Awesome Toy Collection – Batman Nostalgia

Riding on my current wave of nostalgia for Batman figures, I have acquired a number of figures to add to my Batman collection. Let’s just say that I have finally decided to expand on my Batman collection, several years late but now feeling much better than ever.
Ah, this is much better. At the center is a more accurate Mr. Freeze as seen in “Batman & Robin”, you can just make out Arnold’s facial outlines.The faux Mr. Freeze on the left does not appear in the movie. Here’s a snapshot of Mr. Freeze and his henchman, Frostbite.
A blast from the past! Remember the first movie “Batman” and its sequel “Batman Returns”? These are the villians, the Joker, Catwoman, and the Penguin. Come to think of it, the Joker really does resemble Jack Nicholson.
.Poison Ivy, Batman’s foe in “Batman & Robin”. She has the power to control killer plants, and among her methods of killing include by giving her enemies a poisonous kiss. Poison Ivy is an eco-terrorist who seeks to turn the Earth green with her mutant plants.
20081231_BatmanGangHere’s an ensemble photo of Batman, Robin, and the colourful villians. I am thinking of acquiring the figures from the recent Nolan series of Batman films, “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”, but those figures are 6 inches tall, compared to the 4 inch Batman figures that I have. Meaning, I cannot just pose all the figures together, the new figures would look taller!
And with that I’m signing out of 2008, and welcome 2009! Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Awesome Toy Collection – Some new stuff

Tis’ the season to be jolly, and I have acquired some new figures to add to my awesome toy collection.
20081225_redskullFrom the Marvel Universe, this is Red Skull, former henchman of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Having survived the fall of the Third Reich, the Red Skull continues his mission of spreading terror across the globe, escaping death on numerous occasions, and battling with his nemesis, Captain America.
20081225_RonanAccuserAnd again from the Marvel Universe, this is Ronan, Supreme Public Accuser of the Kree Empire. Kree Accusers serve as prosecutors, judges, and executioners throughout the empire, and Ronan the Accuser has clashed with Earth’s heroes many times when the champions of Earth interfered in Kree affairs.
Here’s a couple of add-ons to my Batman figures collection. Featured here is the Riddler in white suit. The Riddler holds an oversized “question mark” cane.
Here’s a comparison between the two Riddler figures that I got. In “Batman Forever”, the Riddler doesn’t actually dress up like the left figure, with that green hat and TV box on his chest. But the Riddler wears the white suit towards the end of the movie.
This is a picture of Mr. Freeze and his henchman Frostbite. Frostbite looks real intimidating with his skull ski mask, and skull shoulder pads. He appears overdressed in his ice hockey padding. As a note, Mr. Freeze does not appear this way in “Batman & Robin”, I should be able to find a more accurate Mr. Freeze soon enough.

Birthday Gift – Star Trek Phaser

Last week, my university friends celebrated my birthday with dinner at a Japanese restaurant. We also celebrated the birthday of another one of us, whom I shall refer to as Mr. Vulcan, whose birthday also falls in the month of December. And as a birthday gift, knowing of my awesome collection of Star Trek stuff, Mr. Vulcan bought for me a Star Trek Phaser Pistol.
That’s me with my phaser pistol.
I should say that the phaser pistol looks awesome! The phaser pistol appeared in the “Star Trek” original series from the 1960’s. And this particular replica is produced by Art Asylum. A hand-sized phaser can be separated from the pistol, and when you press the pistol trigger, the pistol emanates the phaser beam sound effect, along with flashing red light on the muzzle. This is real cool!
Phaser Pistol – close-up look
Perhaps the phaser pistol would make an appearance in the upcoming movie “Star Trek”, a remake of the original series, coming soon in mid-2009.

Showcase TV Series – Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda

“Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” is a science fiction TV series that ran for five seasons from 2000-2005, and “Andromeda” currently airs on the SciFi Channel weekdays at 11pm with repeats during the following day. “Andromeda” was developed from the notes for an unproduced TV series left behind by the late Gene Roddenberry, who’s famous for having created the popular science fiction series “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
Set approximately three thousand years in the future, there exists a vast intergalactic alliance called the All Systems Commonwealth, and Dylan Hunt is the captain of the Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant. The Nietzscheans, supposed allies of the Commonwealth, launch a surprise attack on the Commonwealth, and in the initial battle, the Andromeda gets trapped in the event horizon of a black hole and becomes frozen in time. Three hundred years later, a salvage ship rescues the Andromeda, and Captain Hunt finds out that the Commonwealth has been overthrown, civilization everywhere has collapsed. The Nietzschean factions are fighting among themselves, and have enslaved countless worlds. A parasitic species, the Magog, has also swept through known space, leaving devastation everywhere.
Dylan Hunt decides to bring order to the chaos by restoring the Commonwealth, and the first thing he do is recruit the crew of the salvage ship to join his cause. And thus, “Andromeda” showcases the starship Andromeda’s effort to set up alliances between alien worlds, convincing the worlds that by cooperating, together they are stronger and better off. Dylan’s mission becomes all the more important when the Andromeda discovers an impending Magog invasion, and that only a unified front could defend against them.
Season 1 cast of Andromeda
And right from the start, Captain Dylan Hunt faces enormous challenges as he tries to adjust to this brave new world. In this time of no authority, his rag-tag crew has no concept of chain of command or proper military procedures, with various members occasionally going off on field trips or taking leave of absence without giving proper notice, or by just leaving a note saying so. And Dylan is also a man out of his time. Whenever the Andromeda encounters a hostile situation, the trigger-happy crew would immediately advocate striking at the enemy, whereas Dylan would prefer diplomacy over confrontation, trying to establish communications with the hostiles, usually with enemy torpedoes already flying towards the Andromeda. Dylan steadfastly believes in the ideals of the long-gone Commonwealth, using force only as a last resort, which brings him into conflict with his crew, who thinks that Dylan is simply unable to comprehend that the universe is now a seriously dangerous place, different from the one that he came from.
Furthermore, Dylan also has to contend that some of his crew members may have agendas of their own. His Nietzschean weapons officer has on numerous occasions carried out actions that come dangerously close to betray Dylan, he seems to have joined the Andromeda’s crew only to serve some unknown self-interest, using his duty as a cover. Andromeda’s purple-skinned medical officer has a mysterious background, she has often made many vital decisions or guesses that turn out to be the right choice, and is even able to come back to life after being seemingly killed. However, she has been reluctant to explain her abilities, often changing the subject when asked about it.
Showcase TV Series - Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant, a sentient warship
“Andromeda” started off with a promising first season, but the quality of stories took a nosedive ever since the second half of season two, when the lead writer was replaced by the studio executives, who had come to assume that the stories were getting too complicated to understand with its expanding story arc, and had hoped to further improve the ratings by making “Andromeda” a more loving and action-packed show. The studio executives interference in the creative process is quite common in many TV series, more often resulting in the opposite effect of driving viewers away. While Andromeda indeed lost many fans who complain that they could no longer recognise the show for what it stood for, I personally feel that Andromeda remains as exciting as ever, with lots of explosions and mind-boggling fighting action in nearly every episodes.
So, enjoy “Andromeda” for what it’s worth. SciFi Channel has shown seasons 1 and 2, and hopefully, seasons 3, 4, and 5 would see the light of day here soon.

Showcase TV Series – Star Trek : The Next Generation

“Star Trek : The Next Generation” is a popular science fiction TV Series that ran for seven seasons from 1987-1994, before it moved on to the silver screen with four blockbuster movies. TNG currently airs on the SciFi Channel weekdays at 10pm with repeats during the following day.
TNG is the sequel series to the 1960s science fiction series “Star Trek”, which had gained in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s with its reruns and movie series, so much so that Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, was commissioned to produce a sequel series.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Set in the 24th Century, TNG presents the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise, the flagship of the United Federation of Planets, as the Enteprise embarks on its mission of space exploration and interstellar diplomacy. The Federation is an alliance of many alien races, including Humans, and is dedicated to the scientific progress and peaceful coexistence among the member races. However, the Federation exists amongst other major powers who have agendas that often lead to conflict with the Federation. These powers include the Klingon Empire, former enemies but now uneasy allies with the Federation. The Romulans and the Cardassians, both warlike and aggressive species that have clashed with the Federation in the past. Another rising threat is the Borg, an uncompromising collective species which seeks to assimilate all alien cultures and technologies into its own.
Season 1 cast of TNG
The main appeal of TNG is that many of its stories reflect on our world’s problems and situations. One common theme involves some alien civilization asking for Federation assistance in solving their problems, and the crew would often brood about how much they could help without interferring with the cultural or social development of the civilization. Sometimes even the slightest assistance could lead to unintended results. An example include the Federation’s supply of medical aid to a world wrecked by civil war, causing a warring faction (branded as terrorists by the local government) to accuse the Federation of taking sides in the conflict. Another example is the Enterprise’s discovery that the economics between two worlds was based on one world’s supply of highly addictive drugs for the treatment of an epidemic on the other world, with that world unaware that the epidemic had been cured ages ago and were still buying the drug simply because of their addiction to it. The crew decided not to reveal this fact, as doing so would have destroyed the economics of both worlds, leaving the aliens to find out for themselves the addictive nature of the drug. This guideline of non-interference is referred to as the “Prime Directive”, strictly adhered to by the Federation, and is something the governments of the world could learn from. 
TNG also presents an optimistic, positive vision of the future, something the people of the world could look forward to and possibly achieve. The crew members of the USS Enterprise, although coming from different worlds, are able to overcome their prejudices towards each other and work together onboard the starship. Race or gender differences are no longer an issue, as each person work purely for the betterment of mankind and are not motivated by selfish purposes. It was also decided to make the one of Enterprise’s officer a Klingon, symbolising that yesterday’s enemies could become today’s allies.
Another common theme in TNG is that some superior being would place our heroes in some sort of impossible test, and despite overwhelming odds, our heroes would be able to triumph and prevail as they relied upon their humanity and were able to demonstrate their ability to transcend beyond their inhibitions. Often at such tests, the crew would be compelled to kill another adversary in order to pass the test, but instead our heroes would show mercy and let go of the adversary, which in fact enables our heroes to pass the test since that was the passing condition required. Perhaps, such an altruism is something that everybody can aspire to and maybe adopt, the next step to take for our society to evolve.
Throughout its seven season run, TNG never dropped in its rating, and has set the benchmark for all other science fiction TV series to follow. And in the years passed since TNG’s airing, the stories have stayed relevant in today’s world and setting.