Shifters on the tube!

November 19, 2008 at 1:16 am (General, Teresa D'Amario) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

By Teresa D’Amario

We all read the books, but who watches them on TV/Movies?  What makes a shifter?  Who was your first hugh_jackman_x_men_001shifter 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!)

trueblood02Lately 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.

17 Comments

  1. *lizzie starr said,

    hmm, though I never watched the show, my ex did–Manimal. I don’t remember if he could change to any animal, but I do remember the dark tone of the commercials for the show.

    WOlverine–in the movies or even in animated form has been my fave for a long time. Then if you wanna really visit the past (and definitely step out of romance mode) there were the Wonder Twins. She could take any animal form, while he was stuck with some form of water. 🙂

  2. Marcia said,

    Oh man!! I can’t believe you found that Space:1999 clip!! I LOVE that show. And yes, I tuned into to see Maya because I thought she was the coolest character ever at the time.

  3. Teresa D'Amario said,

    Hmm, NOt seen Wondertwins… .SO I went to youtube, and sure enough, they are there too. The joy of cartoons! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdZ4JgGm2p4

    As for Manimal, My husband watched it in reruns. It sounds vaguely familiar, as if I watched one or two of them, maybe? I headed off to youtube there too. Hmm, His transformation looks very painful, and SLOW!

    Just like the book authors, TV has to decide how to transform from human to animal. In the movie Blood and Chocolate (which is nothing like the book), they use the magical transformation.

  4. Keira from LoveRomancePassion said,

    Another shifter, Remus Lupin, was a strange looking werewolf in the Harry Potter movie – Prisoner of Azkaban. Half human still I would say with the long long limbs and the weird half standing crouch.

  5. Michele Hauf said,

    I just had this flash of the show Man From Atlantis with Patrick Duffy. He didn’t completely shift, but I do recall him getting webbed hands and maybe some other small changes. That fascinated me!

  6. Colleen said,

    Oh I remember the WonderTwins, I have always been a fan of super heroes… I believe it lead me to my enjoyment of Sci-fi and Paranormal!😀

  7. Jessica Kennedy said,

    Very cool. Liked the clip. There really aren’t enough shifters if you ask me. I’ve been watching True Blood and I’m excited about what’s to come. I know that soon there will be werewolves in the story line. It might be a few seasons away but still, it’s there and I’ll wait for them! Also, Sam does decide to shift into a bigger animal later down the line, which will be awesome to see.

    I love shifters!

  8. Teresa D'Amario said,

    OMG, Man from atlantis, I so forgot about that. I wonder sometimes why Sci Fi doesn’t show all these old shows. I LOVED that show! He was soooo sexy in that… Grew gils and everything. Just like the dude on Smallville – Aquaman.

    As for shifters in general, I guess we have to give Kudos to Michael Jackson’s thriller. He did some SUPER Shifting there! If none of you have seen that you really should go to youtube and take a peek. I can’t link it here for copyright reasons.🙂

    Remus Lupin – How Could I forget Professor Lupin? Or even Sirius Black, who shifted into a dog? and then there’s Harry Potter’s dad who shifted into a buck. Not a boring, run of the mill skittish animal, but a proud, majestic buck.

  9. Teresa D'Amario said,

    BTW, Jessica, I haven’t read the Sookie books – I read one and couldn’t get into it, but I mostly like the way they are doing the show. So I can’t wait to see how that works too.🙂 I was thrilled when he became a shifter. Funny that he chose a beagle first. LOL.

  10. Beth C. said,

    I think my first introduction was either Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent turns into a dragon) or the story Beauty and the Beast. Once again, fairy tales. 🙂

    Also one thing I’ve been debating – is a mermaid a shifter or a species? Remember Splash and her turning into a mermaid when her legs got wet. Is using water as the medium any different than say a full moon?

  11. Ann M. said,

    I’d have to say it was Wolverine. I can’t think of too many shifters in shows I watch.

    apmkc1 at gmail dot com

  12. Teresa D'Amario said,

    Hi Beth,

    Hm, Most mermaids are shifters – some aren’t… the ones that never get legs I guess aren’t. See, I didn’t see sleeping beauty. Still haven’t seen it. *sob* But as for Beauty and the Beast, forgot about that!

  13. Karin said,

    Wolverine was definitely the first TV character that was a shifter. However, the shifting of good guys definitely got my attention more in the Harry Potter series than anywhere else aside from paranormal romance shifters. Aside from the three you mentioned, there’s also Professor McGonagall who shifts into a cat, Rita Skeeter who shifts into a beetle, and Peter Pettigrew who shifts into a rat.

  14. Beth C. said,

    Actually, Wolverine wasn’t my first one. The cartoon Spiderman and his Amazing friends would be my first Marvel shifters. I still remember how Bobbie Drake would build his block of ice and come out as IceMan or Angelica glowing and changing into Firestar.

  15. Cathy said,

    Well, I can’t say he was a shifter, but Ron Perlman was the lion beast Vincent in Beauty and the Beast TV series. With his love of books, supernatural connection to his love, I thought he was best protection a girl could have. I just recently rented this series from blockbusters so I could watch it all over again!

  16. Teresa D'Amario said,

    Cathy, I so remember that show! I LOVED it. You’re right, he’s technically ot a shifter, but then Wolverine isn’t either. But he was the epitome of a paranormal Alpha Male.

    Funny though Beth, I never think of the superheros as “shifters”. Wonder why that is.

  17. Beth C. said,

    Probably because most superheros don’t really ‘change’ form so much as have extra powers or nifty toys. Iceman, Firestar, and the Human Torch are really the ones off the top of my head that have to go through a physical change to make use of most of their powers.

    Mystique’s power is to morph physical appearance…is that shifting?

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