Tag Archives: Science Fiction

example of a critique essay

When I first heard that Netflix rolled out a reboot of “Lost in Space,” I reacted with “Danger, Netflix! Danger!”

The TV series, which aired from 1965-68, was a childhood favorite of mine.

It featured space exploration!

And aliens!

And a very cool robot cleverly named Robot!

And, oh yeah, two young female leads, who were pretty hot, but I digress…

The “Lost in Space” movie from 1998 was also surprisingly good, but an entirely new series?

Hmmmm….I was skeptical.

To quote Dr. Smith from the original series: “Oh the pain, the pain!”

But you know what? I am here to tell you the new series is every bit as good as the original and even better.

It has been updated to reflect modern advancements while still staying largely true to the underlying plot: The journey of the Robinson family goes about as straight as a corkscrew.

In the Netflix series, the family seeks out a new life after fleeing a decaying and endangered Earth.

I was utterly hooked from the very first episode. I was emotionally invested and, yeah, at several points on the verge of tears because of the high-stakes situations characters found themselves in.

Among the striking things about the show: the true-to-life family dynamics right down to the tensions between parents and children, the strong female leads (the mom is played by Molly Parker, who is a favorite of mine), the display of smart people finding smart solutions to crises, and the use of music to build suspense.

The other things that impressed me were the gorgeous scenery and investment in sets, costumes, vehicles, design, etc.

In the original series, you will recall the family Robinson was outfitted in space suits that looked like they were wrapped in yards of aluminum foil or some funky velour body suits.

And the props and costumes? Let’s just charitably call them primitive.

When you look back on it, the campy sets and special effects of the original TV show makes this dramatic trailer put out by CBS even more hilarious.

In it, the narrator described the series as “adventures farther out in concept than television has ever gone out before.”

It continued: “‘Lost in Space’ is a top-budget, top-quality show designed to dazzle the eye and ear with the most impressive production values and spectacular effects ever lavished on any TV series.”

Well, yeah. Maybe for its time.

I think that kind of hyperbole applies much more aptly to this Netflix reboot.

If you were fan of the original series, you will not regret going along for this latest ride on the Jupiter 2.

Related:

How I Got My Very Own Robot from “Lost in Space”

 

 

MegaCon: The Family That CosPlays Together…

As I stroll down a hallway, an 8-foot mechanized cyborg passes by me.

Resting in a semi-seated position and staring into a smartphone is a unicorn-headed half human.

Further down I see a line of droids ambling away.

And wait! Was that Stan Lee?!

Did I just bring you into one of my alcohol-induced dreams?

Nope, that was just a small part of MegaCon 2015 in Orlando, Fla.

MegaCon is the annual younger cousin to the now-famous ComicCon of San Diego. But not that much smaller.

This year over 70,000 super-heroes, monsters, robots, geeks and freaks passed through its doors.

Batman_Group

For me, a lover of all things comics from the early 70s, a giant comic book convention should have been an annual event from way, way back.

But it wasn’t. Early on I viewed all conventions, comic, Star Trek, scifi and horror as the domain of not just geeks, but rather stuck-up, solitary, scary collector-type geeks.

And in a convention they found the one event where they could congregate and be all geeky about their collections together.

I was not a collector. I was a reader.

I devoured comics and pulp mags, scifi, super-heroes and horror. But I never kept my comics and mags in pristine, collectible condition.

I read the hell out of them. I rolled them over, shoved them into bags, creasing pages that reduced their monetary value but with every reading, they increased in spiritual value to me.

Many were lost or traded over time. Some were even damaged by Silly Putty overuse. But they were never forgotten.

Fast forward many, many, many years to my family that now includes some teenagers, who grew up reading fantasy book series, anime and comics.

Three years ago they convinced me to take them to our first MegaCon.

I thought I knew what I was in for.

I prepared myself to spend the day letting my kids explore and I would limit myself to looking through comics, mags and memorabilia that interested me, whiling away the time.

What I got was completely different.

Yes the exhibitors were there with the comics and accessories, and many of them looked and acted like the comic book collector geek from “The Simpsons.” But there was so much more.

Full booths dedicated to the likes of the Southern R2 Builders Group, the Greater Florida LEGO® Users Group and the 501st Legion or as they are better known, “Vader’s Fist”.

Sure these were middle-aged folks spending thousands of dollars on building the most incredible replica of a fully functioning R2D2 droid.

But it felt right and not geeky.

Maybe it felt that way because these full-sized, fully functioning and moving droids are definitely the ones I was looking for.

It was my childhood brought to life. And the storm troopers, mercenaries, Wookies and Jedis of the well-known galactic fantasy tale were all there.

That was just the Star Wars stuff. There were exhibits from “Star Trek,” “Battlestar Glactica,” “RoboCop” and… “Plan Nine From Outer Space.”

Yes, there was the well-known and the obscure.

But what about comic book characters? If I were to guess I would say they were all well represented by the thousands of cosplayers.

From the bizarre, to the sublime, from the expensive and elaborate to the cheap and last-minute creation.

Wolverine, Supergirl, Thor, Spiderman, Rick Grimes…and Powdered Toast Man.

2013-03-16 14.49.47

There were so many anime characters I did not recognize that I had to constantly stop and ask my kids, “Who’s that?”

But the most interesting part was seeing that this was not a culture of geek exclusivity or freak elitism.

From what I saw in a day, every cosplayer was very gracious to every request for a picture or to engage in conversation. And so many poses — from heroic to horrific to hysterical.

Did I mention Powdered Toast Man?

Powdered_Toast_Man_01

Some cosplayers were surrounded by fans of all ages. And everyone wanted a picture.

I saw an 8-foot Groot, splendidly re-created, down to the slow difficult walk in that costume.

He wouldn’t have walked fast even if his tree-stumped legs allowed, because every half a step there was another photo request.

And when a fantastically accurate Star-Lord crossed his path, it was a true Kodak moment.

Groot_Star_Lord

MegaCon has now become an annual thing in our family. My kids take it to an extreme and I love it.

This year my oldest daughter went to all three days and dressed as two different characters.

In fact, we have started a budget for MegaCon 2016 for all of us, including my wife, to attend all three days and we will all be costumed.

The family that cosplays together stays together.

May the Force be with you.