Episode 102: Top 5 Childhood Sci-Fi Influences

January 3, 2013

Featuring Matt Anderson, Daniel Butcher, and Koby Radcliffe

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12 comments on “Episode 102: Top 5 Childhood Sci-Fi Influences

  1. Daniel Jan 4, 2013

    I have more information about Disney Movie Rewards in this post.


  2. Great show, guys. Though, at 28 years old, I fall more in Matt’s age bracket, I found myself mostly nodding along with Daniel’s picks.

    It would make sense that Daniel, in his Doctor Who pick, would mostly discuss the Tom Baker years, since this episode was about childhood influences. But it raised a somewhat thorny question in my mind. Can the people who have only seen the “new” version of Doctor Who still be considered fans of the show? What does it mean, for example, if I call myself a “Star Trek” fan? Is it necessary to clarify what particular series I’m referring to, or does everyone just automatically assume that I don’t mean “Voyager”?

    My first exposure to Doctor Who was Christopher Eccleston’s 2005 season. I was in and out during the David Tennant years, and now I’m all in with Matt Smith. I never went back and caught up with the old Doctor Who seasons and don’t really have any interest in doing so. Am I, then, still allowed to call myself a Doctor Who fan? Or is that like some kid calling himself a Star Wars fan after watching a handful of “Clone Wars” episodes on TV?

    Also, am I right in asserting that these Matt Smith seasons are, by far, the best iteration of the series or is that just my lack of perspective showing?

    Keep up the good work. (Two episodes down, only 98 more to go — good luck!)

    Oh, and like Ben, I was never allowed to watch Captain Planet either — not because of the evil liberal media corrupting my impressionable mind, but because Captain Planet was lame.

  3. Interesting episode… took me back to some nostalgia.
    I hadn’t thought of Unsolved Mysteries as a sci fi influence, but yeah, now I can see it.

    Here are my obligatory top 5, then:
    5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (!) – Believe it or not, I saw and remember this one first. Confession time: “Slave Leia” had rather too much to do with this.
    4. X-Files: This is borderline to call it “childhood.” (I’m 31). But I’m sticking with it.
    3. The Outer Limits (new series): I stayed up way to late many a Saturday night watching these on broadcast TV. I credit this show with my obsession with the twist ending in my own writing. Many of these blew my mind.
    2. Star Trek: The Next Generation. “Cause and Effect” is still one of my favorite SciFi episodes of all time. This is the show that got me into space.
    1. Isaac Asimov. Yeah, I realize this is a bit like a movie reviewer going to “Citizen Kane” for favorite movie, but it’s true. I, Robot; Nightfall (the story more than the book); Foundation series. These are the books that made me fall in love with science fiction literature.

    Honorable mentions:
    Many are the same as yours: Flight of the Navigator, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Back to the Future (I also love the alternate timelines in the second movie).
    I’d like to add some, though. Did any of you ever see the cartoon “BraveStarr”? It had 65 episodes in 1987-1988. I only watched it for a couple of marathon days when visiting my grandparents, as I never had cable at home, but it left a huge impression on me.
    It has cringe-worthy stereotypes and heavy-handed moral lessons, which I can see now, but oh man did it appeal to little ‘ol me. It just had so many wild and nutty concepts it in that it pursued full tilt. If you didn’t see it, you missed out.
    Here’s a bit from the Wikipedia description at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BraveStarr:
    “Marshall BraveStarr: The title character is a Galactic Marshall stationed on the planet “New Texas.” He is a Native American who can call upon the power of “spirit animals.” The spirit animal powers are:
    o Eyes of the Hawk: Enhances his vision and can also grant him an aerial view of the surrounding area.
    o Ears of the Wolf: Gives him super-hearing.
    o Strength of the Bear: Gives him super-strength.
    o Speed of the Puma: Gives him super-speed.
    “It should be noted that these powers are not literally equivalent to the attributes of the animals he invokes, as the Strength of the Bear grants him far greater strength than any real bear, capable of lifting huge boulders, and similarly the Speed of the Puma allows him to run at immense speeds akin to comic-book characters such as Quicksilver or the Flash. Bravestarr also carries a “Neutra-laser” pistol and a “Trans-freezer” rifle, but seldom uses either, only doing so when he has to.”
    I spent much of that summer running around yelling “Strength of the Bear (the Bear… the Bear)”, etc. as appropriate…
    Here’s the intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaMo4k7iG7s
    And some BraveStarr origin story, including him doing “Speed of the Puma” and “Strength of the Bear.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_E3gfQc6AQ
    Actually, BraveStarr would make a great episode, especially because of the spiritual undertones. You could maybe even do a series of “Forgotten SciFi.”

    Oh, and my suggestions for SuperHero Spotlight:
    -Jean Gray/Phoenix. I never did “get” that.
    -The X-Men you never heard of… but should have.

    • Adam…i just became aware of BraveStarr last year. Episodes was playing late at night on a local station here in the Twin Cities. I wasn’t that impressed, but I’m sure it would have been better if I was a kid.

  4. Also, I’m a dude. I’m not sure why the internet automatically posted a profile picture of my wife. Stupid internet…

  5. Michael Jan 4, 2013

    Great discussion, guys! I think I’ve got everyone beat, but not by much – born in 1972. So I really resonate with Daniel’s picks, too – although, like Aaron, I came to DOCTOR WHO via the new era (although I started with Matt Smith in 2010 – I’ve seen it all from Eccleston on, but haven’t explored the classic series too much yet).

    Re: the profanity in BACK TO THE FUTURE – Can’t speak to movie 2, but when I wanted to show my parents the first film, I was in middle school and was really worried that they’d disapprove of the swearing, so I “previewed” it to see just how bad it was. I remember counting 47 swear words. It’s a fair amount for a “family movie.” I love the movie, it was and remains a big favorite, but, yeah, the profanity is there.

    STAR WARS was definitely my number one genre influence as a kid, as well. It made me a lover of the fantastic. Before my parents took me to see it, I was always readign and talking American history, especially Thomas Jefferson. After STAR WARS, though, I was all STAR WARS, all the time. I wonder if they regretted taking me to the movie!

    TWILIGHT ZONE reruns on my local PBS station were also a big influence. I am glad to hear Matt is finally watching it!

  6. Syrio Jan 4, 2013

    As someone also born in the early 70s. Here’s my top 5.

    5. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
    4. Star Wars
    3. Nintendo Entertainment System
    2. Transformers
    1. Spider-Man/Marvel Comics

  7. Well, to play along and to be utterly honest… These are SCI FI influences. Completely different than my fantasy influences and Super Heroes are completely different for me as well. The spark different things in my brain. These are influences in how I spent my imagination playing with friends and siblings, thus forming my sci fi core.
    5 Warriors of the Wing (Nausicaa)
    4 Robotech
    3 Transformers
    2 GI Joe
    1 Star Wars (could there be anything else being in my 30s as well?)
    Technically 2,3,4 could be lumped into one.
    Honorable Mention:
    Alien: (yep, saw it when I was like 6. Had nightmares for weeks but it was pretty cool),
    Saturday morning cartoons: as a collective including Space Ace, Kidd Video, the Orbots, Insectoids, Galaxy Rangers, Galaxy High (which would make a fun movie I think)… the list could go on for a while.
    Star Trek. While I really like Star Trek, we didn’t really play star trek on the playground or at home.
    Henson. I know that’s a man, not an IP, but everything he did was a HUGE influence on me. I was determined to someday work for him… until he passed away. It was a very sad day for me.

  8. Interesting show, guys. I’ll be showing my age here, I suspect, in my five. In my case the top influences were books and these were all between 3rd and 5th grade.

    5. The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth – A children’s classic where a hen lays a huge egg that hatches a triceratops. It covers the hilarious adventures as the boy, Nate tries to transport it to the National Museum in D.C. Just introduced my son to it and he loves it.

    4. Lost Race of Mars by Robert Silverberg – Two kids on a martian colony find that there really are Martians still living on the planet underground.

    3. The Space Ark by A.M. Lightner – On a planet where the star is about to go supernova, a team of scientists rescue some rare species and try to find a place where they can resettle the species.

    2. Starman Jone by Robert Heinlein – Classic old school SF where a farmboy struggles to achieve his dream of becoming an astrogator.

    1. Perry Rhodan – This is a decades long German serial that is the longest running SF series in history. It details the adventures of Perry Rhodan, “peacelord of the universe,” from the time he discovers a crashed starship on the first manned moon landing and spans solar systems, galaxies, and dimensions. The first 100 or so were translated and edited into English by Forrest J. Ackerman. Forry is the guy who coined the term Sci-Fi.

    Yes… I did also watch Star Trek. I actually got to see the original series live, though I was 7 at the time of the 3rd season. But as fun as it was, it didn’t match the influence of these books.

  9. Oh man, can’t believe I forgot two big ones on my list. Really would be in the top 5, but still….

    Twighlight Zone
    Amazing Stories

  10. Enjoyed the discussion!

    5- Voltron
    4- Star Wars
    3- X-Men the animated series
    2- Star Trek: TNG
    1- All things Superman.

    Honorable mentions: Hercules, all of the other Star Trek series (including the original), He-Man, the Batman movies, X-Files, Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Tron, Stargate (movie)

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