Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Mancandy: Space Cowboys

A brief note: Blogger has been doing really strange things lately, and I've discovered than when I go to insert images into a post, the entire thing locks up. This leads to a less than stellar blogging experience, so until it gets resolved on Blogger's end, I'll simply link Monday Mancandy posts to images elsewhere.

Ok, so two weeks ago, I was feeling a bit patriotic, and we looked at the Navy Seals for Monday Mancandy. This week, I'm posting on the heels of multiple episodes of Firefly, so today's Monday Mancandy pays homage to the archetype of the Space Cowboy. Because the Space Cowboy appears in many different incarnations, let's look at a few prime specimens of the species.

Han Solo, one could argue, is the most obvious (1977) space cowboys (or space pirate, depending on your perspective) to grace the film screen. He's cocky, he's arrogant, and he shoots first and asks questions later. Not only that, he's smooth enough that he's part of one of the best exchanges in movie history:

Leia: I love you.
Han: I know.

The species evolved further just a year after Han Solo's debut, with the television series Battlestar Galactica. Dirk Benedict was Lt. Starbuck, and despite his military rank, you knew he was a space cowboy because he wore a leather jacket and smoked a cigar. He was also quite a hit with the Laydeez. Like Han Solo, he's a bit of a renegade, and managed to crash a Viper four different times, always emerging unscathed.

Random fun fact: Starbuck was named for a character in Moby Dick.

Now, lest you think that the space cowboy didn't emerge until the 1970s, it's important to note that when Gene Roddenberry first pitched Star Trek to network bosses, he described it as a "Wagon Train to the stars." In fact, every incarnation of Star Trek has featured at least one cowboy-themed episode - my personal favorite? "A Fistful of Datas" on ST:TNG.

If you look at the sci-fi television genre from a perspective of "westerns in space", then hands-down, there's nothing that tops Firefly. Captain Malcolm Reynolds is the leader of a ragtag band of big damn heroes in the years following the battle of Serenity Valley, out there on the raggedy edge. The further you go into the black, the more lawless the planets and their inhabitants become. Most episodes of Firefly follow a frontier theme, and the characters could just as easily be in Dodge City, rather than some dumpy rock out near Reaver territory.

Like Han Solo, Mal gets some great lines, including,"I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, if your hand touches metal, I will end you."

Random fun note: That line is from the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds," featuring the always-magnificent Christina Hendicks as Saffron the con-artist.

So, now that we've analyzed a few space cowboys, let's look at:

Why They're Hawt: The space cowboy may not be classically beautiful, but tends to be ruggedly handsome. You can take a man with a face like a bucket of nails and dress him up in a leather coat, high boots, and a pair of six-shooters, and I guarantee he's going to look a whole lot better. Beyond the physical appearance of the space cowboy, though, they're appealing because they're rebels. They're renegades, and they don't live by the rules so much as they follow a personal code. Han Solo is a thief, but he's an honest thief. Mal might be smuggling stuff, but he does it because he wants to make a better life for his crew.

Bonus Hawt Points: They fly spaceships. Usually not bright and shiny ones, but utilitarian ones that come in handy for transporting a load of cows out to Jiangyin, or making the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.

Downsides: They're not home much, and they tend to get beat up a lot, tossed in jail, and occasionally shot at.

Total Mancandy Percentage: 94%

* The Total Mancandy Percentage of selected subjects is chosen by a highly scientific formula, as follows:

   (Why He's Hawt) + (Bonus Hawt Points) 
- (Downsides) 
÷(Would I Kick Him Out of Bed if He Talked)
 =Mancandy Quotient

So, who's your favorite space cowboy?

By the way, Monday Mancandy is going to become an every-other-week sort of feature now, so watch for the next installment in two weeks!


  1. I've noticed Blogger being all weird when posting too. I've still managed to post with my pics in blog by saving it as a draft. I then go to "Edit Posts", check the box next to my new post, scroll down and select publish. So far it has worked every time. :) Hope that helps you out.

  2. Malcolm Reynolds. Oh the gorgeousness!

  3. Does Captain Dylan Hunt count as a space cowboy?

  4. From Andromeda? You know, I haven't actually watched it, so I don't know if he fits into the Space Cowboy archetype... however, anyone played by Kevin Sorbo qualifies as a Space Hottie!