shadowkat: (tv slut)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. Question: Are any television shows worthy of obsession?

Answer: Probably not. Doesn't keep me from obsessing about them, though. Or anyone else for that matter, apparently.

I don't know. This Sat, I had a conversation about how I was going to try to be less judgmental about things and people. But it's really hard to do, since "judgment" is prevalent in our society. I'm not talking about being constructively critical or critical, but judging. I'm finding it tough to do.

When I was obsessed with Buffy, I remember being embarrassed about it. I was very judgmental of myself. Why this show, I'd ask myself and not something like the Sopranos? Or Six Feet Under? Or the Wire? (Okay, I was briefly obsessed with The Wire...so never mind). I didn't go to conventions. Just obsessed online, and wrote lots of meta on it. Nor did I bother with autographs. It was the story and characters that obsessed me, and the writing. Something about it grabbed me by the jugular and would not let go. Perhaps, it's because it more than anything else at the time -- spoke to what I was feeling, and could not express after 9/11 happened and everything I knew and thought I knew turned inside out and upside down.

I remember being obsessed with Battle Star Galatica, the first version, when I was a child. Loving it in that weird way that you fall in love with a piece of art. But I didn't write about it. I just couldn't wait for the next episode. I had a crush on Apollo, I was 12 years old.

And Farscape, much later of course, something in it spoke to me -- but it was short lived. I did buy the DVDs. But I didn't rewatch them and rewatch them.

I remember when I was 13, I was obsessed with the Hobbit, the animated film, the book, and even was in the play at a Children's Theater nearby during the summer.
It spoke to me.

As an adult, I've been obsessed with fare that most would judge me harshly for, hell they already have. And I think there's something to be said for not giving a shit what other people think. People either get it or they don't. Regardless of what you are obsessed with, whether it be The Godfather movies, Star Wars, Star Trek, a series of classical novels, Shakespeare, funky shows about gangsters, video games, petunias, cats, daytime soaps, vampires, television shows, or comic books, I'm not sure it matters. If it makes you happy, cheers you up, pushes the black clouds away...does it matter?


2. Question: What qualifies as kid fare and adult?

Answer: I've been wondering about this for a while now. I will go through the children's shelves in book stores, and while much of the books on the shelves are obviously kid's fare, such as Goodnight, Moon. Other's I wonder about from time to time. Peter Rabbit has some disturbing bits in it. As does The Hobbit and Harry Potter, and Twilight.


Some books I honestly think are adult and kid, Huckleberry Finn and Animal Farm come to mind. As too does The Jungle Book, Fairy Tales, and The Hobbit.

And then there are television series...apparently people think if teens or kids are the main characters - it's a children's show? Except Vampire Dairies, Buffy, The 100, Game of Thrones, Glee, all struck me as adult fare. Sure some shows are obviously kid fare such as Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, Bear in the Big Blue House, Sarah Jane Adventures...but others, like Doctor Who, Star Trek, Buffy, the Hunger Games, and The 100 do not feel like kid shows to me, they feel very adult.

I know I watched The Muppet Show, which people thought was a kid's show. It really wasn't. It has a lot of subtle political and sexual satire in it.

And don't get me started on cartoons. People are weird about them. Some label anything animated as a "cartoon", just as they label anything that is a book with storyboarding or illustrated panels telling a story -- a comic book. It's not. Cartoons also aren't just for kids. Fritz the Cat -- notably was an R rated adult cartoon, as was Betty Boop. Many of the Looney Tunes cartoons are very adult, as are some of the Hannah Barbara. Bulwinkle was an adult political satire. The Family Guy is for adults.

What's always annoyed me about it -- is this: if it is kid's fare, and you are an adult, there seems to be something automatically wrong with you enjoying it. Several literary writers have blogged and written essays in mags about how it is wrong somehow to enjoy children's books as an adult. That somehow you should be reading much harder or loftier fare, as if such a thing exists. How dare you read and be obsessed with Harry Potter! When you should be reading...I don't know Gone Girl? The latest National Book Award Winner?

Why is that?


3. Television Reviews well sort of...

* Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Don't have a great deal to say about this episode. It was okay. I thought it was better than last week's episode, less obvious plot holes. But I also felt like I've been there done that...which was the problem with this particular arc, well amongst other things.

I did like some things about it, which are spoilery, so beneath the cut:



* The Doctor and Missy's discussions were rather fascinating. How she suggests that he kill Bill, no worse, make Bill a brain dead husk to defeat the monks - for the greater good. Which is a concept of morality that science fiction has been fiddling with forever.
It's very Machivellian - the ends justify the means. It is also a nice twist on Bill's choice, she chose the Doctor and doomed humanity. So here, Bill must sacrifice herself for humanity or the Doctor sacrifice Bill for humanity. "The needs of the many outweigh the few" -- Spock states at the end of The Wrath of Khan, but Kirk apparently disagrees and hunts a means of saving Spock.

I liked the discussion at the end best. It actually made the episode for me. And changed my mind about Missy/Master -- where she states that she remembers the names and faces of everyone she's killed and there are so many...how he didn't tell her about this. Tears streaming down her face. He says how this is actually a good thing.

The writer's of Doctor Who are obviously not pro-death penalty and believe in redemption -- I agree with them for the most part. Death solves nothing, unless someone is a threat and there is no other way to stop it. But I'm not sure about redemption. I've met and seen people who...well...can a sociopath truly change?

* Bill's ability to free the world by focusing on her own reconstructed memory of her mother...a memory constructed largely from photographs provided by The Doctor.
Focusing on a pure, loving memory of someone who cared for her without wanting anything in return breaks the monks spell. Demonstrating that they didn't understand love completely. Or rather they don't understand "unconditional love".

* Nardole and Bill's banter.

That's it really. Didn't like anything else.



* Riverdale

Two episodes left. I'm enjoying the series. It's beautifully shot and has an amazing color scheme. The production, set design, cinematographer, editors, makeup and costumes are doing a great job. The only weak points are well, the direction and writing...which is rather limp. But I'm enjoying it.

It has a graphic novel feel to it. Jughead is my favorite character. The actor is doing a great job...emoting. And I love Skeet Ullrich as Jug's dad "FP". Molly Ringwald, who plays Archie's mom, looks weird. Has she done botox or plastic surgery? Her face is oddly stiff and lop-sided. It's admittedly odd to see her as a Mom, but then it is also odd to see Luke Perry (who played Buffy's high school boyfriend Pike in the Buffy movie) as a Dad, and Ringwald's hubby.

I like the tone of the series and find it captivating enough to stick with.

*Still Star-Crossed

Well, I'm not sure it's very good, but it is definitely intriguing. (Reminds me a bit of Reign actually in quality - so more a CW series than an ABC series...). But it is intriguing enough to hold my interest at any rate. It focuses on the twenty-somethings in the cast. But I like Grant Bowler's turn as Montague. Head, I'm on the fence about at the moment. The casting is the most diverse and colorblind that I've ever seen. They have interracial couples all over the place and aren't blinking an eye. Romeo is black, with a white father, white cousin, and in love with white Juliet, who has black cousins. It's startling because a mere ten years ago, such a thing was...well rarely done.

Don't get me wrong, I love it. But it surprised me a little. Time was, the networks would have prohibited it. And this is on a major network - ABC.

The first episode pretty much retells the Rome and Juliet storyline, except from Benvolo (Romeo's confidante) and Rosalind's (Juliet's confident) perspectives.

And it changes a few things from the Shakespearean version which I found intriguing.



Here's how the show differs:

Instead of Juliet's nurse helping her, her cousin, Rosalind who is both a servant and a Capulet does. Rosalind and her sister Olivia, after their parents died, were taken in by their Aunt and Uncle (Juliet's parents) and forced to be servants. Their Aunt was apparently jealous of their mother for marrying their father. Their Aunt went for the richer, titled brother (Anthony Stewart Head) instead of the brother she loved and is blaming them for her mistake.

Romeo's father, Papa Montague, has manipulated his son into falling in love with Juliet Capulet. He paid the Priest to ensure their union. With the view that once she got pregnant with his son's child, he'd have a Capulet under his family name. But alas, the Priest gave them poison and they died. He's not happy with the Priest. That's a nice twist. And it works. Montague came from the labor class and worked his way up to the elite. But he's still frowned upon.

Romeo and Juliet both take the poison. She doesn't kill herself with his dagger upon waking, he has enough poison left in the vial so she can die too.

Paris happens upon Romeo entering Juliet's tomb and they fight. Romeo stabs Paris in the stomach. Paris survives and is taken in by Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet, who is frantically trying to nurse him back to health. Olivia, Rosalind's sister finds them and asks to be his nurse.

Meanwhile, Rosalind is in love with the Prince of Verona. (The father died leaving the nation in his son and daughter's hands. The daughter is the more pragmatic of the two.) But after Romeo and Juliet die, the Prince decides to marry her off to Romeo's cousin Benevolo. Neither are happy about it. They argue constantly. This to stop the incessant rioting and fighting that has been happening since R&J's deaths.

Everything else is pretty much the same.

Paris isn't the son of the Prince of Verona, like he was in the play, but a neighboring territory. The rulers of Verona are worried about other territories in Italy invading them, like Venice, the Medicis, etc. So they need to quell their infighting, or they'll be defenseless.

What is intriguing is that the story is obviously not going to be about racism, because that does not appear to be an issue here, but about classism, gender inequality, and power politics.



The only drawback? It feels like a CW teen show. Not that this is a huge problem. But ...I wish it focused more on the older characters.

* Nashville

Hmmm, I'm really enjoying the new writers of this series. The show's quality has improved. Also certain storylines have opened up. It's not predictable and has surprised me time and again. Completely different show than the past several years. Instead of a soapy melodrama about the music industry, it's become a relatable drama about the country music industry.

There are some...sentimental moments, but nothing too manipulative and overall it worked.


What surprised me was that Juliet's Gospel album failed, but they didn't focus on her whinging and throwing a fit, but on her understandable struggle to process it. It also demonstrated the narcissism of that industry. Juliet has spent her life trying to please others. She cares what people think. She reads the reviews.

But the people who helped her on it, think it was good and don't understand why this matters.

Flip to Maddie, who Juliet is now managing. And Juliette pushes Maddie to change how she is singing a specific song, that it needs more of a hook. Maddie has her boyfriend listen to it and he prefers Juliet's version. Maddie is upset. But Clay is good with her -- he conveys that she should do what she feels best with her music, not what anyone else thinks is best. Write and sing for yourself, because at the end of the day you aren't going to please everyone. There's always going to be people out there who hate it. Or don't get it. But if you don't...

Meanwhile her father tells her...that music is not a solo thing. Even her mother didn't own her own sound or voice. She had collaborators, producers, managers, and other musicians involved in various ways. Also the fans have input and interact with it and have a say.

I liked how the writer's explored it. Without falling into soap cliche. They explored a real issue in the industry in a relatable way. From four different perspectives. Maddie listens to both versions and finally, on her own, chooses Juliet's.

The other story that could have been cliche but isn't was Daphne, who has realistically fallen into a depression after her mother's death. And can't quite cope. Her depression is realistically portrayed.

Then there is Scarlett, Gunner, and the Baby -- which predictably turned out to be the British music producer's kid. I could see that coming. But they did play down the soap elements and cliches. Gunner stepped up, but struggled. Her real problem is going to be the baby's father.

Overall a good episode. The series continues to deliver, and is much better than it was before. A rare example of a television series benefitting from new writers and a bit of a reboot.

Are any television shows worthy of obsession?

Date: 2017-06-05 07:44 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Answer: Probably not. Doesn't keep me from obsessing about them, though. Or anyone else for that matter, apparently.

As long as it is a harmless obsession (i.e. not stalking the actors) then surely all is good. Is anything ever worthy of obsession, in the sense that its own merits make it somehow elevated above other things to legitimise the obsession? Surely obsessions always come from the obsessor not the object of that obsession, and so they can only be judged as worthy by the person doing the obsession.

I think obsession is a character trait inside all of us. I think in origin it is the trait that allows humans to focus on a particular task and keep returning to that task when we would otherwise get bored. Obsession is thus a useful survival trait. But if taken too far it can become a hindrance, blinding us to alternative possibilities and narrowing our thinking, which is why we also view it as a dangerous thing, that verges on a sin.

I think humans have lots of these janus-faced characteristics because the nature of our ecological niche creates a complex need for constant tension between stability and change, so most humans have tendencies towards both and are aware of that tension.

I'm not sure it matters. If it makes you happy, cheers you up, pushes the black clouds away...does it matter?
No. I am positive the answer to this question is no. Or rather it does matter - it matters in a positive way because it brings pleasure :D

Indeed I go so far as to believe that if somebody else is obsessed with something it is always worth checking that thing out at least once. Sometimes you get a miss (I will never, ever understand why people watch sports) but sometimes you find an unexpected gem (I found Supernatural because a friend pretty much threw the show at me until it stuck and I only started watching to please her, but now it is one of my major obsessions).
Edited (because I can't spell) Date: 2017-06-05 07:45 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
We have one or two minor celebrities in the village and their stories of stalking behaviour from obsessed fans are horrible. :(

It is really sad some people can't seem to draw that line, but I guess it is a very big world so their actual numbers are tiny.
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I find the response boxes okay. Maybe it is browser or theme dependent?

I can't spell for toffee so I am utterly reliant on spellcheckers. My nightmare word is 'bureaucracy'. I tend to just throw as many vowels at it as possible and hope the reader can cope, because spellcheckers seldom have a clue what I mean.
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I very occasionally end up watching cricket, because there is something hypnotic about watching each ball and seeing what will happen this time. Also the strategy can get very exciting. But something like a football match or tennis is bewildering to me. I get playing sport, but watching other people play is weird.

It may make more sense to obsess over one, like Supernatural, that has no end in sight. ;-)
Ha ha. Well it is certainly convenient that I got hooked on what turned into the longest running American sci-fi show ever. :D

I'm alarmingly fickle. It's rare that I will watch any television show past 5-7 seasons.
I think part of the fandom gene is that we obsess like crazy about something for a few years and then move on. Buffy consumed my life for a few years, now I look back and wonder why.

If it weren't for the internet fandom, I'd have stopped obsessing over Buffy about five years prior to when I actually did.
Hard for me to say what would have happened. Prior to Buffy I didn't know such a thing as fandom or fanfic existed, but then I only looked on the internet because I was obsessed in the first place.

I'm usually done at two seasons, because the characters aren't evolving enough for me
Is this affected by if you are watching each episode as it is dripped out versus if you are binge watching? I would imagine many shows are fine if viewed once a week that would be intolerable in a binge.

I also require a strong female character be in there somewhere at some point.
Fair enough. I probably wouldn't watch if there was no strong male character, but luckily no show in the history of television has ever lacked a strong male character so I'm not restricted.

Supernatural finally lost me, because the female characters dropped by the wayside
I admit I was very sad when they killed Charlie. Most of the other females were just passing minor chars, however much they meant to the boys in-show, but Charlie was brilliant and it felt such a waste to kill her. I keep hoping they will find a way to bring her back. But I am an incorrigible optimist who keeps hoping they will find a way to bring John Winchester back.

it's rare for me to stick past six or seven seasons, unless the show evolves and people/characters change a great deal -- which only happens with serialized television shows, like Grey's Anatomy or a soap opera.
I've only watched a handful of shows that went on longer than that, simply because most of them get cancelled. British shows are never that long lasting, Doctor Who being the only exception. Of the American shows I think only Stargate and Bones lasted more than 6 seasons. And they both definitely deteriorated by the end, but I stuck with them because I like to complete sets of things so I would have felt it wrong to just give up.
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Btw -- it's based on a Bill Paxton movie that was a lot darker. Can't remember the name of it.

I didn't know this. I spent a bit of time googling to try to find out which movie you meant but couldn't work it out.

I knew and I didn't, if that makes sense? I was into comics, and would notice it popping up on the letters page or discussed in comic stores. Or I noticed it with Star Wars and Star Trek, but I never really was involved with it. Even Buffy, I knew it was there, but wasn't involved until the sixth season.
Comics seems to be the gateway drug for a lot of fannish things. I never knew comics existed because you really only get comic shops in big cities so I had never seen one.

here were like-minded folks who felt the same way I did. And loved what I wrote about it...
Pretty much the same here. I googled James Marsters to find out what nationality he was, because his weird accent was driving me crazy (I thought he might be South African or Australian) and found all these people talking about the show in the same way I thought about it. I got hooked on meta discussions within a couple of weeks.

The whole idea of fanfic appalled me when I first heard about it on a Buffy message board. The idea of stealing other people's characters and ideas was so clearly BAD!!!! So I read some to find out what the fuss was about. And then I realised they were writing things in the wrong way because clearly they hadn't watched the same show as me. So I actually started writing fanfic not to fix the show but to fix other people's fanfic. Then I got hooked on that too.

I think the interaction is about 90% of the fun.
Yes :)
I'm enjoying Doctor Who so much more since I started talking about it here.

I wonder if that's ingrained in us?
I suspect so. Looking back I was drawn to the alpha male characters and apprentice alphas, and I identified with them right from the very first show I obsessed about (the old Batman and Robin). I enjoy watching lots of other types of character, including women, but it is the alpha male that will first catch and hold my attention - if I don't like him, I probably don't like the show.

Depends on why you read/watch something I guess.
It maybe depends on if you watch to identify with a character or observe a character.

Sometimes characters that attract me are generic rather than a specific representation. I like almost any version of Robin Hood. Almost any version of Batman. Almost any version of James Bond (one must obviously draw the line at Lazenby).

Okay, you guys have some really long running series! As far as I know, only a few of our soap operas and Doctor Who are as long lived. Most British shows only last a few seasons at most because actors and writers want to move on. And of course most shows have far, far fewer episodes. A 'season' of three or four episodes would not be at all unusual. You probably don't get to see many of those because it doesn't fit well with the formats needed by your channels.

One advantage is it gives our actors much wider experience of different roles.
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
That is cool. One of the things I liked about early seasons was they would sometimes explore how the boys' actions came across in the normal world.

Over the seasons, John Winchester's character was changed (in absentia) from just being obsessed to actively abusive of the boys.
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I've added it to my Amazon wishlist :)

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