By Teresa D’Amario
We all read the books, but who watches them on TV/Movies? What makes a shifter? Who was your first shifter or animalistic hero/heroine you ever saw? Try to limit your work to the GOOD guys for the purposes of this blog. After all, I worked hard to build my list!
For most people it’s Wolverine from X-men and I can’t say I blame you. He’s probably one of the hottest and most memorable shifters ever in the history of television and movies. Who can look into his face, or into his eyes and not see the animalistic power? Do you feel that little tremore down your spine? I sure do. While he’s not a true shifter, there’s just something about a man with a body like that, with his hair like that, and those dang BLADES that makes you wonder if perhaps he really IS a shifter in real life. (BTW, Hugh Jackman is on the tonight show tonite – don’t miss it if you’re a Jackman fan!)
Lately a new type of shifter has moved into the spot light. He’s not quite as dangerous, but I don’t think he’s any less sexy. He has this vulnerable look about him, despite what we know. He can change into any shape he’s familiar with, but he likes dogs. Not big dogs either. But border collies and beagles. The kinda cute and cuddly type.
His name? Sam Merlotte, played by Sam Trammel in the HBO Series, True Blood. Not bad eh? Charlaine Harris did us paranormal fans proud!
It was here when my mind went into overdrive. I tried to think of any shifter out there in tvland. Of course there’s Dark Shadows, where both Quentin Collins (who’s hairstyle somewhat resembles that of wolverine! wow, how did that happen?) and Chris Jennings both transform into werewolves.
The problem with the Dark shadows werewolves were they became evil during their transformation. In today’s romance and urban fantasy, that’s not usually the case. Most of our shifters remember their human selves, and while their instincts may threaten to overtake them, they rarely allow such urges to steal their inner selves completely.
Of course we can’t forget Teen Wolf, right? He was a good guy. I think this was the first time I could remember a “wolf” shifter being a good guy. I love that movie – Michael J. Fox was the perfect choice too. I mean, who didn’t love a cute, funny dude as a werewolf?
But while I was thinking of all these guys who were shifters, I remembered my first WOMAN shifter on television. I’m thinking this may be the first time I thought of a shifter as a sexy, hot person (She was considered very sexy on the show in question). This particular shifter, however, didn’t shift using the rules most present day authors assign to their worlds.
She didn’t live the animal instincts after shifting because she didn’t always become an animal. Sometimes she became aliens, sometimes she became bugs, and sometimes she became birds. I remember once she became another human. She didn’t shift only into hot, animalistic and sensual creatures. She did it all! But she did have her limitations. Because she was humanoid by nature, she could only hold her other shapes for an hour (I think it was an hour?) and then she would be forced back into human shape. Now that doesn’t sound that scary, unless she’s a small bird captured and put in a bird cage and has to become human! What if that cage is strong? She is squished in the process of transformation and can die!
So who is this illustrious shifter? Her real name is Katherine Schell, but she played Maya on the science fiction tv series – Space, 1999. This wasn’t a paranormal story – it was science fiction. Yet Maya did everything our shifters did and more. :) I remember very little about this series, but I shall always remember Maya. She was the epitome of a strong woman in my mind – able to become who and what she wanted just by picturing it in her head. The series is old, and has less special effects than even Dark Shadows sometimes, but it’s nice to see paranormal and science fiction coming together, even back then.
There are shadows of Maya hidden beneath the surface of one of my supporting characters in Tigress by the Tail too. One of Lance’s brothers has a wizarding ability of metamorphism, or shapeshifting. He’s not the same. I remember when I created him, I didn’t want anyone to think I was stealing Maya and making her a man. LOL
And imagine my surprise when I found a composite video on youtube, that I’ll leave you with (thanks to Companionn for the wonderful video)- The many Transformations of Maya, from Space 1999, my most memorable experience with a shifter from the Boob Tube!
One lucky poster will get a copy of MY first shapeshifter book, SheWolf, finalist in 2008 PRISM awards. SheWolf is an ebook, so make sure you post your email address to enter.