Thursday, March 19, 2009

. . . And All for One

by Nancy

You may have noticed I'm a sucker for groups. I love ensemble casts that appear from one book to another. The same applies to TV shows and even movies. It's not enough, though, that they be a group who move through each other's books or films or take turns starring in the ensemble's episode, as in every successful series. They also have to have a larger goal. "Might for right," wouldn't be a bad way to describe it (borrowing a line from the musical Camelot). I love characters coming together, risking life and love for the greaetr good. So today I'm going to discuss some of my favorite such groups in multiple media. I hope you'll share yours.

The first group I remember loving was the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics. The Legion, a group of super-powered teenagers who chose their own members, fought as a team and protected each other's backs captured my imagination totally. What kid didn't want, at some time, to belong to an exclusive club?

They even had their own clubhouse, which was shaped like the thruster end of a rocket and had many cool subterranean levels. Superboy, whose adventures I adored, actually failed the membership test. Except that the real test was of his behavior when he learned he'd failed, a test the gracious Boy of Steel passed easily. Superboy went on to cosmic adventure with the Legion for decades, with a brief break of interest only to serious Legion geeks.

Through good times and bad, victories, defeats, and deaths, the Legionnaires stood by each other. And placed themselves between the galaxy and great peril.

From the Legion, it was a short step to the Doom Patrol, Justice League of America and, eventually, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. And, of course, the Amazing X-Men. But the Marvel universe was too dark for me in my childhood and teens. I needed to reach adulthood to find it a tolerable place. The scene at the end of X-3 when Wolverine kills Jean, while very different and thus irritating on some level to a comic book geek who read the Dark Phoenix saga in the original, was nevertheless heart-wrenching, dramatic, and a moral imperative that both Logan and Jean recognized.

A lot of the movies I remember from my childhood were westerns, mostly featuring lone heroes or heroes with a sidekick and maybe a love interest and no web of close-knit friends. However, that changed for me with the 1973 release of The Three Musketeers, starring Richard Chamberlain as Aramis and Michael York as the dashing and somewhat naive D'Artagnan. I didn't care that the movie played the Dumas book for laughs. I'd never read the book, though I later did. What I liked was the way the Musketeers tried to cover for and help each other, all while trying to protect France from the machinations of Richelieu. True musketeers fans will recognize the title of this blog as coming from "One for all and all for one."

Original Star Trek had the same appeal for me. The Enterprise command crew stuck together, always. They never left anyone behind, and they would take any risk to protect the innocent (sometimes, in violation of the Prime Directive). Then I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The fellowship stuck together, first the hobbits and then Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. I thought the way those three struck out after Merry and Pippin, who'd been kidnapped by Orcs, was terrific. And they were all willing to risk their lives to save Middle Earth from Sauron by destroying the One Ring. Even Highlander seemed to get much better for me after the show gave Duncan a circle of close Immortal friends who joined him in various battles to protect mortals.

And then there are the Dark-Hunters and the Nightkeepers. The Dark-Hunters can't be together for very long without weakening each other, but they do stick up for each other and help each other out when they can. And Ash stands ready to help any of them while they all risk their lives to protect humanity from demons.

The Nightkeepers are still learning to be a unit and developing their mutual trust, but they don't let each other down. The fact that they have powers is just icing on the cake, another resource that lets them work together. I admit that, for me, the powers are what a fellow Legion fan calls the "built-in nifty appeal." How could would it be to have telekinesis? To be able to fly? To work magic?

Now that I think of it, those are probably factors in my affection for King Arthur and his knights--a sense of unity and mutual support. And then, of course, we have Morgan Le Fay and Merlin with their magical powers. Not to mention various enchanted characters or various sorts. All way cool!

While super-powers do tend to draw me, I also like non-powered groups with solidarity, like Sabrina Jeffries' Royal Brotherhood. I loved One Night with The Prince, which is probably my favorite of the three, but one of the big draws for me is the solidarity the three royal bastard brothers feel for each other. And the first book, In the Prince's Bed, has terrific bits about the working of Astley's. Sabrina found a way for her hero to engage in derring-do in the heart of London and gave him two brothers to support his ambition. Either of these heroes could've come across as unsympathetic, but they didn't. Part of what made them likeable, for me, was their support for each other and their willingness to stand up to their father, Prinny.

In the fall, Gerri Russell has a terrific series about Scottish Knights Templar starting with Dorchester. Her knights will fight to protect Scotland from tyranny, to save mystical Templar artifacts and, of course, to win the women they love.

Then, of course, there's my fondness for Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1, but since I just went on at length about them recently, I'll spare everyone today.

In the contemporary arena, there are terrific groups like Dee Davis's Last Chance, Inc. Dee writes terrific action sequences, and her characters are all out to solve crimes and correct injustices ranging from murder to bombings to international terrorism. The characters overlap but step to the fore at different times. Aside from the "boom" so many of us love, her characters have deep, difficult romantic conflicts.

She has a series about CIA operatives launching in 2010. I can't wait!

Patricia Rice wrote a terrific series about the Malcolm women, who happen to be witches, and the Ives men, who happen to be their perfect mates. The kinship and support in these families drew me right into this series, and I love the strong women she creates. Her newest books, the Mystic Isle series have a stronger fantasy component and a sort of island Shangri-La, with the French Revolution as a backdrop. Magic and destiny and conflict and war create a tangle the characters must unravel to find true love.

The third book, Mystic Warrior, will be out in July

I'm not usually into things French, being such an ardent Anglophile, but I do enjoy these books. The first one, Mystic Guardian, is pictured at left.

So is there a particular group you enjoy? What do they fight for? What do you love about them? What's your favorite book in the series, and why?

When trying to bring order out of chaos on my bookshelf, I found that I had a duplicate, never-read copy of one of Patricia Rice's Malcolm/Ives books, Much Ado About Magic. I'm giving that to one commenter today.


Virginia said...


Virginia said...

Oh yes he's mine, mine, mine!!!

Virginia said...

Great post, I really enjoyed it! One series that comes to mind for me is Lisa Childs, Witch Hunt Series. I think I enjoyed this one because they were seperated as children and all came together in the end. It has been a while since I read this series but I think the first one was my favorite one, but not sure now. I also enjoyed Shari Anton, Magic series, it was also a great read.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

My favorite groups in comic include the X-Men, Avengers and Justice League. I love Dee's Last Chance trilogy. "Enigma" was my favorite book in the series. I fell in love with Payton. I also love Stephanie Laurens' Bastion Club. The Bastion Club was created by seven titled gentlemen who are ex-spies who seek "a last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton." They of course all end up finding the right woman. I can't pick a favorite from this series, they're all great. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series which will feature the ex-commander of the former spies.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Virginia! He's nice and rested. I put him to bed early and made sure he only had hot milk and none of his usual shenanigans before he got some shut-eye. Congratulations!

Nancy, what an interesting post. I especially love Superboy being knocked back from the Legion because they were testing his character. Way cool! I remember that Three Musketeers film. It was huge fun!

limecello said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia!

As for groups... hmm... it's a bit tougher for me to answer now because I like series less and less. I do love the X-Men though. And Batman and all his... associates?
As for book groups... erm... the Wallflowers quartet by Lisa Kleypas was nice. Not your usual "fight" or "might" group - but they did come together with a purpose. And it was short and sweet and ended. Oh - and the Chicago Stars books by SEP; although one or two related books might still filter in. (And that's fine.)

Donna MacMeans said... favorite group that has each other's back is The Romance Bandits (smile).

Fun post, Nancy! You mentioned my favs, esp. The Lord of the Rings ensemble and Star Trek. I'll add one of my favorite Western groups to your list - the cast of Silverado. Loved that movie!

Virginia - the GR keeps running back to you. I think I heard him squawk - "she's mine, mine, mine!"

jo robertson said...

What a great, interesting post, Nancy. I love those "groups" you mentioned.

Thanks especially for mentioning the Arthurian legends, one of my favorites. I just finished watching a 2004 movie of "Arthur" with Clive Owen as Arthur and Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot since I love these two actors. I was disappointed in the story -- they had Launcelot die before Arthur married Guinevere, completely ignoring T.H. White's account of moral decay and fall of the kingdom, but the comaraderie among the knights was super!

Two other "group" favorites of mine are "The Magnificent Seven" -- I still watch that old western -- The Dirty Dozen and The Great Escape.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congratulations! I hope you have fun with the bird today.

I haven't read either of the series you mentioned, but I'll keep an eye out for them. They sound really cool.

Lara Lee said...

Hmmm... I love Suzanne Brockmann's Navy Seals and Troubleshooters (wonderful group of men and women!), Christine Feehan's Shadow Walkers (enhanced soldiers that leave no man behind :), and Stephanie Plum's odd group of friends and relatives are a fun group (Janet Evanovich). The characters in Harry Potter are also a terrific group. I read a lot of series because I become attached to the characters and want to revisit them.

Great blog post!

Nancy said...

Jane, a fellow comic book fan! Looks as though you got into Marvel faster than I did.

Dee writes great suspense, doesn't she? I'm really looking forward to her CIA series, and she'll be back in the fall to discuss her romantic comedy, Setup in Soho

I haven't read the Bastion Club, but anything involving a spy is something I have to check out.

Nancy said...

Anna, it sounds as though the GR was in Bird Paradise at your house. :-)

That Three Musketeers movie was sweet and funny and swashbuckling all at once. Unfortunately, the sequel was sad at the end (I'm against that, as you know). The movies did eventually draw me to the books, though, as the LOTR movies apparently did lots of other people.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Evening all!

GREAT POST, Nancy! And I'm with Donna, the greatest group EVAH (who always has each other's backs, never leaves a woman behind, and does it all in cute boots) is THE BANDITAS, of course! And can't forget our loyal BBs! They help us defend the Lair from any romance bashers or ugly shoe wearers, or (Aunty Shudders) CHOCOLATE HATERS!!!

I LURVED that version of The 3 Musketeers (had a HUGE crush on Michael York back then) and the other buddy movie I like from the same time period was Kelly's Heroes. Now that I've thoroughly dated myself as OLDE, I'm off to watch Leno!


Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Jo, I adore the Magnificent Seven. That Music! Yul! Steve! James Coburn! Such a great story. And so sad at the end. Fantastic film! Actually I love stories about men who find a hidden honor deep within themselves. Gets me every time!

Minna said...

Well, there are so many. Bastion Club is one of them. And then there's Nora Roberts' Circle Trilogy: witch, wizard, shapeshifter, vampire...

Love Song For A Vampire

ANGEL - Die Another Day

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia enjoy your day with him

Loved the post Nancy my favourite group as a child was The Secret Seven and The Famous Five loved those stories of friendship and mystery by Enid Blyton.

As for now I too loved Sabrina Jefferies Royal Brotherhood series and Stephanie Laurens Bastion Club series. I loved the early Star Trek shows with Spock,and the Magnificent 7 Kelly Heroes and The Dirty Dozen.

Gerri Russells new series sounds really good and I haven't yet read any of Patricia Rice's books but they sound very good.

Have Fun

Dianna Love said...

Yay for you, Virginia!

Nancy - I love worlds built around a group, too. Great stories, some that I know and remember, plus a few new ones I don't that I want to read. (my TBR pile just groaned...)

BTW - wish you could have made the PTC trip - hope to see you on another one.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah, Nancy, what an appropriate topic, since the Bandits are a mighty whether we have a "might for right" concept, we do generally have each other's backs!

You've mentioned some of my favorite groups. LOVED the Three Musketeers, although my favorite was Oliver Reed as Porthos...he gave him such a sinister feel, like the bad boy of the lot!

And The Highlander. Loved Adrian Paul as Duncan, but like you felt the show came together when he had more compatriots.

As for contemporary groups...CSI:NY and NCIS are two that really rock my TV viewing these days.

As for books, I don't miss a Dark-Hunter book, and while Zarek's story was great, I actually liked Kerrigan's the best, then there was Vane's story in the Ware-Hunter series. yummo

And I do love Suzanne Brockmann's SEALs and Troubleshooter groups.

And of course, Jo Davis' Firefighters of Station Five. Y'all met them in Trial By Fire, but let me tell you, in the two books coming out this year, Under Fire and Hidden Fire y'all are gonna fall in love with them even more!

Suzanne Welsh said...

OMG, Cindy...Kelley's Heroes. That had to be the greatest anti-hero hero movie ever made. Watch it ever chance I get.

And Jo, not only do I love The Great Escape, so does one of my daughters. When Rocky-the-wonder-dog gets out of the yard to go on his semi weekly excursions, she says, he's like the puppy version of Steve McQueen. (who really made kahki and leather look so good!)

Laurie said...

Catherine Mann's airmen.
Celeste Bradley's spies.
Julie London's Rogues of Regent Street.
Sherrilyn Kenyon- B.A.D. Agency
LindsayMcKenna -The Trayhern family and his agency.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Well, it looks like just about all the groups I like have been mentioned, isn't it wonderful to have such a large group of like minded people about? I was an avid comic book reader and loved The Justice League.
I get chills as the the LOTR group begins. Harry Potter has held my heart from the beginning as well. I will just toddle on off to work and see if I can think of any other groups.
Congrats on the GR Virginia, make him behave today.

Caren Crane said...

Virginia!! Way to snatch the GR back. Keep him close, the flighty bird. *g*

Nancy, I've long been a fan of ensembles myself. Of course, I tend to love the comedic ones, but I was swept away by the Tolkein books. As a child, I loved Fat Albert's gang, the ever-entwined 'Love Boat' cast, the gang on 'Room 222', 'The Patridge Family' and 'The Brady Bunch'.

Of course, usually in comedies or dramas, people are busy learning Life Lessons, but I loved that! I was a total sucker for After School Specials. *g* Not at all what you would consider a traditional "ensemble" cast, but I love the interactions of many characters, all working toward a common goal (or even individual ones, together) and learning from each other.

What a great thing for me to ponder today. Thanks for the super post!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, and the Huxtables on the 'Cosby Show'! And the movie 'Fame'! And '21 Jump Street'! I promise I did something besides watch TV as a young person....

Keira Soleore said...

Nancy, I love stories with big families where you see the same loyalty dynamics. Most books feature heroes with friends but those friends are usually simply vehicles to showcase the hero rather than the intricacy of the relationship amongst them.

Eloisa James does complicated friendships really well, among men as well as women.

Ooh, the Three Musketeers made my teen heart go pitter-pat. I've read it in all published English versions and wished my French was good enough to read the original, because I'm positive it's that much beter.

Virginia, back atcha. :)

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Nancy! I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the ensemble, too. I usually fall for a minor character everybody else overlooks.

For example, in the Disney cartoon version of Robin Hood, I don't love the hero or the heroine. I don't even love the loveable Little John. I love Lady Cluck.

In Grease, I don't care for Sandy or Danny. I'm in love with Kinnicki. Rizzo is running a close second.

I'm with you on digging Jessica Andersen's Night Keepers. I don't usually get into sci-fi/paranormal, but that rag-tag bunch of misfits just got to me. :-) I can't wait to see where she takes them next.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good job, Virginia! I know he will have a great time with you!

Goodness La Campbell! I think you win the hostess with the mostest award!

Everyone has named so many of my favorites! I LOVED The Magnificent Seven! What a great film and fabulous music.

What's not to love about X-Men? Hugh Jackman?? HELLO !!! But I do love the bond between the mutants and the hard choices they have to make.

The Bastion Club and the Royal Bastards series are both fantastic and I can't wait for Dalziel's book!

Christine Feehan's Dark series is another great series about the bonds of family and brotherhood. As is Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series.

Ooh, Silverado is another good one! Loved that one!

I think there is just something appealing to all of us about a group of friends who laugh and cry together, look out for each other and enjoy life's adventures together. Hey, that sounds like the Banditas and Buddies! We even have our own clubhouse!

Kimber Chin said...

Oh, I love ensemble casts also. It shows that the hero or heroine can maintain a relationship which bodes well for his/her love interest.

I'm with limecello about Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series. A group of very different women bonding for a greater purpose (to find love). Wonderful!

RachieG said...

:) I couldn't agree with you more regarding the Sabrina Jeffries' series. I think I liked the second one a bit better, but I really enjoyed all three. I liked how there wasn't a mystery to solve or something silly, it was simply three guys trying to live life during that period and just happening to be illegitimate kids of the Prince...and how they would deal with the situation.

:) Loved the post today!!

Joan said...

Good morning to my favorite ensemble...Banditas and BB's!!!

Great post Nancy,

Many of my favs have already been mentioned. I would add Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld, the characters in Lori Handeland's Moon series.

I also just read Pat Rice's Mystic Guardian. WELL DONE and am looking forward to the second one that is in my TBR pile from National...I know it is...

Oh! Oh! Can't forget Pamela Clare's McKinnon's! Or rather MINE...(Morgan) :-)

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

I deleted 2 posts because I mixed up my comments. Doesn't bode well for my classes today., *sigh*

Nancy said...

Limecello, I enjoyed Batman more when he had "associates," as you put it. The movie Batman has been done well, and I've enjoyed the movies. Well, most of them. The dark loner is an effective character but too isolated for me to warm to the way I did the more connected, earlier version in the comic books.

I like Smallville and have been intrigued by it since Justice League-like characters have been turning up. And the Legion of Super-Heroes apparently made an appearance recently, but I missed it! Aaagh!

Nancy said...

Donna, would you believe I've never seen Silverado all the way through, just snippets on TV? It's one of those movies I keep meaning to watch but just never have.

What do you especially like about it?

Nancy said...

Jo, glad I hit your favorite. I was also disappointed in that King Arthur movie despite enjoying many things about it. One of those, as you mention, was the camaraderie among the knights. It also had, I thought, one big storytelling problem, which I hoped was in the editing and would be fixed in the DVD. It wasn't though. Anyway, the end wouldn't have been as riveting for me if not for the knights' obvious affection for each other.

Nancy said...

Lara, thanks. I love Stephanie's quirky friends and the way they all pitch in to help her, too. And the SEALs are sort of like superheroes without capes.

The Shadow Walkers are another group I've meant to check out for a while.

We love Harry Potter, too, and we enjoyed the way everyone came together at the end. They used magical "might for right," even though the outcome hung in the balance, ultimately, between Harry and Voldemort.

Nancy said...

AC, thanks. I second your comment and Donna's and Suz's about the banditas. We are sort of like SG-1, one of my favorite teams, but without the weaponry. We have the gladiators, cabana boys, and hockey players for the defensive perimeter. *g* The existence of chocolate haters is a mystery to me, but I know they're out there! We're lucky to have our aforesaid armed minions to keep them at bay.

A lot of people had crushes on Michael York. Logan's Run, anyone? A friend of mine actually punched my arm during his swimming scene.

Haven't seen him lately, alas.

Nancy said...

Minna, I haven't read the Nora Roberts books, but they sound interesting.

Nancy said...

Helen, another vote for the Bastion Club! Y'all are moving them up my list. I also enjoyed the Famous Five, though our library only had a few of them. On a trip to England, I found Five Run Away Together at Foyle's bookstore in London, and we read it to the boy when he was little. Blyton is a hugely popular author, just not, for some reason, in the US, which seems strange to me.

Nancy said...

Dianna, you and Sherrilynn depicted a fabulous team in Phantom in the Night. Definitely "might for right."

I wish I could've made it, too. Maybe next time.

Nancy said...

Suz, I agree that Oliver Reed was great in those movies and pivotal in the second one. His title was Comte de la Faire, wasn't it?

I frequently watch NCIS. I've always liked both Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly, and the show has a great ensemble.

I bought Jo Davis's book after she guested with us and am looking forward to reading it.

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Nancy!

Fun post! Oh, you've named some great groups. I was a Star Trek Next Generation girl all the way in the nineties, for all the reasons you've listed.

In books, late in the Elizabeth Peters Peabody series, I love when all the characters are grown and working together. Love Sabrina's Royal Brotherhood too! Ah, Draker!

Patricia Rice said...

Wow, I can see you really do have a great group here if I'm reading the time frame correctly--42 comments since midnight! And here I thought I was dropping by at dawn...

I'm not entirely certain I'm as fixated on loyalty among groups as I am by the world they create and inhabit. I used to be a Fantastic Four fan, but I think it was because each was their own person but they somehow managed to pull their independent (eccentric!) personalities together to make a whole for the common good.

Great topic, thank you!

Gerri Russell said...

Nancy, What a great post! I love the "ensemble" of characters whether it is in books, movies, or a television series. When the characters work together, celebrate together, and suffer together it makes the emotions that much more intense.

You've named all my favorites already, though I must say I'm waiting with anticipation for the new Star Trek movie coming in May and hoping they do the "crew" justice!

Thank you also for the mention of my new Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars series that starts in September 2009 with To Tempt a Knight.

And I, too, must admit my favorite gal-pal group has to be the Banditas. You're the best!

Beth said...

Fun post, Nancy! I love an ensemble cast and many of my favorites have already been mentioned. I also loved the group in Firefly, Angel and Buffy (I'm sensing a Joss Whedon theme here *g*)

Anyone remember The Magnificent Seven TV show that was on about 10 years ago? It had Eric Close (from Without A Trace). I thought that had a fun ensemble. Oh, and I just discovered Leverage on TNT - great cast and a really fun show :-)

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations, Virginia!

All my favorites have already been
mentioned - thanks, everyone, I
add my "vote."

This brings back lots of memories,
especially of my sons' avid interest in all the comic book heroes since the late '60s/early '70s, especially the Justice League!

Pat Cochran

PJ said...

Terrific post, Nancy! I love ensembles, with the interaction among the many characters while still giving each individual his/her time in the spotlight.

Many of my favorite ensemble movies have been mentioned like The Three Musketeers, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape and Kelly's Heroes.

I also enjoy ensemble TV shows.
A few old favorites are MASH, LA Law, Hogan's Heroes and China Beach.

I'm another huge fan of the Bastion Club books. Rocki St. Claire's Bullet Catchers also hold a place near and dear to my heart. They're a group of highly skilled male bodyguards who pull together for the greater good regardless of personal feelings toward one another and are secure enough in their masculinity to be working for a gorgeous (female) ex-spy.

PJ said...

Congrats on the catch, Virginia!

flchen1 said...

Nancy, very fun post--I do love groups, and love a series about a group. Some other favorites--Alison Kent's SG-5 gang and her gIRL-gEAR team; Kate Angell's Boys of Summer; Kath Long's Body Hunters, Rhonda Nelson's Men Out of Uniform... And I love family groups--Quinn's Bridgertons, all of Nora Roberts' families, Leslie Kelly's Santoris, Monica McCarty and Michelle Willingham's warriors... I could on and on ;)

Congrats on the GR, Virginia!

donnas said...

I love groups that stick together and help each other. Its part of the appeal of shifter packs in current books. Of course King Arthur and his knights fascinate me. The X-Men are great, I am so glad to finally see Gambit in the new movie. Vampire and Witches with their covens. Families - The Drake Sisters by Christine Feehan is a great series.

I havent had the chance to read Patricia Rice's series yet but I definately need to start it.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Suzanne Welsh said...

Beth, I never got to really watch The Magnificent Seven on TV, but I was addicted to The Young Riders. Josh Brolin was ubber sexy and Stephen Baldwin...too cute. And all that leather, and horses, and western historical....sighhhhhh

PJ said...

Suz, I'm with you on The Young Riders and also Jo's Firefighters. I'm counting the days until the next book comes out!

Helen said...

How could I forget Pamela Clare's Rangers Joanie Morgan is the best I am looking forward to Conners story.
Another I have though of Celeste Bradleys Liars Club

Have Fun

Nancy said...

I'm now out of class for the week. Yay! I'm glad y'all continued the party without me.

Nancy said...

Laurie, that's a great list! Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

Dianna, we really do like a lot of the same things! Cartoon Network had a Justice League show for a while, but it's not my Justice League, if you know what I mean.

The dh loves LOTR, too. He once taught a course in Tolkien.

Nancy said...

Caren, I loved Room 222 Too bad it didn't last longer. And the movie Fame, which I hear they're remaking. My vague memory is that the kids tried to help each other prepare for auditions.

And the movie gave Irene Cara her maybe only ever hit. Nothing besides the main title is coming to mind.

Nancy said...

Just FYI for everyone, Karen Kendall is joining us next Thursday to talk about the joys and pitfalls of creating series. Her second book about the ARTemis, Inc., art retrieval agency is coming out in April.

I hope you'll check back for some more series talk. :-)

Nancy said...

Keira, I agree that intricate, complicated friendships add a wonderful layer of texture in a story. I suspect it's hard to build that in and not take too much away from the main plot, but I love books and movies (and TV shows) that manage it.

Nancy said...

Susan, that's interesting about the Disney Robin Hood. Would you believe I've never seen it? Or Grease? (ducking bandita projectiles)

Is Lady Cluck related to the GR?

The next Nightkeepers book, The Skykeepers, is due out in August. I can't wait! And Jessica will be back to celebrate with us.

Nancy said...

Louisa--another Silverado fan! I noticed you also liked the Bastion books and Feehan. You people are just making my piles higher and higher.

I figure any reason to put Hugh Jackman on the blog is good enough. Jean Grey is actually my favorite X-Man, but Hugh is way more popular in the Lair. *g*

I've never also never seen The Magnificent Seven, which I realize probably means I'm deprived. . . .

Nancy said...

Kimber, I also haven't read the Wallflowers. It sounds like a great series, though.

Nancy said...

Rachie, thanks. I think my favorite Royal Brotherhood book is Iversley's, but I really liked the gambler, Gavin Byrne, too.

Nancy said...

JT, thanks! Glad you liked Pat's new series. I'm waiting for #3. So I'm technically ahead of you, except you've read all these other books I haven't. *sigh*

I haven't read Showalter's Lords of the Underworld. But I have read the "Darkest" books, which are loosely based on Greek myths, are very dark, and have heroes who were friends before they were cursed. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I'll just say they weren't very nice to Pandora, who got a bum rap.

Nancy said...

Hi, Deb--

Maybe I need to read farther in the Peabody books. I stopped because I got tired of Ramses, but I loved the early ones. I might like him better as an adult, though.

Gosh, never would've guessed you'd like books about Egypt. ;-)

STTNG had a bigger ensemble than the original. More story opportunities, I think. I was really disappointed when Tasha Yar left. She was my favorite (the kick-butt security chief, for those who missed it)

Nancy said...

Pat, you know I would function better if 11:07 were dawn. I'm so not a morning person. *sigh*

The Fantastic Four, even more than the other Marvel groups, had personalities that pulled them apart, with Sue frequently trying to mediate. Yet, as you note, they pulled together when they needed to.

Thanks for adding them to the list.

Nancy said...

Gerri, thanks! I think the factors you mention are part of the reason I like the show Heroes so much. The first episode I saw was the first season finale, when all the heroes came together to stop Peter's uncontrolled powers from blowing up New York. The selfless way they worked together, even though they were mostly strangers (and with powers, of course), embodied everything that yanked me into comic books as a child.

And you're joining us in August to talk about your Templars, right?

Nancy said...

Just in case anyone cares, Peter is my favorite on Heroes.

He's sort of the Cosmic Boy (Legion of Super-Heroes' first leader, for the non-Legion fans) of the group. This season, he's the one Claire frees first when they need to escape, and he coordinates everybody.

Before they all separate to run and hide.

And he used to have lightning powers, too. And telepathy? Can't remember, but I think maybe.

Nancy said...

Oh, and yes, the new Star Trek movie stars Zachary Quinto from Heroes as Spock. He seems to be the same physical type as Leonard Nimoy was.

Silar, his TV character, is very complex. I suspect he may enjoy playing a character no one hisses at.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Nancy, what a great post! Nothing better than a Scooby gang, IMO. Especially in a TV series, you get to know all the characters and the reactions they'll have to different events.

I love the way Nora Roberts does this with her trilogies. Everyone has their own particular skills and weaknesses, which all come to play in fighting the big bad. And also Buffy--Joss Whedon is a master at writing an ensemble cast.

Hey Virginia, congrats!

Cassondra said...

Well, I haven't read through all the comments yet, and I'm certain these have been mentioned by others but I like the LOTR trilogy best, and I like the group of friends from Harry Potter--not only the three main characters, but the larger group of witches who are fighting for the light, against Voldemort and his followers.

I liked the Father, the son, and the adopted son (played by Daniel Day Lewis) in LOTM, though that's not quite the same I guess, as it's not ongoing, and bad things happen in the end, but still, I loved the way they took care of each other and had each other's backs.

I think the reason the LOTR series is my favorite "group"--the Fellowship--is that each of them is so complex, and within the Fellowship there were lots of subtexts, close friendships within the larger circle, and undercurrents of friction and issues--the way there would be among any group of strong people. It made the story more real for me, the characters more real, and then when they had each other's backs, fighting side by side, it meant so much more.

Cassondra said...

And ya know, as to Duncan...

I don't need no group to get me to look at Duncan.

I can look at him just fine in a crowd or standin' there all by himself.

I'm just sayin.

Fan me.

Cassondra said...

You know, you'd think I'd learn to get finished typing before I hit "send" but no...

I think I first formed a love of groups from old tv shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Wagon Train. Shows where there were a continuing cast of characters, and on any given episode, the drama would center around one of the regulars, or how one of the regulars played a role in affecting someone else's life--one of the pioneering families in the wagon train, for instance.

The thing about multiple characters in groups like this is that as time passes for the reader/watcher, it's as though time is also passing for that "group" and the writers never run out of dramas--as soon as the drama is settled for one or two of them, it's completely realistic that another of the group will have stirred something up. So off we go again, on another adventure.

Plus, spending time with them over the course of a series, I think, makes me love them more when it's their turn to be in the limelight--love them more, care more, hurt more for them and with them, root for them, cheer when they win the fight and ride back to the Ponderosa.

Is that just me?

Cassondra said...

Christine said:

Nothing better than a Scooby gang,

OMGOSH, Scooby! Ruh-Roh.

And Fat Albert? Anybody remember that junk yard gang? LOVED it.

Bill Cosby was--and is--a genius.

Dianna Love said...

Nancy - Thanks for the compliment. We'll have more of the team in our new one.

See you somewhere soon.

Joan said...

Hey Nancy, the "Darkest" books ARE the Lords of the Underworld series.

Gena does SUCH a fabulous job bringing depth to these heroes, each struggling with his own demon. How do you stay whole when the demon of pain causes you to hurt yourself?

THAT is talented writing!

MarthaE said...

Wow! We like alot of the same "series"! Thanks for a chance to win.
I loved the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers (Keifer Sutherland, Chirs O'Donnell, and others).
I love Stephanie Lauren's Bastion Club, Margaret Moore's Warrior series and Mary Jo Putney's Gaurdian books. Just so happens that I have Much Ado About Magic on my TBR shelves so you do not need to include me for the contest! But thanks for an interesting blog post!

Karin said...

You hit on some of my all time favorite groups of heroes.

The X-Men have been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid and would watch their cartoon on Saturday morning. I just thought that it was great they stood up for humanity and fought against other mutants who were ready to kill all the non-mutants.

Along with them as favorites is definitely the fellowship from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. You pointed out some of the best parts about the fellowship in your blog. They are completely loyal to each other and would do anything to help each other while also trying to save Middle Earth. I loved those characters and books.

Some new heroes who have captured my interest are the men and women of Sigma from the books by James Rollins. Like the other groups already mentioned, these people would do anything for each other and always have each other's backs.

I think it's really the closeness that's evident in each of the three groups I listed that really makes them stand out to me. Having people to count in, especially given the fights they each face, is really important. Plus, it means they also have a built in support system if something does go wrong.

Sabrina said...

I too like ensemble casts, which is why I write and read lots of series. Count me in the group that loved Highlander as an ensemble--which is kind of odd, since the motto of the Immortals, "there can be only one," is the essence of lone-wolfness. Yet Duncan and his people worked together very well (I was madly in love with Methos for years).

And my favorite thing about NCIS is the true warmth the characters seem to have for each other.

In books, I love Mary Jo Putney's Fallen Angels--a group of friends who have their ups and downs. I love the idea that they fight sometimes.

I love Claudia Dain's Courtesan series--Sophia may be the center of that universe, but her Native American nephews and the people who surround her are every bit a part of it, prodding and poking the heroes and heroines into behaving (or misbehaving).

And family series are the best--I have long been a fan of the Johanna Lindsey Malory series. The joking among the brothers and their various relations, along with the camaraderie among the Anderson family is infectious. I know there are others, but these are some of my faves.

Great topic! And I'm glad several of you liked the Royal Brotherhood series. I did have enormous fun with those guys.

Beth said...

Suz, how did I miss The Young Riders? Wonder if it's out on DVD?

Treethyme said...

I'm a big fan of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters and J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. I love books that have a strong sense of community, as well as those, like Nalini Singh's books, with a strong sense of "us vs. them."

The sisterhood/community aspects of Nora Roberts' books drew me to her early on -- first the Stanislaskis, then the Quinns, the Donovans, the O'Hurleys, the MacKades and so on.

While I like the X-Men movies, I never seem to find the emotional closeness in movies that I find in books. I don't watch a lot of TV, but that's what I liked about all the Law & Order shows, back in the day.

My current favorite TV show is probably Cold Case, and one reason I like it is the close relationship between the very different characters on the team.

Nancy said...

Beth, I love Firefly! That group fits the example perfectly. From the little I've seen of Buffy, that show also does. Never seen Angel, I'm afraid.

If memory serves, though, that Magnificent Seven TV show featured the Terminator's original nemesis, Kyle Reese, better known as Michael Biehn. Soooo much more ruggedly handsome than the guy they cast this season on the Terminator TV show.

Nancy said...

Pat Cochran, your votes are duly noted. I love those old comic books, and I'm not especially fond of their retreads. I don't know if that's because the retreads, or reboots, or revisions, or whatever they call 'em these days, aren't as good or if it's because I'm past the age of being so susceptible to such things.

Nancy said...

PJ, thanks! So you're another Bastion Club fan. Clearly, I must check these out.

I remember The Great Escape as one of those all-star cast films where everyone had a few minutes to shine and one of the biggest bits advertised was Steve McQueen jumping a barbed wire fence on a motorcycle. Pretty cool.

I was a huge LA Law fan. Hardly ever missed it. The episodes I liked best were the ones in which the lawyers were all working together on something big.

Nancy said...

Fedora, thanks! And you've given me more teams to check out! Oh, my. You have some that haven't been listed before.

That's quite a list.

Nancy said...

Donnas--you make a an interesting point about the soidarity in shifter packs. I hadn't thought about that, even though it's evident in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books.

Our son is also thrilled about Gambit being in the upcoming X-Men film. Gambit is his favorite.

And speaking of King Arthur, I'm looking forward to seeing the new Clive Owen/Julia Roberts movie even though it doesn't seem to fit the "all for one" template.

Nancy said...

Suz, I didn't see Young Riders. I did see Young Guns, the movie, on video (so I could fast-forward through the seriously violent parts; I'm a big fan of boom but not of blood). Those were some cute guys--Lou Diamond Phillips, Emilio Estevez, and others, and I loved the Bon Jovi theme song. That's what made me pay attention to Bon Jov.

Nancy said...

Helen, thanks for popping back to add the Liars Club.

Nancy said...

Christine, thanks. The boy loooves Scooby-Doo. Though he's not as quick to admit it now that he's gotten a bit older.

That's a good point about TV series having more time to develop character relationships. Books can do it, but a TV series is there week in and week out. I'm still hoping to find a box set of that show that was MI-5 or Spooks that someone (was that you?) mentioned in a post a while back.

I do think it's harder in movies unless you have a crossover dynamic from something like comic books or LOTR. Movies come out at such widely spaced intervals, that they don't convey quite that same feeling of familiarity as TV shows and books do.

Treethyme said...

I forgot to mention one of my favorite books as a child: One Hundred Million Francs by Paul Berna. It was later made into a Disney movie called The Horse Without a Head.

It was a wonderful story of a group of poor French children in a village called Little Louvigny. (Good grief! If I remembered that right, it's a miracle!) One of their fathers works in a junkyard, and salvages things for them to play with. One of those things is the headless body of a sort of rocking horse, except on wheels instead of rockers.

There's a mystery, and a girl who has an almost magical bond with dogs, and bags of money, and a secret clubhouse -- everything a kid could want! I wanted so badly to be in their gang (and to get to hang out in their cool clubhouse)!

Nancy said...

Cassondra, what I loved about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the way the magical community came together to repel Voldemort. Even Snape (and I'd bet Alan Rickman will be brilliant in Half-Blood Prince). I liked Order of the Phoenix for the same reason.

Yep, the characters in LOTR are human and complex. In Tom Shippey's book on Tolkien, he argues that their complexity and vulnerability are what really make the trilogy great. If Frodo were not tempted by the Ring, there would be no personal dimension to the struggle.

Duncan happened to fit today's theme, but I think putting Adrian on the blog, as with putting Hugh, is always going to make at least a few other people happy. And he really is cute. I just wish he could find better projects than I've seen of late.

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I grew up on those old westerns, too, and your point ties in with Christine's about the appeal of TV series. There's always someone else to spotlight.

Nancy said...

Sabrina, I taught Highlander in my fantasy class this semester, and we discussed the fact that there can be only one, yet these people have chosen to forego that quest and support each other. The class, not being "of a certain age" like me, had not seen the original movie. One of the things that most grabbed me about that film was the scene in which Sean Connery's character had Connor take his head so Connor could prevail against a greater evil.

If I remember correctly, this choice was echoed in Highlander: Endgame when Connor made the same sacrifice to strengthen Duncan.

Peter Wingfield was on an episode of Sanctuary on Sci-Fi and played a soldier working with the bad guys in the first X-Men film (or maybe it was the second, but I'm pretty sure it was the first).

Nancy said...

Dianna, I'm looking forward to that next BAD book.

Nancy said...

Joan, I thought the Lords of the Underworld were those vampire and Atlantis books that are out now. I guess if I'd gone and looked at the books . . .

Thanks. :-)

Nancy said...

MarthaE, thanks for letting me know you already have the prize book. Looks like you're another vote for the Bastion Club. That series seems to have a pretty big following.

I didn't see the '93 version of The Three Musketeers because I loved the original so much, but I think it was pretty popular.

Nancy said...

Karin, there really is something engaging about the X-Men's willingness to fight people who are, essentially, in the same boat of societal rejection that they are, to save the society that fears them.

I haven't read those Sigma books, but they sound interesting.

Nancy said...

Treethyme/Becke--J. R. Ward has a big following in the Lair. I keep meaning to start those, but I'm afraid of what will happen if I like them. There seem to be rather a lot of them, which is a testament to their popularity.

Nalini Singh has also been on my "to be checked out" list for a while. I do love that "us vs. them" thing.

The Berna book sounds like something I would've loved.

PJ said...

Love Scooby-Doo! As a matter of fact I've dressed as Scooby three times now for Halloween. I had planned it to be "one and done" but the kids in the neighborhood keep requesting repeat performances. :)

Nancy said...

PJ, I'll bet the kids really did love that. It's hard to resist when they enjoy something so much, isn't it?

Nancy said...

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. You've given me a lot of new books to investigate