Though Thunderbirds (1965) was way before my time, it was a popular, influential show, and I remember coming across its remnants often on flea markets when I was a kid: books, plastic figures, models, comics, and the like.
Its colorful style (which I believe is making a comeback) is striking, as this art by Shigeru Komatsuzaki (1915-2001) abundantly shows. (These illustrations graced model kit boxes and picture books and the like.)
For kicks. Ties allowed. Eastern and Western Allowed.
Honorable Mentions -Star Butterfly (Star vs. The Forces of Evil)Korra (The Legend of Korra)
(Gravity Falls) Ice King (Adventure Time)
Louise Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)Razer (Green Lantern: The Animated Series)
(One Punch Man)
What happens when what is arguably the biggest pop culture phenomenon of all time occurs at a time when the mainstream culture is too small to absorb it?
That’s kind of what happened in those pre-World Wide Web days of the original Star Wars trilogy. Carrie Fisher guest starred on Saturday Night Live. Donnie and Marie Osmond had a Star War sketch on their show. And, of course, there’s the (in)famous Star Wars Holiday Special.
Another example of this bizarre clash of pop and mainstream cultures was Mark Hamill guesting both as Mark Hamill and as Luke Skywalker on “The Muppet Show” in February 1980.
- It’s finished. No waiting on episodes, they’re all there.
- It’s wrapped up after 5 seasons in a way that makes sense; it wasn’t cancelled.
- It’s science-fiction. Packed with mystery, unexplained occurrences and all the other stuff that make your curiosity perk up.
- It’s created by JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Burk and J.H. Wyman. Some of these you might know from making the Star Trek reboot or the sci-fi TV show “Almost Human”.
- Main character is a female. She’s an FBI agent. She isn’t sexualized. She isn’t masculine. She isn’t a cliché. She isn’t made fun of for being a female agent. She is actually very intelligent and very appreciated by her co-workers.
- Her boss is a male POC.
- Another female agent is a POC as well.
- John Noble. The ‘mad scientist’ of the show.
- Leonard Nimoy. Yep. He’s a recurring character.
- Sebastian Roché and Jared Harris. Also, Blair Brown.
- Parallel universe!
- The love stor(ies) that happen don’t reduce anyone to a love interest.
- David Bowie references. (You’ll spot them, trust me)
- Cases of the week + serialisation
- Have I mentioned the fact that the characters aren’t a cliché?
- Freaky stuff. You’ll love it. It might freak you out but you’ll love it.
Introduced by the Belgian company FN Herstal in 1991, the P90 was developed in the late 1980′s as a response to a NATO request for a new caliber to replace the 9mm Para. As a result, the FN P90 would create a new class of military firearm, the Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). As far back as the 18th century, there was a need for light, compact weapons designed specifically for rear echelon units, units which were not expected to enter into front line combat, but still at risk of being ambushed and being thrust into combat. Such personnel included artilleryman, vehicle drivers, communications personnel, signalers, messengers, and other support troops. These troops needed weapons which were light and compact so that they didn’t hinder the soldier’s main task, but effective enough that the soldier could defend himself. In the 18th and 19th century rear echelon soldiers typically carried musketoons and carbines, which were often shortened versions of the standard issue infantry musket. During World War I pistols, pistol carbines and short rifles were common. During World War II submachine guns became popular as well as short rifles and carbines.
The FN P90 was introduced for this purpose, but differed greatly from all other carbines, short rifles, and submachine guns that came before it. As a PDW, the P90 used a new kind of small caliber high velocity cartridge. The intermediate cartridge used in modern assault rifles was designed to be a compromise between a submachine gun and high powered bolt action or semi automatic rifles. It was developed to be smaller in caliber and shorter than say a .30-06, .303 British, 8mm Mauser, or 7.62x54R, and thus having less range and power, but more powerful and with greater range than pistol or submachine gun cartridges such as th 9x19mm Para or .45ACP. The concept behind the intermediate cartridge was to replicate the firepower of the submachine gun, but still maintain accuracy and range sufficient for battlefield use. The P90 uses a cartridge shorter than the intermediate cartridge, but longer than a pistol cartridge. The new cartridge introduced was the FN 5.7x28mm.
Essentially the 5.7x28mm cartridge was a further compromise between the submachine gun and the assault rifle. While shorter than an intermediate cartridge, it produces more range and accuracy than a submachine gun. What is also special about the 5.7x28 is it’s small caliber 20-40 grain bullet, which despite being small, packs an incredible punch with a muzzle velocity between 2,200 - 2,800 feet per second depending of grainage. Compare this to the 5.56x45mm cartridge used in assault rifles which has a muzzle velocity of around 3,000+ feet per second, and the 9mm Para, a common pistol cartridge, which has a muzzle velocity of around 1,000 -1,300 feet per second. As a result the 5.7x28mm is rated as being able to puncture level IIIA kevlar armor at a range of 300m. The 5.7x28mm cartridge is also known for being very accurate, with a very flat trajectory. Finally, since it is a very small cartridge, soldiers can carry more ammunition. When paired with the P90 the cartridge allows for 50 round standard capacity magazines, whereas most assault rifles have 30 round capacity mags.
The magazines are also unique in that they are top mounted horizontally. The P90 has a blistering firing rate of 900 rounds per minute, which is aided by the cartridge’s light recoil, allowing for very controlled fully automatic fire. Recoil is also managed with a muzzle brake which also functions as a flash suppressor. The P-90 can also be fired in semi automatic with the flick of a selector switch. Spent casings are ejected downward through a chute in the grip.
Aiding its purpose as a light rear echelon weapon, the P-90′s bullpup design makes it a very compact weapon, being only 20 inches in length and weighing 5.7lbs. The P90 was also designed the be completely ambidextrous; equally suitable for both right and left handed users. Another unique standard feature of the P90 is a reflex sigh, with regualr v-notch iron sights for backup. Optimum range is around 200 meters.
Despite its unique features the P90 hasn’t been heavily popular, with only around 17,000 being produced. In fact, the PDW concept has been slow to get off the ground. Nor has the 5.7x28mm replaced the 9mm Para, despite FN having also introduced a pistol chambered for it called the FN Five-seven. However, the P90 has been adopted for use by special forces of 40 nations. Some law enforcement agencies have also adopted the P90, most notably the US Secret Service because it is a weapon that packs a lot of firepower, but is compact enough to hide under a coat. The P90 saw some use among special forces deployed during the Persian Gulf War, and some have made their way into the hands of Libyan and Syrian rebels. However, the P90 lacks a serious battlefield history.
While the P90 has not yet fulfilled it’s role as a rear echelon weapon, there is one role that I must point out that the P90 has fulfilled beautifully. A role that I’m sure is on the back of the minds of many people readings this and probably the only reason the P90 is recognizable in pop culture. Due to the P90′s futuristic design, it made a perfect weapon for use in Science Fiction films and TV shows. Probably the most notable was was in the SciFi TV series Stargate SG-1 and it’s spin off series Stargate Atlantis, the P90 becoming the weapon of choice of Stargate command and being featured in most episodes. As a science fition geek, I would consider Stargate SG1′s use of the P90 to be almost as iconic as the phaser in Star Trek and blaster in Star Wars. Indeed Startgate SG1 probably made a better advertisement for FN Herstal’s PDW than any battlefield performance reports.
Fire and retreat from Replicators
“This is a weapon of terror, it’s made to intimidate the enemy. This is a weapon of war, it’s made to kill the enemy.”