selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
2016-07-29 08:25 am

Reine Mère (Fanfiction for History_Exchange)

Reveal time: this is the story I wrote for this year's [community profile] history_exchange. I swear I meant to write a short one this time, but while it's nowhere as long as my previous effort, Catherine de' Medici and her daughters still demanded a tale in three chapters.

Reine Mère (10908 words) by Selena
Chapters: 3/3
Fandom: Historical RPF, 16th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Catherine de' Medici & Elisabeth de Valois, Catherine de' Medici & Claude de France, Catherine de' Medici & Marguerite de Valois, Claude de France & Marguerite de Valois, Henri II de France/Catherine de' Medici, Catherine de' Medici & Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de' Medici & Francis I. of France, Henri II de France/Diane de Poitiers
Characters: Catherine de' Medici, Élisabeth de Valois | Elisabetta di Valois, Claude de France (1547-1575), Marguerite de Valois, Mary I of Scotland | Mary Queen of Scots, Diane de Poitiers, Francis I. of France, Felipe II de España | Philip II of Spain, Henri II de France, Gaspard de Coligny, Henri IV de France, Henri III de France, Clarice Strozzi de' Medici
Additional Tags/: Mother-Daughter Relationship, Motherhood, Power Dynamics, Character Study, Female-Centric, Parent-Child Relationship, Parenthood, Daughters
Summary:

Catherine de' Medici and her daughters: what forms a woman, a mother, a queen?



_____

In completely unrelated news, last night just before I fell asleep I saw that Jerry Doyle, Mr. Garibaldi from Babylon 5 had died, at only 60 years of age. The B5 ensemble really looks increasingly cursed. Garibaldi was never my favourite character, but he was a firm entry in what I tend to think of my "secondary faves" category, i.e characters who are never my best beloved but whom I always remain fond off, instead of going hot and cold on them. And not just because he played off beautifully to both my favourites, Londo and G'Kar. I found him interesting in his own right, his scenes with Bester were always riveting (and sometimes darkly hilarious), and his was one of the character voices that are very easy to find for fanfiction. For all that Garibaldi was an immensely talkative character, I find that quiet moments are the ones that touched me most, and that was very much due to Jerry Doyle's acting - Garibaldi's face when hearing that Sinclair had been on B5 and left again without seeing him in "War without End", both the big reveal scene in "Face of the Enemy" in s4 - where you see the horror in his eyes - and the confrontation with Bester in s5 when Bester casually says "how stupid do you think I am anyway?" - and his final scene with Londo in the s2 episode where both Garibaldi and the audience know that Londo crossed a moral threshhold and their relationship has irrevocably changed, but Garibaldi has one last drink with his no-more-friend. I did not know Jerry Doyle as a person. But as an actor, he contributed to creating something that means so much to me.

Here is what JMS wrote about him.

2016: get better, please. You've taken so much already, year.
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
2016-06-14 08:43 am

A tale or two, or three...

One more day to sign up for the History Exchange! Come on, fellow history loving readers, you know you want to. 500 words is really low pressure and can be easily done.

Babylon 5:

Every now and then you need a story that's a break from the angst and is just hilarious. Like this one.

Perception: in which it turns out that Refa had an, err, somewhat mistaken impression about what the Londo and Morden relationship was all about. This has lasting consequences. :)

Avengers

If running's a plan: Natasha-centric story that takes her, and the team, from the end of Avengers to the end of Age of Ultron, showing the growth and change of the Natasha/Bruce relationship and the team coming together. As opposed to majority of the fandom, I actually liked Natasha/Bruce in AoU, but still, fleshing out how they got there really good to read about, as was the Avengers going from almost strangers (except for Natasha and Clint, of course) allied by necessity to a team working together. While Natasha/Bruce is the main relationship of the story, I really appreciate it also gives storytime to Natasha's other relationships (Clint, Nick Fury, Tony, Steve) - so often fanfiction focuses only on one and lets the characters live in isolation.
selenak: (bodyguard - Sabine)
2016-05-14 01:11 pm
Entry tags:

Someone is wrong on the internet: Babylon 5 edition

Specifically, wrong in the choice of "Best of B5" episodes on their list. Which is here.

Look, I know such lists are completely subjective. And as someone who loves the first season, too, I’m always glad to see it defended. But some of the other season picks and more importantly episodes NOT chosen are frankly baffling. Geometry of Shadows in season 2, but not The Coming of Shadows, THE pivotal episode of the season (and the one which won the Hugo)? (And why, because of the stupid, stupid technomages. (Insert my usual “hate them, hate Galen most of all” rant here.) Even leaving aside my Londo and G’Kar bias, any “best of B5” list which does not have The Coming of Shadows on it is just wrong. And Great Maker, why no In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum, aka the one which first fleshes out Sheridan as a character, one of the few where he’s depicted as wrong by the narrative in how he acts?

As for season 3, are you kidding me, Voices of Authority? Because of the lame “Sheridan has to fence off sexual advances?” subplot? Instead of such episodes as Dust to Dust (superb and important in all its storylines – G’Kar hits rock bottom and has an epiphany here, and it’s the first Bester episode that breaks with the “Bester comes to the Station, is foiled in evil plan” formula and uses him as a wild card instead)?

Season 4: No argument about Into the Fire, but at the very least one more of the six episodes early on that conclude the Shadow War - my choice would be either Falling Towards Apotheosis (for the intense Londo and G’Kar on Centauri Prime scenes and Sheridan moving against Kosh II on the station) or The Long Night (VIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRR! Seriously, though, one of the best Centauri episodes ever).

As for the second half of the season, while Between the Darkness and the Light and Endgame are good episodes to wrap up the Earth Civil War storyline, I’d go with Face of the Enemy above either, for the way it brings the Telepath storyline to a head, answers the season long “what happened to Mr. Garibaldi?” question and delivers arguably Jerry Doyle’s best performance on the show, and in an entirely silent (for him) sequence, too. (Oh, yeah, and something important happens to Sheridan, too, she says evilly.) Lastly, why none of the Minbari episodes? I’d pick Moments of Transition for the powerful ending of the Minbari Civil War and Neroon’s story, plus that one also has the great Bester and Lyta subplot.

Season 5: No, no, no. You do not pick only Objects at Rest and Sleeping in Light. I mean, again, Sleeping in Light is a given, but Objects at Rest isn’t even that good, it’s merely okay; the Lennier stuff is done clumsily. Whereas The Fall of Centauri Prime is painful perfection, and again, any “Best of B5” list which doesn’t have it on it is just plain wrong. And you could do worse than list Day of the Dead (aka the Neil Gaiman one, for my money the best non-JMS written one of the show, though I also have a huge soft spot for season 2’s Soul Mates because of Timov), which manages to be funny and poignant at the same time, brings back the past and also fleshes out a character in the present (Lochley). Also, I’d include The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father as the one episode which successfully attempts to depict station events from an antagonist pov; the s2 journalist episode tried this but suffers from “but how can you be mean to Delenn?” syndrome, and of course the s3 journalist episode has them as evil propagandists.
selenak: (LondoGkar)
2016-01-06 06:36 pm

January Meme: (Some) Plot twists which genuinely surprised me, and what made them work

Obviously more of them in days past when I was less genre wise, starting with the granddaddy of pop culture plot twists, so to speak: when I was a wee [personal profile] selenak sitting in the cinema and hearing Darth Vader say "Obi-Wan never told you the truth about your father, did he?", I had no idea. I also thought that was a fantastic twist and never doubted it for a second. Only a few years ago did I learn some viewers thought Vader was lying until Return of the Jedi was released, because Obi-Wan = hero and Vader = villain. That never occurred to me. Once I heard it, it suddenly made so much sense, put a whole new light on everything and galvanized my interest into the whole Star Wars saga to no end. The equation for young me was simple. Hero avenges dead father whom the audience has never met and hence doesn't care for on villain in their eventual showdown which of course the hero will win = predictable and boring. Dead father is not dead but villain himself? Previously ultra good dead mentor a liar about a key fact? INTERESTING.

Of course, that particular plot twist was so often repeated in other media and is now so well known that new watchers can't ever experienc e it in the same way. (It's good to have been born in 1969, sometimes.) Let's talk about some lesser known twists which still surprised somewhat older (but unspoiled) me in a good way.

Twisty spoilers for Alias, Farscape, Babylon 5 and The Sixth Sense )

The other days
selenak: (Jimmy and Kim)
2015-12-19 04:11 pm

End of Fannish Year Meme

1. Your main fandom of the year?

I remain a multifandom woman. This year I said goodbye to some of my favourite shows, found several news ones , and maintained old attachments. Perhaps The Americans was one where I joined in the most discussions?


2. Your favourite film watched this year?

Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer ("The People vs Fritz Bauer"), about an amazing rl person, Fritz Bauer, German-Jewish, Social Democrat, gay, tries to get justice done against Nazis in 1950s and 1960s Germany where everyone is still in denial mode, and being gay is still illegal. Burkhart Klaußner is amazing in the title role. (And the movie is gutsy enough to open with a tv clip showing the real Fritz Bauer before we get introduced to Klaußner in the role, and there's no suspension of disbelief necessary.


3. Your favourite book read this year?

I did a lot of rereading of old favourites this year, but leaving those aside, probably Wind Raker, the fourth volume in the "Order of the Air" series by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott. This time, our heroes tackle archaeology, mystical dark forces and real life politics in Hawaii.


4. Your favourite TV show of the year?

Difficult to choose. The one which most surprised me by how much I fell in love with it was Better Call Saul. Because I had started to watch it solely because of the earned trust in the creative team from Breaking Bad; I didn't exactly burn with curiosity about Saul Goodman's origin story, Saul Goodman having been an amusing comic relief character in BB about whom I had no strong feelings one way or the other. But lo and behold, did I ever develop strong feelings for Jimmy McGill. Who is still funny (they'd never waste Bob Odenkirk's comedic talents), but also absolutely heartbreaking and incredibly endearing. And I like the ensemble, and the various complex relationships - Jimmy and Chuck, Jimmy and Kim (LOVE Kim, especially), Jimmy and Howard Hamlin, and, as a work in progress, Jimmy and Mike.

Now both Agent Carter and Jessica Jones I had hoped and expected to love (both the shows and the title characters), and so I did, so there wasn't the same element of surprise involved. The Americans had a painfully good third season and continues to feed my rage and award juries which ignore it. Bates Motel: ditto. Elementary gave me a great third season and while I'm not yet feeling the same level in the fourth, it still provides me with enough so I continue to love it. Doctor Who, after a lull in my fannish investment during the Eleventh Doctor era, made me fall for the Twelth Doctor, Clara Oswald and friends (and foes) all over again.

But really, in terms of "When did fondness become love? I must convert more people to watch this show, let me write that manifesto!", there can be only one choice: Black Sails. Dammit, pirates, how could I fall for you so hard!


5. Your favourite online fandom community of the year?

[community profile] theamericans, which I've shamefully neglected in recent months due to various matters. Must become better again when the new season starts!


6. Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Black Sails I started last year, and Agent Carter and Jessica Jones weren't exactly new discoveries because I knew some of the characters of the former already via the MCU, and was familiar with the source material of the later. Better Call Saul was a spin-off from a show I was familiar with. So I shall look to one of my oldest fandoms, historical novels, and nominate [profile] sonetka's wonderful website with its witty and thorough overview of novels starring Anne Boleyn, The head that launched a thousand books.

7. Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Once upon a Time, season 4, rivals with The Good Wife, season 6, for the title; The Good Wife wins, barely. I drew the consequences and quit both shows.


8. Your TV boyfriend of the year?

There are about a million reasons why dating Saul Goodman would be a bad idea, but Jimmy McGill, post-Slippin Jimmy, pre-Saul days? In a heartbeat. He's a movie buff, he's funny, he's kind, and he'd even into providing free pedicure for the work stressed woman.

9. Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Peggy Carter. Me and a million other people. But: Peggy! She's ultra competent, she's loyal, she has the art of sarcasm down to a t, she can love deeply without becoming all about one person, instead valuing other relationships as well, and she's gorgeous.

10. Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Norma Bates invites family and friends for supper in 3.07, ominously titled The Last Supper. But in fact it's as fluffy as any scene on this show could get... considering that two characters at the table have deeply traumatic rape history (with each other), another character is a budding serial killer, another is a corrupt cop, one is a profession drug smuggler with gigantic mommy issues, one is Norma Bates who is, well, Norma, and the only nonviolent, non-traumatized, non-trauma causing, nice and normal person on the table, Emma, has an illness which condems her to die in her 20s. And yet this manages to be an absolutely heartwarming, squee worthy moment. This show, I tell you.


11. The most missed of your old fandoms?

The Babylon 5 community has started a series review, but I just don't have the time right now. The recent silly (nothing wrong with that, but it was) trailer for the next Star Trek Reboot movie also made me nostalgic for my Trek, and for ye olde days of discussing DS9 episodes and themes at [profile] ds9agogo.

12. The fandom you haven’t tried yet, but want to?

I'm currently eying How to get away with Murder. Maybe I'll also dare the Hamilton juggernaut.

13. Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?

Bryan Fuller's version of American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman's novel (which I love). Season 2 of Agent Carter, season 4 of The Americans, season 3 of Black Sails, season 4 of Bates Motel (definitely); season 2 of Better Call Saul (hopefully).
selenak: (LondoGkar)
2015-11-07 08:41 am

Round of Recs

Babylon 5:

A Good Death: G'Kar and Londo, after. It reminds me how much I love the two of them in the best way. (Time shall not wither, etc.; just because I don't talk much about B5 these days doesn't mean I adore it and its characters any less.)


MCU:

Wolf Like Me: Natasha character vid using all her appearances in the MCU to draw a fantastic portrait.


And to finish this round of links with something hilarious:

The Hunger Games:

The Hunger Games Trilogy if Percy Jackson had named the chapters: you don't have to be familiar with the Percy Jackson series (I wasn't) to find this a riot. (Hunger Games movie only people, otoh, should probably stay away from the last third of chapter titles, since even in their parodied form, they contain spoilers.)
selenak: (The Doctor by Principiah Oh)
2015-07-02 06:22 am

Star Trek Meme: Day 27

Day 27 - What would you cross over with Star Trek?

Somewhat late, because I was away from any internet yesterday until late at night, but here we go. Well, considering I've already written the crossovers in question, obviously I would cross over Star Trek with Torchwood and Doctor Who, just Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.

The advantage with Doctor Who especially is that between all the various Doctors and companions on the one hand, and all the various incarnations of Star Trek on the other, you have such a rich, infinite variety of combinations for encounters to choose from, so the two DW crossovers certainly won't be my last. It's also the crossover that's currently do-able on screen, technically (if the BBC and whoever owns Paramount now - Sony? - could ever come to licence terms), and I dimly seem to recall that there was a fannish rumor in the RTD era that a plan for such a crossover existed.

But an on screen encounter would probably not include the character interaction I'm interested in, so never mind that, and let's stay hypothetical and fanfiction minded entirely. Since time travel exists in the Star Trek universe, you can even cross it over with historical fandoms. (Fandoms with immortal characters can bring these into the ST future, of course.) So basically there's no fandom I wouldn't cross over with Star Trek. Infinite variety in infinite combinations, after all.

The other days )
selenak: (Londo and Vir by Ruuger)
2015-01-07 08:10 pm

And for that, I still envy you

First world problems: no Good Wife or Agent Carter yet for me (come through, Itunes, come through!). Also Darth Real Life keeps me really busy these days. Still, I have had an unexpected attack of Vir (from Babylon 5) feelings. He really is one of the most endearing characters ever, and one of the few where the balance between loyalty/friendship and individual conscience works just perfectly for me. Vir's affection for Londo at no point means he accepts Londo's rationalizations for wrongness. And he doesn't just have scruples, he does something about this (as in: actively helping, see Abramo Lincolni). Conversely, he never gives up on Londo, and imo that's a big part of why many a viewer doesn't, either. And lastly, the fact that it's Vir who makes Londo finally turn around and face himself/his deeds/G'Kar in The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari is possibly my favourite part in my favourite dream episode: "I'd miss you." "And I suppose I would miss you", and he turns around; still one of my favourite examples of two characters saying "I love you" without using these words.

In another fandom entirely: Neat article by Russell T. Davies and Aidan Gillen on the creation of QUEER AS FOLK.
selenak: (Ellen by Nyuszi)
2014-12-28 07:14 am

December Talking Meme: Top Ten Favourite Vids

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: (Shadows - Saava)
2014-12-17 10:25 am

December Talking Meme: Babylon 5's biggest weaknesses (Doylist, Watsonian or both)

Disclaimer: I love Babylon 5. It's one of my two adored space station shows, it was my first non-Trek sci fi tv fandom, it contains some of my most beloved characters in any fandom of all time, and I think it still holds up as one of the most amazing things pulled off on tv. With all this in mind....

...yes, absolutely, of course it has weaknesses. Tiny ones and big ones. One of them is also one of its strengths: JMS deciding to write all the episodes from mid season 2 onwards. On the plus side, this makes for a consistent vision and even more consistent character voices. If you look at some of the s1 episodes, say, D.C. Fontana's, they're perfectly satifactorly sci fi tv by themselves, but they could take place in any 'verse, the aliens are, that one scene between Londo and Vir in the garden (which was inserted by JMS) aside, pretty generic. Whereas even a weak episode in later seasons couldn't take place anywhere else but B5. However, if you have solely one scriptwriter for three and a half full tv scenes, not only does this cause stuff like Grey 17 is missing, which he later admitted he doesn't even have clear memories of writing in sickness and exhaustion, but, more seriously (because every show, no many how writers are employed, has the occasional weak episode), it means that there are no other "voices", so to speak, to balance issues the main writer has which are not beneficial to the story he's trying to tell.

(Sidenote: it also means JMS' flair for metaphorical speechifying is given full reign, which also can be a virtue and a flaw at the same time. At its best, you get G'Kar. At its worst, you get Byron.)

In Babylon 5's case: JMS' fondness of the Great Man view of history. Which definitely isn't solely to be found in the season 4 finale, though it's spelled out most clearly and textually there. Now from a storytelling pov, I favour extraordinary individuals as well, and remember some history lessons made very dull indeed for teenagers with all the insistence on market forces. (Sorry, Marx.) But it's more than that in the JMS case, and the reason why this becomes increasingly a problem with the human and Minbari storylines is that he's simultanously trying to tell a modern story and a Tolkien-esque epic. If he'd gone for the purely Tolkien approach, it wouldn't be a problem. It would be a very conservative story, but that doesn't say anything about strength or weakness. When Aragon becomes King in Return of the King, the novel, this is not a problem for anyone (except Denethor, and Denethor is about to go mad anyway and certainly not representative of the people). There is never any question will be Aragon would be a good king, a mediocre king or a bad king, whether the people of Gondor would agree with his decisions - he's the heir of Isildur who has proven himself in hardship, exile and battle, he's restoring the realm, it's a happy ending for both Aragon and Gondor. Which fits the type of novel we're in. (For the film versions, Jackson, Boyens and Walsh changed this somewhat because their Aragon has an ongoing learning process about kingship, whether he wants it, whether he'll be worthy of it, what the long term consequences are as demonstrated by the rulers he meets like Theoden, etc, which is a reflection of a different narrative approach in a different time.) But Babylon 5 can't simply let Sheridan become king and Delenn queen. Not a story which in its first three seasons shows a democratic human society turning fascist and positions its heroes against this development, which is a story very much born out of the experience of the 20th century. Sheridan isn't anyone's heir. He's a military officer who at some point decides he can't in good conscience continue to serve an increasingly unjust regime, and also can't simply stay apart, but has to act actively against it. Which is a good story to tell. But unfortunately, it doesn't demand Sheridan-as-ruler-of-the-realm at the end of it. This is still where JMS wants to go, though, so Sheridan becomes President, only without the messy bother of campaigns, debates, compromises and elections that go with the democratic process; he becomes President with an offstage sleight of hand.

Then, because season 4 and season 5 have the problem of being written first with the fear there would not be a fifth season in the case of the former and then with the need to produce fillers to stretch out what was originally planend to fill only half a season in the case of the later, we actually get to see him being President. And he's not a good one, which would be less of a problem if the narrative didn't claim he was. Now, rebels are always easier to write as sympathetic than people in power, which probably is why Sheridan wasn't originally planned to get the presidential job until mid season 5. But leaving the s4/s5 network caused writing problem aside, he was always supposed to be President, and a good one; the closest thing to the fantasy ending of the hero becoming king and restoring the realm. Except any head of a democratic government has to put up with opposition, arguing and the need for compromises. And this is where JMS' fondness for the great man theory of history becomes problematic. Anyone criticial to Sheridan-as-President is written as just plain wrong, egotastic or unworthy, like the historians in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars. Why? Because "John Sheridan was a good man" and a great one, as an aged Delenn says. Yes, but what has that to do with him being a good President, or not? Sorry, but history is full of people with personal virtues who really sucked at governning. And the thing is, Sheridan doesn't come across as an effective politician at all during the year the show has where it has to show him in office. His decision to offer Byron's telepaths sanctuary backfires badly, and he's telling Lochley to fix it without offering any solutions himself. He's unable to keep the Alliance from going after the Centauri after the succesful Drakh framing. (He's also mysteriously unable what he learned from his trip into the future re: Londo and Centauri Prime, but that's a plot hole which has nothing to do with him as President.) The rueful observation he makes about war and peace in late s5 lampshades this a bit ("fight evil space dictators" simply is a far easier narrative to sell than "attempt to keep the peace"), but that doesn't help the basic problem of Sheridan being an uneffective leader while the narrative insists he's a great one, and has him being fanboyed in the worst tell not show way.

This, mind you, did not come out of nowhere. It's simply more glaringly obvious because Sheridan can no longer claim underdog/rebel status. The s2 episode where ISN (still the democratic ISN, not the Clark controlled one of later season 3) does a special on Babylon 5 is a case in point, because we're clearly meant to sympathize with Delenn crying and not with the reporter making her cry who dares to ask whether Delenn had considered that her turning half human could be perceived as an insult by a humanity who very nearly got wiped out in the Earth/Minbari war. Why? Because Delenn is a Great Woman Of History, the way Sheridan is a Great Man. We the audience know Delenn meant her physical alteration to act as a bridge between two enemies (and we later learn also about the atonment aspect there, given her culpability in the war), we know she keeps working for peace because we've seen her do it. But the reporter hasn't, and her question is absolutely valid. If you were a human and had lost people in the war, why would you perceive one of your former enemies becoming physically like you as something that "acts as a bridge"? Wouldn't it look rather patronizing at best? (As it implies becoming human is a sacrifice.) Insulting at worst? (As a perpetrator, claiming belonging to who you very nearly genocided is... leaving real life examples aside because I so do not want to go there, well, just imagine how G'Kar would have taken it with Londo for some reason had decided to dress up as a Narn.) And yet the reporter is positioned as ignorant and insulting here, while Delenn is the Wronged Heroine.

Now, there are several narrative alternatives I could think of to fix this, but they all involve ditching the idea of Sheridan as a peacetime leader altogether, and definitely ditching the idea of him and Delenn alternating as Presidents and leader of the Rangers in the twenty years following Objects at Rest and before Sleeping in Light. (This works in dressed up current day dictatorships, not democracies.) . The most radical would be to leave him dead after Z'ha'dum - as I've mentioned before, this is where his personal development stops anyway, and Delenn and Ivanova could have divided his narrative functions between them for the reminder of the show. But alternate suggestions isn't what the prompt is really about.

Because Babylon 5 is an ensemble story, a rich tapestry woven of several storylines, it doesn't stand or fall on the success of the Sheridan tale. (As mentioned many a time before, I'm a Centauri and Narn fangirl here, though I do like most of the other storylines as well.) But it is telling that while a part of B5 online fandom made Bush/President Clark comparisons during the Dubya years, JMS was stunned to learn that Bush himself was supposedly a Babylon 5 fan. Identifying himself with of course not with Clark, but with Sheridan. A great man's gotta do what a great man's gotta do, and if some idiots can't see it... Well.

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
selenak: (Shadows - Saava)
2014-08-08 06:20 am
Entry tags:

Do not go to Z'ha'dum

Babylon 5 movie reboot?? My first instinctive reaction was a massive DO NOT WANT. Not because I can envision the roles only played by the original actors, btw. I mean, right now I can't imagine anyone matching Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas and Stephen Furst as Londo, G'Kar and Vir, but do I know every actor ever? No, I don't. And I've often been pleasantly surprised by actors rising to occasions and alternate interpretations, etc.

However, and this is crucial: I really don't think the B5 concept is suitable for a movie. At all. Star Trek movies are tricky enough and rarely succeed because the movies all insist on a conventional "let's defeat the big bad" plot which was never what anyone watched the tv shows for. But what made B5 so innovative back in the day and what really remains key to its greatness was that it really was a five years novel developing on screen. Long before shows like The Wire did it. B5 was the arc show to end all arc shows. And you were expected to keep up. When, in season 3, a two parter like War Without End revealed some key plot points, you were expected to remember the episode Babylon Squared from season 1 where these were first set up as well as all the other developments since then that had taken place. There was no "last time on Babylon 5" to help you out. What made B5 great was the character developing over years; what made it unique were the Londo and G'Kar arcs. And you can't do those in two hours. You just can't. Sheridan? Sure. Delenn? You'd probably lose the changing relationship to Neroon and the entirety of Lennier beyond "loyal sidekick", but you could do Delenn in two hours, too. You could simplify the Shadow War into: "Earth officer, veteran from war, rebels against Earth going fascist and teams up with ambassador from former enemy to fight against creepy spider aliens". But that was never what B5 was about to me. (And loses the "Vorlons and Shadows are both rotten" that distinguishes the Shadow War storyline from its obvious LotR precedent and just about every good versus evil fantasy war ever.)

I know I'm a hopeless Centauriphile, but surely you don't have to be to regard Londo's arc as the absolute key to the show? And again: Londo and G'Kar going from arch enemies to friends in a subplot (because a movie is bound to focus on the human characters) in two hours just can't be done with anything like the same emotional weight, let alone G'Kar going from crafty ruthless ambassador/former guerilla fighter to enlightened sage, Londo going from comic relief with melancholic moments to villain to anti hero to hero. And Vir! A movie probably would end up giving him only a sentence or two, and thus there would not be the heartbreaking loveable everyman (everyCentauri?) hero whose conscience and loyalty are so important.

Also: the B5 tv movies aren't exactly confidence inspiring when it comes to JMS and B5 film scripts. (Otoh, JMS can write a standalone movie script per se - I liked the one for Angelina Jolie as a mother who is given a child not her son.) They're not as bad as some fans would have it, but they certainly, none of them, reach the level of the show at its best. An episode like The Coming of Shadows justly won the Hugo. Even the best of the B5 tv movies, In the Beginning, wouldn't have had a shot. (Not least because In the Beginning really relies on you knowing the show for the emotional pay off.)

In conclusion: DO NOT WANT. Would rather JMS writes something not B5, something new, to amaze and astonish.
selenak: (Shadows - Saava)
2014-04-21 08:39 am
Entry tags:

B5 rec

Easter holidays with the family have been lovely so far, lots of sunshine except for Friday, hence also lots of hiking through the Franconian scenery. However, the APs are having computer troubles, which means my only internet connection is via my trusty Ipad, which means certain tv will have to wait until I'm back in Munich (which I will be tonight). (Except for Orphan Black, which is now up at Itunes and hence accessible to yours truly. Will be reporting anon.)

This also means I don't dare to go on twitter or facebook for their horrible spoileriness and only very carefully on lj. Once upon a Time especially is something I want to watch sans spoiler. However, there is always fanfic from closed canons, like this wonderful Londo (& G'Kar, Vir, Delenn, Timov) Babylon 5 story. Among many other things, it illustrates why I'm glad B5 didn't end with s4 plus Sleeping in Light, not despite but because Londo is my favourite character. Yes, Londo is in an apparantly good place at the end of s4. But it's one of denial. He hasn't confronted what he did yet, not really. This story bridges the time between Rising Star and The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari in s5, and builds up to the confrontation of his past and responsibility that starts there.

My Graceless Heart (5775 words) by Amatara
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Londo Mollari, G'Kar, Vir Cotto, Timov, Delenn
Additional Tags: Angst, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort, Heart Attacks, Guilt, Destiny
Summary:

Five conversations Londo had in the days before his heart attack, without seeing the warning signs.

selenak: (Shadows - Saava)
2013-12-03 03:27 pm
Entry tags:

December Talking Meme: Babylon 5's Third Season

Okay, the one where Ivanova gets to do the credits monologue, Delenn has her most famous scene of the show, Sheridan decides he and the entire command crew need a fashion makeover as far as their uniforms are concerned and my guys Londo and G'Kar hit at different points rock bottom, which leads to great things in season 4.

In case there are some B5 newbies finding this entry, I shall now employ a spoiler cut )
selenak: (Emma Swan by Hbics)
2013-11-30 09:17 am

Fictional rapists and the fannish problem they pose

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: (LondoGkar)
2013-09-09 09:04 am

Multi fandom recs

I just saw that TV Tropes also does fanfic recs, and was both pleased and amused that a story of mine made the cut, to wit, In the Pale Moonlight, which got recced in the Babylon 5 section, subsection shipper fic. (Um, I suppose you could call it that? In a unrequited type mindmessing type of way? Since it's about Cartagia and Londo.) The reccer spotted my shameless theft of one of Oscar Wilde's aphorisms for Londo's dialogue, and gratifyingly declares this to be IC for Londo.

Anyway, the great thing about discovering a whole new set of fanfic recs is of course following said recs, which is how I found a short, intense and sublime Once Upon A Time story about what it was like for Henry to grow up in Storybrooke:

Growing Pains (1152 words) by Malteaser
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Once Upon a Time (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Henry Mills, Evil Queen | Regina Mills, Jiminy Cricket | Archibald 'Archie' Hopper
Additional Tags: Family, Dysfunctional Family, Family Secrets, Angst, Growing Up
Summary:

Henry Mills grows up in Storybrooke. He's the only one.



Comes in particularly handy when you think, as I admit I sometimes did during originally watching s1 (but not upon rewatching with the whole of canon in mind!) that Henry gives Regina a hard time during the first season. He had reason. Did he ever.


Not courtesy of TV Tropes but spotted by yours truly on the net yesterday were these two gems:


X-Men Movieverse:

Repentance (4526 words) by zandperl
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men (Movieverse), X-Men (Movies), X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr
Additional Tags: Introspection
Summary:

Post-Cure Erik Lehnsherr alternates days playing chess in Central Park and doing chores, except for on the Sabbath. When he makes a new friend who reminds him of an old friend, he realizes the meaning of the Ten Days.



XMFC brought an onslaught of new Charles/Erik stories, but not only did these tend to be more and more AUs with ever more unrecognizable characterisation, they made me miss stories about the older versions of these characters, the Stewart and McKellen shaped ones who first won my heart. So I was very happy to find this one, which manages to use all the movieverse canon and also explores Erik Lehnsherr's Jewish heritage beyond the Holocaust.

Babylon 5:

Drink Deep (3194 words) by Amatara
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: G'Kar/Londo Mollari
Characters: Londo Mollari, G'Kar, Vir Cotto
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Drunkenness, Awkward Conversations
Summary:

G'Kar struggles with his sudden status as a religious icon, and Londo realizes he can take some lessons from Vir in how to handle melancholy drunks. Missing scene for the season 5 episode "The Ragged Edge".



There are too few stories exploring G'Kar dealing with both the realisation his religous icon status separated him from his people, the long term effects of the Centauri Occuspation and with what happened to Na'Toth, not to mention what his relationship with Londo turned into. This story tackles it in a short but poignant manner.
selenak: (Timov - Muffinmonster)
2013-08-10 04:43 pm
Entry tags:

Babylon 5 fanfic rec

A compelling new story about my all time favourite one episode only (why? oh why?) character from Babylon 5, Timov:

Et Amo (2745 words) by Amatara
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Londo Mollari/Timov
Characters: Londo Mollari, Timov, Vir Cotto
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Angst, Snark
Summary:

With Cartagia dead and the Shadows and Vorlons gone, Londo and Vir visit Timov just before their return to Babylon 5. Missing scene for the season 4 episode Into the Fire.

selenak: (Cora by Uponyourshore)
2013-05-26 05:44 pm

If I were Likeadeuce, I'd have a Springsteen quote for this post, but...

You know what I gave my Aged Parents for Christmas? Tickets for tonight's Bruce Springsteen concert in Munich. On the reasonable assumption at a concert at the end of May would have, if not nice weather, than somewhat warm weather.

It's rainining cats and dogs, and 5° Centigrade. The APs and self shall try to brave the Olympiastadion nonetheless for Mr. Springsteen, but if it turns out our part of the seats doesn't fall among the ones that are covered, we're out of there.

Meanwhile, links:

Once upon a time:

Twenty-Eight Years: the one repeating day for Cora and Killian Jones, aka Hook. Beautifully written and intense.

Babylon 5:

At a convention, JMS doesn't only share some hilarious Londo and G'Kar related anecdotes (of course the rest of the cast and himself arranged to be around when their intense scenes were filmed!) but also the deeply moving story of why Michael O'Hare really left, necessitating Sinclair being written out. It's not anything that was speculated before and makes me respect the actor all the more.
selenak: (The Doctor by Principiah Oh)
2013-05-13 07:22 am

Doctor Who A Nightmare in Silver

In which I agree with what seems to have been the above cut lj consensus: not as good as The Doctor's Wife, but a fun adventure.

Am I the only one paying attention? )