Five Favorite Geeky Romantic Moments

Some of My Favorite Romatic Moments © Sophie Brown
Some of My Favorite Romatic Moments © Sophie Brown

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary so I’ve been thinking a lot about romance lately. If someone asked you to think of romantic moments from film and TV the chances are that most people will immediately think of traditional “romantic” scenes. The final dance in Dirty Dancing? The factory scene from An Officer and a Gentleman? Jack drawing Rose in Titanic?

Our geeky favorites might not be known for their romance but there are some stunningly romantic moments in science fiction, fantasy, and other nerd genres. Here are some of my favorites, but be warned, here be spoilers.

Doctor Who – Amy leaves the Doctor for the slim chance of spending her life with Rory
At the very end of “The Angels Take Manhattan” Rory is sent back in time by a weeping angel and due to a long and convoluted set of circumstances, the TARDIS is unable to go to the time and place where he has been sent. Amy makes the decision to give up traveling through time and space with the Doctor on the rather slim chance that allowing the angel to send her back too will mean that she and Rory will be together again. In that moment she effectively gives up all of time and space (not to mention her best friend) on the tenuous chance at being reunited with Rory. If you can ignore the gaping plot hole it’s an incredibly romantic yet devastating moment that shows the connection between husband and wife.

Agent K © Amblin Entertainment
Agent K © Amblin Entertainment

Men in Black – Agent K uses a satellite to see his wife
While Men in Black is primarily a comedy, one moment in the middle of the film stands out for its sudden and deeply heartfelt look at Agent K’s pre-MiB life. In a quiet moment at the office, K logs onto the MiB satellite network and zooms in on a house to watch a lady gardening. Although it is not explained until later exactly who she is, K’s expression is unmistakable and we see him swallow hard as he watches for just a few moments until work comes calling again. It is this moment that sets up the emotional resolution of the film when K gives his speech to J at the film’s finale. If you can get over just how creepy that whole real-time video feed from space truly is, and how convenient it is that his wife just happens to be outside at that precise moment then it’s unbelievably sweet.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two – Bella shows Edward her memories
I can practically hear the eye rolling from here. Yes Twilight is the epitome of cheesy romantic set-plays, the honeymoon montage being especially cringe-worthy, but there is one moment from the saga that stands out as a genuinely romantic scene that wouldn’t be out of place in many superhero movies. The final scene of the final movie showed Bella enveloping Edward within her mental shield so he could finally read her mind; she then shows him a selection of her favorite memories from their lives together from the moment they first laid eyes on each other to their wedding and the birth of their daughter. There’s something incredibly intimate about allowing someone inside your mind and showing them your own memories and emotions of an event; after all, we all know how insufficient words are at expressing the true depth of our feelings. “Now you know,” Bella tells him when the weight of their shared emotions is too much and the connection breaks.

Mulder & Scully play Baseball © Fox
Mulder & Scully play Baseball © Fox

The X-Files – Mulder teaches Scully to play baseball
By the show’s sixth season, Mulder and Scully’s relationship was on a definite (if slow) road from platonic to romantic. “The Unnatural” is possibly one of the worst episodes of the show ever made, but it is saved by its finale in which Mulder invites Scully to a baseball field at night and teaches her how to hit. It is a perfect example of the kind of romantic tension that epitomized the show, as Mulder’s hands are all over Scully but in a totally non-sexual way as he guides her through her swing (the scene made the phrase “hips before hands” a mantra to fans). However there is a deeper meaning to the scene than Mulder using the lesson an an excuse to touch Scully; we see him choosing to share something of great personal meaning to himself—baseball—with her. It’s wonderful to see these two characters who go through so much turmoil in an average episode looking so utterly carefree as Scully grins and laughs her way through the whole scene.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Liz Saves Hellboy but Condemns Humanity
The second Hellboy film is so packed full of romantic moments that the whole thing should really be filed under “romantic comedies” rather than comic books or fantasy or wherever it is that rental stores (those that still exist) do file it. I love the scene where the dulcet tones of Barry Manilow waft through the corridors of B.P.R.D. but for me the standout romantic moment came later in the film. When Hellboy is mortally wounded by a piece of Nuada’s spear, Liz, Abe and Krauss take him to County Antrim in Ireland where Liz pleads for his life before the Angel of Death. Despite being warned that allowing him to live will doom humanity and that she will suffer the most from this action, Liz admits that she cannot live without him and asks the Angel to heal him anyway. The Angel does so but says that Liz must supply the final piece of the process by giving Hellboy a reason to live, at which point she reveals that she is pregnant. It’s a deeply emotional, if also deeply selfish, scene.

Here are a few more honorable mentions from others:

In Bleach when Ichigo is able to save Rukia in the first story arc in the Soul Society, and Renji grabs her from execution, running down the long stairs. He talks to her, while she clings to him, and speaks words of dedication. My heart swelled. – GeekMom Rebecca

The bit in Battlestar Galactica where Laura Roslin gets back from the cylon ship and Adama meets her and he says “missed you”’ and she says “me too” and then they hug and she says “I love you” and he says “about time.” – Kelly Froggat

In X-Men 2 when Wolverine says, “I could be the good guy.” Tragically romantic. Sigh. – GeekMom Rebecca


They Were In What? Seventeen Actors Whose Other Roles You Forgot

Binge-watching older shows and digging up movies on Netflix inevitably leads to the same question. Who is that guy? Sometimes they’re easy—The Outsiders might as well be re-released as “Everybody Before They Were Famous.” But more often than not, I’m left running for IMDB. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • What’s Channing Tatum not in lately? (Speaking of which, you should absolutely see This Is The End.) Back in 2000, before stripping, Jump Street, or G.I. Joe, he was in Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” video. I don’t blame you if you didn’t watch it in 2000 and don’t want to watch it now. I took that bullet and grabbed a screenshot of his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role for you. No, it won’t be any clearer if you go watch it yourself. Here he is:

    Screenshot from 2013-07-16 21:01:09
    Screencap, “She Bangs” video
  • Oh, sequels. Why quit when you’re still making money, right? Or when you can give us one of Jack Black’s first roles, which he had in The Neverending Story III as leader of The Nasties:
  • This one will win you the bonus round at trivia night someday. Mary Badham, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, also stars in the final episode of the original Twilight Zone.
  • We all know about Luke Perry and Pee-Wee Herman being in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. But that’s not all. A spry Ben Affleck was a basketball player (#10 if you go looking for him). Ricki Lake was in there too, and Seth Green was a vampire (not a werewolf!) in a scene that got cut.
  • I have fond memories of Ryan Reynolds’ days on Two Guys and a Girl, long before he was… well, Ryan Reynolds. But even before that, when the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV show was piloted as a TV movie, he was there as cute high school boy Seth with some very Zack-Morris hair. Lucky Melissa Joan Hart!
  • While we’re in the 90s, think back to 1995’s A Kid in King Arthur’s Court. Do you remember Master Kane? Or should I say, “Kane, Master Kane,” since that was Daniel Craig? And of course, there was also Kate Winslet as Princess Sarah, two years before Titanic.
  • Remember Corky, the brother with Down syndrome on Life Goes On? Chris Burke, who played him, was one of the zombies in the “Thriller” video.
  • Rick Springfield—you know, as in, “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl”?—was also a soap star, playing Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital in the early 80s and periodically thereafter. But what younger geeks might not know is that he played Zac in Saga of a Star World, which became the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica.
  • Before he was snotty Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones, Jack Gleeson was rescued by Batman in Batman Begins:
  • Dennis Christopher is one of those Guys You Keep Seeing, so I won’t even suggest which it is you recognize him from. Most recently he was Calvin Candie’s lawyer Leonide Moguy in Django Unchained. His list also includes Cyrus Vail in Angel, one Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, one of Enterprise, and Eddie in It.
  • Speaking of It—another one of those movies that has quite a cast, especially in retrospect—I never could stop seeing Clark’s mom on Smallville as anything but Beverly from It. Seth Green played the younger version of Harry Anderson’s character. Sneezy/Mr. Clark from Once Upon a Time (Gabe Khouth) was in it, and he was voices in Dragonball Z, InuYasha the Movie, and He-Man and Masters of the Universe. Olivia Hussey, whom you recall not from It, but as Juliet from that 1968 Romeo and Juliet you watched in high school, is also the voice of Talia Al Ghul in Batman Beyond.
  • Marc Vann, whom you may know as Conrad Ecklie from CSI, started his career with a few episodes of Early Edition in 1996. On Angel, he was the surgeon who resurrected Illyria, and on Lost, the doctor on the supply freighter owned by Charles Widmore. More recently we saw him in two episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day.
  • Sophie Aldred, known to geeks as Ace, companion to Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor, was also the voice of Muck in the American version of Bob the Builder for a while. She told the Derby Telegraph in 2010 that this British children’s show was re-recorded for the US market to have a more familiar accent and to change words like “football” to “soccer.” “I don’t say ‘let’s get mucky,'” she gave as a more humorous example. “I say ‘let’s get muddy’ because apparently ‘mucky’ has connotations over there.”

Finally, a bonus, non-human “played two roles”: In Super Mario, the clouds and the bushes are identical, but one’s white and one’s green.

Giveaway: Hallmark Keepsake Ornament, Recordable Storybook and Text Bands!

TIE Interceptor, Image: Hallmark

Once again Hallmark is debuting some fantastic new Keepsake ornaments at San Diego Comic-Con from July 11th-15th in San Diego, California.

This year they’ll have three very limited edition ornaments for sale at the convention. If you’re lucky enough to attend, then you’ll have a chance at 4-LOM and Zuckuss (Star Wars), A Human Hero (The Dark Knight Rises) and Cylon Centurion (Battlestar Galactica). The runs of each are limited 1000, 875 and 750 with prices from $25 to $35 so if you want these you better head to their booth in the Lucasfilm Pavilion first thing.

While you’re there, you’ll also get a sneak peek at some of the ornaments planned for 2013, get free autographs from one of the artists behind 4-LOM and Zuckuss and meet Bob Holt, the creator of hoops&yoyo. Can’t make it to San Diego Comic-Con? All is not lost. Hallmark is offering a special Comic-Con Gift Pack to one lucky GeekMom reader who will get a pair of the new Hallmark Text Bands and their choice of one Keepsake Ornament and one Recordable Storybook from a select list.

Continue reading Giveaway: Hallmark Keepsake Ornament, Recordable Storybook and Text Bands!

Her Universe Cyber Monday Deals, New Products

Ltd Edition Yoda Pin, Image: Her Universe

If you’re a serious holiday shopper then you’ve likely made a list of sites to visit on Cyber Monday. There are so many deals and special limited time offers that it’s a little tough to keep track of it all. Well, there’s one site that you really must add to your list. Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and founder of the Her Universe clothing line, is set to unveil new products and special offers for all us geek girls.

On Monday, November 28th, check out Her Universe for new items representing Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13 and Eureka. Ashley is a genuine geek girl and has made appearances at San Diego Comic-Con and Star Wars Weekends to showcase her products.  Now she’s giving you the chance to have your very own Battlestar Galactica pajama set, or maybe a Eureka tote bag or even a hoodie designed by Star Wars artist Cat Staggs.

You can also get your hands on the limited edition Yoda pin (pictured above) along with a card signed by Ashley if you’re one of the first five hundred orders placed on Cyber Monday and you can take advantage of free shipping on orders of $40.00 or more. While you’re shopping for the geek girls on your list, don’t forget to pick out a few things for yourself and let everyone know just what their favorite GeekMom wants to unwrap this year.

Sci-Fi, Where Are You?

Mal and Kaylee at NYCC, Image: Nicole Wakelin

Several years ago we ditched cable because it seemed we were getting more reality shows than anything else and paying a ridiculous amount for the privilege. Instead we stream the shows we want to see and even paying by the episode for a few still puts us ahead of our old cable bill. Usually, we have more than enough to keep us busy, but this year, sadly, we have not found an “it” show. Worse, we don’t have a sci-fi show in our queue at all. What happened to sci-fi television?

I should be clear that I am talking spaceships and aliens and not just shows with an “out there” theme. I am a big fan of Fringe, but it does not involve space travel. There are no new planets or green-skinned aliens so it doesn’t count. Same with Terra Nova which, honestly, I am only half interested in to begin with because it’s just Jurassic Park revised. No space ships there, although that big thing they walked through to go back in time was a Stargate if ever there was one.

No, what I want is a Battlestar Galactica, a Firefly, a Star Trek. Heck, it doesn’t have to be remotely related to a franchise that already exists as long as it gets us off of planet Earth and on to planet-not-yet-discovered. What happened to those shows? Why have they forsaken us?

Perhaps it’s Sci Fi Channel becoming SyFy that started the downward trend. If even the network that is supposed to be the go-to place for science fiction decides it doesn’t want to be that anymore, then you know the genre is headed for trouble. At this point, I’d take reruns of Lost in Space like they used to air when the network was new. Those shiny, silver spacesuits were so cool. I wanted one. Okay, I still want one.

I suppose I will have to be content with the huge amount of older sci-fi that can be streamed. Re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation has gotten my kids completely hooked which makes me happy. I also found a little gem in The Captains, a movie documentary that is a touching look at the people who brought the Star Trek captains to life, courtesy of William Shatner. And there are those Firefly DVDs that I haven’t broken out in awhile.

It looks like I’m out of luck this season and will have to resort to old favorites to get my fix of spaceships and aliens. Maybe next year the networks will remember there are plenty of viewers who love sci-fi and that we’d really like to have a new favorite show. So say we all!

Get Your Geek On With A New Set of Action Figures

Image: BifBangPow from

Bif Bang Pow!, the company that brought us the 2010 SDCC Exclusive Henchman 21 figure, have teamed up with NBCUniversal Television for their next line. Based on Battlestar Galactica — the classic, not the new series — they will produce bobbleheads and articulated action figures in the “Mego” style, pictured above, that was popular in the ’70s and ’80s. What makes this different than any other release? Well, for me the highlight would be the  episode-specific fabric clothing that takes it to a whole new level. I’ve watched action figures roll off the shelves with slight interest for years: my father owns a toy store with a focus on Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and the like, and it was always the companies that went the extra mile that intrigued me the most. Black-haired Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the Slytheen from Doctor Who. Specifics, and not generalities, take my interest, and so I find this new line appealing. The fact that all involved seem equally excited is just icing on the cake.

Battlestar Galactica continues to be one of our most enduring franchises and we’re very happy to be working with Bif Bang Pow! to bring the classic versions of these iconic characters to diehard collectors everywhere,” said Chris Lucero, Director of Global Licensing for NBCUniversal Television.  “Fans have been demanding new toys and collectibles from the classic series for years and together with our partners at Bif Bang Pow!, we can now respond with a very enthusiastic, ‘by your command!'”

Give Geeks a Chance

Even Boba Fett Needs Friends, Image: Kristen Catalano

Not every person that calls themselves a Nerd or a Geek has been an outcast. We weren’t all the last one picked for the team in gym or the only one without a date to the big dance. We didn’t all wear thick black glasses held together with tape, or play video games, or read comics, or play DnD. But, for most of us, there has been a moment when we didn’t quite fit in with everyone else.

It might have happened during a show of enthusiasm for something we love. Plenty of people like Star Wars, but get too excited, chatter too much about how you and your friends cheered when the opening credits rolled, and you’ve outed yourself as a geek. Adults will give you a funny look then quickly check themselves (as you check your enthusiasm) and move on to a safer topic. Kids, well, we all know how unkind kids can be to one another.

I’ve learned to ignore the funny look when it’s cast in my direction. Go ahead and laugh as I wax poetic about the Millennium Falcon or the crush I had on Dirk Benedict when he was Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. Roll your eyes when I say my favorite toys were action figures, especially the Spock with a little button on his back that made his fingers split into the Vulcan greeting.

Popeye had it right. I am what I am.

One of the most difficult parts of being a geek, though, is not dealing with the people who don’t get you, but finding the people who do. It’s hard to open up and let someone see who you are with the hope of discovering a kindred soul. There’s no guarantee you won’t get that funny look, although we all hope beyond hope that we’ll get a smile of understanding instead.

We’ve all taken that risk and as a result we have friends we’d otherwise never have met. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. But what if we hadn’t been given the chance? What if you walked in to that room full of cosplayers, or Browncoats, or gamers and they’d all snubbed their noses and not given you a chance to fit in? It’s one thing to be snubbed by everyday people, but it’s entirely different when they’re people just like you.

So the next time you’re hanging out with your friends at a convention, or a movie, or a comic store, and someone tries to join your conversation, remember, they’re taking a risk. You have the choice of giving them a chance or snubbing them because you have the upper hand. Remember though, you wouldn’t be standing their with your circle friends if they hadn’t once upon a time taken a chance on you.

10 Shows I Wish I Could Watch Again for the First Time

Omar Little, arguably one of the best TV characters of all time. Unless I find a time machine, I'll never be surprised by him again. Image:

Wire Inspire, a funny Tumblr of inspiration posters about The Wire, has been making the rounds. Some of the entries are very funny (see: “Next time you finish off the box, you need to holler on it, yo.”) but it leaves me feeling wistful. You see, I recently finished watching the series on DVD. I missed it when it first aired, but then I read this quote from Henry Jenkins: “The Wire may be the best television show inside the box,while Lost may be the best show outside the box.” Being a huge fan of Lost, that put me over the tipping point to make it through the brutal early episodes to really understand the gritty appeal of the show.

I’d say that my husband and I whipped through all five seasons of The Wire on DVD, but we had to take a break between seasons to emotionally recover, so real are the characters. I needed an extra long break after season 4, which continues to haunt me even now. After we watched the final episode, I found myself wishing I could watch the whole series again. For the first time. I want to watch it again not knowing what will come next.

Then I started thinking about all of the other shows I’d love to watch again for the first time.

  • Lost. This one goes without saying, doesn’t it? We need our collective memories wiped of the final season to be able to go back and watch the earlier episodes.
  • Battlestar Galactica. Like Lost, what came later in the series clouds the rewatching of earlier episodes. You don’t want to know who’s a Cylon!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember seeing the musical episode at a friend’s house before I’d ever seen another episode. To see that episode not knowing what’s coming would be worth building a time machine for.
  • Alias. Well, the first couple seasons anyway, before the show went off the Rambaldi rails and before Sydney’s friends found out she was a spy.
  • Heroes. Boy, talk about going off the rails. Wouldn’t you love to see season 1 with fresh eyes again, though?
  • Mad Men. Don Draper seems letchier when you watch the shows more than once, knowing the breadth of his affairs. The silver lining is that we’ll have new episodes of this one (eventually).
  • Strangers With Candy. Sure the bizarro Amy Sedaris comedy holds up to repeated viewings, but some of the gags are funniest when you don’t know they’re coming.
  • Six Feet Under. The Fishers are one of my favorite TV families of all time, but I haven’t brought myself to rewatch the series. I think it will be too emotionally draining to watch their drama unfold a second time.
  • Twin Peaks. Duh. We know who killed Laura Palmer.

I’m about to start watching Breaking Bad, which, if it’s as good as people say, will likely find a spot on this list.

What’s on your list? What shows would you like to have erased from your memory to see them for the first time?

A Late Viewing of Battlestar Galactica

Image: Wikipedia

Similar to Jenn having never watched Firefly, I never saw the new Battlestar Galactica.

My best friend found out and immediately lent me her DVDs of the series. It took me a while to get started, but once I did, I was sucked in.

I’m not sure why I didn’t start watching BSG earlier, but I think it is because I missed the beginning on TV. It’s hard to come into the middle of a series that should be watched from the beginning.

I had been meaning to watch it since it seemed like something I would like. Plus, I attend Dragon*Con, and there always seems to be a lot of BSG guests at Dragon*Con. So, I found that once I started watching, it was hard to stop.

I recently finished the series, and I thought it was excellent. Even season 3, which many people do not like, I enjoyed. Though there was that brief “what the heck is going on” at the beginning of season 3. The end wraps things up nicely, with some surprises in there.

If you haven’t watched this series before, I would recommend it highly. I would caution that if you do, don’t wiki anything. I made that mistake several times, and got spoiled several times. It didn’t change my enjoyment of the show though.

Next on my list of shows that I wish I was already watching but never started is Dr. Who. I have the first season of the new series that I’ll be starting next.

Juggling Being A Mom While Keeping Your Own Identity

Image: Mandy Horetski

Being a mom is hard, but sometimes retaining your identity as a person can be harder.

As soon as I found out I was going to have a baby, I wanted to be the best mom I could be. But I also wanted to retain who I was as a person.

I’ve been a geek all my life, and I really wanted to retain that part of me after I became a mom. I’ve managed to do so, but I never realized how hard it was going to be.

My days are now mostly focused on my toddler, and I find that I watch more  cartoons than sci-fi shows (though I am currently trying to watch my way through Battlestar Galactica). Some days I struggle to remember that I’m a Mandy person and not just a Mandy Mom.

Yesterday, I got to go to a local con without my toddler and then I got to go to a going away party without my toddler, and it was awesome! It’s really something I haven’t done a long time and it reminded me that I really do need breaks away from my child.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. But it was really nice to get out of the house and not have to worry what mischief my daughter is getting into, or worrying about leaving because she’s tired.

What do you do to get a break from your kids?