Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Cosplay, Doctor Who, Dune, Fan Club, Horror, Horror Hosts, Humor, James Bond, Movies, MST3K, Music, No One Lives Forever, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Spy-Fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, TV Review, Video Game, Website

2021 is in the rear view, now onto 2022

So another year has come and gone and I am glad. While 2021 was not as bad as the year that shall not be named, it wasn’t the easiest. There are still some challenges in this world that I really hope that our society can come together to get past. I’m still trying to focus on the positives of the past year.

==Role Playing Games==

2021 started out with the first #CharacterCreationChallenge. Amazingly enough I was able to knock out 31 characters in 31 days. I loved reading all of the different responses that the other participants and even made a few new friends along the way. I’m looking forward to the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

There was also the #RPGaDAY2021 Challenge during the month of August. I really had a struggle with this one, but I was glad that I had participated in it.

I also had a chance to finally play an online Star Trek Adventures game. We have a second session in our “one-shot” planned very soon. The kewl thing is, the game was announced with less than a 24 hour start time. I was able to use my Star Trek Adventures entry in the Character Creation Challenge to quickly drop into the game. Playing on just Zoom is difficult, but doable.

I also had some friends get me into an online Starfinder game that lasted several months (with 1-2 sessions per month). It was interesting, but it really turned me off using Fantasy Grounds as an online platform. It’s an app instead of a browser based system and it is a resource hog like nothing else. Even the players with high end computers were having issues. Unfortunately real life caused the game to end after a few months. The Starfinder system is ok, but a bit crunchy to what I’m use to. The Pathfinder in space mentality didn’t really appeal to me either. I know I was gaming more for the company than I was for the system and universe.

I still want to get into a D&D 5th edition game or a regular Star Trek Adventure game. I’d also prefer to get back together with gaming in person, but with the way the variants are running wild, I’m not certain that will happen any time soon. I’m open to an online game if the schedules can be worked out (the same old problems).

There were several new additions to my role-playing game collection. Between purchases and donations from friends I’ve been able to add to my gaming shelf. I also took advantage of several PDF sales. Instead of listing them all here, I’m planning to save them for my Character Creation Challenge entries. I also added to my dice collection including a special die.

==Video Games==

I’m still playing my old standbys of No One Lives Forever and Tron 2.0. However thanks to a gift card for GameStop (actually ThinkGeek) I was able to pick up a few other video games that I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve been playing Balder’s Gate and it’s been… interesting. I think I might be playing it wrong.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order has been good so far, but I think my daughter is enjoying it more than I am.

==Movies==

Even though it came out the year before, I had the chance to see Wonder Woman 1984 and I enjoyed it. I wished I could have seen it in the theater. 2021 was also the 25th Anniversary of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

Through streaming I was able to enjoy Black Widow and Godzilla vs Kong (wish I could have seen this in the theater).

Finally getting back into the theater I was able to enjoy watching the latest James Bond movie. We finally saw the sci-fi epic Dune and loved watching the new Ghostbusters film. I still want to watch the latest Matrix movie, Spiderman movie and The King’s Man while they are in the theaters.

I’ve also watched a ton of cheesy sci-fi, fantasy and horror films on streaming services. Some were good, some were not so good.

==Television==

Creature Features held it’s 50th Anniversary. During the summer I had my photo aired on a segment of Svengoolie and my kid’s artwork promoted on Creature Features.

Netflix’s Army of the Dead was a good adventure. Amazon’s The Tomorrow War was interesting to watch. Ice Road was also interesting, but probably not a repeat watch. The Wheel of Time didn’t catch my attention at first, but slowly got a little better. I never read the books so I don’t know how it compares. I really enjoyed Foundation after I was worried how the books were going to translate to the screen. Invasion was an interesting concept, but starts out really slow. I’m glad I stuck with it. I need to finish Y: The Last Man and I’m really disappointed that we will only get one season of Cowboy Bebop.

Thank you What We Do In The Shadows, Archer and South Park for being funny. Crossed Swords was a challenge, but I was able to get into it. I’ve really enjoyed the animated Disenchantment series on Netflix. It was also good to see Animaniacs again.

On the Star Trek front, Star Trek: Prodigy has been interesting. I’ve also been enjoying Star Trek: Discovery as well. I really think that Star Trek: Lower Decks has knocked it out of the park. I am really looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I wish there was more Short Treks. Wil Wheaton’s after show “The Ready Room” has been very enjoyable and informative.

Disney+ brought us several good entries for 2021. The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion was really, really good. I really wish that they would give us more Muppets Now. WandaVision and Loki were really good from the Marvel entries. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was ok. I haven’t seen the Hawkeye series yet but plan to sit down and watch it. I really liked the What If!?! series. On the Star Wars side, The Mandalorian continued to be great. Visions was ok, but I wish I hadn’t binged it since it probably would have been better in smaller doses. The Bad Batch was also enjoyable. There has only been one episode of The Book of Boba Fett so I’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Because I missed a lot of Doctor Who episodes while I was studying for college, I spent part of the year catching up. Not only was I able to complete this task, I was able to watch the latest season as it aired. I’m looking forward to the New Years Day special.

2022 will finally get us the third season of The Orville and I’m really looking forward to the next season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

==Books and Comics==

I really enjoyed the Star Trek: Picard novel, Last Best Hope. There are several other books that I’ve been reading on my kindle and in dead tree format. I’ve been trying to read The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance as well but I haven’t completed them.

The War of the Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars comic series was good, but frustrating. I really wish that they had a better system to follow the flow of the story that spans across several publications. I felt like a few times I was re-treading over the same ground.

The Mirror Universe stories and Star Trek Year Five was really good from IDW Publishing. I’m looking forward to reading more of these stories.

Doctor Who, James Bond and The Orville was other comics I had been pulling from my local store.

==Cosplay and Conventions==

I was able to add the Admiral Picard uniform to my collection. I had a chance to wear this at FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. It was the only con I attended in the year. Hopefully 2022 will be better convention wise. I’d love to get an Admiral Vance uniform from Star Trek: Discovery or a Monster Maroon from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However those are long term goals.

==Live Events==

Thanks to 103.1 The Wave, we were able to take the family to Lagoon. With the vaccines helping out, we’ve been able to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance and the live Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time Bubble Tour. I’ve already got several concerts and events planned for 2022. The Beyond Van Gogh experience was probably the closest I’ll ever get to a holodeck experience. The Egyptian exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah was very enjoyable.

I was also interviewed on the radio for the Star Trek Day 2021. That was an interesting experience. But also not the first time I’ve been interviewed on the TV, Radio or even print.

Our Seventh Fleet and USS Ticonderoga meetings and events have been able to get back in person. This was a very good thing as we are a close knit Star Trek family. We’ve been able to grow and succeed because we get together and see each other’s smiling faces.

==Website==

I was able to get some photo albums online and I’ve added to them as I’ve found more photos. I’ve been able to keep to a regular schedule of several blog posts per week (counting the Star Trek Quotes listings). I should do more gaming articles and reviews of things I’ve watched/read/enjoyed. However, I still need to get some of the other sections of my website filled out. I’m a little upset with myself that I haven’t gotten more of the website completed. This will be a goal for 2022.

It’s good to have goals. I think I’m going to spend 2022 trying to achieve more of them.

Posted in: Comic Books, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Two Trek tastes that go great together

Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.
Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.

In the “I wasn’t expecting this news today” department, Modiphius released a supplement for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. The IDW Year Five Tie In detailing the events from the Star Trek comic series, Star Trek: Year Five by IDW Publishing.

What makes this product so unique is that it’s based off of another Star Trek licensed publication instead of from a television series or movie. This is something that I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time with a Star Trek roleplaying game. There have been comics based off of a video game (Star Trek: Elite Force) and a novel based off of the MMORPG, Star Trek Online (Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many) but nothing with RPGs so far. Since IDW has been publishing Star Trek comics for over ten years, I hope that this is the start of a long line of products. IDW has had a successful series of Next Generation comics based off of Mirror Universe characters. There was an interesting Romulan series dealing with internal politics. The Kelvin timeline was greatly expanded with several comic series. Basically there are too many storylines to list here, most of them very enjoyable.

Having been inspired by the fan created, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Expanded Universe series, I was planning to write up my own series of Star Trek Expanded Universe publications (not for sale since I don’t want to violate any rights of the IP holders). Since Modiphius has released one IDW supplement (and hopefully more), I’ll avoid stepping on any toes by creating homebrew stats from non-IDW sources.

I’ve really been fired up by today’s release. I had to buy the book immediately from DriveThruRPG. It uses some of the wonderful artwork from the comics (a bonus which helped I’m certain). There are three new playable races. The I’qosa (a new race introduced in the comics), the Iotians (yea, the Piece of the Action guys) and the Tholians. We get the stats for one new Starfleet vessel as well as ships from the Tholians and I’qosa. Some of the character write ups includes Harry Mudd, Surak, Gary Seven and Isis, all of which were represented all over the Year Five series. There are also two new factions that the gamemasters can use in their campaigns.

While there was a lot packed into the 26 pages. I was really hoping for a racial write-up for the Centaurans (A Federation race featured in the series). There were also several possible NPCs such as the various candidates for UFP president that could have been written up as well. Hopefully there will be a supplement to the supplement.

One set of ships that I doubt we’ll see stats for are the original FASA Starfleet ships that made it into the artwork of Star Trek: Year Five. There were several ships that were clearly inspired by the Federation Starship Recognition Manual. FASA Star Trek references have shown up in quite a few episodes and other licensed works.

Once again, thumbs up to Fred Love and the team at Modiphius for releasing this great supplement for Star Trek Adventures. Don’t make me pull out the “Please Sir, can I have some more” meme when it comes to works like this.

UPDATE: After I posted this entry, I went into my local comic store and picked up my hold on my monthly visit. This included the last issue of Star Trek: Year Five. At the back of the comic book was an advertisement for this product. This issue was releasd on the same day as the announcement from Modiphius.

Posted in: Comic Books, Role Playing Games

#RPGaDay2021 Day 22: Substitute

Day 22: Substitute

Today’s sole suggestion is “Substitute”. When I was assembling my idea spreadsheet I decided that I wanted to go in a different direction for this blog entry. While most blog posts have been about science fiction or fantasy games, this entry will be about superheroes. Specifically the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

Cover image to DC Comics Presents issue 59.

Back in the 80’s my family use to take trips to see relatives in other states. One year my parents presented us with a stack of comic books to keep us occupied on the drive. One of the comics was my first introduction to my favorite superhero, “Firestorm, The Nuclear Man”. I claimed this comic as my own. One of the other comics was DC Comics Presents number 59. I’m certain my parents picked this one just because we knew who Superman was. When my siblings didn’t claim their own comics after the trip was over, I took it and added it to the collection I was starting. I still have this issue just a few feet away from where I’m typing this blog post now.

What intrigued me about this issue was not only the bad guy, a weird character named “Ambush Bug”, but the group that teams up with Superman to fight off Ambush Bug. They were a team of super powered individuals that applied for membership in The Legion of Superheroes, but were rejected as full members because their powers were not quite up to snuff. The team included.

Antenna Lad: His powers allowed him to detect signals anywhere on the planet.

Chlorophyll Kid: He can make plants grow and has limited control over them.

Color Kid: Using his power allows him to change the color of anything.

Double-Header: A alien being with two heads, each with their own mind.

Fire Lad: A hero that breathes fire.

Infectious Lass: She can infect other people with one of a thousand diseases.

Polar Boy: He can lower the temperature around himself or other objects and shoot blasts of cold.

Porcupine Pete: A hero with the ability to shoot sharp quills.

Stone Boy: An alien who can turn his body into stone.

This is a band of misfits that would later remind me of the heroes we see in the 1999 movie Mystery Men. A group pof heroes with not quite powerful powers. I’ve talked about playing a DC Comics RPG previously. In that game we were all superheroes with kick-butt powers. If I were to play a new comic based game, I’d want to play something along the lines of the League of Substitute Heroes or Mystery Men.

Final Thoughts:

Only one suggestion for today. But one I was able to come up with a post for when I was planning ahead in July.

RPGaDay 2021 chart
The RPGaDay 2021 chart
Posted in: Comic Books, Role Playing Games

Blast from the past: My book of characters

Book of Characters

So I’m continuing to go through old boxes trying to get stuff sorted. This will allow me to decide what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. In one box I found an old three-ringed binder full of various character sheets from different role-playing games. Several of them were in plastic sleeves while others were just loose. Some of these I fondly remember. Others I was quite surprised to see. I don’t recall playing Pendragon or Star Ace, but here are the character sheets with my hand writing on them.

So I’ve spent some time scanning the character sheets so I can post them here. If I can recall the stories behind the characters or some of the adventures they participated in, I’ll post them with the images. Some of the sheets had hand written notes on the back or on other scraps of paper that brought back memories.

The character I’m going to post today is from the DC Heroes RPG. I was playing a character called Sonic. He had the ability to focus and bend sound waves. This was the perfect game to play in the gaming area at Comics Utah. One of the players, and a friend, was a graphic designer so he spent the time and effort to draw up our characters and place them on special character sheets for us. I thought he did a very good job with mine.

DC Heroes RPG character Sonic
Posted in: Collecting, Comic Books, My Creations, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Organizing the collection: Marking storage boxes

So one of my goals in the new house is to get everything out of the “temporary” cardboard boxes and sorted into permanent storage, on display or purged. I’ve got a lot of comics, blueprints, magazines, books and other resource materials that I’ve been trying to find places for. I want to store them safely, but keep them where I can access them when needed. For way too long I had stuff packed up in a “temporary” box stored in a location where I could not get it easily. Sure I had my collection listed in Google Docs so I could access it from my phone (this life hack has prevented me from buying stuff I find on sale when I already own a copy) but if I can’t use or enjoy it, why keep it? My latest trick has been this.

Storage envelope on a comic long box
Storage envelope on a comic long box

One of the things that has bugged me about the comic long boxes (available from your local favorite comic shop) is not knowing which box contained which comics. While I was looking at the stack of long boxes it hit me. I should find some transparent envelopes that I can slip an index card or two inside that contains a list of the contents. I did a quick search on Amazon and discovered the YESSART 5×7 Small Plastic Envelopes. They were big enough to hold the index cards and transparent enough that I could find the box I was looking for at a quick glance. The envelope flap is sealed with Velcro to keep the index cards inside. The above photo shows how they could fit on the side of a comic long box, the photo below shows how it would fit on a magazine short box.

Storage envelope in use on a magazine short box.
Storage envelope in use on a magazine short box.

I found a box of 1/2 inch Glue Dots that allowed me to secure the envelopes to the storage box. These dots are double sided and would stick to both the cardboard and the plastic. I decided to use four dots in each corner in order to make sure that the envelope stayed on securely. This way if I decided to re-use the box for a different collection, all I had to do was switch out the index cards.

The bad thing about going through the collection to get it documented and organized is coming across things I haven’t seen in a few years. Some of the Homebrewed Starship game stats that I’ve posted before have come from some of these blueprints that I’ve been collecting over the years. As I was going through them, I had to take a look at a few of them in detail again because of my love of Treknology and schematics. A few of them tripped ideas on how I could homebrew them for different systems. In a way that is one of the many reasons I am trying to get everything organized so I can let my creativity fly and put it on display on this site.

I love it when the creative energy starts flowing.

Posted in: Comic Books, Cosplay, Dungeons and Dragons, Fan Club, Movies, Rant, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Sports, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate

A rant on True Fans and Gatekeeping

So I got involved in a discussion on a Stargate fandom page online. The topic was the much debated Stargate Universe series. Some people stated that they liked it, others (including myself) stated that we didn’t like it. The conversation was going pretty well until someone posted the following “You are not a true fan of Stargate unless you’ve watched all of Stargate Universe.” Now this was a statement that I really had to respond to as I’ve heard this “True Fan” comment before and it bugs me a lot. Rant Mode On: I think this meme said it best.

True fan meme

As most of you know (or have probably guessed), I’m a fan of a large number of science fiction and fantasy franchises. And there are some shows that I have not found entertaining. I could never get into the Buffy and Angel series no matter how hard I tried. It seemed like every time I sat down to give The X-Files a chance while it was first airing, it turned out to be the episode of the season with the most blood. There are other series, movies, comics and books that I just couldn’t get into. Some I will talk about in future blog posts.

Even in my favorite franchises, there are stinkers. I’ve only seen the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise once. And I only plan to watch it once again (to mine it for quotes and trivia questions) before I avoid it at all costs afterwards. If someone would have had the misfortune of having that episode be their first introduction to the Star Trek universe, I could understand why they may not like Enterprise or even Star Trek itself. They get to decide what they are fans of, not me nor anyone else.

Using the term “True Fan” is a form of Gatekeeping. Gatekeeping, in the fandom/hobby sense, is allowing only those the “true fans” deem worthy to join them in the fandom. They may use this to keep fans of a certain series in a franchise out of their club/social media group/etc. (i.e. “You can’t be a true Star Trek fan if you like Star Trek: Discovery), or they may use this to keep certain players out of their games (i.e. “You can’t play in our Battletech game with papers figures, you have to only play with painted figs). A note on this last one. A sanctioned tournament for a miniature or card game requiring certain items to use in the tournament is a method of marketing and sales, not gatekeeping. And one I see in cosplay groups is, your cosplay isn’t worthy of inclusion. Really? With how much time, energy and effort goes into cosplay you are going to get upset because it’s not “screen accurate”? Someone who puts their heart into their fandom doesn’t deserve to get it crushed.

Gatekeeping by “true fans” makes the base of participants smaller and could kill our fandoms. You never know what was someone’s introduction to the fandom or hobby. While I was manning the USS Ticonderoga recruiting booth during the opening weekend of Star Trek: Into Darkness, a new fan came up to me and stated that the previous Star Trek film had inspired him so much that he went and watched all of the original Star Trek television series. He was now a fan of the franchise itself and was checking out the other shows. Had he been talking to a “true fan”, he could have been discouraged by the belittlement and not checked out the rest of the universe that awaited him.

It’s not just geeky movies and hobbies that his plagued by this. I’ve seen this same “true fan” mentality in sports fandom. “You can’t be a true fan of the (insert team name here) unless you can name a player from their 2009 championship run.” As our Dwight meme says above: “False!”

Now when someone asks a question like “Is the new Superman & Lois television series any good?” I usually respond somewhere along the line of “I’ve enjoyed it.” If I found that I haven’t been a fan of a series, I state that it is something I haven’t enjoyed. If someone says they enjoyed a series that I have not, then I’m glad. Not everyone has to enjoy what I enjoy. I request the same respect in return. The “I’ve enjoyed it” answer is also how I avoid the bait posts where someone is trying to start an opportunity to troll fans of a series.

So to recap, if you were to say to me “I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the anime Cowboy Bebop and enjoyed it, am I a fan?” my answer would be yes. If you asked if you wanted to cosplay as a gender-bended Robin Hood and his band of thieves in the Sherwood Forest, would I consider you a fan? My answer would still be yes. “I really like Real Salt Lake because they are a local team.” I’d say welcome to the fandom. Would I shun you if you only wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition? No, I would not and I even might ask if there is an opening in your game. You get to decide if you are a fan of something, not these “true fans.” Enjoy what you want to enjoy and don’t let anyone tear you down for it.

Now to get back to the Stargate Universe discussion. I really enjoyed the original Stargate movie ever since I first saw it on opening weekend. It took me a while to get a chance to sit down and watch Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but I enjoyed them both to the point where I call myself a fan. Because I had enjoyed both of these series so much, I took the opportunity to get season one, disk one DVD of Stargate Universe from Netflix (this should tell you how long ago this was) and my wife and I watched the first five episodes. There was one good episode in that first set (it was about time travel). I liked the nerdy kid who’s name I can’t remember. I really wanted to follow Samantha Carter in command of the USS Hamond and see her adventures. And I thought the concept of being trapped on a living spaceship not under your control sounded interesting. But I found the writing in SGU horrendous. The acting really wasn’t up to snuff despite some good names on the acting list. The use of the tech to switch bodies to go back to Earth and spy on your ex-wife was dumb. It was dark, dreary and depressing and was practically a soap opera. Talking into the floating camera things was too much like how reality TV show contestants would react to a camera between dramatic takes (a major turn off). And the scene where some woman is talking to her floating camera making a message for her husband, and then forgets to turn it off while she cheats on him with another member of the crew really made me roll my eyes. I think I realized this show wasn’t for me when the lead scientist and the lead military guy was fighting in the fifth episode and I turned to my wife and said “I don’t even care who wins this fight.”

Now if you are a fan of Stargate Universe. Good for you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of the SGU fans in the discussion stated that it got better in season two and encouraged me to sit down and give the series another try. I could see myself doing this once I’ve gotten all of my other catch-up and new watching completed. I’m really enjoying Superman & Lois and I watch it every week. WandaVision was another series I had to keep up on. I need to finish my first watch through of Farscape (yea I missed it when it first aired) and someday I’ll watch all of the episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. There are a ton of shows in my streaming lists and interests that I want to watch. And that doesn’t even count the number of books and comics I want to read or games I want to play. Bottom line is that SGU is really down on the priority list. So yes I’d give it another try if my list has been completed, but that will not be for a very very long time.

I think I’ve said enough to end this rant. If you are still reading, thank you. Just remember, you decide what you are a fan of, not other people and not those who gatekeep with the term “true fans”.

Tally Ho

Posted in: Comic Books, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

The Good, The Bad and The Internet

Clickbait vs Easter Eggs

So there have been two trends that I’ve noticed on the internet. Yea, these may have been around for a while but I want to talk about them for a second. The evil of click-bait sites and videos and the good of easter egg and behind the scenes videos.

There have been a lot of sites and videos with “Trusted Sources” spreading rumors about some of our favorite franchises and shows. What bugs me is the way they try to sell themselves. Usually with a headline that screams click-bait. These type of sensationalized headlines are a form of social engineering. They want you to react to the video/article and the only way you can do that is by clicking on the link to their site. “Has {insert showrunner name here} been fired at {studio name here}?”, “{Famous person} ruined our favorite franchise, here is the proof.” or “{Famous person} reacts to my video/post/website/outlandish claim.” See how they can practically recycle the headline just by switching out a few details and boom, another click-bait headline. Some of these videos and sites can get to be quite toxic.

Another trend has not been quite as negative, but still very click-baitish. Streaming services have been a gold mine for fans of various franchises. The studios are trying to attract subscribers by taking chances on shows that may not make it onto the over-the-air or cable channels. This has brought us more shows in the Star Trek (I’m looking forward to the Pike series, Strange New Worlds) and Star Wars universe (love The Mandalorian). There is an upcoming series for Battlestar Galactica and it looks like I’m finally going to be able to see Moon Knight on the screen. While this is good, it also gives rise to rumor websites with headlines like “{Character name} series confirmed.” At the rate they are pumping out these “articles” you would think that we would soon see a series focused on Captain John Harriman (would the XO be Commander Ferris Bueller?) for Paramount+ and Disney+ releasing The Star Wars Muppets (actually I’d watch a SW Muppet series, but don’t quote me as a source). These rumors are not as outlandish as the “{show name} canceled immediately due to plummeting ratings.” headlines and I think that’s what makes it a little bit dangerous. Some actors want to return to the roles that made them famous. Others never want to return to the franchises if they don’t have to. But there is a little bit of a toe-hold that these “news sites” to say that a new series is coming soon and you better read about it here. When you listen to these sites, they use the weasel words that you commonly see on those Ancient Alien shows. “Could this be true? It’s possible.” Ugh that bugs me more than it should.

Why are these sites and videos posting these dubious claims? In one word, money. The more clicks a site/video has, the more eyeballs see them. The more eyeballs they get, the more they can sell themselves to advertisers. Technically nothing is stopping them from being the Weekly World News of the internet. So like spam and robo-calls, they continue to be a scourge on the internet.

What can you do about them? Well learn to spot click-bait headlines. If it sounds like it was posted to get an emotion, be suspicious. Look at the source. Most social media posts will give you the domain the article/video is coming from. If it’s not from a source with a good history (for most entertainment news that’s usually Variety, Deadline, Entertainment Weekly, one of the mainstream media companies, etc.) or from the studio itself, then be suspicious. However be careful, there are still rumor news sources that are on TV or in print. If you are suspicious about a headline, then remember that Google is your friend. If a rumor is close to being true, multiple sites will post about it. With the rumor websites there may only be one or two sites posting about the topic. If your Spidey-Senses are going off, don’t click on the link or video. By clicking on them, you are giving them what they really want.

Now, in my humble opinion, there is a really good trend going on right now with some online videos. The “Easter Egg” videos that point out some of the things in the background. Some are very spotable, some are very hidden (hence the name Easter Eggs). There are some video makers that will freeze-frame certain scenes and translate from the alien languages (if translations exists) to dig up hidden details. I am a big fan of Star Trek and Star Wars so I’ve noticed a lot of these Easter Eggs in Picard, Discovery, Lower Decks and The Mandalorian. So for me the fun was seeing if I had missed anything and if I had spotted stuff the video makers themselves had missed.

Another good thing about these videos are for the series I’ve been enjoying, but I don’t know much about the source material. The latest example has been WandaVision. While I know Marvel’s Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, other-mainstreams, etc. I only know very little of the other superheroes that Marvel has in their catalog. I’m more of a DC man myself, but I don’t turn my nose up at the Marvel non-mutant titles (don’t ask me about the mutants now, that will be saved for another blog post). After encouragement from friends, I checked out WandaVision. I found that I enjoyed the writing, the acting and the special effects. But I felt like I was missing something that came from a deep source. So I turned to the same Easter Egg video makers that I had enjoyed before and they expanded my understanding of the WandaVision storyline. In the last episode of WandaVision there was a “big reveal” from a bad guy (no spoilers so don’t worry). I felt that this reveal wouldn’t have made a big impact if I hadn’t watched the Easter Egg videos telling me who these characters were. Thus I was “in on the story” when it happened.

While I’m encouraging you to avoid the click-bait sites, I would also encourage you to check out the effort that goes into the Easter Egg videos. Let me know what you think of these videos that have been released.

Tally Ho

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