shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Been puttering on my novel this week, struggling through a plot-bunny. My goal was to kill off two subsidiary characters tragically. They aren't really supporting, they are more like the novel equivalent of red-shirts actually. But alas, no, they refused to die or my protagonist refused to let them - one or the other. Who am I kidding, I'm not telling my story, my protagonist is -- I'm just writing down what she tells me.

Not sure many people reading that will get it. People write differently. My stories sort of come to me. It's why I can't do fanfic effectively -- I channel the story and its deeply personal. Sometimes I think it would be better if I could write fanfic effectively - because in today's publishing world, fanfic genre writers get stuff traditionally published faster due to a built-in fandom.

Oh well, not really writing for those reasons, so probably doesn't matter. Always a bit astonished when people enjoy or grok what I write and send out there. Writing is a solitary sport for the most part, you really have no clue how people will react to it. And usually by the time they do, you've forgotten what you wrote.

2. Game of Thrones

Hmmm, they stuck to the books after-all in some instances. The whole Sam/Gilly and Iron Islands storylines popped up in the third episode, Oathbreaker. Will state that they managed to make Cersei more likable in the television series than she was in the books, and a lot smarter. I think it may be the casting. Same deal with Jamie Lannister. It's odd to be rooting for the Lannisters, but I just can't root for the religious zealots or the Queen of Thorns aka Diana Rigg.

Rather like how they tightened up the Iron Islands story line. Appears they are threading Theon back into it, and separating that story line from the Stannis/Bolton/Winterfell war story line.

major spoilers for the rare few who haven't watched it yet and managed to avoid the entertainment media spoilers regarding a certain beloved character's death. I didn't but if you managed it, kudos. )

So....

May. 24th, 2016 10:21 pm
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Read a bit more of David Foster Wallace, this round a Fresh Air Interview with Terry Gross. It also contains quotes from End of The Tour.

Foster Wallace fascinates me because he discusses mindfulness in his work, or being mindful of what we are doing and how we live, and not allowing ourselves to become lost in the ironic metanarrative that our popular culture has become. I can't quite decide if he is right.

The interview is HERE in cas you are interested. Foster Wallace like many contemporary literary writers was more interested in philosophizing than story-telling. He tended towards personal essays and personal narratives, famously or infamously writing about a cruise trip in Harpers, entitled "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again". And in the novel "Infinite Jest" he writes about an independent film that is so entertaining that people want to do nothing else after they see it.
Has the quest for pleasure, constant though it may be, robbed of us of our ability to seek the pleasure in small everyday things, as opposed to on the television screen? I'm not sure he's saying that exactly.


GROSS: One of your essays in your new collection is about irony and how it's become the common language of TV and a lot of contemporary fiction. You talk about how television has institutionalized hip irony. Can I ask you to explain what you mean by that?

WALLACE: What sort of time limit is there?

GROSS: (Laughter).

WALLACE: No, I mean, the essay is really about the relation between TV and fiction and what it's like to be a fiction writer who watches a lot of TV. And I guess the basic point is that a lot of the tools that were used by literary fiction writers in, I guess, particularly the '60s, to help - I don't know if there was a social agenda. I think it was probably to debunk certain kind of hypocritical Ward Cleaver-ish assumptions that the culture was making about itself. Those techniques, including meta-discursive stuff, self-reference, irony, black humor, cynicism, grotesquerie and shock, that what's interesting now is - now that, really, television - I think it would be safe to say that television or televisual values rule the culture. Television is now successfully using a lot of those same techniques but using them for a very different agenda, which is to sort of create an ethos and please people and to sell products to consumers. So that - the essay is supposed to be a setup for sort of what is the literary rebel or the writer who wants to be engaged somehow with the culture do now? You know, how do you be a rebel when Burger King, you know, for two years their slogan was you got to break the rules? How do you rebel against anarchy or a kind of weird crafted anarchy?


And from End of the Tour:


SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) You know what I would love to do, man? I would love to do a profile on one of you guys who's doing a profile on me.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) That is interesting.

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) Is that too pomo and cute? I don't know.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) Maybe for Rolling Stone.

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) It would be interesting, though.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) You think?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) I'm sorry, man.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) What's wrong?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) It's just, you're going to go back to New York and, like, sit at your desk and shape this thing however you want. And that - I mean, to me, it's just extremely disturbing.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) (Laughter) Why is it disturbing?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) 'Cause I think I would like to shape the impression of me that's coming across. Yeah, I don't even know if I like you yet. So nervous about whether you like me.


Wouldn't it be nice if we could shape others impressions of us? I've had situations in which someone has been really mad at me, but not told me why. I'm left to guess. Okay, what did I say or do? I find myself running over the dialogue and past conversations in my head, and of course without an actual tape recorder or video recorder, there's no way of knowing, on either side. It would be nice if the other person would tell you. Instead of being all passive aggressive about it. That way you could clear up the misunderstanding. Assuming such a thing is possible.

The problem with impressions, first, last, whatever...is the other guy is looking at you through his or her lense. They see what they want to see, and if you happen to have done something that reminds them of someone who pissed them off on the train that morning or their last girlfriend or boyfriend, than well, there's not a heck of a lot you can do.

In End of the Tour, much like The Great Gatsby or any story in which we see all the action through the narrator's lense...we learn more about the narrator. Foster Wallace is a supporting character in David Lipsky's story. Part literary hero, part cautionary tale, and to Lipsky, somewhat disappointing.
Small wonder that Foster Wallace was reluctant to be the subject of Lipsky's article and worse, hero worship. Both flattered and disturbed, Wallace allows it, to a degree. Realizing that what Lipsky really wants is to be Foster Wallace, somehow convinced that he could do it better.

I think the reason I find this all rather haunting, is it makes me a bit self-conscious of my own writing right now. I'm not an essayist. I know, I know, you would most likely disagree with me on that point. But you don't get a say in the matter. Because what I mean by that -- is I have no interest in publishing essays under my name for the world to see. It feels too much like dancing around in Times Square naked with a big sign stating my name, address, and telephone number. It's for the same reason that I've no interest in getting up on the stage of the Moth and telling folks, a crowd of 150 people, maybe more, in a packed room, a story about my personal life.

Here? It's different. There's a level of anonymity that does not exist at the Moth or publishing a personal essay. And it's safer somehow. I can delete negative responses, screen them, even the post.

Fiction feels safer to me and more comfortable. Like a warm snuggly blanket on a cold bitter day. I can coat myself in the metaphors. Also, I always have a story in my head, aching to break free. It's not the writing of it that has ever been the problem, so much as the sharing. And I'm no erstwhile philosopher, nor do I really enjoy reading them...the story, to me at least, is king.

It doesn't matter either way. Which I write. My chances of publishing personal essays are rather dim. Although I did publish two journalistic articles on racism in small publications, which sort of count.
Maybe.

While surfing the net for articles on Wallace, I also found this essay in Salon:


David Foster Wallace was Right Irony is Ruining Our Culture
.

Curious. I like irony. Use it a lot in my own writing. Dramatic irony, I find rather hilarious.


Irony is now fashionable and a widely embraced default setting for social interaction, writing and the visual arts. Irony fosters an affected nihilistic attitude that is no more edgy than a syndicated episode of “Seinfeld.” Today, pop characters directly address the television-watching audience with a wink and nudge. (Shows like “30 Rock” deliver a kind of meta-television-irony irony; the protagonist is a writer for a show that satirizes television, and the character is played by a woman who actually used to write for a show that satirizes television. Each scene comes with an all-inclusive tongue-in-cheek.) And, of course, reality television as a concept is irony incarnate.

For the generation that came of age during Vietnam, irony was the response to a growing distrust toward anything and everything. In the 1980s, academics such as Mark Jefferson attacked sentimentality, and Neo-Expressionists gave sincerity a bad name through their sophomoric attempts at heroic paintings. Irony was becoming a protective carapace, as Wallace pointed out, a defense mechanism against the possibility of seeming naïve. By the 1990s, television had co-opted irony, and the networks were inundated with commercials using “rebel” in the tagline. Take Andre Agassi’s Canon camera endorsement from that period. In the commercial, the hard-hitting, wiseass Agassi smashed tennis balls loaded with paint to advertise Canon’s “Rebel” brand camera. The ad wraps with Agassi standing in front of a Pollockesque canvas saying “Image is everything.” For all the world, it seemed rebellion had been usurped by commercialism.

This environment gave artists few choices: sentimentality, nihilism, or irony. Or, put another way, critical ridicule as experienced by the Neo-Expressionist (see Sandro Chia), critical acceptance through nihilism like Gerhard Richter, or critical abdication through ironic Pop Art such as Jeff Koons. For a while, it seemed no new ideas were possible, progress was an illusion, and success could be measured only by popularity. Hot trends such as painted pornography; fluorescent paint; sculpture with mirrors, spray foam, and yarn were mistaken for art because artists believed blind pleasure-seeking could be made to seem insightful when described ironically.



And...


Wallace called for art that redeems rather than simply ridicules, but he didn’t look widely enough. Mostly, he fixed his gaze within a limited tradition of white, male novelists. Indeed, no matter how cynical and nihilistic the times, we have always had artists who make work that invokes meaning, hope and mystery. But they might not have been the heirs to Thomas Pynchon or Don Delillo. So, to be more nuanced about what’s at stake: In the present moment, where does art rise above ironic ridicule and aspire to greatness, in terms of challenging convention and elevating the human spirit? Where does art build on the best of human creation and also open possibilities for the future? What does inspired art-making look like?


Finally ending with...


Artists must take responsibility for finding the form to make our dreams real. They must assess a work as honestly as possible, seeking integrity. At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion. But we can remake the world. In poetry, in music, in painting, we can reimagine and plot coordinates into the unknown. We can take an honest look, rework and try again. The work will tell us if it has arrived or not. We have to listen closely. What do we see? What do we hear?


From that, I gather irony is not bad in of itself, it is when it has no focus and is irony for irony's sake...that we become lost. Falling a quagmire of cynical disillusionment. Jim Carry famously stated after 9/11, that this was the end of ironic comedy, yet it was actually just the start.
Comedy in of itself is cruel and often cynical, with a biting edge to it. Wounding with a laugh.
We make fun of that which is distinctly foreign to us, and all too familiar. The prat full, the ethnic joke, the snarky one liner, the rejoinder, the clown tripping over a banana peel that he himself dropped while juggling those bananas.

The world has become snide. Practicing irony for irony's sake. Our elections have become satires, with cartoonish candidates ripping each other apart with snarky comments scripted off reality shows.
Everything is a joke in a world where television is a 24/7 operation. It's funny (okay not ha ha funny) that I remember a time when television was on maybe 12 hours a day, if that. At midnight the screen went to fuzz, after the National Anthem or the famous sign-off. If you rent the movie Poltergeist, you can witness it for yourself. It wasn't until the 1990s that stopped. We only had three networks. News was on maybe four or five times a day, not 24 hours. Cable was subscription only and only one Channel, HBO. We spent most of our time outdoors in the summer. Oh, I watched television, way too much, or so I thought, but not nearly as much as people do now. Oddly, I've been watching less. Each show that I see feels familiar somehow, as if it is a repeat of another one.
And each joke, wink, wink, nudge, nudge...I find myself reading and writing more. Odd considering how much I read and write for work. But there it is.

I don't know the answers, and I don't pretend to be a philosopher, found the subject deathly dull in college, actually. Did date a few of them, though. Rock singers and philosophers are deadly combinations, just saying. But I can't read philosophy without falling asleep, even if it is wrapped inside the guise of fiction. (I'm looking at you Roger Zelzany, Phillip K. Dick, and David Foster Wallace.) But, I do think there is happiness in small things. And watching a television show here or there after a tough day at the office is well, no nevermind. Any more than occasionally binging over a weekend.

It's when you let it or anything else for that matter take over. You die slowly. That's what continues to haunt me from the film, End of the Tour, when you just watch tv, stay home, do nothing else, maybe surf the net, discuss it on forums...you die slowly. I should know, it almost happened to me...once or twice. Now, I watch less, and write more. And try to let myself live in the world, to be mindful of it. As it drifts and whirls around me, rarely making sense, but always different and often interesting.
shadowkat: (clock)
1.)Feeling much better today, decided to eliminate a few new items from diet...and it worked. (ie. I'm no longer having green smoothies at breakfast, which have a higher natural sugar content, and no evening primrose or maca powder. I may be sensitive to something.)

2)Anyone still watching Castle? I don't watch Castle -- haven't since the first or second year.Anyhow...there was this weird blurb online about how Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic (who plays Beckett, Castle's love interest) hate each other in real life. (I can actually identify -- every workplace, if you stick around long enough, you will eventually either rub someone the wrong way or they will rub you the wrong way. The trick, I guess, is not to stay too long? Or to shrug it off? But imagine being an actor who has to do a romantic relationship with someone you can't stand? Ewww. No wonder these people are paid a lot.)

Anywho...here's the link. Apparently both Beckett and her friend the forensic specialist are being written out this year, assuming it gets renewed for a 9th season. (It's been on that long? I personally think television series should go for no more than 5 years, maybe 7.)

In other news? They apparently killed off the female lead of The Blacklist. My mother who is still watching it, was shocked. I gave up, too bloody violent. I can't watch television series with too much torture and violence and rape. Which is odd considering, I apparently have no difficulties with The 100...But, is it just me, or are television writers becoming increasingly bloodthirsty? What happened to the good old days when characters were written out to say...a new job or new state or a trip somewhere? Now -- it's, oh, I know, I'll kill the character off. That will show that stupid actor! And shock the audience. Bonus! (Note to writers...sad, not shocking. We live in anxious times, stop killing people. Although, admittedly, I do enjoy it at times -- since it shakes things up. But some shows have reached their quota. Grey's Anatomy, for example, is not permitted to kill off any more characters...five is more than enough. It's not a war drama or a crime drama, it's a medical drama. Who would have thought it would be dangerous to be a surgeon in a Seattle hospital??? Seriously???)

3) And to the bewilderment of the rest of the world, the Never-ending Political Satire Saga of the American Race for President continues...

Today was the NY Primary. And, before you ask, no, I didn't vote in the NY Primary. Green Party, remember? In NY, just in case you missed prior posts, you can't vote in the primary unless you are registered as a Democrat or a Republican, and only for the party that you are registered with. In other words, Democrats can't cross party lines to vote in the Republican primary and vice versa. Nor for that matter can the 1M + souls who are registered with other parties. I know that it may not seem like it, but the US actually does have other parties, Green, Independent, Libertarian, Families, etc. It's just we refuse to vote them into office. So, by default, we're a two-party system. I don't know why, some of the other parties candidates are actually a heck of a lot better than the Democrats and Republicans currently running.

There are allegedly over 160,000 registered Democrats in Brooklyn. But, according to various census takers posting on Facebook, 50,000 registered Democrats can't be accounted for. They don't know what happened to them. Did they die? Did they become inactive? Can they find their polling places? Did they just disappear?

Which brings up another problem, according to folks posting on FaceBook -- people can't locate their frigging polling location. Why? The board of elections changed the polling locations without notifying the voters. I don't know why they didn't notify the voters. I guess they assumed people would hunt it online? I remember the good old days when I got a notice in the mail.

Apparently there's a law that you are not permitted to bring any election paraphenial into the polling place. No buttons, pins, shirts, hats, etc. So ignore those twitter posts telling you to support Sanders with a t-shirt. You'll be booted out of the polling location and not permitted to vote.

A few confused souls went to the polling location and asked if they could vote in a primary that they weren't registered in. What follows is a true story that was related on the Kesington, Brooklyn, NY Facebook page:

At the polling location...

Volunteer: Which primary?
Male voter: Can I switch my affiliation from Democrat to Republican and vote in the Republican Primary?
Volunteer: Go ahead.
Female voter (who is next in line) - gives the volunteer her name.
Volunteer: Which primary?
Female voter: Aren't you only allowed to vote in the primary that you are registered in?
Volunteer: Ahh...
Second Volunteer: Yes. That's true.
1st Volunteer: Wait...oops. Do you remember the name of the man who was just before you?
Female voter: No.

Okay. This is going to be a really interesting election. The primary alone had record turnouts. The general election is going to be fun. I'm thinking we may need to overhaul our system after this.

Sort of glad that I couldn't vote in it.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Beautiful day. Felt like spring, finally. In the 70s, clear blue skies, and soft breeze. Trees in bloom. Sprigs of soft yellowish green, white, pink, purple, and red flowers.

Had a lovely brunch with U and her boyfriend at a place in Brooklyn Heights. Was considering seeing the movie Batman vs. Superman afterwards, but chose to pick up food instead. Besides no time.

Me: Was considering Batman vs. Superman, but it's far too pretty a day to sit in a movie theater-
U: Why? Why would you want to see that movie? Why do that to yourself?
Me: Well, yes, it would most likely give me a headache.
U: It's had horrible reviews. As much as I love Caville, he's horrible as Superman...
Me: True. (We'd seen Man of Steel together and despised it.)

My mother asked me the same question on the phone.

Methinks I'll watch it on demand or HBO or something instead.

Proud of myself for nixes the Gluten-free Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter and blueberries, and opting for the healthier burger and lettuce instead. I'm on a no grains, sugar, dairy, soy, potatoes, chocolate...diet for the foreseeable future. It gets easier every day. Just have to deal with it, with a sense of humor.

2. Once Upon a Time

This show at times feels like I'm watching cross-over slash fanfic for children's stories. This week's episode focused on, of all things, a romance between Red Riding Hood and Dorothy (yes, that Dorothy from OZ). Darn, I was shipping Red Riding Hood aka Ruby and Mulan. Although admittedly she had better chemistry with Dorothy. The Wicked Witch puts Dorothy under a sleeping kiss and Ruby aka Red Riding Hood, kisses her and she wakes.

So...so far, we have the following cross-over romances:

The Evil Queen from Snow White/ Robin Hood
Captain Hook/Emma Swan (daughter of Snow White/Charming)
Belle/Rumplestilskin
Wicked Witch/Hades
Red Riding Hood/Dorothy...

3.Haunting rendition of the Simon and Garfunkle Song - "The Sounds of Silence"



Also, oddly apropos...for what is happening at the moment in NYC and other urban areas...

4. Interesting New Yorker article on how Northern Europe views Bernie Sanders views. He gets his ideas from Northern Europe of the 70s and 80s, but even Northern Europe has drifted away from those policies towards a more pragmatic system. (Also, Northern Europe doesn't have the same cultural, economic, and government that the US does. This is important. There is a huge difference between a centralized parliamentary/constitutional monarchy and a joint federal constitutional republic with three balanced branches of government plus individualized and separate state governments. Trying to pull the socialist policies of Northern Europe, which didn't entirely work for Northern Europe into a country that is governed like the US is...
Sample section or quotes from the article )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
1.)Scrivener is really helping with the novel writing. No longer do I have to scroll a hundred and sixty-some pages to get to where I left off. And it provides the ability to write a little synopsis of each chapter as you go. Plus character sketches, settings, and an area for research. And, it has a built-in spelling and grammar check. Not to mention formatting for paperback, hardcover, e-book, and scripts. It's not that expensive for a software program - about $45 bucks and you just download it.

Highly recommend. I bought it for my birthday.

2.) Loving this new Shondra Rhimes/Betsy Beers series entitled The Catch - which was pitched by British author, Kate Atkinson, who wrote the novel Life After Life and serves as one of the executive producers. It's sort of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets The Thomas Crown Affair, with Peter Krause playing a con-man and Mirelli Enos portraying a private investigator who is chasing him, after he conned her out of millions and stole her heart. The catch is that he fell for her. But it is fiendishly clever in places. And diverse. With complicated characters and two cases of the week -- the con that Peter Krause (Christopher) and his associates are plotting and the investigation that Alice and her associates are investigating, plue Alice evading an interpol agent while she hunts down Christopher.

Last week he gave her a painting that was hanging in a museum. She thought he stole it to set her up. But what he actually did was forge the painting, switch the forgery with the actual painting and give
Alice the real one. With her lawyer, she discovers that he picks his aliases from the obituaries. (Hey, I came up with that idea first -- my con artist in Doing Time on Planet Earth chooses her aliases from the obitaries as well.) Adore that idea.

It's fun. And the actors portraying the lead roles are good. Also stars Penny from LOST as Christopher's boss/lover Margo, who he's been with for over 15 years. There's lots of back story and each week we get another intriguing tid-bit.

Sexy fun. With very little violence.

Although will state that like all television mystery shows...the mystery is somewhat predictable. (It's always the first person they suspect for some reason.) But, unlike Elementary, the mystery plot line holds together better. My problem with Elementary is their mysteries don't work, they sort of fall apart. (I watch Elementary for the characters not the plotting, the writers suck at plotting).
So far the plot of this series is working for me.

I know it got mixed reviews, but once again I find my taste diverging from the critics. It may just be me, but television critics seem to have a taste for raunchy, over-the-top, and violent television series. I'm wondering if it is just that they watch too many television shows? Must suck being a television critic.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Okay, just finished watching "Bitter Harvest" and alas, I am still struggling with this plot line. Apparently, I am not alone. I found THIS post validating my own feelings regarding how Bellamy's actions don't quite work...and how his subplot is coming perilously close to ruining the show and sending it careening out of control. It doesn't feel morally ambiguous enough to me, somehow.


Because this is a show that, until now, has differentiated itself from the smorgasbord of other post-apocalyptic worlds in science fiction by portraying a future where people are driven by more than reckless tribalism. Where enemies and allies can come from anywhere.

If Bellamy can no longer see that, I guess I’m relieved that Clarke, Lexa, and others still can. As it is, his botched storyline is a huge warning sign that The 100 might be starting to careen out of control.


Yup, that's my problem with this storyline -- it's following the cliche route of one too many post-apocalyptic worlds prior to it. And I'm wary of the Allia storyline...which reminds me a little too much of BSG. Up until now it had managed to veer around that. But the last couple of episodes have veered straight down that path. And this episode was particularly guilty of it.

And later...in another review, this time, AV Club, says the same thing HERE. Actually, I agree a great deal with AV Club's review.

But, I went and found THIS interesting and in-depth interview with the show's head-runner, Jason Rothenberg on IGN. It gave me pause.

spoiler for Bitter Harvest )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
While I'm cooking root vegetable soup, a television poll or rather meme - where everyone who stumbles upon this checks off their current favorite television series, which they've been obsessing over. (I really should be working on my taxes...but, alas, the last time I did my taxes on Valentine's Day, someone broke in my apartment and stole my laptop while I was sleeping with all my tax information on it. So, I'm slightly superstitious, granted that was a different apartment, and it's close to impossible to do it here...but still.)

Anyhow, back to the poll/meme. Once you check off your favorite television series (the one you are obsessive about at the moment), assuming of course I managed to list it (if I didn't mark other and list in comments), go to the comments and make your case for the show - list any links to meta, fanfic, fanart, fan communities, boards, vids, etc - the links not the actual work. If someone else listed it first, reply to their response and list yours...who knows you might have made a new connection. Oh and here's the important part -- MAKE SURE YOU TELL PEOPLE, ie me, WHERE THEY CAN WATCH OR SEE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW! (otherwise, how will it get new viewers?? If people can't find it, they can't watch it. Keep in mind we live in a world with over 1000 different channels and distribution venues.)

For people like myself that watch television but aren't obsessed with any tv shows or in any fandoms at the moment - I have "Nothing at the Moment" listed, because I'm not obsessive about any television series at the moment -- but I'm curious to see where everyone else is leaning. And if there is anything interesting out there that I'm overlooking.

[As an aside, once you insert the poll - you can't edit it -- which makes doing polls a dicey enterprise.]

[Poll #2036851]
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
I threatened to do this in another post. I've saved so many television series to my DVR, and I've lost track of which are worth watching and which are a waste of time. I keep forgetting what's on when.

So, I'm curious to know what everyone else would recommend. What new television shows, assuming there are any, that you love or would recommend giving a shot? [Note if it's been on for more than a year or two, with at least 30 episodes, it's NOT new. Example: Agent Carter is new, the Arrow is not. That said, I'm making an exception with The X-Files (which is sort of a revival), American Crime (which is new each season, sort of like American Horror Story and Fargo), and shows that just started last year and popped up again now like Agent Carter.]

I'm limiting this poll to the television series that I've heard and can remember -- it's like the dreaded presidential poll, it's impossible to list them all. But, here's the thing, if your favorite isn't on this list - please put it in the comments, and be sure to include where it can be found and what it is about.

[Poll #2035240]


Thanks. Hopefully, I'll get more than five responses. LJ has been sort of dead lately in regards to posting.

ETA: I left THE COLONY off the list by accident. Has anyone seen it? Is it worth watching?
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
I'm losing track of television shows.

* Anyone out there seen the new sit-com "You, Me and The Apocalypse" ? It's apparently a Brit-American joint production which aired first in Britain. So I'm guessing a lot of people may have caught it? Worth checking out? Premiered tonight and I sort of forgot about it.

You need a rollerdex or a calendar to keep track. I had 62 hours of television shows recorded on DVR, I deleted five hours (Shades of Blue) considering deleting Shannara Chronicles and Shadowhunters. Which begs another question - were any of those worth watching? Haven't tried the new X-Files or Lucifier yet. I forgot about X-Files - so not taped. Lucifier is taped.

I'm tempted to do a poll.

Also, either my allergies are acting up due to the dry heat, mold, and dust build up, or I'm getting a cold. Been sneezing a lot lately. And can't breath. Have a humidifier, which is sort of helping. And I bought some Allegra, which you can apparently take with Zyrtec.

Better not be a cold. Although at least colds end. Allergies just hang around until the thing you are allergic to either dies or goes away.

Fanfic...was pondering this today. I've only read Buffy, Angel, Farscape, BSG, and Doctor Who fanfic. Trying to think...

Okay, there was a House fanfic that someone on my flist wrote, which I read, mainly because they wrote it.

I don't as a general rule tend to read fanfic based on novel series -- unless the writer is dead. I've read two - one in the Dragon-rider series (it didn't work for me) and one in the Kim Harrison Rachel Morgan series - (it also did not work for me). The difference between fanfic based on a television or movie universe and fanfic based on a novel universe - is if from television it's for different mediums. (The original is filmed/televised, while the fanfic is written). Or from a former copyright specialist perspective, they aren't really infringement, more an illegal derivative. If anything, they just help sell the original work. They don't compete with it in any way, not unless the original creators suddenly feel like writing novels - which doesn't quite work for television serials - too collaborative a process. (ie. There's about 150 original creators - the makeup artist, the sound editor, the writers, the actors, the musicians, the costume designer, the F/X specialist, the set designer, the lighting designer, the camera crew, the cinematographer, the director...it goes on.) While with a novel - you have just one creator, sometimes you might have a team, but usually it's just one person. And they are making their living selling books and stories based on the world and characters they created. If someone writes and publishes to the internet stories based on their world and characters for free or money, they are in direct competition with that creation and more or less piggy-backing or using the writers ideas to write their own stuff.

It's not the same thing as taking someone else's ideas and re-interpreting or adapting them to a new medium. Creating a derivative work - so to speak. That's more playful, and from my perspective permissible. But fanfic based on works like Harry Potter, Anne McCaffrey's series (although she's dead now, so maybe not), LoTR (also long dead), Chronicles of Narnia (ditto), Anne Rice's Vampire novels...feels a little skeevy. I can see why Ursula Le Quinn, McCaffrey (when alive), Anne Rice, and various other writers denounced it. It's not the same thing as writing a Doctor Who fanfic, or a Buffy fanfic. Nor is it the same as writing a Shakespeare fanfic. Again different medium.

Fanfic based on works of dead writers, long in the public domain, I have no difficulty with either. (Note LOTR and DragonRiders aren't in public domain. They are still owned by the families or estate.
Same is true I think with Gone with the Wind.)

But something about fanfic based on a novel, and to be clear, I mean written fanfic in the same medium, bugs the copyright attorney in me. Chaffs. (Although to be fair, I find the copyright law stance on the topic confusing and contradictory in the extreme. There's a reason, I ran away from copyright law. It's a quagmire. The rules change daily. Each country has its own. Some countries ignore it completely (*cough*China*cough*) while others only care about their own or close nieghbor's copyright laws (*cough*Germany*cough* -- although that may changed). )

Personally and for the most part, I tend to think fanfic is harmless. If anything, it just keeps your story alive. Hello, free advertising. I'd be flattered if people wrote fanfic using characters or a story that I wrote. But, then again, would I if it competed with my own work? If fans preferred it to my story? If it prevented me from continuing my own story in my own way? Or prevented me from getting paid for it?

Of course there is the view...that once your work is out there, you've no control over what happens to it. It is in essence no longer really yours. Sort of like having a kid graduate from college and get their first job. You see them occasionally, hear how they are doing, but that's it.

Regarding writing fanfic? Oh, I've dabbled. What writer whose ever been a die-hard fan, hasn't? (You may actually be able to find the dabbling in my livejournal -- if you look hard enough. If so, let me know, because I've lost track of the links.) But I'm not comfortable enough to do more than that...mainly because, it's someone else's sandbox that I'm playing in. And I feel like I'm this big hairy giant stomping about, Godzilla like, kicking up dirt and sand, trampling the natives. If I were to do their story justice, I'd have to be able to speak in their voice, see it from their perspective...or at the very least be able to see it from the majority of their fans perspective...and again, Godzilla trampling through town, stirring up a ruckus. OR worse, I lose myself, and my own distinctive voice in the process?

I'd rather be inspired by their work - I think. Blend it into my own. Which to a degree was what I did with Doing Time on Planet Earth - I was inspired by various television shows and books that I'd been watching at the time, and blended them into my work, creating something new. Felt a bit less like Godzilla that way.

That's not to say, however it may sound, that I don't appreciate what others do with fanfic. There some very good fanfic writers on my flist -- and I've enjoyed their fic. They've managed to play in the sandbox.

I think...it has a lot to do with well, how you personally think? It's like visiting someone else's house. Some people are comfortable going into a friend or acquaintance's kitchen, pulling out a bottle of beer/soda/water from the fridge, making a sandwich, and plopping in front of the telly. I'm not. Consider it to be a bit rude to be honest. I wait for the invitation. It's their house, after all. I'm a guest in it. I ask if I can help. I'm careful of the boundaries. If someone visits - I ask if they want anything and treat them as a honored guest (which may explain why I prefer not to have guests, too nerve-wracking and too much bloody work).

What can I say? I'm like a cat when it comes to territory, protective of my own and cautious in someone else's. (Well, except for the peeing part, have no desire to mark it, thank you very much.)
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
I was going to hold off on doing this until I got a chance to stream Man in the High Castle, Transparent, and watched Scandal, Childhood's End and The Expanse -- but alas, it probably won't be until late January that I get around to watching any of the above. Also, if you saw the television series in 2016, how exactly can you say they were notable television shows of 2015? (Granted I may do that with movies, but that's slightly different.) Afterall, it's not like I didn't watch enough television series in 2015 to make up a notable list of at least 10, without including the one's I haven't gotten around to watching yet, and may never get around to watching. Tried Man in the High Castle's first episode...and, uh, no, not very compelling. Alternate History stories tend to irritate and frustrate me, so I knew going in that this would be problematic.

So below is my list, with the caveat that I have not watched many of the critically acclaimed series people have raved about. (I tried to watch The Left-Overs but it's too bleak and religious for my taste (religiously preachy television series get on my nerves -- it was one of my problems with LOST and to a degree with BattleStar Galatica, Caprica and Deep Space Nine.) And I don't understand the appeal of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, any more than I did 30 Rock - embarrassment comedy doesn't work for me. Still need to make time for Rectify and Olive Kittridge. And I tried to watch Better Call Saul - but couldn't get past the first two episodes, my attention kept wandering. Maybe someday. Empire and How to Get Away With Murder were another two series that I wanted to love and just couldn't get into. The characters and plot left me cold, unfortunately. )

Notable Television Series of 2015

1. Daredevil - this is a netflix series that I streamed over the summer. It's about 13 episodes and it held my attention throughout. The story is about a blind attorney with special gifts, who turns vigilante in Hells Kitchen, NYC - a dark gritty Hell's Kitchen. It borrows heavily from various film noir tropes and pulp comic noir tropes. It's also incredibly violent - but in a way that evolves the characters and plot, also crucial to the plot. It, in other words, never felt exploitative or excessive. Daredevil, unlike most superheroes, gets hurt and the violence changes him, not necessarily for the better. In fact, it changes everyone in his world, and in some respects creates the villain, Fiske, who is amongst the most complex. My favorite bit - the bit that blew me away, is when the gal Friday, Daredevil's secretary and alleged damsel, takes care of business. Unfortunately, Stephen DeKnight, the show-runner, has left the series, and it has been taken over by Doug Petrie, who I have less confidence in as a showrunner or writer. Also, S2 has gotten busier - we have The Punisher and Electra as villains.

2. The 100 - when I read the description of this series initially, I wasn't sure it would work, but it does, brilliantly. It may well be amongst the best sci-fi series on television at the moment. Like Daredevil, it is insanely violent, but also like Daredevil - the violence changes the characters, influences them, and is crucial to the themes. It is an anti-violence series. And takes insane risks. Raises moral questions that it refuses to simply answer. And asks interesting ones about race, about what people are willing to do to survive, and the lines we would cross - and how that changes you. What violence does to and how it destroys things around you. (The CW)

3. Crazy Ex-Girl Friend - this is an insane musical comedy series about a depressed successful New York Real Estate Attorney, who decides on a whim to move to a small town in California in order to get back together with her ex-boyfriend from high school summer camp. But mainly she just wants a change of pace. It's a satire of all of those - "My life in the big city is horrible and meaningless, I know, I'll move to a small town and discover real happiness and romance" television series tropes of 1980s and 1990s. (Also 98% of Contemporary Romance Novels and Hallmark Channel Movies, unfortunately.) I don't know yet if I like it or not, but I can't seem to stop watching it. Possibly because I think that trope deserves to be satirized. (The CW)

4. Agent Carter - it's a 1940s/1950s comedy spy thriller, with comic book and noir undertones. Also, and more notably, it pokes fun at the rampant sexism of the time period as well as the rampant sexism that exists in the genre. At times it goes over the top in this regard - with hilarious result. The stoic male heroes often come across as stumbling bumpkins to the savvy Agent Carter, who is always five steps ahead of them. While Captain America and Iron Man need super-powers to save the world, Carter does it with good old fashion detective work and a right kick in the you know what. (ABC)

5. Grace and Frankie - this is a Netflix situation comedy about two 70-year-old women who move into together after their husbands hook up. The husbands declare they've fallen in love, divorce their wives and decide to get married. So Grace and Frankie move into the beach house. It stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterson. It's hilarious in places and incredibly moving in others - putting the characters first over jokes. A rarity these days. Also the stars are all over 60, another rarity.

6. The Good Wife - weird show, it jumped the shark then jumped back better than ever. One of the few series that has successfully rebooted itself multiple times. (I think if you made the colossal mistake of shipping any of the character relationships - you probably got upset and fled for the hills. Because this show is anti-romance and anti-shipping. I don't ship any of the relationships in the series...so it never bothered me.)
The Good Wife is all about power - specifically political power games. And how people abuse and use power to get what they want. It's first and foremost a canny character-driven satire of the American Legal and Political System. Each episode satirizes a different aspect of the system, often to hilarious effect. I actually think it may well be the funniest show on television, although it probably helps if you are familiar with our insane legal system (or have been trained as a lawyer and work in a government agency). It's also the most accurate regarding the legal system, and it's inherent abuses and corruptions.

7. Bloodline another NetFlix series starring Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sam Shepard - by Todd Kessler, is perhaps the most gripping noir family thriller that I've seen. Delving deep into the dark side of dysfunctional family politics in the Florida Keys. It's about a prodigal son returning to his family-owned resort in the Key's for his parent's anniversary. Except things go horribly awry, and the son starts torturing his siblings, revealing all sorts of dark family secrets in the process.
Great performances and excellent dialogue, mark this thriller that like Damages is told mainly in flashback.

8. The Wiz Live - NBC does a live broadcast of the Wiz with an all black cast and it's the best live musical they've done to date. All the performances are spot on, and the songs fun. Unlike Sound of Music and Peter Pan, which felt wooden and amateurish in places, the Wiz comes across as a professional show.

9. Jessica Jones - another Netflix streaming series...it was admittedly uneven in places. And fell into cliche - although I'm not sure you'd notice unless you're overly familiar with the tropes. Notable for the performances of Kristen Ritter as Jones, and David Tennant as the villain, Kilgrave, whose mind-rape of Jones -- changes the character completely. It's insanely violent also, in some respects more so than Daredevil, which is odd. But like Daredevil the violence changes the characters.

10. Justified - while not quite as tight as previous seasons, the final episode of Justified was a work of art, providing the audience with a realistic and oddly bittersweet ending, without everyone dying. Brilliant in so many ways...and the focus of it was the core of the series, the relationship between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder, highlighting the theme, but for the grace of god go I. Justified also ended on a high note - with top-notch guest performances by Mary Steenbergen and Sam Elliot as aging star-crossed lovers who spent most of their time trying not to double-cross each other.

Honorable Mention: The Husbands of River Song" - The Doctor Who Christmas special manages to be a jaunty affair that has something to say, and closes a chapter in the story, along with a major dangling plot thread.

And Game of Thrones on HBO - which wasn't quite as good as previous years, and had gone a bit over the top in the violence department, doing things that had not been in the books. The problem with the violence in GoT is it is excessive, not necessary for either character development or plot, and feels exploitive. (Hint: You know it's not necessary - when the book didn't do it or the writer of the books stopped short of showing it. I didn't think it was possible to out-do GRR Martin in the sadism department, but these writers managed to do so.) Which, ahem, is not a good thing. That said, there were some high points -many of which you won't get in the books. Not to mention great performances. It still has one of the best casts on television. major plot spoilers )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Just finished watching Minority Report and The Player, which also have potential, although I wish they were better cast and had better dialogue.

* Minority Report is based on the Philip K. Dick short story and the movie of the same name.
The movie and short story are basically a speculative science fiction tale about a society that stops crimes before they are committed by using precogs. The precogs are humans who have the ability to foresee murders before they are committed. But they have no life. They are treated like living computers - housed in a facility, with electrodes fastened to their brains. In the movie and short story - the minority report is filed when they are wrong. There's so many variables regarding the future and sometimes what they see comes out a different way. There's a 5% or 20 % chance that it will be different - hence the minority report. In the movie, the cop fights against the pre-cognitive system, because of the minority report and the chance that the criminal won't commit that crime.
My memory of it is rather vague, so I think that's the general plot arc.

The television series is completely different. vague spoilers )

It has potential - the relationships between the characters, the risk of doing the pre-cog bit again but outside the system...no can know that they are doing it. Because if anyone knows, Dash's life is over - he'd be brought back in.

2) The Player - also is about a group that can predict criminal activity before it happens. But it's more action oriented and somewhat reminiscent of The Prisoner, or The Prisoner meets James Bond. In this one, a former high level FBI terrorist agent turned Las Vegas cop gets entangled with a bunch of high risk gamblers - who gamble on criminal activity. They require a "Player" to fight against the criminals, so they can bet on whether the criminals will win or the player will win.
There's always a Player, a Dealer (who helps the Player solve the crimes and is his only source of aid and information), and a Pit Boss - who runs the show. Wesley Snipes plays the Pit Boss.
Alex is the Player. vague spoilers )

It has potential. But I feel like I've seen it before? The formula sounds weirdly familiar somehow.
Also the guy playing the lead isn't that compelling. I may watch one or two more episodes to see where it goes.

**********

In other news? I'm taking a five day weekend around Columbus Day. Have decided to see a few museums, possibly The Intrepid Air and Space Museum (Hubble Exhibit and Challenger), the Museum of Sex, and maybe the 911 Memorial, wander around Central Park, and see Deaf West's Revival of Spring Awakening. Been wanting to see Spring Awakening for the past three years now. I have the soundtrack on my ipod, and this revival, first shown in LA, is supposed to be amazing, possibly better than the first presentation - it entwines sign language in the choreography, emphasizing the theme of lack of communication. I'd visit the Hayden Planetarium but it's closed until November 24.

I really don't need to get away from NYC, will be doing that soon enough anyhow. Instead, I might go play around in it a bit. Did you know there are over 100 museums?
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
I love rainy fall Saturdays, when you can sleep in and binge watch television shows all day long.
Made banana nut paeolo muffins this morning, eggs, and turkey sausage, and for lunch falafel salad with bone broth soup.

Anyhow...I've made it through at least six or seven new television shows so far.

So far -- the keepers are: Quantico, The Muppet Show, and Life in Pieces.
Kicking to the curb: Scream Queens and The Grinder
On the fence: India Summers, Blindspot, and most of the ones listed below.

[The problem is there over 115 television series, and I just don't have the time or interest in watching all of them. Also some of them are somewhat similar. Blindspot and Limitless for example.
I prefer distinctive television series that are unpredictable and surprise me.]

Here's the latest:

1. Code Black - it's a hyper-realistic medical drama, reminiscent of ER, but not quite as well written. The dialogue is awkward, skewing towards the cliche. Unworthy of the actors, who are quite good and deserve better. The dialogue needs to be punched up a bit. That said, it has to be the most realistic medical drama that I've seen - I've been inside inner city ER's and they look just like that. Dirty, poorly lit, and crowded.

Code Black signifies too many patients, no time, mile a minute care. Which occurs a lot in huge urban areas. I think this is either an inner city LA or Chicago hospital.

At any rate, it has potential. I found it to be for the most part compelling. But if the dialogue doesn't get better, I may give up on it.

Will try two more episodes.

2. Limitless - also has potential. The conspiracy drup plot, with Bradely Cooper in the role of mysterious benefactor/villain, is sort of silly. But the main characters are interesting, and it has Deb from Dexter playing an FBI agent. Also, I like the concept of a guy, who is a complete loser, totally lost, except when he's on a miracle drug. The miracle drug gives him unlimited potential, he can access any memory and all the functions of his brain -- think absolute focus. Everything is crystal clear. But when he's not on the drug, he's depressed, foggy, and struggling. Can't access everything. The limitations of his body get in the way. So, he becomes addicted to the drug, which has nasty physical side-effects, unless you get a special shot once a year which allows you to metabolize the drug without any of the side-effects. But to get this shot - he can't tell anyone how he got it or who is supplying the drug. (Basically he can't tell them about Bradely Cooper's character.)

The series also stars Ron Rifkin and Blair Brown as his parents in recurring roles.

After he solves a murder for the FBI, the FBI decides to hire him as a consultant, hoping that he'll eventually lead them to his supplier and to the reason why he can metabolize the drug without harmful side effects.

That's the series in a nutshell. It was compelling. But not sure how long that will last.

Will try a couple more episodes

3. Life in Pieces - this is an adult/family situation comedy, with an interesting structure.
Each episode has approximately four short stories. Each act is a different member of the families story, which is then united into the whole. Reminds me a little bit of Parenthood.

For example? The first episode was:

* First Date - the older brother (in his 30s) is dating a woman who just broke up with her fiance, who she's still living with because they bought their apartment together. Her fiancee has no where to go. And she can't afford to buy him out. They try to make out at her place, but the fiancee is there.
So they go to his place, but he's living with his parents, who are there watching a Stephen Segal movie. So they end up in a car - only to be stopped by a cop thinking it's an illegal hookup.

There's a hilarious bit with the parents. The 70 year old dad can't figure out how to put the movie they are watching on "pause". There's too many remotes. At one point, he states that he misses televisions with knobs.

* First Delivery - the younger brother is having his first baby. It goes well. The humor is about well,
the after-effects of giving birth. The Doctor advises them not to have sex for six weeks, and under no circumstances to look down there. "Let's just say, you're tunnel is under construction at the moment. I'll give you something for the pain. And a number of rubber gloves to fill up with water and stick in the fridge. Stick a finger in the vagina, and that will help."

When they are released from the hospital, there's a hilarious bit in the car. When the two parents look at each other, and cannot believe that they've been released. "Why'd they release us so soon?
We barely know what we're doing! They should have their license revoked."

* First Day of College - the parents take their son to college. It has two funny bits.

* The Funeral (the Father, who is a funeral house operator, decides to do his 70th Birthday as his funeral. It doesn't go over well. There's a hilarious bit, where he gets stuck in his own coffin and they have to well him over to the Jiffy-Lube across the street.)

I roared with laughter through it, which is rare for me. This was surprisingly funny. We'll see if that lasts. Also, you don't have to watch every week. It's not serialized.

Definitely watching.

4.) Blood and Oil -- reminds me a little of Dallas and Revenge, except the characters are nicer and it's more drama than soap. Has potential. Attention did wander during it at times.

Basically takes place in the North Dakota Oil fields. Don Johnson plays an older tycoon who ends up brokering a deal with an up and comer. Meanwhile, Johnson's rebel son, is up to no good. Much chaos ensues.

Will see if I stick with it. Maybe two or three more episodes.

[Up next: Heroes Reborn, Minority Report, The Player, and Home Fires]
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Doctor Who Episodes 9.1.5-9.2 or rather "Meditation for the Doctor", "Magician's Apprentice", and "The Witch's Familiar".

The problem I had with these was the damn commercial interruptions. Can't help but wonder what it would be like if I wasn't constantly fast-forwarding through commercials every 15 or 10 minutes. As a result of the commercials, some of which were flash-forward previews regarding what will happen next in between commercials, so you don't give up, I found it hard to follow. Not to mention jarring.
Note to television writers producing shows for "commercial" television - out of order narratives or jumpy narratives are hard to follow when you are interrupted by commercials. It interrupts the flow.

I felt I should get that out of the way first. My main issue with Doctor Who, and probably the reason I was never "fannish" about it - is it is geared more towards "horror" than really speculative science fiction/fantasy/adventure. Basically the writer is interested in examining what scares us. This has never had a great deal of appeal for me. I'm not a big fan of horror. I like it, but sparingly. If you aren't a horror fan -- you probably don't like Doctor Who all that much.

Ignoring both of those quibbles? (Because one, let's face isn't the writers fault, he wrote the series for non-commercial television, and two, it's a horror series. Hello. Sort of know that going into it.) It was an interesting series of episodes. Playing around once again with the idea of mercy and war. And enemies vs. friends. The Doctor at the end of it, chooses to save the child who will one day become he's most dreaded enemy, to show mercy, as opposed to the more tempting choice - to kill him.

spoilers for Doctor Who )

2. New American Television Series

* Scream Queens -- I gave up halfway through, around the 30 minute mark. I'd read good reviews of it. But here's the thing, Ryan Murphy's unique and rather flamboyant (read over the top) brand of cultural satire/parody either works for you or it really doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I didn't find it offensive so much as boring. I didn't care about any of the characters. And I kept wondering why all these rich entitled college kids weren't using smartphones 24/7 like their real life counterparts? In short, I was taken out of the story intermittently by the thought - why aren't they taking pictures of that with their cell phones? Why don't they have their cell phones on them? Clearly Murphy and Falchuck are of my generation and don't seem to realize that everyone under the age of 30, with few exceptions, has a cell phone as a third appendage.

But my main difficulty, was none of the characters was relateable, interesting, charming, or compelling. Not one. I need at least someone to care about and root for. In Glee, I had five people, plus nifty musical numbers. This...I don't even have the musical numbers, just gory death scenes, and seriously who wants that?

* Blindspot --- has potential. My co-worker loves it. I find it a bit boiler-plate, but I admittedly have watched too many tv shows in my life-time. It feels a bit like Orphan Black meets the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. A woman has her memory completely wiped, and her skin covered with tattoos, then she's dumped naked in a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square. The duffel has a tag stating that they should "CAll the FBI". Oh and on her back is the name of a top level FBI agent, Kurt Weller. Apparently each of her tattoos holds a clue to her identity and to various terrorist attacks around the city or country. It's a treasure map of sorts.

So, each episode will be unraveling the mystery behind each individual tattoo. The case of the week is the terrorist or criminal action that the tattoo is a clue to, and the back plot is who is this woman and what does the tattoo and the case reveal about her.

She's clearly a trained fighter, with awesome shooting and kung fu skills. (And has a Navy Seals Special Ops Tattoo hidden under a new tattoo.) We're also shown the man who trained her and did this to her - but no clue if he is a villain or what exactly.

Like I said, it has potential, but it's nothing new or that we haven't seen before, exactly.

3. ) I've finished Grant Morrison's New X-men - which overall, was quite good. Read more... )

Anyhow. Now re-reading Joss Whedon and John Cassiday's Astonishing X-men, which is much better than I remembered. Read more... )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
The emmy's were announced today. The only bit I found interesting was that the lead of Orphan Black, Tatiana something or other, I can't spell it, not going to try, got nominated for best actress in a drama. Oh, and Game of Thrones got the most nominations, with 24. Which is interesting in that it is a fantasy series, in fact both are genre series. Rare for genre series to get recognized.

People are shocked and dismayed that Outlander was overlooked. Someone opined..."what does it take?" I resisted stating, "Not being on Starz would probably help. Well that and not being a time-traveling romance with lots of rape, but lets not be picky." I tried watching it, it was a)better last season, and b) unwatchable in places this season and drug a bit. Although to be fair, GOT had a lot of rape too.

Other than that - most of the tv shows nominated I've either never seen or attempted, and lost interest quickly. Most are on premium channels and streaming -- so unless you watch tv via streaming you didn't see them either.

As time wears on, awards shows become less and less relevant to me. The seem sort of silly. Pitting diverse works of art against each other like in a horse race -- the only difference is the winner of a horse race is objective, while the emmy's are highly subjective. Plus the decision is based on a handful of hours watched, because lets face it you can't watch every tv show and every episode. It's not possible. Even if all you did for an entire year was do nothing but watch television. And the medium being what it is - you can have brilliance and tedium pretty much within the same season - particularly if you 22 episodes.

That said, I'm not surprised The Good Wife was overlooked, it sort of jumped the shark this season...I'm on the fence as to whether it jumped back. Or if I should continue with it. Am surprised that Justified was overlooked - it was a lot better than Dowton Abbey, which bored me and I can't remember, and Better Caul Saul - which I couldn't get past the first fifteen minutes of the first episode (probably not helped by the fact that it featured a character that I was ambivalent about in the previous series), or Mad Men, which was uneven and dull in places (Don Draper's unending travels across the US, I could have lived without).

Haven't seen Wolf Hall yet. Tried American Crime -- couldn't get through the first episode. GOT wasn't as good this year as last year, and also uneven in places. Haven't seen Orphan Black yet. Halt and Catch Fire - couldn't get past the first episode, bored me. VEEP - not my style of humor. Silicon Valley? Ditto. I don't watch reality television series - I can't stand the obviously coached and manipulated interviews. It's like watching nothing but commercials, with just five minutes of dance or song intertwined. How people watch those things bewilders me. Homeland -- just doesn't appeal to me.

Television from my perspective has been rather lackluster the last two years. Same old, same old. I'm watching less and less of it. My DVR is crowded, but I don't watch most of the shows. Nothing new or surprising. And it's all incredibly violent. So, I'm finding myself hunting non-violent shows more and more, that aren't a)sitcoms, or b) reality shows - easier said than done. I might need to plug in my Amazon Fire Stick and start streaming.

I tried Empire but instead of being about the music industry, it was about a guy who was a big time drug dealer who funded his musical empire with drugs and violence. He kills his friend in the first episode. (Count me out. I lost interest in the second episode. But the actress who played Cookie deserved a nod, as did Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder - she was the best thing in that show.) Scandal like the Good Wife was uneven and not that good this year.

Most of the shows I enjoy and look forward to - I'd never nominate. OUAT, Vamp Diaries, Nashville,
Elementary, Doctor Who
...are fun romps with fun characters. But not Emmy worthy. Gotham...was uneven and too much style over substance, also far too dark. I was somewhat disappointed in it.

No, the only one -- that I watch, which I'd have nominated -- is probably Justified. I think the last episode deserved a nomination, as did Walter Goggins and Tim Olyphant. But that's just me.
shadowkat: (doing time)
1. Been catching up on Gotham, four more episodes left. That is an insanely dark television series. Pure noir. Tone, characters, writing, everything. And graphically violent. Definitely an adult graphic novel for television - it's possibly the only adult graphic novel series on television that I'm aware of. Reminds me a great deal of Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns", "Batman Year One", and "Sin City", also Alan Moore's "Watchmen".

Not a bubblegum series like the other superhero shows. Also it's re-imagining the Batman origin story and universe in an intriguing manner. For example? Barbara Keene (who in the comics later becomes Barbara Gordon) is a sociopath. My favorite character is the fierce Fish Mooney, being portrayed by Jada Pickett Smith.

But it's not a show for the squeamish. For example? In one scene, in order to avoid having the people who captured her remove her eyes and donate them to rich folks, Fish Mooney takes a spoon and scoops out her right eye and then stomps on it.

Difficult series to binge watch.

2. Mad Men

Read a description of a Narcissist on Face Book - and it basically is a perfect description of Don and Betty Draper.

Narcissists are quintessential charmers. Their entire psyche is oriented towards creating a false self -- and that false self is JUST what you want it to be.

They are ego-stroking machines -- they find out what you need another person to be and they appear to become it, and in return you must tell them they are what they want to believe they are. (And if you don't, they will punish you -- but that comes later.)

And there is quite a lot of magical thinking and kool-aid brainwashing (narc-wash) that happens, where narcissists convince others that completely crazy things are true, and insane and destructive behavior is OK.

The narcissist has absolute confidence in his/her ability to beguile. The narcissist is confident that people find him irresistable.... The beguiled [target] cannot help but be enchanted by him."


Basically that's Don Draper in a nutshell. Also to a degree Betty Draper Fisher. As Sally states to both of them at one point this past season: "You are all charm. You beguile and charm whomever you meet, until they are enthralled with you. But it's not real. I want to get as far away from you both -- so I won't be anything like you."

It also explains Don's relationships with everyone around him and how he takes on various personas while traveling across country, becoming whomever those he meets desire him to be. From the ex-serviceman with the horrible war story, to the hustler, to the car mechanic/driver, to the commune. "I'm lost, " he tells them and in a way this is true. He is. He has no self. The self he has is just a construct. It's not real. Then he comes up with a brilliant commercial that uses real values and real emotional, and wraps it around a product that is as hollow as he is, that is nothing but caffeine, sugar, carmel coloring/flavoring and fizz.

Great comment on the advertising/marketing/entertainment industry in general, isn't it, if not a somewhat bleak one?

3) Beautiful day here. Not too hot. Nice breeze. Tweeting birds. Sunlight lightly streaming through the window...but just the light making a pattern on the wall, no heat follows it.

Took a walk. Bought groceries. My walks often tend to be productive ones. Read a bit.
Surfed the internet. My Aunt posted a lovely article on my grandfather, which had been published in 1964 in their local paper. My grandfather, long dead, was a carpenter. Didn't make much money. But he made people happy with his work - which was unique and artistic in his own right. Sometimes that's enough I think. Too much emphasis is placed on the monetary value of things. Success is just having the guts to do what you dreamed.
To jump out there, even if it is only for the moment.

Today, I've decided to stop banging on doors. I'm going to wait to see if they open.
And to stop chasing outcomes...just let things be. I love that old Beatles song, Let it Be...it sort of says the same things, I think.
shadowkat: (doing time)
Everything I've watched this weekend, including the Avengers, seems to have the theme of feeling invisible or unimportant, and the need to, ahem, strut one's stuff. To matter. To make a difference somehow. Even if it's just making a legendary cocoa cola commercial. Of the one's I've seen, Birdman and Mad Men were by far the best.

1) The Academy Award Winning Film Birdman is a surrealistic film, starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Zach Galifanks. It takes you inside the New York theater world, and the psyche of a former blockbuster film star who has sunk his savings and everything he has into a Broadway play adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories. (Several years back, Robert Altman did a film adaptation of Raymond Carver entitled "Short Cuts". )

Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) used to portray "Birdman" - a comic book superhero in blockbuster movies. But he feels like he was a failure. Has a failed marriage. A daughter just out rehab, who he barely knows, and a stalled career. This is his comeback, his chance to prove that he is an actor. When the film begins, Thompson has just replaced the co-star with a highly touted Broadway Actor, portrayed by Ed Norton, and they are in the midst of previews. Things...well, don't go according to plan. And Thompson appears to be having visions of his alter ego, Birdman, who talks to him.

It's a rather funny film - I burst out laughing during several scenes, and moving in others. There's one scene- that well, had me rolling with laughter.

The focus though is on the idea of accomplishment, of whether creating something, a work of art defines who we are. Do we matter? Does the art matter? If no one likes it? What then?

There's a brilliant scene in the middle of the movie with a theater critic (theater critics as any New Yorker knows are the worst, they can kill a play, which is why many actors never read them). In the scene, the critic informs Thompson she is going to destroy his play, even though she hasn't seen it. Merely because she hates what he represents. That he isn't an actor, just a celebrity. He counters, grabbing a review she's been scribbling at the bar - what has she created? Anything? What is this critique? Just labels? Nothing constructive, nothing about structure, or how the story is built or what worked, or didn't? She's lazy, he tells her. A coward. She labels his work as less than art, not worthy, because it doesn't meet her standards. And informs him that he is entitled, cheap, a maker of cartoons. The cinematographer..warps her face in the image, and she herself feels like a caricature or cartoon in Thompson's eyes.

The film shows the dangers of wrapping one's ego in one's art, and yet, how do we separate the two? Ed Norton's character, Mike, can't get it up unless he's performing in front of a hundred people. It's only real when he's performing. His life is nothing off-stage. He feels that he is nothing, off stage.

Carver himself often wrapped himself up in his stories. And famously was edited to death by his editors, fighting them to keep phrases and words intact.

From Wiki:
Carver's editor at Esquire, Gordon Lish, was instrumental in shaping Carver's prose in this direction - where his earlier tutor John Gardner had advised Carver to use fifteen words instead of twenty-five, Lish instructed Carver to use five in place of fifteen. Objecting to the "surgical amputation and transplantation" of Lish's heavy editing, Carver eventually broke with him.

It's a layered film, that haunts long after the final credits roll. Playing with one's head.

Overall rating? A

[Almost want to write a meta on Mad Man and Birdman, if I had the time - I would.]

2. The film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Last Five Years details the decay of a five year romantic relationship between a successful novelist and a struggling actress. The reviews describe it as the anti-rom com. It stars Jeremy London (of SMASH) and Anna Kendrick (of Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods).

I found it to be a difficult movie to watch. My attention kept wandering during it, and it wasn't compelling. The characters weren't likable. The male lead, Jamie, was...self-absorbed and into his career and his fame. A textbook narcissist. Cathy barely exists outside of his needs. Cathy seems to slowly disappear, when he's on screen - as if she is just an object or someone to reflect his brilliance. He doesn't appear to hear her at all. She falls in love with his smile, his success, and aches for that something more, for love. Constantly searching for something more, something better - convinced she's found it in him, and perhaps her own success will follow. But alas, it doesn't. As he rises, she struggles, one rejection after another. And he's never quite there for her. When she has a shitty day, he tells her a story, a funny one - but doesn't listen to her day or her struggles, instead shrugging them off. And when she tells him how she feels invisible at his book promotion parties...and doesn't want to go through the humiliation again, he sings how she needs to be there for him. By the end of the story, which is told out of order, I was rooting for her to summarily dump him. Instead, as we know from the very beginning, he dumps her.

It has an interesting narrative style - Cathy's side is told in reverse chronological order, while Jamie's is told in chronological order. The film jumps back and forth between them - which is jarring, I think it may have worked better on stage. Their only overlap is the marriage duet in the middle, where they meet. Also the end, has an overlap of their first night and his final goodbye. He is a douchebag, though. At one point, while she's waiting for him to see her in Ohio, to support her, he's busy having an affair with another woman. And after he marries her, all he can think about is all the lovely ladies - and how great they look and how available.

Was a bit disappointed in it - I'd heard of it on NY1 On Stage - Theater Reviews. But it was less than stellar. Rotten Tomatoes appears to have liked it better than I did.
But the theme of falling in someone else's shadow and the hollowness of success...shines through. From the beginning you can tell the relationship is doomed, since the characters never sing a duet, instead they sing solos at one another...the other barely hearing it. And they appear to be more in love with the reflection of themselves in the other's eyes...than what is actually there.

[According Wiki - this was based on the writer's own failed marriage, and his ex-wife threatened to sue him, so he changed various songs and details, to make it less similar.
Writer's? Be careful about writing about yourself. You either come off pathetic or a douchebag.]

3) Broadchurch S2 - drug. I skipped to the end and just watched the last two episodes. Considering I was able to figure out the whole thing based on the last two episodes, and felt no need to go back and watch the rest -- probably says it all.
The court room scenes took me out of the story - they entered a lot into evidence that would have been thrown out in a US court, and the UK can't be that different.

Also, it never quite commented on the fact that both murders were accidental. Actually all three murders were accidental or involuntary manslaughter. There was no clear intent.
See? Having a criminal law background can be detrimental to watching criminal procedurals on television.

It also had a sense or flavor to it of futility. That you put all your energy into a career, but for what purpose? I remember a friend telling me ages ago...your career does not define you. I found it reassuring. I still do.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1) OUAT Season Finale

Well, the ending surprised me. I'll give it that. [I was admittedly aggravated through most of it -- mainly because I've grown weary of the writers treading over the same ground - and from every vantage point imaginable. Seriously, how many different ways do we need to tell the Snow White story? Aren't there any other fairy tales or stories that we can reference? The Snow Queen - this fall was a breath of fresh air. And, I'm tired of Rumple and Belle's love story -- it's hard to root for it, when Belle is written so badly.]

That said, there were a lot of rather clever ideas expressed about the nature of storytelling and writing. As well as the function of stories. With the evil villain (if you ignore Rumplestilskin who appears to be complicit in all evil doing) being the author of the text.

In retrospect, I think the episode was a nifty satire of self-indulgent storytelling, where characters are acting out of character, or the author's favorite/representative character in the text is a sort of Marty Stu, who can do no wrong and has absolute power. It also, as a side-note satirized "the retcon" and "characters serving plot-twists or theme". So, I was somewhat impressed by that. Enough to not delete the episode, and rewatch at a later date. I think it sort of needs to be rewatched to be fully appreciated.

spoilers )

2. The Good Wife Season finale

Not as good as the last four seasons. And I sort of saw the ending coming a mile a way.
Been waiting for that twist for a while now. Overall this has been an uneven season, with just few well-written episodes scattered throughout. The political satire almost overtook the series, along with the cases ripped from the headlines.

spoilers )
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Have a lovely 4 day weekend, with the only required commitment - the 11 am design consultation that I completed well an hour ago. See previous post for details.

Sunday television has suddenly become insanely crowded with good television series. (Depending on your taste of course, and since my taste is so weirdly eclectic, I'm guessing I probably watch something you love and something you despise with the force of 1000 suns. It's gotten to the point that I often just tell people to list off what they like, before I nod in agreement and state - yeah, that one.)

Here's my Sunday Line-Up for April:

1. Once Upon a Time
2. Call the Midwife
3. The Good Wife
4. Mad Men
5. Outlander
6. Wolf Hall
7. Game of Thrones

I cancelled The Walking Dead during the second half of the third season. The violence really got to me. It's is unrelentingly violent television series - there's no light in it, just unrelenting violence and torture. With a very dark sense of humor. Also, I've never been fond of the zombie horror trope. It bugs me.

Revenge -- I gave up on this season. I got tired of ranting at the television screen. The show was pissing me off. Or aggravating me. It never resolved any of its story threads, it just kept regurgitating them. On and on and on. Also, you know there's a problem when you can't abide 90% of the characters. By the time I gave up on it, the only character I didn't want to push off a cliff was possibly Nolan and Emily, and the other characters appeared to be invested in pushing them off a cliff, and somewhat succeeding at it.

Madam Secretary and Secrets and Lies - I just couldn't get into. Neither held my attention for more than five minutes. I'd wonder off and surf the net or play Candy Crush.

Probably a good thing I cancelled these shows - considering I have 7 other shows on the same night that I really love to watch.

Good Wife has admittedly not been as strong this season as it was last season. But it continues to redefine itself, and the characters continue to evolve and grow in unexpected directions. I never would have predicted this storyline, I honestly thought they were going a different route. Also the dialogue is smart and fast. The acting pitch perfect. And I adore Eli's daughter Marisa.

Once Upon a Time - remains unpredictable as well, also rather clever in its plot lines and thematic scope. Exploring various angles of story telling, what stories mean, what fairy tales mean, and why we tell them. Plus the characters continue to grow evolve, peel back layers, and change. I'm starting to really like the character of Regina, who has grown on me a great deal.

Wolf Hall - haven't read the books. Have the first one on Audio, which doesn't quite work for me. But I've been curious about the mini-series, which my flist appears to have mixed feelings about. They state that it is a fairly close adaptation of the books, but the television writers (like all television adapters) take artistic license with some of the material and go off text at times. Apparently the television writers liked the character of Anne Boylan more than the novelist, Hillary Mantel did. And shipped Boylan with Cromwell, while Mantel shipped Cromwell with Henry. (I don't know if this is true or not, but I found the comment to be rather funny. Also, regarding slash?
I've noticed a pattern emerging over the years that I've found to be rather curious: heterosexual women tend to write slash m/m and fantasize over slash m/m, heterosexual men tend to write slash f/f and fantasize slash f/f. But very few homosexual men or women in fandom appear to write slash? Curious as to why? You'd think it would be the opposite?)

Mad Men - it's the second part of the final season. And if it is close to last year's portion - we're in for a great ride. Last season was good, amongst the best.

Game of Thrones - apparently they are going off book this season, combining a few things, cutting a few things, and adding a few things. Considering I was not overly fond of either Feast of Crows or A Dance of Dragons (although the second book was admittedly better, if a tad longer), this may not be a bad thing. Overall, I've preferred the television series to the books. Martin's writing style is not my favorite. Very verbose and rambling. The television series is tighter.

I decided to get HBO again because of GoT, well that and a few other up and coming programs on HBO.

Outlander - the first half of the season surprised me. It was so good, I bought the DVD for $24. (30% with an additional 20% off). Definitely better than the book - which is slow, and gives GRRM a run for his money regarding rambling and repetition.
Tighter, and the casting like GoT is pitch perfect. As is the production value and to some degree the writing. I like GoT better - but it comes rather close. Plus the actor playing Jamie, is admittedly hot or (very pretty).

Call the Midwife - a quiet, well done, character driven series - with no violence, and filled with kindness. It's my happy show.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Just watched Marvel Agents of Shield and The 100 back to back tonight, which did not bode well for Agents of Shield. The 100 is by far the better acted, written, produced, and directed of the two efforts, not to mention the more innovative. The 100 feels a bit like a combination of various sci-fi tropes told in a new way, and it actually has something to say, I'm not real sure Agents of Shield has much of anything to say and what it does say...I'd rather not think about too deeply.

That's not to say that Shield isn't fun, it is. Just don't bring your brain to the party. Also while suspenseful in places, it's become rather predictable in the later half of the season. eh vague plot spoilers behind the cut )

Like I said, it's fun, just don't think too hard about it. Watch it for what it is meant to be - fluff.

The 100 on the other hand, I find rather gripping and compelling, it also plays with my head. The series is exploring some interesting themes and clearly has something to say. The characters are insanely complex, and there really are no clear good guys or bad guys - every time you think you got someone pegged, suddenly there's a switch up. What it does, and I've seldom seen this done on tv series, is show how people are capable of doing horrible and wonderful things depending on the situation and their motivations. That there really are no good guys and bad guys in life - just people. Also how people justify or rationalize those horrible or wonderful things. It also comments on what we are capable of when pushed against a wall or into a corner - what atrocities humans will commit in the name of survival. It's a rather grey world, and the story does at times delve into the horror trope of torture and cannibalism. It reminds me a little of the Walking Dead - but far easier to watch, and I think better written or more complex in its characterizations. (I've watched both.) Also, unlike The Walking Dead, The 100 does an interesting job of flipping gender tropes, and subverting various sci-fi tropes - one that it did something interesting with was the zombie or "Reaver" trope - nice twist there, which I hadn't guessed. It's oddly less comic bookish, and less predictable. I know, you'd think it would be the opposite?

The set up is a post-apocalyptic world. Earth several years after bombs have been dropped. Three groups have survived.
vague plot spoilers )
Each group does horrible things to survive. And the series constantly asks the question - is this justifiable? As opposed to the Walking Dead, where people are just nasty to each other, here - it's a series of Machiavellian style questions. What sacrifices are you willing to make to save yourself? To save others? To save humanity?
Will you sacrifice your children? Your ability to see the sunlight? Your soul?
And the people who make the nasty decisions...aren't always who'd you'd expect. The guy who tried to broker peace and hated violence in S1? Ends up killing an entire village of grounder women and children - in a grief-stricken rage, desperate to avenge the friends he believes they took. The man who was going to sentence an entire group of people to die by suffocation in order to save hundreds, turns around and tries to sacrifice himself to broker a peace. Characters I despised one week - I find myself sympathizing with the next. Reminding me that no one is all one thing, that everyone can be saved, and we all are capable of good and evil...and but for the grace of god go I. Few series really delve into the murky gray lines between good and evil to this extent. There are no moustach-twirling evil Nazis here, like on Shield. No comic book villains.

more vague plot spoilers )

It's a great anti-war series or rather a series that questions our tendency to resolve problems through violence and warfare - and the inherent consequences to ourselves, our world, and our own survival as a result - and it reminds me a great deal of BattleStar Galatica and to a degree LOST, except without all the Judeo/Christian and Greek/Roman religious imagery/mythology which grated on my nerves. (In some respects, I like it better than the other two series, in others not as much. The writing is not quite as crisp and sharp as it was in LOST and BSG, nor is the direction.) Television doesn't do religious mythology all that well in my opinion (which is part of my problem with Shield, Constantine and Sleepy Hollow, actually). Also it seems to have a lot of the writers and cast members from those series in various supporting roles.

It may well be the best cult sci-fi series that I've seen in a while or rather since BSG, Caprica, and Lost, outside of maybe Doctor Who (which I have a love/hate relationship with). It's underground, and not many people seem to be aware of it - because it's on the CW and appears on the surface to be marketed to the teen demo. But the themes and situations are actually more adult than most of the tv shows I've seen within this genre.

If you haven't checked it out? Do. And thank me later, or not as the case may be.
Mileage does vary on these sorts of things.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
If you can't have butter, all grains, refined sugars...here's a good chocolate chip cookie recipe: http://paleotable.com/2014/02/chewy-paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Although, be careful about getting them too gooey.

1. For the tv snobs/culture vultures out there, you know who you are, the best written/acted/produced new series that I've seen is probably The Affair on Showtime. It stars Dominic West (of The Wire and The Hour fame), Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierny, and Joshua Jackson - and is told in somewhat the same style as True Detective was. In that - a detective for reasons yet to be revealed is questioning two people who had an extramarital affair several years ago in the Hamptons. The people are being questioned separately, and their recitation of the events leading up to and including the Affair contradict one another. So it becomes a fascinating he said/she said character study. More compelling than you'd expect, and deftly filmed and written. Also an oddity amongst critically acclaimed television in that it is not violent (at least so far) and doesn't depict violent situations and people. Plus female characters are leads.

2. Marvel Agents of Shield is actually entertaining me this season. Also, I rented episodes 16-24 of the previous year, and well - it was entertaining towards the end of S1. They had major pacing problems up to and including episode 16 (the Thor Episode), once "Winter Solider" came out - the series took off and became a closer fit to what fans have come to expect from a Mutant Enemy franchise. (ie. the stalwart and true hero turning out to be a villain.) While, it's definitely not on par with Mutant Enemy's previous efforts (hello, we have Marvel pulling the strings so sort of expected), it is entertaining and worth a second look - assuming of course that you enjoy this sort of thing.

3. Grey's Anatomy was also quite good this week. Considering it's been on for 11 years, that's an accomplishment. Focused on Meredith's mother, Ellis Grey, who died several years back.

4. Scandal - I know I'm supposed to feel sympathetic towards Jake, Olivia's latest beau, but ever since he killed those three journalists in cold blood, and rather brutally, I've found him to be a wee bit on the creepy side. Of course most of the characters on this series fall in the creepy category (the President killed a supreme court justice (granted she was dying anyway of Cancer - but that's not why he killed her and blew up a plane of over 200 people during his navy days). That said, Scandal isn't meant to be taken too seriously, it's sort of a satirical take on The West Wing, and a suspense thriller. Rhimes even does the rapid talking thing in hallways. Also, unlike various other tv series, it has a lot to say about gender and race relations - without being preachy about it.

5. Jane the Virgin turns out to be an entertainingly witty satire of Spainish Telenovelas. It reminds a touch of Ugly Betty, but without the cringe-inducing embarrassment humor and well a mostly Latino cast. I think there's one or two people who aren't Latino in it. There's a hilarious bit, where Rafael's lesbian sister, who happens to be gynecologist, accidentally artificially inseminates Jane (the Virgin) instead of giving her the pap smear. (By the way, if you are a virgin, you don't really need a pap smear - because you can only get HPV through ahem, sexual intercourse or so I've been told.) Who knew Pap Smears could be so risky. Although this isn't as outrageous as it sounds - gynecologists aren't the most reliable of doctors or so I've discovered. In this case - she was upset because she'd walked in on her wife having an affair with her assistant (the wife's assistant).

It plays the scenarios straight - so it is hilarious, more so than if it went for parody. I'm not a fan of parody or exaggerated comedy. I like subtle and absurd situational comedy.

6. Doctor Who - Flatliners - now that was an entertaining and interesting episode. Rather liked the twisty monsters - which were unique and I haven't seen done before. Moffat does come up with the most interesting monsters that I've seen. spoiler )

I'd say it's been an uneven season but they are all uneven. I had issues with all the seasons that I've seen. (RTD and Moffat seasons, don't remember old school Who.) So far this episode, Listen, and the one where Who plays a Janitor at the School - are my favorites. The rest I've sort of forgotten. Still the theme of someone attempting to sacrifice themselves to save everyone - except this round, Clara stops them. Although she did have a higher body count than the Doctor tends to have.

And I know, I know, I'm in the minority on this point, but the old doctor/young companion relationship doesn't quite work for me for some reason (maybe because to date it has been a psuedo-romantic pairing or played that way?). Also Capadali isn't quite doing it for me - again no clue why. Doesn't seem to bother anyone else.
So probably not that big an issue.

7. Vamp Diaries

Not as entertaining as last season, and I'm not sure where they'll go once Damon and Bonnie get back...but it does have a few moments. I am having issues with Elena again this season - but I'm guessing that I'm supposed to? And show, please stop killing off characters that entertain me. I'm guessing Caroline would agree, since she liked the character too. Agree with Caroline - both Stefan and Elena are acting like self-absorbed jerks, whose method of dealing with grief - is not exactly healthy to everyone around them, and should be smacked upside the head, repeatedly. Also, more Alaric please.

spoiler )
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