Disclaimer: I don’t read the comics. The only BTVS canon for me is the tv canon. So whatever issues you may have with the comics aren’t relevant to how I see the characters; pray bring them up elsewhere.

Dawn was controversial from the get go – both as a character and as a concept - , and from what I hear she still gets complained about in some fannish quarters. Now it’s been a while since my last BTVS rewatch, but I still remember Dawn fondly, and a big reason for this is that the Buffy and Dawn relationship spoke to me from the get go.

Spoilery thoughts ensue )

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Mine depends somewhat on the length of text I intend to write. But for the most part, it works like this: 1 Glimmer of an idea, 2) research. Not always: very rarely, I've written in direct response to an episode I just watched, and thus there was no lengthy pondering and no research.

But in most cases, I tend to mull over the ideas I have, to do research which sometimes adds new direction - be that research in the sense of canon rewatching/rereading or research in the sense of finding out background facts -, and to let the ideas grow. Sometmes, not often, but sometimes, I talk about these ideas with other people. (This was most recently the case with one of my two Yuletide stories.) Generally I like to work on my own until I've done a first draft, but it can be both necessary and profitable to bounce ideas off someone.

Once I've pondered, let the ideas grow into somthing more, have done my research etc., I write the story. Read it through on my own. And go off in search of that most invaluable of writer's help, a beta-reader. Seriously: whether you're a newbie who has just completed her first story, or a veteran of decades, beta readers always help. (I don't always have them, granted, but that's more an availability and fandom knowledge question.) In the case of my fanfiction, there's an additionional reason, to wit, English isn't my native language, and while I'm reasonably fluent I still make mistakes now and then, especially in the written form.

I have the rough outline of a story in my head before I start to write them - i.e. I know what will happen to the main characters, where I want to go with them. Something I've never experienced was to start writing with no idea of how a story would end. Otoh it does happen that supporting characters (supporting in my story, not nessarily in their original canon) suprise, in the sense that I had no specific ideas about them in mind when starting to write beyond some vague awareness they would show up, and then they suddenly get a key scene or two, if it's a longer story.

Writers' block: also sometimes happens. In which case my usual method of dealing is to write something else, or nothing at all: I can't write half heartedly. But sometimes working on another project clears your head and emotional cluster, I've found.

Writing, technically: I type. My first few stories, as a teenager, were written by hand because I'm that old, and I switched to using computers and type my tales when I was 19-ish. Also: I need quiet. Music can be a good way to relax between writing sessions, but not during, not for me. It distracts me. And speaking of distractions: I don't care much where I'm writing, i.e. at home or in a hotel room, as long as it's quiet and I have any research material I might need to recheck available. But people and phonecalls can be serious distractions wherever I am.

December Talking Meme: the other days
...well, I'd be pretty proud of myself for having a hit show in its sixth season firing on all thrusters, for starters. No, but seriously, I do have some complaints but generally I'm in awere of what The Good Wife pulls off and continues to pull off. Stll, in the spirit of the prompt, and hidden under a spoiler cut so that readers who are one or several seasons behind are safe if they choose to be:

Spoilers have to do with moving in many ways )


December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Firstly: I'm unspoiled, other than having watched the trailers, and would very much like to remain so. I'm not even reading interviews for that reason. So please do not tell me anything.

With that in mind, let's see. In no particular order:

- obviously, Clint needs some fleshing out beyond his relationship with Natasha (which I enjoy!), due to spending most of the last film possessed. Bonus point if this includes at least one chat with Thor, not least because they're bound to have different takes on Loki, given events in Thor: The Dark World and yet Thor knows very well Clint is one of Loki's victims.

- continuation of Natasha's old and new friendships (Clint, Steve) and of the what-do-we-call-it relationship with Bruce; given that Natasha has just outed herself (and everyone else) to the world, which is a completely new state for her, I'm curious to learn how it affects her, and whether some of her own debts in that ledger have come to haunt her; scenes with Maria Hill and Wanda would be lovely.

- Tony exited Iron Man III in a very good state, as well adjusted as we've ever seen him. Since well adjusted Tony Stark does not provide drama (or snark), I don't expect it to last, but I hope whatever happens will come across as emotionally logical, and also that it won't negate the things he did learn over the course of four films.

- speaking of Tony, more Science Bros. That was a lovely and unexpected Whedonian invention in the last Avengers, and no matter whether it comes across as Bruce & Tony or Bruce/Tony, I want more of it. Incidentally, this can by all means include arguments on the ethics of inventions. [personal profile] lettered wrote some fantastic stories in which they have very different takes, which makes sense.

- Thor as of The Dark World has decided he never wants to be king, full stop, and has just started a new life on Midgard. Maybe he finds the every day reality not as easy a change from Asgard and being a prince as he thought? (Yes, he had a depowered taste of that in Thor I, but that was only a short while and very different circumstances.) Also, he doesn't really know any of the other Avengers yet, so I'd like some relationships to form.

- The twins: as we don't know yet what Joss' take on Wanda and Pietro will be like, beyond some educated guesses based on favourite Whedonian tropes, I can't wish for specifics there, or which Avengers they'll interact with most. I'm curious to find out, though!

- we need a logical explanation why Steve is interrupting his Quest For Bucky, but actually I don't think that will be too hard to come by; saving the world always comes first with him. As I mentioned with Natasha, I'd like more of their friendship. Also, a scene with Rhodey would be great, since movieverse Rhodey is among other things quite what Steve Rogers, born in another time and without the serum, would be like, and I don't think Tony is aware of the irony.

- please, please, please no dead Maria Hill; the trailer with the scene where she's hanging out with the Avengers was lovely until I remembered Coulson got fleshed out in The Avengers from cypher to person, and look what happened next.


Other than that, I got nothing. Except that I'm very much looking forward to this movie.

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
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
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
(B)eside him on the settee was a brand which he had brought up in the shape of a slim, flame-like young woman with a pale, intense face, youthful, and yet so worn with sin and sorrow that one read the terrible years which had left their leprous mark upon her.

This is Arthur Conan Doyle's Kitty Winter, from the story The Adventure of the Illustrious Client. Kitty Winter in Elementary retains some of these elements - the intensity, her backstory containing the traumatic abuse by a man -, but since she's not living in Victorian times (or in our times surrounded by jerks), she's not regarded as "ruined" because of this. And so far, the way she deals with her backstory does not include vigilantism. Instead, she's channeling her anger and energy by being a detective in training.

Spoilers for the third season so far beneath the cut )

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
In a show with a premise that's essentially a fanfiction multicrossover and gleeful celebration of tropes and archetypes, both Victorian and current day, (Sir) Malcolm Murray (the show never says, but I'm assuming he got knighted for his explorations, as opposed to being born a baronet) owes his existence to several sources. For starters, he's Mina Murray's of Dracula fame OC father - I think both of Mina's parents are mentioned as dead in the novel, but it's been a while since I've read it so could be wrong. In any event, they don't show up. Like the most frowned upon OCs, Malcolm partially ursurps a canon character's role (gathering the vampire-fighting gang together is canonically Van Helsing's job), but for all that his family connection is with Dracula, the character himself is actually far more connected to another type of late Victorian sensational novel and reality. Think Allan Quatermain and Henry Rider Haggard. Malcolm is, among other things, a deconstruction/variation of the White Explorer, hero in Victorian times and mostly cast as villain in current day eyes.

it gets spoilery from this point onwards )

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
This list will be by necessity influenced by the problems I had with season 2 and thus go under a spoiler cut.

Spoilers want season three to be fabulous )
I first consciously noticed this one during The Miller's Daughter in season 2, but it's impossible to talk about without spoilers, and thus I shall employ the protective cut post haste.

Spoilers, spoilers on the wall )
Or, as [personal profile] lonelywalker put it, "what media/fandom things are you looking forward to in 2015"? Let's see which ones I know about....

Penny Dreadful, season 2: yes, please! More Gothic crossover with interestingly messed up people and Victorian costumes. Bring on the Helen McCrory season, I say.

Related through the main writer, John Logan: the next Bond movie, Spectre. Yes, I'm going to miss Dench!M dreadfully, but I do look forward to more Craig!Bond, more Eve, am curious about how the relationship of both to Mallory will be, Lea Seydoux is always good to see and she'll be in it, and I'm sure Christoph Waltz is going to have fun as the main villain. (Given the title of the movie and which organisation it means in Bondlore, will he be Blofeld?) I'd also like to have Felix Leiter back, Mr. Logan, sir.

The Americans, season 3: talking about spies, I just saw the first proper trailer, and yes, so much looking forward to this.

Agent Carter, the miniseries: bring on Peggy in the late 40s and early 50s! Now I suspect canon, while including some moral ambiguities, will avoid the heart of darkness that is the MCU equivalent to the rl Operation Paperclip and we won't get an episode where Peggy rationalizes herself into hiring Armin Zola for SHIELD, but that's what fanfiction is there fore, and mainly I just hope for some female centric spy shenanigans and celebration of the fact that life goes on and no, losing someone you loved doesn't mean angsting for the rest of your life is the only viable option.

Aka Jessica Jones: see earlier entry on Sunday, though I'm not sure they'll have the show ready by 2015, that wasn't mentioned. But hooray for Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones!

Avengers: Age of Ultron: bring on the bickering superheroes, now with not-allowed-to-be-called-mutant dysfunctional and intensely close twins! And may I manage to remain unspoiled until I watch it, which is increasingly difficult.

BBC filmed version of Wolf Hall and Bringing Up The Bodies: I had some nitpicks about the books, but by and large, I found them impressive, and the casting is great, so chances are I'm going to enjoy the miniseries. Also, I'm curious whether the difference in media and thus the fact we're not solely confined to the point of view of him, Cromwell, will make for subtle or not so subtle differences in characterisation. (Doesn't mean I don't think he, Cromwell, makes for a fascinating pov to explore, and that's part of the book's allure because in the gazillion former Tudor fictions, he's never been the pov character before, but I do think Hilary Mantel is a bit too much in love with him, Cromwell, at times.) (And now I'll stop making fun of one of the novel's notorious mannerisms.)

Speaking of Hilary Mantel: I haven't heard whether or not she'll have the third part of the Cromwell saga finished and published in 2015, so I'm not sure whether I can list it, but if it does get published in 2015, I am very much looking forward to it. In a somewhat masochistic way, since she'll have to bring Mr. Supersecretary into that frame of mind who writes "most gracious prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy" from the Tower despite having better reason than most to know Henry won't listen.

Doctor Who season 9: definitely. As mentioned before, season 8 was my favourite Moffat season so far, and I look forward to more Twelth Doctor.


Things I might enjoy or might not, so am cautious but hopeful about:

- Better Call Saul. I didn't feel the need for a Breaking Bad spin off, and while Saul was a fun character I'm not burning with curiosity as to his backstory, but Vince Gilligan & creative staff have earned a lot of advance trust from me by now, so who knows?

- Orphan Black, season 3: I thought s2 had some sophomore season problems, but then so did s2 of Elementary. I do love the characters and the concept and the amazing actors, so I'm hoping for a great season 3, but at the same time, a bit concerned it might decline in quality.





December Talking Meme: The Other Days
I'm fond of most of the Old and New Who Companions, in varying degrees. But yes, I do have my favourites. And as far as New Who is concerned, Donna Noble is my absolute favourite, still. Which doesn't mean I don't like/love the others as well, or that I'm going for a "best of" title, because I think that's ridiculous. But she was and is the New Who Companion who resonated most with me.

This started during her first appearance, in the Christmas special The Runaway Bride. Now back then, reaction was mixed. Some, like me, liked Donna. Others complained she was too shrill, too shouty. (A commenter once told me this was entirely due to the first ten minutes of the special, one long slap stick and action sequence - during which, yes, both Donna and the Doctor shout. Which is followed by the wonderful quiet rooftop sequence, btw.) In any event, she was only a one time guest star, or so it seemed, until after the end of season 3 world got around Donna would be back. Given how popular she was by the time season 4 ended, and how great the outcry about the manner of her departure, it's worth remembering this was by no means greated by universal cheer (though I certainly cheered). The British SFX even called her "the most controversial companion since Bonnie Langford" (this was not a compliment), which mostly seemed to be biased on Catherine Tate's comedienne persona, and, once again, the idea of Donna in The Runaway Bride as "shrill. In retrospect, I suspect RTD might have anticipated this, because the first two episodes of s4 are showcases of Catherine Tate's range, from the superb comic timing in the season opener (the silent mimic scene between her and the Doctor being but one case in point, and who cares if RTD cribbed from himself in Casanova, where there's also a silent mimic scene between a David Tennant character and the female lead?) to the dramatic chops in Fires of Pompeii where she has to go to a place where she shares the responsibility for thousands of deaths with the Doctor? Mind you, the entire season 4 is a showcase for Catherine Tate's range, and the naysayers quickly grew silent. Today, sharing the Donna love is definitely a majority thing.

And it remains irresistable to me. Donna was the first New Who Companion neither a girl nor a young woman in her 20s, but at least in her 30s, and one with a figure unlike the slender models to come, which she was utterly comfortable with. (Her insecurities were about other things.) She was loud and brash, yes, and tended to voice what she felt immediately, whether it was joy or fear, compassion or dislike. She loved talking. Which didn't mean she wasn't also a good listener (ask Agatha Christie). She could be oblivious, and she could be insightful. While she had never had a steady job - something which definitely did belong in the insecurities department and contributed to the stressful relationship with her mother - , she was really creative in putting all those years as a temp to creative use everywhere in the galaxy.

And she made a wonderful friend. Part of it was the Tate 'n Tennant chemistry and timing with each other - these were definitely actors who just clicked in a best buddies way - but part was also the way the Doctor and Donna relationship was written from their first outing onwards. She wasn't interested in him romantically, or vice versa, which was a welcome first in New Who; whether arguments or hugs, she gave as good as she got. They were mates exploring the univese together, and I wished it would never end while constantly aware that Catherine Tate had only signed on for one season. The manner in wich it did end is its own controversy, which I have absolutely no desire to revive in a post meant to celebrate Donna. So I will only say this: after having watched Donna Noble be her wonderful self through 13 episodes and a special, I had no doubt she would continue to be extraordinary even with missing memories and on earth. I still don't. Because Donna? Is too vivacious, brave, compassionate, funny and too much plain alive to be anything else.


December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Disclaimer: I haven't had the chance to watch the latest OuaT episode yet, so please don't spoil me for it in the comments. Also, it's been years since I read the Potter saga, so any inaccuracy is due to memory failure, and I apologize in advance.

This said, I love this prompt. It's not an obvious comparison, but if you think about it, the two do have their parallels. (And contrasts, obviously.)

Which are spoilery for all of the Harry Potter novels and seasons 1- 4.10 of Once Upon a Time )




December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Naturally, the reply contains lots of spoilers for The Americans seasons 1 and 2. But none for season 3. I am unspoiled and would lilke to remain so, so if you know anything, don't tell me.

Spies like them )



December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Looking back at BSG with some distance: a couple both remarkable for what they aren't and for what they are, and still very unusual in any fandom. Let's start with what they aren't which will make it clear what I'm getting at. In the original Battlestar Galactica, Baltar is an unambiguous megalomaniac villain, selling humanity out for power to the Cylons, who are just as unambiguously bad. There is no Six; there is the discreetly named Lucifer, who is most certainly not in love with Baltar.

Spoilers for four seasons of reimangined Battlestar Galactica ensue )

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Among of its many virtues, Manhattan has this: enough female characters so that none of them has to bear the burden of being The Girl, i.e. the sole presentative of women in the narrative, whose actions and story are therefore read as somehow standing for the writers' opinions about all women, instead of simply the story of one particular woman. Liza Winters and Abby Isaacs are two of several, and thus each of their stories can be taken on its own value.

Their stories are of course spoilery for the first season of MANHATTAN )
Or, as the prompt puts it: My feelings about fandom - what originally drew me to it,what keeps me there, what turns me off.

While I've been fannish about certain books, writers, movies and tv shows - and some music - all my life, fandom was something I only discovered in my early 20s. Inevitably (for me) via Star Trek, which was going through a revitalization in the early 90s. TNG had taken off and after that awkward first season and a half had found its own voice. DS9 was either in the works or had already just debuted, I can't pinpoint the year and since I'm sitting in the train, googling it would take eons. The internet hadn't arrived yet (for me), so my very first convention - FedCon in Bonn, which even then was the biggest in Germany - was also the first time I met fellow Star Trek fans who were excited about the new show(s) instead of holding to the There Is Only One True Trek credo, and wanted to talk about the show(s) and characters. (Actually, this was the first time I met any other ST fans, full stop. In school, the only thing my classmates semed to talk about were the Neue Deutsche Welle musicians.) This was fabulous, especially for someone like me who had spent her adolescence having zilch idea how to interact with other people and had felt either awkward or bored or both at any type of social gathering. This was also where I got introduced to fanfiction, via fanzines, which I bought in fascination.

As the 90s progressed, I did get online, and thereby got introduced to another very appealing aspect of fandom: that shared enthusiasm for something could lead to discovering other tv shows/films/books as well. My first online fandom was Highlander, which led to befriending some fellow fans who were enthusiastic about some show with an incredibly hokey name called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and others who kept telling me about an old British tv show called Blake's 7. One fellow fan kept raving about this new Sci Fi show Farscappe Then there was the generosity of many fans: I remember [personal profile] kathyh sending me Buffy and Angel episodes on video from England (both shows were broadcast in Germany as well, but usually a year or two behind the American broadcast whereas the Britis got it only months later or simultanously, I can't remember which), [personal profile] watervole sending me a video of the old miniseries Morgan's Boy starring Gareth Thomas which since it wasn't available on sale anywhere I'd never have had the chance to watch otherwise. And the creativity that showed both via fanfiction - often comparing very favourably to the official tie-ins - and fan videos was inspiring. I got over my cold feet and started to experiment with writing stories in English. Finding out I could write fiction in a language not my own, just as I could debate in it, was another great feeling.

A lot of this still holds true as to what makes fandom - any fandom - appealing to me. Being able to share enthusiasm, learning about new things, debating, getting creative, enjoying the creativity of others. But participation in fandom also inevitably introduced me to its far less enjoyable sides. Highlander wasn't just my first online fandom, it was also my first experience with what was and is by no means unique to HL - double standards for male and female characters, fannish hatred, bashing and demonizing of one particular female character because she had the bad taste to have excellent cause to hate the most popular male character in the fandom. Discovering slash via those early ST fanzines had been exciting; discovering online that any woman perceived as "coming between them" (be it because she was the canonical love interest of either party or for some other reason) got a lot of fannish bile directed at her got more and more disconcerting. (This was already true for fictional characters who never existed. But good lord, when I started to get into Beatles fandom for real...)

In the last decade, another type of turn-off online fandom phenomenon became more and more apparant to me, which I guess is the shadow side of the ability to share enthusiasm and to rally to causes. It's the tendency to mass jump on virtual throats, complete with dealing exclusively in hyperboles (everything is "The Worst!"), often using social justice language to dress up what to me often looked like cyber bullying in a righteous robe. (The current cause celèbre Winterfox/Requires Hate is anything but new or unique in this regard.) Fandom seems to have an amazing capacity for hate as well as generosity and support, and there is an echo hall effect to both.

Being a multifandom person with fluctuating enthusiasms instead of a One True Fandom person means a larger area to evade both the bashing and the must-destroy-the-sinner types of hate, but one inevitably comes across both variants again sooner or later. And if fandom introduced me to some of the smarted, kindest and most creative people I've had the privilege to meet (either virtually or in rl), it also introduced me to some of the most unpleasant and vicious. Which I suppose reflects humanity, and did by no means only arrive with the internet. One famous 19th century theatre anecdote involves fans of one actor burning down the theatre of his rival, after all. I doubt this made other people quit the theatre altogether, and I can't imagine quitting fandom, either. But every now and then, I feel like backing off... with the knowledge that I will be back.



December Talking Meme: The Other Days
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! )
Prompt courtesy of [personal profile] londonkds, who was exposed to my Franconian-ness when I dragged him through Bamberg (which has seven hills, like Rome) on a really hot August day. It's a good question, she says, prevaricating.

When I was an idealistic teenager, I would have replied unhesitatingly: "World citizen". We have a long (as in: decades - as long as DW in Britain, almost) running pulp sci fi series in Germany, Perry Rhodan, and in the first few issues, written all the way back in the 1960s, the hero, after encountering a stranded alien vessel on the moon (this having been written pre-Neil Armstrong, he's the first human astronaut there), comes to the conclusion that bringing back the alien tech to the US in the middle of the Cold War would be a terrible mistake, as it would be to give it to any other individual nation, and that what's needed is to think in world citizen categories, pronto. I found that tremendously appealing when reading it in the mid 80s, when the early issues started to be republished in collected hardcover form. It it with that I believed - and mostly still believe: that dissolvement of borders is a good thing, as is multiculturalism, that elevating one nation above all others never is. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and believe me, we were taught about the ultimate vicious result of nationalism in our own country quite extensively. To the degree that when I first visited the US at age 14, smack in the middle of Reagan's reelection campaign, the ever present flags freaked me out to no end because I was conditioned to find so many displays of flags (no matter of which nation) extremely disturbing and worrying.

(Sidenote: flash forward a few decades later, and I've visited the US often enough to not notice all the flags anymore, but when I had the Aged Parents along three years ago - and they haven't been there as often - they still flinched.)

So in my ideal world, we'd have universal peace and no borders. That, btw, still hasn't changed. I think the climax of my optimism was 1989 and the years immediately after. The fall of the wall, end of the Iron Curtain. No more Cold War (and fear of a global nuclear armageddon - I don't think anyone who hasn't grown up with the threat of this understands what a relief this was). Approaching European unity. Surely, in another century or so, world unity was in sight?

Well, I grew older, and wars and nationalism everywhere made their comebacks with a vengeance, or maybe I just grew more aware. Back when the war in Bosnia started in the 90s, it was a terrible shock, among other things, because this was the first war on European soil since WWII, and there weren't supposed to be any more wars there, ever, and then the Serbian rethoric brought up a battle between Muslims and Christians from the middle ages, for God's sake, were they serious? They were. Not to mention that I became more aware of dictatorships in Africa, of how the First World still exploited the Third. And I thought: isn't it arrogant to define yourself as a citizen of the world when you live in privilege and safety and so much of the world doesn't? Doesn't this pretend equality with a great many people who live under horrible conditions and would laugh bitterly, at best, while they're being barred from as much as entering the continent you live on, let alone the country, while you can travel whereever you want?

On another note, and speaking of travelling, which I've always loved, still do and always will: it's odd of how it also makes you conscious of where you come from and how much this imprinted on you. Not just in the negative sense (i.e. embarrassment of other tourists talking in your own language and behaving boorishly, to use the most every day example), but also in the positive: I remember standing on St. Peter's Square in Rome on an Easter Sunday morning, surrounded by millions of people from nations all over the world, and getting a kick out of hearing voices talk behind me not just in German but specifically with an Upper Franconian accent, i.e. the very one they speak in my hometown. Which as it turned out they came from. They even knew one of my grandmothers. Had I met them in Bamberg, I wouldn't have cared, but during that time in Rome I was delighted. Evidently, it was and is in me, that instinct to feel a connection via language and a shared geographical background. And then there was that time when I was staying in Los Angeles and interviewing still surviving emigrés who'd left - had to leave to safe their lives - during the Third Reich. I always left it up to them which language they wanted to use with me, and it usually ended up as a mixture of German and English, switching back and forth mid sentence all the time. I was very conscious of both what we shared and what divided us: each and everyone of them had lost family due to the country we were all born in, several decades apart. When they talked in German, they still had traces of their regional accents - you could tell where they'd come from, from Berlin, the Rhineland, or the South, like me - and they had the same verbal idiosyncracies my grandparents did ("die Taxe" instead of "das Taxi", for example, or "das Trottoir", not "der Bürgersteig" for the boardwalk). But my grandparents, both the paternal and maternal ones, had stayed. Obviously. Neither of them ever claimed to have saved anyone. My maternal grandmother was a sweet and kind woman, but she also was your archetypical denialist - no, she'd never known anything. So were there Jews in your home village, Granny, before Hitler? Yes. Were there still any by the time the war had ended? No. So what did you think had happened to them? I thought they had all left. By contrast, my paternal grandmother, who'd worked in a hat store with a Jewish owner and thus had experienced the infamous shoutings (SA guys standing in front of the store and shouting at everyone who entered "Germans, fight back, don't buy from Jews"), boycotts, smeared windows and eventually broken windows right at the start of the Third Reich in a front row seat, and whose younger brother had been a soldier in Poland later, said yes, she'd known. Not the details or the full horrifying numbers, but the principle of the thing, that the camps weren't "just" prisons, that there were every day executions in Eastern Europe even on the streets, this she'd known. She and my grandfather kept their heads down. The big debate they had in those years were about whether or not to have children - because children, once old enough, could spy on you - not whether or not to leave Germany. (I'm not saying this to condemm them. I don't have the arrogance to claim that in their shoes, I would have acted differently, that I'd have spoken up or left. I don't think anyone can ever know how they'd act in such a situation until they're put to the test.) And that, too, is my heritage. It's part of being German post Hitler, and I would not be me if I was not this.

It's not like I want to leave behind being German, either. Not just because I love the language and the literature (well, part of it, as with every literature!). I feel an emotional connection that's also regional, which brings me to the "Bavarian" and "Franconian" part of the question. Germany is an historical oddity among the European nation states because the very idea of a Germany is relatively recent, historically speaking. For the far longer part of European history, there were German principalities connected via being in what was officially termed the "Holy Roman Empire" with wildly fluctuating borders. This had the lang term result that we were never centralized the way Britan and France were - i.e. one clear capital and cultural/economic centre surrounded by provinces in declining influence the further away they were from said capital. Instead, all those principalities had their own capitals (and by the time we hit the baroque age, every German prince wanted to be a mini Roi Soleil, too, which you can tell from the residences), and whether they were poor or rich wasn't dependent on proximiity to one central capital. The long term result of this is that even today, we have Federal States - Bundesländer - which are still far more autonomous than the regions in France or Britain (though in the case of Britain, this can and post Scottish referendum is almost bound to change). Said Bundesländer, which sometimes consist of one, sometimes of several provinces, have their own regional dialects, idiosyncracies and sometimes quite different cultural history. Now yours truly lives in Bavaria, which got upgraded from dukedom to kingdom by Napoleon, when he re-organized the German principalities after officially dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. The Dukes of Bavaria had also ruled the Palatine, despite the Palatine being separated from Bavaria by several principalities in between (and a very different dialect). Napoleon when creating the Kingdom of Bavaria swapped the Palatine for Franconia, which was next door to Bavaria and thus made far better geographical sense. Today, the Federal State of Bavaria is still keeping within the Napoleonic borders which is why I'm both a Franconian and a Bavarian, regionally speaking.

Or rather: I'm a Bavarian if people outside of Bavaria complain about Bavaria. (Which happens inevitably. Bavaria used to be a mainly agricultural state and one of the poorer regions until the second half of the 20th century, which is when this changed to Bavaria as the richest of the German Federal States and home of the German version of Silicon Valley. And the state with the winning football team. If you think this makes Bavaria popular in the rest of Germany other than as a holiday region, think again.) Otherwise, I'm a Franconian. Not just because I was born there. Also because Franconia - which has its own dialect, and it sounds quite differently from the Bavarian one - often gets treated as the poor cousin by our Bavarian Overlords in Munich, especially when it comes to financing cultural events and/or returning cultural heritage. (See again under: Napoleon. He secularized the church-owned parts of Franconia while he was at it, which meant the treasures of same ended up in Munich. And they still won't give them back. *g*) Not to mention that the Franconian reginal kitchen is superior to the Bavarian regional kitchen. (It so is, too. Just try our Wirsing in comparison to their Wirsing, and if you prefer the Weißwurst to the Bratwurst, I can't help you.)

All kidding aside, now: I love my hometown (and surrounding area), but I'm also deeply fond of Munich and the Alps here in Upper Bavaria, otherwise I wouldn't live here. And there is nothing like a snotty North German harrumphing about Bavarians to make me feel instantly tempted to mutter something about Prussians in return. (Sidenote: for anyone born within Bavaria, no matter whether Franconian, Swabian or Bavarian, anyone born outside of Bavaria is a Prussian. This is especially ironic since there is no more Prussia and hasn't been since 1945, when the Allies officially dissolved it in a Napoleonic gesture of their own. And even if there still were a Prussia, it would be in the Eastern part of Germany - that's where it used to be - , and to call Hanseates from Hamburg or Lower Saxons from Hannover or, God help us, Rhinelanders (who traditionally hate Prussians and got new incentive when the capital changed from Bonn to Berlin) "Prussians" is geographically and historically completely wrong. Which does not stop Bavarians from doing it if they want to complain about die Preußen.)

The net result of all of this is: I'm a Franconian and a Bavarian and a German. I also see myself as a European, not least because I don't see myself switching continents of residence. For travelling, I love to, but in terms of permanently living somewhere, I'm favourably biased for this one. As for being a world citizen, despite the above mentioned awareness of the problematic side of the claim, I still have that as an ideal.( Incidentally, I find it interesting that in English, you have two words - "cosmopolitan" and "world citizen", and at least in my experience tend to use the former more often than the later in every day language - while in German we do have "Kosmopolit" but almost never use it, whereas "Weltbürger" is a frequently used term. ) And I definitely intend to travel to as many of the world's countries as I can, and to learn about them what I can. Whether that will make me a citoyen or a bourgois of the world - they're both Bürger in German and I think citizen in English, which is why I have to use the French words - I don't know yet; it's not that I'm politically engaged whereever I go, and quite often travel for fun. But I can't give up a political hope, either, that one day, we will get a dissolvement of borders world wide. It's the German in me. We did produce Schiller and Beethoven and the Ode to Joy (which currently also is the European anthem), after all: diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Or, as [personal profile] intriguing put it when prompting, the TARDIS's relationship with the Doctor and what her POV might be.

Now, before I get down to details about this most quintessential of Doctor Who ships (in every sense of the word), first a word about which canon I'll acknowledge. Not the novels, because I haven't read a single one. Not the audios, because while I love me some Big Finish - and sometimes more than the tv show - , the audio canon on the Doctor and the TARDIS includes Zagreus, and I just can't cope with the state of affairs between the Doctor and the TARDIS in Zagreus. (They have a temporary very bitter breakup. This is just not on.) Also Zagreus has the TARDIS being downright misogynistic, disliking the female Companions as rivals, which is also not on. (Other audios don't have that, though she does dislike one specific female Companion, Charley, for which there are Reasons.) In conclusion: as far as the TARDIS and the Doctor are concerned, I accept only tv canon.

Of which there is plenty, all 40 something years of it, and more recently even includes an episode in which the TARDIS does get to voice her pov, the sublime The Doctor's Wife, written by Neil Gaiman. (Which is probably while the TARDIS, temporarily trapped in a human body, has some slight resemblance to Delirium of the Endless.) Stating categorically that as far as she's concerned, the Doctor, aka her Thief, didn't steal her, she stole him, and she's not intending to give him back, ever. Basically, they chose each other, the Doctor and the TARDIS, all the way back in Gallifrey. They were both looked at as somewhat disrepetubable embarassments by the Time Lords for the majority of DW canon, too; practically every other Time Lord in Old Who canon refers to the Doctor's TARDIS disdainfully as an old fashioned model that should have been out of circulation eons ago. As for their opinion on the Doctor's driving skills... speaking of which, in One's day the Doctor has almost no control over the TARDIS' destinations at all, and this changes throughout the show until the present where he can do precision landings. Not that this always works; ask little Amelia Pond. Which brings me to the part in The Doctor's Wife where Eleven says somewhat accusingly to the TARDIS that she's not very reliable and she returns that while she didn't always bring him to where he wanted to go, she always brought him to where he needed to be, which he acknowledges to be true. This, in combination with the fact that the TARDIS is always aware of present, past and future simultanously would indicate that she does have her own agenda as to where to help and where to stay away from. Did she always, even during the days of the First Doctor? Possibly; she already was an out of date model then, i.e. older than the Doctor, who was for all his physical looks still young for a Time Lord, and learning. Whichever is the case, I find this very important in their relationship. The Doctor/Companion relationships all have some give and take, some are more balanced than others, but Romana - who as a Time Lady can steer the TARDIS - aside, the fact remains the Doctor is as Rose Tyler puts it in her second episode "the designated driver", which automatically makes them reliant on him to get home (or not), or anywhere. But in his relationship with the TARDIS, it's the other way around. Ultimately, she decides where they go (or not). He can't do anything against her will.

If the Doctor's relationship with his people is highly ambiguos, consisting of running away and being anything from a criminal on trial to the very temporary President to their destruction to their savior and back and forth, I'd say the TARDIS's relationship to the other Time Lords is even more so. For starters, they intended to retire her and never let her go anywhere else before she ever met the Doctor. And when the Second Doctor is captured by the other Time Lords, forced to regenerate and partially mindwiped to ensure he won't be able the TARDIS to time travel for the duration of his exile, the TARDIS herself is similarly treated. For the majority of the Third Doctor's era, she's crippled, though he tries relentlessly to repair her. (Mind you, their symbiotic relationship and shared exile sufferings don't exclude the Doctor cheating on her for the first and last time of his lives. Whatever the TARDIS made of that fling with Bessie, though, we don't know.) I could see the TARDIS minding the non-existence of other Time Lords post Time War mainly for the Doctor's sake, not because she actually cares for the species (and given her awareness of all eras at the same time, it's even possible she knows they're not really extinct). Though the lack of other TARDISes is another matter; when she sees their remains in The Doctor's Wife, she calls them her sisters and is visibly shaken.

(Sidenote: other TARDISes spotted in Old Who - who did have a functioning Chameleon circuit - don't show up enough to display personality or allow a guess as to their relationships with the Time Lords. Though I will say the Rani's TARDIS wins easily for "most elegant looking", which fits the Rani. Also the Master uses his TARDIS for something the show actually calls a "Time Ram" - I kid you not - parking it interlocked with the Doctor's TARDIS in order to mess with the Doctor in "The Time Monster". How "our" TARDIS felt about that one, no one can tell, but if she ever was sentimental about the Master, which I doubt, she certainly wasn't anymore after he put her through being a paradox machine.)

The Doctor and the TARDIS are both (more or less) unique and the last of their kind in New Who, which only heightens their bond. Does it also reduce the TARDIS' options? Not necessarily. True, if she ever grew tired of the Doctor, it's not like she can have her pick among other Time Lords, but then she didn't have that in Old Who, either, because, see above re: disdain. Whereas the existence of River Song in New Who proves that the child of two humans can mutate into a being enough like a Time Lord to both regenerate and to steer the TARDIS, whereas Journey's End demonstrates "normal" humans, several of them, can steer the TARDIS as well if shown how. So it remains the TARDIS' choice to stay with the Doctor, as he stays with her. Bad Wolf at the end of Parting of the Ways is an amalgan of Rose and the TARDIS, and it's as much the TARDIS' desire to save the Ninth Doctor as it is Rose's that drives her. (I'd say the kiss as energy transfer is also driven by both.) Whereas when the TARDIS is almost gone in the middle of the following season, the Tenth Doctor provides her with a part of his own life energy to revitalize her. It's a more blatant and literal visualisation of their bond than in Old Who, but its existence is nothing new.

So if the TARDIS sees the Doctor as hers - which, going by "my Doctor" in Parting of the Ways and "my Thief" in The Doctor's Wife, she does -, what does she make of the Companions? Also hers? Rivals? Friends? Moving furniture? I'd say it depends on a case to case basis, speaking solely from tv canon. She and the Doctor don't necessarily agree on aesthetic preferences (see "Rory is the pretty one?!?" from Eleven in The Doctor's Wife, in a scene which btw also demonstrates the TARDIS doesn't necessarily think of the Companions by name; names generally don't seem to be her thing). The fanon says she has a particular soft spot for River Song, and I can certainly see why; River was conceived in the TARDIS who presumably is co-responsible for her Time Lord resembling biology, and the TARDIS certainly always is there to save her when required, with the exception of little Melody but that's another season 6 plot problem. Otoh there are two examples where the Doctor says the TARDIS reacts hostile to a Companion; Immortal!Jack Harkness in Utopia and Clara in the second half of season 7. The TARDIS-Clara aversion was brought up a couple of times but never went anywhere as a plot point; I strongly suspect it was simply thrown in to make Clara more mysterious since the point where it was dropped entirely was as soon as we got the explanation for why various versions of Clara had shown up before. On a Watsonial level, I can fanwank that the TARDIS was aware of Clara splitting up into various selves at one point in her timeline and that this felt to her as unnatural as Jack's being a fixed point in time does. Of course, I've seen plenty of fans declare Ten is simply projecting when saying "even the TARDIS ran from you" to Jack in Utopia, which is possible, but it's worth noting that the TARDIS takes off before the Doctor even regenerates in Parting of the Ways (but after having made Jack immortal in the first place), and that she certainly didn't make any effort to drop the Doctor back into his timeline before Utopia. Would it be unfair for the TARDIS to react against a condition she herself is responsible for? Absolutely, just like it's unfair from the Doctor to avoid Jack until Utopia and even there until they end up talking in the radiation chamber. But then, would a flawless being without any faults and biases pick the Doctor, who certainly has both in his various incarnations, to travel with and bond herself to? I doubt it.

Generally, I get the impression the TARDIS is fine with the Companions living and travelling with her, but that she's not invested enough to miss them once they're gone. Does she see them as competition for the Doctor? Nah. They have such short life spans (Romana and now Jack aside), and besides, they communicate with him so differently. It's a bit like imagining one partner in a marriage being jealous of their spouses' toys or pets. Which can happen, yes, but it's hardly the norm or even very likely if the marriage is strong.

Which it is. Note that I say "strong", not "healthy". The Doctor and the TARDIS are the picture of co-dependency. The show has given us some alternate time lines where the Doctor is truly dead. Both in Turn Left and The Night of the Doctor, the TARDIS responded to this by slowly dying herself. Not because no one else could travel with her (see above); because she evidently chose not to continue without him, if he was truly irretrievable. He's her Thief, and she won't ever give him back. Or up.

ETA: And of course I have to include the canonical Doctor/TARDIS song:



The December Talking Meme: the other days
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