Christopher Lloyd (October 22, 1938)
This is heavy! Christopher Lloyd has had a long and esteemed career over the past 40 years: playing Reverend Jim on Taxi; giving us a perfect Uncle Fester in the Addams Family movies; and even putting in a hilarious turn as Professor Plum in one of my very favorite films, Clue. But of all those projects over the years, there’s no question that his performance as Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future movies is his most beloved role of all. Just try to picture anybody else playing the brilliant, floppy-haired eccentric — it can’t be done. In less talented hands, the character could have just been a one-note cliché, but Lloyd makes Doc Brown the true heart of the trilogy, the sort of friend and mentor you’d happily travel through time to save. GFR wishes him a spectacular birthday!
Jeff Goldblum (October 22, 1952)
Goldblum has the distinction of having a role in three iconic science fiction movie classics. He perfectly portrayed the madness of a troubled scientist evolving — or devolving — into something much stranger in David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly. In Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (and its Lost World sequel) he played Dr. Ian Malcolm, the pessimistic scientist whose dire warnings about the dinosaur theme park are proven to be 100% true. And in Independence Day, he foiled an alien invasion with a laptop. “Nature finds a way,” Dr. Malcolm warned us; here’s hoping director Colin Trevorrow finds a way to entice Goldblum back for the upcoming Jurassic World.
Russia’s Venera 9 Lands On Venus (October 22, 1975)
Thanks to the high-profile Curiosity rover, we’ve seen a renewed interest in Mars, not to mention tons of new images from the surface of the Red Planet. And while those images of our ruddy cosmic neighbor are always beautiful and awe-inspiring, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the images we have of the surface of Venus. Even though it presents challenges to be surmounted by human explorers, Mars is pretty much the Four Seasons when compared to Venus, a harsh world cloaked by clouds of sulfuric acid; crushed beneath atmosphere pressure many, many times greater than that of Earth; and roasting under a surface temperature greater than 800°F. While the thought of humans settling there is laughable, we have gotten glimpses of its surface over the years. On this day in 1975, the Russian Venera 9 craft landed on Venus and transmitted black-and-white photographs of the planet’s surface. It survived 53 minutes before the planet’s punishing heat and pressure rendered it inoperable. You can see one of the Venera 9 images above.
Person of Interest (CBS, 10/9c) — “Razgovor”
When Shaw is tasked to stay close to a 10-year-old identified by The Machine, she grudgingly develops respect for the young girl’s skills in surveillance and realizes it could be the very reason why her number has come up. Meanwhile, Carter’s mission to bring the crime organization HR to justice risks exposure.
Primeval: New World – Complete Series (Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital)
The North American spinoff of the British sci-fi series only lasted a single season, but at least now you’ll be able to watch it all in one batch. Just don’t forget to put in your New World order! (See what I did there?)