Geeky History

2018

Stan Lee, Marvel Comics editor, dies

Stan LeeMarvel Comics’ most famous editor (and arguably its most famous creator, to the chagrin of some of the artists with whom he worked), Stan Lee, dies at the age of 95, several months after announcing that his days of attending conventions and making public appearances were over. Born in 1922, he began working at Timely Publications mere months after the company’s formation, thanks to a family connection with the company’s publisher, and became interim editor of Timely’s comics output in 1941. Timely had already seen success with artist/writer Jack Kirby’s Captain America, and Lee would not really make his mark until after a three-year sabbatical during which he enlisted in the U.S. Army and turned his talents to writing material supporting the war effort. It was during the early 1960s that Lee’s real influence on the company begin to be known, collaborating with Kirby on The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, X-Men, and others, and co-creating The Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with artist Steve Ditko. Under Lee’s editorship, Marvel led a revolution in interpreting comic book superheroes as complex, multifaceted, and flawed individuals, many of which remained bankable enough properties to lead to Disney’s 2009 acquisition of the company and rapid expansion of movie and TV adaptations of numerous characters and titles.

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Star Wars: Resistance: Synara’s Score

Star Wars: ResistanceCable channel Disney XD airs the seventh episode of the series Star Wars: Resistance, set prior to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Nazneen Contractor (24, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Heroes Reborn) guest stars.

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Doctor Who: Kerblam!

Doctor WhoThe 849th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 150th episode since the series’ revival). Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill star. Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lee Mack, and Callum Dixon guest star.

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Mars: Worlds Apart

MarsThe eighth episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human colony on Mars in 2042, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).

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Doctor Who: The Witchfinders

Doctor WhoThe 850th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 151st episode since the series’ revival). Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill star. Alan Cumming (Goldeneye, The Good Wife) and Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) guest star.

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Mars: Darkness Falls

MarsThe ninth episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human colony on Mars in 2042, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).

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Doctor Who: It Takes You Away

Doctor WhoThe 851st episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 152nd episode since the series’ revival). Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill star. Sharon D. Clarke (The Singing Detective) and Kevin Eldon (Hyperdrive) guest star.

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Mars: Contagion

MarsThe tenth episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human colony on Mars in 2042, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13). Esai Morales guest stars.

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Star Trek: Short Treks: The Brightest Star

Star Trek: Short TreksStreaming service CBS All Access debuts the third episode of Short Treks, a series of 15-20 minute short stories set in the Star Trek universe, with this story serving as an “origin story” for Star Trek: Discovery‘s Commander Saru. Doug Jones and Michelle Yeoh star.

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Doctor Who: The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Doctor WhoThe 852nd episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 153rd episode since the series’ revival), bringing the eleventh season of the new series to an end (though a special episode is yet to be shown on New Years’ Day). Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill star. Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey, Lovejoy), Mark Addy (The Full Monty, Game Of Thrones), and Percelle Ascott (Wizards vs. Aliens) guest star.

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Mars: Power Play

MarsThe 11th episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human colony on Mars in 2042, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13). Esai Morales guest stars.

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Mars: The Shakeup

MarsThe 12th episode of Mars airs on the National Geographic Channel, concluding the series’ second season. The series is a hybrid drama/documentary about a fictional human colony on Mars in 2042, contrasted against efforts to prepare for such a mission in the present day. The series is produced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13). Esai Morales guest stars.

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Donald Moffat, actor, dies

Donald Moffat as Rem in Logan's RunBritish-born actor Donald Moffat, who left England for the United States in 1956, dies at the age of 87 due to complications from a stroke he had recently suffered. A frequent face on American TV and film for decades, Moffat was a regular on the short-lived TV adaptation of Logan’s Run, in which he played the benevolent android Rem, and was a member of the ensemble cast of John Carpenter’s The Thing. He also portrayed President Lyndon B. Johnson in Philip Kaufman’s 1984 adaptation The Right Stuff, and appeared in countless other movies and TV series, including guest stints on The Six Million Dollar Man and the 1980s Twilight Zone, working steadily into the early 2000s before retiring.

The Orville: Ja’loja

The OrvilleFox airs the 13th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane, opening the show’s second season. Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and Will Sasso (Mad TV) guest star.

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2019

New Horizons explores 2014 MU69

2014 MU69NASA’s New Horizons space probe, operated by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, passes within 2,200 miles of the mysterious Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, a tiny fragment of leftover material from the birth of the solar system. Previously seen only as a tiny pixel even by the powerful lens of the Hubble Space Telescope, nothing was known of 2014 MU69 prior to the flyby, which revealed it as a contact binary: two bodies which had become gravitationally fused together. As 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed Ultima Thule in a public poll conducted by the New Horizons public outreach team) is a billion miles further away than Pluto, and with New Horizons continuing outward at 30,000 miles per hour, signals between Earth and New Horizons take at least six hours to reach their destination, so the downlink of data from the flyby would take until 2020 to complete.

Doctor Who: Resolution

Doctor WhoThe 853rd episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 154th episode since the series’ revival). Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill star. Charlotte Ritchie (Call The Midwife), Nikesh Patel (Artemis Fowl), and Daniel Adegboyega (Skyfall, Transformers: The Last Knight, Nightflyers) guest star in an episode featuring the return of the Daleks.

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Star Trek: Short Treks: The Escape Artist

Star Trek: Short TreksStreaming service CBS All Access debuts the fourth episode of Short Treks, a series of 15-20 minute short stories set in the Star Trek universe, with this story continuing the misadventures of interplanetary con man Harry Mudd (reintroduced in Star Trek: Discovery’s most recent season). Rainn Wilson (The Office) stars and directs.

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The Orville: Primal Urges

The OrvilleFox airs the 14th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Kelly Hu guest stars.

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W. Morgan Sheppard, actor, dies

W. Morgan SheppardBritish-born actor William Morgan Sheppard, a genre casting favorite ever since his 1985 appearance as Blank Reg in the original Max Headroom TV movie (a role that permanently relocated him to the United States for the U.S. Max Headroom series), dies at the age of 86 in Los Angeles. With his wizened features (the result of a surgical procedure that cost him one of his eyes), classical stage training, and distinctive, vaguely-Irish-accented voice, Sheppard would go on to appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark, Quantum Leap, Star Trek VI, seaQuest DSV, Babylon 5 (a series in which he was a close runner-up for the role of G’Kar), Star Trek: Voyager, Doctor Who, and the 2009 Star Trek movie relaunch. He was the father of actor Mark Sheppard, a genre favorite in his own right, with whom he appeared in both Doctor Who and NCIS, playing older and younger versions of the same character. Prior to leaving the U.K., Sheppard had appeared in such series as The New Avengers, Hammer House Of Horror, and Day Of The Triffids.

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The Orville: Home

The OrvilleFox airs the 15th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager), John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Patrick Warburton (The Tick, A Series Of Unfortunate Events) guest star in an episode that marks the departure of series regular Halston Sage.

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The Orville: Nothing Left On Earth Excepting Fishes

The OrvilleFox airs the 16th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Michaela McManus and Patrick Warburton (The Tick, A Series Of Unfortunate Events) guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Brother

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 16th episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the beginning of the show’s second season. Anson Mount joins the series as Captain Christopher Pike (a character first devised by Gene Roddenberry for the 1964 Star Trek pilot, The Cage). James Frain and Tig Notaro guest star.

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The Orville: All The World Is Birthday Cake

The OrvilleFox airs the 17th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Ted Denson (Cheers, Becker) guest stars in an episode that welcomes new series regular Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl) to the cast.

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Star Trek: Discovery: New Eden

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 17th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Sheila McCarthy (Little Mosque On The Prairie) and Andrew Moodie (Dark Matter) guest star.

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The Orville: A Happy Refrain

The OrvilleFox airs the 18th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Norm MacDonald guest stars.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Point Of Light

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 18th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh, Alan Van Sprang (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, The Tudors) and Bahia Watson (The Handmaid’s Tale) guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: An Obol For Charon

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 19th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Tig Notaro, Rebecca Romjin (X-Men, The Librarians) and Bahia Watson (The Handmaid’s Tale) guest star.

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The Orville: Deflectors

The OrvilleFox airs the 19th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Norm MacDonald and Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense) guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Saints Of Imperfection

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 20th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh, Alan Van Sprang (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, The Tudors) and Bahia Watson (The Handmaid’s Tale) guest star.

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The Orville: Identity Part 1

The OrvilleFox airs the 20th episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane, taking the series in a decidedly more serious direction with its first two-parter. Victor Garber (Alias, Legends Of Tomorrow) guest stars.

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Beresheet launched

BeresheetThe Israeli-built Beresheet uncrewed experimental lunar lander is launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Originally intended as an entrant for the Google Lunar X Prize, Beresheet (and all the other hopefuls) missed the March 31, 2018 deadline, leaving the $20,000,000 Lunar X Prize unclaimed. Unlike past lunar missions, Beresheet is launched into a high Earth orbit, whose apogee (maximum distance from Earth) will be increased over a period of nearly two months with multiple burns of the vehicle’s main engine until it coincides with the orbital distance of the moon, at which time the engine will be fired again to place it in a lunar orbit prior to landing. The lander contains digital copies of numerous documents from Earth, reflecting the builders’ Jewish heritage as well as extensive databases of knowledge from sources such as Wikipedia. As the lander itself has not been built with protective shielding of any kind, its operational lifetime is expected to last only around two days on the lunar surface. If the mission succeeds, Israel will be the fourth nation (after the United States, Soviet-era Russia, and China) to land a spacecraft on the moon.

The Orville: Identity Part 2

The OrvilleFox airs the 21st episode of the science fiction comedy-drama The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane, taking the series in a decidedly more serious direction with its first two-parter. Victor Garber (Alias, Legends Of Tomorrow) and Norm MacDonald guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Light And Shadows

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 22nd episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh, James Frain, Alan Van Sprang (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, The Tudors), and Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You) guest star.

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Luke Perry, actor, dies

Luke Perry as JeremiahActor Luke Perry, at the time a current regular on the CW’s Riverdale series and a former teen heartthrob from his years as one of the stars of Fox’s Beverly Hills 90210 throughout the 1990s, dies at the age of 52 several days after suffering from a major stroke. Among his many high-profile series roles were HBO’s acclaimed prison drama Oz, and the starring role in Jeremiah, Showtime’s early 21st century adaptation of a popular post-apocalyptic comic book, adapted by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. He also had a minor part in the 1997 genre cult classic The Fifth Element, and was one of the stars of the 1992 movie Buffy The Vampire Slayer, upon which the later TV series was based. His first TV role – albeit uncredited – was in an episode of 1982’s short-lived time travel series Voyagers!.

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The Orville: Blood Of Patriots

The OrvilleFox airs the 22nd episode of the science fiction drama-comedy The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5) and Norm MacDonald guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: If Memory Serves

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 23rd episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Melissa George (Roar, Alias, Heartbeat), Alan Van Sprang (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, The Tudors), and Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You) guest star in an episode which hearkens back heavily to the original Star Trek series pilot, The Cage.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Project Daedalus

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 24th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You) guest stars.

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The Orville: Lasting Impressions

The OrvilleFox airs the 23rd episode of the science fiction drama-comedy The Orville, starring and created by Seth McFarlane. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) and Norm MacDonald guest star.

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Star Trek: Discovery: The Red Angel

Star Trek: DiscoveryStreaming service CBS All Access releases the 25th episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh, Alan Van Sprang (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, The Tudors), Sonja Sohn (The Wire), and Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You) guest star.

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