I don’t have many celebrity crushes. I think I’m too aware of not always getting what you see, especially with actors. Characters on the other hand… yeah, I crush on plenty of imaginary people. And they tend to have certain things in common.
The earliest crush I remember having is the Master. The perfect foil to Who’s Doctor, he was clever and witty, with a serving of snark for good measure. He was also a good antidote to the Doctor’s sometimes sanctimonious attitude. Because I’m Old School Who, my favourite incarnation of the Master is Roger Delgado, the first actor to portray him. Roger’s performances are fabulous, mixing charm with icy determination to create a villain audiences love to hate.
Moving on from the Master and Doctor Who, I was a fan of Buffy. My level of fan cranked up with the arrival of Spike. Though bleached blond hair doesn’t usually do anything for me, Spike’s blunt Britishness definitely appealed. He was almost constantly irritated and I loved that. Then there was the snark and a penchant for a long leather coat.
I don’t know why, but those things combined make my lady parts fizz.
Which leads me onto my next crush, and boy was this a biggun. Captain Bialar Crais. From the moment he stalked onto the bridge of his ship, I was a gonner. And then he spoke. Dear heaven, but that accent is sexy. He’d a lot of the things I liked going on actually – coat, accent, attitude, darkly exotic looks. And then the writers gave Crais a Tragic Backstory. His arc is probably one of the best in sci fi. He goes from manic villain through calculating ally to redeemed hero. Twelve years on and I’m still not over his rude exit.
Crais was the first character to interest me enough to write about. Doing that involved reading interviews with actor Lani Tupu, and the more I read, the more my crush grew to encompass him as well as the character. When there was a chance to meet him, I dived at it, even though it meant travelling all the way to Los Angeles. On my own. But it also meant having the opportunity to chat and he was as lovely as I expected him to be. I still follow him on Facebook.
The other sci fi show I was into at the same time as Farscape, was Stargate SG-1. Not having the same emotional attachment (I was in love with Crais and have never watched beyond his death), I’ve rewatched the whole thing over and over. I guess that’s how it started. The clue should have been in finding the later episodes more appealing, but it literally didn’t hit me until Samantha Carter hit him. I can’t even tell you how many times I’d seen The Quest before, but this one day, watching Baal sprawl in the dirt with a bloodied nose, something clicked.
Going back over older episodes, there were indicators as to why – he fitted the Certain Type. Heck, Baal embodied the Certain Type. Darkly handsome, witty, intelligent, snarky as hell, penchant for leather and destruction. When I caught Ex Deus Machina for the first time, with the building that was actually a bomb (literally – the walls were imbued with explosives), I was lost.
Baal is a really fun villain to watch. He has moments of utter genius (see above) and ones where I wonder what the heck he’s thinking. As he becomes a sort of ally to SG-1, he develops a skewed sense of humour and the ability to go about the right thing completely the wrong way. Trying to unify the Jaffa by brainwashing members sticks out fairly well as an example. Even in the post-series movie Continuum, his main reason for subjegating Earth was to save it from the rest of the Goa’uld System Lords.
The way Cliff Simon played him is incredible. I rewatch and rewatch and still find new layers. EDM was on just the other day and I realised the Baal clone goads the Jaffa into killing him because that was always going to be the end result and that way he’s not being tortured into giving answers.
That clearly indicates I’m not over this crush yet. I doubt I ever will be.
When it comes to science fiction, it seems that the human race does two things. The first is explore and discover new life. The second is to, in the words of the Doctor, dance with it. Almost every sci fi TV show (and a fair few novels) include the existence of a pleasure planet, though there is often a rotten core beneath the glossy exterior.
The planet orbits several stars and its climate is controlled by a weather modification network, with the natural climate being extremely violent. Risians are extremely open and will freely share their planet, and even themselves (again with the dancing), with visitors; a practice known as “Jamaharon”.
The original series of Battlestar Galactica had Carillon as its pleasure planet, and was the first series to hint that pleasure didn’t always equal perfect. Beneath the casino with its scantily-clad girls and free-flowing alcohol were mines staffed by enslaved aliens.
The management of Carillon were also in the back pocket of the Cylons, with both staff and visitors often going “missing”. Not that nice a place after all, then.
In Stargate SG-1’s The Light, the team are sent to a planet to investigate the death of another team’s member and discover a pleasure temple. One room contains a mesmerizing light display that induces narcotic pleasure.
The problems start when they leave – their brain physiology has been affected, with the result that withdrawal symptoms leave them suicidal. Worse, the changes affect the brain directly and Daniel Jackson ends up dead. Again.
And finally, since I started with a mention of Doctor Who, I’m ending on an episode. Midnight (both name of the planet and episode title) is a world with an atmosphere of lethal radiation that kills humans instantly. But it’s made of diamonds and has several sites of natural beauty, so the obvious thing to do is build a spa there. Of course.
On a trip to see the Sapphire Waterfall, the shuttle is waylaid by a malevolent presence which takes over one of the passengers and results in four people dying. The events on Midnight are one of the few the Doctor cannot explain, nor does the viewer discover what attacked the ship or why. It’s unclear if the spa continued to run or if Midnight was then abandoned, but something evil waits out in the beautiful diamond fields so perhaps they should.
So pleasure planets… great on paper, but not always all they’re advertised to be. Feel free to explore new worlds and discover new civilisations, feel free to dance, but be careful of what lies beneath… sometimes they’re only pretty on the outside *cue creepy music*
Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.