Rowan Atkinson could not contend with. At the autograph signing after the panel, my friend kindly thanked him for killing Kirk because it was his time to go. That may have seemed just an amusing non-sequitur, but the fact that McDowell received such threats in the first place shows the Mark he has made on Trek history and on Trek fans.

14.

Annorax

This vessel is more than a weapon. It's a museum of lost histories - VOY, Episode 4x09: Year of Hell Part II

Don’t let the fact that he’s played by Red Foreman distract you, this guys got more in store for the USS Voyager than just a foot in the ass. This character has much in common with the previous entry, in that they are both motivated by the loss of their worlds and their families. However, while Soran came off as a mad man who cared nothing for the consequences, Annorax felt far more like a tragic figure, mainly because the loss of his beloved wife is his own fault. Annorax has a powerful ship with the ability to not only destroy entire planets, but also make it so they never existed, and with them their entire histories. Ever since the day he accidentally wiped his own wife from history, he used that ship to destroy countless worlds in hopes that it will restore the world he lost. With every world erased, a small amount of his world is brought back, but never the part that truly matters to him. What really sets Annorax apart from Soran is the fact that his actions do weigh heavy on his conscience. Anything that survives of the obliterated worlds is added to his collection, not as a trophy but as a means of keeping their memory alive. But even despite all that, Annorax cannot stop until he restores what he has lost, even if he has to erase every last planet in the quadrant.

13.

Kor/Kang/Koloth

The splendor of fighting and killing; a bloodbath in the cause of vengeance; who wouldn't want to come! – DS9, Episode 2x19: Blood Oath

I’m going to make a confession. As much as I love Star Trek, I sadly am not as familiar with the original series as I’d like to be. It’s not that I think it’s bad in any way, it was just before my time and I never really caught up with it. So, I can’t really get into too many specifics with the TOS appearances of these guys. I’m fine with that, mostly because back then, Klingons were pretty one-dimensional villains and had not developed their warrior culture schtick yet. Instead, I’m going to talk once again about how the path of evil can cause just as much harm to oneself as it can to one’s victims. Consider this; Modern Klingons are all about honor, but the Klingons we saw in TOS weren’t exactly honorable. Again, the real reason for this was because the Klingons hadn’t been fleshed out yet, but think of it this way; These three men were once considered great warriors in the eyes of their people even though they were evil men. Years later, we see them again and the years have not been kind. The path of evil has brought them no honor or glory but has left them drunken shadows of their former selves. The only way to restore their honor that they can see is to go on one last mission for glory, even though they know full well that doing so would be suicide.

12.

Kruge

Oh yes, ...new cities, homes in the country, ...your woman at your side, children playing at your feet. And overhead, fluttering in the breeze, the flag of the Federation – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Now this is what a real Klingon villain looks like. He’s Ruthless, he’s powerful, he’s imposing, he’s Christopher Lloyd, right on the money. As soon as we saw Kruge, we knew he was a serious force to contend with, and he knew it too. He learned of the existence of the Genesis device and planned to use it against the federation for the preservation of his planet. He feared the idea of making peace with the federation, as he thought it would corrupt Klingon culture. Kruge is essentially willing to do anything to preserve his race, even kill Kirks own son. And because this is Christopher Lloyd, I must now make this joke.

REMEMBER ME KIRK, WHEN I KILLED YOUR SON, I TALKED JUST… LIKE… THIIIIISSS!!!!

Sadly, Kruge isn’t exactly the most developed villain in Trek, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be forgetting him anytime soon.

11.

Praetor Shinzon

As Earth dies, remember that I will always, forever, be Shinzon of Remus. And my voice shall echo through time, long after yours has faded to a dim memory!– Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

As part of a Romulan plot to put a Romulan Agent in the place of one of the most decorated Star Fleet officers of all time, Shinzon was created as a clone of Jean-Luc Picard. When the plot was abandoned, Shinzon was sent to Remus to die in the dilithium mines. Whilst there, he developed a deep and powerful hatred for the Romulans and eventually rose to power in their government. He has a powerful army and an equally powerful ship at his disposal, but there’s one caveat, he wasn’t made to last. In order to survive, he needs DNA transplant from Picard himself, one that would result in the death of the original. Once again, Shinzon is an example of that whole “Face of a Friend turned into the Face of the Enemy” thing I mentioned back when I discussed Sela. I won’t get into the nature vs. nurture argument here. Instead I’ll analyze this from Picard’s point of view. If Shinzon succeeds in the destruction of both Earth and Romulus, he could become one of the most feared tyrants in the entire Alpha Quadrant, a symbol of fear and oppression for all who have fallen before his mighty army. And all the while, that symbol of fear and destruction will bear Picard’s own face, something that Picard has already experienced once. The thought of going through it again is almost unthinkable. Now, let’s take a look at Picard from Shinzon’s point of view. All he’s accomplished, all the power he’s attained, and he still can’t escape from another man’s shadow. He has his own goals but he still cannot ignore the deeply rooted desire to distance himself from Picard. Despite what you think of the movie he was featured in, one must admit, Shinzon was a serious threat that if left unchecked, could have caused unthinkable devastation.

Keep a close eye on my blog for the second half of the list, coming soon.

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Top 10 Power Rangers Villains

Since I was a little kid, I have been a huge fan of Power Rangers. I can already hear you people laughing at me. Before you start on that let me assure you that I am well aware of the cheesiness of the show. Sure it relied on Japanese stock footage a bit too much and the characters had a habit of being a little too goody-goody and two-dimensional but you can’t deny there’s a certain charm about five teenagers with attitude being summoned by a giant floating head in a tube and granted super-powers to defend the world from evil space invaders. I love the original series as well as all of the spin-offs. (to varying degrees) Over the course of it’s various incarnations the series has had its fair share of great villains, from ancient Demons to intergalactic conquerors. I’ve decided, as an homage to one of my favorite shows, to countdown my favorite villains of the power Rangers Universe.

Couple rules I’ve set for myself. The character must have been a villain for the majority of the series or their tenure within the series. Some of the list makers do in fact turn good towards the end of the series, but that does not mean their time as a baddie wasn’t truly spectacular. I put this rule in place because I see far too many lists like this that include the evil Green Ranger even though Tommy is one of the greatest heroes in the series and was only evil for about five episodes. This also precludes characters like Trent from Dino Thunder, The Thunder Rangers from Ninja Storm, Zenakku from Wild Force etc.

Before we get to the main list, we have an honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Rita Repulsa – Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

True, she certainly wasn’t the most effective villain of the series, but then again, that’s not why she gets the honorable mention. The reason I put her here is she’s so iconic of the series. Hell, when you watch the old Mighty Morphin’ episodes, the first thing you hear before that kickass rock song is her shrill voice proclaiming her intentions to conquer our planet. Unfortunately iconography alone is not enough to make this list and making someone want to eat a bunch of junk food is not exactly the sort of thing that will make the forces of good quake in their boots. Still, Rita is one of the things we remember most about Power Rangers and we won’t be forgetting her anytime soon.

Now on with the List

10. Dai Shi – Power Rangers Jungle Fury

When the star pupil of the Pai Zhua Martial Arts Academy is humiliated angered when his arrogance causes an unskilled rookie to be chosen to be one of the guardians over him, he accidentally releases and merges with Dai-Shi the very evil spirit that the order of the claw is sworn to guard. The spirit doesn’t so much completely possess him as much as slowly poison his mind, as well as amplify his powers. Throughout Jungle Fury, there’s a sense that Jarrod is slowly losing control of his mind and allowing Dai Shi to get stronger and stronger, and boy does he ever get stronger and some of his methods are pretty disturbing. In one episode he actually goes back in time to times in his host’s life when Jarrod had been noble or charitable and erases them, causing Jarrod’s own evil to grow. That’s what makes Dai Shi so evil, his power over Jarrod, who more or less is an innocent victim in all this. At the end of the series, we finally see Dai Shi’s true form and holy crap is it badass, a giant multi-headed dragon with unlimited power that dwarfs the Jungle Master Megazord. Dai Shi hates all humans and desires only their destruction. His cruel manipulation of Jarrod and ever increasing power make him a strong start to this list.

9. Koragg the Nightwolf – Power Rangers Mystic Force

During the first Mystic war, a great warrior named Leanbow supposedly sacrificed his life in order to seal the dark master away. In reality, Leanbow was corrupted and brainwashed by dark magic and transformed into the dark Knight Koragg. This guy is some serious bad news, possessing far more skill with the ways of magic than the rangers. He has a damn powerful zord as well as the ability to turn into a giant centaur, nice. No matter how powerful the Mystic Rangers got, Koragg was always stronger. But the more I watch this character the more he seems familiar. He’s a big hulking warrior in dark armor, he is a loyal servant of a far greater evil, he has knowledge of an ancient magic that is greater than the main heroes, and later we learn that he’s actually the main characters father. Now where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah, him. Anywho, Koragg is still a chilling presence. Everytime we see him we know he’s a force to contend with. Despite his great power however, he never finishes off the rangers as he feels it would be too easy. Even when Leanbow is freed from the darkness, the temptation of the power he possesses still lingers, temporarily transforming Nick, the Red Ranger, into the new Koragg in the season finale. Big, bad and immensely powerful, Koragg is definitely a cut above the rest.

8. Astronema – Power Rangers in Space

On a planet called KO-35, a young girl named Karone was kidnapped and though dead by her family. In reality, the girl was left on the doorstep of a dark warrior named Ecliptor who raised her to be evil. Years later, young Karone has grown up to become the evil Astronema, the mistress of all evil second only to the space demon, Dark Specter. At the time Power Rangers in Space aired, fans of Power Rangers had been used to petty comic relief villains like the Machine Empire from Zeo or the irritatingly horrendous Divatox from Turbo. So when we saw a cold, calculating and serious villain like Astronema, it was quite a breath of fresh air. Astronema was war-general and always remained focused on her goal of galactic conquest, not to mention the fact that she had all those previous villains I mentioned under her control. She’s opportunistic, and a hell of a fighter. Unlike Koragg, who was brainwashed by the forces of evil, Astronema was raised by evil. Even when she learns the truth about her family, (Her brother is the Red Ranger. Didn’t I just say she was different from Koragg?) she still struggles to accept it because evil is all she knows. In the second half of the season when Dark Spector uses cybernetic implants to make her fully evil, she becomes far more ambitious and tries to overthrow her master and seize control for herself. Instead of bothering with the one monster at a time crap, Astronema launches a full-scale invasion of the universe in the series finale and nearly succeeds. The only thing that defeats her is the sacrifice of Zordon, which destroys all evil in the galaxy, at least until next season. Unlike other villains who lost their luster as the show progressed, Astronema was constantly threatening and always had an evil plan to push the rangers to their limits. Such plans ranged from running them over with a sentient Hummer to brainwashing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Yes that really happened, and sadly it was the weakest episode of that season). But every rangers fan knows Astronema’s greatest strategy to defeat the rangers is… well we’ll get to that a little later.

7. Diabolico – Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue

Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall said in his review of Lightspeed Rescue that the element that held that season down the most was its villains, and for the most part I agree. That is except for Diabolico. He was really the only interesting villain in that series. Prince Olympius was boring as hell, Queen Bansheera didn’t do shit until the end and when she did she proved herself incompetent, and Vypra… we don’t talk about Vypra. Diabolico, however, was far more intimidating. He never gave up in his efforts to defeat the Rangers. Even death was but a minor inconvenience for him. To talk about Diabolico at length would be a waste of time because his evil can really be summed up in a single scene. Ryan, the son of the Rangers’ superior officer, was taken away by Diabolico at a young age. All of this was part of a deal made with his father to save his life. In turn Ryan was raised by Diabolico and the demons to be evil and eventually became the sinister Titanium Ranger. As per usual with sixth rangers, Ryan defects to the side of good. Diabolico however, refuses to give Ryan up without a fight. In retaliation, he visits Ryan in a dream and burns a cobra tattoo onto his back that will move up his body each time he morphs and will eventually kill him. In true Nightmare on Elm Street fashion the tattoo is still there when Ryan wakes up. This is pretty dark for Power Rangers. Where one of his allies would just send another monster, Diabolico will torture his victims to death. It’s that alone that earns him a spot here.

6. Ivan Ooze – Power Rangers: The Movie

I should preface this by saying I actually love the power rangers movie. It’s a fun nostalgia trip and it’s got one hell of a villain. This guy is just a bastard. He commits acts of unspeakable evil and responds with a witty retort. 6,000 years ago, he was sealed away by Zordon. When Zedd and Rita free him from his prison, he has one thing on his mind, vengeance. What really gets Ooze on this list is how effective he is. What Zedd and Rita have been trying to do for years, he manages to do in roughly half an hour with little effort on his part. He destroys the command center, nearly kills Zordon and cuts the rangers off from their powers, then he goes to the moon and takes out Rita and Zedd. This was all in one night. Damn, this guy doesn’t mess around. He thinks of the Power Rangers as nothing more than a nuisance. He doesn’t obsess over their destruction like others would but rather remains focused on his ultimate goal after he’s done with them. That goal is releasing his two ultimate insecto-zords. To do this he takes control of all the parents of angel grove using his… purple splooge… Disgusting. He turns them into a work force to dig up his super robots as he sits back and drinks cappuccino. He’s easily the funniest villain to make this list, partially due to the great acting of Paul Freeman, who also played Beloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Boy that’s a weird resume) Something that sets him apart from a lot a Power Rangers main villains, especially at the time this movie came out, is the fact that he isn’t afraid to get his own hands dirty. He doesn’t bother with monsters, he does his own dirty work. Even in the final battle he merges with his own zord in order to defeat the rangers himself. Oh, I feel I should mention, he is in fact defeated by a kick to the nuts. Ivan Ooze’s time in the series may have been short, but he certainly left his slimy purple mark on Rangers history.

5. Octomus The Master – Power Rangers Mystic Force

This character is interesting. Despite the fact that he’s the main villain of the series, we don’t even see him until the final episode. He is often mentioned, but never by name. In fact, I don’t think his name is ever even mentioned in the show, I just know it because of Wikipedia. When he is discussed he is referred to only as The Master. The buildup to this character was insane. Each force of evil in this show was given power by The Master and in turn they remain loyal to him, and given the caliber of villains we see in Mystic force, that’s saying quite a lot. There has never been any Power Rangers villain who was more hyped than this character. So much so that fans believed that there was no way he could possibly live up to the hype. But when we finally saw him in all his glory those people were eating those words. This is the closest the Power Rangers have ever come to fighting The Devil. Think about it, he’s a giant red horrifying monstrosity, his headquarters is called the underworld, clearly meant to be hell, he corrupts the souls of mortal men, as seen with Koragg, and he has an army of demons at his command. He’s The Devil. This could possibly be the most powerful entity that any team of Power Rangers has ever faced. There’s not much to his character, but there doesn’t need to be, He’s The Devil!

4. Deker – Power Rangers Samurai

Power Rangers Samurai is unfortunately one of the few series that I haven’t seen all that much of. I’ve enjoyed what I have seen and most of it is because of this character. I don’t even know that much about him either but I’ve definitely seen enough to give him a spot on this list. Apparently he was brought back to life long ago thanks to a deal made with Master Xandred, the main villain of the series. The trade off was, he is now cursed to walk the Earth forever as a Human-Nighlok hybrid. The only way to lift his curse, as well as the only thing he lives for, is to find the ultimate opponent for his sword Uramasa. I put this character so high on the list because it’s rare in this franchise that you see a villain who only wants to fight. He doesn’t want world domination, he doesn’t want revenge, all he cares about is fighting. He’s an honorable warrior, but you can still tell there’s darkness in his heart. He has no regard for innocent lives and anyone who isn’t strong enough to face him will feel the wrath of Uramasa.

3. Ransik – Power Rangers Time Force

In the year 3000, a botched lab experiment creates an entire race of powerful and evil mutant criminals, the most powerful of them being a mutant called Ransik. When he is finally caught by the power rangers of the future, Ransik escapes and high jacks a time machine and travels one thousand years in the past, bringing with him an army of mutant criminals to wreak havoc in a world not prepared to face him. Though number three on the list, Ransik is my favorite villain in the entire franchise. Played by Vernon Wells, who also played the villain in the movie commando, the chilling lines this character delivers make him incredibly intimidating. Ransik was one tough customer, desiring nothing more than the destruction of the human race and creating a world where mutants are superior. However, unlike another mutant character with a similar motivation,Ransik is not any sort of champion for mutant rights. He’s mostly in it for himself and cares nothing for the lives of his subordinates. The only other person he cares about is his daughter Nadira. Ultimately it’s that soft spot that leads to his downfall but I’m getting ahead of myself. Ransik was a real force to be reckoned with and he knew it, easily able to fight off any of the Rangers one on one. His powers are also not limited to his mutant abilities. In the next season, Power Rangers Wild Force, We learn that Ransik was granted the ability to extract bones from his body and turn them into swords (awesome) when he frees three monsters called Orgs from their stone prison. The moment that earns him such a high spot on my list comes in the final episode where he has his final confrontation with the Rangers. The thing is, the Rangers never defeated him. Ransik surrenders when he realized that in his anger he nearly killed his beloved daughter, but in that fight he had nearly destroyed all of the rangers, and if that fight had continued he would have succeeded.

2. Lord Zedd – Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

There was no way in hell I would have dreamt of making this list without including Lord Zedd. I shouldn’t even have to justify his spot, but I will anyway. I think Linkara said it best when he said Zedd was what we would get if H. R. Giger were ever to design a super villain. He has an amazing design that was so frightening, the character actually had to be toned down because adults found him too scary. Unlike his predecessor and later wife, Rita Repulsa, (Little side note: in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, it’s revealed that Zedd and Rita had a child. Enjoy vomiting in terror once that sinks in.) who would send monsters against the rangers with no rhyme or reason, Zedd’s methods were far more sinister, taking an item that had some sort of value to the rangers, like an instrument or a family heirloom and twisting it into an evil monster. Hell, he once brought a monster from someone’s nightmare to life. That’s pretty dark, especially for a kids show. Now I can hear you old fans who are now in your mid-twenties who remember the later seasons when Zedd was a comic relief doofus protesting already. I ask you guys to go back a bit to when you were little and you saw Zedd for the first time. A red hand with silver claws grasping a snake. A frightening mask with a glowing red visor hiding a skinless visage and a deep gravely voice that sent shivers down your spine. Doesn’t seem as goofy anymore does he. Earlier I mentioned how iconic Rita was. If there is one villain more iconic of Power Rangers than Rita, it’s Lord Zedd.

1. The Psycho Rangers – Power Rangers in Space

Remember earlier when I mentioned Astronema’s greatest plan? This was what I was talking about. In her efforts to defeat the Rangers once and for all, Astronema created five monsters called the psycho rangers, each one programmed with a deep obsession with destroying their Ranger counterpart. Unlike the average monster, these guys had a purpose, and never wavered from it. In every encounter, they proved themselves to be far stronger than their counterparts. Their only downfall is their obsession as it prevents them from working together as a team. But even one of the Psycho Rangers is more than a match for all five of the Space Rangers. Even when they are finally defeated, they refuse to stay down, surviving as ghosts and reconstituting themselves with one of Astronema’s machines for another crack at the rangers. Does a second defeat keep them down, hell no! They are revived yet again in the next season, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and this time it takes two teams of rangers to finally put them down. Wow, these guys are pretty damn persistent. The fact that they simply won’t go away, combined with how powerful they are is enough to earn them a spot on the list, but there is one moment in the series that lives in infamy. After the previously mentioned defeat at the hands of the two ranger teams, Psycho Pink survives and engages Kendrix and Cassie, the Pink Rangers of their respective teams. After a long battle, Psycho Pink is finally destroyed, for really real this time. But before her destruction, she damages Cassie’s morpher, creating an explosion that claims the life of Kendrix. That’s right, the Psycho Rangers are officially the first villains in the entire franchise to kill one of the main characters. These monsters left their mark on Power Rangers history unlike any other and are more than worthy of the number one spot.

And so ends my countdown of the top 10 power rangers villains. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I may do a few more lists like this with other franchises somewhere down the line, but for now this is Bloodwolfassassin saying, may the power protect you.

Also, don’t anyone of you dare remind me that Kendrix came back to life at the end of Lost Galaxy. It was a heart wrenching moment when she died and it was undone in a stupid and nonsensical way that had no rhyme or reason to it. As far as I’m concerned it never happened.

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Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark Review.

I wanted to do this as one of my regular reviews but unfortunately this doesn't fit into any of the categories for the review options of the sight. However, this show needs to be discussed because I find it incredibly sad that I'm one of the only people who sticks up for it. This Show is absolutely fantastic but not for the reasons one thinks, but before I get to that, I have to address a few things. One, yes a lot of people have gotten hurt, there are several complex wirework stunts in this show and accidents happen. My friends dad is a professional stunt driver and he understands the risks involved with this sort of thing. Fortunately during my show everything went off without a hitch. Second, I saw the show before they fired Julie Taymor and revamped it. Knowing what I know about the revamp, the changes they made were for the worse in my opinion. So let's get started.

We start off with these characters called the Geek chorus, who are trying to write the ultimate Spiderman fan-fiction. Yes, I'm serious, the entire show is a fan-fiction, and you know what, it works. This is not an adaptation of Spiderman in the traditional sense. This is a fan's tribute to Spiderman, and in the end, that's what fan fiction should be. The comic trivia the geeks randomly insert shows that the writer clearly new their stuff. Taymor is not ignoring Spiderman lore with the changes made, she's telling her own story of Spiderman with that was inspired by that lore. We start off with the Greek myth of Arachne, the woman who Athena turned into a Spider. This may seem like an odd choice but it actually makes a lot more sense in act two. The Arachne character appears in the background several times during act one as a sort of metaphysical presence. Finally we get to Peter Parker in class being tormented by flash and his goons (all of whom are wearing yellow and black for some reason, whatever it's broadway) The song that comes from this scene is very fun and catchy and sadly I haven't been able to track it down. Also, a great touch is that whenever they slam Peters head into a desk or something, a little sign pops up that read's POW or SMACK, it's straight out of Adam West Batman and it's just wonderful. As we continue we're introduced to our regulars like Mary Jane, Uncle Ben, Aunt May, etc. In terms of plot structure they seem to be drawing a lot from the first movie, which isn't a problem, it's how most people know Spiderman these days. Then we get to the field trip to Os-corp labs were we meet a very different Norman Osbourne. He has a camp southern accent, his Wife is still alive, and Harry is never mentioned in the show. I can see fans being put off by this but I didn't mind, especially given later events. Of course while everyone else is distracted by a musical number about science, Peter gets bitten by the spider. The scenery for the transformation is absolutely beautiful, and the song that follows is easily one of the most Rocking in the show. Peter beats the hell out of Flash's cronies and then goes to the arena to challenge the world heavyweight champion, BOOOOOONESAW!!!!!! Sadly, they couldn't get Macho Man Randy Savage, (Rest in Peace Macho Man, we miss you) so instead we get a really stupid looking puppet. This is the only part I didn't like because there is no replacing Macho Man Randy Savage because BOOOOONESAW IS READY!!! After that, we get the death of uncle Ben which is actually changed slightly, but not in a way that diminishes it's impact. So naturally Peter becomes Spiderman and there's a montage of him saving people, which includes a nice cameo from the villain Hammerhead. Meanwhile, Osbourne is under pressure from the military to test his performance enhancers. In what is a very clever nod to the fans, a list of Os-corp scientists who have left the company is read off that includes names like, Lee, Ditko, Romita, Stracynski and Quesada. When we find out that those scientists are killed by the Goblin later in the show I thought to myself, "That was for one more day Quesada you hack." There's a very nice number called picture this which is sung by both Peter and Osbourne to their respective lovers. It's a nice scene and a sweet song before all hell breaks loose. Norman straps into the machine and becomes the goblin, but his wife is killed in an explosion during his transformation, sort of making his origin an amalgamation of the movie origins of both the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, which I like. Once we see the Goblin in all his glory, Hoo-boy that's when things get fun. He shows up on top of a building with playing a piano looking like the Grinch and chewing the scenery in a way that would make even Tim Curry blush. That camp southern accent is in full force now to the point where he sounds like Paul Bearer of WWE fame, it's hilarious and awesome. He's kidnapped Mary Jane and forces Peter into a fight. The stunts in this scene are simply amazing. Spidey and the Goblin were right above my head during their battle. It's something that my words cannot do justice to, you have to see it for yourself. But Spidey wins the day and the Goblin falls to his death to end act 1.

Act 2 opens with the Geek chorus wondering who they should pit against Spiderman next in their story. What follows is my favorite scene in the entire show. The Geek's are arguing over who the best Spiderman villain is, throwing out names like Lizard, Carnage, Kraven, Swarm, Electro, and even a new villain named Swiss Miss. (Hey it's a fanfic, you can have original characters if you want) Meanwhile, there's a montage of Spiderman fighting those villains all of which is set to a rocking song. I love this scene because it reminds me of all the similar arguments I would have with my friends. However, Spidey is feeling under appreciated, is tired of his negative press from JJJ, and is contemplating giving it all up. (what else is new) Ultimately he chooses Mary Jane over his life as Spider man, but Arachne, who I reiterate has been a background character throughout all of act 1, is not happy about it. Supposedly, Spidey's powers are tied to Arachne in this version, something that I felt to be reminiscent of the Ezekiel Arc from Stracynski's run on amazing Spiderman, which I praise as Spidey at his best. Arachne launches an attack on the world, resurrecting the Goblin and the other villains. There's a truly epic montage of the villains causing chaos throughout the world and all hope seems lost. This sequence also contains my favorite line in the show, of course it's from the Goblin. "This just in, Carnage is writing his name in blood on the side of a building, No idea as to how he obtained the blood, but there's a lot of it." Spiderman finally decides to return to action when MJ is kidnapped and he defeats the villains once again, but there is still Arachne to deal with. Arachne wants Peter to fully embrace his Spider side and give up his humanity, but Spiderman refuses, asserting that he is Spiderman AND Peter Parker, not one or the other. He also professes that he loves Mary Jane, which I guess frees Arachne from her curse. Yes it's silly, but it's got great music.

Bottom line, this musical does not deserve the negative press it has received. It is a well crafted tribute to Spiderman by someone who clearly has a love for the mythos of the character. It's far from perfect but it is a damn enjoyable show and worth the price of admission. Spidey fans and Non fans alike will love it. This show has become my favorite musical of all time. If you saw it and did not like it, that's fine. But if you have jumped on the Spidey-musical hater bandwagon without even seeing it yourself then shame on you. See it before you pass judgement, that's what I did and I was pleasantly surprised.

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