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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that?

3. Television Reviews well sort of...

* Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Nardole and Bill's banter.

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

* Riverdale

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

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

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

*Still Star-Crossed

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

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

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

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

Here's how the show differs:

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

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

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

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

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

Everything else is pretty much the same.

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

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

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

* Nashville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Date: 2017-06-05 08:29 am (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I agree with pretty much everything you have said. Some good Missy/Doctor and some good action, otherwise nothing to speak of.

I liked the discussion at the end best. It actually made the episode for me. And changed my mind about Missy/Master -- where she states that she remembers the names and faces of everyone she's killed and there are so he didn't tell her about this. Tears streaming down her face. He says how this is actually a good thing.
Yes! That was a brilliant moment. And it makes me think of all the other conversations they must have had over the last seventy years to get to this point. He is doing so much more than just keeping her in a box :)

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

Yes, because people do grow and change with time and experience. So there is always the hope of redemption even if the frequency is incredibly low. We all struggle all the time to change ourselves for the better, and little by little we do change. Just not always as fast or as far or in the direction we had hoped for.

I think Missy can be redeemed, but she won't end up like the Doctor, and her earlier speech about if she is to become like him it will take a very long time is putting him on warning of that. In fact considering how very narrow minded the Doctor can often be, I think I will prefer the redeemed Missy to him. Spin-off show, maybe?

Re: Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Date: 2017-06-05 05:41 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
It's an interesting choice to redeem Missy, as opposed to just killing her or keeping her as the recurring villain like they've done with the Master.

Yes, it is. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it will play out.

Stories don't follow the same rules as real life (I have yet to meet a real person with a character arc) so redemption is definitely a possibility. They might also go the 'ha, fooled you, I'm still evil' route. That might work better for the kids and would keep the Master/Missy character available as a nemesis. We shall see.

In reality, psychopaths and sociopaths don't tend to be redeemable, mainly because they don't possess the capability.
I wouldn't begin to claim to know enough about the subject to contribute sensibly. I certainly have never met a real diagnosed one, let alone a convicted criminal one. I just have a, perhaps rather naive, belief that the human brain is a remarkable organ, astonishing in its plasticity, and capable of rewiring itself to a truly astonishing extent. So surely there is always some hope? Small, maybe laughably minuscule, but surely always there.

I have a friend who works with the probation service helping convicted criminals recover from drug addiction. He says that age has a lot to do with it - they get to their late thirties or forties and they want to change and start to find change possible. The younger ones, under exactly the same programme of support and supervision, keep re-offending.

Re: Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Date: 2017-06-06 01:43 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
You are a writer. Generalising is just summarising and repackaging the complexity of life, which is part of a writer's job. :)


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