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THE phrase “Where’s my jetpack?” has become something of a collective outcry in recent years. Since the 1950s, we’ve been indoctrinated with visions of the future full of spaceships, time travel, instant food, laser guns, and best of all, dazzling sci-fi duds.
Instead, here we are in 2014 and things haven’t shaped up to that Utopian model at all. Sure, communication technologies have exceeded our expectations, but the “Jetsons” lifestyle still hasn’t arrived. Thanks to pop culture’s broken promises of delivering robot maids and whooshing Star Trek doors in a timely manner, we are all a little disappointed.
Here’s a list of sci-fi TV shows and movies and the dates they were supposed to take place. Some are reasonable… some way, way off the mark.
1. LAND OF THE GIANTS
Land of the Giants is set in 1983. This is one of the more blatant errors in calculation. Fancy tourist spaceships are still nowhere in sight, and we’re 31 years past the show’s setting.
The TV series UFO. was actually set in 1980. As you will recall, the SHADO facility was one of the grooviest places on earth. Everything was painted mod colors with babes in mini-skirts or unitards strolling the hallways… and there was Moonbase. Well, it’s 34 years past due, and still no purple haired Moonmaidens.
Anyone who watched Space:1999 knows the show should’ve been called Space:1976. Evidently, earth-toned velour track suits were in vogue on Moonbase Alpha.
4. LOGAN’S RUN
Logan’s Run is set in 2274. Even though it features teleportation devices, I guess it’s far enough away in time that I can go along with it.
5. BLADE RUNNER
Blade Runner is set in 2019. We officially have five years to go before we have to start worrying about those pesky replicants.
6. TOTAL RECALL
The year is 2084 in Total Recall. I was kind of hoping that virtual reality thing would come around a bit sooner. Although, the three-breasted mutant women and cars driven by Howdy Doody robots can wait.
7. FORBIDDEN PLANET
Forbidden Planet is set in the early 2200s. Can we reasonably expect interplanetary travel and Robbie the Robot in a couple hundred years? The “plastic educator”, a device capable of measuring and enhancing intellectual capacity, seems doable.
8. THE JETSONS
The original Jetsons was supposed to take place in 2062. If I could pick any science fiction universe to live in, it would be The Jetsons, without hesitation. Sure, you still had to work and deal with overbearing bosses (Mr. Spacely was a dick!), but it was more than compensated by the Utopian awesomeness of it all.
9. PLANET OF THE APES
The crew in Planet of the Apes left earth in 2006 in their spaceship traveling at near light speed. Spoiler alert: They crash landed on Earth in the year 3978.
10. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
The tag line for Escape from New York:
The year is 1997. The Big Apple is the world’s largest penitentiary. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking IN is INSANE.
The 1927 film Metropolis is set in 2026.
12. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
2001: A Space Odyssey was right on the money for a lot of things, but it overshot its wad on artificial intelligence and suspended animation.
Alien is set in 2122. Again, filmmakers have a tendency to underestimate the time it will take to develop this suspended animation thing. It’s the only feasible way to have interstellar space travel, so I understand their motives.
14. BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY
The Buck Rogers TV series is set in 2491. This show was overflowing with sci-fi tropes: lasers, spaceships, groovy fashions, and wisecracking robots. Since it’s still 477 years away, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
15. BACK TO THE FUTURE II
Back to the Future II is set in 2015. Only one more year until the hoverboard!
16. STAR TREK
The best method to avoid having your film or TV show woefully outdated may be to set it far beyond the present date like Dune, which is set thousands of years ahead. Or, opt for the Star Wars plan and have it set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But the best plan of all may have been Star Trek which used “Star Dates”, which kept the timeline purposefully ambiguous.
Sadly, that was all ruined by Star Trek: The Next Generation which was set in 2364, which allows us to extrapolate that the original series was about 100 years prior. This really blows the mystique and pisses me off…. what say you, Dr. Bones?
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious:
SADLY My Granny the Escort was not a magical fantasy film in which a young boy discovers his dead nan’s spirit has been retained in the family’s old Ford. Instead, Charlie Russell’s documentary followed three older prostitutes, aged 57, 64 and 84 as they made their way at the elder end of the oldest profession. Sheila, the 84-year-old, gave Russell’s show its news hook; in 2010 she found herself splashed across the front page of the News of the World thanks to the more embarrassing revelation that she’s X Factor contestant Katie Waissel’s grandmother.
WHEN he 15, Justin Bieber told a racist joke about black people. Four years on and The Sun is outraged. It’s posted footage of Bieber behaving like a dickhead (which is pretty much all he does) for a documentary called Never Say Never.
The so-called joke goes like this:
Bieber: “What’s the most confusing day for black people?”
He answers his own question: “Father’s Day.”
He then fires another:
Bieber: “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?
Voice in room:“Don’t say it.”
This, to the Sun, is “Bieber’s N-word shame”.
WITH the play-offs and European finals out of the way, it’s full-on World Cup season in the media.
The BBC has hit the ground running, with its toy-pundit trails, and is now screening the official FIFA World Cup Films – from 1930, when the refs wore suits, to the modern era when they became more famous than some of the players. See them here…
In their day, these were the best available record of the tournaments. They were filmed using state-of- the-art cinema cameras and even given theatrical releases.
BACK in January, we covered The Top Ten Lyrical Low Points of the 1980s. Well, it’s time to tackle another decade – the 1970s. While there were certainly a lot of good songs with good lyrics recorded during this period, there was a metric f**k-ton of bad ones as well. But despite the enormity of the task, we’ve waded through it and plucked out the worst of reasonably well-known songs, and here they are…
WILLIAM Friedkin’s The Exorcist — based on the best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty — quickly became one of the first genre blockbusters of the seventies, and a generational touchstone to boot.
The Exorcist also represented a new brand of horror film, in a sense, because it lacked a familiar “monster” like Dracula, the Wolf Man or The Frankenstein Monster, and it didn’t depend on well-known genre personalities, like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, or Peter Cushing, either.
ALEX Salmond is the latest politician to succumb to the temptation to pose in public with a football, and, with the sad inevitability of England conceding an injury-time winner, he is the latest to be reminded that the effects are rarely edifying.
The SNP leader was not in fact smacked in the face by a stray shot. He was playing head tennis with Scotland under-21 midfielder Kenny McLean.
IT’S RARE for a product’s logo or package design to stay constant over the years. More often than not, they get a makeover every few years to keep up with the tastes of the times.
Comparing soda cans from decades past to the present, it’s immediately apparent that we no longer prefer simple elegant designs… that we prefer busy, hastily thrown together crap designs instead.
THE INTERNET has created its own slang, saturated with efficient abbreviations and a constantly evolving jargon that only insiders know. As novel as this seems, just a few decades ago there was another trendy lingo sprung from a new technology: CB Slang.
Citizen’s Band radio had been around since the 1950s, but you had to be licensed and had to use a registered call sign. However, once the CB became widely used on the interstates throughout the US, all rules were thrown out the window. Truckers started making up their own handles and things got interesting.
Mods, Rockers, Teds, Irish, Skinheads, Pikeys, Blacks And Jews: The People Banned From Anywhere Decent People Gather
FIFTY years ago, mods and rockers enjoyed the bank holiday weekend by fighting pitched battles at the seaside.
The skirmishes led to public vilification, and sociologists coined the phrase ‘moral panic’ to sum up the hysteria surrounding these modern delinquent ‘folk devils’.
WILLIAM Shakespeare once wrote that “the valiant taste of death but once,” while cowards die “many times” before their actual demise.
Audiences of cult TV classics might also be said to die many times too, especially if they watch and re-watch beloved characters die in their favorite genre programming.
Over the years, a number of beloved series characters have been unceremoniously offed by series writers, only to leave grieving audiences in shock at their passing.
LOTS of chatter about Luis Suarez not being fit to play for Uruguay in the summer’s World Cup. On Talk Sport, jobbing controversialist Andy Durham says it’s all karma for his handball in the 2010 tournament. But to attribute Suarez’s poorly knee to karma is ignorant.
If the celebrated, talented, decorated footballer’s injury is the product of karma, he must have behaved brilliantly when young to have got himself in a World Cup team. If good moral deeds in a past life shape your place in this one, the wonderfully talented Luis Suarez must have a golden soul.
Karma is nothing to be dipped in an out of, as Durham suggests. If it exits, it’s an ever-present force on living things, like gravity.
THE mission: To identify the top 15 science fiction television program themes from eons past. It’s a region of space many Internet listers have gone before… but those were just training exercises. This expedition is for real. Let the countdown begin.
Goes well with martinis, miniskirts and go-go boots. Truthfully, anything that conjures up memories of those purple haired Moon Maidens is going to be top of the list.
2. Star Trek (original series)
How could the Star Trek intro not be in the list? No matter what you think of the show, you’ll have to agree this intro captures the thrill of exploration about as good as can be done. We may spend our days in a cubicle behind a desk, but when this intro plays, the dashing and adventurous Magellan lurking deep inside all of us gets bestirred.
3. Dr. Who
The Tom Baker intro will always be my favorite. Nostalgia aside, for my money, the sound of this track captures the “sci-fi feel” (if there is such a thing) better than any other, and the making of it is an amazing story. Only Star Trek trumps it due to Kirk’s brilliant prose.
4. The Twilight Zone
Is there an intro to any show, science fiction or otherwise, more iconic than this? “Doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo doo” has become a part of our lexicon.
5. The Tomorrow People
Similar to the Dr. Who theme, it has that spine-tingling, creepy vibe, yet is unmistakably science-fiction in sound.
6. The Six Million Dollar Man
“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…stronger…faster.”
Gives me goose bumps to this day.
7. The Outer Limits
“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.”
Anyone who remembers those ominous words intoned across the airwaves can testify that this belongs on the list.
8. Lost in Space
There were a few versions, but the “countdown version” is the best.
9. Space: 1999
You can’t go wrong when you combine the distinctively Seventies “waka waka” with a Gerry Anderson groove.
However, when it comes to raw Seventies sci-fi vibe, nothing comes close to the next on the list…
10. Star Maidens
For all-around 70s sci-fi awesomeness, the ultimate is, without question, Star Maidens. It would be higher on this list, but the intro is just a boring narration. However, the funktastic closing credits and incidental music was solid 70s gold.
11. Logan’s Run
Catchy and corny, but a fun sci-fi intro nonetheless. Of course, Heather Menzies’ constantly fluttering micro-miniskirt may be contributing to my bias.
12. Sapphire and Steel
“All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.”
By the same guy that did the Dr. Who intro, no less.
13. The Starlost
Didn’t think Canada could make a groovy sci-fi theme? Once you get past the sleepy narration, things get hopping.
Thankfully, the series starred a Canadian game show host (Robin Ward) who wasn’t a drooling sexual predator. No idea what the hell I’m talking about? See this post.
Quickly moving right along…
14. Battlestar Galactica
It’s unfortunate that so many sci-fi openers got muddied by lame narration. I suppose a lot of explanation was in order – we wouldn’t want audiences confused. However, unless you have Shatner reading the lines, the theme is in danger of being dull. In the case of Battlestar Galactica, the orchestral part is so sweeping and large sounding, that it washes away the bad memories of Lorne Green’s intro.
15. The Jetsons
Everyone knows the words to this iconic theme song; you simply can’t have a list of top sci-fi themes without it.
I’m sure there are plenty of glaring omissions. (For instance, I nearly included the profoundly awesome Quark theme song, but it’s just too damn similar to Star Trek’s). Please, drop a suggestion in a comment and let’s make this list grow.
IFStar Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994) did not have the words “Star” and “Trek” in the series title — or the good fortune to air on TV the year after the box office hit, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) — it may never have survived a few awkward, early seasons and come to achieve the reputation for greatness it currently enjoys with fans and reviewers.
The conventional wisdom — which happens to be correct in this case — is that Star Trek: The Next Generation did not really hit its stride until its third season.
The early seasons of the series re-purposed plots from the classic sixties series (“The Naked Now,”) played musical chairs with the Enterprise’s CMO, failed to introduce the series’ new villain, the Ferengi, in a way that made the race of “Yankee traders” seem menacing, and traded in preachy didacticism about the perils of nationalism (“Encounter at Farpoint,”) eating meat (“Lonely Among Us,”) and recreational drug use (“Symbiosis.”)
THE Dos Equis guy has nothing on actor, William Smith. No – I didn’t say Will Smith. We’re not talking about the Fresh Prince here, folks. I’m talking about William Smith the world’s biggest badass and Renaissance Man.
Never heard of him? Although he’s been in over 300 movies and TV shows, William Smith was never much of a headline actor – usually playing a supporting role as the stereotypical tough-guy villain. You may recognize his face since he’s played everything from Conan the Barbarian’s father to the Russian commander in Red Dawn. But he’s by no means a household name.
SO. UKIP staged a carnival in Croydon. All carnivals are crap. This one was no exception.
In 2011, UKIP’s party’s director of communications and European candidate, Patrick O’Flynn, told Daily Express readers that London’s Notting Hill Carnival was a “propagandist message” and should be shut down. It’s not. It’s got no message. It’s just cramped, dull and full of people pretending to have al fresco fun. It rivals only Zurich for its cloying sense of civic pride. And that’s in neat and tidy Switzerland where they understand it if you want to kill yourself.
UKIP’s carnival would be a monocultural village fete on wheels. UKIP, the Party that dreams of Leni Riefenstahl directing episodes of Midsomer Murders (we all know who did it; just high time everyone else knew it, too), staged its carnival. The party booked a band of steel drummers (trad jazz for the ethnic vote), who left when they found out they’d be playing Yellow Bird for Nigel Farage and his supporters. But before the UKIPers had time to stick Max Bygraves singing Under the Coconut Tree on the gramophone, a gang of intolerant protesters turned up to scream that the UKIP party was intolerant.
THE Football Association had a rude awakening earlier this year, when chairman Greg Dyke’s blueprint for English football was unceremoniously snubbed by the powerbrokers of the Premier League.
The FA may be sidelined and neutered, but they can’t take away its heritage. For the simple reason that the FA itself has been doing the job itself.
Nowhere is this more obvious than at the FA Cup Final – the jewel in the association’s crown.
Of course, the days are long gone when it was one of the few live televised games, shown simultaneously on BBC and ITV, and most of the population sat down to watch.
Nevertheless, the FA have done their best to destroy as many of its USPs as possible, and in the process they have turned this stately landmark of the sporting calendar into an event that resembles a less classy and prestigious version of the Championship play-off final.
GARETH Edwards’ Godzilla opens this week in theaters, and the question remains: will the new film assume its place among the classics of the giant monster movie genre, or falter badly instead, much like the 1998 version of the same material directed by Roland Emmerich?
Perhaps the answer to that question will only be answered by the passage of time. How will the new Godzilla age, given advances in special effects? Will the film’s central metaphor about Godzilla and nature prove as sturdy as the original Godzilla’s (1954) anti-nuclear message?
FINALLY! UKIPS’ one-man-band Nigel Farage is exposed by LBC’s James O’Brien to be the crap politician he surely is. His one mission was to destroy the BNP and EDL. Job done. Anything other than that, the man’s a dead duck.
‘WE Go To The Gallery’ is artist Miriam Elia’s twist on Ladybird children’s books Peter & Jane.
IN the 1970s, the glorious afro emerged into mainstream culture as an affirmation of Black African heritage and a rejection of Eurocentric standards of beauty. The popularity of this “natural” hair style among blacks is often traced back to activists Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael. After their radical hair statement hit televisions screens across the US, it didn’t take long for it to become widely accepted. “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” sang James Brown, who had also adopted the look.
And “the look” actually had many variations. We tend to think of the generic globe afro, but the styles in the 70s came in a dazzling variety…
Make no mistake, the afro is still alive and well; however, it by no means is at the level of popularity it enjoyed in the 1970s. So, in tribute to the Golden Age of the Afro, here are the top ten in no particular order.
Gamble was a decent baseball player, but nothing close to Hall of Fame level. However, he is perhaps better remembered than most of the names lining the halls of Cooperstown. This unique notoriety is due to a couple Gamble legacies.
First, there’s the infamous quote: “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.” Originally a reference to racism in major league baseball, it has become a successful meme and viral quotation on the internet.
Second, there’s the mighty afro which Yankee’s manager, George Steinbrenner, forced him to crop. It was among the biggest in the sporting world, but it still doesn’t account for why he is so indelibly linked with the hairstyle. Look up any article on the subject and you will undoubtedly see his name brought up. And so, here he is again on Anorak, further cementing his status as symbol and spokesman for the mighty ‘fro.
After kicking ass and taking names in Blaxploitation flicks like Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975), Dobson (unlike her afro wearing counterpart, Pam Grier) faded into obscurity in the 1980s. But her fro will live on forever.
But wait, there’s another Tamara Dobson afro connection…
In the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Happy Birthday, Buck” (Season 1, Episode 15), Tamara Dobson played a non-afro wearing “psychic courier” named Raylyn. And while Tamara, herself, didn’t unleash her mighty ‘fro on the show, her co-star in this episode most certainly did. The incognito assassin, Traeger (played by Peter MacLean), sports what may be the most insanely terrible afro to ever grace the small screen.
There was an embarrassment of riches of Afrotastic musical acts in the Seventies, so it’s hard to choose the best. The Jackson 5 sported a worthy lineup of ‘fros, but the Sylvers kicked it up a notch and earns the prize.
Bob Ross’ show transcended painting – it was a life affirming stroll through inner peace. It was a land where “mistakes” were actually “happy accidents”. You could do no wrong in this world. Bob’s soft tones lulled your mind into a state of tranquility only achievable elsewhere via an overdose on Benzodiazepines .
And then there was the Ross ‘fro where literally small woodland creatures would make their home. His afro was as much a part of nature as the “happy trees” in his paintings. Indeed, Bob Ross’ hair wasn’t as much a fashion statement as it was a living, breathing ecosystem.
Luke Cage (AKA Power Man) and Black Lightning were some badass black superheroes, but neither had an exceptional ‘fro. So the honor should go to Misty Knight, a former police officer and kung-fu specialist with a bionic hand given to her by Iron Man. She always played a supporting role in her various comic book appearances. Her most notable moment came when she had an inter-racial relationship with Power-Man.
In later years, her costume got a change, exhibiting a “cleavage window” made famous by Power Girl. But while her costume may have changed, her ‘fro mercifully remained intact.
You can’t have a list of top afros and not name one of the main individuals responsible for popularizing it. Whether or not you subscribed to her radical views and pro-Communist stance, her ‘fro was all over the airwaves, hurtling the style into the mainstream.
There may be a number of people who earned the right to be called the “Fifth Beatle”, but only one sports an afro big enough to engulf a small child. As Stuart Mackenzie says in So, I Married an Axe Murder: “That’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid… Has its own weather system.”
I could have easily chosen Barbara Streisand, who had a grand Jew-fro in the 70s. Conway Twitty, believe it or not, also wore a white-person ‘fro which was nothing to sneeze at. But Leo Sayer wins based on both circumference and flair. His was akin to Richard Simmons’, but without the male pattern baldness setting in.
Sure, this close-cut afro didn’t have the volume, but it was a groundbreaker. Tyson donned the natural style on the TV show East Side/West Side long before it achieved mainstream acceptance. Audiences were appalled and outraged, but it proved to be a huge stepping stone in the emergence of the afro in popular culture. Sure, Cicely has tons of awards and accolades for her acting, but this little accomplishment deserves some kudos as well.