RIP Kirby Morrow

Kirby Morrow, a Canadian actor, voice actor, writer and comedian died on 18th November. He was only 47. In animation, he was known as the voice of Miroku from InuYasha, Van Fanel from the Ocean dub of Escaflowne, Cyclops from X-Men Evolution, Jay from Class of the Titans, Teru Mikami from Death Note, Trowa Barton from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Ryo Takatsuki from Project ARMS, Goku from Ocean’s dub of Dragon Ball Z (from Episode 160 onwards), Hot Shot from Transformers: Cybertron (replacing Brent Miller) and Cole from Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. On camera, he was known for the recurring role of Captain Dave Kleinman from Stargate Atlantis.

Morrow was born in Jasper, Alberta and studied theatre at Mount Royal University in Calgary. He worked in Vancouver, British Columbia for most of his acting career. His death was announced on Facebook by his brother, Casey Morrow. On the small screen, Morrow was best known to the Stargate community for his role on Stargate Atlantis in which he played the recurring role of Captain Dave Kleinman, the weapons officer on the bridge of the U.S.S. Daedalus. The character would also make a 2009 appearance on Stargate Universe. And before he took on the role of Kleinman, he also had smaller roles on Stargate: SG-1.

Throughout his lengthy career, Kirby Morrow made appearances on numerous shows, ranging from Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart to ABC’s The Good Doctor. He was especially a fixture in sci-fi, horror and superhero shows, with credits in ArrowThe FlashLegionSupernatural and Fringe, among others.

Children Competing On TV?

Should Children Be Allowed to Compete on TV?

It kind of depends on the type of competition. If it is a talent show or singing/musical competition, they I’d whole-heartedley say Yes. Sports. Even cooking contests. Have you seen angry, shouter Gordon Ramsey dealing with kid chefs who are struggling or who are nervous? He turns into another person altogether. Anything else I do not think they should be doing.

I have seen beauty contests for pre-teens and kids at the age of 6 or 7. Uh-huh! No way Jose. Child beauty pageants are a big disgusting thing. You can find kids being treated like commodities, the contestants facing eating disorders & mental issues and being possibly preyed on as some of the contestants sexualizes the girls. Certain pageants encourage contestants to emulate grown women, applying heavy makeup to create full lips, long eyelashes, and flushed cheeks, wearing high heels and revealing “evening gowns”, and doing provocative dance steps, poses or facial expressions. Which is disgusting. You have sexual perverts who hang around these pageants and the girls are prime targets.

Otherwise I find it to be ok. However parents and other role models should be there to guide the kids in the right way. Disappointments galore, kids shouldn’t get dejected too much and use them more as a learning experience.

Prompt from 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times

RIP Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek, the genial “Jeopardy!” host with all the answers and a reassuring presence in the TV game-show landscape for five decades, has died. He was 80 years old. “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” said a statement shared on the show’s Twitter account Sunday. “Thank you, Alex.”The cause of death was not immediately announced. Trebek revealed in March 2019 he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, triggering an outpouring of support and well wishes at the time.

Over 37 seasons, Trebek hosted more than 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!,” the most by a presenter of any single TV game show, according to a statement from Sony Pictures.But despite the 35 years he spent on “Jeopardy!,” the syndicated quiz show where answers are presented in the form of a question, Trebek wasn’t exactly an overnight success. Born in Sudbury, Canada, he studied philosophy before becoming a journalist, working as a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

In 1966, while still in his mid-20s, he switched from journalism to hosting game shows, starting with a quiz show titled “Reach for the Top,” and followed a few years later by another, “Jackpot.” It wasn’t until 1984 that Trebek landed what turned out to be his big break, when producer-host Merv Griffin chose him to emcee a revival of “Jeopardy!,” which was paired with another hit game show, “Wheel of Fortune.” His longevity was reflected in a personal milestone, when he passed “The Price is Right’s” Bob Barker in the Guinness Book of Records as the person who had hosted the most game-show episodes.

Trebek had multiple guest appearances on other television shows, ranging from Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2008 and 2011 to the The Colbert Report series-finale. In August 1995 in a return to his broadcast-news roots, Trebek filled in for Charles Gibson for a week on Good Morning America. Trebek was a guest star in season 3 of The X-Files, playing one of two “Men in Black” (human agents charged with the supervision of extraterrestrial lifeforms on Earth, hiding their existence from other humans) opposite Jesse Ventura, in the episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”, which first aired on April 12, 1996. Trebek also appeared in multiple television commercials.

Trebek married broadcaster Elaine Callei in 1974. The couple had no children and divorced in 1981, although Trebek adopted Callei’s daughter Nicky. In 1990, he married Jean Currivan, a real estate project manager from New York. They had two children, Matthew and Emily.

RIP James Randi

James Randi a Canadian-American stage magician and a scientific skeptic & atheist who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, has died at the age of 92 on 20th Oct. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), originally known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). He also founded the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). He began his career as a magician under the stage name The Amazing Randi and later chose to devote most of his time to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively called “woo-woo”. Randi retired from practicing magic at age 60, and from the JREF at 87.

The James Randi Educational Foundation confirmed the death, saying simply that its founder succumbed to “age-related causes” on Tuesday. Entertainer, genius, debunker, atheist ? Randi was them all. He began gaining attention not long after dropping out of high school to join the carnival. As the Amazing Randi, he escaped from a locked coffin submerged in water and from a straitjacket as he dangled over Niagara Falls. Magical as his feats seemed, Randi concluded his shows around the globe with a simple statement, insisting no otherworldly powers were at play. Through that organization, Randi was guardian of a $1 million prize he promised to give anyone who could prove either their own supernatural powers or the presence of a supernatural being.  No one ever came close to collecting.

On a 1972 episode of “The Tonight Show,” he helped Johnny Carson set up Uri Geller, the Israeli performer who claimed to bend spoons with his mind. Randi ensured the spoons and other props were kept from Geller’s hands until showtime to prevent any tampering. The result was an agonizing 22 minutes in which Geller was unable to perform any tricks. He once showed the messages television faith healer Peter Popoff claimed to be getting from God about his audience were actually coming from his wife through an earpiece.

Born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge in Toronto on Aug. 7, 1928, he came out as gay late in his life and met Venezuelan artist José Alvarez, met Venezuelan artist José Alvarez (born Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga). Arteaga had left his native country for fear of his life as he was a homosexual. The pseudonym Arteaga had taken, Jose Alvarez, was an actual person in the US. The identity confusion caused the real Alvarez some legal and financial difficulties. Arteaga was arrested for identity theft and faced deportation but Randi was able to marry Arteaga, where they resided in Plantation, Florida. They were married in Washington on July 2, 2013, with Randi turning 85 the next month.

Knight Nostalgic

Knight Rider is an American entertainment franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The core of Knight Rider is its four television series: Knight Rider (1982–1986), stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech, modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced, artificially intelligent, self-aware, and nearly indestructible car voice by William Daniels. Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles, the leader of FLAG, Patricia McPherson as Dr. Bonnie Barstow (Seasons 1, 3-4), KITT’s chief technician, Rebecca Holden as April Curtis (Season 2), chief technician for KITT & Peter Parros as Reginald Cornelius III aka RC3 (Season 4), driver of the FLAG mobile unit and occasional sideman were the other main cast members.

Now I know that they have had revival of the show in various formats but the main one is ofcourse the original and it is way more popular and part of pop culture as an icon of the 80s. It is well know and I know that it has it’s really cheesy moments, as was par for the course, for 80s tv shows that served as more or less a family entertainer. It was hugely popular and I enjoyed watching the four seasons when I was a kid. My dad & sis watched it with me and mom whenever she felt like it as well. Growing up in Kuwait, it was more or less one of the top 3 shows of the time and all my friends loved the car and the adventures of Michael Knight. I also remember that at one time, maybe at the age of 8 or 9, I asked my parents to change my name to Michael mainly because of the character.

I haven’t watched any of Knight Rider since 1987 when I left Kuwait along with my family and moved back to India. At many times I have been made aware of the show’s reruns happening on some cable tv channel or the other but I just never had the urge to sit and watch some. The 2008 show pilot also did not interest me much and I stopped watching it after a few minutes. But the original still has it’s charms. And finally, maybe for nostalgic reasons, I think I have generated enough interest in me to watch the show again. Mind you I have watched some episodes multiple times but I haven’t since I turned 13 so that is a long, long time ago.

Hopefully I will watch it soon.

Why X-Files Will Always Remain The Greatest Sci-Fi Drama Of All Time

From 1993 to 2002, the main bulk of the X-Files episodes were broadcast. If we forget the more recent revisit to the X-Files world, the 1990s were full of the greatest sci-fi drama ever made. With discrete tales of bigfoot, walk-ins, ghosts, monsters, and aliens, there was also a larger story-arc that allowed the X-Files to delve into the more emotional side of relationships, love and trust. With the two main protagonists of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the believer and the sceptic, two opposing views of all things that appear paranormal were formed. What makes X-Files so special is that the relationship between this pair was constantly tested to its limits, and yet they were always there to support one another.

X-Files began when Dana Scully was sent undercover to spy on ‘spooky’ Mulder. However, the pilot episode quickly established a great partnership where Scully was the perfect voice of reason to Mulder’s more extreme ideas and theories. With Comic-Con attendees still dressing up as there favorite X-Files characters, it is clear to see that this is a series that transcends generations.

Stories

The X-Files covered a whole host of stories and concepts, many of which were rooted in real-life. The Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot were explored alongside more fanciful creations. Who can forget Toombs, the guy who came out of hibernation every few decades, didn’t age, and fed on the livers of human beings to create his nest of bile. Oh, and don’t forget, he could stretch through the tiniest of spaces and attacked Scully nearly making her his final victim. While many of the monsters were scary, they were also rooted in a more human existence. Very rarely did the X-Files go toward the Star Trek-style monster costumes – X-Files monsters were believable and lifelike.

Ghosts

Some of the more fascinating episodes told more ghostly stories. Taking their inspiration from The Fox Sisters, who were seen as the founders of modern spiritualism, Season 6’s episode, ‘How the Ghosts stole Christmas’ shows the more emotional tale of being a lonely ghost in a haunted house during the festive period. The loneliness of these ghouls transcends to the real world and Mulder and Scully are drawn into their quest for companionship.

In the poltergeist episode ‘Shadows’ of season 1, terrifying apparitions take place after a man was killed by his so-called friend after they covered up selling technology to a terrorist group. This man comes back in a ghoul-like form to seek justice. While ghostly episodes weren’t the bread and butter of X-Files, they were some of the best.

Mulder

Fox Mulder was the character that really held the series together. It was his quest to locate his missing sister that allowed the X-Files to become so emotional. Viewers became invested in Mulder and his need to find out what happened to his sister. Scully was passionate about helping him discover the truth too. Skinner, his boss, was the foil to his crazy theories. And the Cigarette Smoking Man was always in the background trying to prevent Mulder from finding out the truth.

There were many red herrings along the way but the story arc eventually came to a conclusion. Was she abducted by aliens? Was she kidnapped? Or did she run away? Mulder was adamant that she was abducted given his memory of bright lights and his sister floating out of the window of their home when they were children. His entire quest with the X-Files was to locate his sister, Samantha.

Humor

Another strong aspect of X-Files was the writing. As the seasons developed there was a Mulder and Scully will-they, won’t they story arc. They did eventually with William being born adding another level of complexity to the X-Files. However, a key facet of the writing that kept people hooked was the writing. There were many discretely humorous episodes, but there was also nuances in the writing that were laugh out loud funny. Scully began to tease Mulder every so often. They would share in-jokes as they became closer, and as Scully slowly turned from cynic to believer over the years, Mulder would cheekily make quips at Scully’s expense.

The characters within X-Files were beautifully written and it was a unique concept at the time. While many series have tried to emulate its success, they have inevitably failed. X-Files was a product of its time and has aged particularly well. If you have never seen an episode of X-Files, watch the pilot today. You’ll be hooked.

RIP Grant Imahara

Actor Grant Masaru Imahara (October 23, 1970 – July 13, 2020) was an American electrical engineer, roboticist, and television host. He was best known for his work on the television series MythBusters, on which he designed and built numerous robots and specialized in operating computers and electronics to test myths. Prior to his television career, Imahara worked at Lucasfilm in the THX division as an engineer and in the Industrial Light and Magic division in visual effects.

Imahara also appeared on the television show BattleBots, for which he designed and competed with his robot Deadblow and later returned as a judge. Imahara starred in the 2016 Netflix series White Rabbit 90 day loan Project alongside his MythBusters co-stars Kari Byron and Tory Belleci.

One of Imahara’s independent projects, during early 2010, was constructing a robotic sidekick for Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show. The robot, named Geoff Peterson, was unveiled on the April 5, 2010 Late Late Show episode and is controlled and voiced by comedian and voice actor Josh Robert Thompson.

Imahara portrayed Hikaru Sulu in all 11 episodes of the web series Star Trek Continues. This the only project of his that I have seen and I think that he did a fine job. He also played Lt. Masaru in the 2015 fan movie Star Trek Renegades. In 2014, Imahara appeared in a series of videos showing the behind the scenes process of how several McDonald’s foods are made. In 2015, he appeared in the TV movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! In December 2016, Imahara became engaged to his long-time girlfriend, costume designer Jennifer Newman. Imahara died on July 13, 2020, at the age of 49 as a result of a brain aneurysm.

RIP Richard Herd

American actor Richard Herd, best known for his role on Seinfeld, has died. He was 87. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Herd’s wife of 40 years, actor Patricia Crowder Herd, said that the actor died from cancer-related causes at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Herd is best known for playing Mr Wilhelm on the iconic NBC comedy series Seinfeld. The character was the supervisor to George Costanza (Jason Alexander) while he worked for the New York Yankees. His TV credits include Star Trek: Voyager, a regular part on the ABC cop drama T. J. Hooker, and a role in the 1983 alien invasion loans in mini series V.

All the President’s Men and The China Syndrome, were also some of his films. SAG-AFTRA also paid tribute to Herd. The labour union wrote alongside a Variety article announcing his death,”Mourning the loss of #sagaftramember Richard Herd, who entertained us in roles from ‘All the President’s Men’ to Seinfeld. Herd was a national board member for almost 10 years and served a 2-year term as SAG’s 3rd national vice president in 1999.” Herd was also a painter and made his own jewellery, in addition to his career in front of the camera. Herd is also survived by daughter Erica, son Rick, and stepdaughter Alicia.

He was well known in the science fiction community for his role in the 1983 NBC miniseries V and 1984 sequel V: The Final Battle, as John, the Visitors’ Supreme Commander. Other major roles in his career included recurring parts on the NBC series seaQuest DSV as Admiral William Noyce; on Star Trek: Voyager as Admiral Owen Paris, the father of helmsman Tom Paris; and as George Costanza’s boss Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeld. In two guest appearances on Quantum Leap, he played children’s show host “Captain Galaxy”, a would-be time traveler, and a miner named Ziggy Ziganovich. Herd has appeared at a number of fan conventions on the basis of his science fiction roles.

Star Trek : Strange New Words Announced

We seem to be getting a lot of Star Trek theses days on television even if the movie world has been let without a proper answer (as to will we see another Trek movie any time soon). Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be a fresh addition to the franchise. CBS All Access has announced a fifth new series called Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which will star Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The trio originally appeared in said roles on Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be set aboard the famed USS Enterprise a decade before Captain Kirk’s time — a similar starting point as Star Trek: Discovery — and follow the aforementioned three in Spock, Pike, and Number One as “they explore new worlds around the galaxy.”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds co-creator and executive producer Akiva Goldsman is also the writer on the first episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, off a story by Jenny Lumet, Kurtzman, and himself. Lumet, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth also serve as executive producers on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds in addition to Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Alonso Myers. Aaron Baiers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez will serve as co-executive producers. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a production of CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout, and Roddenberry Entertainment.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds joins an ever-growing list of Trek series on CBS All Access, alongside the aforementioned Star Trek: Discovery, which kicked things off in September 2017, followed by Star Trek: Picard in January 2020. Beyond that, we’ve the animated series, Star Trek: Lower Decks, from Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty), and the Michelle Yeoh-led spin-off series from Star Trek: Discovery writing duo Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt. And if we’re counting Trek for kids, there’s an animated series in the works at Nickelodeon as well.

There’s no word on a filming start date, let alone a release date, on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There’s also no word on the international platforms for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (CBS All Access is only available in the US, Australia, and Canada). Previous Trek shows are split between Netflix (Discovery) and Amazon Prime Video (Picard) in India.

Both Discovery and Picard share a highly serialized format, however, the new series set on Captain Pike’s U.S.S. Enterprise promises a return to classic Trek storytelling. In the announcement video from yesterday, Strange New Worlds star Anson Mount (Captain Pike) described the new series as a “classic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future.”

Here is what I want – more episodic and more optimism, Klingons, Vulcans, Andorians, Tellerites & Orions, no changing of cannon, stop messing with the Klingons, introduce new interesting alien races and perhaps bring them as recurring characters, cut out lens flares and finally and more importantly, bring back the excitement & fun elements.

RIP Jerry Stiller

Veteran actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who found fame on Broadway and later in the smash US show “Seinfeld” has died from natural causes aged 92, his son Ben Stiller said Monday. Stiller and his wife Anne Meara starred on the stage and TV in the 1960s, writing and performing comedy sketches and routines together. He later played George Costanza’s short-tempered father Frank on the smash TV show “Seinfeld”, for which he won the Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series at the American Comedy Awards in 1989. In 1997 he was nominated for an Emmy award for the same role. He also played Leah Remini’s father in the sitcom “The King of Queens” and starred alongside his son Ben in the “Zoolander” films.

“I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes,” his son said in a tweet. “He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years,” Stiller added. “He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.”  The eldest of four children, Stiller was born at Unity Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, to Bella (née Citron) and William Stiller, a bus driver. His family is Jewish. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Galicia (southeast Poland and western Ukraine), and his mother was born in Poland. He lived in the Williamsburg and East New York neighborhoods before his family moved to the Lower East Side, where he attended Seward Park High School.

Also in 1953, Stiller met actor-comedian Anne Meara, and they married in 1954. Until Stiller suggested it, Meara had never thought of doing comedy. “Jerry started us being a comedy team,” she said. “He always thought I would be a great comedy partner.” They joined the Chicago improvisational company The Compass Players (which later became The Second City), and after leaving, began performing together. In 1961, they were performing in nightclubs in New York, and by the following year were considered a “national phenomenon”, said the New York Times. Stiller played the short-tempered Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza in the sitcom Seinfeld from 1993 to 1998. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997, and won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series for his portrayal of Frank Costanza.

After Seinfeld ended, Stiller had planned on retiring. Kevin James asked him to join the cast of The King of Queens. James, who played the leading role of Doug Heffernan, had told Stiller that he needed him in order to have a successful show. Stiller agreed, and played the role of Arthur Spooner, the father of Carrie Heffernan, from 1998 until 2007. Stiller said this role tested his acting ability more than any others have and that, before being a part of The King of Queens, he only saw himself as a “decent actor.”

Stiller played himself in filmed skits, opening and closing Canadian rock band Rush’s 30th Anniversary Tour concerts in 2004. These appearances are seen on the band’s DVD R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, released in 2005. Stiller later appeared in cameos in later in-concert films for the band’s 2007–2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour. Stiller appeared on Dick Clark’s $10,000 Pyramid show in the 1970s, and footage of the appearance was edited into an episode of The King of Queens to assist the storyline about his character being a contestant on the show, but that after losing, he was bitter about the experience as he never received his parting gift, a lifetime supply of “Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat”. He also made several appearances on the game show Tattletales with his wife Anne.

RIP Brian Dennehy

Brian Manion Dennehy (July payday loans on line 9, 1938 – April 15, 2020) was an American actor of film, stage, and television. A winner of one Golden Globe, two Tony Awards and a recipient of six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, he gained initial recognition in film for his role as Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood (1982). He had roles in numerous films including Gorky Park (1983),  Silverado (1985),  Cocoon (1985),  F/X (1986),  Presumed Innocent (1990), Romeo + Juliet (1996), and Knight of Cups (2015). Dennehy won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Willy Loman in the television film Death of a Salesman (2000).

Dennehy a decades long relationship with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre where much of his playwright Eugene O’Neill work’s originated and was in several of them. He also regularly played Canada’s Stratford Festival, especially in works by William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett. One of his most well-known roles came in the 1995 Chris Farley-David Spade comedy Tommy Boy as Big Tom Callahan, where also was reunited with his 10 co-star Bo Derek. Dennehy began his professional acting career in small guest roles in such 1970s and 1980s series as Kojak, Lou Grant, Dallas, Dynasty, and Hunter. He also appeared in an episode of Miami Vice during the 1987–88 season. n 1992, he was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for his performance as John Wayne Gacy in To Catch a Killer, and was nominated that same year in a different category, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie, payday loan shop for The Burden of Proof.

Other Emmy nominations were for his work in A Killing in a Small TownMurder in the Heartland (1993) and for the Showtime cable TV movie Our Fathers (2005), which was about the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. In 2000, Dennehy was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for a television presentation of his performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman which he had performed on Broadway. The performance did, however, precipitate a Golden Globe Award. More recently Dennehy has several appearances as Elizabeth Keen’s grandfather on the NBC series The Blacklist.

Dennehy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps from 1958 to 1963, including a brief stint on Okinawa. He married twice and had five children including actress Elizabeth Dennehy. Dennehy died on April 15 2020, of cardiac arrest due to sepsis during a hospital stay in New Haven, Connecticut.