February is many things: cold, short, brutal, and —perhaps counterintuitively — a month to celebrate the loves in our lives. Valentine's Day comes right smack in the middle of this otherwise drab month, filling our hearts with joy and bodies with cheap chocolate. And while you can say all you want about the crass commercialism of the Hallmark holiday, the truth is that it's never a bad time to reflect on the most important people in our lives.
After all, without Spider-Man, E.T., Speed Racer, Pikachu, Storm, or The Doctor, our lives would be so much poorer!
Some of the writers here at SYFY WIRE got together to discuss our first-ever geek loves. You know, the property — show, movie, toy, video game, etc. — that provided us our first geek experience. After all, you never forget your first, and the list below makes clear just how much of an impact the things we watch and experience as kids have on us.
He-Man: Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe figures hooked me at a very early age. Prince Adam came first— he was boring, but when He-Man and Skeletor arrived a few days later, I was in love. I needed every character there was, immediately. I watched the show but I mostly created my own insane mythology. No sound will ever be as painfully loud as the shriek I made when my grandmother got me Castle Grayskull that Christmas. I was ecstatic. My parents were worried. - Brian Silliman
My very first geek love came in the form of a crush on none other than Speed Racer. Five-year-old me would flip the dial to UHF and search out channel 52 in Los Angeles so I could watch Speed take on the bad guys in the Mach-5. Trixie was my nemesis. I hated her! Yes, Speed was dashing and that pool of light in his eye was the key to my young but loyal heart. - Shana O'Neil
My childhood occurred during a great heyday for sci-fi and fantasy, a magical time called… the 1980s. It was during this time of wonders untold that I fell in love with my first extra-terrestrial. His name: E.T. To this day, E.T. is the only movie I have ever been ejected from a movie theater for… for crying. That didn't stop me from seeing it again and again though, hoping, "One of these times, he'll stay on Earth." - Alexis Sottile
Friday the 13th: The Series
My first geeky love was Friday the 13th: The Series, a syndicated horror TV series that had nothing to do with the slasher movies. I discovered the show at age 10 while randomly channel surfing one morning. The episode was "Stick it in Your Ear," and the scene I came in on showed a man in agony with bleeding, oozing boils. From that moment, I was hooked, and it changed my life. That show turned me into a die-hard horror fan, an obsessive fan of the show, and 25 years later, I published a book on the show! - Alyse Wax
Early Marvel comics
As a toddler, I often wandered into my older brother's belongings. Unfortunately, I didn't understand how to take care of such things and I destroyed what I later found out would've been a priceless cache of Marvel Comics from the late 1960s. Yes, I ruined some VERY early X-Men comics amongst many other, but I was enamored with superheroes from that point on.
I watched Super Friends, the Incredible Hulk TV show and Spider-Man on Electric Company whenever I could. I eventually roped my brother back to collecting comics when I began reading them as a teenager, and the rest is history. - Ernie Estrella
I'd say the first thing that would have labeled me a "geek" was my love for Pokémon, which blew up in America around the time I was in first grade. My friends and I would terrorize the other kids at recess by pretending to be Pokémon and trainers, tearing through the field and climbing fences (side note: our teachers really loved us). I left Kanto behind a long time ago, but not before I dragged my younger brother Caleb into it, too. He’s still one of the biggest Pokémon nerds I know to this day. - Caitlin Busch
X-Men: The Animated Series
Being a geek at a time where we still got picked on, relating to the X-Men as the outsiders instantly clicked for me. I couldn't get enough of X-Men: The Animated Series and its toys. The story of the show didn't talk down to me as a kid. It also found a balance of life lessons and cheesy action to make my imagination overflow. Let's be real, though: the best part was the theme song and the ability to sing it while kicking ass with the action figures on my bedroom floor. - Jon Erwin
Sometimes I wish I could say it was Star Wars or Star Trek that really turned me into a sci-fi fan, but it was actually the other "Star" franchise that brought me into the genre —Stargate. The original 1994 film hit a sweet spot of action, intrigue, Egyptology and general weirdness that I absolutely loved as a kid, and I wore out a few copies of the film on VHS. I even had the old SEGA Genesis game and the action figures. I've since gone on to love Star Wars and Trek, but the 'Gate will always be my first geeky franchise. - Trent Moore
I was sick a lot as a kid. Sometimes, my mother would wheel the TV to my bed to cheer me up. She'd put on PBS while Sesame Street or Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was on, and I would always fall asleep (pretty sure this was by design).
One day, I awoke to this weird thrumming bass sound. It was the theme song to Doctor Who. It sounded exciting and a little bit scary — and it was! The episode was "The Android Invasion." Here's what I remember: The Doctor fighting Sarah Jane, who, it turned out, was a robot duplicate. And then her face fell off! I was shocked. I was terrified. I was hooked. Over three decades later, I still am. - Dany Roth
Star Trek: The Original Series (which at the time was simply called Star Trek) was actually the first geeky thing I fell head-over-heels in love with. I religiously watched reruns as a kid, rushing home from school to see the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise as they introduced us to strange new worlds and new civilizations.
William Shatner's Captain Kirk was my first crush and I remember being fascinated with Spock's character and that whole Pon farr episode ("Amok Time"). I thought the aliens populating Gene Roddenberry's series were cool, and loved the costumes and the colorful sets. - Nathalie Caron
When I was about three, my father sat me down in front of the TV on a woven rug my mother had made, and said "Today we're watching Star Wars!" with an air of ceremony I'd never seen from him before and have never seen since. He took out a battered old VHS tape, played it… and it was all over for me. Any chance I was ever not going to be a nerd was gone. I fell in love, and I've been in love ever since. - Matthew Jackson
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
When you reach this far back, it's hard to tell which memories are accurate and which are warped by dreams and media intake. But regardless of how and where it actually happened, I distinctly remember playing Ninja Turtles with friends when I was about three years old. I loved the cartoon, but I loved a lot of cartoons as a little kid. The Ninja Turtles' roster allowed for four kids to operate on an even playing field; it wasn't better or worse to pretend to be Michelangelo or any other turtle, and we could match our personalities to the right turtle. I went on to a lot of other childhood obsessions — Godzilla, SEGA Genesis, and Marvel stick out — but the Ninja Turtles were the first. - Jordan Zakarin
When I was a wee lad, my parents took our family to Florida in an RV for vacation. The mission: Watch the Apollo 15 Saturn V launch to the Moon. Even at that age I stood there slack-jawed when that rocket thundered away into the sky. Now, nearly five decades later, I still get a thrill watching rocket launches, and make my living writing about them. Lifelong space exploration geek? Mission accomplished. - Phil Plait