Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Far Out Space Nuts: "The Tower of Tagot" (October 2, 1975)

In “The Tower of Tagot,” the evil alien named Tagot (Paul Wexler) utilizes his “future machine” to determine that he will, within 24 hours, clash with alien visitors: Barney (Chuck McCann) and Junior (Bob Denver). Tagot then sends an alien ship that resembles a giant spider to prevent this encounter from occurring.

Meanwhile, in space, Junior is reading a comic book that seems to predict their next adventure, while Barney pilots the lunar lander between planets.

The space nuts soon run afoul of the spider space ship and crash on a planet. There, they learn from the alien Zarlam (Robert Quarry) that the beautiful Princess Pulma (Barbara Rhoades) has been captured in the tower of Tagot and must be freed so she can reclaim her throne.

Junior uses a space sword (which can erase any flesh or object it strikes…) to battle Tagot, and Pulma soon falls in love with him.

“The Tower of Tagot” is the weirdest, most stream-of-consciousness episode -- so far -- of Sid and Marty Krofft’s live-action series Far Out Space Nuts (1975).

Do I write that sentence every Saturday? It certainly seems like it.

Basically, a villain, Tagot, can see the future using an alien machine. But this miraculous device is countered by Junior’s comic-book, which can also see the future of the space nuts.  So good guys and bad guys are evenly matched, I suppose.

The big news here is the guest appearance by Robert Quarry -- Count Yorga himself -- as an alien who resembles Brain Guy from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999). 

Otherwise, the story about Barney, Honk, and Junior returning a female ruler to her rightful throne is a repeat of an earlier story, one involving Queen Lantana (“The Robots of Pod.”) 

The difference here is that Junior falls in love with Pulma, and wants to remain with her on the planet. This is how he feels, until the future machine shows him how hideous the queen looks when she isn’t wearing make-up on her face.

The highlight of the episode is the sprawling, ridiculous pre-Star Wars (1977) light-saber duel between Junior and Tagot.  Ambitious use is made of chroma-key effects as Barney and Junior dangle from a tower during the final battle.  The battle ends when Junior accidentally hits a switch that collapses the tower.

Next week: “The Three Spacekateers.”

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Challenge of the Super Friends: "Secret Origins of the Super Friends" (October 28, 1978)

In “Secret Origins of the Super Friends,” Lex Luthor hatches a new plan to stop the Super Friends. He will use a time machine, and travel back in time to undo the creation of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman, three of the most powerful super friends.

First, the Legion of Doom travels to Paradise Island of 1941, and Cheetah defeats Diana Prince in an Amazon tournament, thus becoming Wonder Woman herself.

Next, Lex Luthor replaces Hal Jordan when he is visited by the Green Lantern Corps., and Abin Sur, on Earth.

Lastly, the Legion travels back to Krypton of the past, and diverts young Kal-El’s rocket away from Earth, to a different planet with a red sun. There, the boy grows up as just another citizen, unaware of his destiny as the man of steel.

With these powerful Super Friends out of the way, the Legion of the Doom captures the other members of the Hall of Justice, and makes them fight one another using a “Hypnotic Anger Ray.”

Fortunately, while in captivity, Batman and the other heroes learn from the Legion of Doom memory banks that there are missing Super Friends, ones whom they have no memory of at all, because of the altered timeline.

Batman, Robin, and the others launch an attempt to bring Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern back into existence.

Although “Secret Origins of the Super Friends” features many of the same lapses of logic and dramatic consistency that frequently plague this 1977’s Hanna-Barbera series, it nonetheless must count as one of the better episodes of Challenge of the Super Friends.

The reason is simple. For the first time, we get some background info on members of the Super Friends, and the way they came to be superheroes. The origins of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman are all explored in depth here, and the audience even gets to see the great Jor-El, as he argues about the impending destruction of his home world.

These sequences are fascinating for how they depict the beginnings of these heroes, and, in dramatic fashion, showcase how the Legion of Doom undercuts and subverts them.  It is terrible, in particular, seeing deceitful Cheetah adopt the Wonder Woman mantle, defeating Diana.  It is bracing, and alarming, as well, to see Lex Luthor in the uniform of Green Lantern.

The mechanics of the altered time lines are kind of dodgy here, but it hardly matters, as Batman restores his friends to the timeline and corrects the universe in the process. However, I couldn’t help but think, while watching this installment, that the most powerful origin to undercut in the story would have been Batman’s.

Imagine if Bruce Wayne’s parents hadn’t been murdered. Batman would have never come into creation, and Bruce would have grown up happy, with both parents alive and well. This fact would have created a real bind for the other Super Friends. Could they alter time if it meant killing Bruce’s parents, and taking away the boy’s happiness? What a fascinating that story would have made!

Next week: “Revenge of Gorilla City.”

Friday, December 08, 2017

Happy Horror-Days: Krampus (2015)

For horror movie lovers, Michael Dougherty’s Krampus (2015) is a holiday present wrapped up with a bow. 

It’s a delightful, caustic, emotionally-resonant horror movie that feels like a throwback to a bygone era. It’s a (most welcome…) relic from age when audiences more easily or readily allowed fantasy and humor to inform the genre.

Of course, the great arc of movie history involves a push away from the theatrical and artificial towards the naturalistic and realistic.

I don’t waste too much thought mourning this shift in my favorite genre, and I enjoy many modern horror movies tremendously. And yet, at the same time I cannot help but note that so many are, well, humorless, or lacking real imagination.   The genre I grew up with took fantasy and imagination as the starting point.

Today, too many new horror films feel that they must justify their realism, instead of entertaining us with fantasy, laughs, and screams too.

Not so with Krampus.

The film feels very much like a throwback to the era of Gremlins (1984), for example, with its commentary on Christmas, and its quasi-comedic monsters.  The demonic helpers in this film -- who count ambulatory gingerbread men among their number -- straddle the line between terror and comedy quite adroitly.

For about ninety percent of the film, Krampus is also delightfully cutthroat and vicious, in much the same way that one would apply that descriptor to Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971).  

Bad children and bad adults get punished for their nasty behavior, and there’s no looking back or second guessing their grim fates.  One mean-spirited kid who guzzles soda from the bottle at a holiday dinner table gets lured up the chimney by a gingerbread cookie, and then dragged off to the underworld in chains.

It’s true that Krampus’s conclusion backs away from this delightfully mean-spirited approach a little bit, but then, delightfully, the film reconsiders the walk-back in favor of an ambiguous ending that could be read in a number of ways.

I suppose what impressed me most about Krampus was its perpetual sense of imagination. A central scene in the film is a spectacularly shot-and-edited but unconventional flashback.  This scene plays like a Christmas TV special from the 1960s, and yet is spooky and fun at the same time.

On a cerebral level, Krampus also clearly boasts a point or purpose. The film’s opening montage and characters remind us that we often live, today, in an ugly, materialistic culture. And yet, by film’s end, Krampus’s protagonists are all putting their differences and material desires aside for the things that are important -- like family -- and I liked the optimism and heart of that statement.

A visit from Krampus could clearly spoil any holiday season, but this cinematic version of the scary myth is an absolute cause of celebration and revelry if one is an aficionado of the horror film.

“It’s Christmas. Nothing bad is going to happen on Christmas.”

The Engel family prepares for another harried, exhausted Christmas holiday at home.  

Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah’s (Toni Collette) son, Max (Emjay Anthony), has been in a fight, and Sarah’s sister, Linda (Alison Tolman) is visiting with her obnoxious husband, Howie (David Koecher) and their four children.  Meanwhile, Tom and Linda’s daughter, Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) is obsessed with her boyfriend, Derek.

Linda’s family arrives, and with a surprise additional visitor to boot: surly Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). A family dinner goes awry when Linda’s kids steal Max’s letter to Santa Claus and mock him for it.

Fed up, Max rips up the letter to Santa, unwittingly summoning St. Nick’s dark, ancient reflection, a demon called Krampus.

The next morning, Krampus has trapped the family and its house in a grim winter wonderland, replete with creepy snowmen.  

Then, the evil being lays siege to the house with his monstrous minions. Among them are fanged teddy bears, murderous toy robots, cackling gingerbread men, and even a hungry jack-in-the-box.

Omi (Krista Stadler), Tom’s mother, has her own unique history with Krampus, and is able to warn the family of the dangers it now faces.  

She recounts a story from her youth, one in which a lack of the Christmas Spirit brought Kramus to her village, and resulted in her entire family being dragged to the underworld.

“He and his helpers did no come to give, but to take.”

Krampus’s critique of a 21st century Christmas begins right out the gate, with the opening montage. 

We watch as zombie-like crowds pour into a store -- Mucho Mart -- and begin fighting each other over the best deals.  There is rioting in the aisles, the constant passing of paper currency (in close-up) and views of children fighting in the store. The faces of the consumers are horrific, seen in close-up, and in slow-motion photography.  

The impression is clearly that Christmas has, in this age, become a crass and ugly season about the pursuit of material wants.

What makes this montage all the more caustic and effective is that it is scored with a nostalgic holiday tune: Meredith Wilson’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” sung by Perry Como.  

The song hammers home the scene's point. It makes the scene drip with droll and wicked irony.

Today, this is exactly what Christmas does look like to too many people.  It’s about having things; about getting things, about owning things.  

It’s not about, in the words of Omi, “sacrificing,” or giving to others. 

Not long after this montage, we see talking heads on TV debating the “War on Christmas,” another divisive aspect of the modern holiday.  The spirit of the holiday -- about giving and love -- is absent not just in terms of the violence and material desire the film showcases, but regarding the hostility with which we view those who are different from us.  We're all Americans, and yet we seem to hate one another. We can't even tolerate that someone might celebrate the holiday in a different way than we do.

That’s actually a key point of the film.  

The two sisters in Krampus, Sarah and Linda, come from opposite political views. Howie and Linda are Republicans who want to talk gun ownership at the dinner table, deny global warming, and who, when faced with “free gifts,” say that the recipients must be for “Democrats.”  

Sarah, by contrast is a somewhat holier-than-thou liberal, and one who can’t really tolerate the fact that others boast different traditions (in terms of food and behavior)

All the details of our red state/blue state divides are on display in Krampus, but I love the movie’s process of (murderous) attrition, because it galvanizes the attention of both families.  

Before long, the conservatives and liberals are working together to survive.  

The inescapable point? It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, Krampus notes, because both types of Americans love their families, and want to protect their children. Part of “rediscovering” the Christmas spirit involves loving those who don’t believe exactly what you believe, and yet, finally, are your blood.

There’s nothing to focus one’s attention on the important thing like a giant, horned demon with a Santa beard and penetrating, deep-set eyes. 

I love and admire the film’s depiction of Krampus too. There’s a fantastic shot, set during a blizzard, wherein Beth runs for her life in the foreground of the frame while Krampus -- this huge hulking thing -- shadows her moves in the background, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.  

And when Krampus makes his entrance at the Engel hearth, he cracks the fireplace, and emerges hunched over. When he rears up and extends to full height, it’s a terrifying moment. Krampus is one scary dude.

I respect, as well, the way that Krampus attempts to defy convention by engineering awful demises for the film’s children and family members. 

A jack in the box swallows a child whole (sneakers last…).  

The aforementioned soda guzzler gets yanked up a dark chimney.  

Aunt Dorothy encounters a pack of gruesome, masked elves and is forcibly ejected from the family living room..  The film and filmmakers have terrific fun with the twisted Christmas imagery, and the deeply disturbing winter wonderland background too.

Some will see the film’s resolution -- set over the pit of Hell -- as a cop-out.  I admit that was my first thought, as well.  

But the film’s final imagery suggest a not-so happy or clear-cut ending.  

Either the family is now a Christmas decoration in Hell, or at the very least, Krampus will be watching the Engels to make certain they remain true to the spirit of Christmas, and don’t relapse into their conspicuous consumption or participation in the partisan divide.

I prefer the second alternative there, because it honors Max’s choice in the last act. 

Without giving too much away, let’s just say that the lad acts according to the best “spirit” of Christmas, showcasing self-sacrifice and personal responsibility for his actions.  He doesn’t blame others for his unhappiness, or love things more than he loves the people in his family.  To adopt a cliche, he comes to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

When I look back at a film like Gremlins (1984), I think of the humor, the scares, and the heart embodied in its text.  

Krampus possesses all the same virtues.  

The scenes with the attacking Gingerbread Men boast the same wicked ingenuity you might expect to find in the works of a Joe Dante or Sam Raimi. I’m glad the film doesn’t strive too much to be “real,” and makes room for such silly boogeymen.

For me, Krampus is the whole, twisted horror package, and I loved every sharp-edged, fantastic minute of it.

Movie Trailer: Krampus (2015)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Cult-TV Blogging: Star Maidens: "Creatures of the Mind" (1976)

In “Creatures of the Mind,” we return to Medusa for a hard sci-fi story. In particular, a Medusan officer working in the Archive of the Department of Historical Records, is confronted with an old computer that has developed sentience, and wishes to feed on the energy of living beings.

Octavia (Christiane Kruger) assigns Liz (Lisa Harrow) to continue the job in the Archives when the officer descends into catatonia. Liz asks Rudy (Christian Quadflieg) to help, and together they confront the strange living machine.

The dangerous computers nearly take control of Liz, but Rudy saves the day, and actually gets a compliment from Octavia about his performance during the crisis.

Although this is a good, creepy, genre tale, “Creatures of the Mind” doesn’t exactly feel tailor-made for Star Maidens (1976), a series about the war between the sexes.  Instead, it feels very much aligned with many Star Trek (1966-1969) or Space: 1999 (1975-1977) stories involving sentient, mad, tyrannical computers. 

Here the Museum of Medusan History houses just such a danger.

It’s true that Octavia and Rudy must put their differences aside to defeat the danger, making this an example of the “My Enemy, My Ally” story, as well as one about the sexes getting along.  

Still, this story on Medusa doesn’t reveal much about the culture (as “End of Time” did) or expose some flaw in the way the society works (as was the case in “What Have They Done to the Rain?”)  Instead, the story just features a sci-fi standard: the evil, advanced computer.

What the story lacks in customization, perhaps, it makes up for in style. The prologue, with creepy female voices taunting a security officer, is quite unnerving.  The Archive is dark, foreboding, and dangerous, and there is the feel of this as some kind of demonic possession horror story. Only in this case, it is a computer, not a devil that wishes to possess the living.

The budgetary limits of the series are apparent, at least in one regard in “Creatures of the Mind.” Octavia is the Chief of Security for the entire planet, and yet she and Rudy work to save Liz...just the two of them. You’d think she had more scientists and soldiers she could rally to the cause.

Of course, the presence of additional characters would not only be expensive, it would take away from the particularly intimate nature of this horror: creepy computer voices in the dark, promising friendship, but delivering something malevolent and monstrous.

Next week, the final episode of Star Maidens: “The Enemy.”

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation 30th Anniversary Blogging: "Code of Honor" (October 12, 1987)

Stardate: 41235.25

The U.S.S. Enterprise proceeds to Ligon II, the only planet in the galaxy that possesses the vaccine for Anchilles Fever, a sickness which is decimating the people of Styris IV.

But Ligon’s humanoid culture is one possessing an antiquated Code of Honor, and intercultural frissons soon arise when the planet’s powerful leader, Lutan (Jessie Lawrence Ferguson) captures Lt. Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) and withholds the needed vaccine unless she is allowed to fight in a duel to the death with his wife, Yareena (Karole Selmon).

Although Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is acutely aware that the Enterprise crew could simply take the vaccine by force, the Prime Directive prohibits such action.

Accordingly, Picard must execute a plan that satisfies honor, retrieves Yar, and ends with the procurement of the vaccine for Styris IV.


In the vast Star Trek catalog -- which spans decades and more than a half-dozen TV series, and a dozen motion pictures -- one would be hard-pressed to find a more distasteful, less-successful outing than “Code of Honor,” the third episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).

This is so because the episode, via lousy execution, transmits, unfortunately, as racist.

This is a heavy charge, and one that should not be made lightly. First, I should say, I don’t believe the intention was to be racist. Indeed, in a sense, “Code of Honor” could have been a step forward in Star Trek storytelling.  In previous eras of Star Trek, the Enterprise discovers parallel Earths, or humanoid cultures all across the galaxy, and virtually all are primarily Caucasian (save for the Native Americans of “The Paradise Syndrome.”)

So, there isn’t inherently anything wrong or racist about suggesting that another parallel Earth or distant world could be inhabited by black humans.  If there are planets of white aliens, and green-aliens, why not black ones, right?

However, that not-entirely-terrible notion is dramatically undercut by several points, specific to the particular narrative of “Code of Honor.”

First, Ligon is clearly viewed in the episode as a kind of ‘third world’ planet outside the ‘first world’ of the Federation. Its backward ways and beliefs are viewed as primitive by the smug characters aboard the Enterprise, and so the episode becomes, basically, about how the first world must play along with the third world to acquire its many resources or riches (in this case, a much-needed vaccine). 

Series writer Tracy Torme famously commented on the episode’s 1940’s feel, and was correct in doing so.  In “Code of Honor,” the U.S.S. Enterprise (of high western civilization) travels to the futuristic equivalent of “darkest Africa” to acquire the vaccine. But the people don’t want to give it up, so the (superior) westerners (and let’s face it, save for Geordi, they are all white…) must trick it away from them, using the people’s own backwards beliefs to do so.

Secondly, the leader Lutan, a dark-skinned male, is overcome with apparent lust (or at least fascination) with the golden-haired, very white Tasha Yar, whom he deems to be more desirable (or at least exotic) than his black wife, Yareena.

There aren’t many tropes more backward or racist than this particular plot point.

Thirdly, although the Ligonians possess a much-needed vaccine and some fascinating technology (the light-up arena pillars that can be re-arranged in any configuration), they hold what the Westerners view as backward or superstitious beliefs.

Lutan and his second, Hagon, view with ignorance the Holodeck characters they see aboard the Enterprise, exclaiming that the Federation can create people “without a soul.” This line of dialogue seems to be a reference to an oft-quoted, but poorly sourced story which indicates that some African tribes, in the early 20th century, believed that cameras could steal the souls of those photographed.

So, it is not merely that “Code of Honor” presents a world of dark-skinned humans, it’s that it depicts that world of dark-skinned in terms of racial tropes and stereotypes related sexuality, intelligence, and “tribal” beliefs.  Now, I don’t accuse anyone of trying to make the episode racist, but the result is, on its face, incredibly racist.

“Code of Honor” is a terrible episode of Star Trek for reasons beyond its unflattering portrait of dark-skinned humans as “backward” and primitive. The episode is hobbled by weak writing, in particular its dependence on dull, long-winded exposition. Here, Captain Picard utters a long, boring lecture about the Prime Directive, in front of a captive audience of Data, LaForge, and Troi, and -- as if to apologize -- finally notes that he doesn’t have the right to go on about a topic everybody already is familiar with.  The apparent goal of the speech is to reacquaint the audience with the concept of the Prime Directive (and non-interference), but boy is it ham-handed.

And once more, the writing does the character of Picard absolutely no favors. He comes off in this scene as a lecturing, moralistic pedant. He doesn’t have to be a copy of Kirk. But he certainly doesn’t come across as a strong, or resourceful leader in this episode.

The writing is so bad in “Code of Honor” that it doesn’t even think take advantage of a possible asset in the central scenario: our underutilized bridge officer, Worf. Here is a Starfleet officer who hails from a culture that, much like the Ligonian one, lives by a strict and complex code of honor. Worf would be a perfect ambassador to Ligon II.  Instead, he has nothing to do in the episode.

Finally, “Code of Honor” also exposes a key weakness of the first seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is one that goes to the very heart of the sequel series.  In the Original Series, there is a “learn as you go”-type feeling in the storytelling, and in terms of character development.

Think of Captain Kirk realizing that he has actually been arguing for war, in “Errand of Mercy,” or overcoming his desire to kill the Gorn captain in “Arena.”  In these situations, and in many others, the main characters in the series learn something about themselves from their encounters with aliens.  The underlying idea is of a human race that is very much still in development; learning and growing as it heads out into the final frontier.

Even the last Star Trek film to feature the Original Cast, The Undiscovered Country (1991) adopts this technique. Kirk and Spock both overcome their particular prejudices in that tale. Kirk realizes he is afraid of a future in which there is no Neutral Zone, and which he can’t keep hating Klingons. Spock realizes that being a “Vulcan” doesn’t make one a good person, vis-à-vis Lt. Valeris.

Now contrast this “learn as you go” approach with The Next Generation’s approach early on. In the first and second season, the characters are already “fully evolved,” smugly lecturing to the aliens they encounter each week, whom they deem “less evolved” than humanity. Look at the smug, sneering way that Picard and crew contend with the Ligonians here, or the Anticans and Selay in “Lonely Among Us,” or even The Ferengi in “The Last Outpost.”

It’s ugly. It’s arrogant. It’s self-satisfied, and it doesn’t make characters such as Picard, Yar, Riker, or Dr. Crusher likeable in the slightest. They hail from a perfect society, apparently, and look down their nose at those who have not had the same advantages.

This is not what Star Trek is supposed to be about, and the tendency to have the Enterprise characters smugly talk-down to or lecture representatives of other cultures is at its worst in these early shows, and in “Code of Honor” in particular.

Luckily for Star Trek fans (and for the longevity of The Next Generation), this approach changes over the years, so that the main characters come to seem more…human.

“Code of Honor” is fascinating, in at least one sense: the growing pains the episode suggests as the fledgling series tries to discover its own identity. Here, Picard demonstrates a pro-French bias, showing irritation with Data when he fails to acknowledge that country’s historical accomplishments.

And Troi, in this episode, is hard-edged and manipulative, tricking Tasha into revealing her amorous feelings for Lutan.

I actually like this Troi better than the “emotional basket-case”/space-cheerleader version of Troi in “Encounter at Farpoint.” Troi would have to be a brilliant counselor and acute observer of human/alien nature to merit a berth as counselor aboard the Federation flagship, and in “Code of Honor” she displays an almost icy, Machiavellian streak as she attempts to gain the advantage for Picard. I suspect her character would not have been so disliked by fans at the beginning if this approach, rather than the “touchy-feely” one, had been developed.

I have written so much about how bad this episode is, and I have not yet even arrived at the fact that the episode plays, at points, like a derivative version of "Amok Time." In both cases, an Enterprise crew member is forced into ritual combat over an intercultural misunderstanding. Both combats arise, as well, over concepts surrounding marriage.  It's important to note "Code of Honor's" derivative nature, because that too is a weakness of this series in its early days.  "Encounter at Farpoint" regurgitates aspects of "Squire of Gothos." "The Naked Now" updates "The Naked Time." "Code of Honor" features elements in common with "Amok Time." And "The Last Outpost" is a (deeply inferior" remake of the original series' "Arena."

“Code of Honor” is a terrible episode, but I suspect one that is a result not of intentional racism, but of the series not really knowing yet what it is supposed to be about. I hate to beat a dead horse, but there is no episode of Discovery’s (2017) first season that can compare to the sheer awfulness of this one. 

I hope Star Trek fans complaining about the new series remember that Next Generation had to grow a lot before it reached beloved status. Discovery has already found its footing faster than Next Generation did.

Next up: “The Last Outpost.”

Monday, December 04, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Cake

Yesterday, December 3rd, was my forty-eighth birthday, so it seems appropriate to focus this Cult-TV Theme Watch to cake, and preferably birthday cake. 

A cake is a concoction of soft food made from a mixture of eggs, sugar, flour and other ingredients. A cake is baked, and sometimes decorate, if for a special event (like a birthday).

Cakes have appeared frequently in cult-TV history.

In one of the last episodes of Rod’s Serling’s The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), for instance, a huge, delicious-looking cake is served at Aunt T’s, a fantasy cabin in the woods where hopeless and forgotten children find the equivalent of parental love, in “The Bewitchin’ Pool.”

In Buck Rogers in the 25h Century (1979-1981), the astronaut from the 20th century, but awakened in the 25th century (Gil Gerard), gets a surprise party and a birthday cake with a lot of candles on it, given his age, in the episode “Happy Birthday, Buck.”

Alf gets confused in an episode of ALF (1984-1988) and pours cold water on his birthday cake candles, so as not to start a fire.

A cake of a most unusual variety appears in the seventh season Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) episode “Phantasms.” There, Lt. Cmdr Data (Brent Spiner) has a dream in which he carves up a cake that is molded in the shape of Counselor Troi’s (Marina Sirtis) torso and head. It is a “peptides” cake.

It’s not exactly a cake, but Scully (Gillian Anderson) gets a happy birthday cupcake from Mulder (David Duchovny) in The X-Files episode “Tempus Fugit.”

A birthday cake is the order of the day for Jordan Black’s (Brittany Tiplady) seventh birthday in the third season Millennium (1996-1999) episode, “Seven in One.”

Finally, Liv Moore (Rose McIver) gets a birthday cake in the iZombie (2015 - ) episode, “Real Dead Housewife of Seattle.”

The Cult-TV Faces of: Cake