Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Star Trek vs. Batman (Trivia Answer)

Trivia Question from Yesterday:

There were a number of notable actors who gave their voice talents to Batman: The Animated Series including at least 7 from the Star Trek films and movies. Can you name them all? Hint: As far as I know TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY are represented as well as at least two actors from the movies.


The Riddler (voiced by John Glover)


Played Verad Dax in DS9’s “Invasive Procedures”


Leslie Thompkins (voiced by Diana Muldaur)


She’s actually been in two Star Trek series TOS and TNG. Her TOS episodes were “Return To Tomorrow” and more notably “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”


But she’s probably best known (if not best loved) for her role as Dr. Katherine Pulaski on Season 2 of The Next Generation. Personally I like her McCoy-like personality in the TNG-verse and think she’s underrated.


Red Claw (voiced by Kate Mulgrew). This one I didn’t know till I saw it on the Wikipedia page for Batman.


Even before she was the first female Captain in a Star Trek show, Kathryn Janeway was a tough lady.


And now she’s Red again (in Orange is the New Black).


How colorful.

Ra’s al Ghul (voiced by David Warner)


Portrayed Chancellor Gorkon in my favorite Star Trek movie “The Undiscovered Country”.


As well as Gul Madred in the two-part TNG episode “Chain of Command”. There are four lights!


Also he played an ambassador in Star Trek V, but that’s best forgotten.

Mr. Freeze (voiced by Michael Ansara)


Portrayed Kang in TOS and DS9.


But not this Kang.


Lucius Fox (voiced by Brock Peters)


Played Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek IV and VI.


As well as Captain Sisko’s father Joseph in DS9.


Dr. March (voiced by Rene Auberjonois). He appears in the first animated series episode “On Leather Wings”


And all the time on DS9 as Constable Odo.


Never looks very happy.

Can you name any more that I’ve missed?


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Memories of an X-Millennial: Batman – The Animated Series

So I thought a good irregular feature here on the blog would be talking about something I remember from my childhood in the 90’s and looking into how it holds up now, as a guy in my 30’s. I’ll admit to owning more than my fair share of 90’s media on DVD and reading and watching things that are “technically” too young for me.

A word about the term X-Millennial. I’ve spoken before about not really feeling part of either Gen X or the Millennials. Technically speaking I’m probably a Millennial, though I’m not what most people think of when the use the term. And I’m not alone. There’s a group of us who have some of the values of the X’ers, and the idealism of the Mille’s. I’ve heard this called the “Oregon Trail” generation, but I’m trying on a new term today.

First up in the wayback machine … Batman – The Animated Series

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia this show ran from 1994-1995 (producing about 90 episodes), but I know it was in re-runs for years after that.

This show defined my early perception of the character and tone of Batman and his rogues gallery. It’s been pointed out to me that Joker is a little more impotent than his comic book form, the WB show didn’t allow for the depiction of murder which is kinda Joker’s thing. But any loss in tone is more than made up for in Mark Hamill’s gleeful performance. It’s not a coincidence that most of this voice cast showed up in the popular Batman games of the last few years starting with Arkham Asylum.

Watching the episodes now I can feel what might be perceived today as slow pacing in a couple of episodes, but this seems reflective of the Batman titles of the era. Indeed this was my first introduction to some classic tales by Frank Miller, Marv Wolfman and Max Allen Collins without even knowing it. I tend to favor a more light-hearted dark knight, without descending into full Adam West absurdity. We definitely see Batman’s angst in movies like Mask of the Phantasm and encounters with The Scarecrow. Guilt over believing he has broken his code of not killing it was destroys a Batman robot duplicate (from some of my favorite episodes involving the robo-cloning computer HARDAC).

My favorite episodes still are Blind as a Bat in which a temporarily blinded Batman must face off against the Penguin, the aforementioned HARDAC episodes particularly His Silicon Soul which features robot-Batman, the whole Mr. Freeze saga (starting with Heart of Ice), Harley and Ivy featuring the Joker’s girlfriend (sort of) teaming up with Poison Ivy on their own crime spree free of men.

Watching these again I don’t think I realized how many recurring characters and elements ran in the background, particularly Rupert Thorne and the gangster elements. The origins of most rogues are told, notably Harvey Dent as DA and eventual turn to Two-Face. The show isn’t just a series of one-off adventures, but does build on one comes before.

Overall, these are good as remember them, maybe not as good as some of the best of the comics, but they hold their own nonetheless. And despite some deliberate pacing, there are other storylines that are told more tightly and dramatically than serial comics can manage.

Trivia Question: There were a number of notable actors who gave their voice talents to this show including at least 7 from the Star Trek films and movies. Can you name them all? Hint: As far as I know TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY are represented as well as at least two actors from the movies.


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Digging through the archives

Sometimes when I think of something and wonder where it is, I won’t be satisfied until I’ve located it. Just the other day I wasn’t sure where my bathrobe was and was convinced I had left it in some cabin in the Smoky Mountains on one of our vacations a year or two ago (it was in fact hanging on the back of my office door).

I also got to thinking about some old code for games I used to write for my old TI-83. I’m not sure if any of the younger of you are still required to buy graphing calculators, or if all that sort of thing can be done by tablets now, but I had to buy one and used it in most of my classes. These calculators supported a stripped down version of BASIC, one of the earliest computer languages, meaning you could write programs for them.

We used to pass around games that we wrote, some better than others. A popular one involved selling (or taking?) drugs and trying to avoid getting arrested by the cops or killed off by rival gangs (which one of my friends somehow adapted into a Star Wars game involving midichlorians). My focus tended to be on Star Trek or other space related games, as well as adapting some card or board games. I had a version of Set (solitaire), Mastermind and even Karma (you might know it as ‘asshole’) which involved three hidden cards, three cards face up, and three cards in your hand. I also wrote a fair bit of fractal programs, math aids and even a planner (I’d forgotten about that one actually).

But my “greatest achievement” was a year long project for a Star Trek game. It was loosely based on the structure of Star Trek 25th Anniversary and was broken up into episodes, each following the chain of a longer story, with battle sequences interspersed in between. The game became so large that I actually had to take out most of the in-game text and place it in a separate file (a trick I’d learned from playing old Interplay games like the Lord of the Rings or Wasteland). It was this I wanted to find, as the original code and the text were in long lost computer files of which I only had one printout, stored in a duct taped binder in one of the many boxes in the downstairs archive (i.e. metal shelves with boxes piled high to the ceiling, not unlike the end of Raiders of the lost Ark). My wife actually helped me on this one, locating this particular binder full of papers amongst so many others wasn’t the easiest of tasks.

What was funny about looking through it was that even though I found the writing terribly embarrassing, the code actually looked pretty good. There were projects I had started back then I didn’t even remember, the aforementioned planner as well as a stopwatch, as well as several other space projects.

I was digging some of this up because as a mental hobby I’ve been designing a natural language parsing language and basic game structure for old text based adventure games, of which my Star Trek game mostly falls in. I thought it would be fun to adapt the old code, and give it a real functional treatment beyond the one or two people who played my battle simulator. And I’ve been looking for projects to try on an Android Tablet like my board and card games. In other words, programming for fun and play. Text adventures especially fascinate me in that they combine the things I like most, writing and gaming, though some of the early ones are brutally hard, and still shoehorned the player down a single storyline (though if you have the time you really should play the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

Old code and old game styles still have a lot to teach us. Text adventures can serve as a way for a writer to explore many possible avenues of the same story, and the mental puzzles of trying to design a good card playing AI are just as fun on the tablet as they were on the calculator.

Given how busy I am, the binder is likely to sit in my bag for a while untouched (except to scan it), but it feels good having the old code around. Some people find their old work embarrassing, but for me I have always felt at my best when I got back to the things I’ve loved, just with the experience of years. This was true for the fractal book, it’s true for some of my stories like Atlantia, and maybe it’ll be true for this stuff too.

What have you dug up of yours lately that you haven’t thought about in years?

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