Mindless Philosophy’s 100th Post!

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the post you have all been waiting for!  This is Mindless Philosophy’s 100th post!  Huzzah!  Break out the champagne, send in the strippers, and let us commence the debauched celebrating!

Actually this post probably won’t really be all that exciting.  When I realized number 100 was approaching I started thinking about what sort of epic post I could create to exclaim my 100th blog installment to the world.  I thought about listing 100 of my favorite things, or sharing 100 bits of my personal observations, or some other such list of 100.  As I began to really mull it over however, I realized that would be rather wordy and quite an undertaking just to come up with 100 various items and then type it all out here.  So I kept putting it off, and putting it off, until finally several weeks have gone by without any posts whatsoever!  I was forced to postpone a couple of Friday Funny Pages because I didn’t want those regular segments to be my grand 100th post.  Now however you just get this. (Cue fanfare).

To start off let’s take a look back at a few of my personal favorite posts from the 100 thus far.  These aren’t necessarily the ones that have had the most views but the ones I enjoyed writing or have a real connection to:

#3 – Updated!  Possible New Series For Babylon 5?

This particular installment does actually happen to be one of my most read blogs on the site.  I really am proud of this one because I was on the forefront of this news at the time.  Thanks to the efficiency of Google Alerts I happened upon this story rather quickly.  In my continuing mission to raise the general awareness about Babylon 5 I hurried to address the rumors and tossed in a few of my own opinions as well.  I’m usually not the type of person to be on the forefront of knowledge, generally information like this goes through several filters before it comes to me.  I’m pretty sure my post here actually was a primary source for a few people, and I’m kind of proud of that.  Sadly however the rumors were false, and the hopeful talk of a new B5 series was swiftly squashed which necessitated this follow up article:  Babylon 5 NOT Returning According To JMS

#2 – Listening To Star Wars

This wordy proclamation regarding all things Star Wars, and the radio dramas in particular, is a favorite post of mine.  It has not been heavily viewed over the course of its life here on the blog, but it has incited a few comments and pushes of the like button.  I have a tendency to ramble in some of my blogs which generally is a detriment to articles in this type of forum.  More often than not people are just looking for a humorous picture, short review, or relatable anecdote.  Generally if a blog post is more than a few hundred words long folks just pass it by.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone, a story has to focus on something I’m truly interested in if I’m going to invest my time reading it, either that or it has to lure me in with the promise of some sort of revealed knowledge at the end.  Anyway, this article is just me sharing a portion of my love for the Star Wars films and my obsession with the Star Wars Radio Dramas which have been one of my favorite elements of Star Wars since about middle school.  It focuses mostly on how I believe the radio dramas are wrongly overlooked these days, how they fill in some crucial moments that are absent from the movies, and how I think real Star Wars fans should be as excited about them as I am.

#1 – Two Cents From Two Witsamans. Our Oscar Picks.

This one has lost some of its relevancy now that this particular group of Oscar nominees has come and gone.  The one nice thing about that however is that you can immediately see which of our Oscar picks were correct and which were way off.  The reason I enjoyed this so much was because I was able to convince my wife to participate in this mundane little blogging hobby of mine and I think with our combined talents we were able to come up with some good picks with some fairly solid reasoning to back them up.  Plus there’s no shortage of witty banter between us.  My wife is incredibly amusing, if you haven’t read her interview in my very first People I Know segment I suggest you do so now by clicking HERE.

Now over the course of my 100 posts I’ve somehow prompted a few misguided souls to actually subscribe to my blog!  Sure I only have 13 regular followers, but hell, that’s one more than Jesus!  So I’d like to take this time to personally mention and thank the loyal readers of Mindless Philosophy and encourage them to keep reading and make sure to comment and share their thoughts on my writings, after all that’s what this is supposed to be about right?  (Of course at this point those Mindless Philosophy email notifications have probably been flagged as spam.)

But without further ado I say thank you to:

Eldon

LouLaMay

secretcastle

pimpdaddylovemuffin

RiverUnderWater

Arlo J. Wiley

comfortingstrangers

Scott

Hannah

Carl

Brian

ryuk8488

and last but certainly not least

salsabiscuit82

Please continue to read, tell your friends, and share your thoughts!  You guys are the best group of mostly anonymous blog subscribers a fella could ask for!

Moving on now to the future!  In the next couple of days I will have my next installment of People I Know in which I interview Jason Lemmon, a friend of mine and fellow blogger, one of his blogs can be found HERE.  During our chit-chat before and after the interview we casually discussed the idea of starting a combined podcast where we would talk about the various plethora of things that interest us in the humorous manner in which we generally discuss such things.  Since then we’ve been toying with the idea more and more and have tossed a few ideas around.  While I won’t confirm or deny anything at this time, I will say that it is quite possible that there just might be such a production in the very near future.  Expect to read more news about that here as it develops!

And finally, I would like to know what you the readers would like to see on this blog.  After 100 posts of me spouting off randomly perhaps there might be some unexplored or underexplored topics you’d like to see get the Mindless Philosophy treatment, what subjects should be subjected to the Joshua Witsaman filter?  Therefore I present to you this poll with which you can help shape the future of my random spoutings.  Vote.

So there you have it folks, big ol’ post 100.  Now as always . . . .

That is all!

B5 Alive: Babylon 5 From Across The Web

As some of you may know I have taken up a continuing mission to revive general interest in the science fiction series Babylon 5.  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about this epic political space opera and I felt that it was time that I share some of the B5 resources that I’ve been enjoying as of late.  To my delight I’ve found that there are quite a few active fan sites out among the interwebs and with the recent inclusion of the entire series on Netflix, interest seems to be at a renewed peak.

So without further ado here are a few links that any Babylon 5 fan should make themselves familiar with! (click the bold titles for the links!)

The Babylon Project

The Babylon Project is the definitive Babylon 5 wiki and a good starting point for new B5 fans who are curious to learn more, and it is a nice resource for old school Babylonians who want to delve deeper into some of their favorite episodes, characters, and behind the scenes information.  I will warn the newcomers though, to be weary of spoilers.  Don’t read too far ahead or you may find yourself discovering too much about the eventual fates of some of the characters.  With the shows continual story arc, and nearly every episode containing some snippet of important information that will come up again down the road it can be difficult to avoid spoilers.  I would suggest watching the show and occasionally checking out the articles about individual episodes you’ve seen in order to help flesh out more of the story and perhaps explain things that may have been confusing.  It’s also a good way to learn about the cast, especially the recurring troupe of actors who portray the various bit parts and Non-Aligned alien ambassadors.  I’m actually an editor now of this wiki, look me up I’m NarcN’Grath.

The Babylon 5 Facebook Project

How do I go about explaining what the Babylon 5 Facebook Project is?  Well, I don’t really know.  From what I understand it is a small group of Babylon 5 fans who have congregated on Facebook and created and run various pages for the main cast of characters from the show.  What it boils down to is that these folks role play back and forth recreating various moments from the show in status form on Facebook.  They also interact with anyone who “likes” them and writes on their page.  The banter between the characters can be pretty amusing and reading some of the responses they come up with to fan questions would make J. Michael Straczynski himself second guess whether or not he wrote the words.  Also on Facebook is my Commander Sinclair page, seen HERE, because frankly I think Sinclair doesn’t get enough respect.  Although, Commander Sinclair is not officially part of the Babylon 5 Facebook Project since they’ve “moved on” to seasons two and three.  I digress however.  The best part of the B5FBP is their main page (to which the above link leads) where many of the characters congregate and the various contributors and fans post links to various geeky B5 media and information.  If you’re on Facebook and a Babylon 5 fan, it’s worth taking a look.

The Babylon 5 CCG Group

Ok this one is a little more specific.  Are you a Babylon 5 fan?  Do you like collectible card games?  Were you a former player of the Babylon 5 CCG?  Well then this page is definitely for you!  Also on Facebook, this is an open group page that has really taken off as of late and has revived interest in the game (at least among the group members.)  There is regular activity, rules discussions, deck building suggestions, and networking to find other local players.  All of that AND there are several of the games original designers involved in the group as well such as Kevin Tewart.  There are also links to fan made sets and cards that have been painstakingly worked on to recreate the mechanics and look of the original design.  If you played the game in the past or might be thinking of taking it up this group is full of helpful players and resources that can help you get back into it.

Babylon 5 News (@B5News)

I didn’t really get the point of Twitter at first.  I still don’t think it’s all that useful unless you have something worthwhile to promote or discuss.  However I did have an epiphany recently that dealt with B5 News on Twitter.  My Twitter posts are generally just me promoting these blog posts (follow me! @PeculiarWits) or making casual observations.  But I made one post asking if a particular set of Babylon 5 bobblehead figures were ever available for sale.  In that post I mentioned @B5News, which I follow, thinking that if anyone would know about such a thing it would be them.  Well my Tweet was Re-Tweeted by B5 News to all of their followers asking if anyone might know the answer.  Well the answer was no, the figures were just a fan made one and done art project and they were never mass produced.  The epiphany came however when actress Patricia Tallman of B5 fame mentioned me in particular in one of her Tweets after she saw the B5News Tweet.  The point of Twitter, I suppose, is that it is a much more intimate and condensed sharing of information compared to other social media like Facebook.  “Following” people on Twitter is a symbiotic relationship where if you don’t have anyone following you there’s really no point in being on Twitter and when you follow others you are also connected to the things that they follow and the bits of information that they re-tweet.  Anyway, enough about that!  Although there is obviously not amazing daily tweets about Babylon 5 on Twitter these days, when there is any kind of B5 news it will show up on your feed and many of the big names who were involved in the show contribute to and follow B5 News so it’s worth the follow right there.

Fuck Yeah Babylon 5

Fuck Yeah Babylon 5 is a Tumbler blog that can best be described simply as a collection of awesome.  If you are a Babylon 5 fan of any degree you really should be familiar with this.  Internet memes, fan art, outtakes, behind the scenes images, rare media, obscure crew blogs, and tons of other Babylon 5 stuff.  Fuck Yeah Babylon 5 is a masterpiece of geek culture.  The best part is that the blog is broken down even further into pages for various characters from the show filled with specific content for those characters, such as Fuck Yeah Londo Mollari, Fuck Yeah Citizen G’Kar, Fuck Yeah Delenn, and several others.  There’s really not much more I can say about it, it’s just one of those things you have to go and explore for yourself.  I will however leave you with a few of my favorite things I’ve found from their site!  Enjoy.

That is all!

Babylon 5 NOT Returning According To JMS

Whomp, whomp.

Yeah so after the cryptic messages from Straczynski at comic con, followed by the loose lips of Walter Koenig at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convetion, there were high hopes for some kind of return to the Babylon 5 universe.  I personally have been following this story with great interest if you saw my post a few weeks back here.  That, however, is not the case according to show creator J. Michael Straczynski, as he has firmly shot down such talk in recent news.

Claiming that Koenig misspoke and that there are no plans for more B5 in the future.  There has been some amusing outrage across the net directed at the actor for falsely getting B5 fan’s hopes up.  A John Sheridan fan page on Facebook had the status of “Bester, you motherfucker.”  And there have been other sites jokingly comparing the mix up of information to a deep rooted conspiracy similar to something orchestrated by the psi-corps.

I can’t really blame Koenig however, he’s always been a major supporter of the show and was clearly just eager to see another B5 project as well.  I was actually hesitant to post this newest development in hopes that there might be some clarification or reconciliation between JMS’ rebuff of Walter Koenig and his own comments at San Diego.  Alas there has been no further word.  It seems odd though, there apparently was something going on, can we just assume that negotiations went south with Warner Bros. execs?  Or was there perhaps simply some miscommunication and there were in fact never any plans for more adventures in the B5 universe?


One additional bit of information I find interesting is that very recently all of Babylon 5 was taken down from Netflix streaming, which a friend of mine pointed out could indicate that they are planning for some type of new release.  This could mean that the show might be seeing a blu-ray re-release soon.  Perhaps ol’ Walter Koenig was being tapped for a few recording sessions to do some commentary for some of his crucial episodes?

Who the hell knows?  I still hold out some hope however, despite Joe Straczynski’s recent denials, because there’s just too much potential story telling there to simply leave Babylon 5 on the shelf somewhere.

That is all!

UPDATED! Possible New Series For Babylon 5?

I was checking my email yesterday and was sorting through some of my Google Alerts that I’ve let back up for too long.  One of my regular alerts is for Babylon 5, so I can try and stay on top of any new developments or commentary about the show.  Well the first B5 alert I checked contained a link that had both bits of information for me.  The link lead me over to this IGN story from Comic-Con.  There isn’t really much there to go on, but the coverage talks about a panel at the con featuring Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski discussing his previous work on the show, and an enigmatic mention of a new Babylon 5 series that may be in the works.  Warner Bros. apparently seemed to be looking to launch a new network (?) and were thinking about having a Babylon 5 spin-off as part of its lineup.  That scenario has changed however but from what it sounds like ol’ Joe Straczynski seems to think that there is still hope for this new Babylon 5 show seeing the light of day via some other channel through Warners.  One of the most interesting things mentioned in the article is that the deal Straczynski made would have given the show a much bigger budget than its previous incarnations and would have granted the creator full creative control over this new series.

Babylon 5 creator and writer J. Michael Straczynski

If even half of this Babylon 5 discussion turns out to be true I will be extremely excited.

If you are reading this and are a fan of the original B5 series you should help garner some interest for this new project by making your opinion known.  If you haven’t already, go over to the official Babylon 5 Facebook Page and hit them with a “like.”  Make sure to comment on their posts and bring up your enjoyment of the show and a desire for a new series!  It might not be a grand gesture but if there is enough activity on the page and if there is an influx of fans making comments, someone is bound to take notice.  Also get over to whatever geek and sci-fi message boards or forums you happen to post on regularly and bring up this idea of a new Babylon 5 series.  Rejuvenate the interest of the old fans and maybe pique the curiosity of some new ones.  It’s all part of my continuing mission to bring Babylon 5 back to the sci-fi forefront.

The early days of Babylon 5

UPDATE: 9/18/2011

So here’s some new information that has come to my attention recently.  At the recent Las Vegas Star Trek convention, Trek and Babylon 5 regular Walter Koenig revealed that he has had some recent talks with good ol’ JMS about this new Babylon 5 project that is in the works and that although he can’t reveal any solid details about the project at this time, there was apparently discussion that it might be a feature length film.  Whatever it is if Koenig is involved that pretty much blows my previous speculations out of the water (see below).  Clearly this project will be continuing the storyline left off from the original series and might be something along the lines of the story seen in the book Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester and bring some kind final resolution to the mysterious fate of the regular B5 foil Alfred Bester who Walter Koenig portrayed during the five year story arc of the show.  With this new information there is still the possibility that there could be a new series in the works but now it feels more like another direct to DVD release similar to the last few B5 spin-offs.  Either way I’m excited.  I would of course love to see a new show, but I would also be glad to see any new story from the Babylon 5 universe even if it is just a single B5 movie.  We shall see though, I’m glad that the momentum for this project is still building and that this new development has people talking, eager to see more from J. Michael Straczynzki and the ol’ Babylon 5 gang.  Here is a LINK to the original story as reported by TrekMovie.com.

Now as far as my (now defunct) speculation goes as to what this new series could be about, I personally would love to see a prequel of sorts, perhaps focusing on the Earth/Dilgar war.  That would be a timeline that is just enough removed from the original that you could easily allow for a whole new cast while keeping the overall look of the series familiar to long time fans.  I would of course also love to see a show that picks up where the old shows left off, but sadly many of the best cast members of the series are now gone to us.  I personally wouldn’t want to return to the original timeline without the likes of G’Kar, Dr. Franklin, Zack Allen, or even Zathras.  In order to take the show in a new and interesting direction and to honor the memory of those wonderful actors who made the series what it is, my vote is for a prequel show.  A show that tells the story that leads up to the Babylon 5 station with some new faces and new stories to tell.  But let’s not forget that Babylon 5, like any sci-fi show worth it’s salt, has some time traveling elements.  So even if the new show takes place during the past, there’s still a slight chance we might be able to see some familiar faces one way or another.

Warleader Jha'dur fought against the Earth Alliance during the Earth/Dilgar war and was the last survivor of the Dilgar race.

That is all!

The Greatest Thing I’ve Seen This Week

Have you ever said to yourself “Man I wish there was a band consisting of Will Robinson from Lost in Space, the One Armed Man from the Fugitive, the hot mom from Freaks and Geeks, and Rousseau from LOST!” ?  You have?! Well than today is your lucky day, because I come bearing good news.  There is such a band and they are called The Be Five.  Something they all have in common is that they were also cast members of one of the best sci-fi shows of all time, Babylon 5.

Amazing.

Earlier this week a friend of mine, who is also a Babylon 5 fan, sent me a link directing me to the information about this album and my mind was blown.  Apparently back in 1998 Bill Mumy, Mira Furlan, Claudia Christian, Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik at the height of Babylon 5’s popularity came together to make an album, calling their group The Be Five.  I’ve known that Bill Mumy was a musician but I had no idea he ever got together with his other B5 comrades to make music.  Apparently Mumy wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album which are mainly blues/rock and the other cast members take the lead vocals on two tracks each.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough Patricia Tallman, everyones favorite Vorlon enhanced telepath, has several cameos on the album as well, as a backup vocalist.

Unfortunately the album was basically only available at various cons where one of the stars were making an appearance.  Later it was more widely distributed but not in great numbers and apparently it is still rather hard to find a physical copy of the CD.  Thankfully however this one and only album of The Be Five “Trying to Forget” is available for digital download on Amazon!  I would suggest checking it out and at least listening to some of the samples from the tracks.  Hearing Peter Jurasik who played Londo Mollari sing blues is simply golden and I was quite surprised by the dark sultry qualities of Mira Furlan’s singing voice.

I had no idea this thing existed, but now that I do I can’t get it out of my head.  This made my week, and you’d better believe it is now at the top of my list of things to buy!

Here are a few links:

About The Be Five

The Be Five on Amazon

That is all!

Test Poll: Favorite Babylon 5 Species

So I was sitting here today while my wife was watching something awful on TLC and I decided to goof around and explore some of the options on my blog.  As I poked around I came across the polling feature that is available here.  I had set up the polls awhile ago, but I’ve totally forgotten about it until now.  So bored, and interested to see how this works, I decided to give it a try and make a test poll.  So take a look below, and add your vote!

In my continuing mission to bring Babylon 5 back to the sci-fi cultural forefront I decided to throw together a B5 poll.  Just a simple opinion poll in order to determine what alien races were among the favorites for fans of the show.  Of course there are probably only about three of you out there who actually watched the series enough to even know what the hell I’m talking about, but oh well.  This is only a test anyway I just want to see how it goes.  So regardless of how familiar you are with the show, if you’ve read this post this far than just do me a favor and pick one and vote.

That is all!

10 Underused Characters I Want to See More of!

     So the other day I was thinking about the actor Michael York.  He’s had a fairly significant career and if you’re a geek such as myself you should be at least somewhat familiar with him either from his movie career (Logan’s Run, Austin Powers), his varied television appearances (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Knots Landing), or his cartoon voice work (the Clone Wars, Justice League).  Specifically I got to thinking about his character from Austin Powers and how I always wanted to see more from Basil in the zany James Bond parodies.  This then got me thinking about other characters that I feel I haven’t seen enough of, or wish had bigger roles in their various genres.  Always on the lookout these days for blog fodder I decided to compile a list from some of my geeky interests, of fictional characters I wish had a bit more screen time, or were present a little more on the page.  The underdogs and the unappreciated, the forgotten and the mysteriously unexplained.  Characters I can only describe as underused, and who if I had my way, would have a slightly longer moment in the spotlight!

     Of course I don’t really cover all of the characters I’d like to see more of in this short list, and there are certainly many other fictional universes for me to choose from but I decided to go with the characters that directly sprang to mind when I chose this topic, and doubtlessly my choices have been influenced by my current activities.  If there are some characters you think have been criminally underused leave me your lists in the comments!  But without further ado, here’s the Ten Underused Characters I want to see more of!

#10 – Luigi: Mario Bros. Video Game Franchise

     The younger brother of the heroic Mario, Luigi is the oft overlooked second half of the Mario Bros. duo.  Luigi is controlled by the second player, a position that is not often taken up without some modicum of contention.  As such Luigi is generally looked down upon as second best, and not at all as desirable as his elder sibling Mario.  As the franchise has evolved over the years Nintendo has played up this aspect of Luigi portraying him as a bashful, reluctant hero forever eclipsed by the shadow of Mario.  It is for this precise reason that I love Luigi!  He is hilarious.  Modern video games have allowed the characters to portray more emotion and personality then they could in the early 8-bit Mario games and for my money Luigi is where it’s at.  In the various Mario themed sports games for instance Luigi’s lack of confidence is always emphasized making for humorous moments when he surprises himself with success.  Luigi of course has had the opportunity to headline a game of his own with Luigi’s Mansion placing the younger Mario brother in a haunted house and pitting him against an army of ghouls and Boos, the perfect setting for the Don Knotts of the Mario universe.  Although he’s had a big presence in almost all of the Mario games, I feel there’s always more room on my shelf for another solo Luigi game, I demand a follow-up to Luigi’s Mansion and perhaps a game involving his evil counterpart, Waluigi.

#9 – Marcus Cole: Babylon 5

     Unfortunately many reading this probably don’t know who this character is at all, and I contemplated simply adding Babylon 5 in general to this underused list, but I decided against it and stuck with only characters.  Continuing my quest to revive an interest in Babylon 5 just let me say that if you’re not familiar with this show, and you enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, then you really should check it out.  It’s currently on Netflix so you really have no excuse.  Anyway on to Marcus Cole.  Marcus was a regular character on the show for two seasons and became the face of the mysterious group known as the Anla’shok, or the Rangers.  Coming from a tragic background Marcus joins up with the Rangers who are a joint Human/Minbari organization who are keeping an eye out for dark, lurking things in the farthest regions of space.  Marcus eventually comes to Babylon 5 and has a significant role in the show’s unfolding story, however by the time Marcus arrives on the scene there are already a great number of other important characters vying for face time.  As cool as Marcus was, I always felt that his story was often pushed to the periphery and after every major appearance he made I was always left wanting to know more.  I believe they could have gone farther with his storyline and I think he had potential for a far greater story.

#8 – Basil Exposition: Austin Powers

     This is the one that sparked this list.  Michael York as Basil is hilarious, he really does a great job in comedic roles and he can actually harness a real zaniness as evidenced by his cartoon voice work in the Clone Wars and others.  I think Basil was best featured in the first Austin Powers movie where we got to see him in the retro 60’s scenes and the modern-day goofiness.  His stifled, almost naive acceptance of Austin’s shenanigans are spot on and York’s subtle style really plays off well with Mike Myers outrageous Austin.  However when the other two movies came out I felt that Basil was sort of pushed aside in order to introduce more characters and allow for more Mike Myers.  Don’t get me wrong I still think the Austin Powers movies are great, but with a talent like Michael York among the ranks I thought they really could have expanded his role slightly, giving him a bit more room to flex his comedic muscle.  Although I suppose Michael York has made a career out of underused characters, taking on small, but memorable roles and giving them his all and Basil Exposition is just another entry on that list.

#7 – Animal Man: DC Comics

     When it comes to DC comics, Animal Man is the number one hero I want to see get more attention.  One of DC’s more obscure characters Animal Man clearly doesn’t have much in the way of name recognition, but once you familiarize yourself with the character you will find that he does have one hell of an interesting history within the DC universe.  Introduced in 1965 Animal Man only made a handful of comic book appearances throughout the silver age, and it wouldn’t be until the 1980’s that he would begin to rise in prominence.  Finally getting his own title written by comic book legend Grant Morrison, Animal Man underwent a tremendous character change and definition taking him from a typical superhero, to a galaxy spanning man in search of a greater understanding.  It really is quite hard to explain here in a single paragraph, but the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man is arguably the single biggest improvement to happen to any individual  hero ever.  After the Morrison storyline and a brief stint with the Justice League International Animal Man’s popularity faded once more.  It wasn’t until the weekly comic event 52 which featured Animal Man and a small group of heroes trapped in outer space as one of the many ongoing storylines in that series, that Animal Man again found a major role in comics.  Truly an underdog, and certainly unappreciated, I believe Animal Man is one of the most interesting characters DC has in their arsenal and I would love to see Buddy Baker have more of a presence in the DC universe.

 #6 – Kremzeek: Transformers

     I don’t claim to know all that much about the entire continuity of the Transformers or their universe, but I do know one thing.  I.  Love.  Kremzeek.  I was introduced to this character several years ago now and I have been a fan ever since.  In the original cartoon series Kremzeek was created by Megatron as an ultimate weapon for the Decepticons, or something along those lines.  Kremzeek is a bio-electric creature that can travel through, disrupt, and control electronic circuts and devices including the Transformers themselves.  After devastating the Autobot base little Kremzeek sets off for Japan to wreak havoc by jumping through trains, walkmans, and factories until finally one of the Transformers tries to destroy him with a high dose of energy which results in Kremzeek multiplying in a tribble-esque variety of colors.  Eventually the multiple Kremzeeks are reunited into a giant Kremzeek which the Autobots turn back on the Decepticons before begrudgingly destroying electricity monster.  Of course one little Kremzeek manages to escape and the episode ends with the Autobots chasing him down.  As far as I know this is the only appearance of Kremzeek in the cartoons, however there have been several homages to the little guy in other episodes and throughout the various Transformer series.  I for one would love to see more of the tiny electronic terror, there should be a return of Kremzeek in the new Transformers Prime series!

#5 – Deathlok: Marvel Comics

     Don’t know Deathlok?  Think Robocop mixed with the Punisher, and a dash of Marty McFly.  Any of that sound like something you’re into?  Then check out Deatlok, not to be confused with Dethklok the cartoon heavy metal band of Metalocalypse fame.  Deathlok, like Animal Man, has a bit of a confusing back story and a varied interdimensional continuity that sometimes places him in the normal 616 Marvel continuity and other times sets him apart in an alternate reality.  Wherever in time and space Deathlok resides however, you can count on him to bring the pain.  Basically an amped up cyborg zombie with a computer companion in his brain and a high-tech blaster in his hand; Deathlok has been known to seek revenge on the government that turned him into the undead robot he has become as well as team up with other heroes on occasion when it suits him.  There is an element of mystery to Deathlok along the lines of Wolverine, with his origins tracing back to shady government military programs coupled with a loss of memory.  A loner seeking revenge, Deathlok had a brief solo title career in the comics, but has now been relegated to a supporting role popping up on rare occasions as a surprise guest, most often being reactivated by some villain who rattles his sporadic memories and puts him to use in some dastardly scheme.  I think it’s time Deathlok gets called up from the bench and put to use in this more mature comic book day and age for some truly gritty and dark anti-hero storylines!

#4 – Crystal Ball: G.I. Joe

     This guys inclusion on this list is clearly influenced by my current Terrordrome Renovation project, but after doing a little research I believe he genuinely has a right to be here.  Crystal Ball heralds from one of the earliest G.I. Joe toy lines way back in 1987 yet as far as I can tell had no presence in the G.I. Joe cartoon at all.  His file card explains that Crystal Ball is a top Cobra agent and a dabbler in the dark arts who is a master hypnotist and mind reader.  All of those sound like qualities I would think Cobra might want to employ against the Joes in order to force them to give up their plans and secrets.  Also, according to urban legend, Crystal Ball is also connected to Stephen King, the master of horror himself.  Supposedly King’s son was a fan of the cartoon and somehow through his fathers connections was able to write-up the biography for Crystal Ball lending a bit of sinister occult flair to the Cobra forces.  As a side note, from another source, Crystal Ball supposedly was one of the worst selling G.I. Joe figures ever, many of which remained on toy store shelves for years!  Rumor has it that as a result of his poor toy sales the makers of the cartoon deemed him unpopular and thus never included him in the show.  That seems like the completely wrong thing to do if you want to sell toys, personally I would have gone the opposite route and included Crystal Ball in the show and made sure he was awesome, thus making him more desirable.  Alas ol’ Crystal Ball has been relegated to running gags and parodies among toy collectors as seen in Toy Fare magazine and he is widely known as one of the worst toys of all time.  I for one love magical elements involved in any story, especially when used by the forces of evil, it just makes for some good villainy.  Aside from a few cameos in the G.I. Joe comics, Crystal Ball was never given a fair shake and I think it’s time he took his rightful place in the hierarchy of Cobra!

#3 – Every Bit Part and Background Creature in the Neverending Story

     There are so many interesting creatures and odd folks in the Neverending Story that I could make a list of underused characters just from this movie alone!  The racing snail, Night Hob the bat rider and all the other crazy bastards wandering around the Empress’ court were all so wild and exotic to me as a kid.  I couldn’t get enough of this movie when I was growing up, and it had a similar appeal for me as Star Wars did, packed with strange creatures and places the world of the Neverending Story seemed so much deeper and more complex than the movies plot revealed.  One reason to rewatch this movie is just to look around during different scenes to get a better look at the costumes and creature designs that were standing around in the background!

#2 – Mon Mothma: Star Wars

     The supreme leader of the Rebel Alliance, this is Princess Leia’s boss and the heart and soul of the entire Rebellion to Restore the Republic, but we don’t get to see her until Return of the Jedi!  Like the Emperor, the leader of the Rebellion goes unseen until the end of the saga.  Unlike the Emperor however, Mon Mothma has only a brief inconsequential scene where she sets up the attack on the second Death Star, and then disappears not even returning for the ewok celebration at the very end.  There were to be scenes in Revenge of the Sith that showed the first hints of the Rebellion and featured a young Mon Mothma, but those scenes were ultimately cut.  Because of the focus of the stories in Star Wars we never really get a good look at the Rebellion other than our brief time at Echo Base on Hoth and so we don’t really have a chance for more Mon Mothma, but it would have been awesome to maybe see some hologram communications between Leia and Mon Mothma similar to the conversations between Vader and the Emperor.  Leia is supposedly a prominent political figure among the Rebel Alliance but we never really get to see her do much in the way of leading the rebellion, she generally just gets taken prisoner a lot.  A few transmissions with the rebel HQ between Leia and Mon Mothma might have helped maintain Leia’s leadership position beyond the first movie.  Oh well, I’m not really complaining at all, just saying that I like Mon Mothma, she actually reminds me of my aunt, and I would have liked to see more of her and the Rebel command structure in the movies, but I guess that’s what the EU is for right?

#1- The Duchess: Alice in Wonderland

This might seem like an odd choice for my number one spot but I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, it was one of my first literary obsessions.  Alice in Wonderland is one of the few books I can read over and over again.  As such I was very disappointed in the recent movie which drastically departed from the style and story of the books and tried very hard to make Alice in Wonderland into something it was not.  Alice is not a hero per se, but a traveler and a discoverer.  Like an explorer from history charting a course through an insane realm.  One of my favorite encounters Alice has in the book is when she comes across the Duchess’ house, the pepper tossing cook, and the transforming pig/baby.  There’s just so much going on there, and the original drawings of the Duchess are just great, such a lovely woman.  This moment in the book seems to often get bypassed in other adaptations and I always feel let down that I don’t get to see the startled look on Alice’s face as the baby’s upturned nose becomes a snout and the squirming child trots off a pig!  I suppose it all boils down to the fact that few movies are ever as good as the book, as true as it is with most works, it is especially true with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  The Disney cartoon is probably still the best but I have always kept my hopes up for a live action big screen adaptation that remains loyal to the books, or perhaps focuses on Through the Looking Glass entirely (which seems to never get much attention.)  All in all there are a great many characters that pop up in Alice that I would like to see more of but the Duchess takes the top spot, I suppose I will just have to sit down grab a corner of mushroom, and make my own trip to Wonderland where I might not only meet the massively headed Duchess but perhaps all the other underused characters as well.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

That is all!