selenak: (Money by Distempera)
Trying to distract myself from awful news, another meme prompt replied to. The question being about characters rather than heroines, I devote this entry to the shadier spectrum of female characters beloved by me. None from a still open canon, to make things easier on myself. In no particular order:

Spoiler for Highlander, I Claudius, Angel, The Three Musketeers and Breaking Bad )

The other days
selenak: (DarlaDru by Kathyh)
This trailer for an upcoming Supergirl tv show (which I hadn't known was upcoming) awoke powerful Lois & Clark nostalgia in me - a DC tv show which doesn't go for grimdark but for joy and dorkiness in its characters? Bring it on! This looks delightful.


Better Call Saul:

Eleven (13432 words) by AddioKira
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Better Call Saul (TV)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Saul Goodman | Jimmy McGill/Kim Wexler
Characters: Kim Wexler, Jimmy McGill, Howard Hamlin, Burt, Ernie, Mrs. Nguyen, Mrs. Landry, Daniel
Additional Tags: Anxiety, friends or more than friends?, Sex Dreams, car theft, Flashbacks
Summary:

Kim waits outside of Judge Murray's courtroom for Jimmy to arrive.



Kim and her relationship with Jimmy before, during, after the show, not in linear fashion. Fantastic Kim and Jimmy characterisation. Dammit, show, why did you manage to make me care so much?

BtVS/AtS:

In Imbolic (1617 words) by duh_i_write
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Angel: the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Drusilla/Spike
Characters: Darla (AtS), Spike (BtVS), Drusilla (BtVS)
Additional Tags: Vampire Family, Canon-Typical Violence, Paganism, Non-Graphic Violence, Background Relationships, Episode Related
Summary:

If China taught Darla nothing, it was that a little sentiment remained in her, like the last mouthful of blood that remained stubbornly in the vein, thick and bitter.



The time after Angel(us) had left and before Darla, Drusilla and Spike parted ways has always intrigued me but rarely gets written about in fanfic, or it did the last time I looked. This story addresses this lack beautifully. Darla, you're still my favourite vampire of them all.
selenak: (Ellen by Nyuszi)
With the disclaimer that this is prone to change depending on mood except for the first two, and is in no particular order:

1) Scooby Road by [personal profile] luminosity. Still the most awesome vid of them all, not only if you're a fan of BtVS and of the Beatles, and I am both. My detailed ravings on it are here.

2.) Ophelia, a Babylon 5 vid. I'll forever be glad to have lured [personal profile] andraste into B5, and not just because she makes fabulous vids, but this vid - about the dead women and the way they return on the show - is definitely a part of why.

3.) Blank Space: a more recent favourite, to my mind, the best Doctor/Master vid to date, encompassing both Old and New Who.

4.) Savages: a magnificent vid that beautifully captures all I loved about The Borgias. (Not so coincidentally based on the first two seasons.)

5.) Virgin: it's Vorenus/Antony, yes, and I do have a soft spot for that pairing, but better than that, it's about Rome and Rome, and captures the essence of both.

6.) On your wings: Doctor Who again, this time a vid portraying one of my all time favourite companions, Ace. And beautifully so.

7.) The Unforgiven Ones: Battlestar Galactica, Ellen and Cavil, the Five and the Seven; a short vid that packs an incredible punch.

8.) We didn't start the fire: still BSG, this time on the hilarious side. I love this to bits, and the identifications (Lee as the Cather in the Rye! Laura Roslin as Richard Nixon! Athena as Lawrence of Arabia!) reliably crack me up every time.

9.) Half Acre: incredibly beautiful Six Feet Under vid that uses Claire's art to frame the entire show.

10.) Runner: aka the Connor from Angel character study which made me go "here I wrote lengthy posts about him and the vid makes all my points much better, and then some"!

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
selenak: (rootbeer)
This was a prompt by [personal profile] endeni; a comparison which wouldn't have occured to me. Though when I think about it, I can see some parallels. To start with some technical trivia: DS9's key writers - Ira Behr, Ron Moore, Hans Beimler - had all started out and graduated, so to speak, on TNG, but became far more influential in the spin-off. AtS similarly started out with several Buffy writers - David Greenwalt being the most important one for the first three seasons, after which he left, but also David Fury and later Steven DeKnight -, though it's important to note that the writer who in retrospect, taking all five seasons into account, had been the most crucial one, Tim Minear, had never worked on BTVS. (I'm open for a Greenwalt versus Minear debate, of course, as to who was more responsible for sharping AtS.) Both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Angel: The Series were spin-offs, and their "mother shows", so to speak (TNG as well as TOS here for DS9), were more widely watched and popular at the time, while the spin-offs were generally regarded as darker and more serialized.

Mind you: the cliché that TNG was the fluffy reset button show to DS9's serialized and serious storytelling is as wrong as claiming Angel was darker than Buffy in general. Point in question: AtS' third season ran in tandem to Buffy's sixth. If you watched both, you know what I'm getting at here. AtS at least until Wesley got his throat cut looked downright frivolous by comparison to season 6 of BtVS. And TNG started to ongoing relationships and actual consequences in a Trek show thing; they didn't do it as consequently as DS9 was to do later, but pioneers rarely do. Still, as with every cliché that in its exaggaration is wrong, there's also a part that's true.

DS9, even in its early seasons where there were far more one shot episodes than later, was by the very nature of its set up different and darker. The Enterprise could come and go and was elsewhere the next week. DS9 was a space station next to a planet which had been suffering through a brutal occupation for 60 years, which was a forming influence to one of the regulars - who'd turn out to be in many way the key regular of the show, Kira Nerys -, which meant an ongoing situation even before new problems showed up. Its leading character, Benjamin Sisko, started out as a grieving widower and as a father with his son. (Picard had had tragedies in his life pre show, like the loss of the Stargazer and Jack Crusher's death, but they weren't something as defining the character from the get go as Sisko's losses and his relationship to his son were.) Kira's struggle to reconcile her freedom fighter/terrorist (this pre 9/11 show used both terms) past with her present were as ongoing as her relationships with various Cardassians, her former mortal enemies. Dax was a centuries old symbiotic being. O'Brien's past with Cardassians influences him in the present, even Bashir, the archetypical young freshman type among the regulars, turns out to have had a past and a secret. Among the recurring characeters, there's notably Garak, and Garak's gradually revealed past, the reasons for his exile on DS9 and the ways in which he did and didn't try to end it - you could say DS9, from the outset, had among other themes the way its characters past formed, burdened and even partially broke them in varying degrees, and how this influenced their present.

Angel from the beginning wanted to be something other than BTVS, version II, and succeeded (in season 1 there is still a sense of the writers trying to find their feet, but from the get go, the show does have its own voice), and one of the ways in which it did this was by a similar past/present situation. Of course, it had at its main character a centuries old vampire with an extremely bloody past and not a teenager trying to have a future, but this thematic treatment was true not just for Angel himself. "The past, she doesn't let go, does she?"' asks the short lived Doyle in the first half of the first season, and no, it doesn't. Doyle has something to atone for and does so promptly since he's quickly written out for, forgive the pun, Doylist reasons. But so does his successor, Wesley, who becomes as key to what AtS became as Kira does on DS9. Wesley on BTVS had been primarily used as a comic relief character in season 3 where he was introduced, but what happened to him then - failing his first assignment as a Watcher, falling out with the Council - is what he carries with him into AtS where it has far more long term results. When Wesley first shows up mid s1 he's still prone to comic relief scenes. But before the season is over, he'll have been tortured by Faith and then offered the choice of handing her over and getting his Watcher status back, which he refuses. Which is still but a prologue given that the show overall has in store for Wesley. Even Cordelia, the youngest of the original regulars, has her past as a reigning and very skillfully cruel high school queen as something to make up for. Of the later regular additions, Gunn is forced to stake his sister who has been turned in to a vampire in his introduction, and Fred has spent years in an alternate dimension that caused her to go ever so slightly mad. Again, as with DS9, the very nature of the set up means that dealing with your past (or running away from it, but even then it usually shows up to haunt you) is something ingrained in the regulars.

Another shared trait: while the "mother shows" , TNG and BTVS, do keep their basic set up formula, the spin-offs don't as a shift happens. By which I mean: yes, Buffy & Co. leave high school after season 3, and, say, season 1 and season 6 are very, very different. But Buffy being the Slayer, needing the save the world, struggling to unite this with living in it as a teenager and then young woman, that stays. TNG at the end has put its regulars through some significant changes - Picard and his Borg experience, also Picard's changing relationship to his crew, Worf and fatherhood, plus he's in a new relationship with Deanna Troi as the show ends, the difference between Data in the pilot and Data at the end is highlighted by the three eras nature of the show finale - but the "Enterprise encounters problem, solves problem, moves on" set up did not change. Meanwhile, DS9's last three seasons are about the building and then erupting Dominion War (while there had been wars in the backstory of TOS and TNG characters, present day war for longer than an episode, at the end of which it was successfully stopped, was unheard of and hugely controversial at the time because it touched on a core ST premise, that the Federation Utopia was strong enough to prevent things from escalating this far). As for the original stated goal, Sisko, who in the pilot was charged with bringing Bajor into the Federation, not only ended up outright rejecting this (for prophecy reasons) but ended the dilemma betwen being the Emissary and a Starfleet officer by ending to be the later and becoming a sort of divine entity. (This wasn't Sisko's idea, I hasten to add, there were plot reasons, I know. Still: miles away from what he started out to do.) With AtS, the "redemption through saving people" premise from the start gradually drew in the background; not that the character stopped helping people, but season 4, the most serialized of the AtS seasons where one episode was directly followed by the next, had at its core a father/son tragedy where saving ended up only possible through a massive deception/selling out, while season 5 had altered the original format so radically that the characters started by running the chief antagonist's business and ended up triggering another apocalypse.

Now, none of this means that the spin-offs were Frank Miller style grimdark. They had comedy epsiodes, they had their regulars fond of banter and bickering throughout. (AtS wasn't afraid to put something like The Girl in Question, which made relentless fun of two of its male regulars, Angel and Spike, and included an affectionate dig at one of the mother show's most famous tragic scenes beside, only three episodes before the apocalyptic finale and after one of the regulars had already died.) (Meanwhile, the less said about DS9's THe Emperor's New Cloak in season 7, the better. Love s7, but not that episode.) But there was certainly a general darker streak and pessimisim about happy endings at work than the mother shows, by and large, subscribed to. None of this makes one better than the other. That was just the glory of them: that they could coexist in their fictional verses, offering the viewers not an either/or, but a both/and to watch.


December Talking Meme: The Other Days
selenak: (Father Issues by Raven_annabella)
Aka the post I thought I'd written a long time ago. When I was prompted, however, I checked the tags, and it seems while I've written about the episodes themselves and individual aspects of AtS, Season 4 - for example my lengthy Connor essay (though that one covers bits of s3 and s5 as well for obvious reasons) - I haven't yet put my thoughts as to why this particular season of Angel: The Series is on my opinion the best in one coherent post.

To be precise, the prompt asked for a defense of season 4, which implies it is still maligned. (I haven't kept up with the fandom.) But see, DEFENSE to me implies throwing yourself in front of a bedraggled bleeding child, whereas season 4 to me is a well armed, shiny and lethally beautiful goddess able to defend herself by just being that awesome. Now read on! )
selenak: (Darla by Kathyh)
The AV Club has posted their list of ten vampire centric tv series episodes; as they put it, they might not be the 10 best episodes, but they’re the 10 episodes that’ll help you understand what the show’s all about—without having to watch the whole thing.

Naturally, I found myself arguing with some of the choices for series I'm familiar with. Not in a "never! not this one!" way, on the contrary, these are good choices; in a "hm, I'm not sure this fits the criteria" way.

For example: Being Human (original UK version, naturally), season 2, episode 7, Damage: On the one hand, I can totally see their argument. Which is spoilery. )

My own choice would be episode 3.05 The Longest Day. And no, it's not just because my darling Nina has a central role in it. It examines what it means in this universe to be a vampire not just via Mitchell but via spoilery people )


Their choice for Angel is: Are you now or have you ever been? Again, I agree with their arguments : it stands on its own (i.e. is accessible for newbies), tells a self contained story while at the same time showing an important step in the main vampire character's development, and the paranoia demon as 50s metaphor works; indeed, as the poster says, the demon is hardly necessary.

Which is perhaps why it wouldn't be my choice. Angel being a vampire is not touched upon in the episode, either. That he's immortal, yes, but it would work just as well with, say, a Highlander type of immortal - and the episodes should say something about what this particular series makes of vampires, how it uses them. Spoilery objections and alternate choices follow nonetheless. )

No argument at all with Closer than Sisters for Penny Dreadful. Because Eva Green acting the hell out of everyone and Vanessa having messed up relationships with Mina and Malcolm so is what this show is about. :) What do you mean, there is no vampire activity at all in this episode?
selenak: (Buffy by Kathyh)
L.A. Confidential has been nominated at the SunnyD Awards ! In the categories: Best Comedy, Best Gen Fic, Best Characterization. Whoever did that: thank you so much! I'm one happy author.

 photo imagejpg1_zpsc97878fa.jpg


And now I have a whole new rec list of stories to check out via the other nominees on the list.
selenak: (Darla by Kathyh)
The Rare Women Ficathon went live.

I got a lovely Call the Midwife story as a present, about Shelagh/Sister Bernadette, called Arpeggio.

My own story offered me the chance to return to the Jossverse, where I hadn't written in for many years:

L.A. Confidential (3120 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Angel: the Series
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harmony Kendall/Spike, Harmony Kendall & Angel
Characters: Harmony Kendall, Angel (BtVS), Spike (BtVS)
Additional Tags: Case Fic, Character Study
Summary:

Harmony decides on a new career. After all, if Angel can be a detective, anyone can.

selenak: (Emma Swan by Hbics)
Today's [community profile] fandomsecrets has, for about the fifth or sixth time that I recall, a secret involving Once Upon A Time character Regina Mills aka The Evil Queen and the fact that back in season 1, she had a non-consensual sexual relationship with a male supporting character (he was the one non-consenting). Now Regina did a lot of other villainous things (including ordering massacres), but I don't think any of them, with the arguable exception of her gaslighting her son, is brought up and argued about more. (I may be wrong about that, since I try to keep away from most OuaT fannish discussions unless I know the people in question.) Cue usual "oh no she didn't!"/"oh yes she did", as well as "if she was a male character, this wouldn't even be a question" (both from the "oh yes she did" side in the sense that a male ruler ordering a female prisoner who is revolted by him into his bedchamber would not be interpreted as anything but a rapist, and from the "oh no she didn't" side (which argues that male fictional rapists get excused all the time). In between, someone points out that Regina did a whole lot of other stuff which doesn't get argued about, and why is rape treated as the ultimate crime? Good question, and not just regarding Regina. It's the crime most often named when people argue why they can't root for the redemption of character X and/or the crime most argued to not even have been committed by X from people who want said character redeemed (or see him, and in rarer cases her, already as good).

Now I think that "more/less evil" isn't a criteria you can put on rape versus, say, murder. They're both heinous actions. But it's still worth noting that as far as fannish discussions are concerned, the killing score of sympathetic villains/morally ambiguous characters seems to bother fans a whole lot less than if their canon shows them committing, or trying to committ, a rape. At a guess, part of this is that fantasy violence (especially if the canon avoids showing much of the resulting dead bodies and gore) is easier to dissociate from real life, while rape is not. And then, there is probably the fear: "I like this character, maybe I even love him/her or fantasize about him/her, I want this character to succeed, to win, to be loved - but this character committed rape. What does this say about me? Therefore, this character hasn't really committed rape. The fantasy surroundings make it not count. Or I take the Doylist appraoch and declare it was the writers (whereas the character's other actions which endeared him/her to me in the first place were of course Watsonian and only the character). Or: the character was himself/herself a victim and so traumatized that she/he can't be held accountable for their actions. Or the ever popular: hero X did something just as bad, so there!"

I decided to do some self inventory and see which of the characters whom I like (in varying degrees ranging "mildly fond" to "love and adore") comitted rape in their canons, and how fannish discussion (if it exists at all) handles that. Let's start with the Romans, because if you are in a slave owning society, and among the owners, and also not in a show that deliberately avoids the issue, chances are that you're guilty as charged, but even so, some characters go above and beyond:

Rome: Mark Antony, definitely. One of his very first scenes shows him having sex with a peasant woman against a tree mid-travelling. I doubt he bothered to ask her first. There is also an episode in which he wants to have sex before getting out of bed, Atia is not in the mood and orders one of her slaves to accommodate him. Which btw means Atia is enabling said rape. Also a rapist: Pullo. Who is in love with his slave (later freedwoman, even later wife) when having sex with her but doesn't bother to ask for her consent, either and is shocked when finding out that upon being freed, she wants to marry a fellow slave (cue death of male slave). I'm fond of Mark Antony, Atia and Pullo. I think the only one whose actions get debated in this context is Pullo, with the argument being "but he thought Eirene was already in love with him!" and/or "different times". Well, yes, different times, and presumably he did think she was in love with him until disabused of the notion. He still didn't ask, and she was his property at the time, to do with as he pleased. The scene as shown also had her enduring, not responding, to his caresses.

Spartacus: nearly every Roman character, sooner or later, but re: the topic in question, let's stick with Batiatus and Lucretia, both of whom use their slaves as sexual toys for themselves and for other people. I don't think I've seen anyone saying Batiatus isn't guilty, but I did some some debate around Lucretia, specifically, her relationship with the gladiator Crixus. (The debate nexter brings up all the other slaves Lucretia and Batiatus use to turn themselves on at all.) The "oh no she didn't" argument usually goes thusly: she developed genuine feelings for him, then she thought he also loved her, and then there was that one time where she didn't have sex with him when he didn't want to because she was concerned for his life (plot reasons). This ignores that Spartacus isn't subtle about the whole ownership point: Crixus and Lucretia first start to have sex because she orders him to, he is her property, and the fact she doesn't insist that one time doesn't negate all the other times. (Not to mention Lucretia's reaction once she finds out Crixus loves someone else.) Lucretia is played by Lucy Lawless, and she was one of my favourite characters on the show. She's also, no question about it, a rapist. (Ditto, of course, her husband, whom I was also fond of, horrible person who he was.)

Moving on to contemporary shows with long lived characters:

Highlander: Methos, obviously. Universal fannish favourite, and for quite a while, he was mine, too. (Then Amanda overtook him.) (I still like Methos a lot, though.) He's also, no question about it, a rapist, over a really long time. And wouldn't you know, while fandom never tried to explain the pillaging part in "rape and pillage" away, or the massacring of "tens of thousands", au contraire, thought that Methos' Bronze Age raider past made him even more interesting than he'd already been, it solved the "rape" part by vilifying the surviving victim of same and/or write stories in which Methos was the one raped (by other characters), which made him so traumatized that he, da capo, al fine. Oh, and of course times were different.

Buffy and Angel: oh, the can of worms to dwarf most others, and I really don't want the discussion to end up in a reiteration of the Spike Wars, but it would be cheating not to bring the Buffyverse up. So: Angel(us): definitely a rapist, and not just in a metaphorical bloodsucking vampire way. (There are the servant girl in the Amends flashback and Holtz' wife, and the implication is certainly that there were others.) (And driving mortal Drusilla into insanity culminated in Angel and Darla having sex in front of her before Angel turned her; what do you want to bet they left it at taking her blood?) Spike: see above re: Spike Wars, avoidance of same. But even leaving out Seeing Red, he mentioned multiple rapes in Never Leave Me, which however often gets dismissed as "he just wanted to get Buffy to stake him on that occasion" (well, yes, but that doesn't mean he made that up; over at AtS, near the end of Damages, a key Spike self realization is his admittance that while he wasn't Dana's tormentor, he did do similar things to a great many other people). Darla: while we don't see her having on screen sex with an unwilling victim, she certainly gets a kick of watching her darling boy doing so. Faith: when about to strangle Xander, she sexually assaulted him as well (and he did say no repeatedly). I do like Angel, Spike and Faith, a lot. Darla is my overall AtS favourite.

Torchwood: my own assumption when watching the Torchwood pilot, in which, among other things, Owen uses a alien pheromene McGuffin to make himself sexually irresistable when going out) was that when he used it on the boyfriend of the girl he'd been hitting on, he made a quick getaway as opposed to having a threesome, so that on this particular occasion, no sex took place. However, the original intention certainly had been to have sex with the girl, who showed no inclination to respond to his overtures before he used the pheromene McGuffin. Which, yes, makes Owen an attempted rapist (and since I doubt this was the first time he used the McGuffin, I'd be ready to drop the "attempted".) Owen was my favourite TW character during the first two seasons.

Being Human: Mitchell and Hal, step forward. Definitely, like Angelus, guilty of rape in the literally sexual as well as the blood taking vampire sense. Neither of them were my favourites in their canons, but I definitely had times of being fond of both, and my Mitchell issues weren't due to him having raped people (also my Mitchell issues were brilliantly resolved by canon, but that's another story).

Once upon a Time: and we're back to Regina. Who isn't my favourite, but I like her and am certainly on board with her current storyline. In addition to being a multiple murderer, guilty of mental and physical torture on various occasions, and the kidnapper to dwarf all other kidnappers (it's hard to beat transferring everyone in Storybrooke from one dimension to another in order to play out her fantasy scenario, but Regina is also a kidnapper on the mundane literal level, see also: Hansel and Gretel, Owen), she is most definitely a rapist.

And now for the future - including the wretched Prophets of DS9 would be cheating, because while they do committ rape I never could stand them, and they're not fannishly popular, either, so they don't qualify.

Babylon 5: I was going back and thro whether or not to include this example, because it's not sexual non-con, and if you start to include fantasy metaphors, you don't have to bother to differentiate with all the vampires between literal rape and blood taking to begin with. But still: what happens in the episode Dust to Dust is a mental assault/violation which gets textually, on screen, called a rape (Bester, who ought to know, explains the effect of Dust that way in the exposition scene early on), so I'll include it. Anyway, the perpetrator, G'Kar, who hits rock bottom here, followed by enlightenment, is most definitely among my favourite B5 characters.


In conclusion: I seem to be fond of a lot of fictional rapists. (Or fictional versions of historical characters, in the Roman cases.) The fact they raped people isn't why I like them, obviously, but neither did it stop me from liking them (or prevent me from ever developing sympathy, in the cases where the rapes happen early on). Whereas I don't think there is a rapist among the few fictional characters I have a visceral loathing for, come to think of it, which presumably goes to show rape isn't one of my triggers, at least not in the sense of reacting with "I no longer like this character" or "I have to explain this away in order to continue liking this character". I think my own inner self justification for this, beyond "but they're interesting", is to keep their victims in mind (and in both Methos' and Spike's cases, write fanfiction from their pov). (The other day I came across yet another variation of "but how rude and horrid are the Charmings and the rest of Storybrooke for not wanting to have dinner with Regina mid season 2" . Err. Just about anyone from the Enchanted Forest, with the exception of Rumplestilskin who did his share to form her and besides is guilty of centuries more crimes, is justified in not wanting to socialize with Regina for the rest of their lives. ) (Though since Regina has interesting interactions with other characters, I'm glad some are around her anyway.) And not to prettify anything they've done. Especially when/if I want them to redeem themselves.
selenak: (Henry and Eleanor by Poisoninjest)
I just realised something: since, starting on Sunday, I'll be on the road for the next two weeks, every day somewhere else, armed only with my faithful Ipad, I shan't be able to watch at least the next two episodes of Breaking Bad until in two and a half or three weeks. WOE. Also, how to avoid spoilers? You, trusty friends, are really good about keeping these under cut, but other places on the internet aren't. And by the time I watch these episodes, my reviews and speculations will be rendundant. Argh!

Also, I hear we'll get a Better Call Saul spin-off. Which sounds like fun, though what I really want is Saul Goodman guest starring on a couple of other shows. Saul versus Alicia & Cary on The Good Wife, for example. (Or possibly with Alicia & Cary and against Will & Diane?) Saul Goodman versus Patty Hewes would be unfair, I guess, because, well, Patty. She'd have him for breakfast. Saul Goodman: The Apprenticeship because clearly he was an intern at Wolfram & Hart of Angel fame could be fun. And speaking of prequels, there could be at least one Once Upon A Time crossover wherein Emma Swan was tasked with getting one of Saul's clients back to town. Any other ideas?

****

On a completely different note, while researching something, I came across the second part of Sian Philipp's memoirs again, wherein there is a great passage of Katherine Hepburn during the filming of The Lion in Winter. (Sian Philipps: always and forever the Empress Livia in I, Claudius and thus the best evil Overlady of the Ancient World, but also during the 60s married to Peter O'Toole, hence present during the filming of The Lion in Winter. In said film, Katherine Hepburn was Eleanor of Aquitaine, Peter O'Toole, Henry II, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Lionheart:

Kate Hepburn, whom I first met when she was filming Lion in Winter, was interesting and in many ways admirable, but I couldn't help feeling envious of the way in which she seemed to have her life organised so as to have things all her own way.(...) When O'Toole, who was very smitten by her glamorous, unusual presence, was moved to say, 'My God - if I was thirty years younger I'd have given Spencer Tracy a run for his money', we looked at each other, slightly cross-eyed, wondering which of us had been insulted; Kate for being considered too old to be desirable or me, who, all things being equal, would have been discarded in favour of a younger Kate. It wasn't something to be thought about too closely, so we both smiled sweetly. When, in 1970, Kate was playing in Coco, the musical, in New York, O'Toole and I dined at her house before leaving for South America. As we left, she grabbed me by the arm and hissed, 'You let him push you around - stop it. I'm spoiled.Get spoiled!' I nodded, smiling, and thought I'd like to see her try getting her own way with O'Toole, were she thirty years younger. Not a chance. I remember her as spoiled and selfish indeed but what wonderful common sense she had. And she took what she wanted and paid for it, and, I would hazard, has rarely had occasion to regret her choices.(...)

The most extraordinary things happen in our profession. I'm sure Anthony Hopkins would agree that he was, in 1968, the least likely candidate for international super stardom and respectable knighthood. The he went to America, made some awful movies, temporarily renounced the theatre, nearly killed himself in a car, joined AA, and became one of our most senior, respectable ennobled actors. Hepburn was one of Tony's first mentors in the movies. O'Toole, against the wishes of the American producers and the casting director, had insisted on engaging him for
Lion in Winter. (John Castle was another of his 'finds' and Nigel Terry also - a remarkable, very Cornish actor.) When Tony played his first scene with Kate she took him by the shoulders and turned him away from her. 'There's the camera - over there. It needs to see you.'
selenak: (Family Matters by Marciaelena)
Darth Real Life is battling me, which is why I'm still behind with the replies etc, but have two links:

Angel:

Why We Fight: An Essay on Truth and Purpose: meta on the season 5 episode Why We Fight in the broader context of the show. Why We Fight is unpopular in the fandom when last I looked, but I always liked it - it does some genuinenly original things with its WWII setting, for starters, and it contains one of my favourite scenes between Angel and Spike. (Spike, in conclusion to Lawson's fate and the fact Angel just made him swim the rest of the way to the coast: "You really are a dick." Angel, with a gesture that makes it clear Spike will have to swim, too: "Yes, I really am.") This is a very good post that reminds me of ye olde days when there was good AtS meta to be had in addition to BTVS meta.


Breaking Bad and The Other Sixties Band (sort of):

Behold Hank, Jesse and Keith Richards in the same room, here. Okay, the actors and He Who Will Survive The Apocalypse, but come on, this is begging for crack fic. What scenario would bring Jesse Pinkman, Hank Schroeder and Keef together?
selenak: (Alex (Being Human)  - Arctic Flower)
I'm currently at a conference in Marburg, which is a lovely medieval town that is known for, in no particular order, harboring a saint (Elizabeth), an inquisitor (Konrad) and the Brothers Grimm. (When they were studying, for two years. Jakob had a few sharp words about the place, but then he did about most things, and the house is exactly the type of timbery old house you expect the Grimms to have lived in.) Alas, the internet at my hotel is very wavery and throws me out every time I attempt to upload photos, so none of that until I'm back in Munich. (Also no tv, for obvious reasons.)

However, link time. Iron Man 3 yesterday brought to mind Being Human's hilarious set of webisodes set between episodes from its last season, as Alex declares her intentions towards Robert Downey Junior in this one. (My favourite tiny detail is that Tom has seen Iron Man and Hal has not, as opposed to the other way around. Also, as I recall, one of the BH writers in a post show interview told the story about how Alex fulfilled her RDJ dream, which they couldn't film for "budget reasons". (Read: RDJ too expensive. :)

The benefit of now being able to read Twitters: finding out about Bryan Cranston's next role will be now that Breaking Bad has wrapped up filming (though we fans will have to wait until August for the episodes, sigh). He's signed on to play Lyndon Johnson in a film called All the Way re: fatal decisions regarding Vietnam. Which I'm looking forward to see. LBJ with his contradictions (civil rights reforms and Great Society on the one hand, Vietnam on the other, the political professionalism and the crudity) is a great character for Cranston to play.

Here, someone lists their reasons why Darla is the best vampire in the Buffyverse. Some of which I'd even agree with (which usually doesn't happen when the internet makes lists about my favourite characters).

And lastly, the British trailer for the Whedonian Much Ado offers more details than the American one and makes me wonder more fervently than ever when we'll get to see the film in Germany.
selenak: (Owen by Linaerys)
Day 30 - Saddest character death.


And we conclude with a horrible dilemma of a question, given that the media I consume offers really a lot of death scenes, now that I think of it. However, let me specify in order to narrow the criteria: "saddest death" is absolutely not the same as "most shocking" or "most surprising". And of course, one viewer's sobfest is another viewers "hooray!" or "why hasn't X croaked it already?" Not to mention that there are some deaths which may be sad but also feel right, even necessary, i.e. no matter my fondness for the characters, I would have felt like the narrative was cheating or not giving them their due if they hadn't died. Spoilery examples for season 3 of AtS, season 4 of BSG and season 5 of SFU follow which are therefore not my choice. )

My other criteria for "saddest death": I have to be emotionally very invested in the characters involved. For example, among the many, many deaths that happen in Lost, the one I'd give the "saddest death scene in Lost" award happens in season 3 and is spoilery for same, then compared to two from season 4 ) It's not in any way an objective judgment or one dependent on writing, acting or directing of the scenes in question, but then "saddest" asks for an emotional judgment.

After trying my best to narrow it down, I came up with four scenes in close competition, which you'll find under the cut.

Spoilers for season 2 of Torchwood, season 4 of Battlestar Galactica, season 1 of Deadwood and season 1 and 5 of The Wire ensue )



The rest of the days )
selenak: (Puppet Angel - Kathyh)
Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show

I'm going to give my favourite historical and contemporary shows a pass here, because I honestly can't recall one particular episode pissing me off so much that it deserves the title of least favourite. (Not that there weren't weak ones, but none that stuck particularly in mind.

So, let's see, this leaves me with:

Buffy: Well, there are the usual suspects - Some Assembly Required, Doublemeat Palace, Where the Wild Things Are, As You Were etc. - and I certainly don't care much for them. (And don't think I ever rewatched.) But there isn't one I'd crown least favourite over another, unlike with the spin off. If I have to choose, probably As You Were for Spike's never before and after heard of again demon eggs hording activity rather than for Riley and Sam, Action Hero Couple (aka the reason most often named), and I am neither a particular Spike fan nor a Spike/Buffy shipper (clarification: I'm not an anti-shipper either, what I mean is that I enjoyed what the show gave us but I never was invested in "Will Buffy end up with *insert love interest of your choice*? as a reason to tune in). But that script really could have done with more editing and revision.

Angel: Tricky. I considered Hero (not for the character death, which I'm okay with, for the dumb lazy use of Nazis), and She (oh, Marti, why?), eyed Provider and Dad, but in the end, there can only be one choice: Tomorrow, the season 3 finale. I was this close to quitting the show after that one, that's how incredibly irritated and annoyed I was. (And am I ever glad I didn't, because as I may have mentioned a thousand times or two, season 4 of AtS became my favourite.) No, not with every single scene (those involving my boy Connor as well as the one Wesley/Lilah scene can stay), but most of them, and with nothing more than everyone and their dog telling Angel and Cordelia they're meant for each other (canon shipping: how NOT to do it), including Cordy's mirror image. I've written an essay about why I think the damage to Cordelia's character was done mainly in s3 with starts in s2, and that s4 was actually damage control of sorts, but anyway - Tomorrow is definitely, no question about it, my least favourite AtS episode.

Babylon 5: there are some awful s1 episodes I blotted out of my memory and never rewatched, so you won't find Grail or what's its name starting with T listed here. Eyeing Deconstruction of Falling Stars for the incredibly annoying Delenn and the historians scene but giving it a pass because that episode also has scenes I like plus it was written very last minute, I settle on A View From the Gallery, not because the self contratulatory Sheridan/Delenn fanboying by the pov characters is actually worse but because the basic concept for the episode is sound and could have resulted in something good. Outsider pov episodes often are, and in the same season with The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father, JMS gives us a splendid example why. But A View From The Gallery isn't really interested in the two maintenance guys whose pov we're in, it just uses them to spout admiring stuff about our regulars (as opposed to The Corps..., where the pov of the two Psi Cop Interns and of course Bester's on B5 is anything but flattering). Also there is the obvious episode to compare this one to at the time of broadcast, which was Lower Decks, a season 6 of TNG episode which had been shown only three or four years earlier. And there, the script really bothered to make the four crew members come alive in their own right and make you care about them (which also contributed to making their pov of the regulars interesting instead of self congratulatory). In conclusion, A View From The Gallery is a big squandered opportunity and therefore, I crown it least favourite episode.


The rest of the days )
selenak: (Dust - Radak)
Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite TV show


As detailed here, I can't narrow it down to one favourite show, only one per genre. Favourite episodes are similarly difficult, but with an heroic effort, I can come up with:

Babylon 5 and Buffy: Dust to Dust and Restless, for reasons explained in more detail here.

Angel: Either Darla or Deep Down, when I'm in a noir mood; if I want to be cheered up, why, Smile Time, of course. :) (Despite the fact Gunn essentially makes the classic Faustian deal from hell in that one.)

I, Claudius: tricky, tricky, very hard to choose, but it's probably Queen of Heaven. Mostly for the two stunning Livia scenes; first the birthday dinner with Caligula and Claudius, and at the end of the episode her death scene, again first with Caligula, then Claudius. They accomplish to much. In the long term narrative, this is where the role of main villain gets handed over from Livia to Caligula (while various Little Bads abound; at ths point, it's Sejanus, played by Patrick Stewart), but that's the least of it. The dinner is the one and only time where our hero and narrator, Claudius, and Livia who was the main antagonist for most of the show until this point speak completely honestly to each other; it's a mutual revelation scene and the emotional build up which makes it possible is so wonderfully done. (Also, Caligula is around for a while being incredibly creepy, setting himself up as the next main antagonist.) The death scene accomplishes something very very few stories ever manage. Livia has committed various murders and ruined lives of people the audience cares about. She's not repentant about any of this. (Though she'd rather not pay for them in the afterlife, hence the importance to her to be declared a goddess once she's dead, as the gods can commit any crime they want.) And yet, when she dies, both the audience and Claudius, who has hated and feared her through his entire life, feel intensely sorry for her - again, without diminishing or prettifying any of her previous acts. Part of it is, again, Caligula, and the way he takes his leave of her, but it's also the acting and the state Rome is in at that point and - well, everything.

Six Feet Under: Again, very tricky, but I think I'll go with the s1 finale, Knock, Knock. Various themes of the first season (and some overall themes of the show) get a great showcase here, it has some of David's best scenes (and one of the show's most famous visual gags), the screwed up family dynamics (the Fishers among each other, Federico and the Fishers, Brenda and Billy) each get showcases, and it conveys that "life is a mess, but there is hope" atmosphere of the show so well.


The rest of the days )
selenak: (Six Feet Under by Ladydisdain)
Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

Great Maker, as Londo Mollari would say. How could I possibly narrow it down like that? I don't have just a single favourite show ever, I honestly don't. I suppose I could say one per genre. Yes, let's try that.

Science Fiction: Star Trek in its various permutations is my oldest fandom, and I love it with undiminished passion, but my loyalties for the top spot are split between DS9 and TNG, and thus it simply has to be the arc show to end all arc shows, the space opera to end all space operas. It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, you know. Why, Babylon 5 of course.

History: I, Claudius, no question about it, based on Robert Graves' novel. I mean, I have loved several shows since, but this masterpiece of 1970s British tv had it all: brilliant dialogue, the best British actors of the day in major and minor roles, and not type cast, either (if you've only ever seen Brian Blessed in shouty roles, check out Augustus' death scene, in which he doesn't utter a word the entire time and does it all with his eyes during Livia's monologue; you'll know exactly the moment he dies, and no, the eyes stay open, it's not that), Derek Jacobi delivering the performance that makes me still forgive much of his Oxfordian nonsense as the title character, Sian Phillips being the overlady to rule them all, and so forth. Also they were on a budget (as most British tv used to be) and thus there are no crowd scenes or spectacles at all (whenever someone watches, say, gladiator games, we stay with three or four spectators the entire time), and you don't miss it at all. The übergory Spartacus doesn't have anything so frightful as the short scene where Caligula opens the door to Claudius, where technically you don't see anything but John Hurt and Derek Jacobi in close up, but because of the information the audience has as to what Claudius sees over Caligula's shoulders, it haunts me to this day. And did I mention the dialogue is brilliant?

Tiberius: Did it ever occur to you, mother, that it might be you they hate, more than me?
Livia: Nothing ever occurs to you that doesn't occur to me first. This is the affliction with which I live.


Fantasy: Here my loyalties are split between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. It really depends on the day I'm having. Angel inspired more fanfiction, Buffymore meta from yours truly. Buffy is the greater achievement, no question, but the category isn't about a critical pov but one's own emotions on the subject, and I really love them both fervently.

Contemporary Drama: Six Feet Under. It had it all: messed up families (as Alan Ball once said, the Fishers were Scandivian drama, the Chenovitchs were Greek drama), black humour, fine actors, the two big canon romances - Nate/Brenda and David/Keith - being treated with equal screentime, and the various sibling and child-parent relationships getting just as much screen time - satire and emotional depth. Oh, and it taught me all about the benefits of clear instructions for my future funeral director. ( I promise not to demand favourite rare comics to be buried with me, too.) I'm a bit more uncertain about the other big SFU message, which is that either pot or LSD are great for enlightenment or family bonding, but there you go. :)


The rest of the days )
selenak: (Family Matters by Marciaelena)
You know, many an actor doesn't, independent on how good or bad they are in their chosen craft, provide very interesting interviews. They do them because it's their duty when promoting the latest film/tv show/theatre project they're involved in, but the result often reads no more interesting than the latest PR release from whatever production company is responsible for the film/tv show/theatre project in question. And I have sympathy for that, because providing interesting conversation with total strangers isn't easy, and that's assuming the interviewers aren't the obnoxious type who poke for intimate details. But still: I'm extra thrilled when coming across genuinenly interesting interviews. Which quite often happens when Patrick Stewart is involved.

Here is a recent great example, by the LA Times and apropos the latest TNG anniversary. What's expecially endearing to me is his geeking out about Hollywood history and identifying the Paramount office where specific Sunset Boulevard scenes were shot at as still in use when they were shooting Next Gen at Paramount. (And his making off with the office letters.) But really, it's just an all around enjoyable interview to read. Also, his joke about the next X-Men film being just Magneto and Xavier talking cracks me up, not least because I know a couple of fans including yours truly who'd so be there for that. :)

***

My latest wave of Jossverse nostalgia trigged by meta and fanfiction alike, to wit:

BTVS:

Buffy and Faith in Bad Girls/Consequences. Meta which manages to be fair to both girls. (Much rarer than you'd think. I remember reading, at the time, a certain BNF's pronouncement that Buffy was behaving "like Stalin", which meant I could never take anything she wrote seriously again.)

AtS:

as one mourneth for an only son: fantastic Connor fanfiction, covering all his stages from Steven to Connor to new memories!Connor Reilly to Rembering!Connor. Connor and Darla: still my favourites. And it's much rarer to find someone writing the former well than the later.
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
Meme stolen from [personal profile] likeadeuce.

Your main fandom of the year?

I remain a committed fandom polyamorist without a main fandom.

Your favorite film you watched this year?

The Avengers. Four times watched in the cinema and three times on dvd... yes, it's a pretty safe bet to say it was. :) I just loved it to bits.

Your favorite book read this year?

It's a tie between Her Majesty's Will by David Blixt (when I read the Yuletide prompts asking for Shakespeare/Marlowe adventures & relationship I thought every time "does the prompter know there is now an entire novel like that out there?) and Raphsody in Blood by Roz Kaveney, though I had the chance to read the later in manuscript last year, so I suppose it's a bit cheating to say "this year"? Anyway. Rereading it in printed form only heigtened the love.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?

Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney. Detailed review explaining why here.

Your favorite tv show of the year?

Breaking Bad. Which I started to marathon early in the year and thus was able to watch in real time when it began its final season.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

I would say Breaking Bad as well, except for the part that Breaking Bad fandom aside from fabulous people on lj also includes the people majorly into Skyler and Marie bashing on tumblr and elsewhere, so, no. But I was delighted to see one of my oldest fandoms, Babylon 5, still has an influx of new watchers and writers, and B5 never inflicted shipping wars and character bashings on me either then or now, so I declare the new B5 fans my best new fandom discovery of the year.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Fringe's fourth season, after a promising start, cementing the show's decline. Alas.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?

Jeremy Irons, for a) making Henry IV. for the first time ever the most captivating character in the two plays named after him to me in The Hollow Crown and b) continuing to do a fantastic job with Rodrigo Borgia, aka Pope Alexander VI., in the second season of The Borgias. I've said it before, I'll say it again: the man is a walking, talking illustration that some actors dramatically increase both in acting skill and hotness in their middle age. Young Mr. Irons, playing Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited? Eh. Current Jeremy Irons as Henry and Rodrigo both? Gimme gimme gimme!

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?

Skyler White. Followed closely by the ladies from The Borgias, Judi Dench's M, Katniss Everdeen and my darling Guinevere from Merlin, always, but still, no question about it: Skyler. For being complicated and not easily likeable but layered and smart and above all able to accept responsibility for her own deeds as opposed to blaming everyone else. A longer love declaration to Skyler is here.


Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Natasha pwning Loki in The Avengers. That moment when she turns around and says "thank you for your cooperation". (Come to think of it, Katniss Everdeen's "Thank you for your consideration" in The Hunger Games was also a fantastic moment and almost identically phrased, but Natasha's turnaround was when I went from loving The Avengers to SQEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.)

The most missed of your old fandoms?

I go through moments of missing the BTVS and AtS fandom heydays fiercely. Then I check to see what's happening, and people are either obsessed with being upset with the comics (which I have no interest in) or are still fighting the Spike Wars (ditto), and I remember all the reasons not to miss said days. Until, that is, I come across unexpected splendid meta essays like the one about Chosen this year, or anything [personal profile] timetravellingbunny posts, and I'm full of BTVS and AtS fandom love again.

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?

Once Upon A Time and maybe Teen Wolf. Also I really want to watch The Wire, but is there still a fandom?

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?

The second half of Breaking Bad's final season; the SHIELD tv series; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Catching Fire; and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

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