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Top 10 Movies in Need of Reboots

Movies are all about the reboots now. Only, it seems, that the ones deserving them never get picked up. Instead, production companies opt for classics or movies NO ONE WAS ASKING FOR A SECOND TIME (I’m looking at you Point Break.)  In fact, some of the reboots have been so unsuccessful, they’ve killed any chances of the re-ignition of the franchise as a whole (The Great and Powerful Oz would have been much better with Robert Downey, Jr.). So here are 10 movies that either had great potential they never reached or have been shoved back into the vault, collecting dust. Just so you know, this is all strictly opinion and not any insider Hollywood news.

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10. The Last Starfighter

This movie was a gem among 80’s sci-fi flicks, coming in under the radar and never quite living up to the E.T. or Tron hype. However, the kids that did find it, loved it.  Now, with myself, I didn’t see the film until my twenties (we all have those films that slip through our fingers) and I enjoyed it. But I wasn’t fully saturated in the movie magic it had because I didn’t have (what I call) the nostalgia glasses on to forgive the lackluster CGI and poor practical effects. Set in modern time with all the advances in both computer graphics and the gaming industry, a remake could make this movie valuable for more generations. The only trouble would be not to lose the heart of the original.

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9. Mortal Kombat

Yes, I’m completely aware that this was turned into a web series starring Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan. That series makes me want a full-length film again. It was my favorite video game growing up and the movies hold a special place in my heart. Not because they were good by any means. No, no, no. But because they were so bad they were good. You plan this one out to be a series, trilogy, whatever. You have whole chunks dedicated to certain characters. There’s very little reason to have them all meet up beforehand and become besties. You start the tournament in the first film, having the villains change from Shang Tsung to Shao Khan to Shinnok. Lastly, the movies have to be rated R. You have to show some violence. You just have to.

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8. Masters of the Universe

Ever wonder why Courtney Cox was such a huge part of that movie? Yeah, me too.  It’s a tongue-in-cheek film of a tongue-in-cheek cartoon but missed the mark on being as loved as the source material. While Dolf Lundgren did his part well, he could not save the rest of the film from just looking silly. Now take our current and glorious movie scene and apply that to Masters of the Universe. All of a sudden you have big, hulking actors with the talent to show heart without cheese, special effects placing you directly in Skeletor’s palace, and no more Courtney Cox.

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7. Super Mario Bros.

The original is so bad. Just awful. But it had a few things that would be worth keeping and translating over. Instead of the weirdest Toad ever and this visually awkward dystopian Mushroom Kingdom, we should get the bright colors and the insane adventures with as many nods to the games as possible. Make it live action. Make it CG animation. I don’t care. The fact that the original film was able to convey a fun believable brotherly relationship between the main characters means there’s enough of a story there to do this right. If you want to hear us fancast our Super Mario films, you can listen to our podcast here.

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6. Land Before Time

I am well aware that this series has been producing a straight-to-DVD film every year (seriously, one was made this year), but the original remains a classic in our hearts. That is, until you watch it as an adult. The run time is only 61 minutes, yet the time drags on. Each character could use a little more adventure in order to grow more as individuals and friends. Updating it with a more exciting journey to the Great Valley and more detailed animation will ensure that this movie stays out of the $5 Wal-Mart bin.

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5. The Last Airbender

This one is fairly important to me because of what the original series means to its fans. It’s fantastical world set in an alternate Earth where more than half of the population can wield the power of the elements. One person, the Avatar, is capable of wielding all four elements and it’s that person who must keep the world balanced. The film was released in 2011 and was absolutely abysmal. Unnecessary changes were made to things as innocuous as the characters’ names and the martial arts heavy story was forgotten. This movie needs an update badly, but instead of another attempt at the big screen, this would be better suited to a live action series very similar to Game of Thrones.

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4. Witches of Eastwick

I love magic, but I’m an adult and I love grown up magic too.  This 80’s flick was a potential Halloween staple that just fell a little bit short. Now, it’s a forgotten favorite of mine that could use some dusting off and updates.  The premise of three struggling women falling simultaneously in love with the Devil himself doesn’t seem like it could have a lot of potential, but the four of them lived in a mutually beneficial quad-relationship that was healthy…until you know, the Devil is the Devil. This film could be a dark and sexy comedy with incredible special effects and a talented cast cherry picked from the incredible actors of today.

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3. Clue

What is an unbelievably good film, Clue has received cult status over the years, praised for its comedic timing and brilliant cast. That’s not why it should be updated. The fascinating thing about the Clue board game is its ability to create new story lines each time you play. Update the timeline (maybe try the 70’s this time or even place it earlier, like the 1910’s), update the weapons, change the casts. A reboot as well as the original can coexist without one hurting the other. If the reboot were to distance itself from the beginning and have the story play out differently, then comparisons would be few and far between.

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2. Spawn

Please bring back Spawn! Please! It’s an example of a movie that was so good but under appreciated. Spawn told the story of a man who was killed and sold his soul for new life. He came back scarred, but powerful, and fought his way through numerous demons just to protect his widow. Hollywood’s capabilities are almost immeasurable now. They can bring back Michael Jai White as the titular character or cast my personal favorite Idris Elba.  The best way to handle this one is to acknowledge the first one, much like Incredible Hulk did with Hulk, and continue the story. What is the demon fighter up to now? I know I’m curious.

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1. The Crow  

I know this one isn’t fair and could catch me a lot of hate. But it has to be done. Brandon Lee did a great job as The Crow during the 90’s, and his on-screen (and real life) death is beyond tragic, but the story is one that is so powerful that it should continue. And I don’t mean with The Crow 5: Demon Destiny or whatever the hell they’ve been working on. No, start fresh. Adapt the James O’Barr comic once again and pay some small homage to the first one without disrespecting all the little goth kids (who are now big goth grown ups).

What do you think of my list? Do you have any reboots in mind? Do you think we’ve had too many reboots and should focus on new content?

Comment below!

Top 10 Movies in Need of Reboots

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

With Pixar’s Finding Dory finally in theaters, it’s time for us to rank the existing 17 Pixar films. If you’re curious about our take on Finding Dory, head over to our spoiler-free review here. Pixar has been warming our hearts and challenging our emotions since the 1995 release of Toy Story. Since then, we’ve seen their computer generated animated features advance and progress to the level of receiving nominations for Best Picture at the Academy Awards for both Toy Story 3 and Up. In total, Pixar has won 13 Academy Awards across 16 films. In fact, we’ve loved Pixar movies so much that we’ve even given them a pass from time to time, like in the case of Cars 2. We get it, sometimes you just want to pay the bills and sells tons of toys. We forgive you since you brought us Inside Out.

So with all of that in mind, here is my attempt at ranking the existing Pixar films. Like we do with other franchises and movie universes (yes, some of us believe all of the Pixar films are somehow connected), we will keep this list updated as more movies come out.

In Part 1, I get through 17-9 with 8-1 in Part 2 coming soon!

17. Cars 2

Cars 2

Okay, do I need to go into detail here? It’s a sequel of Pixar’s merchandising grab film and it’s not even done as well. I’ll save everyone some time and just move on. If you think this one should be ranked higher, please comment below.

16. Cars

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While better than the sequel, this movie just doesn’t do it for me. I’m used to Pixar films that create incredible universes within our own, complex stories and characters that push the viewer emotionally and psychologically. As I noted earlier, some people, myself included, like to believe all of the Pixar films fit together and while there is a pretty outlandish theory about how Cars fits in, I don’t buy it. This film takes the easy way out by ignoring the rules of our own world, something they had to deal with in A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, and Toy Story. Those challenges made for better story telling and more complex environment.

15. Monsters University

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Pixar had incredible success with the Toy Story sequels and decided to try something different, a prequel. The movie includes the charm of both John Goodman and Billy Crystal but much like Men in Black II, it loses much of its awe and originality. Many of the new characters were cute but it seemed like a step back from the first film which included a larger universe and dealt with the consequences of actions on both the Monster and human worlds. In the end, this film falls into a common trap of prequels. Most people, like me, want to see the story continue, see the effects of the first film. Whether or not these monsters had official training didn’t really stick with me as a need to know concept.

14. A Bug’s Life

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Alright, so it’s Pixar’s second movie. It premiered three years after Toy Story. Special effects hadn’t really progressed much in that time but Pixar continued with a similar formula. I did love how they created this great little bug universe within our own. This forced the film makers to work within the constraints of our world while giving life to something new. The voice cast was strong with Kevin Spacey playing a solid villain. I also enjoyed Julia Louis-Dreyfus, though I am a huge Seinfeld and Veep fan. The truth is though, the thing that sticks with me most from this movie is actually the short before it, Geri’s Game in which an old man plays chess with himself. It’s brilliant, fun, entertaining, and I fell in love with the character. Part of me even sees this old man as an alternate or early version of Carl from Up. Let’s not forget that this short also won Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards that year. It’s only one of three Pixar shorts to do this, the other two being Tin Toy and For the Birds from Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. respectively.

13. Brave

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This movie never stuck with me and I’m actually ranking it higher than I think I should because the animation was really well done. The story didn’t grab me and I found the premise to be a little silly more often than not. And yes, I know we’re talking about animated kids’ films. The whole daughter wants to do her own thing… thing was nothing new and the spin of her mom turning into a bear just didn’t interest me. I am too used to Pixar doing new things in new worlds and/or pushing my emotions to the extreme. This movie does none of this but does handle the animation well enough. The hair is cool and all but I was more impressed with the balloons in Up and the fuzzy fur stuff on the emotions in Inside Out.

12. The Good Dinosaur

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Okay, so I think this might be the only Pixar film outside of the Cars movies, I didn’t see in theaters. It just didn’t happen and neither did its box office numbers. I guess I feel very similar to that. This movie is fine. The story is good and reminded me quite a bit of The Land Before Time. I liked the story, for the most part, but I felt like just too many annoying bad things kept happening to Arlo. This movie gets bumped up quite a bit though because of how awesome the animation is. It’s superb and deserves to be noticed. The scenery, the water, the textures, just outstanding across the board. That being said, it’s not enough to save the movie that included a VERY predictable story. I mean, was anyone surprised when Poppa died the way he did? No? The moment he takes Arlo into that field at night with the fireflies, I knew that man was a goner. And he ended up dying in almost the exact same way as Mufasa in The Lion King, except no acting antagonist did it. It’s just kind of Arlo’s fault. The universe they built was okay but I would have liked a larger picture like we got in Monsters Inc. Where are the other dinosaurs? No predators? Friends? Neighbors? Just one family in the middle of no where. I, of course, am not referring to those Arlo finds on his journey but I guess maybe everyone is just on the other side of the mountain.

11. Ratatouille

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This movie has a decent enough cast and does a solid job of creating the mouse world within our own. The animation is solid with colorful and fun characters. The food was also done well. It’s a cute story and Linguini is a cute character. I enjoyed Remy and the relationships he had with his family. All-in-all, it’s a cute, fun film that doesn’t tax much on the emotional spectrum. It doesn’t quite crack the Top 10 and I think this is due to its lack of emotional punch and/or technical prowess. It doesn’t push any boundaries.. Keep in mind that the movies above it are all spectacular and a couple have even received Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. I like this movie and find it enjoyable. It’s just not one I look forward to viewing time and time again.

10. Finding Dory

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Since this one is so new, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. In short, this movie takes some of our favorite characters from the first film and basically makes them do it all over again but this time for Dory. The plot is very similar to the first film but the characters and voice cast are spot on. I love these characters, even all of the new ones. Ed O’Neil’s Hank is great, Destiny and Bailey are fun too. I love them all. Dory’s story, which we get to see from a very young age, is touching and heartwarming. It hits the emotions hard a few times and does a great job building on the universe created in the first film. With that said, it is a bit repetitive. I mean, it’s almost the same story as the last one. Additionally, some of the antics at the end literally had me thinking “Really?!?” It was over the top at times. I will say this, the short film Piper is awesome. It’s a cute and lovely story but the animation is unbelievable. The sand, the water, the foam. It all looks real and I’m completely impressed by it. Anyway, if you liked Finding Nemo, then you’ll want to see this movie. If not, then it doesn’t really do anything different.

9. Toy Story 2

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I have a hard time putting this one so low. I love this movie and I love what it does to add to the first film’s universe. We get to learn so much about Woody and our favorite characters all get to have an exciting adventure that includes Zurg! And tell me Jessie’s story is heartbreaking! Talk about the feels. Pixar does this well and it is important that they continue to do so. The story is fun, new, inventive, and brings in new characters and old that we will continue to love to this very day. I don’t have anything bad to say about this one. It’s great fun with some emotion built in. The animation sticks true to the Toy Story style which is great but doesn’t really push any boundaries.

Okay, that’s it for Part 1! What did you think of my ranking so far? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below! Also, stay tuned for Part 2 where I finish up my ranking with the top 8 spots!

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

John Williams has scored some of the most iconic movies in cinematic history. He is beyond talented and extremely brilliant. Now we all know a movie isn’t complete without an awesome sounding score to accompany it. Imagine Jaws, Harry Potter, Superman, or Indiana Jones without those beautiful and much needed pieces of music. The same can be said for any of the seven Star Wars films. John Williams has scored and created many themes for many different movies over his carrier. But none are more popular than the music from the Star Wars films. Any fan of these movies will have their own Top 10 list for themes. It was very hard to pick only ten. But without further ado:

10. “Across the Stars” (Love theme from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith)

Let’s kick things off with a little forbidden romance shall we? This is the theme we hear whenever Padme and Anakin are seen on screen and as they share their first kiss with each other. I think it’s a beautiful theme full of passion and joy. It is one of two love themes that John Williams has created for the Star Wars films and here is hoping he creates a few more with Episodes VIII and IX on the way.

9. “Anakin’s Betrayal” (Order 66 theme)

This theme is played out in Revenge of the Sith when the order is given to all the clone commanders and their troops to execute the Jedi across the galaxy. It’s a particular moving piece because it is one of the saddest moments in the prequel trilogy and unlike anything we have seen before in a Star Wars film. Seeing countless Jedi gunned down or shot out of the skies was heartbreaking to see, not to mention the slaughtering of the younglings by Anakin.

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8. “Ben Kenobi’s Death / Tie Fighter Attack”

One of the more thrilling themes from Episode IV is right after the death of Obi-Wan when Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the crew jump in the Falcon to escape the Death Star hanger to then only be pursued by a squad of Tie Fighters. The suspense leading up to the Tie Fighters approaching, to Luke and Han taking to the laser cannons on the Falcon to blast them away is like one big adrenaline rush. A small and quick scene compared to most on this list, but it sure packs a punch.

7. “The Battle of Endor I”

I picked Part 1 from the rest of the pieces from this battle is because of this heart pounding opening. It’s goes from suspenseful and quiet to loud and dramatic when the Rebel fleet realizes the shield to the Death Star is still operational. Chaos ensues as Lando leads the attack in space, Han and Leia along with the droids and help from the Ewoks lead the ground battles, and Luke is forced to watch the Rebel fleet get pulverized in space as Vader and his Master look on. And of course as always…IT’S A TRAP!

6. “Cantina Band”

Of course we can’t have a Top 10 list like this without having the “Cantina Band” theme in here somewhere! This is just a really fun theme to hear and grove along with. It is a departure from the heavy brass and strings we normally are used to in Star Wars films and John Williams gives a nice light feeling to this space opera.

5. “Duel of Fates”

This theme still gives me chills to this day. I remember being in the theater and when the doors opened to reveal Darth Maul standing there and then the choir kicked in was haunting. This piece had been something we haven’t heard before in the previous trilogy of films. With three new films for a new generation of fans, John Williams had to revamp the scores a bit for these. Nothing was ever this fast paced with choirs and brass combined in the original trilogy. A very intense track from the prequel trilogy and the best piece of music from Episode I by far.

4. “Han and Leia’s Theme”

A love theme for the ages. This was the very first love theme we got out of the Star Wars movies and boy did John Williams deliver. This is a soft and beautiful piece used to show the affections between Princess Leia and Han Solo. First heard in The Empire Strikes Back and continued on through Return of the Jedi and finally heard again in The Force Awakens, the fans always know when this plays on the screen we will get some kind of interaction between the couple, whether it’s them fighting or saying “I love you” is a different story.

3. “Rey’s Theme”

The number three spot is taken by my favorite theme from The Force Awakens and that is of course “Rey’s Theme”. I think it is one of the best character themes in the saga. John Williams really gives you a sense of adventure, hope, strength, wonder, and curiosity all mixed into one theme and that perfectly describes Rey in the film. It has been compared to Luke’s theme or the “Force” theme from the rest of the films as well which is something I can totally see.

2. “The Force Theme” ( Also known as Luke’s theme)

Speaking of Luke and the Force, here is my number two pick. This theme can be found in every single Star Wars film and TV show to date. It is universally known to the fans as the theme that surrounds almost anything to do with the use of the Force or the good guys in general. It is a great theme and is a very emotional and powerful theme at that. It’s known that the Force binds living things together. And the Force is strong with this theme.

1. “Star Wars Main Theme”

Anyone surprised by this number one pick? Well you shouldn’t be. It is of course the opening to the Star Wars films. This is arguably one of if not the most iconic opening themes in movie history. Even if you aren’t a fan of Star Wars, once you hear this theme you know where it’s from. I always get excited to hear this theme and when you first heard it in the theater again during Episode VII the whole place cheered. This to me is Star Wars, this is one of John Williams’ finest pieces of music he has ever written and will go down in history as such.

So how did I do? Did your favorite theme from the Star Wars saga make it on the list as well? Which John Williams theme from Star Wars is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

MCU Ranking – Where Does Civil War Land?

It’s become a running tradition to rank the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with us. We began with Avengers: Age of Ultron, continued with Ant-Man, and now we’re adding Captain America: Civil War to that list. We’ve had some people agree and disagree with us, but have stuck by our rankings. The release of Civil War has dominated the box office and have left fans mixed (you can check out our Civil War review here) and now the time has come for it to take its place among our ranked films.

If you missed our list prior to Civil War, here it is (you can see the full article here):

12. Iron Man 2
11. Incredible Hulk
10. Iron Man 3
9. Thor: The Dark World
8. Captain America: The First Avenger
7. Thor
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
5. Ant-Man
4. Iron Man
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
1. Avengers

MCU Ranking – A Grid Daily Civil War

Captain America: Civil War Cap v Iron Man

This was an incredibly difficult choice that none of us really wanted to make. Talk to a Grid Daily contributor and their ranking will be different. The consensus,though? Captain America: Civil War nudges out everything to become the number 1 MCU film to date.  Before I go on, let me tell you just how split we are on this, but majority rules.

The movie captured the essence of the Civil War storyline in the comics: these superheroes are a powder keg, or as Hulk so eloquently put it, a time bomb.  You can’t have 10 people with extreme powers and personalities and emotions running that high without creating irresponsible and destructive results. The addition of Civil War to the MCU was an inevitability. These characters, by no means, should always get along. The truth in the film is where it succeeds.

Along with the story line, the movie did its side characters very well. Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Black Panther shined. Spider-Man and Ant-Man were incredible spectacles adding to the visual empowerment of the film. Falcon and War Machine were the perfect right hand men, portraying loyal friends to the men they cared about, never wavering their allegiances.

The difficulty of the film lies in Captain America and Iron Man. It’s difficult to see our favorite heroes be so blinded by their own perspectives. To quote a friend, “Captain America did the wrong thing for the right reason and Iron Man did the right thing for the wrong reason.” It’s painful to watch your heroes fall, which is where the Grid Daily group splits.Captain America: Civil War Banner

Overall ranking: 13 awesome fight scenes you didn’t see coming

So here is our updated list:

13. Iron Man 2
12. Incredible Hulk
11. Iron Man 3
10. Thor: The Dark World
9. Captain America: The First Avenger
8. Thor
7. Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. The Avengers
1. Captain America: Civil War

How do you feel about our list? Where would you rank Civil War? Special thanks to our friend John Holloway from Worst Comic Podcast Ever for the awesome quote.

MCU Ranking – Where Does Civil War Land?

The Grid Ranks: X-Men Films

Well, we’ve already ranked the films of the MCU, so now it’s time to rank the X-Men films (I’m not including all of the Fox films simply because no one wants to count the Fantastic Four debacles.) If you count all the films with an X-Man in it, you have 9 total. Ready? Here we go!

9. X-Men Origins: WolverineMV5BMTI2MTgyNjExM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzU4MjkyMg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_

It’s not difficult to place this film. It was just absolutely awful.  Between the poor casting choices (why in the world would you cast a member of the Black Eyed Peas? Ever?) and the impeccably dismal CGI on the claws (and everything else), there’s really no reason to watch this. They even sewed the Merc with the Mouth’s mouth shut. They literally removed the one thing about a character that made him famous just to disguise the fact that they couldn’t pay for Ryan Reynolds for more than one scene. It’s a masochistic superhero film that will one day be regarded as a generation’s Batman and Robin, only without the irony.

Official Ranking: 1 sad little broken bone claw

8. X-Men: The Last StandMV5BMjI1NTg2ODA2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc2MjEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,676,1000_AL_

Again, not very difficult to place this one. It had poor lines, cinematic choices, and utilization of characters.  While finally including more screen time for Colossus and making Angel visually stunning, the damn thing killed off Cyclops, Professor X, and Jean Grey, all in horrible ways.  The Dark Phoenix saga was an absolute joke and the “cure” nonsense was done so horribly. Let’s just move on and forget this was thing.

Official Ranking: 2 unnecessarily brutal X-Men deaths and none of them mine…sigh

7. X-Men: ApocalypseMV5BMjU1ODM1MzYxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTA4NDE2ODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,676,1000_AL_

From here on out, all the films are relatively good films, so as we move on, one will just barely edge out the other. The latest X-Men installment takes our 7th spot because of it’s dim addition to the new trilogy. You can read my full review here, but mostly it’s a film with much more spectacle than substance. It sets up for the likes of Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan to take over, which may be amazing, but we can’t give this movie a pass for what future films might do with it.

Official Ranking: 3 Horsemen short of a great X-Men movie

6. X-MenMV5BOTU3MzA3ODYyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgwNzc3NjE@._V1_SY1000_SX672_AL_

The first film in the current franchise was phenomenal at the time. It gave all of us fans hope. Director Bryan Singer took a world that was far fetched and made it come to life. He had brilliant casting choices on his side, making it almost impossible for us to see anyone else play Wolverine (and, at the time, Professor X and Magneto). The movie’s downfall was Rogue. She was nothing like the strong, badass woman we had come to know in the comics. She was a mousy weakling that I still like to pretend wasn’t there.

Official Ranking: 4 main mutants that we’ll see for the next 6 years from a franchise with over 100

5. The WolverineMV5BNzg1MDQxMTQ2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTk3MjAzOQ@@._V1_SX674_CR0,0,674,999_AL_

Not all sequels can improve upon the source material, but this one had nowhere to go but up, in my opinion. Watching Hugh Jackman take on Japan was a much needed fresh look into the franchise.  It was the first X-Men film to take place outside of North America (which is really weird considering how racially diverse the X-Men have always been). Bringing in all new characters and creating an interesting mutant world, it’s an absolute shame it’s been all but forgotten by everyone else.

Official Ranking: 5 good reasons not to watch Origins

4. X-Men: First ClassMV5BMTg5OTMxNzk4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTk1MjAwNQ@@._V1_

The first film in the new trilogy sparked some life back into the franchise as a whole after The Last Stand and Origins almost killed it.  Director Matthew Vaughn created an interesting mix of familiar and new characters that brought back the enjoyment of the films. The first go around for McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence alike, each of them received high praise for their work and the inclusion of Kevin Bacon meant they were not playing around.

Official Ranking: 6 teenage kids picking their own sweet code names

3.  X-Men: Days of  Future PastMV5BNjk3MGZhMjEtOTM4NC00NzE2LTk2NzctZDc4YTUwN2E3NDhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDc2NjEyMw@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

This movie was absolutely fantastic. It merged both original trilogy cast and new trilogy cast, created a detailed and dramatic plot line, and managed to not make time travel as convoluted as it could have been.  The new mutants added to the future timeline were so well done that it’s an absolute shame we won’t see them again. Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask was a brilliant casting job and finally seeing the Sentinels was a long time coming. If the entire plot didn’t yet again revolve around Wolverine, it would have been that much better.

Official Ranking: 7 amazing mutant plot lines that didn’t screw things up

2. DeadpoolMV5BMjQyODg5Njc4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzExMjE3NzE@._V1_SY1000_SX686_AL_

You have to admit it; this movie was the absolute best. You wanna know why it’s not the number 1 spot? Well it is an overall superior film. It takes the familiar tropes of lost love, revenge, wrongfully disfigured hero and makes them fresh with the humor of the comics. What Wolverine  Origins did to destroy the character Deadpool, Deadpool  recovered everything lost and then some. It’s quite remarkable how undeniably well done the movie is when translating a character that almost got too bloated for its own good over the last few years. To think this movie wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the love that the fans and Ryan Reynolds has for the character. I only placed it at number 2 because, while perfectly defining Deadpool, the film doesn’t perfect define the X-Men.

Official Ranking: 8 toasty and sexy chimichangas

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The opening sequence to the film maintains what is arguably the best opening sequence of a comic book film to date.  After the first film, we were all eager with what X-Men would be included in the inevitable sequel and we were not disappointed. Alan Cumming made a daring Nightcrawler and Kelly Hu’s Lady Deathstrike still shares one of the best fight scenes with our favorite clawed Canadian since. Magneto’s escape from his plastic prison is one of the most brutal death scenes I’ve ever seen and a technologically impressive use of CGI to this day.  It was the least annoying Jean Grey and Rogue have ever been, which is a feat all by itself considering. There is just so much good wrapped up in this film that I could go on about it for quite some time.

Official Ranking: 9 BAMFs across the X-Men world (BAMF is the onomatopoeia used to describe the sound Nightcrawler makes in the comics when he teleports, but it works as the acronym too, so that’s cool).

How do you feel about The Grid’s rankings? Did we hit the nail on the head? Where would you change it? Comment below!

The Grid Ranks: X-Men Films

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Star Trek’s 50th anniversary is here, so let’s take a look back at the best Star Trek video games. As with other fan service games such as Star Wars and superhero games in general, Star Trek games have been hit or miss, some good, some bad, and some really bad. The best ones do three things: they immerse you in your fandom, they make a decent quality game, and are most importantly, fun. The games at the top of the list have all three characteristics while those at the bottom may only have one or two of them. And the horrible ones have none of these. For simplicity, a game series is counted as a group and only distinguished if the games in the series are dramatically different in quality. Lastly, I’d consider the game as more or less fun if even a casual Star Trek fan would have fun playing it.

 

#10) Dominion Wars – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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Was this a good game? Probably not. Was it fun? Certainly. Often found on the $10 bargain bin at Walmart, this was a brutally simple game. Fly your choice of ships in the Dominion War. Plot was minimal, graphics only just adequate, and game play was underwhelming. But what it does have going for it is the immersion factor. From Klingon Bird of Preys to Galaxy Class Starships, you zipped around in space battles, blasting Cardasian and Jem’Hadar ships to dust. Sure it’s a bit shallow but it got the space combat down pretty well. Considering it launched at $10, it was much better than it had to be. It made no promises to greatness but still sparked some fun. Because of this it just barely squeaks at the bottom of the list.

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#9) Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Crossroads of Time

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Though not the best Star Trek entry in the 16-bit era, Crossroads of Time is still fairly respectable all things considered. It has a pretty decent story that isn’t just a simple rehash of what was seen on the show. It also does a decent job of immersing you in the Star Trek universe by having you control Commander Sisko on DS9 and interacting with the crew. In one particularly interesting mission you go back in time to the battle of Wolf 359 and have Sisko escape his doomed ship while fighting the Borg deck by deck. Pretty exciting stuff. The only drawback is that it isn’t terribly fun. It could be the limitations of the hardware, or even that they only had the early seasons of Deep Space 9 to work with, but it doesn’t really hold much replay value unlike other titles from the 16-bit era. Crossroads of Time squeaks in on the list but only just barely.

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#8) Star Trek: Legacy

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On the whole, it’s a decent game, not a great game but a decent one. It does great fan service by having a story narrative all the way from Enterprise to Voyager and back again. Not to mention, they got all of the actors of the Captains to reprise their roles, even Avery Brooks who doesn’t do many of these sort of things anymore.

The game is basically a starship game where you control up to four other ships, issuing orders while taking direct command of one of them. A great variety of ships are used against a variety of opponents throughout the history of the Federation. Though it plays better on the consoles than on PC it’s still a fairly respectable entry. What may hold it back is that its space combat is dumbed-down a bit, I guess a little “video gamey” as they might say. Nowhere near as complicated as Starfleet Command and even more simple than Star Trek Online, Star Trek: Legacy is just a little too flat. I’d describe it like the difference between the game series Ace Combat and something like Microsoft Flight Simulator except maybe not as fun. The game is fun to play for the fan service but its lack of originality and game play hold it back. Star Trek: Legacy is fun to play for a couple of hours just not fun to keep playing.

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#7) Star Trek Online

Star_Trek_Online_coverWhat to say about this one?  After the success of many other Multiple Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) quite a few studios tried to get the Star Trek license to make one for it. Cryptic Studios got the rights back in 2013 and the game is basically MMORPG with slight influences from Star Fleet Command. You fly your ship around for 2/3’s of the time and the remainder is on ground away missions. There are basically 3 types of vessels: tanks for Engineers (think large  lumbering Galaxy Class ships),  glass cannons (small Defiant types that hit hard and maneuver away), and the in-between classes (medium ships like the Intrepid Class) that specialize in more creative forms of space combat. Away missions have a similar model of tanks, glass cannons, and tricky science officers. But the best thing about Star Trek Online is its immersion. You can fly your ship to many places mentioned in Star Trek canon, launch your ship from Earth Spacedock, beam down to Starfleet Academy, warp to DS9, visit Quarks bar, warp to station K-7; the galaxy is yours to explore. Even visit Risa if you want. It’s just that there isn’t much to do when you get there.

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Guiding you along in this adventure is a pretty good story featuring many of the cast from the show including the late Leonard Nimoy whose voice narrates you along the way during key moments. Other actors from Voyager are there as well along with many of the ships and locations from Enterprise all the way through to the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. This is a pretty all encompassing game. There is just so much here for a fan to explore and this is what gets Star Trek Online so high on the list. That being said, the game is far from perfect. It mostly feels like a copy and paste from just about every other MMORPG out there, adding nothing of its own and often accomplishing much less game play wise.  Cooperative play is mostly nonexistent and neither is competitive for that matter. That and maxing your character out leaves next to nothing for a player to do except create a new character and do it all over again.

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The space combat is fun and exciting though not as respectable as it was in Starfleet Command. The RPG elements far over power the simulator aspects of game play. Often you’ll find yourself just mashing the space-bar instead of being thoughtful. The ground combat is downright dull and atrocious. They’ve done a lot to lessen the role of ground actions in the game but when it first launched the ratio was more like a 50/50 mix of space and ground action; now it’s more slanted towards space. But the ground is still horrible. If it wasn’t for the dull MMORPG elements and terrible ground game play this would be an incredible game. The Star Trek license is huge thing to have to make a game out of a fan base that is loyal and Trekkies are definitely the game player type.  But the flaws of Star Trek Online are too much to overcome and that’s what keeps this game out of the top spots. Then again, the game is free-to-play, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out. You just run out of things to do sooner than you may like. But you know what, at least it’s better than Star Wars Galaxies.



 

#6) Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

ST NESThis was a bit of a cross-platform game varying greatly from console to PC and mobile devices. Riding on the heels of the revival of Star Trek in 1993 with the success of The Next Generation all of the versions of the games did a superb job of fandom immersion in  The Original Series that had just turned 25 years old. On the NES you spent most of your time on away missions that were very reminiscent of classic episodes such as “Paradise Syndrome” and “A Piece of the Action.” Sure, the NES version wasn’t terribly original or innovated but it did alright as a puzzle adventure game. Spaced in between away missions there were some space battles to be had and the overall story worked well, not to mention the 8-bit take on the classic Star Trek songs is still awesome to hear. Not bad for the hardware limitations of the NES.

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The PC version though was unique in that many of the actual actors where used from The Original Series. Just as with the short lived Star Trek: Animated Series, Shatner phones in his lines and is kinda lame but Nimoy, Kelly, and the rest of the cast are as wonderful as ever. The game on PC took the form of a point and click adventure and looks great in an old school 8-bit style. The game would’ve ranked higher if wasn’t for the lack of innovation or at least being a little dull. What it lacks in other areas it makes up for by being as immersive as it could be for when it was made.

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#5) Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future’s Past

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This one was actually pretty darn good considering when it was made. It’s a basic action adventure game with ground and space scenes, but unlike Star Trek: The Original Series for the NES, it had an original story, not some hodgepodge mixture of episodes. It was a brand new story all of its own, and that’s saying something.

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On top of that it’s actually fairly fun. For a 16-bit game, it’s pretty immersive. The helm interface is how you would expect it to be on the show, complete with LCARS style and star system layout and organization. It goes in order from;  cluster, star group, star system, planetary system. Very logical. The ship’s computer database was very thorough. I mean, in the age before the internet it was a Wikipedia in video game form. You could look up anything from crew dossiers to phaser power settings. You could learn the difference and affects of setting 1 through 16. You could even look all the planet class ratings; understanding M and Y class planets was interesting. Everything about the game was pretty darn immersive and for a Super Nintendo game it was as good as Star Trek could get for when it was made.

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The only thing that holds it back is that it’s fun but not incredibly so. Sure Star Trek fans would love it but the casual fan wouldn’t be all that much into it. The best games have even a casual Star Trek fan itching to play it. It was good fan service and ahead of its time as far as immersion but was only moderately fun to play.



 

#4) Starfleet Command II: Empires at War

Star_Trek_Starfleet_Command_II_coverBased in the Wrath of Kahn era, Starfleet Command II is basically a starship simulator game and what that meant is that there is an emphasis on realism, as absurd as that sounds for science fiction. After all, realistic science is what Star Trek is all about.  The Star Trek universe has rules. You can’t transport through shields, torpedoes damage the hull more than phasers, you don’t have limitless power, etc. With those limitations, you control your ship the best you can by clicking power to various systems to squeeze more into the phasers, for example. Should you save up for a powerful shot or use quick bursts of phasers? If your opponent can’t maneuver, divert power to forward shields from the aft and flank’em.  If your target is a fast little sports car like vessel, wait until he gets close, use your phasers to drop his shields, send a volley of torpedoes to take out his engines and then maneuver to his blind side. You are master and commander of your ship and the stars are your battlefield.

The game feels like 24th century take on 17th naval combat. Maneuvering and timing are important and using knowledge of you ships capabilities are key. This was starship combat at its finest in the world of Star Trek video games. The first Star Fleet Command is alright but it’s at its best with the second one. They also made a third that has a pretty decent story but it doesn’t really add much to the already excellent game play, but on the plus side, it’s based in the Star Trek: First Contact era modernizing the whole affair.

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Though the game is uniquely fun, innovative, and immersive, what holds it back from the top of the list is that it gets stale quick. Sure the combat is great but that’s all there is. Nothing outside of combat is relevant here. It’s all action and no deep thinking, no exploration or sense of wonder. Other Star Trek games capture it a little better.

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#3) Star Trek: Bridge Commander

Star_Trek_-_Bridge_Commander_CoverartProbably the one of the most immersive games on the list, Bridge Commander puts you in the Captain’s chair commanding first a Galaxy Class, then later a Sovereign Class Starship. Like in Starfleet Command where you pilot your ship, in Bridge Commander you do so by issuing orders to the bridge crew. Precise commands make this more of a Captain simulator than a starship one but the result is the same, immersion and some great fan service, add on to that a decent story and game play mechanics. The game also had the voice acting talents of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner reprising their roles, awesome. The only problem may be that it won’t appeal to the more casual Star Trek fan as much as the games higher on the list would.

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#2) Star Trek: Armada

Star_Trek_-_Armada_CoverartThe second best game on the list is a good one. Representing the often visited genre of real time strategy (RTS) you command fleets of often all too disposable starships. Four factions are represented; Klingons, Federation, Borg, and Romulans. If you wanted to relive the battle of Wolf 359 and see what it was like from both sides of the battle, then this was your chance. Add on top of that some interesting game mechanics such as being able to take over any ship by transporting your crew over, the Klingons and Borg excel at this, the Federation and Romulans not so much. Every ship had an unlockable special ability that changed how battles would unfold. On the whole, the game was a solid real time strategy game in its own right.

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Sound was suburb and graphics are great for their time and was later ported over to Star Trek fan mods of other games. A.I. was pretty good too, so much so that they copied some of the code for Star Trek: Legacy. All of these come together for a game that not only die hard Star Trek fans would love but even a fan of real time strategy games can play and have some fun playing. It’s not perfect as the races aren’t terribly well balanced in player vs player maps. Romulans are way over powered oddly enough, but aside from that its an excellent game.

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The game is fun and does great service but the final criteria of a great Star Trek game, immersion, is very much a part of it. Both the user interface and game controls look and feel like something that would be in the 24th century. Perhaps the most enticing part for the fans the Star Trek alumni reprise their roles from the show; Picard, Worf, Martok, and Selia all play prominent roles in the story that isn’t half bad for it being just a game and not an actual episode. It isn’t just a simple repaste of prior episodes but continues the story where Insurrection left off in epic scale, across time and space. If it wasn’t for the imbalanced multiplayer with the Romulans being overpowered this may have ranked higher.



 

#1) Star Trek: Elite Force I and II
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Does Star Trek work as an action based game? Even as a first person shooter? You better believe it does. Elite Force I was set on Voyager and Elite Force II was more of the TNG film era but both were spectacular.  Based on the Quake game engine, Elite Force was a blast to play, boasting a great single-player story and exciting multiplayer system. How many modern shooters can make that claim? Because of its solidly enjoyable game play, fans kept playing this one years after it released and kept modding it. This is because the game makers realized one thing, add a balanced multiplayer in and you add some replay value to the game.

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Making the game a first person shooter naturally lent itself to some real immersion like no other genre could. In one multiplayer map you had a Klingon ship and a Federation ship battling it out using the ships transporters to go between. From the bridges to the corridors fans could phaser it out to see who was left standing.

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Aside from the action parts there was a lot of subtle detail. You could walk around freely on the decks of Voyager clicking on controls and interacting with the crew who where voiced by the actual actors from the show. You could even click the auto-destruct or even start attacking the crew. Sure you’d end up in the brig or worse but the amount of free will added to the immersion factor.

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The three factors of a good fandom are exemplified by the Elite Force games. They are some of the most immersive and do some great fan service but perhaps most importantly they are the most fun. To have all three of these factors in a fan game is why it is on the top of so many peoples favorite Star Trek games list. Hopefully with the new DOOM game maybe some love will be sent Star Trek’s way and a Elite Force III will be made. Hopefully we’ll all be walking aboard a deck of a starship soon.

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Did your favorite game make the list? Where would you rank these games? Comment below with your thoughts!

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Halo: Rankings Evolved

The Xbox division of Microsoft might not be here today if it wasn’t for their original console exclusive hit, Halo: Combat Evolved from Bungie. The first-person shooter revolutionized the genre that GoldenEye had set the standard for in the console generation before. Over the years, we’ve had several sequels and even a prequel to the Halo franchise, each one attempting to build on the lore, following the paths of Master Chief and Cortana and even expanding on the surrounding universe. It is easily one of the most successful video game franchises of this century.

With that in mind, I am providing my ranking of the games. I am not including the Halo: Wars RTS or any of the digital only games. With that in mind, we are looking at seven different games. Additionally, I am only going off of the original versions of these games and not the Anniversary or Master Chief Collection versions. For those who don’t know, that means I’m going on their original releases. That means Bungie’s work is in play here. The remakes of the games do change things, especially since Bungie was not directly involved in the remastering of their games. So, here we go.

#7. Halo: ReachHalo Reach Box Art

So, we got a prequel. It’s not a prequel about Master Chief, it’s about Cortana and where she came from. While her origins are important and they provide some interesting insight into her creation, the game just doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the universe. The team you play with are decent enough NPCs and the graphics are good but being a prequel, you know where things are headed. You are going to die. There is nothing you can do. It’s going to happen. In fact, it’s going to happen in a fairly lame way and I’m going to spoil it. You should someone needs to stay behind so your ship with Cortana can escape. So you do it. You stay behind and fight off an endless wave of Covenant troops until you eventually die. There is no score. No time keeper. No ranking list. You just die and the credits roll. Talk about a waste of time.

#6. Halo 3

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It’s a good game, not great. It recycles a lot of the first game with the addition of a super intelligent Flood enemy that, for a reason that is still unclear to me, has stolen Cortana. The game doesn’t do much to add to the franchise and the gameplay is fairly simple. I find it mostly a forgettable game in the franchise but there isn’t really anything wrong with it. It does provide some emotional support for the relationship between Cortana and Master Chief which becomes very important in the later games.

#5. Halo 2

 

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The story in this one is pretty convoluted. I think the dual storyline was handled much better in Halo 5 but they tried. As someone who is color blind, I found the Covenant storyline particularly frustrating because I never knew who was an ally and who was an enemy. I constantly attacked my own people and it got old real fast. This game does deserve some credit because it introduced the dual-wield of weapons and online multiplayer. Both concepts were huge advancements for console gaming and are still leveraged today. I blame the game a bit for pushing campaigns to the back burner because of the interest in online multiplayer

#4. Halo: Combat Evolved

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Yes, this game launched the franchise but it is not without its faults. It’s a solid game with a decent story. The graphics were good for their day but I found the Anniversary edition to be an improvement on the game. In short, this game opened the door for the genre and each game after it was able to build on the universe in a positive way. I found the higher ranked games to be enhancements and better games overall but this is certainly not one to miss.

#3. Halo 3: ODST

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You are not Master Chief. In fact, you’re not even a Spartan Solider. You have no over shield. You are not a super human. You are a Marine, just a man\woman. In fact, you’re several of them. The story takes place from several different perspectives that you get to play over the course of the game, each individual adding to the overall picture of the plot. The re-addition of med-packs made the game more challenging and felt more like the original. The story, taking place on Earth, allowed for street combat and just a more relatable experience. I loved the story. I loved the game play and I loved feeling more human during it.

#2. Halo 4

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This game brought the franchise to a new level. The graphics, enhanced by the new Xbox One, were impressive. We finally got to see the Forerunners and use their technology throughout an entire game. The addition of the new technology, weapons, and enemies made for an exciting and fresh experience for a franchise that had been primarily bogged down in fighting the Flood. The Cortana story was brought in new depth to both her and Master Chief. If you finished this game and did not feel a connection to both of them, then I don’t know what to tell you.

#1. Halo 5: Guardians

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While note quite a direct sequel to Halo 4, we find Master Chief in a hunt for his long lost friend, Cortana but things are definitely not what they seem. The game built on the new style and graphics developed for the previous game but added additional elements. It brought back the dual-pronged story Halo 2 leveraged but did it better. The voice acting, with the help of some star power like Nathan Fillion, was brought to a new level. The enemies were tougher, the story more complex and the game not only ends on an epic cliffhanger, making me want more, but launches a whole new story path for the franchise that had been far too focused on aspects from the first game. I consider this game an improvement on everything done in the franchise, keeping it alive and well.

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What do you think of my ranking? Is yours different? Comment below with you thoughts!

Halo: Rankings Evolved

Top 10 Superman Incarnations in Film and TV

This past weekend Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered to record world-wide box office sales and while I have not yet seen the flick, I can assure you that I’ll be rooting for the Man of Steel. His shield logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world and the Metropolis Marvel has set the standard for costumed characters for almost 80 years.  First appearing in Action Comics #1 back in 1938, generations of readers have seen different incarnations of the Big Blue Boy Scout make the journey as a baby from Krypton to Smallville and as a man from Smallville to Metropolis. Last week Derreck brought you his top versions of the Dark Knight Detective while today I bring you my favorite versions of the Last Son of Krypton.

What is my criteria for the order in which I rank these? Personal preference. I claim no sophisticated system. I simply am going to go with what is in my heart. I figure that is what Superman would do.


# 10 Brandon Routh in Superman Returns

Superman Returns: Brandon RouthThe creators of this movie decided to base it in the same world as the Christopher Reeve flicks while pretending that neither Superman III or IV had ever happened (that part was a wise choice in my opinion). Routh was cast to a large degree due to the resemblance he had to Reeve as much as his resemblance to Superman. The issue for me was that having it be a sequel just made it confusing and sad. He left Earth, Lois moved on, gave birth to his son, got a husband, won a Pulitzer and got 15 years younger. Routh and his co-star Kate Bosworth (Lois) just seemed too young physically and too old spiritually for this movie to be cohesive for me. This movie just drained me and I have never watched it a second time. I have enjoyed Routh in his role as Ray Palmer on Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow far more than I did as Superman.

#09 Danny Dark in Super Friends

This was the first version of Superman that I remember seeing on television. The character was voiced by Danny Dark in basically the same show with different names from before I started kindergarten until after I started high school. My primary issue with the Superman in Super Friends is that to keep the show kid friendly he couldn’t punch anyone. At all. They decided to deal with this by putting force fields everywhere and then Superman would spend 15 minutes slamming into them. Also Kryptonite made up nearly 1/4th of the world’s crust in the Super Friends universe. Still, I was a kid and I ate it up.

#08 Henry Cavill in Man of Steel

I know that this ranking here will cause some controversy because people are so divided on this movie. I actually agree with much of the criticism on this picture but I honestly think it could have been worse without Henry Cavill. My main issue with this movie was the characterization of Jonathan Kent more than anything else. I actually felt that Cavill tried to offer some heart to the role and there are some scenes he has with Amy Adams and with Diane Lane that are really strong. There are a lot of things that I would have done differently with this film but I don’t think casting Cavill was the issue.

#07 Vin Diesel in The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant: Vin DieselOkay, I know I’m cheating here but it is my list and I don’t care. The Iron Giant features many of the same plot points as a Superman show – super-powered alien comes to Earth and ends up falling in love with and defending his adopted home and family. The Iron Giant takes some time to figure out his role and Hogarth is in a sense his Obi-Wan, teaching him the meaning of a hero…showing the giant that he is more than just his programming. I am not ashamed to admit that the end of this movie gets me every time. When the Iron Giant closes his eyes and says “Soo-per-man”, it is over for me.  Not one of the other movies on this list makes me tear up like I do every time at the end of The Iron Giant.

#06 Tom Welling in Smallville

Smallville: Tom WellingA lot of folks would put Welling higher on this list and I probably would have as well if I had stuck with this series. The show suffered for me from ‘freak of the week’ syndrome. Each week someone would get powers from Kryptonite (except Lana Lang who wore a Kryptonite pendant). After a while I left the show so I missed Supergirl, Lois and an early version of the Justice League. I guess I can still go out there and watch them but I haven’t found the time or motivation yet. Obviously the show found a great following, as superhero shows don’t generally stay on the air for 10 years. I also have a hard time accepting Welling as a nerdy high school freshman when the show premiered since he was actually 24 and a model.

#05 George Reeves from Adventures of Superman

Superman: George ReevesFor my father’s generation George Reeves was Superman. Reeves was reluctant to take on the crimson cape and a television series as he was worried about how it would affect his movie career. In that sense he was probably correct in that the show made him a household icon and ‘the’ face of Superman for a couple of decades. Reeves’ Superman is older and more sure of himself and his Clark Kent is as well. This Clark pretty much relied on the hat and glasses to do the disguise work rather than any other characterization. Physically, George isn’t a guy that you would cast as Superman today but he isn’t far off of the Superman that we saw in the comics in the forties and fifties. We also didn’t see any angsty business with Superman getting all misty about being an alien. This Superman knew that being Superman is awesome so stop moping and fight some bad guys!

#04 Dean Cain in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

The Adventures of Lois and Clark: Dean CainCain’s version of the Metropolis Marvel borrowed a lot from the Modern Era of Superman started by writer/artist John Byrne. Clark’s parents are both alive in this show and I think the way that they are a part of his life is a very big reason that I enjoyed it so much. I always felt that the Kents are the main reason that Superman is who he is. Their acceptance and adoption of this visitor from another world is what fuels the character’s fundamental characteristics of hope and selflessness. Cain’s Clark Kent was opposite Teri Hatcher’s Lois Lane and their chemistry really came through. I really liked Clark and Lois married both in the comics and on TV.  To my knowledge, this is the only version in television or in movies where they tied the knot.

#03 Bud Collyer in the Fleischer Studios Cartoons

Max Fleischer's SupermanThe Fleisher cartoons still stand the test of time in my opinion. These short features were shown in front of movies (whereas now we get advertisements) and for millions of people this was their first introduction to the character particularly overseas. One of the first episodes “The Mad Scientist” cost $50,000 to produce in 1941! The great sci-fi themes, the musical score, and the physical sense of Superman’s strength still get me going. I probably shouldn’t give Collyer too much credit here as the animation is really the star. In fact, Collyer doesn’t even speak much as Superman. By far most of his dialogue is as Clark Kent which he does as very mousy and high pitched. Lois is as intrepid as ever here although she does need Superman to bail her out frequently. You also have this series to thank for ‘faster than a speeding bullet’.

#02 Tim Daly in Superman: The Animated Series

The Adventures of Superman: The Animated SeriesProducer Bruce Timm had a great feel for what people wanted to see in his animated series. Superman here is confident and heroic with a much brighter tone than the excellent Batman animated series that preceded this one. The series showed us a Superman generally supported by the community and while he had super-strength, he had to strain to move large objects like trucks or ships. Unlike on the Super Friends, Superman didn’t push the Earth around to find his lost keys or make it become Friday sooner. The show had a rich cast of fleshed-out other characters and some great villains. This show also remembered (sometimes) that Superman had super-speed. In one episode, a guy was pointing a kryptonite ray gun at Supes and he was half way through gloating over the ‘alien’ he was going to shoot when Superman disappeared and then reappeared with the gun. Super-speed is seriously a great power. You could probably make a whole show about a guy that had super-speed as his only power. Maybe.

#01 Christopher Reeve from Superman: The Movie and Superman II

Superman: The Movie - Christopher ReeveChristopher Reeve will always be Superman for me. The way he carried himself as the Last Son of Krypton and the way that he took on a completely different appearance, posture, and tone as Clark Kent was a perfect reflection of the Bronze Age character. This Superman was noble and optimistic. He chose to see the best in people and always encouraged them to do the right thing before just throwing a punch. Reeve’s Superman was about inspiring people to do the right thing and not just inflicting justice on wrongdoers. Superman: The Movie is absolutely not a perfect movie. The Lois Lane voice over in the flying scene makes me cringe every single time. So much more was right though – the relationship between Clark and Pa Kent, catching Lois and the helicopter, using his own body as a missing train rail. Those were some of the best cinematic moments I have ever experienced. The 2nd movie had hiccups as well but I liked that Superman used his brains to defeat the Phantom Zone villains and didn’t just rely on punching them. Anticlimatic? Perhaps, but appropriate nevertheless. He also ‘runs away’ from the bad guys so that instead of duking it out in Metropolis he takes the showdown to an unpopulated area. Crazy, crazy idea. I believe that Reeve’s later paralysis hit people so hard because people really thought of him as Superman. Reeve continued to inspire us after the cameras stopped rolling as as he did during.

Notes:

  • Thanks to Derreck for inviting me to do this guest piece. I may do something like this for comic versions of Superman over on my site: worstcomicpodcastever.com so give us a look and listen if you have a chance!
  • I didn’t include the JL or JLU animated versions because I saw them as somewhat of an extension of the Timm animated show even they were voiced by a different actor.
  • Sorry to the live action Superboy of the 90’s as I never watched it.

Do you have a different favorite Man of Steel? Who made your list? Comment below!

Top 10 Superman Incarnations in Film and TV

Top 10 Batman Incarnations in Film and TV

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting the big screen in two days, it’s time to look back at the previous incarnations of the classic DC Comics character, Batman. Batman has been around since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. That’s almost 80 years of the Dark Knight fighting Gotham’s worst. Rather than focus on the various comic book versions of Batman, I’m only going to focus on movies and cartoons to provide my ranking of the best Batman incarnations. I’ll also update this article after I see Batman v Superman to let you know where I think Batfleck ranks.

How am I going to be performing the ranking? Well, I am going to look at several different factors including: personality, detective skills, fighting skills, batsuit, Bruce Wayne style, and tone.


#10 George Clooney from Batman & Robin

Batman - George Clooney

Alright, we all know this story. Clooney even says he’ll give people refunds if they ever meet him on the streets but let’s give him some credit. Considering the writing and directing for this film, he did the best he could and I still think he makes a decent Bruce Wayne. But the bat-nipples, corny one-liners, and bat-credit card were just too much for most people to handle. Even the villains were bad in this one. The style does continue the trend from Batman Forever but takes things up a notch, which is not good in this case. Overall, this Batman is corny, cheesy, not intimidating, clumsy at times, and flat.

#09 Will Arnett from The Lego Movie

I know everyone loves Will Arnett’s Batman but in all seriousness, it’s incredibly over the top and falls into the parody category. Now, this still tops George Clooney. Why? Well, it’s simple. When Arnett’s Batman has a serious moment, it’s better, it’s darker, and it’s more believable as a Batman character. His batsuit is better, his tech is better, and his fighting skills are more impressive. Now, we get no real look at Bruce Wayne, so George has Arnett beat here but in all, Arnett’s Batman is better in every other conceivable way. He even has better villains to fight and he does so without lame fight scenes and credit cards.

#08 Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond

I love Batman Beyond and I think it’s a solid cartoon that lives up to the Batman name even without Bruce Wayne under the cowl. I drop Will Friedle’s Terry McGinnis several spots for the simple fact that it’s not Bruce Wayne and a different character all together plus he has to share screen time with an actual Bruce Wayne voiced by Kevin Conroy. You’ll see why that matters later on. McGinnis is a good Batman. He’s tough, skilled, daring, and intimidating against some of the craziest and most powerful villains the Dark Knight ever has to face. He has to put up with some intense super villains with powers most Batman never were aware of. He can even fly. His tech is amazing too. I mean, tell me that his Batmobile is not sexy.

#07 Val Kilmer in Batman Forever

Batman - Val Kilmer

Honestly, I wanted to put Kilmer below Friedle on this list but at the end of the day, at least Kilmer is a Bruce Wayne Batman, for what that’s worth. While the overall film Batman Forever is better than Clooney’s Batman & Robin, I don’t think Kilmer’s Dark Knight is really much better. The batsuit is better, of course. I mean, no bat-nipples certainly helps. In fact, I like the suit design in this film and I even like the batmobile overall. But at the end of the day, Kilmer doesn’t pull off an intimidating Batman, nor does he pull off a very convincing Bruce Wayne. Mostly, his performance is flat and uninteresting, overshadowed by the flamboyant villains in the form of Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face.

#06 Peter Weller in The Dark Knight Returns 

Batman - Peter Weller

Alright, so I’m a huge Robocop fan (the original of course) and I loved his role in Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Terra Prime”. He’s a solid actor with a killer voice which is perfect for an animated feature. This two-part animated film is based on the Frank Miller graphic novel and depicts a very unique and different Batman character, one that is heavily leveraged in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Peter Weller is responsible for voicing a gigantic, brooding, powerful, brutal Dark Knight who smashes his way through villains with little to no detective work. His batmobile is essentially a tank and he appears to be a one-man army with the tech ready to take on Superman. We don’t get much of a Bruce Wayne in this story and he more or less disregards the detective aspects of the character but Weller is part of a fantastic re-imagining that provides a more adult, darker version of the character. The aspects of the Dark Knight becoming a myth, something of nightmares, is a really cool concept that, in my opinion, has been overlooked in most versions of the character. While many of the iconic Batman themes are left out, the movie certainly impresses and Peter Weller provides a stellar performance that leaves behind an intimidating, intelligent, and scary Batman.

#05 Bruce Greenwood in Young Justice 

Batman - Young Justice

While a significantly more minor character than the other Dark Knight incarnations on this list, Bruce Greenwood still stands out each time his character is on screen. This Batman, though animated, is mysterious, confident, a little cocky, and definitely prepared for just about anything. I think Greenwood’s voice also lends itself well to the cowl. It’s a rich voice with dark tones and when working with animation, voice is everything. The overall design of this incarnation is solid too. The grey suit has some cuts that provide a somewhat armored look while keeping the classic yellow utility belt. I think the cowl is awesome too. The ears are tall but not too tall.

#04 Adam West in Batman 

Batman - Adam West Batmobile

Alright, so if you have never seen Adam West’s 1966 film or the TV series, just stop reading and go watch it. I’ll wait. Now, this version is no Dark Knight. It’s cheesy, corny, way over the top, and plain silly most of the time but West does something nearly all other incarnations simply leave out, detective work. Remember, Batman started in Detective Comics. He’s a detective first, a fighter second. Over the decades, he’s become meaner, tougher, and more overpowered, but Adam West portrayed Batman as a detective first with fun and imaginative ways of stopping bad guys, like bat-shark repellent. In my opinion, no live action or animated version of the character ever pulled off the same or better level of detective work and for that alone, I bump West up to #4. Aside from that, he provided a very family and child-friendly version of the character that included many of the classic characters such as Robin, Batgirl, and a slew of villains. Additionally, tell me that his batmobile isn’t just the coolest car.

#03 Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Trilogy 

Batman - Christian Bale

Christopher Nolan set out to provide a hyper-realistic version of the Dark Knight, even naming two of the films with the moniker and having the whole trilogy leverage the name. Bale does a solid job, making a decent Bruce and hero, but what sells it is everything around him. The suit, the tumbler, the bat-pod, the gadgets, they are all explained in somewhat realistic ways that provide a sense of possibility to what is going on. All-in-all this version of Batman seems to be the most likely to actually ever happen, aside from the entire plot of The Dark Knight Rises, of course. The addition of Freeman’s Fox character to provide explanations for where the cool stuff comes from really helps fill in the gaps that no other version really cared to focus on. Bale does a good job showcasing the inner battle of the character, constantly fighting himself over where the line should be, how far is too far, and his performance in The Dark Knight still stands as one of the greatest superhero films to date.

#02 Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns

Batman - Michael Keaton

How can you overlook the first actor to play a serious version of Batman on the big screen? Keaton helped bring a solid comic book version of the character to life, with the help of Tim Burton. The suit looks like it hopped off the pages of a comic book and as impractical as it and Keaton’s batmobile were, they were visually spot on. Tim Burton’s style provided a solid dark and creepy tone to both films and brought the franchise to a more adult level. Keaton does a good Bruce Wayne but a better Batman. His voice is one of the best out there, perhaps only second to my #1 spot. He had to put up with some great bad guys in the Joker, Catwoman, and the Penguin. His gadgets were fun but not overused and unlike Bale’s Dark Knight, this version had an actual batcave through both films.

#01 Kevin Conroy in various animated incarnations

Batman - The Animated Series

Is anyone really surprised that Conroy sits high at the top of my list? No one has played the character more. He voiced Batman in over 20 different projects through the end of 2015 between TV and film and is slated to return with Mark Hamill this year for an animated version of the classic graphic novel, The Killing Joke. He’s had to play several different versions of the same character and each time, he brings it. He is incredibly convincing with a voice that can only be Batman’s. He’s tough, mysterious, confident, intelligent, daring, and scary at times. He pulls off the work of everyone else on this list and some. If you watch animated DC Comics films, you know that his consistency brought to the character has been a cornerstone for DC Comics’ success in the industry for over 20 years. At the end of the day, just look at Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League cartoons. He even plays old Bruce perfectly in Batman Beyond. Oh and while I’m not looking at video games for this ranking, if my explanation isn’t enough for you, remember that he voices the character in 11 different video games including the entire Arkham trilogy

Notes:

There are several one-off animated films featuring the Batman character that I have not seen. My list focuses on everything I have seen. If someone did not make the list, it is quite possible I have missed that particular animated film. For example, I have not seen Batman: Year One with Ben McKenzie voicing the character.

Please come back on Friday, March 25th to see where I think Ben Affleck’s Batman from Batman v Superman lands.

What do you think of my ranking? Comment below!

Top 10 Batman Incarnations in Film and TV

Top 10 Lesser Known Twilight Zone Episodes

Twilight Zone has a welcomed place in public conscious, standing as a classic example of science fiction. A quick Google search will return the usually top episodes; “Time Enough at Last”, “To Serve Man”, and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” topping many best episode lists with good reason. Instead here is a list of ten, lesser known, but exceptionally good episodes that don’t get as much attention as they should. While some of the better known episodes such as “Time Enough at Last” have ideas that have become cliché in modern media, the ones on this list are are much more fresh and deserve more acknowledgment than what they typically get on most top episode lists on the internet. Some have interesting ideas about time travel and culture, others are ethical and morality tales. But all of them are still great to watch. Today the Twilight Zone can be found on the internet readily enough on Netflix, Hulu, and the CBS website. For those wanting to take a journey back to the Twilight Zone, I’d recommend these few lesser known episodes. Maybe you’ll find a few you’ve never seen before.



10)The Rip Van Winkle CaperCBS_TWILIGHT_ZONE_The Rip Van Winkle CaperA scientist lacking morals comes up with an idea for a heist. Steal a gold shipment and lay low for a while. But for this scientist he uses cryogenic freezing to ensure that they stay a sleep long enough for society to forget about the crime. Then they live life as wealthy free men and get away with the heist of a century. What the scientist’s clever idea didn’t account for is the unknown variables of his amoral accomplices. Having an intellectual man in cahoots with lowlife thugs is an interesting idea that is given a great sci fi twist.



9)Walking Distance

twilightzone_Walking Distance
There comes a time in everyone’s life where you longingly look to your childhood and wish somehow you could return to the innocence and joy of it. Perhaps giving up the toil and problems of mature, grown up life. This is a story about a man who realizes this as he walks back into his past, walking a few miles to his home town from where his car breaks down. He finds his family but soon realizes this world has no place for him, he doesn’t belong. Returning to the present he matures with the understanding that you can never go back.



8)It’s a Good Life

Twilight Zone It’s a Good Life
This one works like a thought experiment. What would things be like if some whimsical kid was given godlike power? Chaos and fear is the fabric that this world is made of as a young boy gets everything his heart’s desire, except for one thing, willingly obedience of adults. For that he uses fear as the adults try to keep up appearances of joy that masks the fear in the hearts of the victims of this powerful child.



7)Death ship

Twilight Zone Death ship
An Earth spaceship enters orbit on a distant world on a mission of exploration. Seeing the forbidding image of a crashed ship just like their own on the view screen, they throw caution to the wind and land on the surface to investigate. With no other Earth ships in that sector, this crashed ship could be some image of a possible future of the crew’s demise. Every step is second guessed and the Captain (Jack Klugman) relentlessly pursues the answers. But in an odd twist of circumstance, his virtue of drive and determination turns against them all, putting them in a kind of purgatory where there is no escape.



6)Long Distance Call

twilight zone Long Distance Call
One of the few episodes to be shot on video tape instead of film to save money, this one has the side effect of a look of realism. It looks and feels more modern as it resembles much later news broadcasts. However the plot is much darker than other episodes that usually make lists. It’s about a grandmother who dies but has an exceptionally strong link to her grandson. She continues to stay in contact with the boy from the afterlife, not stopping at instigating the boy’s suicide to have him come closer to her if he should die as a consequence. Probably the most disturbing Twilight Zone episode



 

5)Escape Clause

Twilight Zone Escape Clause
This is a simple story that feels like a stage drama. A truly horrible man makes a deal with the devil for immortality. There are no tricks or strings attached as Walter Bedeker (David Wayne) learns that not only he is immortal but invulnerable as well. No stubbed toes or loss of limbs to worry about. The deal is legitimate, no tricks from the devil. He soon starts about setting up horrific accidents that he walks away from unscathed and threatens to sue people, claiming that they are responsible. His wife, growing worried about him complains, Walter tires of her and pushes her out the window, you see an invincible man needn’t fear any consequences. This story’s draw isn’t so much the plot but more of a character piece with some great acting in an interesting situation.



 

4)The Midnight Sun

Twilight Zone the-midnight-sun-03
Especially poignant in an age of global warming, Norma (Lois Nettleton) lives on a world where the Earth’s orbit has shifted ever so slightly and the temperature of the Earth steadily increasing, slowly baking everyone alive. Just imagine seeing a lobster being boiled alive, slowly and inevitably being tortured to death. There are some stunning visuals as you see Norma’s painting start to melt while she loses it and screams.

Twilight Zone The Midnight Sun Paint Melt Gif

Death by sudden global warming is horrific but its her scream at the end that will get you. This is a tale about how delicate our climate is and much we depend on its delicate balance. Way ahead of its time.

Twilight Zone The Midnight Sun Thermostat

 



3) Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

Twilight Zone Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

Much like many small time college plays this one is a character piece, with just only two actors in a small squalid hotel room as the only set. Jackie Rhoades plays a small wormy man, Joe Mantell, who has been forced to kill an innocent man. A gangster knows that Joe is weak and bullies him into doing the murder to mask the blame of the crime. If he doesn’t kill the victim the gangster will kill Joe, he is too weak willed to stand up to him. Spending the night in a hotel room before the murder Joe is faced with the only person that can stand up to the gangster, the man in the mirror.

Twilight Zone Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room 2

The actor plays two roles arguing with himself, using some clever special effects and great acting to convince the audience of the turmoil inside of Joe. This is story about an internal struggle about strength and courage and is something that a lot of people can identify with.

It is also of some note that this episode bore some influence on the films Taxi Driver and Dirty Harry who both had characters talking to themselves in the mirror saying “You Talking To me?” Afterall, everyone can identify with Joe arguing with himself in the mirror, trying to remake himself into a better person, reaching deep down inside to find courage. Who hasn’t tried this at some point in their life?



2) The Lonely

twilight-zone-the-lonely
A criminal is abandoned on a barren asteroid in a futuristic society who has opted for outer space isolation instead of execution. Taking pity on the convict, one of the deliverymen smuggles a large box to the marooned prisoner. In it, the convict finds an android woman, a companion. An idea that is popular with a lot of sci fi stories, it considers the idea of machines replacing humans, and possibly the need for companionship as well, swapping warmth and affection with diodes and circuitry. Despite the convict’s repulsion of an artificial companion, his dire loneliness compels him otherwise.



1)The Obsolete Man

Twilight Zone The Obsolete Man
By far my favorite Twilight Zone episode, but not appearing on many top ten lists. Starring the incredible Burgess Meredith as a bookworm man cleverly named Romney Wordsworth. In a totalitarian future where thoughts are controlled and written word as well, Wordsworth rebels by having some contraband, he has been hording books. He tries no subterfuge about this and is quickly caught by the state police who put him on trial for his crime of simply loving literature. In an odd peculiarity of the society, perhaps call it over confidence, the accused is allowed to choose his form of execution. The meek Wordsworth turns this into one last opportunity to embarrass the state. Along with excellent character acting this episode it has some great visuals and an excellent climax.

Twilight Zone The Obsolete Man Gif

I know a lot of people rank Meredith’s other episode, “Time Enough at Last”, as better and perhaps it is, but “The Obsolete Man” is still my favorite. Partly because love of literature isn’t seen as negatively like in “Time Enough.” Instead it’s seen as a strength, strong enough to stand against the state. Showing that the written word is stronger than actions, ideas stronger than brute force. The bookworm doesn’t conquer the state in the end but the state doesn’t win either.

What do you think of my list? What other Twilight Zone episodes would make yours? Comment below with your favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

Top 10 Lesser Known Twilight Zone Episodes

Top 10 My Little Pony Episodes

If you don’t know me, I’m an avid My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan. Like I collect the figures. Of all kinds. Folks, there’s ponies everywhere.

But I digress. The show turned out to be quite amazing. I was skeptical at first, however, once I actually watched it, I realized it was an empowering story featuring a multitude of characters where everyone had some representation. Creator Lauren Faust not only improved upon the preexisting material, but she created something new for everyone.  What may even be the most important part is the show hit both the female and male demographic, proving that a show doesn’t have to be gender specific for a group of people to enjoy it.

If you haven’t seen My Little Pony, these are my favorite episodes and the ones I recommend you start with (the show is mainly episodic, but there is some continuation, so once you start, you may find it necessary to continue on).

Top 10 My Little Pony Episodes

10. The Cutie Mark Chronicles (Season 1, episode 23) *essential Cutie Mark Crusaders episode*

My Little Pony

 

The Cutie Mark Crusaders embark on a journey throughout Ponyville, determined to learn how their mentors, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity, all got their cutie marks. The episode is an adorable tribute to fate and whether or not we believe that the friends we have were always supposed to be there. It’s also on of the first episodes to dive into the Mane 6’s past, making it a must-see considering it is continually referenced throughout the rest of My Little Pony.

9. Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 (season 2, episode 15) *essential Applejack episode*

My Little Pony - Applejack

The Flim Flam brothers head to Ponyville with this monstrous cider making machine in order to take all the cider business from the Apple family. These two end up making the whole Apple clan dig in and work together to keep their farm and business. The brothers were so popular that they brought them back for another episode of their wacky scams in season 4.

8. Suited for Success (season 1, episode 14) *essential Rarity episode*

My Little Pony - Rarity

Rarity goes all out for her friends, preparing ball gowns for everyone in honor of the upcoming Grand Galloping Gala. Her friends, however, feel the gowns could be just 20% more awesome. Rarity works herself to the bone making these gowns every bit of what her friends want, sacrificing her originality and some sanity too. This episode shows the end to which Rarity would go to for her friends, making it one of her best episodes.

7. Keep Calm and Flutter On (Season 3, episode 10) *Essential Fluttershy episode*

My Little Pony - Fluttershy and Discord

Fluttershy is a gentle soul which is why Princess Celestia taps her when she wants to reform Discord. When the other ponies want to use the Elements of Harmony against Discord to turn him back into stone, Fluttershy maintains his redemption is possible. She holds her ground against her best friends and convinces Discord he has a friend in her.

6. It’s about Time (Season 2, episode 20) *Essential Twilight Sparkle episode*

My Little Pony - Twilight Sparkle

Twilight Sparkle appears to herself 3 days in the past in a crazed effort to warn her. But she can’t get it out because past Twilight is obsessed with why she’s disheveled, how she can time travel, just what is going on. This episode is classic Twilight; she’s intelligent, but also so headstrong that she creates the inevitable instead of avoiding it. It’s also one of the best examples of time travel I’ve ever seen on screen.

5. May the Best Pet Win (season 2, episode 10) *Essential Rainbow Dash episode*

My Little Pony - Rainbow Dash

Rainbow is feeling just a little left out that she’s the only one without a pet in her group. So what does she do? The only logical Rainbow Dash thing to do! She holds a multi-event competition, testing all possible pets from an eagle to a flamingo. Her hardcore personality won’t accept anything less than the best but she’s caught unaware when the least obvious competitor wins out.

4. Pinkie Pride (Season 4, episode 12) *Essential Pinkie Pie episode*

My Little Pony - Pinkie Pie

While Pinkie has some great episodes throughout the series, this one wins out for being the one where she meets her match: Cheese Sandwich (played by the glorious Weird Al Yankovic). He’s a traveling party pony that can lift pony spirits better than anyone else, much to Pinkie’s chagrine. It takes a lesson in jealousy and acceptance for Pinkie to finally befriend what was at first her adversary.

3. Three’s a Crowd (season 4, episode 11) *Essential Discord episode*

My Little Pony - Discord

This episode makes me laugh so much. Why? Because it’s hilarious watching Twilight get thrown off her game. And Discord lives for that. While Twilight just wants a girls day with her sister in law, Princess Cadence, Discord is busy spreading the exasperation in Ponyville with his “blue flu.” His constant tormenting of the Mane 6 eventually ends up ruining Twilight’s day but she does get the better end of the stick in the end, so it’s not all bad for Twilight.

2. Slice of Life (season 5, episode 9 or episode 100) *Essential Equestria episode*

My Little Pony

One of the most eventful and enjoyable episodes to date, this one focuses on all of Ponyville readying themselves for a wedding, with the Mane 6 off fighting a Bugbear in the background. We see favorite B, C, and D characters get up in front for a change, truly proving that there’s a story for everyone. This is your chance to hear certain ponies speak for the first time (Timeturner or Dr. Hooves), catch returns of characters that have been forgotten (Steven Magnet), and reconnect with the world around the Mane 6.

1. Power Ponies (Season 4, episode 6) *Essential Spike episode*

My Little Pony - Spike

When you think of Spike centric episodes, this one doesn’t usually come to mind, because it really does feature the Mane 6 as well. However, when Spike’s comic book takes the seven of them inside its world, he’s forced to take the position of sidekick (one he previously hated) and realize its just as important as any other hero role. The appeal of this episode out ranks any other for several reasons. The ponies represent some of the best comic book superheroes out there. The Mane-iac is a well developed, creative villain that they should definitely bring back. The story itself is tightly written and one of the most entertaining in the series.

There you have it. The essential My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Go watch these on Netflix now. It’ll take 5ish hours of your time. You won’t be bored. There will be at least a few of these that you like. You won’t regret it.

Have you seen My Little Pony? Comment with the episodes in your Top List!

Top 10 My Little Pony Episodes

Top 10 Lightsaber Hilts in Star Wars Movies and TV

“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” Obi-Wan Kenobi introducing Luke Skywalker to his father’s lightsaber.

This quote has stood with Star Wars fans ever since the first movie premiered in 1977 and we saw a lightsaber for the first time. From that day forward every kid and a lot of adults wanted a lightsaber of their own. To this day, that testament remains the same. Now of course in this day and age we can’t have a real one, at least not yet. But what I love most about the lightsabers in the Star Wars movies and TV shows are how unique every single one of them is. That comes down to the hilt design more so than the color of the blade. Each hilt of a lightsaber is unique and built by hand by the various Jedi or Sith that wield them, or is passed down from person to person. This is my top 10 list of my favorite lightsaber hilts from the movies and Clone Wars/Rebels animated series.

Number 10 Lightsaber Hilt

Mace Windu’s HiltScreen Shot 2016-01-13 at 4.36.04 PM

This purple-bladed saber was used by the second greatest Jedi on the Jedi Counsel. This sleek and elegant blade was plated with chrome and gold finishes to represent his senior status on the Jedi Counsel. A thinner hilt than some, but it suited Mace well with his style of fighting called Form VII or also known as Vaapad. He sadly lost it, along with his life while dueling Darth Sidious.

Number 9 Lightsaber Hilt

Sidious's hiltDarth Sidious’s Hilts

Little is known about these hilts created by the famed Sith Lord. But what is known is that both of them were constructed while he was still an apprentice to Darth Plagueis out of a nearly indestructible metal. These are also the same blades that killed his former master in his sleep. Most people did not know he created two hilts and was trained in fighting with two lightsabers at once, as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars when he fights Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress.

Number 8 Lightsaber Hilt

Lukes lightsaberLuke Skywalker’s second lightsaber

This famous hilt was constructed after Luke lost his first lightsaber (his father’s before him) to a duel with Darth Vader on Cloud City in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. This particular hilt is reminiscent of Obi-Wan’s third lightsaber that Kenobi constructed during the beginning of the Clone Wars in honor of his late mentor. It now emitted a green blade instead of a light blue, and was used by Luke throughout him teaching a new generation of Jedi, until Ben Solo betrayed him and became Kylo Ren which forced Luke into exile. Little is known what happened to his lightsaber after these events, but it is believed that when he went into exile, he threw away his hilt to forget his past.

Number 7 Lightsaber Hilt

Savage Opress LightsaberSavage Opress’s Hilt

Following in is brother Darth Maul’s footsteps, Savage wielded a duel saber staff during the final years of the Clone Wars. This staff was much thicker than Maul’s to accommodate the new Zabrak’s enhanced skills and size thanks to the Nightsisters. With this lightsaber he killed many Jedi and practically anyone who got in his way. He would also use the hooks on both ends to impale his enemies before igniting his blade and running them through.

Number 6 Lightsaber Hilt

Askoha RebelsAshoka Tano’s second lightsabers

These two lightsaber hilts replaced the ones Ashoka used before leaving the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Thin and curved in design, Ashoka used these during her adventures with the Rebel fighters as they fought against the might of the Empire. Her blade color switched from green to a pure white, symbolizing her non-affiliation to the Jedi. Ashoka most notably used these lightsabers to take on two Inquisitors, The Seventh Sister and The Fifth Brother respectively. Although Tano left the order when she was still in training as Anakin’s Padawan, she showed exceptional skill and control while fighting the two Dark Side users.

Number 5 Lightsaber Hilt

Dooku's hiltCount Dooku’s Hilt

This curved hilt was used by Darth Sidious’s second apprentice Count Dooku. Dooku not only had a curved hilt during his apprenticeship with Sidious, but while he was also a member of the Jedi Order. Dooku favored the design over a traditional hilt because of his title and strength as a duelist. He dueled and killed many Jedi with this blade until his demise at the hands of Anakin Skywalker on board General Grievous command ship during the Battle of Coruscant. It is presumed that the hilt was destroyed along with the ship as it broke apart during the battle.

Number 4 Lightsaber Hilt

Darth Maul's SaberDarth Maul’s Hilt

Used by the Sith Lord Darth Maul during the occupation of Naboo, this uniquely designed hilt was actually two separate lightsaber hilts constructed into one long staff. Darth Maul was a force to be reckoned with when he was dueling someone because not only of the twin blades but because of his furry behind each strike to an enemy. Eventually it was cut in half, along with Maul by Obi-Wan Kenobi after the death of his master at the hands of Maul. Darth Maul survived however, and continued to use the severed half of his original blade during the Clone Wars and to duel against his former master on the planet Mandalore.

Number 3 Lightsaber Hilt

Rebel's Inquisitors Inquisitor’s ringed Hilt

Much like Darth Maul and Savage Opress before them, the Inquisitors used duel bladed lightsabers to hunt down remaining Jedi Knights during the years following the formation of the Empire. The one difference when comparing the hilts are that these were one spinning rings that could spin clockwise and counter clockwise depending on how the user wanted it. Very fast and hard to use, the Inquisitors were trained on how to use the ringed blades to not only fight, but to intimidate their enemies as well, making them feared across the galaxy to all who came across them.

Number 2 Lightsaber Hilt

Luke's hiltAnakin Skywalkers Hilt

Possibly one of the most famous hilts within the Jedi Order was used by Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. This hilt was silver in color with black finishes and a bright blue blade. After the fall of Anakin to the dark side, it was taken by his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi and eventually given to Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker, and from Luke it was passed onto a young force-sensitive girl by the name of Rey 30 years after the Battle of Endor. While this hilt won many battles during the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War, along saving countless numbers of people, it was also used for terrible deeds. Most notably during the Jedi purge and attack on the Jedi Temple at the end of the Clone Wars, where it was used to slaughter countless Jedi and younglings.

Number 1 Lightsaber Hilt

Asajj VentressAsajj Ventress’s twin Hilts

These twin curved blades belonged to Count Dooku’s most trusted assassin and Dark Side user Asajj Ventress. This former Nightsister and Sith warrior acquired them from Count Dooku as a gift after she showed him her skills in a fighting arena. These blades, however, belonged to Dooku’s first apprentice before her, Komari Vosa, and when her death came at the hands of Bounty Hunter Jango Fett, Dooku kept them until he found a new apprentice to use them. Asajj was extremely skilled in using two sabers at once in either separate forms or formed together in a saber staff., she battled numerous Jedi, most notably Kenobi and Skywalker, and killed countless Padawans and Jedi Knights. What was most unique about these hilts is that at any moment during a battle, Ventress could attach them to form a saber staff to duel her enemies much like Darth Maul. Her’s however, was much harder to handle because of the curved shape. Eventually these hilts made there way to the fallen Jedi Barriss Offee when she stole them from Asajj to try and set her and Ashoka Tano up for sabotage and murder.

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Top 10 Lightsaber Hilts in Star Wars Movies and TV