January 13, 2020
Bio: Sarah is the editor for The Sci-Fi Christian. She also contributes at Geeks of Doom and is a Communications Coordinator in Marketing, Web and Public Relations by profession. Sarah is a singer/songwriter who loves some good sci-fi TV and graphic novels.
Posts by Sarah:
Okay, you guys. I don’t know if this is the right audience, but I’m doing this on your behalf. Beyond the apples, pies and candy, I’m recommending something for you that will make this harvesty time of year that much sweeter. Okay, no more stalling. I would like to invite you this Halloween season to sit down on your comfiest chair and start watching MTV’s Teen Wolf. I said it. I’m already feeling a little bit relieved.
I know what you are thinking, and I was skeptical too. First of all, I would be remiss if I did not mention the hilarious Teen Wolf (1985) film starring Michael J. Fox. This movie brings a lighthearted perspective to a typical horror storyline, where the werewolf, or Scott, is actually out in the open, and of all things, it makes him popular. This brings us to MTV’s iteration of Teen Wolf, which follows a protagonist by the same name, along with his best friend, Stiles.
Teen Wolf (2011) explores many of the themes that one hopes for in a supernatural, horror, teen drama such as origin, power, responsibility, friendship, family, danger, and more. Scott’s new abilities have brought him strength and skill on the lacrosse field, which, in turn, bring him some level of popularity. But with these “gifts” come problems such as lack of control and dangers to both himself and those he loves. I found the first season to be relatively predictable (but also fun), but after the foundation is laid, the series really takes off.
I never would have guessed that I would actually feel frightened by this show, but with the likes of werecoyote, berserkers, kanimas, banshees, nogitsunes, and (gasp!) even evil humans, the writers of Teen Wolf never cease to create unique and surprising monsters in plot-twisting story arcs.
In addition to the fear factor, the show of course explores romance, friendship and comedy. Stiles is by far the most interesting character in my opinion, with a fast wit and hysterical one-liners. Early on, it’s easy to see him as just the “funny guy” but again, the creator and writers of Teen Wolf evolve him in ways I never could have imagined.
Instead of trying to convince you further with my words, I’m going to let you see for yourself in this trailer below:
Wow. There’s not much more to say after that, but I would like to end with my strongest recommendation of this entertaining and suspenseful series. So, this Halloween, do yourself a favor: grab a hot mug of apple cider, snuggle up in a cozy blanket, and watch Teen Wolf. You won’t regret it.
As the editor of the Sci-Fi Christian, I don’t write too often on the site, but I am honored to kick off our official 2013 Halloween countdown! In the next several days, you will hear from our SFC writers on some of the great (and not-so-great) Halloween or horror-themed sci-fi lore. So, without further ado, enjoy this fun list of my top 5 most lovable werewolves!
5. Alcide Herveaux, played by Joe Manganiello – True Blood
Sure, he is rough around the edges, but Alcide is really just a gentle giant who wants to find the right person to love and protect. With a difficult childhood in his past, he is a loner who strays away from the “pack mentality,” which can compare on occasion to the “mob mentality.” Although he is non-human, or as the folks near Bon Temps say, a “supe” (supernatural), he seems to be the most balanced match for half-fae (fairy) and main character Sookie Stackhouse. Alcide only earns the number 5 spot on this list because he becomes a super annoying, angry and unlovable packmaster for most of season 6. Thankfully, in the end, he comes back to his true self as a friend to all, no matter what race or species. He reconciles with shape-shifter Sam Merlotte and comforts Sookie after the passing of one of her friends.
4. George, played by Russell Tovey – Being Human (U.K.)
Highly intelligent, awkward and unaccepting of his werewolf affliction, George stumbles through how to deal with this monumental life change. He tries to separate himself as the quiet hospital porter from his once-monthly gruesome and violent wolf transformation, but George ends up realizing it is a part of him now. Although George is essentially a tragic character from beginning to end, Tovey brings realistic humanity, genuine humor and heartfelt sincerity to the role. And we love him for it.
3. Scott Howard, played by Michael J. Fox – Teen Wolf (1985 Film)
How could I not mention this gem? Scott just wants to fit in like any other high school student. He is sick of being just average. Then, he transforms into a hairy, athletic and talented werewolf! Unlike many depictions in this genre, Scott does not need to hide his identity. His father is a werewolf like himself (and presents a hilariously matter-of-fact, gray-haired werewolf dad) and the school absolutely loves “the wolf!” Scott, or Teen Wolf, brings his basketball team to the championship, but can he lead the Badgers to victory as his regular, human self? And whom does he choose: the popular girl with whom he has always been infatuated, or the childhood best friend who loves him for who he was in the first place?
2. Tom McNair, played by Michael Socha – Being Human (U.K.)
Naïve and young, Tom was brought up in the woods by fellow werewolf Anthony McNair, who led him to believe he became a werewolf through a curse (and not through the traditional biting or scratching). Tom follows McNair in whatever he does, which primarily includes killing vampires. When Tom meets his first female werewolf, Nina (George’s girlfriend), he does not know how to react and becomes so intrigued that he follows her around like a lost pup. Even after he is told to back off (and does so accordingly), Tom is still fascinated by this new type of relationship that he did not think was possible. After finding out the truth about McNair and his real biological parents, Tom moves into Honolulu Heights with the rest of the supernatural crew. Much more adventure ensues, but in everything, we are captured by his adorable boyishness and curious wonder.
1. Oz, played by Seth Green – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Oz is a teen of few words and is quite witty, clever and ambiguously funny. He attends Sunnydale High School and plays guitar in the band Dingoes Ate My Baby, who often performs at the lively teen spot The Bronze. He is small in stature, wears a spiked and gelled 90’s hairstyle and dons those fabulous “parachute pants” that we all remember. More importantly, Oz tends to be a great judge of character and is loyal and loving. He assists Buffy, Willow and their gang in saving the world multiple times and even forgives Willow after he finds out she kissed fellow friend Xander. Oz is a joy to watch on screen. He is observant and he doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s always worth the listen.
Reading the first book of the Bible simply kindles my imagination, maybe even more than the last one. This doesn’t mean that I think of Genesis as a book of invented stories of things that didn’t happen. That’s not the case: I don’t have any problems in rationally believing, by faith, that what is written there is the truth. One may argue that the truth is not always conveyed in the Bible in literal form but it’s done sometimes in a symbolic way. To this idea, I agree, and I also think that maybe we could apply this principle to the first chapters of Genesis. But this is another discussion; for now, I’ll just reaffirm my faith: Genesis tells the truth about the creation of everything by God, including the special creation of Man by Him (Adam and Eve, “male” and “female” – Genesis 5:2), and about how sin entered into this world. It presents God, explains our origin, and reveals our need for a Redeemer.
But here is why Genesis kindles my imagination: although telling the truth, it is not exhaustive in details. God didn’t intend Genesis to be a scientific or historically accurate report of how things were created and happened; that’s simply not its purpose. Because of that, whenever I begin to read it, I end up with literally dozens of questions at chapter 11, and one of them is: what exactly was the pre-diluvian ancient world like?
Generally people think of the ancient world as an undeveloped, stone-age level land that was full of primitive men, women and barbarians. Christian believers probably tend to think of the pre-diluvian age that way as well. But was it really like that? I doubt it, and G. K. Chesterton has inspired my doubts regarding this matter. When talking about the modern opinion about the ancient world in his book The Everlasting Man, chapter 3, he states:
The modern man looking at the most ancient origins has been like a man watching for daybreak in a strange land; and expecting to see that dawn breaking behind bare uplands or solitary peaks. But that dawn is breaking behind the black bulk of great cities long built and lost for us in the original night; colossal cities like the houses of giants, in which even the carved ornamental animals are taller than the palm-trees; in which the painted portrait can be twelve times the size of the man; with tombs like mountains of man set four-square and pointing to the stars; with winged and bearded bulls standing and staring enormous at the gates of temples; standing still eternally as if a stamp would shake the world. The dawn of history reveals a humanity already civilized. Perhaps it reveals a civilization already old. And among other more important things, it reveals the folly of most of the generalizations about the previous and unknown period when it was really young. The two first human societies of which we have any reliable and detailed record are Babylon and Egypt. It so happens that these two vast and splendid achievements of the genius of the ancients bear witness against two of the commonest and crudest assumptions of the culture of the moderns. If we want to get rid of half the nonsense about nomads and cave-men and the old man of the forest, we need only look steadily at the two solid and stupendous facts called Egypt and Babylon.
I consider, for example, that many people imagine Noah as he was depicted by John Huston in his classical movie The Bible: In the Beginning. That’s the general idea of him. It was just very recently that I found out that there are people who would disagree with that, and some of them are storytellers who combine elements from biblical and semitic mythological texts to produce high quality fantasy narratives.
The famous American director, Darren Aronofsky, is one of them. He had an idea of an epic of Noah, a story that was in his mind since he was a 13 year-old-boy, when he won a prize for writing a poem about the end of the world as seen by the eyes of Noah. He faced problems in finding a studio to produce his movie, and because of that, he decided to adapt the script into a comic book. In his own words, he said:
It seems like if you come up with an original script, in Hollywood it’s not as effective as a comic book. It doesn’t even have to be successful as a comic; I mean how successful were ‘Kick-Ass’ or ‘Scott Pilgrim’? Those were fringe comics, right, and they were basically turned in to big pictures.
It worked: he got the financial support of Hollywood and is post-producing the film right now. The cast includes Russell Crowe as Noah, along with Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, and will be released in 2014. Although I’m really looking forward to the movie, I was more interested in the graphic novel, especially after I saw some previews of it. Planned as a four-part series—with its last volume as an epilogue of the movie—the first volume was released in France in 2011, with art drawn by Canadian comic book artist Niko Henrichon, who also worked at Marvel Comics. This was a problem for me, simply because I don’t speak or read in French, but after its release in Germany last year, I could finally buy it. Thank God I can read German.
Noah 01: Wegender Bosheitder Menschen (“because of the wickedness of men”) didn’t disappoint me at all. A well-written story combined with gorgeous artwork resulted in a great comic book. I hope it will be released for English readers sometime soon. For now, they can check a translated preview available online through this link.
As a fantasy, it is based on the biblical story, adding mythological elements to it and depicting a very different pre-diluvian world. Many may find this odd, but I found it to be simply wonderful. Yes, I think it is a high quality fantasy and a very well conceived fictional work, but although it’s based on the Bible, it’s not a faithfully biblical narrative. Darren wants to tell a story about environmental abuse of the world, as a warning to our generation about abuse of nature and climate change, and Christians know how the biblical story is more than just that.
At this point, I understand many will simply reject this work—both the comic books and the movie—considering them as an abuse of the biblical text, used as “left-wing environmental propaganda”. I really respect this opinion and the rejection, mainly because I recognize it as a demonstration of the importance of the Bible in our redeemed lives. That’s the opinion, for example, of Christian writer Brian Godawa, as seen through this link (recommended reading!), who also wrote another very good fantasy about Noah (maybe I will talk of that in a future review). Particularly, I can’t make a decision about Darren’s story as a whole, simply because the movie and all the subsequent graphic novels weren’t released yet, and maybe they’ll present aspects with which I’ll strongly disagree.
As a Christian, however, I believe that sin corrupts what we do as men and women, including our relationship with God, ourselves and with our world. God ordered us to rule over creation (Genesis 1:28, 2:15), to take care “of the garden”, and because of our wickedness, we don’t do that; we abuse it. In my humblest opinion, this was true in Noah’s time, and it’s true, as I see it, also in our time. The abuse of the environment is not our definition of sin, and it’s not the reason we deserve the Wrath of God, but it’s surely one of the ways we manifest our sin. Why shouldn’t we finally recognize that—just because a non-Christian said it to us? Should we simply ignore this problem?
The story as told in this first graphic novel shows a very impressive kind of post-apocalyptic world oppressed by the wickedness of humanity, full of brutality, violence against people, idolatry, abuse of nature, and one man of God and his family who oppose it. Noah is depicted as a complicated figure (as he also is in Brian Godawa’s story by the way), who receives visions from the Lord about the future destruction, and as a man of God tries to warn everybody about it, inviting them to repent. Within this narrative context, based on a biblical story that is my ultimate reference, I reaffirm that this first graphic novel is really fantastic. It is the best comic book I read last year, and I hope that the next volumes will maintain the same quality.
Even with the probable future problems with the story, I think Darren’s upcoming movie will serve as a great opportunity for us to talk to people about God, about the effects of sin in women and men, and most important of all, why we need to repent and have Christ Jesus as our Redeemer. May it serve to the Glory of God by our sharing of the true message of the Gospel to all people. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy this beautiful comic book. 🙂
One last piece of advice: grab a copy of Susan Wise Bauer’s book, The History of the Ancient World; go to the nearest library, or simply buy it. Open it to chapter 2, entitled “The Earliest Story”, where she discusses the ancient narratives of the Great Flood. Really worth reading, brothers and sisters.
Cristiano Silva is a Brazilian Christian Protestant, Calvinist, member of Presbyterian Church of Brazil in Vila Mariana, São Paulo, and writer of the blog Redeemed Geek. He considers Avengersvs. X–Men a lame saga, and misses the old DC Universe, with its old-fashion Kryptionian dress style.
I’m not sure if there is a more appropriate Christmas film than It’s a Wonderful Life. I have been watching it with my family yearly at Christmastime since I can remember. The story takes its time throughout the narrative; not skipping over relatively dark themes (life is not fair, I wish I had never been born, etc.) and carefully weaving its way back to the reason why George Bailey lives the life he does. I appreciate certain old movies like this; it is not a romantic comedy in which the whole of it is a laugh, the characters run into a quick hiccup of a fight, and then all is well. Life is complicated and problems are not always solved easily, and It’s a Wonderful Life shows just that.
Three things that stand out to me are as follows:
1. Just as George is about to leave for his honeymoon, the market crashes. Everyone demands money from the building and loan that is not currently in the bank’s possession. I cringe every time I watch this scene—I can hardly look at the screen as George and Mary spend their wedding money in order to save the Bailey Building and Loan. It can be argued that George does have a choice to leave it behind and travel to “far-off lands,” but being the good person that he is, it is no choice at all. How could he watch what his hard-working and humble father built crumble to the ground as the greedy Mr. Potter takes control of the town?
2. Clarence’s (George’s guardian angel) matter-of-fact and silly demeanor. This certainly adds to the humor and gives the viewer a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the desperation and sadness coming from George. One of my favorite parts is when Clarence and George are drying off after Clarence saved him from drowning, and the angel’s antiquated pajamas seem to come into question. He responds, “This underwear– I didn’t have time to get anything more stylish. My wife gave me this on my last birthday. I passed away in it.” Jaws drop. I laugh every time.
But, doesn’t this comedic relief do a little bit more? I believe this is a reflection of how we are to relate with God—with comfort and ease as with a friend. How effective would it have been if God—or, in this case, the flickering star in the sky—was a distant being who judged the hearts of all, but did not intervene? I think if we go by that school of thought, we ignore that there is a reason for the people who cross our paths, for years or for maybe even five minutes, who make a difference in our lives.
3. Life is not better, or less complex, without George Bailey. After roaming his hometown as a stranger, George begins to see the impact that he has made throughout his life. His wife, Mary, would have become a librarian (heavens, no!) and an old maid. He wasn’t there to stop Mr. Gower from accidentally putting poison into a prescription bottle, and now “Old Man Gower” has lost everything: his drugstore, his dignity and his wits. George wasn’t there to save his brother’s life in a sledding accident, and now his mother is a lonely and bitter woman. The list goes on.
I think that, like George, we forget what we have done, or what God has done through us, and we believe the lie that we are useless and that our talents are mediocre. We might not be as low as George, who was wishing he was dead (or some might be), but we are so narrowly focused on what is in the near-sighted here and now that we don’t remember. We don’t remember all of the graces bestowed upon us, all of the things that just couldn’t be coincidences, all of the joys that we have in family and friends. We allow ourselves to believe falsities about our own worth—but It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us that every moment is precious, every decision is important (no matter how small we may think it is), and no person is an accident. It reminds us that we are surrounded by loving brothers and sisters, and even a host of unseen angels, if we’ll only open our eyes and hearts.
So, this Christmas season, find time to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I don’t care how many times you’ve seen it—I bet you’ll find something new. And if you haven’t seen it, all the better! It is definitely not the first time we have heard it, but it is a resounding reminder that money certainly does not buy happiness, and that love is all around us.