Archive for the ‘ Space ’ Category

Space Truckin’

Quick note: This entry is best read while listening to the title.

I love space. Between the dinosaurs and outer space stories, my childhood seemed like something creationists would no doubt frown upon. Living in a third world country, the prospect of being either an archaeologist or an astronaut was pretty impossible as it was.  But as an early follower of Sagan (and now Dr. Tyson), I don’t think I’ve ever stopped dreaming about the stars.

It’s going to be clear from this point on that I am attracted to anything with the word “space” in it (Except for you MySpace. You wish you were as cool as me and my 950 Asari and Turian friends on Spacebook.) None of which are bigger than the Space Opera genre. I do love sweeping epics that take place on Earth or some distant planet, but nothing tickles my fancy more than with what happens above them. Whether it’s the planets some ragtag crew explores or the interaction of different alien species treated as an everyday occurrence, . In the same belief that “anything is better if you add dinosaurs or zombies to it,” you can change the setting to “space” to most anything and it will be better. Can you imagine reading about Abraham Lincoln’s life and times as America’s greatest president….in space? Or if a train to Hogwarts meant going to Space Station 9 ¾ into the 6th dimension? Hell, I’ll go so far as to say that I’d probably enjoy a story of sparkling space vampires.

One of the best things about space tales are the ships. In the years I’ve been privy to different stories in different mediums, you can never really go wrong with space battles and travels. For a lot of them, the real story was never about the ship itself, but the people inside them. And maybe there in lay my constant fascination. It may be in space, but people and even aliens all have problems that they need to sort out within the titanium alloy walls traveling through hyperspace.

What follows here is a list of my ten favorite ships. They don’t all necessary belong to the Space Opera genre, but I thought it was a fun look at why I have my head and eyes in the stars. You also get to see some pretty and sexy pictures.

Honorable Mentions:

The Galactica from  Battlestar Galactica

The Phantom Cruiser from Space Ghost

The ship from Kacho Oji (don’t remember the name but it was a Flying V guitar ship.)

Every Lego spaceship I’ve ever built

10. The Righteous Indignation

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First appearance: Bucky O’Hare (1991)

I had a lot of fun watching Bucky O’Hare growing up and while I never had any of the toys, the coloring and activity books more than sufficed. While the crew was led by Bucky, it wasn’t exclusive to just lagomorphs onboard. The Space Opera genre has always taken pride in interspecies interaction, so it was a cool thing for me to see a cat, a four armed duck, a gorilla and a human boy battling an evil race of toads. I do wish the show lasted longer, but it won’t be the first the ship on this list that only stuck around for one season.

And really, how can you go wrong with a ship of that name? And the theme song was pretty cool.

9. The Mirage

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First appearance: Silverhawks (1986)

Before the X-Men or even Thundercats, the Silverhawks were the first superhero team that I dug. During the 80s cartoon boom, these guys were seminal favorites growing up, so much so that I got my little hands on a Mirage toy at some point.

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Bluegrass

While the Silverhawks were known for their ability to fly, the Mirage’s pilot was the guy I dug most. Might be because of his cool name, or maybe because he had a pretty unique weapon that caught my childhood’s eye.

8. Swordfish II

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First appearance: Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop will always be synonymous with “cool.” It’s hard to fault a show that used great music and some pretty fluid animation that still stands to this day. But really, Cowboy Bebop is a show about “Space Bounty Hunters” so they pretty much were doing what Boba Fett was doing, only slicker and more Japanese.

I do feel odd choosing Spike’s Swordfish to be on this list though. But I always linked its quickness and ability to get him out of pinches with Spike’s own practice of Jeet Kun Do.

7. The Arcadia

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First appearance: Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1977)

In the eternal debate over Pirates vs. Ninjas, I always sided with the pirates. My frequent trips to Makati Cinema Square and their DVD stalls are all part of my track record. That aside, Captain Harlock was the first show that brought together two things I loved. If Cowboy Bebop was Boba Fett, Harlock was Han Solo. Space Pirates will forever be the best kinds of pirates.

Thanks to the Arcadia as well, I got to see firsthand the aforementioned interactions of different alien races and species and how they all saw each other as equal. Sure, the “aliens” looked human still, but I had to start somewhere.

6. The Enterprise

First appearance: Star Trek (1966)

I don’t talk a lot about Star Trek but I have a deep respect for the show. I admit I haven’t seen as much of the Original Series as I should, but I always made it a point to catch The Next Generation when it was on Channel 9. As a kid, I always saw plenty of Enterprise parodies in different cartoons and sitcoms (A In Living Color era-Jim Carrey did a great Kirk once) and it never occurred to me then that it was a sign of how popular the show was.

5. The Planet Express Ship

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First appearance: Futurama (1999)

I admit that when word got out Matt Groening was doing a space show, I didn’t jump onboard right away. I am glad to say that I was wrong in thinking it was a bad idea. The often witty and clever Futurama has since been included in my personal list of favorite shows of all time thanks to the great writing for some truly clever episodes over the years. It can pull at your heartstrings in one episode, then also actually create a mathematical theorem in the next.

4. The X-Wing

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First appeacance: Star Wars (1977)

Oh X-Wing. You are the staple of starfighters everywhere in my opinion. While there are far more superior ships to her in the Star Wars universe, none of them have a video game in their honor.  I just love everything that the X-Wing is, especially the sounds of its lasers (sorry for being a turn off ladies).

One of the first “big boy toys” I ever owned was a model of the X-Wing that Micro Machines came out. My dad painted it a little to enhance some of the colors and even made the R2 model on the co-pilot seat stand out more.

3.  Serenity

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First appearance: Firefly (2002)

I never had any doubt on who was cooler between Pirates and Ninjas. But in the talk of Space Pirates and Space Cowboys, I am often conflicted. Firefly didn’t make things easier.

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Swoon

Yet another victim of something cancelled before its time, Joss Whedon’s space western was the very definition of short and sweet.  Not since the likes of Bravestarr and the adventures of Brisco County Jr has the Space Western been so cool and so damned good looking at the same time.

2.  The Normandy SR-2

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First appearance (as the Normandy SR-1): Mass Effect (2007)

The Mass Effect series recently gained a special place in my love for the Space Opera. I don’t recall the last time I was so engrossed in a space trilogy since, well, the original Star Wars. Having it as a video game added a layer of interactivity it gave me a chance to shape the story of Commander Shepherd as I wanted to.

This included

Much like the Planet Express ship, my love for the Normandy is not necessarily rooted in what the ship can do, but the crew that that’s onboard. Seth Green and Tricia Helfer do a fantastic job as the Normandy’s pilots (even if EDI is technically part of the Normandy). Her crew may have changed over the span of three games, but it will always be THE ship of the Mass Effect universe.

1. The TARDIS

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First appearance: Doctor Who (1963)

The funny thing about naming the TARDIS as the number one “ship” is that it’s barely called as such. The First incarnation of The Doctor called it a ship and a capsule at times, but has since endeared to just being the TARDIS (or Sexy for you fans reading this).

What isn’t there to love about this beloved blue box? It’s a dream for both minimalists and the entire cast of Hoarders by just being “bigger on the inside.” While the interior has changed over 49 years, the exterior has retained much of its timeless shape and feel.

That’s really all just filler to the fact that it travels through motherfucking time and space.

As a show, Doctor Who always took pride in celebrating “intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.” The TARDIS, in retrospect, is the least assuming of all the ships listed here. It has no guns to speak of and while it did not always go where The Doctor wanted to go, it took him where he needed to.

At the risk of sounding uncool (if I am already), I hope I never get tired of these space stories. They keep me up at night and never stop me from dreaming.