Spider-Man and Stan Lee

a kate west reflection

My favorite superhero is Spider-man, originally created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He seemed to show up everywhere, from his own animated television series and special appearances on "The Electric Company" to major motion pictures. I loved it all. He was created the same decade I was born too, in the 1960's. I never read many comic books as a kid, but always held a fascination for the webbed man, funny considering my slight arachnophobia. Maybe it's because he's a climber, and I'm in love with rock climbing (love scaling those walls and cliffs). Or maybe it was the idea of teenage angst finding a noble outlet.

It's also great to have a "real" character in a real city (I heart New York) working for a newspaper, all things I dig. Brings it all closer to home. Peter Parker is full of doubts, in both comic book form and film versions. Bitten by a radioactive spider, why wouldn't a bookish teenager become even more petulant at times? That would wreak havoc with anyone's hormones. Raised by his aunt and uncle, he loses one of them (Uncle Ben) to a carjacking thief, prompting him to fight crime for the rest of his life. He's directly responsible for this in the movie, which comprises most of his agonizing self-doubt. Another cinematic change is that his web is organic, rather than scientifically made as in the comic books, a really cool improvement. Plus he goes through many different relationships (Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, etc), another realistic aspect. (But please, Director Raimi, stop allowing him to reveal his identity while rescuing the same girl over and over in each and every film. New story needed!)

I became a Stan Lee fan because of Spidey, in spite of some comic world grumblings over his alleged unscrupulousness. Even to the point of watching the over-the-top "reality show" silliness that is "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" It led me to his other creations like the X-Men, another fascinating world of conflict. Tobey Maguire makes a fine young Peter Parker and although the three Spider-man films are unevenly matched, I can't help watching every last one of them. Such is the power of Stan Lee. And Spider-man, of course. Everyone from my generation, please feel free to sing along:

Spider-man, Spider-man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
Catches thieves, just like flies
Look out! Here comes the Spider-man!

Is he strong? Listen, Bud!
He's got radioactive blood.
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead.
Hey there, there goes the Spider-man!

In the chill of night,
At the scene of the crime
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time

Spider-man, Spider-man
Friendly neighborhood Spider-man
Wealth and fame, he's ignored
Action is his reward

To him, life is a great big bang-up
Wherever there's a hang-up
You'll find the Spider-man!

The Movies:
Spider-Man - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Spider-Man / Spider-Man 2 / Spider-Man 3)

The Comic Books:
Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Variant Version) Read more!


Supernatural - WB Network
a kate west recommendation

Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki of "Gilmore Girls" and Jensen Ackles) are two crime-fighting brothers. The twist in this case, is that the criminals are other-worldly. In three seasons, the boys lost their dad, John Winchester (sexy Jeffrey Dean Morgan from "Grey's Anatomy"), tracked down the demon responsible for killing their mother and Sam's girlfriend and helped a heck of a lot of damsels in distress along the way.

It's a pretty basic show about ghost hunters and it's the charisma of the actors that makes the show work. That, and the fact that all three - dad and boys - are scrumptious to look at make the show all the more fun. Supernatural mavens rejoice.


Dean Winchester
(Jensen Ackles - pictured above right)
Sam Winchester
(Jared Padalecki - pictured above left)
John Winchester
(Jeffrey Dean Morgan)

Series Directed by
Kim Manners (11 episodes, 2005-2007)
Robert Singer (6 episodes, 2005-2007)
Philip Sgriccia (6 episodes, 2006-2007)
Charles Beeson (3 episodes, 2007)
Peter Ellis (2 episodes, 2005-2006)
David Nutter (2 episodes, 2005)
Mike Rohl (2 episodes, 2006-2007)
Series Writing credits
Eric Kripke (40 episodes, 2005-2007)
Sera Gamble (9 episodes, 2005-2007)
John Shiban (9 episodes, 2005-2007)
Raelle Tucker (8 episodes, 2005-2007)
Ben Edlund (3 episodes, 2006-2007)
Cathryn Humphris (3 episodes, 2006-2007)
Richard Hatem (2 episodes, 2005)
Terri Hughes (2 episodes, 2005)
Ron Milbauer (2 episodes, 2005)
Matt Witten (2 episodes, 2006-2007)
Trey Callaway (2 episodes, 2006)

Starting Out:

Supernatural - The Complete First Season Read more!

Ghost Whisperer

Ghost Whisperer - ABC

This show is a harmless indulgence. Melinda Gordon sees dead people. Throughout three seasons, her lifelong mission is to help the newly dead find the light.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is adorable and sympathetic as Melinda, except for being married to such a hot husband (rrrrr), Jim Clancy (David Conrad). Her supportive husband knows all about her special gift and is totally fine with it as her real job. Except lately his character appears less and less (actors tiff?). Her day job is working in her own antique store (Same As It Never Was) with friend Delia Banks (Camryn Manheim). She had the challenging job of passing over her previous co-worker and friend Andrea Moreno (Aisha Tyler) the year before. Sometimes it sucks to be her.

It's a cute show and fun to indulge in ghost speculation. Jay Mohr is the helpful young professor sweet on Melinda, and her husband isn't even jealous (however it would be nice if instead of saying things like "between you and I", he would more properly say "between you and me". Thank you Professor of Academia.). Sure it's fluffy and corny (and OK, pretty saccharin), but could this show be cuter? The title says it all.

Ghost Whisperer Cast and Crew:
Jennifer Love Hewitt - (Melinda Gordon)
David Conrad - (Jim Clancy)
Aisha Tyler - (Andrea Moreno)
Jay Mohr - (Professor Rick Payne)
Camryn Manheim - (Delia Banks)

Production Credits:
Mark Snow (Composer (Music Score)
John Gray (Director)
John Gray (Executive Producer)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Producer)
John Gray (Screenwriter)

First Season:
Ghost Whisperer - The Complete First Season Read more!

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls - WB Network
a kate west reflection

I watched "Gilmore Girls" for seven seasons, just like most other women my age. What made it unique for me was the fact that my best friend from college and her daughter are exactly the Gilmore Girls (I call them the Vegas Girls - in the family way, of course). I agree with the viewers who say the series went a bit downhill when creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left the show. The writing suffered a bit after that. But overall, the characters were sharply different and entirely accessible.

Lorelai Gilmore had a child at a very young age and disgraced her upper crust family. But in spite of grand-parental misgivings, Rory turns out to be a dedicated, industrious, sweet-natured and lovely girl, excelling in her private girls high school as well as Yale University. Lorelai and Rory are best friends, gal pals the envy of all. When was the last time you shared a secret with your mother? Especially as a teenager? Add wicked fast repartee and witticisms and you've got a hit show. A single mom raising her kid right.

The town itself, Star's Hollow, is a Utopian New England neighborhood, where everybody knows your name. Melissa McCarthy is Sookie, Lorelai's warm-hearted best friend and co-owner of the Dragonfly Inn. She cooks too. Yanic Truesdale is Michel, the put-upon, fussy manservant of the inn. There is romance too, of course, with Lorelai and Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), who owns his own diner, the main hangout for the whole town it seems. Rory has her share of heartbreaks and friends - her bosom buddy Lane (Keiko Agena) is always escaping her Korean mother to spend time at the hip Gilmore household. Kooky characters abound and throughout the years we get to know each of them intimately.

It's a really touching show, especially if you've ever experienced that special mother-daughter bond yourself. The dialogue is the most fun - it's nice to be in on the joke every week. Not bad for the ever-youthful, trendy WB network.

Created by:
Amy Sherman-Palladino

Lauren Graham Lorelai Gilmore
Alexis Bledel Rory Gilmore
Scott Patterson Luke Danes
Kelly Bishop Emily Gilmore
Edward Herrmann Richard Gilmore
Keiko Agena Lane Kim
Melissa McCarthy Sookie St. James
Matt Czuchry Logan Huntzberger
Sean Gunn Kirk Gleason
Jared Padalecki Dean Forester
Liza Weil Paris Geller
Yanic Truesdale Michel Gerard
Chris Eigeman Jason Stiles
Milo Ventimiglia Jess Mariano

Start on Mother's Day:
Gilmore Girls - The Complete First Season Read more!