TEN TUESDAY: 10 Television Themes I Love

Ever notice when you watch television that there are hardly any opening credits left? This makes me sad because I love opening credits and I think they set the tone for the series. Here are ten of my favorite opening credits.

1. Caprica — The creators of Caprica said they didn’t want to just throw the name up on the screen. So they came up with this sequence, which sets up the relationships between the characters.

2. Orange is the New Black — This new Netflix Original Series Orange is the New Black sports a new song from Regina Spektor with haunting images of inmates eyes.

3. Firefly — I love Firefly and I love the theme tune.  This is one of the songs that seems to stand the test of time. Even though the show was cancelled years ago the song is still covered on YouTube.

4. Rizzoli and Isles — Boston was an Irish city and this opening sequence sets that part of this cop show up perfectly.

5. Weeds — Watch this opening carefully…then tell me what you see.

6. Pretty Little Liars — I heard this song years ago, but I loved seeing it in this context. It sets up the premise well enough and the song is haunting enough to stay with you.

7. Sanctuary — Over the course of three four seasons this opening was radically shortened but I love the original.

8. Battlestar Galactica (2003) — Battlestar Galactica is one of the shows that brought back my love of sci-fi. My friend actually managed to translate the lyrics to the song being played and it is just as beautiful in English.

9. Warehouse 13 — Warehouse 13 is entering its final season but I really loved this opening from the beginning.

10. The X-Files — The X-Files was one of my sci-fi drugs and this opening just epitomizes how weird the show really was. And yet I still love it.

If you want to watch all the openings at once. You can watch them all in this YouTube playlist I created and in the meantime tell me some of your favorite opening sequences in the comments below.


TEN TUESDAY: 10 Favorite Vloggers and a Bit About The #NewVloggerArmy

A few weeks ago I entered the vlog talent search on Geek and Sundry.  I didn’t advance to round two but there are a few things I will take away from this experience. What was really surprising to me was how respectful and inclusive everyone was in this competition.  The forums on Geek and Sundry had things like a Vlogger Dance Party, hangouts, and general crazy self-promotion ideas. What came out of the community, has to be the best thing about this.  Thanks to one vlogger, we have discovered that Geek and Sundry’s ulterior motive in this talent search.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to #NewVloggerArmy.

What is #NewVloggerArmy? You ask. It’s where the geeks take over the internet with their obsessions. A good number of people have expressed that they were going to continue their vlogs regardless. So here I am giving you my next #TenTuesday with a list of awesome vloggers, both still in contention for a slot on Geek and Sundry, but many not.

1. Kiri Callagan — Kiri Callagan’s vlog Wit & Whimsy is going to cover a variety of subjects. To give you an idea she’s already covered misused words, ninjas, and kitchen chemistry. I have had a few conversations with Kiri over Twitter and almost every single time she manages to get a song stuck in my head. She’s bubbly and lots of fun to watch.

2. Dael Kingsmill — The last time I picked up any sort of mythology was in high school and it was the Odyssey. I had no desire to read that and I haven’t thought much about it since, but I do like mythology and so Dael’s “The Story of Sissy Face” intrigued me. Of course it never occurred to me that it meant Sisyphus. I originally clicked on it because I have a dog named Sissy with an adorable face, but I don’t regret clicking.

3. Kristen Brumley (Stay In Character) — Before this vlog competition I had only heard of LARPing in the context of  Good Luck Charlie, where they ridiculed it. (Honestly, it is starting to make me think that the Disney channel cannot embrace geekery or niche hobbies at all.) Kristen’s vlog however, is a vlog about LARPing told through LARPing characters. I could say more but it really speaks for itself. Plus, it got picked up by LARPing.org and will be on their channel once a month starting in September.

4. Scott Tumilty (Scott’s Old School Pixel Party) — He started playing bad games while drunk but now this Scotsman from Glasgow is…still doing that.  Scott’s audition video and second round video are hilarious. However, while voting was happening he did a voting vlog every day. THAT IS A LOT OF VLOGS!  Take a  visit to his channel and watch the crazy unfold.

5.  RandomliNikki Her video happened to be about Nostalgia but Nikki’s channel has many more videos. Some of my favorite are about her giving her future child advice, but they are so funny and that kid is going to be so entertained (when it ultimately exists).  Plus she just wants to brighten your day.

6.  Paige Lavoie I love art and I have never consider making a comic but Paige has inspired me to give it a chance.  I need to do her challenge still but I think this might be constructive to my writing.

7. Joseph Knitt — I spent my senior year studying Gothic novels. Castles are an essential part. Plus I really love the novel Frankenstein. So his vlog seemed to encompass things that I loved. Plus castles in general enchant me and he has a great delivery and hilarity.

8. Mitch Hutts (Critical Hit Cocktails) — Four words. Drinks and video games. I don’t play lots of video games but I do like mixing drinks.

9.  Sarah Braun (Big Damn TV Geek) I’ve know Sarah for a couple years through Twitter. We actually met via a Whedony chat about Dollhouse. We are geeky for television, so it is no surprise she is on this list.  In her audition video she listed five shows she loved that are not on TV anymore (yes including ALL of Joss Whedon).

10. 2 Broke Geeks (Omar and Mia) — Hobbies are expensive. Being a geek doesn’t have to be.  2 Broke Geeks gives you tips and trips for how to save money and be a geek at the same time.

So there is a list of ten vloggers I enjoy watching. If you are looking for more to check out, look at Jens Reinking’s channel. He has a vlog series about how to be a better geek and also hosts these cool things called #GeekendHangouts every Saturday. There were so many vloggers in this competition that I probably could have made this list several times over but the best advice I can give you is to get out there and explore.  There are so many people out there who vlog about all kinds of things.

Regarding my own vlog. I am hoping to keep it up and I am going to release one video a week. I am not sure what schedule it will be on, but I am looking forward to fangirling and sharing things that are just awesome with you. I’ve got some rebranding that is going to happen and maybe more. Keep an eye out and I will let you know when the photography stuff begins again.

TEN TUESDAY: Ten Reasons Why Gates McFadden is Cool (and should be verified on Twitter)

Three mornings a week I go babysit a kindergartner  One morning he brought up “Crusher”  and my mind immediately went to the Doctor of the Enterprise-D, Dr. Beverly Crusher.  Of course they didn’t mean the Star Trek character, they meant the Skylander. And because the Skylander is made up of rocks it sparked a ten minute debate as to whether or not she’s evil. (Later, he confessed that he was just trying to see if he could get me mad. Well played, kid! Well played!)

Yes, this is Crusher, but it is the wrong Crusher.

Anyway, they keep asking me why I like Dr. Crusher and I kept giving them the same answer, which is that she just rocks. If any of your Star Trek: The Next Generation fans have been living under a rock, Gates McFadden, the woman behind Dr. Crusher, recently got a Twitter account (@gates_mcfadden), and even though it is still yet to be verified, it is her and while she’s trudging around going from “tweet shelter to tweet shelter” as she puts it. I thought it was time for an early edition of Ten Tuesday. So I give you ten reasons why Gates McFadden is awesome/cool/(insert other synonym here).

This is the person who comes to mind when someone says Crusher. Dr.Crusher played by Gates McFadden.

Here it goes:

1. Dr. Crusher had more brains than Data and Picard put together!  

I liked Crusher from the moment I first started watching TNG but one of my all-time favorite moments is in Season 1’s “Arsenal of Freedom” when she falls down a hole with Picard and there’s an alien weapon threatening to wipe out the away team and Enterprise in orbit. Even thought she has a broken arm and leg, when Data arrives and they try to figure out how to stop the device, she says “Why don’t you just shut it off?”  Even injured, after having to talk the Captain through her own first aid she managed to give the Captain and an android the solution to a problem that could have resulted in their own destruction.

2. She takes pictures of her own action figure.

If you’re on tumblr you might see pictures of a Beverly Crusher action figure in some odd situations. Well, that’s Gates. She does that. She comes up with the scenes and she take her own photos.  The Adventures of 1/8th Bev, PezBev, and BarBev, are often the highlight of my day.

1/8th Bev misses Jean Luc.

3. She’s a cat person.

She has two cats, but her black and white cat named Rudi makes frequent appearances alongside 1/8th, being both her drinking buddy and a taxi cab. (Just don’t take away his catnip or he might get violent.)

After a night at Gates’ theater, this was 1/8th’s ride home.

4. She’s “The Dancing Doctor”

Among my other favorite Dr. Crusher moments is Season 4’s “Data’s Day” where Data asks Dr. Crusher to teach him to dance. Of course, he fails to mention that this is for a wedding and so Dr. Crusher teaches him how to tap dance.  (This is another big hit when I was trying to convince the child in the opening paragraph that I wasn’t completely nuts.  A doctor teaching an android how to tap dance? Who can resist that?)

But in real life, Gates took dance lessons from the age of four.  So that’s her dancing in the scene.  Imagine how much fun that must have been to choreograph.

5. You might remember a movie called Labyrinth. 

Any David Bowie fans reading this? Yea, you remember that ballroom scene in Labyrinth? Well, Gates choreographed that. Anyone who has ever been envious of Sarah in that scene has Gates to thank for that trance-like choreography.

6.  She’s a feminist.

During Season 2 of TNG, Dr. Crusher went off to head up Starfleet Medical. In real life, Gates McFadden got let go because she was a feminist.  At the 2012 Austin Comic Con, she stated that she talked about how she disagreed with a writer, telling him that if Beverly Crusher has raised this kid on his own and he has saved the ship six time in a row, why are the male characters giving him all the guidance and wisdom. She wanted to be more than just the loving mother because it hadn’t been portrayed on television.

The writer’s disagreed and she was asked to leave, but then the character was asked to come back, to head up some more great episodes like “Cause and Effect” where she got to get out sickbay and solve why they were in a time loop. (She also successfully called Riker’s bluff in a poker game in that episode!)

7.  She’s on YouTube every chance she gets.

Gates loves YouTube, because as she said in Austin “It’s such a world out there. It’s unbelievable.” Not entirely sure what she watches on YouTube, but considering what a time suck it can be for some people, nice to know celebrities have the same weakness. (See the full version of the panel above.)

8.  She has a sense of humor. 

You didn’t get to see her be very funny during her time on TNG. In fact her audition was the one funny scene she had during the whole seven years (see this scene from “The Naked Now”). When she went into her audition she asked which of the three female characters: Yar, Troi, or Crusher was the funniest. They pointed her to Crusher. She has since referred to it as the bait and hook, but in her subsequent role and in real life, Gates is really funny. Search her on YouTube and watch some of her convention panels or just read some of her tweets. You will laugh. If you don’t laugh, you might need to get your head examined.

9. She teaches about her field.

One of things that I found invaluable as an undergraduate  was having teachers who were doing work in the field they were teaching.  Gates has taught in several places and continues to teach at the University of Southern California where she currently teaches BFA students physical theatre classes.

10. She’s the artistic director of a non-profit theater

Gates is the artistic director of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in LA (EST/LA). If it sounds familiar, that is probably because it’s the name under which she posts her 1/8th pics. Gates loves new ideas and that is what she gets with this theater. They perform only new plays and have had some really interesting past seasons. How many theaters do you know that actually stage a “Sex Farce with Sea Creatures?”

That’s Gates McFadden, in a nutshell and if you are on Twitter and do not follow her, I suggest you do so, because you will not regret it and if you happen to be in LA during her theater’s season, go see something there.  And if you are following her on Twitter, please join us in trying to get her a verified account, because there are no guidelines and it seems impossible. If none of this convinces you that Gates is awesome, start watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix instant queue.

BONUS: She rides a unicycle?