shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Way back in 1973, sci-fi writer, Michael Crichton wrote and directed a science fiction film entitled Westworld about a Western amusement park where the androids malfunction and start to kill the human tourists. It starred James Brolin, Yul Brunner, and Richard Benjamin. There was a sequel, that I actually saw years later, entitled Futureworld which starred Peter Fonda and Yul Brunner made a cameo appearance in a dream sequence.

The film version of Westworld aired again recently, and I still have it on the DVR, but have had troubles getting into it. Also, in the 1980s, there was a short-lived television series that I vaguely remember watching entitled "Beyond Westworld".

Now, years later, JJ Abrahams and company have revisited and rebooted Westworld as a television series for HBO. A far shinier, a far more violent series than the original. Also in some respects better written. Spoiler alert? It sort of ends the same, or rather, as one might expect.
It also at one point, references the original movie by following the journey of two guests to the park, William and Logan, who weirdly resemble Brolin and Benjamin's original characters.

The series is a fascinating philosophical study of consciousness or how we reach it. And that to find oneself, one must travel within, not without. You won't find the meaning of life or figure out who you are by looking outside yourself or out there, but rather within. Which is a Buddhist concept, I think. Or rather it's what I've been reading recently within Buddhist teachings. Although, I seriously doubt the Buddhists would agree with the graphic violence or the need for it.

The writers of this series aren't that found of humans, it is rather misanthropic. And there is a heavy meta-narrative on the exploitative nature of television or film. Reminding me a great deal of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Having now watched the whole thing, I'd say the two series have a lot more common than I'd originally thought and in some respects end on a similar note.

eh spoilers for the series Dollhouse and Westworld )
shadowkat: (chesire cat)
This time I decided to add other Whedonverse characters to the mix to spice things up a bit. If you don't them or didn't like the other shows, makes the poll rather easy.
Rules are the same - pick the one you enjoyed watching on the show the best or thought was the most fun, interesting, whatever. Don't over think. Just go with your gut. Quick responses.

I wanted to include a question regarding Mark Watches - do people care what the guy says about your favorite character? Does what Mark says affect whether you read his reviews of Buffy? Perhaps a better question is - will you read a blog or review or discussion board that bashes your favorite character? Or give up on it? Will you read people who do it? I ask, because, I'm not sure if the answer is as simple and obvious as I think it is. my two cents )How do you feel about it? Do you feel the same way? Differently?

[ETA: This poll had harder choices than I thought. First one that I really struggled picking between characters on. Good luck! Again...hope more than 10 people do this or I will look silly.]

[Poll #1852210]
shadowkat: (Alicia)
Where I blatantly take the Star Trek meme on my flist and turn it into a meme for the tv shows and a series that I was "ahem" far more of an insane fan of and actually own and can remember. We'll see if it works. [I don't remember most of STAR TREK, I'll do some of the questions in a separate meme.]

29 Days of Whedonverse )
shadowkat: (tv)
Joss Whedon's series Dollhouse ended on Friday, January 29. It will air, or so I'm told, much later this year in the UK, so if you are in the UK or are waiting for the DVD's to come out, you may want to stop here - beyond this point are massive plot spoilers.

(The US will get Being Human and Merlin several months later. Hmm, if I didn't know any better I'd assume the only countries developing television series were UK and US. US is horrid at importing media from other countries, yet quite adept at stealing ideas from them (Being Human per example is being made into a US series for SyFy) and exporting all sorts of media abroad. Over 30% of the royalty income that film and tv distributors receive is from foreign rights distribution alone. The internet has merely made it easier. This is in a way a wise move - because much like the industrial age before it, whomever owns and controls the flow of new technological power source or in this case the information source/outlet, runs the world. It is about power. Always has been, always will be. Who has it, who wants it, and how people who have it wield it. The media outlets in the US wield a lot of power...a frightening amount, when I think about it.)

I mention this in part because it is among the central themes of this series. Joss Whedon is a fascinating writer - because he likes to examine the uses and abuses of power. In Dollhouse - he poses the question - what happens if someone can literally program or deprogram the human mind much as they might a computer - so that human bodies become avatars, blank slates until a personality or program is downloaded into them. Sort of a dark twist on Cameron's AVATAR concept - where the male hero gets to walk again due to being downloaded into a human/alien AVATAR body and save the world. Here, the results are far more horrific and the issues far less simple. Where Cameron's film tends to be a mindless, albeit tightly plotted, thrill ride, with some feel-good moments (depending on who you are) and a happy ending, Whedon's tv series is a creepy exploration into the abuses of power, identity, and self-empowerment and not least of all trust.

cut for massive spoilers on Dollhouse S1 and S2, Angel the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series (just tv), Doctor Horrible, Toy Story, and Firefly )
shadowkat: (brooklyn)
Stupid pop up ads. The entire lap-top screen goes dark, except for this white bit that says when the following ad finishes you will be returned to your lj experience...then nothing happens or it comes on with audio before I can click closed. ARRGH. Can I complain to LJ? Would it make any difference? Ponders. Nah. Doubt it. Sigh, I stand by my generalization of years back the advertising and marketing industry is evil, I tell you, don't believe me? Watch Mad Men. Also attempting to use a tooth or mouth guard to stop grinding. It says it is comfortable on the package - evil copywriter probably has never worn a tooth guard. Hah!
I can't wear the damn things and sleep. It's like having those fake fangs in your mouth - you know the one's you get at Halloween?

Finished watching tv shows tonight, my favorite..I'm keeping to myself, because ahem, it helps to know one's audience...well except for this wonderful line, which bears repeating not to mention remembering. (If I write it down, I generally remember it, well most of the time.)

The thing about judgement, cupcake, is it always comes around like a boomerange and hits you in the face.

Sigh. So true.

Saw Dollhouse and Caprica tonight. The finale of Dollhouse - I think would have worked a lot better if we got a full season. The whole series felt very rushed to me and lacked the necessary emotional build-up to well have much impact. That said, I remember thinking while watching it - hmmm, if Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were Whedon's take on vampire lore, Dollhouse is Whedon's twist on zombies - have to give him credit his zombie twist is far more innovative and a great deal better than any other zombie thing I've ever read, avoided, or seen in my lifetime, mostly avoided (and I've unfortunately attempted to avoide quite a few, not my favorite sub-genre.). But this one actually expands on the genre and does a really good job of pinpointing as well as exploring why it has always disturbed/scared the heck out of me. Plus, once again, he's ahead of the curve/trend. He always is, that's his problem - he doesn't benefit from it, because he set it and then left, just when people took notice and went nuts. Plus he's soo left of center and culty, that only a scant few like or notice what he is doing. I predict zombies are going to be hot in four years, if not sooner. Just give the vamps time to oversaturate the market, and we'll get the zombies.

cut for length not spoilers, if there are any they are extreemly vague, I dare you to figure them out...for Caprica and Dollhouse. )
A bit off topic, but I read this bit which made me laugh:

No one over twenty-one could sustain moral superiority.

Sigh. If only that were true. ;-)
shadowkat: (tv)
Watching the Demons from BBC makes me miss Buffy, although the demons remind me from something out of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere - which is a nice twist. The writing of Buffy is better, and more innovative - since we have a bouncy female heroine as opposed to the oh so original rebellious/angsty/brooding teenage boy hero, who, gasp, is related to Van Helsing. (*eyeroll*) BBC has done better...with innovative shows such as Being Human - although I'd have found it more interesting if it had been two girls and one guy. Apparently Whedon's the only one who felt the need to do horror/fantasy with a mostly female cast. US - isn't much better, *cough*Supernatural*cough*. That said, I'm wondering if the reason the gal is the ghost on Being Human - may not be a reference/commentary on the invisible girl/minority in society?

Demons is basically the old school, teenage boy demon hunter, teenage girl side-kick/girl friend damsel, blind seer, and a mentor/godfather - Professor Rupert Galvern. (Yes, I kid you not - Rupert G. I like the actor - he's the same one who played Gene on Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars. But I prefer Anthony Stewart Head, who had more edge.) And yes, you've probably seen this set up before. I know I have.

Also saw the last two Dollhouse episodes. Which were okay. Felt a bit rushed and cramped with story - but that's to be expected.

contains major spoilers for Dollhouse and vague ones for Buffy S8, which I doubt anyone who doesn't already know them will figure out. )

Sigh. Back to work tomorrow. Short three day MLK holiday is over. MLK would have been 81 today.


Jan. 9th, 2010 12:05 am
shadowkat: (Default)
Whoa...not sure what I think it about tonight's episode. Brain is dead from work.
Will need time to process...or not.

Oh well. Will state that it more or less revealed the Twilight arc on Buffy S8 to me or who Twilight had to be, and no had not read the most recent spoilerish bit on it.

vague spoiler )
shadowkat: (my ship)
So, finally saw the fan favorite "Epitaph One" and the unaired pilot "Echo" from the Dollhouse S1, Disc 4 DVD - courtesy of netflix. (Gotta love netflix, it's managed to expand my tv and video watching even more than I thought possible, not that I haven't watched enough tv and videos in my lifetime already...but hey, we are nothing without our stories..right?)

As an aside, leaving the office today, I sniffed the air and thought, ah, that musty, smokey, smell of December, then glanced about and thought..or just the musty smokey smell of people smoking pot outside my office building. This really has nothing to do with Epitaph One, Dollhouse or Echo for that matter, but thought I'd mention it.

Saw Epitaph One first, so will review it first. It was written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Jed's wife or rather the story was written by Joss, and the teleplay by Jed and his wife. It was directed by David Solomon.

Was not quite what I expected. I can see why it got mixed reviews on livejournal, the episode's narrative flow is not really linear in nature, and it jumps around a lot. Also we have the fill-in for the viewer or outside narrator device - which does not always work well but Joss Whedon and science fiction writers in general appear to be enamored of for some reason. Whedon has used it before in episodes ranging from The Zeppo to Storyteller. I personally find it annoying and jarring, but a lot of people adore it. The device basically involves a guest star, a recurring character or minor character telling the audience what the world is like, we jump into their point of view and see all the lead or stars of the series through their eyes. Medical shows do this all the time - the sick patient tactic - where we, the audience are inside the sick patient, we see what they see and experience the characters through their eyes. Not sure who did this first - but I do remember seeing it done in old black and white 1950s Gunsmoke reruns and MASH. The other device - which is the one used in "Epitaph One" is skipping ahead to the future, and the outside character coming upon the remains of the show or the characters, and trying to figure out what happened to them. (Which is a common thread in many dark science-fiction and fantasy dramas. Lots of them end in this manner, although I'm regrettably drawing a blank on specific examples.)

Lengthy reviews of Epitaph One and Echo...warning, if you haven't watched, there be spoilers within these woods, also the reviews are a bit on the stream of consciousness side of the fence but then most of my entries are, you should be used to it by now. )
shadowkat: (chesire cat)
Received some invaluable help last weekend regarding allergy medication. Apparently it is a good idea to take more than one allergy med during the day to stave off allergies. Zyrtec and Lortadine (Claritin) are fine together - they tackle completely different antihistimines. Also fine to take phenlypherine as the nasal decogestant, and flonase. Got this from my aunts, who are nurses, and are in contact with pathologists who specialize in this crap. At any rate - I tried the Zyterk/Lortadine bit and it is working miracles.

Cold weekend, actually have a heavy sweater, turtle neck and two pairs of socks on in my apartment - and it is only 68 degrees - hardly freezing. But alas, I've been used to 74 all summer long. Should do all sorts of things, but feeling relatively lazy and just want to read, watch tv, write, draw and clean house. So will most likely do that. Sort of want a people break.

Okay - of two minds regarding Dollhouse. The first is a rant, which I decided to get out of the way so I could actually do the review, after multiple deletions. Read the rant at your own risk - I put it behind a cut-tag for a reason.

Negative Review or mini-rant on Dollhouse, Episode 3 and yes, spoilers, albeit vague ones. )

Review of Belle Chose, episode 3 of S2 Dollhouse.
Positive Review - regarding what I found interesting about Dollhouse. Spoilers for S2 Dollhouse, and review or analysis of what occurred )
shadowkat: (tough)
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I'm an arachnophobe. (ie. fear of spiders). And no, haven't tried to get past it. Well sort of. But again, no.

I got to the point, finally, that I don't actually believe the spider is actually going to jump up and eat my face. Or come back to life after I kill it and eat my face. Or burrow into a cut on my face or body and lay little spider baby eggs. (But there are days that I'm not entirely certain.)

Cause: devilish kids who thought it was funny to throw spiders at me as a child and tell gruesome horror tales about them - well jumping up and eating your face. Also probably did not help seeing what a brown recluse spider bite does to you up close and personal. Nasty. The poison eats the skin. (Initial cause? At age of 6, someone dumped a jar of daddy long legs on my head. Then when we were playing and about to go into a cool fort, we didn't because a huge wolf spider blocked our path - which caused the gal behind me to let a blood curdling scream when she discovered she was about to place her hand on top of it.) Moral of tale - practical jokes regarding spiders can have disasterous side-effects.

In other news? bored at work, obviously. I have 0 tolerance for boredom.
Crazy busy, I can deal with. Slow lulls make me crazy. And wish people would not hang out near my cubicle or show up behind me. Makes sneaking online and writing posts to fend off boredom risky. Or riskier than usual.

TV viewing? Dollhouse isn't on tonight. But it is getting all 13 episodes shown, so no worries. Yay Fox - who apparently has learned its lesson regarding cancelling tv series and not showing the episodes (eg. Firefly).
Not clear yet if it will make it to a third season, but I'll be surprised.
Can't see it getting the viewership that Fox requires for this to happen.
Far too cultish and nitch for that - ie. it appeals to left of center culture nerds like yours truly. And we don't tend to watch commericials and buy expensive cars.

Will most likely watch Supernatural (SPN) or wait until Sat to do it. Don't tend to watch SPN at night - too spooky, well it used to be too spooky, now not so much.
shadowkat: (tv)
Not getting much of anything done today. It's raining and has been off and on most of the day, which explains the crankiness yesterday - I'm a human weathervane. Have been basically vegging - watching tv, surfing the internet, sporadically eating, sketching, and browbeating myself for not writing or working on revisions, queries, and synopsis. Also taking the mental stink off the work week. It wasn't bad necessarily, but it was stinky in some respects. In a way that writing about it just makes it feel stinkier. Really needed a break from the stinkness of human relations today. So today, I took a mental head rest and the equivalent of a cereberal shower.

On TV front:

1. Vampire Diaries reminds me more of Dark Shadows (the old 1960s Dark Shadows complete with cheesy dialogue and bad acting, not the cheesy remake which had somewhat better dialogue and better acting) than it does Buffy,Forever Knight, Moonlight, Blood Ties or Angel for that matter. Actually the plot is right out of Dark Shadows, except they decided to make Barnabas young and pretty, and give him an evil brother. I did like the bit of dialogue about Twilight, but that's only because I abhor the existence of the Twilight books and cannot speak of them without snarking on the abdomiable writing. (Since I know quite a few people online and off (notably off) that adored them (shrugs), I have learned to try to stay silent about them generally speaking even though it is really really hard.)

2. Project Runway -cut for spoilers )

(Ah the sun has poked its head out. Granted there's only about two hours left of sunlight in the day, but better late than never, I suppose.)

3. Supernatural - Supernatural Spoilers )

4. Dollhouse - spoilers for Dollhouse )

5. Glee - cut for spoilers )

6. House...I adore House. Each season in my opinion is better than the last. House this week who figured out that being compulsive about something staves off the pain. It provides us with a distraction. If we think about it, we are all to a degree like House.

I've given up on Grey's Anatomy finally. It's just gotten silly. Even I have my limits.
Still loving Gossip Girl, but feel no need to write about it. Just loving it. Also still watching HIMYM, which continues to entertain, all though not so much this week. Haven't watched SGU yet. I may like the set-up of SGU better than SG1 and SGA. We shall see.
shadowkat: (tv)
Before writing this, I read a wonderful review by [ profile] frenchani about the episode, which more or less echoes my own thoughts on the topic. (No pun intended).

Go here if you wish to read her thoughts:

As [ profile] frenchani and others on my correspondence list have adeptly pointed out, the one weak link in this episode may be the lead and co-producer/creator of the series, Eliza Dusku. That said, Whedon is adept at turning a solo/lead tv series into an ensemble without anyone noticing he's doing it except the audience who is watching it and commenting on it. He did it with both Buffy and Angel, two shows in which everyone but the cast, crew and network execs treated as an ensemble series. And he is doing it again here - ignore the credits, this episode focused on Topher, Adelle and Ballard far more than it did Echo. Echo was relegated to well an Echo - which actually suits Dusku's talents, she is a better supporting actress than lead. Or an echo. I'm guessing Whedon has figured that out and is playing with the concept. So in a way, maybe, Dusku, is the perfect person for the role.

I haven't seen the episode "Epitaph One" - so do not know where we are headed and do not really want to know - at least not at this point. I can guess though - it appears that Whedon has indeed grown bored of vampires, and is moving on to zombies...reminding me of a discussion I had recently with a friend.

CW: Everyone is so into vampires...but zombies! cool..
Me: Well vampires have hit the saturation point, I'm not sure there's anything new anyone can say about them. Zombies on the other hand, may be on the upswing..

Dollhouse is an interesting twist on zombies. As Anya in BTVS once stated: zombies don't eat brains or people. They do whatever the person who raised them demands them to do. They are at the beck and call of that creator. (Which is true - the actual folklore states they don't eat people, they do the bidding of the person who raised them - often in a voodu rite.) In Dollhouse - Whedon takes this a step further, and examines the relationship between creator and creation. Dollhouse is also to a degree a critique of the abuses of power seen within our own media and entertainment industries. The culpability of those who acquiesce to such manipulations, and the moral quandry of those who require them.
major spoilers for Dollhouse - up to Episode 2.1, Vowes )

[As an aside, I noticed that Tara Butters and her writing partner had joined the writing team of Dollhouse. Butters was the producer and head-writer of Reaper. Whedon appears to be pulling talent from hit cult tv shows - such as BattleStar Galatica and Reaper.]
shadowkat: (tv)
Saw this week's Dollhouse - can't remember what it was called, or the episode number.
By the way this is not a critical review of the episode and will most likely have typos as all my posts do.

In this week's Dollhouse they examined relationships, or rather how we tend to project ourselves onto others, often without realizing it. Specifically the relationship between mother and son, and friends.

Friday Dollhouse Spoilers - Imaginary Playmates and Imaginary Sons )
shadowkat: (Default)
Dollhouse has been building lately, and I'm finding myself hoping it does get picked up for at least a second season. [ETA: Am tempted to tell you to forget this entry and read this instead: -
I liked [ profile] fresne's take on Dollhouse more than my own. ]

Like Lost this week, Dollhouse played with perception, and how what we think we see or know, may not be true. [I haven't watched Sarah Connor Chronicles yet, because it has gotten really bleak and I'm trying to avoid things like that at the moment. House was bad enough. I was sobbing during this week's House, and last week's Sarah Connor just depressed me. Not shows you want to watch after you've lost your best friend.]

When this week's Dollhouse episode began, I found myself thinking, okay not another one of these - rewind episodes. I've lost count of how many tv shows have done the old "Twelve Hours earlier" or "Six Hours Earlier". It's headache inducing if done poorly, trippy if done well. Here it was, thankfully, done well. Also the always tricky muliple perspective tactic - we start with Echo...follow her for a bit, then rewind and go to November, follow her, then rewind and go to Sierra, follow her, then rewind again and go to Victor - follow him and finally back to Echo and real time. Another tactic that if done poorly gives the viewer a migraine, but if done well is rather cool.

Whatever happens to Dollhouse? Andrew Chambliss - the writer of this episode is someone I going to keep an eye on. So for that matter are Olivia Williams (Adelle), whomever is playing Sierra and whomever is playing Victor.

Here, Chambliss kept all his balls in the air and did not drop a single one. As did the three actors I mentioned above, who made the episode believable.
spoilers below )
shadowkat: (chesire cat)
[Got Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter in the mail yesterday - bought it used from Amazon for about $3. Good condition too. But won't be reading it until I finish Kim Harrison's White Witch/Black Curse - which I'm enjoying a great deal, more than anything else I've attempted to read in the last six-eight months.]

As noted in my previous post, Dollhouse as of yet has not engaged my emotions. I watched it twice, partly because the first round was with a friend, and you miss things when you watch tv shows with other people - you can't rewind, and are distracted. You also tend to have your opinion of the episode shadowed a bit by their reactions to it. The friend commented that while Dollhouse engaged him intellectually, it still failed to engage his emotions. He wanted to love it, but just couldn't - he felt oddly detached. I realized that this described my own feelings towards the series, quite well. There are shows that engage only my emotions and not my intellect - such as Grey's Anatomy (which does not hold up under any analysis whatsoever, in fact if you do analyze it - you realize how illogical the story is), or Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, and Ugly Betty - these are tv shows that do not engage my mind. Neither does about 85% of the procedurals on tv for that matter. But I prefer my brain dead tv shows to not include dismembered and tortured bodies in just about every frame, it's a thing. Also, serial killers are so passe. (please imagine a grinning emoticon at the end of that sentence).

That said, Dollhouse does engage my brain, and plays games with it, feels a bit like a puzzle-box. So I find myself intriqued and feeling anticipation based on that intrigue. Sometimes the shows that engage my brain and not my emotions fill me with more anticipation than the opposite. I disagree with people who think that only those cultural items that engage our emotions are worthwhile - this is not true. Sometimes, the ones that engage our brain are the ones that motivate us to do and try different things. It's a bit like the discussions I've had regarding mathmatics. For years, I was, admittedly, negative regarding the study and practice of mathematics. But, within the past few years, I've discovered that math and numbers are not less because they lack the ability to engage emotion. Or resonate emotion. Also, you can actually swear in math, you can get angry with math, you can sing in math, math does have a voice. We hear the sound of numbers in the chords strummed on a guitare or the notes plucked out on a piano. Music is math. Music with lyrics is math put to words. And when math is turned into music it does engage our emotions, just not always our intellect. I write this while listening to my downstairs neighbor pluck out chords below on a guitare - composing a song.

But back to Dollhouse. This week's episode was titled "Echoes" and it is within this episode that we are introduced to Caroline and the Rossum Corporation - the entities behind our lead character, Echo, and the Dollhouse.

From a critical non-spoilery aspect, this episode felt a bit of a hodge-podge of old sci-fi/conspiracy tv and movie tropes. What follows is not really a critical review - I'll leave that to others - so much as a meta. The reason I'm writing about Dollhouse as opposed to Sarah Connor or BSG - is that everyone else is writing about Sarah Connor and BSg, but very few (on my flist) are writing about Dollhouse. I like to write about things that others aren't writing about or at least in a different way, as opposed to just adding more fuel to an already blazing the fire.

Dollhouse: Echoes. Cut for Spoilers. One Drug Makes you Larger One makes you smaller... )
shadowkat: (brooklyn)
Brain is still a bit fried from work, I'm afraid. As I told J over dinner on Friday night, I find it hilarious that everything I do at work - are the subjects I sucked in at school. The research clerk at work asked me if I'd planned to be lawyer and contract administrator? Uh, no, I retorted. Actually, I'd planned on being a political analyst, a novelist, a folklorist, and an English Lit Professor. More or less in that order. In law school - I planned on becoming constitional lawyer or humans rights advocate. Life, alas, does not always turn out the way we plan.

[I deleted a rant about our educational system to spare the beleagured educators on my flist who have tolerated one too many of them from this journal and do not need to see yet another one. I appreciate how hard your jobs are, guys. There is a reason I'm not an educator.]

Decided not to do much this weekend. Ankle was killing me on Thursday and Friday. So as a result, when met J for Dinner, we decided to forgoe the movie and just watched Dollhouse at my place instead. Saw the doctor on Thursday - who took a look at the ankle, amongst other things:

Me: So this is my ankle, what do you think?
Doc: It looks really swollen. What did you do?
I tell him.
Doc: Severally sprained it. That will take a while to heal.
ME: How long?
Doc: oh, four to six months.
Me: Wait, FOUR TO SIX MONTHS??? I did it in Feb, it should be getting better...
Doc: it is. Just going to take a while to fully heal. Keep the brace you have on it, and continue using the cane...
Me: I have a velcro one for home use.
Doc: you don't need to use one at home, you can give it a rest at home. But you do need one to walk on it elsewhere. Because the stability is gone at the moment. It's wobbly. So really easy to re-sprain or retwist. The brace provides added protection.
Me: Should I be wearing the air cast?
Doc: no, the brace is enough.

Then he had someone take my blood. I told him my middle finger and area above my right eyebrow where I'd gotten the six stitches still hurt - he said that made sense, they would continue to hurt for a while. I probably had fractured the finger and banged my head badly to get the stitches. The stitches are gone and wound has healed. But it does throb. Particularly when it rains.

So...I stayed home today, knitted my niece a long purple scarf, and watched DAMAGES - eight hours worth saved on the DVR. I'm all caught up now. And just in time, since I think if I'd waited much longer the DVR would have automatically deleted them, just as it automatically deleted most of the episodes of Life on Mars that I'd saved on it for later viewing. Not upset about losing Life on Mars - wasn't that into the show to begin with. As a result, I now have the Damages theme song whistling through my brain. Not sure if anyone is watching this series? I think three people, all living outside the US, are. It's a weird show - appeals to me intellectually, but not emotionally. I don't really care what happens to any of the characters. Well, that's not entirely true - I care, but the way one might think. At any rate - it's a show that appeals to me more on an intellectual than emotional level, except for the fact that there's an odd catharsis achieved in watching each of these nasty characters get their just desserts or attempt to destroy one another. Not a show I'll ever love, but one that I continue to be intriqued by.

Also watched Dollhouse twice. Interesting show Dollhouse. Weirdly plotted. We go five episodes with very little happening, just little hints here and there, then suddenly two episodes in which everything is revealed in a one-two-three punch. Whoaaa. Information overload, not to mention busy, jarring, and surreal. Wouldn't it have made more sense to sparse that out a bit over the space of the last five episodes? As opposed to packing it all into the past two? Don't get me wrong, very happy they finally decided to tell the audience what was going on, as opposed to teasing the audience. But, it may back-fire on them. TV viewers are a fickle prickly bunch, particularly in this day and age, when they have sooo many tv shows to choose from. (Although why people choose to watch reality tv shows continues to boggle my mind. I just do not understand the appeal of watching a bunch of icky people talk about themselves to the camera, but I'm not a fan of documentaries either for much the same reason.) That said, Dollhouse for a whole host of reasons I won't go into, continues to intrigue the heck out of me. It's weird though, much like Damages, in that it is appealing to me on an intellectual level not an emotional one. I feel oddly detached from it while I'm watching it, the opposite of what I felt when I watched Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Buffy engaged my emotions, Dollhouse...seems to disengage them, while at the same time engaging my intellect - much like a puzzle box or mathematical problem might.

My favorite line in this week's Dollhouse or the one that lit the little light bulb off in my head was Topher's rambling bit of dialogue regarding drugs. He states that it's fascinating how differently everyone reacts to drugs. How there are an infinitismial variety of variables, and we really can't predict how one person will react to a substance. No one reacts in the same way. Be it caffeine or hallucingentics. For example - you may take horse (pot) and go, uh, that's fine, doesn't do much for me, and never do it again. While I'll take it and it turns me on, I love it, best thing ever, and keep doing it, while he takes it and it's adios amigos.

So true. But not just in regards to drugs or food or caffeine. It's also true about culture, art, events, how we experience and perceive the world around us. It's why for example - one person may think it is perfectly logical to write the date MM/DD/YY and another think that is idiotic and why do people insist on doing it that way? Or why one person will adore Buffy the Vampire Slayer and write a whole book of essays on the series, while another switched it off after just two episodes, never to be seen again. Or why someone will addictively watch all the basketball games on tv this month leading up to the Final Four, and another will curse the tv stations for airing them during their favorite soap opera, even if said soap opera will resume once the games are completed.

Frustrating as it is that others do not necessarily share our views or perceptions or tastes or experiences, even more so when said interests conflict or get in the way with our own, it is ultimately what makes us unique individuals. Human. Not just part of a herd or hive. What we need to work on, all of us, constantly, is learning how to better tolerate people whose outlook is contrary to our own (within reason of course - you can't really tolerate someone who thinks its cool to chop off everyone's fingers or scream at the top of their lungs). Not only tolerating it, but appreciating and accepting and more accurately, I guess, respecting it, as an unique, and different point of view, that we just can't quite comprehend because we aren't them. I think that is very hard for us to do sometimes, because somewhere deep down in our DNA is the impulse to judge and critique others for not sharing our perspective, whether we are aware of it or not. So, by the same token, I think, we need to forgive one another for not always tolerating and/or respecting that other point of view, and more often than not foolishly and irrationally railing against it for occassionally making our lives annoyingly difficult.
shadowkat: (tv)
Well, I survived another week. Decided to forgo Friday Night Lights, and watch the two hour BSG final live instead, while DVR'ing the pivotal Dollhouse episode 1.6, Man on the Street, which I watched this morning.

I don't have a lot to say about BSG. Except that I enjoyed it and that the ending made sense and tracked. I can't say it was that big of a surprise. The series could only end a limited number of ways, and of the possibilities - this ending made the most logical sense thematically. What I loved about the finale is that it was in large part a mediatation on the main characters, exploring where they'd come from, been, and ended up. Who each character was within the framework of the story and the thematic arc. And through that mediation, it answered the central question posed by the series - which is what is it to be human, and what if anything should we make of our relationship to god, each other, and the universe? How do we resolve the inherent conflicts between ourselves, can we? Also the series ended much as it began - with Gaius Baltar and Six, and the line all this has happened before and it will all happen again, although as Six points out, it doesn't necessarily have to - we may and can choose differently.

Dollhouse - Man on the Street

This episode is by far the best I've seen to date, and does a good job of bringing the story arc into focus. I sort of wish it had been the pilot, but understand why the network shyed away from doing that. The episode could have been confusing to a new viewer, brain fried from work.

Man on the Street, written and directed by Joss Whedon, refers to a tv reporter doing a series of man on the street interviews with people about the Dollhouse. All shapes, sizes and ethnicities. The Dollhouse according to the interviewer and the people he talks to is a well-known urban myth in LA. Like many urban legends and myths - some people believe it is true, others shrug it off as not much more than legends.

Urban myths and legends are to a degree based on real events, and more often than not embellishments of that real event or occurrence. An example - someone probably at some point ended up with a rat in a shopping bag - but they don't remember what store - it may have a sleazy store, which makes a boring story. So they embellish it and say it was Nieman Marcus. Then they add that they heard it from their cousin, and of course it is "true". True stories have a greater impact than false ones. Other myths and legends are morality horror tales that we tell one another to provide good advice - such as don't park on the side of a deserted country road and have sex, because you might run into an escaped murderer. OR you might want to be careful of unwrapped, homemade or fresh fruit that you get from strangers homes on Halloween - if you don't know the person, taking food from them may or may not be the safest thing to do.

The interviews regarding the legend - which is about an underground facility somewhere in LA where there are people who can be turned into whatever fantasy person you desire. They are imprinted with your fantasy person's personality and will do more or less what you want. The possibilities are endless. Then wiped clean, no memory of it, and no consequences. You get to live your fantasy but needn't worry about the consequences or any strings. Sure you are using another person to do it, but the other person agreed, they volunteered, and they have no memory of it afterwards. They are compliant.

In an interview a while back, Joss Whedon stated that he's always been interested in the relationship between predator and prey, but in Dollhouse unlike all his other series, he finds himself writing from the perspective of the predator - with the predator the one in control. Which does have a certain "ick" factor - part of the ick factor is the realization that there are quite a few people out there, nice, kind, good people, who get off on the idea of a Dollhouse. Whedon explores that in this episode partly through the man on the street interviews.

Is it wrong to fantasize? Or is it wrong to role play and make that fantasy actuality? May depend on the fantasy and the players.
Man on the Street - Dollhouse Review, cut for spoilers )
shadowkat: (tv)
[Disclaimer: This is an unedited, unproofed post, not betaed, and directly written into the little box on lj. If it is edited in any way - it was done so as I wrote it in said little box. There will be typos and grammatical errors. Also, the formatting on this thing makes me crazy - so the paragraphs may be off.]

For anyone out there who is having troubles keeping track of the names of the characters on this episode? Go here:

I'd suggest googling it yourself, but I did that and got spoiled on the identity of Alpha or rather who is being cast to play Alpha.

Also here's the list of characters:
spoilery - so cut for that )

The problem with this show is you need a map to keep track of the characters names. Which does not bode well for its survival. Also, it would help greatly if Walton, Ballard, Vitas, Lubov, and the guys Taffy was flirting with above - didn't all look alike - similar coloring, hair color and build. Lubov and theif 2 looked a bit too similar, and Ballard and thief one.The casting director must have a thing for tall, dark, and brooding men. I like them too, but this is ridiculous.

Note: if you have a convoluted plot, premise, and backstory - you do not want to add to the confusion. TV viewers by nature are not known to be patient. They tend to be fickle and after a tough day not to mention week at work? Don't want to work that hard on a Friday night to figure out a tv show. Particularly a tv show that has a disturbing and distasteful premise.

That's not to say I couldn't follow it - I did and I enjoyed it. But I also watched it on Saturday morning, after a decent breakfast, and a good night's sleep. Not on Friday, when I was spent - to the point that I was sort of nodding off, and could barely focus on much of anything. Also, I could rewind and rewatch if I so desired. Well not so much anymore, since I deleted it to make room for another tv show I'm recording on the DVR tonight. Most viewers don't necessarily fit into this category.

If you are waiting for the show to be less distasteful (or squicky)? It's not quite there yet. But, it is providing us with a bit more background on the premise, not to mention providing the lead character Echo with a bit more agency along with the other dolls. Each episode does to a degree feel like another pilot, but a more textured pilot in addition to the others. I'm told that this will end after the seventh episode - which makes sense, because that's what Whedon does with all of his tv series. The first seven episodes are sort of psuedo-stand alones that act as pilots for the series. The eighth kicks the back story in and the show suddenly takes off. This happened on Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Whedon is the type of tv show writer that you have to be patient with and allow time to build his story. He's not going to be brilliant out of the gate like Ron Moore or Abrahams. That said, as posted in my previous reviews of Dollhouse - this show asks a lot of its audience, far more than Firefly, Buffy, or Angel ever did. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your pov.

Dollhouse: The Gray Hour or otherwise known as Blue Skies- spoilery long review )


Mar. 1st, 2009 08:07 pm
shadowkat: (tv)
[ETA: Advisory for the folks coming here from whedonesque, first off this is my personal live journal not a professional critic blog or review blog where I get paid and this entry like many of my lj entries/musings/critiques is not proof-read, it is not googled, it is stream of consciouness writing and purely my opinion. There will be misspellings, grammatical errors, misspelled names, and typos galore. That said, I got sick of all of incessant bordering on trollish whining emails over Sierra/Serena and changed it. I also changed Audrey to Audra (sounded like Audrey to me). The others - fuck it. If any of this bugs your delicate sensibilities, please read no further. Whining about it will get you deleted and therefore ignored. Also, please review the title of my lj. It is called "Spontaneous Musings" for a reason. These musings are spontaneous. I advise you to read the bio information on my info page before responding, makes life easier on all of us. Thank you!]

For those interested in great metas on Dollhouse, from a different and more "political" perspective, go read [ profile] frenchani - who discusses Dollhouse - from a Marxist outlook. While I believe [ profile] aycheb looks at it from an acting perspective - or we are just puppets at the will of the playwrite - sort of like the old studio system, where actors were at the beck and call of the studio heads and did whatever they were told, regardless of the role.

I am still on the fence regarding Dollhouse - for these reasons:

It requires a lot from its audience. Perhaps too much.

It's a convoluted set-up, with a central character who literally has no identity outside of the memory implants she gets each week. Add to that - some genuinely squicky and disturbing themes. La Femme Nikita was squicky too - but at least Nikita got to keep her identity, she was an agent to stop terrorism, and they didn't memory wipe her then pimp her to the highest bidder, she had agency, she had a choice - limited true, but a choice, and her actions each week stayed with her. Same deal with Alias - at least Sydney had "agency". Here - we get the feeling that the Doll's gave up their "agency" or "identity" - have it wiped clean, no clue why, to be pimped out to the highest bidder, in order to become the highest bidder's perverted fantasy??? They need to tell us why these people chose to do this, assuming of course they chose it, and fast. The audience needs a character to identify with - Echo isn't someone most audience members want to - she is too much of a cypher. Ballard? Or the Handler? Maybe - but their both male, and not the lead.

While I like Dollhouse - it appeals to my analytical side, emotionally I have troubles with it and I can't say that I'm all that invested in its success at the moment. I do not see myself buying the DVD nor do I see myself rewatching each episode. Plus it gives me nightmares, which makes me wonder why I'm bothering with it. Regarding it's longevity - at this point? I'll be surprised if it makes it past 13 episodes. I'm not really sure.

Dollhouse is an incredibly ambitious show. Whedon appears to want to do a lot of experimental things in this tv show - some of which, I'm not sure he can do and am not at all certain he can pull off. I'm watching for much the same reason I loved watching the last four seasons of Buffy - it's like watching a hire wire trapeze act without a net. The writers are taking risks, trying something new and different, experimenting - curious to see if they can pull it off. I have serious doubts at this point that they can - but...we're only three episodes in, so who knows?

That said, last week's episode regarding the Backup Singers - which I don't know the name of, but is Dollhouse episode 1.3 - did provide Echo with a little bit more agency. Granted Eliza suffers from what I like to refer to as George Clooney syndrom - she has a specific set of mannerisms that do not change regardless of the role she plays - and the mannerisms are unfortunately too noticeable, much like Cary Grant and John Wayne's voices. You almost want to make fun of them. With some directors they are understated, with others more obvious. Last week - they were more understated, so I think DeKnight may have tuned them down a bit. That's why people keep thinking "Faith" whenever they watch an episode - the vocal inflection and mannerisms are the same.

I liked the episode a smidgen better than last weeks and was pleasantly surprised, because it has been done before. The B plotline or episode plotlines are a bit on the cliche side of the fence. We've seen these tales before, and unfortunately more than once. That may or may not be intentional - hard to tell. My guess is it plays to Whedon's general theme of actors being forced to do stupid things over and over again, and the relationship of fans and celebrities.

The second part - fans/celebrities is actually an interesting theme, which I've been thinking about lately. I was discussing this with a friend a while ago, we were discussing the moral ickiness of reading real person fanfic - specifically around celebrities. To what degree, I wonder, do we have the right to draw, take pictures, hound these people for autographs, and write fanfic about them? To what degree is posting pictures of them online a violation of their privacy? We as fans, also are known to put them into roles, and we often put them pedestals, treating them like gods. Amazed when they screw up and get angry. Christian Bale, Russell Crow, Isiah Washington, Alec Baldwin, etc have all had their names kicked around in the press and have had incidents that happened in the work place, not on screen, publicized. Back under the studio system - they were protected more, much like children, but they also had no lives that were not set up by the publicity machine.

Think about it, how often have you blown up, said something stupid, got angry, etc at work, at home, or with a friend? Would you want that aired in public? Posted everywhere? Out of context? I'm really glad I'm not a celebrity. I would not hold up well under the glare of the public eye. I do not envy celebrities.

Dollhouse episode 1.3 )

Dollhouse is a fascinating series, but I don't think it can satisfy the viewers/demo who just wants a quick entertaining escape. Buffy functioned on that level as well as the higher one in its first three seasons, by the 4th season it began to slowly lose the escapist audience, who found the show not the fun little monster of the week series they liked. Dollhouse unlike Buffy, requires a bit more from its audience at the start. It's not a show, like Buffy, that you can watch with the kiddies - it's an adult series, requiring an adult perspective.
shadowkat: (tv)
Before launching into a review of the series, a few observations and caveats:

1. I still think we have to watch at least six episodes of this series to really know where it is going.

2. Mark A. Shepard wins the award for the most recurring guest appearances by an actor on TV. In the past two weeks - I have seen this guy on BattleStar Galatica, Burn Notice, Leverage, and now Dollhouse.

3. Whedon has apparently cobbled together the same producing and writing team he had in the fourth and fifth seasons of Angel, with a few notable exceptions - Bell and Fury. And he's provided his writers with the ability to write and direct their episodes. Which means that what we see onscreen is what the writer intended or about as close as you can get in this medium.

4. This show is not as creepy and disturbing as I expected and many people I've read indicate. Of course I may be interpreting it differently and I can certainly see how people may see it -otherwise. But this is true about everything - I've discovered. Heck, there are folks out there who have managed to be creeped out by the Brady Bunch and Doctor Who (- which I can also see. Heck - I've been creeped out by Doctor Who.) People - you bring your own subtext to everything you watch - that's what makes it interesting.

Dollhouse, as I've stated in prior posts, reminds me a great deal of the 1990s series on USA Network -La Femme Nikita. Or La Femme Nikita meets Ibsen. Except with a bit more of a twist and a little less violence - La Femme Nikita not Ibsen (there's no violence in Ibsen). In some respects this is actually more interesting than Nikita was. The marketing of the series is a bit annoying - to such an extent, that I posed a question on Hulu to Whedon asking: To what degree is your work affected by the network and/or ratings? For example - I know the WB insisted you have Spike in S5 Angel and use him immediately - to what degree did this change your storyline or affect it? Or Fox's marketing of Dollhouse as a sexy action flick - to what degree does that influence your story? (Or something to that effect, I think he's been asked it before - and I don't think I'll get much of an answer, if I get one at all. But I was bored yesterday, so what the hell.) I wanted to ask to what degree idiotic fan write in campaigns, essays, and protests affect your writing? But decided to restrain myself.

5. Sometimes I wish Whedon would cast against type more.

Dollhouse - spoilers up to Target )
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