The 10 Best Quantum Leaps

Doctor Who may be a long running time travel series, but science fiction fans in the US have a special spot in their heart for Quantum Leap. While it only lasted five short seasons; the adventures of Dr. Sam Beckett have endured the years and the show has become a beloved classic. If there could be one show I would bring back for more seasons, it wouldn’t be any of the Star Treks, it wouldn’t be Firefly; it’d be Quantum Leap. Below are just ten of the best Leaps that Dr. Beckett made in the five years when he was travelling through time fixing what once went wrong.

“Lee Harvey Oswald”

Opening up the fifth (and final) season was a special two part episode to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the JFK assassination. Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald in different parts of his life, and their minds begin to merge. The memorable moment of the episode comes at the end. Right as Sam/Oswald is about to pull the trigger, Sam leaps into one of the Secret Service agents with the motorcade and is the one who leaps on Jackie; saving her. While in the hospital at the end, Sam is devastated that he couldn’t save Kennedy and Al explains to him that his mission wasn’t to save him…it was to save Jackie who in Sam’s history also was killed that day.

“Mirror Image”

The series finale has a love/hate relationship with fans. On one hand it’s depressing and disappointing that Sam never returned home. On the other, the finale reminds us of why we watched Quantum Leap for five seasons. Towards the end of the episode, Al the Bartender tells Sam that his leaping through time did change things for the better and not just in the lives of the people he leaped into. That’s a big reminder of the core philosophy of the show. And at the end Al the Bartender compares Sam’s “quest” to that of the life of a priest, and right after Sam leaps (as himself) to right the one big wrong in Al’s life. I would kill for just one more season, even knowing that Sam never returned home.

“Jimmy”

When Sam leaped into Jimmy LaMotta, we knew something special happened. Jimmy became one of the most popular leaps in all five years. Jimmy was a guy with a developmental disability, and Sam would return to Jimmy again in the fifth season and both Jimmy and his brother would appear in the series finale. And how can you not geek out at the ending when Sam/Jimmy tells his nephew the story of Star Wars as a bedtime story.

“The Leap Back”

While Sam never permanently returned home, he did get to visit. In this episode Sam and Al swap places with Sam as the hologram and Al the leaper. Sam gets to spend some time at home, while Al’s in the past. There’s also some great humor as Sam takes one some of Al’s lecherous personality traits and Al gains some of Sam’s morality.

“Goodbye Norma Jean”

Sam had multiple brushes with history throughout the series, and for the most part they resisted having him leap into famous people. That really changed in the fifth season, especially with the Lee Harvey Oswald episode. Later in that same season, Sam leaps into Marilyn Monroe’s chauffeur. He and Al’s immediate thought is that he is there to prevent her death. It’s a great episode with sincerity between Al and Sam about Marilyn and what she meant to people, and some classic Al moments as well. In the end, Sam’s mission was to ensure that she made one last movie.

“The Wrong Stuff”

How is a monkey using a gun not the most awesome thing ever? Sam leaps into Bobo; a chimp he has to get into the space program. This is the only episode where Sam doesn’t leap into a human, and ends up saving a couple of chimps and changing things for the better as usual.

“The Boogieman”

Another brush with history, although not quite as blatant as other examples in the fifth season. Sam helps an aspiring writer named Stevie. This young writer has a car named Christine,a dog named Cujo, and thinks that kitchen knives flying across the room sounds like such a cool idea. That’s right, Sam helps inspire a young Steven King.

“The Leap Between The States”

The only time that Sam himself leaped out of his lifetime sent him to the Civil War. Sam leaps into his great-grandfather and in Back to the Future-style twist must win the heart of his great-grandmother or risk never being born. Also, while helping the Underground Railroad Sam meets an ancestor of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Memphis Melody”

Another big brush with history came right at the end of the series when Sam leaped into Elvis. While helping a young musician; Sam has to ensure that Elvis gets discovered. This episode aired right before the series finale, and while they resisted doing “famous” leaps earlier in the series maybe if it happened in an earlier season ratings would have improved a bit.

“Deliver Us From Evil”

The Evil Leaper saga was stupid, but I have to include this episode here because it’s when Sam leaped back into Jimmy. This was the introduction of the Evil Leaper, but it was just so awesome to see Sam as Jimmy again and have a sequel to one of the most popular episodes of the series’ run. If you’re a fan of the whole series, it’s hard not to smile along with Sam when he discovers that he’s Jimmy again.

BioWare admits TOR is a WoW clone

A few weeks ago an article popped up on 1Up from someone who had actually spent time playing The Old Republic (as opposed to jacking off over screenshots and well edited PR videos) where he attacked the game for not advancing much from World of Warcraft in 2004. The result to this article was epic, with TOR devotees attacking the writer and basically accused him of killing their dog before it was ever born. People screamed at the top of their lungs (well, keyboards) that the game would never be just a WoW clone and games like RIFT are (which isn’t by the way).

Well, this week the DICE Summit is going on in Las Vegas, and BioWare’s Greg Zeschuk admitted that World of Warcraft was the “touchstone” for The Old Republic:

“It is a touchstone. It has established standards, it’s established how you play an MMO. Every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that’s pretty dumb”

He’s completely and totally wrong, which is why The Old Republic will fail spectacularly. If you’re making a new MMO, you need to build on what WoW did but then break the rules that no longer work. One of the reasons why DCUO found such great success is because they broke the combat rules and put in pure action combat. The reason why so many people are living RIFT is because Trion built on what WoW did, and then broke the rules when it came to grouping, leveling, and character class customization.

Sticking to what WoW did won’t help TOR. People will load up the game and find WoW with just Star Wars graphics and then go back to their level 85s that they have six years invested in. Adding fully voiced quests won’t help the game either, it didn’t help EverQuest II back in 2004 and that’s something BioWare should have learned from before beginning to hype their game into the stratosphere. And the voice overs are the only thing people are able to bring up in an attempt to defend TOR, which is pretty sad.

You can read more of what he said over at GamesIndustry.biz including reaction quotes from Blizzard.

8 Failed Super Hero Adaptations

Super hero movies: we all love them, we all watch ’em. However, there are some films out there either so awful, or so unsuccessful that they failed to so much as launch a sequel. Yes, we’re well aware that Batman and Robin and Spider-man 3 should be on this list, but we’re talking about films which killed a franchise’s future well before it even had a chance to begin. These are our picks, but we’re open to more suggestions.

Daredevil (2003)

Fan purists originally took issue with the depiction of Wilson Fisk as African American. To the contrary, Clarke Duncan’s performance was bearable compared to the rest of the movie. Ben Affleck’s skirmish with Jennifer Gartner only scratches the surface of how dumb this movie was.

Elektra (2005)

We don’t know what Marvel’s been drinking. Whatever made them believe that a failed super hero adaptation would spawn a successful spin-off is beyond us. It’s no surprise that this left any hopes for a Daredevil reboot in development hell.

The Punisher (1989, 2004, 2008)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, shame on everyone. Marvel has attempted to reboot the Punisher franchise several times after it’s first failed attempt in 1989. There are suggestions that another film is still in the works in spite of this.

The Guyver (1991)

Here’s an idea: let’s take the most ultra-violent anime of the 1980s and adapt it into a campy slapstick. The sequel was an improvement with “Solid Snake” replacing the lead, but that’s not saying a lot.

Captain America (1990)

Mention to someone that they already made a Captain America movie and they’ll ask why they haven’t heard of it. Now show it to them and they’ll understand why. We predict that J.D. Salinger disowned his son for his “phony” portrayal of the star-spangled hero.

Spawn (1997)

Critics bashed it for its over reliance on special effects to captivate audiences. We’ll admit that the action was cutting edge for its time, but Malebolgia’s appearance was awfully rendered even for the 90s. The movie was a modest box office success, but not enough to warrant a sequel.

Judge Dredd (1995)

Both a critical and box office disaster, Judge Dredd was merely a skeleton of its source material. Never mind that it was as ambitious as a presidential candidate, but had the direction of a high school play. What we want to know is why Dredd didn’t have his trademark helmet throughout most of the film.

Supergirl (1984)

Again with the spin-offs. Admittedly, Helen Slater was cute enough to play Kara, but unfortunately her personality was about as three-dimensional as a piece of paper.

6 Weapon Technologies That Were Once Considered SciFi

So if you’re reading this, you’re a sci-fi geek like myself, which means I can spare you the ‘ever since men could dream, they dreamed of better military technology’ crap.  You know this, I know this, let’s move on.

 

I’ve compiled a list of weapons technologies at our disposal today (and by our I mean advanced governments like America and England, not places like Botswana and the Congo) that were once bird-brained ideas, ridiculed for their far-fetchedness.

Stun Guns

 

From the very first scifi movie that featured an electric gun or phaser that could stun someone from across a room, the government wanted one for themselves.  When they watched Star Trek and heard ‘Set your weapons to stun’ they almost had to change their pants.  Well obviously a bit was changed between the conception and production processes.  It started out with phasers and bolt guns, and it boiled down to what you see above.  It may not look too fancy, but the Taser definitely fits the bill.  Invented in 1974 by NASA researcher Jack Cover, it was named after Tom Swift, an idol of Jack’s.  Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle, or Taser, shoots two nodes into a target at varying effective ranges, and sends an electrical charge through micro thin wires, and zaps the target.  The only way this weapon could 100% fit the bill for the less than lethal phaser is if it lost the cabling.

As an added bonus, the hand-held zapper (used at close range) simulates the vulcan shoulder pinch.

Rail Guns

 

Any scifi fan can tell you, rail guns and rail cannons are an integral part of space combat.  Since gunpowder doesn’t work in space, and super huge lasers on a ship would run up the electric bill, the rail gun is the weapon of choice.  Using a combination of high voltage electricity and magnets, the rail gun in question fires solid cylindrical projectiles up to two miles with the accuracy to hit a 3 meter target, with the devastation of a Tomahawk Missile.  Yours truly went digging around the web and found a video of a test fire by the U.S. Navy that was cleared for public release.  Much like most naval weapons, it will take several more years before they fine tune their design to outfit Naval ships, but if we ever fought giant robots, this is what it would look like.

Sonic Weapon

 

Face it, even the name sonic weapon sounds cool.  There have been too many movie to count that had aliens or tyrannical governments using some sort of device that could make everyone clutch at their ears and hit the ground.  Thanks to science and creativity, we now have one.  The LRAD, or Long Range Acoustic Device, is basically a dish that sends targeted, high pitched noise at an enemy to disorient and overpower them.  Unlike the rail gun, however, this device is in mainstream use.  Between warding off piratespolice crowd control, and fighting off Discovery Channel Hippies, it’s definitely a widely dispersed product.  Unfortunately, the VP of business for LRAD corporation would not give me an estimate on one of their devices, but with enough cash, I’m sure you could mount one on your F250.

Powder-Free Guns

As I said with the rail gun, due to the vacuum of space, typical explosively fire rounds will be ineffective in a space battle.  Now we don’t have hand held laser guns safe enough to equip people with yet, or to mount on vehicles, but what we DO have is Metal Storm.  This weapon uses totally new technology to fire up to millions of round per minute.  Yes, faster than any Bushmaster.  The secret is stacked ammunition.  Essentially the ammo comes in tubes you insert into the barrels and open, full of either bullets, machine grenade rounds, or any number of other fun toys stacked atop each other.  Using electronic signals and magnetic force (sounding familiar?) it can fire millions of these buggers without a single grain of black powder, no brass casings hitting the ground, and no degradation of performance in a vacuum.

Full Body Scanners

So this particular entry may not be in the same category of weapon as the rest of the list, since it neither maims, kills, or wounds.  It does, however, earn a spot on the list.  As seen in Total Recall, they were envisioned by earlier scifi minds and science nerds as something that should be set in heavy congestion areas near mass transit locations: bus stations, trains stations, airports?  Yeah, it was a bad segue and I refuse to apologize.  The body scanners predicted in Total Recall (and many other movies, but that’s the best video I could find) are actually being used in airports.  Though luckily for us, instead of seeing bare bones, we see the fleshy hotness that covers them.  And, you know, bombs and stuff.

Hovercraft

The hovercraft has yet to be made exactly like we once imagined it.  It’s not the Jetson’s little hover bubble car, it’s not a hover board like in Back To The Future II.  Instead, it’s a large amphibious assault vehicle used by the U.S. Navy, as well as several other governments.  Though they don’t call it a hovercraft.  They call it the LCAC, or Landing Craft Air Cushion.  They are deployed form the Navy’s Well-Deck ships, and are capable of carrying several Stryker vehicles, HMMWVs, and even a few Bradley Fighting Vehicles.  They have also been used in rescue operations as well as disaster relief, since they can operate in water as shallow as a puddle, as well as on beaches and flat land.  Hopefully, within a few years, they’ll actually have flight capability.  Or at least DARPA will finish it’s flying submarine

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The 10 Most Powerful Force Users of the Dark Side

When it comes to force sensitivity, you’re mainly going to be looking at two groups.  The lightside and the darkside.  While the lightside was nourished with mediation, understanding, and selflessness, the Dark Side was not.  Fueled by hatred, fear, and vengeance the Dark Side could tap into the force, which in many cases, surpassed that of a Jedi.

While the number of  Dark Side users is extremely large, we decided to make a list of the most powerful.  The original discussion started in the killer movies forums.

Darth Tyranus (Dooku)

Dooku was a Jedi master and practiced as a Jedi for over 70 years. Eventually he slipped to the dark side after the battle on Galidraan. Dooku, who was one of the best swordsmen in the Jedi temple was now a dark side wielding badass who renamed himself to Darth Tyranus. He was later defeated by Anakin Skywalker.

“Skywalker was all over him. The shining blue lightsaber whirled and spat and every overhand chop crashed against Dooku’s defense with the unstoppable power of a meteor strike; the Sith Lord spent lavishly of his reserve of the Force merely to meet these attacks without being cut in half, and Skywalker was getting stronger. Each parry cost Dooku more power than he’d used to throw Kenobi across the room; each block aged him a decade. He decided he’d best revise his strategy once again. He no longer even tried to strike back. Force exhaustion began to close down his perceptions, drawing his consciousness back down to his physical form, trapping him within his own skull until he could barely even feel the contours of the room around him; he dimly sensed stairs at his back, stairs that led up to the entrance balcony. He retreated up them, using the higher ground for leverage, but Skywalker just kept on coming, tirelessly ferocious.”

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Gethzerion

Gethzerion was the clan mother of the Nightsisters.  This force user was so powerful that she even had Palpatine shitting his pants at one point.

While the Nightsisters believed that they had to perform rituals to unleash their Force powers, only Gethzerion realized the true power that she could control. Emperor Palpatine knew of her power while he was alive and ordered that she be kept trapped on Dathomir where she could still rule but not use her power elsewhere. Zsinj, who would later become a ruling Imperial warlord, was assigned to keep an eye on Dathomir.

Later she clashed with Luke Skywalker and lost. Upon trying to flee Dathomir, Palpatine had her ship blasted to pieces.

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Starkiller

Starkiller is an example of a Sith who used the force to it’s maximum potential, without caring what the ultimate consequence might be. As Vader’s apprentice he was sent out to kill the remaining Jedi, which he did with ease. When he was betrayed by Palpatine, things got ugly. Eventually Starkiller lost to Vader and Palpatine, but his defeat did not come quick or easy.

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Exar Kun

“Exar Kun, because of you, the Sith will never die. You have earned the right to bear the mark of Dark Lord of the Sith.”
―Marka Ragnos, appointing Exar Kun as Dark Lord

Kun ruled 4000 years before the Skywalkers roamed the galaxy. However, he managed to come back in spirit and almost put an end to Luke Skywalker and the NJO.

Thousands of years later, Exar Kun’s spirit returned to wreak havoc on the students of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker’s praxeum on Yavin 4. After haunting several of the trainees, Kun’s spirit subtly corrupted one of them, Gantoris, to the dark side of the Force, but killed Gantoris when he tried to reject the Dark Lord’s influence. He also took Master Skywalker’s soul from his body, but was ultimately defeated by the combined power of Luke’s students.

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Darth Caedus (Jacen Solo)

Jacen Solo was the son of Han and Leia Solo and twin brother of Jaina Solo. His force powers as a Jedi peaked toward the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war. Later he had a vision of a dark figure ruling the galaxy. This vision changed all of his philosophies and he began dabbling on the dark side. He began his Sith apprenticeship under Lumiya, and shortly thereafter was at Sith mastery levels. He was a wrecking machine who was finally stopped by his twin sister.

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Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker)

Anakin Skywalker was foreseen by some in the council as the one who would bring balance to the force. Unfortunately his desire to keep his wife alive and lust for greater power, eventually turned him to the Dark Side. Once he became Palpatine’s apprentice he slaughtered anyone the defied him. His powers became so great that he could force choke someone wasn’t even in his vicinity. In the end he did fulfill the “chosen one” prophecy.

Refusing to watch his son die, Anakin suddenly grabbed Sidious from behind and hoisted him from his feet. In a final effort of self-sacrifice, Anakin stubbornly advanced, ignoring the agony his former master’s Force Lightning inflicted him as he went for the Death Star’s reactor shaft. Staggering to his destination, he threw Darth Sidious down the shaft to his death before collapsing. Mortally weakened by the lightning, and with his life support system short-circuited and fried, Anakin Skywalker had paid for his act of defiance with his life. Yet this single act brought him back to the light side.

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Darth Revan

Revan was a Jedi Knight who came into his prime during the Mandalorian Wars. Since the Jedi wouldn’t take an offensive stance on the battle, Revan made it his goal to win the war. To do this he had to be proactive, which eventually lead him to the Dark Side. Revan destroyed the Mandalorians, thwarted the Jedi, then went back to the lightside (after a memory wipe) and defeated the most powerful Sith at the time (his old apprentice Malak).

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Darth Nihilus

Nihilus was another victim who lost everything in the Mandalorian wars. The effect of a superweapon’s destruction left Nihilus craving the force. He was later found by Darth Traya who regarded him as “a scar in the force.” Nihilus became so obsessed with calling upon the DS that he could consume anyone or thing that had force sensitivity.  His hatred and power was so great that even other Sith got the hell out of his way.

“There is no strength in the hunger he possesses… and the will behind his power is a primal thing. And it devours him as he devours others—his mere presence kills all around him, slowly, feeding him. He is already dead, it is simply a question of how many he kills before he falls.”
―Kreia

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Darth Bane

The Jedi had a prophecy claiming there would be “The One” who brought balance back to the force. The Sith also had a prophecy like this, only they used the word Sith’ari which meant “perfect being.”  Darth Bane was the Sith’ari.  At his physical peak, Bane was covered in a parasite called Orbalisks. Although making him look hideous, the orbs were able to deflect the brunt of any physical attack (even lightsabers) making him nearly invulnerable.  He once slaughtered 8 sith assasins, a dark jedi, and defeated his apprentice at the same time.  Some speculate that he was able to pull a moon out of orbit using the force.

Taming a flying Drexl using the powers of the dark side, he mounted it and rode towards the edge of the atmosphere where Dxun came close to Onderon’s atmosphere. Once on Onderon he found Zannah being threatened by a group of Beast Riders. Onboard the drexl, Bane attacked the Riders, slaughtering them and their mounts. Now they the two were together once more, it was time for Zannah to begin her training.

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Darth Sideous (Palpatine)

Sideous used unmeasurable amounts of force manipulation to propel him in political office. Once there he created the beast known as the Empire. Billions died at the hands of (or direct influence) Palpatine. He was also responsible for turning Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side.

Trained in the ways of the Force by Darth Plagueis, he was a Dark Lord of the Sith who followed the Rule of Two and was the most powerful Sith Lord the galaxy had ever known.

66 Behind the Scenes Images From the Star Wars Prequels

For the past fifteen years a group of fans on the Internet have been blasting the Star Wars Prequels for not using real sets and practical models like the movies that were made in the 70s and early 80s. We’ve shown how these people were wrong before by giving examples of the sets and models used in the Prequels, yet people seem to be blind to the truth.

This gallery includes 66 behind the scenes images from the Star Wars Prequels that show off many of the real sets and models that were used to create the films.

AMC Planning a Star Wars Marathon For The Force Awakens

When The Force Awakens was announced, many fans wondered if there would be a re-release of the original movies before hand, and in one way there will be. While it’s not an “official” re-release of each movie leading up to Episode VII, AMC will be holding a marathon of the six movies prior to the premiere of The Force Awakens.

Following AMC’s massive Marvel movie marathon of eleven movies for the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the theater chain is planning the same thing for Star Wars in December.

According to the Star Wars Action News Facebook page, an AMC manager confirmed the plans:
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And before someone gets you excited with false hope, these will just be the Blu-Ray cuts that Lucasfilm recently showed to fans at Star Wars Celebration.