Friday Open Thread

Friday Open Thread

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Who is the worst star pilot in the history of Science fiction?

In theory, any landing you walk away from is a good one.

And I guarantee you there is no crew chief in the existence of all time and space who would agree with that.

In truth star pilots have it kind of tough. They appear to get less training than a kamikaze and their ships were seemingly built by the 1970s United Auto Workers on a Monday.

Almost any of them that takes the stick has one wreck on his record. The great Luke Skywalker had two (on-screen anyway). Even his old man, “the best star pilot in the galaxy” had one.

Clearly and obviously some kind of filter needed to be applied. I decided to adopt the John McCain standard. There needed to be at least three crashes to make the list.

Unfortunately, that whittled things down a little too much. I was left with only three pilots, too few to make an article.

But here are the meager results.

Demonstrating the diligence and assiduous attention to preflight safety procedures that got him on this list

Alan Carter (Space 1999)

4 crashes

This blonde Australian stick jock had 4 crashes where he was the pilot in command. Although he had 2 more as co-pilot but I didn’t count those because they rightfully belong to the all-star champion worst pilot on this list. The odd thing about Carter was that you always had the feeling he would have preferred to have been flying drunk. And that maybe if he had still had a steady supply of Fosters available he wouldn’t have landed on this list at all.

Of course, he had to crash land. He couldn’t put a Viper on the deck any other damn way.

Lt Starbuck (OG Battlestar Galactica)

6 crashes

Starbuck’s completely undeserved self-adulation makes his number two slot on this list particularly stinging. Alpha males define themselves by their high status and are constantly sniffing the wind for any threat to that status.  But that usually means they are good at the thing they pin their status to.  Starbuck lived in an ironclad delusion bubble, one that proved completely impenetrable to the ravages of reality.  His sky-high opinion of his talent remained undented no matter how much wreckage he left in his wake.  His final crash ended his career as a pilot, not by death or injury but by the fact that he was out of range of pickup.  He appears to have ended his days alone on a desert planet. Unable to crash any more ships, he is locked in at number two.*

Which brings us to our number one.

Drumroll, please.

The winner of the worst pilot in the history of science fiction is…

The look on Carter’s face says it all. Oh no, not again!

Cmdr John Koenig (Space 1999)

7 crashes

Bane of crew chiefs and mishap investigators alike, John Koenig’s career of carnage started out strong, auguring in the very first time we see him get behind the stick.  You remember that thing about any crash you walk away from being a good one?  He frequently didn’t.  He would crash, die, get resurrected, and come back for more his commands precious few remaining Eagles.  They only had 29 when they got blasted out of orbit, to begin with.  There were only 11 left when the show got canceled.  The only reason he kept getting cleared to fly despite what must have been a crippling vestibular problem is that he was banging the base’s chief medical officer.

John Koenig, ladies, and gentlemen.  The worst pilot in science fiction. 

*Truth be said, death by isolation dementia is a pretty rough way to clock out.  And I will grant that this was the ONLY good episode of Galactica 1980.

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Comments (32)

  • David Reply

    This is hilarious. It reminds of Captain Leo Davidson (played by Mark Wahlberg) in Planet of the Apes. He can’t make your list because he only crashes twice, but that was two for two, he never landed properly. And in comparison, his co-worker and fellow pilot, the ordinary chimpanzee Pericles, makes a perfect three point landing during the movie. In fairness to Wahlberg and the script, they do set that up and explain it properly. At the beginning of the movie, Captain Leo complains that he isn’t getting any flight time and his commanding officer replies that it is too dangerous which is why they are still using chimpanzees for now. So Pericles is just the better pilot because he has more flight hours.

    January 14, 2022 at 6:26 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      It says a lot about OG Starbuck’s career that the reboot had to have its Starbuck crash on a planet too. Although, they did show just how bad of a situation crashing on an alien planet would be. And then she was laid-up for a few episodes afterward.

      January 14, 2022 at 6:45 pm
  • jaericho Reply

    After seeing all the crappy Trek being produced these days, I had an idea that might be fun to see: a movie-style version of the Battle of Narendra III. The battle where the Enterprise-C is destroyed saving a Klingon outpost from the Romulans. Narendra III is kind of like Trek’s version of Rogue One: tragic heroes on a suicide mission. Drag out the battle a bit to have the Klingons fight/die along side the Federation, then show the Klingon Empire start to see the Federation in a new light.

    Just skip any mention of Yesterday’s Enterprise and it might work (so long as no one who currently works on any modern Trek touches it.)

    January 14, 2022 at 6:47 pm
    • Robert W Reply

      Who would direct this effectively these days? It sounds like it would capture a lot of nostalgia from The Undiscovered Country, and that’s a good thing.

      January 14, 2022 at 7:22 pm
      • jaericho Reply

        ST6 is one of my favorites: Klingons and Shakespeare.

        January 14, 2022 at 11:01 pm
  • EXALT Reply

    I’ve heard people say that Spider-Man No Way Home is not an SJW product, aside from the racebent casting inherited from the previous movies; I’ll argue it’s actually a stealthy and (relatively) subtle SJW product: like Wandavision was about discarding illusions about the nuclear family to become strong and independent, and Loki was about God either not existing or being a tyrant that deprives us of free will, NWH was about doing what you FEEL is the right thing regardless of anything else.
    SPOILERS from here on out.
    The main plot concerns Parker and his diverse friends – sorry, friend and girlfriend, Holland and Zendaya are so belieavable as a straight couple – trying to find cures for the villains of the Raimi/Webb movies: they know at least some of them will die once they are sent back to their own universes, but figure if they get healed of their Science-related mental problems they may have a chance to save themselves.

    The notable thing is that they choose to do this based on almost nothing: they don’t know if all of them are going to die – and we know for a fact that Sandman and Lizard are not; they don’t know if sending them back cured will actually alter anything – for example, Doc Ock has to be sent back at the end of his final fight with Maguire, which is the only time he knew his identity, and therefore still has to die to stop the Sun Thingamajig; they don’t know how any of them became like this – Norman did it all to himself, just to name one, and could very well do it again if he feels he has the need, since the Green Goblin is just a manifestation of his darker wishes.

    But nothing of this matters: Peter feels he has to help them, and that curing them is the right way to do it, and f**k everything else. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right solution to the problem, in fact it doesn’t even matter if the problem exists at all, and it certainly doesn’t matter what Doctor Strange – a moron in this movie, but still the person with the best understanding of the situation – thinks of it: he’s just an old authority figure trying to stop the young ones from making the world(s) better. Helping these illegal aliens from another dimension is so important that sacrificing your only living relative is worth it – in fact, she’ll say so herself.

    Theme-wise, I think it’s telling that we never actually see what happens once the villains are sent home, either short or long-term: it doesn’t matter if things got better in the Raimi/Webb universes, and it wouldn’t even matter if they got worse – which they objectively did in the MCU – the point is that Peter did what felt right at the time, and even if the world(s) is a worse place because of this, it was still the right thing to do, somehow.


    January 14, 2022 at 7:02 pm
    • Blume Reply

      SJW would mean society made them that way. He is fixing individuals problems and not addressing society ones. It’s just extreme altruism.

      January 15, 2022 at 5:06 am
      • EXALT Reply

        “He is fixing individuals problems and not addressing society ones.”
        And hypocrites don’t have literal planks in their eyes. Rhetoric isn’t supposed to be dialectic.

        January 15, 2022 at 11:28 am
        • Blume Reply

          Sorry I am not an idiotic Randian nor an sjw so i do not accept the paradigm that individual altruism is social justice. The problems in the film were cause by individuals and solved by individuals. There is nothing social justice about this movie. Even rhetoric needs to be based on some truth. Even though the road to hell is paved with good intentions we don’t tell people not to have good intentions.

          January 16, 2022 at 1:37 pm
          • EXALT

            Didn’t you just defeat your own argument? You don’t accept that personal altruism is social justice – and I agree – while also noting that SJWs believe otherwise. Since this movie was either written by SJWs or SJW-friendly people, to do a proper analysis you need to approach it from their POV and prove it wrong, not reject it from the start.
            But I don’t think it would be useful to keep discussing: if you don’t see it, you don’t see it. Let’s just agree that putting the lives of insane criminals above that of your only living relative is a mockery of goodness and call it a day.

            January 16, 2022 at 8:02 pm
    • furor Coke tonicus ( don't be silly, no one would pay $5 for a Pepsi ) Reply

      Zendaya shitting on Strange was one thing i forgot to mention … but i think that might have been her only overbearing, pompous bitch moment in the entire movie?
      i did think it odd when she was teasing Holland about male spiders hypnotizing the female but somehow nobody mentions that the male is in serious danger of being cannibalized at the end of the mating. i mean, female spiders aren’t as dangerous as female mantises but the risk is significant.
      EXALT Reply

      1 – the “no killing as the apex moral standard” has been a thing in comics for many decades now ( Spiderman pretty much since his 1962 inception is emblematic of this ), it’s part of the reason why Captain America and Batman *no longer* carry firearms. so the casual violation of this knee jerk Progressive standard would render this variant of Dr Strange ( “If they die, they die” ) a villain in a lot of comic book movies. of course, Current Year Spiderman did give in to the whole Grimdark movement and has now either intentionally killed or made significant threats against multiple characters.
      2 – by any moral standard, it’s not “good” to wantonly kill someone who isn’t a credible threat to you … as most of these villains were not ( Electro being the main exception, Sandman probably could have been but was never really going hard after any of the Spidermen ). and none of them even knew that Holland wasn’t THEIR Spiderman until, by various contrivances, he got his mask removed in front of them.
      3 – due to the narrative choice of the writers, most of the villains involved actually have been rendered mentally unstable by the acquisition of their various powers OR their mental instability is what inspired them to their powers in the first place ( comic book canon ). so while it’s not “bad” to defend yourself against their attacks, this is not of the same class as being attacked by someone in control of their faculties.
      4 – the resolution of Spiderm(e)n being able to “cure” ALL of his antagonists was pure plot convenience, just as it was plot convenience that said cures required all of the villains to be de-powered. wouldn’t it have made for a more interesting movie had Holland been forced to make a choice regarding the one villain he COULDN’T “cure”, whether they kept their powers or not?
      5 – in what situation would a de-powered individual be MORE likely to survive than if they were in their “superman” state? a case can be made that Electro was on the verge of diffusing into the power grid, but i believe he’s reconstituted himself from similar circumstances before. and how would turning Electro into a Normie while he’s in the middle of a power grid help? wouldn’t that just get him instantly put on the KFC menu?
      6 – Spiderman is “right” and Dr Strange is “wrong” in this movie because it’s a Spiderman movie, it’s not due to the respective age of the characters. or, at best, it’s a tertiary consideration. if we go to the Dr Strange movie, i’m guessing the good Dr is going to be “right” more often than Spiderman. unless the Wokeists decide to make Doc a moron because he’s an old White guy. it’s going to be harder to blue titty milk Dr Strange in the middle of his own Dr Strange movie than it was to do it to Skywalker in the middle of a Rey movie though. even a Vogon is likely to consider that to be pretty odd storytelling and start demanding reshoots.

      January 15, 2022 at 7:39 am
      • EXALT Reply

        If I’m understanding correctly, you think that the movie is dumb not because of ideological reasons, but because it was badly written, right?
        It’s possible, of course, but IMO this is a prime example of self-based morality – the theme’s execution seems too overbearing for it to not be intentional.

        January 15, 2022 at 5:00 pm
        • furor kek tonicus ( Frosk's teeth are the result of too many muff diving accidents ) Reply

          my primary point is that your “morality” complaint is a bit odd as “no killing, not ever” has been a thing in the comic books longer than i’ve been alive ( born <1970 ).
          and all Holland was doing was championing what passes for standard comic book morality. that was why i pointed out that Strange's position would get him marked as the antagonist/villain in a lot of comic book movies and actually rang rather false for an MCU "hero" due to long established canon.
          i'm not saying that i AGREE with comic book morality, i'm saying i don't understand why this is just now setting you off into a high dudgeon. the silliness of Batman letting the Joker loose to commit murder and mayhem amongst untold victims of Gotham City ( and often enough Batman's own friends and acquaintances, such as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon ) has been the subject of running jokes for decades. and Spiderman is WAY MORE of a goody two-shoes than Batman has ever been. thus, Holland Spiderman choosing to send supervillains back home alive where they will be SOME OTHER Spiderman's problem is the *expected* comic book "heroic" solution. you know, because at least this way Holland Spidey ( the star and viewpoint of this movie ) won't have blood on his hands. it's all very effeminate and Narcissistic.
          i'm not going to deny the presence of Ageism or MuhPorchMonkeyEquity / Let'sShitOnWhitesToday themes ( Zendaya mouthing off to Strange ), i just think that what Holland was expressing was a Normiefag comic book Progressive morality which has been around forever and that the rest of movie was actually rather restrained, Woke wise.
          being restrained, Woke wise, doesn't make a movie good. as i've already said.

          January 16, 2022 at 12:25 am
          • EXALT

            Thanks for clarifying your opinion. I agree with almost everything, especially that the no-kill rule is nothing more than pharisaic “I’m-holier-than-God” bullcrap.
            I believe the cumulative effect to be the thing that “is just now setting [me] off into a high dudgeon”: it’s the combo of fabricating half the problem + coming up with a solution that solves nothing but feels good + disregarding the result so long as it was the “right thing to do” + sacrifing people you’re actually supposed to protect in the name of True Justice. It may not be so by design, but the movie is an accelerated course in all things SJW.

            January 16, 2022 at 12:47 am
  • Robert W Reply

    What’s a better Asimov adaptation for it’s day? I, Robot (Will Smith) or the current Foundation series?

    January 14, 2022 at 7:24 pm
    • WOPR Reply

      I, Robot. Sure they put an action film over an Asimov story. Also, Will Smith played Will Smith. They did try get the ideas right. So, I’ll give them that.

      Foundation really doesn’t want to deal with Asimov’s story.

      January 18, 2022 at 3:26 pm
  • doug Reply

    I feel the entire Ork race from 40K should get an honorable mention. They always crash. “Landing” is something they have never tried.

    January 14, 2022 at 10:16 pm
  • Skyler the Weird Reply

    Anyone know if the Expanse is getting a season seven? They appeared to be setting up Persepolis Rising in a backstory.

    January 15, 2022 at 1:00 am
    • doug Reply

      I saw an interview on Youtube about why season six is the last season, and shortened to only 6 episodes. So, I don’t think there will be a season 7. And, wikipedia says it’s over.

      January 15, 2022 at 1:10 am
    • WOPR Reply

      No, it is over thankfully. Amazon killed it once they took it over.

      January 18, 2022 at 3:22 pm
  • EXALT Reply

    I’ve had a sad realization about the future of pop culture relating to the Corona Narrative: it doesn’t look like it will be possible to keep it going much longer, what with people still getting ill despite their seventh booster shot – sooner or later people will have to admit that the Vaxx was evil and Purebloods were right from the start.
    A short time later, the demand will begin for pop culture to have Mudblood Representation – so that those poor people, whose only sin was being too innocent and trusting, can know just how beautiful they still are: the Loveable Mudblood will be the next Black Female Scientist and the next Gay Couple in a Loving Monogamous Relationship – the newest Representation Trend.

    January 15, 2022 at 11:56 am
    • Chief_Tuscaloosa Reply

      Your forecast will only be true if there’s anyone left in Hollywood who identifies as SJW after the witch-burnings. Which, hopefully, will happen in the next 5 years because I can’t take waiting for the Storm (TM) much longer.

      January 16, 2022 at 9:42 pm
  • furor kek tonicus ( Frosk's teeth are the result of too many muff diving accidents ) Reply

    so it turns out that the Rust set was a microcosm of the bridge of a Current Year Navy vessel, a bunch of psycho bitches catfighting and refusing to talk to each other.

    January 15, 2022 at 3:21 pm
  • Moonglum Reply

    Maya (Catherine Schell), the shapeshifting alien woman in the second series of Space: 1999, managed to crash an Eagle in the hangar while it was stationary. When Koenig returned from an away mission he was told that nothing had happened during his absence. All in a day’s work at Moon Base Alpha. In real life a girl I worked with came into the business one morning crying her eyes out because she had managed to bring the roof of her house’s garage down on her car while parking it inside.

    Another episode of Space: 1999 had the Eagle pilots flying loops while high resulting in the inevitable fireball. (‘Impressive.’ – Darth Vader)

    January 15, 2022 at 7:57 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      Such a weird show.

      It started life as a sequel to UFO because it looked like CBS was in the market for one. UFO had been the lead-in to All in the Family in the NYC market so it was getting huge numbers, Then that affiliate moved UFO to another time slot and the bottom fell out of its ratings, CBS said, no, thanks after all.

      By then Gerry Anderson was way too deep into preproduction to abandon the project. The money was already spent. Although, in truth was he wasn’t into the idea of a sequel to UFO in the first place. So the UFO thing was scraped. Which left the problem of, ‘how many adventures can you have in a lunar scientific research station?’ Which is where the idea of blowing the moon out of orbit came from.

      Silly premise but once the first season was underway, the insanity of the weekly weirdness made the wandering moon thing sane and sensible by comparision.

      January 16, 2022 at 12:28 am
  • Bryce Reply

    Space 1999 always had a warm place in my heart…partially because of my age when it came out and partially because of the kickass funk opening theme. Last year or so I found a unicorn…someone made a one-off Space 1990/UFO Fan film.

    January 16, 2022 at 3:01 am
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      That was good stuff. Thank you.

      January 17, 2022 at 3:19 am
  • Codex Reply

    Don’t forget our anime pals! I nominate the Dirty Pair! Kei and Yuri, the lovely angels who never got behind the stick of a vehicle they didn’t destroy. Not to mention most of their surroundings.
    C’mon, man, as our sad little Prez would say, it’s practically required by the laws of space and time that the worst future tech drivers are a pair of cute girls.

    January 16, 2022 at 9:33 am
  • Brick Hardslab Reply

    My twelve year old grandson is on a superhero kick. Being as I am home and sedentary much of the day I’m watching with him.

    We’re watching Young Justice and out of the blue they have two women kissing. My grandson has a short fuse and starts yelling at the tv, “This show is for kids! Why would you do that?!” The kid was disgusted and furious. I asked his father if there was more of that crap. He couldn’t remember any so I asked my grandson if he wanted to keep watching. Next show two men are kissing. Now the kid was furious. “You know he’s not gay. He has a girlfriend! And both of the girls had boyfriends!” He couldn’t understand why they would ruin a kids show. This week we watched the Eternals. Being as I have a bad habit, I had to point out how different the Eternals and especially the Deviants were different than the comics version. Seriously, I’ll try harder to keep my mouth shut. Anyway about half way through the seven day movie two guys are kissing. My grandson flips. Full-blown meltdown for a couple minutes while I deal with it. He was angry there was nothing for a kid to watch.

    So vox if you still pay attention could we please have three things. First, Alt-Hero animation. Second the Alt-Hero game and third an Alt-Hero wiki with the heroes and powers history etc. My four year old discovered superheroes on the internet and I spend an hour or more a day telling him about everyone from Solomon Grundy to Badger. Please at least get us the game it’s been four years.

    January 16, 2022 at 3:58 pm
  • furor kek tonicus ( Joe Biden identified WITH evil, stupid pedophiles because Joe Biden identifies AS an evil, stupid pedophile ) Reply

    RLM discovers Pedowood, but still calls Pizzagate a “conspiracy”. i guess they think politicians are more moral than actors?

    January 16, 2022 at 4:51 pm
  • furor kek tonicus ( muff diving accidents are the leading cause of Froskbite ) Reply

    Who is the worst star pilot in the history of Science fiction?

    a couple of possible quibbles:
    1 – not a single person through all of the Star Trek series and movies has crashed something 3 times? wut? hasn’t the Enterprise been crashed more than that by herself between all the different movies and series? i guess having a large ensemble so you can hand off the helm / away vessel to a new incompetent all the time could keep the individual crash counts down …
    2 – what about Anakin / Vader? cause I’M sure not going to re-watch the prequels just to figure this out.

    January 17, 2022 at 2:41 am
    • MrUNIVAC Reply

      Prequel lover/Star Wars nerd here. If you count only what we actually see, Anakin had three crashes: 1) his N-1 fighter in the blockade flagship hangar bay in I, although he was able to take off again, 2) his Actis interceptor at the beginning of III, and 2) Grievous’s flagship shortly after, although that one wasn’t really his fault since the Republic destroyers shot the crap out of it. You could also count getting blown out of the Death Star trench by his wingman in IV if you were feeling picky.

      If we count what we’re told, he crashed at least one podracer, more likely several (“He smashed up my pod in the last race!” “You’ve never won a race? Not even FINISHED?”) in addition to that.

      January 17, 2022 at 2:13 pm

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