selenak: (Guinevere by Reroutedreams)
( Jan. 3rd, 2013 02:50 pm)
Much as there are easy markers by which to divide movieverse Avengers fanfiction written after the movie got actually released from the fanfic written before that based onl the other films and the comics (to wit: does Bruce Banner have a personality and a prominent role in the story? Does Natasha have characterisation and dialogue? Is either of them paired up with another Avenger? If so, it's likely to be written post release and based on the film), it's now easy to separate the Hobbit fanfic written pre movie release from that written post movie release. (Hint: if the central pairing is Bilbo/Thorin an/or if Kili and Fili are involved, and/or if Bofur has dialogue and characterisation, it's based on the movie.) Now, given the phenomenon discussed in this post of writers pairing up characters because their actors played roles involved in a popular slash pairing elsewhere, one pre-release pairing that was subsequently crushed by the mighty tide of Bilbo/Thorin was Bilbo/Smaug.

It occured to me that frustrated Sherlockians need not despair, but rather feel inspired. Because the new popularity of Bilbo/Thorin should free the way, on the same general principle that caused pre-release Bilbo/Smaug, for John Watson/Lucas North (Armitage's character in Spooks), which was clearly meant to be. Lucas North spent years in Russian captivity, being tortured and forming a weird relationship with the torturer in chief. (It just occurs to me: he was Nicholas Brody before Brody got invented.) (Except that the answer to "is he or isn't he a terrorist?" was different.) (I think. I haven't watched the last two seasons yet.) He's in the spy business, which offers at least as much excitement as the consulting detective business, and between his imprisonment and several betrayals and losses of comrades occuring thereafter has enough issues to make Sherlock look like the picture of emotional health, only he's an adult. In conclusion: bring on the John Watson/Lucas North!

(I'm only half joking about this.)

Next: Guy of Gisborne/Lord Shaftebury: or, would the Restoration have survived so much smouldering? Comes complete with the Duke of Buckingham discovering he's really a police inspector at heart.
selenak: (Scarlett by Olde_fashioned)
( Oct. 23rd, 2012 07:44 am)
For some recent, in recent days I got more spam on lj than I got otherwise in five years. Are we due for another breakdown?


Until then, have some links, both fanfiction and meta:

Prometheus:


Persephone . It's post-movie fic by legendary-in-several-fandoms Yahtzee, developing the complicated relationship between those characters alive by the end of the film ), it's long, and it's layered. What are you still doing here instead of reading it?

Galaxy Quest:


The Headaches, the Heartaches, the Backaches, the Flops. Gwen DeMarco and the first rise and fall of Galaxy Quest. What I appreciate especially about the world buildling is that for all that Galaxy Quest obviously takes the majority of its inspiration from Star Trek, the fictional show is one of the late 70s (i.e. presumably, like the original Battlestar Galactica, made to cash into the Star Wars craze), not 60s as ST was, and this story remembers that. Characterisation wise, this is very plausible, giving us younger versions of the people we meet in the film, and catches the film's atmosphere perfectly in its mixture between funny and poignant.


Gone With The Wind:

Scarlett O'Hara meta. I love discussing Scarlett, and had fun doing so in the comments.


Sherlock, Elementary, The Avengers, Batman:


How not to act as part of the creative team, take one:


Jonathan Ross disses Elementary, Mark Gattiss agrees. Now my own take on this is that Sherlock for all its flaws is undoubtedly the more original and better written show, but so far I like Elementary more because it gives me leads and a relationship I can honestly cheer for. But even if I loathed every second of screen time Elementary ever broadcasts, I'd still consider this bad form, because the one thing you don't do is dissing the competition in public. It only makes you look petty and pisses off those fans of your show who enjoy both. Which brings me to:

How not to act as part of the creative team, take two:

Wally Pfister (cinematographer for Christopher Nolan) disses The Avengers, calling it "an appalling film". Again, obviously I'm biased (guess which superhero film I saw multiple times this summer and own the dvd of? Not The Dark Knight Rises), but that's not the point. However, luckily this particular dissing also caused a response that may serve as a lesson:

How to actually act as part of the creative team (especially as the head of one):

To wit, Joss Whedon's response, also quoted in the article I linked. He only said, when asked about Pfister's remark: “I’m sorry to hear it, I’m a fan.” Now I don't care if you think The Avengers was a waste of space, but this is brilliant, PR wise. It a) avoids pissing off fans of Nolan's Batman trilogy, who may or may not also like The Avengers, b) utterly avoids responding to Pfister's more specific criticism (about the camera angles used in The Avengers), and c) instead makes Whedon look modest and classy, and Pfister look even more petty and envious. The man hasn't been writing dialogue since decades for nothing.:)
A good new interview with Marianne Faithfull apropos an art exhibition at Tate Liverpool she's curating, together with her first husband, John Dunbar. (Some paintings from the exhibition.) I've been recently rereading some biographies in which Marianne, Dunbar and the Swinging London art scene show up a lot (Groovy Bob by Harriet Vyner about art dealer Robert Fraser, Barry Miles' Paul McCartney biography), and it's always a bit of an odd sensation when you encounter various characters from said biographies alive and well as contemporaries still very much continuing their life story.

(Also, I have an admitted soft spot for evidence that people get along well with their exes instead of feuding with them or being on non-speaking terms, even if they are complete strangers whom I only know via their records and biographies, so the idea of Marianne Faithfull and John Dunbar putting up this exhibition together appeals to my inner sentimentalist.)

More on an amused note: someone vidded Live and Let Die to show Peter Wingfield's "transition of a young leading man in the UK to the 'bad guy of the week' in American tv", making a point about how British actors are used. Aside from enjoying the mixture of Peter Wingfield footage with Paul McCartney's voice and music, I have to say that being a German, my sympathy for British actors and their typecasting in Hollywood is a tad limited. Seeing as our lot are getting even more typecast and have been since decades. (One moment, you're a dashing leading man of German films; the next you're Major Strasser in Casablanca...) I would say the ultimate fatal combination dooming an actor to an eternity of villainous typecasting is to be both German and British, except, well: Michael Fassbaender. Who is of Irish and German parentage and currently making a career of beating the odds. All due to the Celtic heritage?

Incidentally, another example of Hollywood-meets-Brits clash would be the anecdote about Life and Let Die George Martin tells in his memoirs. So: early 70s, the Beatles are dissolved, but not that long ago. Paul gets a commission for the title song for the newest James Bond film, and in their first post-Beatles cooperation, his old producer orchestrates and records it for him. (Sidenote: the fact that George Martin did the occasional post-Beatles project with Paul but not with the other three may or may not support John's accusation that Uncle George had a favourite.)

After the producers, Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzmann, had heard it, I got a call from Harry's assistant, Ron Cass, saying that they would like to meet me. (...) (My) first meeting with Harry was straight to the point. He sat me down and said, 'Great. Like what you did. Very nice record. Like the score. Now tell me, who do you think we should get to sing it?' That took me completely aback. After all, he was holding the Paul McCartney recording we had made. And Paul was - Paul. But he was clearly treating it as a demo disc.
I don't follow. You've got Paul McCartney...,' I said.
'Yeah, yeah, that's good. But who are we going to get to sing it for the film?'
'I'm sorry. I still don't follow,' I said, feeling that maybe there was something I hadn't been told.
'You know - we've got to have a girl, haven't we? What do you think of Thelma Houston?'
'Well, she's very good,' I said. But I don't see that it's necessary when you've got Paul McCartney.'
Perhaps I was being a bit obtuse. The fact was that he had always thought of a girl singing the lead song in his films, like Shirley Bassey in Goldfinger, and Lulu; and whoever it was, he wanted a recognisable voice rather than Paul's.
As gently as possible, I pointed out that, first of all, Paul was the ideal choice, even if he wasn't a black lady, and that, secondly, if Paul's recording wasn't used as the title song, it was very doubtful whether Paul would let him use the song for his film anyway.


Oh brave new world. Actually given that Paul McCartney had written songs for female singers repeatedly in the 60s (notably It's for You for Cilla Black, Goodbye Love for Mary Hopkin, and arguably Let It Be for Aretha Franklin who was allowed to record it before the Beatles did), I don't think Harry Saltzman's assumption was entirely due to the tradition of letting the title song of a Bond movie be sung by a female singer. But what the ever tactful George Martin doesn't mention in his memoirs was that at this point in the very early 1970s, Paul between pummelled by the critics, blamed by the rock media for the break-up and underperforming in the sales (compared with his earlier and also later successes, that is) needed a resounding personal success. Which Live and Let Die, as it turned out, most definitely was. (He still plays it at his concerts.)

Sidenote: there are are limits to George Martin's tactfulness, mind you. All you need is ears, the memoirs I was quoting from, is from 1979 (which also is important in that anything written and published before John Lennon's death doesn't carry the baggage of said death and the radical change of public status for John that came with it). Now, in more recent interviews (more recent meaning anything from the 90s onwards), George Martin repeatedly stated remorse about neglecting George Harrison as a composer due to being entirely focused on the two main songwriters of the group. This remorse is nowhere evident in 1979, where, with only a decade apart from the Beatles days and the other George alive instead of dead, he's still less than impressed by George H's efforts. Typical quote: "Again, George's contribution, 'Within You Without You', was, with all deference to George, a rather dreary song" (note the "again"). And then there's his assessment of the group and his own role as producer of the Beatles near the end of the book, where he talks about the most debated point of all: "I must emphasise that it was a team effort. Without my arrangements and scoring, very many of the records would not have sounded as they do. Whether they would have been any better, I cannot say. They might have been. That is not modesty on my part; it is an attempt to give a factual picture of the relationship. But equally, there is no doubt in my mind that the main talent of that whole era came from Paul and John. George, Ringo and myself were subsidiary talents. We were not five equal people
artistically: two were very strong, and the other three were also-rans. In varying degrees those three could have been other people."


***

Moving on from the 60s and the survivors of that era: I might not be a Games of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire fan, and I do think later Tyrion is a good example of why authors should not fall in love too much with their characters, but there's no doubt Peter Dinklage's performance in the tv version has been one of the standout highlights. Here is a terrific new interview and profile of him, which also deals extensively with the challenges, to put it mildly, a dwarf actor faces in the industry.

***

Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover: Preludes, in which pre-series D.I. Lestrade meets pre-11th Hour Amy Pond. Delightful, and very in character for Amy and Lestrade.
I know I've writtten and posted a rant about this very subject, the trivialization of the term "Nazi" in English, and now I can't find it again. Did anyone by any chance preserve it in their memories? Anyway: this post reminds me just how much I'm irked by it again. So do several of the comments. On the other hand, you learn something new every day: one of the comments brought up the Hitler-refused-to-shake-Jesse-Owens'-hand story which btw I grew up with as well and another poster replied that Owens had said: "Hitler didn't snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." This was news to me, I googled, and it was indeed an authentic Owens quote.

Anyway, being linguistically and historically annoyed (and newly informed about a detail), I also met my quota of being annoyed by fannish habits, subsection: response to female characters before they even utter one word on screen. Re: Lucy Liu casting news, what she said. This is the very first detail making me remotely interested in Elementary, but if I come across much more "zomg! our holy slash pairing RUINED BY GENDERSWAP!" reactions, I'm tuning in for that reason alone. And hope the next Batman movie will have a surprise!female Robin which Nolan somehow managed to smuggle by the spoiler hounds, so there. (Otoh Christopher Nolan, aka the man who gave Commissioner Gordon a son as a plot point while totally ignoring the canonical niece/adopted daughter... I doubt it.) I'm also having flashbacks to Dirk Benedict making an utter ass of himself by ranting about how horrible a female Starbuck was. Incidentally, I anti-shipped Kara/Lee, but they do demonstrate effectively that making one half of a popular slash pairing female in a new tv incarnation might lead to on screen sex, it does not necessarily lead to a happy ending. Or even the conclusion that sex was a good idea. More the opposite. (Kara's Starbuck and Lee's Apollo made good friends and absolutely catastrophic lovers. Which thankfully they figured out at last.)

And while I'm at it: you know what else annoys me? The whole nudge-nudge, wink-wink approach in various so called "bromances". Sherlock and the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes actually being prime examples. Look, it may have been fun when Gore Vidal wrote his Ben Hur script like that in the 50s, but, current American Republican candidates for the presidency not withstanding, theoretically we live in more advanced times. Asexual Holmes is fine with me. Gay Holmes is fine with me. Bi Holmes is fine with me. Straight Holmes is fine with me. (Ditto for Watson.) But what is so getting old is the endless playing coy and runnig "gay! only not!" gags. Either go for main text or find another running gag, I say.
Considering I finished The Reichenbach Fall with my immediate reaction neither being "aw, John" (I did feel sorry for him, but that wasn't the first thing I thought of), nor "aw, Sherlock" (though this season finally made me care for him, and thus I felt for him, too - but again, not the first consideration), but "ZOMG MOLLY HOOPER I LOVE YOU", I am delighted that a measily two days later, there is both Molly centric fanfiction and Molly meta for me to choose from and recccomend.


The meta

The Mourning Woman : The fanfiction: Molly takes care of business throughout her life.

I think what I love best in what this season did with Molly is that they didn't rewrite the character by making her suddenly reveal super ninja powers or, as was guessed by many a fan, the secret M behind Moriarty, but that they used the established traits that got ridiculed in s1 and showed the quiet strength behind them. I love variety in the female characters I'm fond of, and "butt-kicking chick" isn't the only type I can root for.
selenak: (Henry Hellrung by Imaginary Alice)
( Jan. 16th, 2012 01:13 pm)
In which Steve "Blind Banker" Thompson defies expectations and delivers a splendid episode. Given that the second season's weakest ep was the middle one again - written by Gatiss this time - I would be open to the theory that it's a middle episode rather than a writer thing, except that Thompsons s6 of New Who pirate episode also sucked. Still: he more than delivered with Sherlock 2.03, and I doff my deerstalker to him.

All good fairy tales )

In conclusion: last season I didn't know whether or not I would continue with the show. After this season, I know I will!
selenak: (Amy by Calapine)
( Jan. 15th, 2012 11:06 am)
As I won't get to watch the new Fringe until the 21st or thereabouts, have some links collected over the last week referring to other interests instead:

Sherlock and Doctor Who:
A Scandal in Fandom: Stephen Moffat, Irene Adler and the fannish gaze: probably the best post on the matter I've read so far, blessedly unpolemical, and great with putting everything in context. Very good to read both if you've liked A Scandal in Belgravia (which I did), or if it made you add another item on your personal "I hate Moffat" list. I especially appreciate what the essayist points out about the original Irene (in Doyle's story) versus how she lives in the fannish consciousness, because I tend to fall into the trap of misrememberance there as well.


19th century English literature:

Bronte-saurus: one of those posts that make me nodd and say, "me, too". For all that I appreciate Austen, I love the Brontes, and their fantasy role play obsessed childhood.

T.E. Lawrence:

Lawrence' sexuality: the 2012 edition: a post in which the still hotly debated matter of Lawrence's sexuality is written about with far more insight and grace than your avarage biographer manages.


When fandoms collide, Take #4355:

Karen Gillan interview about her upcoming role as model Jean Shrimpton in in We'll Take Manhattan, which by the sounds of it is about David Bailey's (= most famous photographer of Swinging London, young padawans) big breakthrough as a photographer in 1962. Quoth the article:

We'll Take Manhattan is a portrait of a photogenic love affair, but lit with flashes of class anxiety and period misogyny. While Shrimpton is portrayed as a beguiling ingénue, a muse who says little but looks great, Bailey (played by Aneurin Barnard) is the domineering, hostile "artist", who shouts threateningly at women, uses Shrimpton and forgets his wife. I'll say it – Bailey comes off like a bit of a dick, doesn't he?

To which I say: how is this news? Not if you've ever read an interview with David Bailey during the last 50 or so years. (Or watched Blow Up; the photographer in it is famously based on Bailey.) He's sublimely gifted without a doubt, but prone to come up with such charming statements as the one in this interview: People say I seduced a lot of women, which makes me very immature. Well, what does that make the women I seduced? Or boastings like the one in this article:

'I remember Jean Shrimpton,' says Jane. 'She was lovely.'
'I remember her well, dear,' chortles Bailey. 'In every position!'


Of course, if like me you're somewhat invested in a certain group from Liverpool, you come across David Bailey also in the context of a legendary 1965 photo session where he only wanted to photograph John Lennon originally as he wasn't interested in the rest of the Beatles (and, rumour has it, was very interested in John indeed), was told John wanted to be photographed with Paul and ended up shooting smouldering-with-something portraits. (The only other time when John did a session with him was with Yoko at his side in 1969. You had it coming, Bailey, you had it coming.)
Sherlock 2.02: watched it, was less than enthusiastic about it. I mean, it had its moments, and it was nice to see Russell Tovey again, plus I must say tanned!Lestrade looks even more attractive than regular Lestrade, but well, I checked my watch a couple of times instead of being scared when I should have been, and I doubt I'll ever watch it again. This being said, bonus points to Gatiss for female!Dr. Mortimer and female!Stapleton, and also seeing Dartmoor reminded me of being quite taken by Devon a few years back when I made my all around Britain journey. As far as Mark Gatiss episodes go, he has done worse, he has done better. (I still say he should stick to acting.) Basically: it was okay, but no more. And next we await the return of the celebrated author of "The Blind Banker" and "The Only Bad Pirate Episode Ever".

Also yesterday I met an Oxfordian who kept harrassing me, no matter what I told him about my Will-from-Stratford allegiances. "Even a profiler on the internet proved it HAS to be Edward de Vere!" he wailed. "EVERYONE agrees by now." Just to make my evening complete, someone told me the theatre of my hometown staged Macbeth last year with a programm saying it was by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. And a third party asked me whether I had watched the Emmerich film. See, the drawback of real life is you can't just click on another link or switch off the computer. The best statement of the evening, though: "THIS WILLIAM VON SHAKESPEARE DID NOT EXIST, I TELL YOU!" Seriously, he called him "William von Shakespeare". See, that kind of thing would never happen to Christopher Marlowe. Excuse me, von Marlowe.

On to more fun things. The first time I saw a screen depiction of Nikola Tesla wasn't in Sanctuary but in The Prestige, where I didn't realise until afterwards, when reviews pointed it out, that he was played by David Bowie. (And magnetically, too, no pun intended, it's just that I seriously didn't recognize Bowie.) Here's an article about Bowie and Tesla, , for those of us fond of both.
You know, last year I had a double Sherlock Holmes problem, in that the Ritchie movie amused and entertained me but I really could have done without the bloody slow mo freeze frame thing, plus I thought Robert Downey Jr. did a variation of his persona rather than a performance of Sherlock Holmes, though Jude Law was fabulous as Watson. Also, I really liked Mary and cheered for her all the way. So I couldn't quite join the squee there, and as for the Moffat-Gatiss Sherlock, there my problem was that the two susbsequent episodes didn't live up to the pilot (and one was indeed utterly dreadful), and the pilot itself made me wish the show was about Lestrade's team with Sherlock as the occasional morally ambiguous guest star rather than one of the two main characters. (Not least because I outright disliked Sherlock, and if you can't stand Sherlock Holmes in a show about Sherlock Holmes, you're in trouble.) So I couldn't join the squee there, either. I was going to and thro whether I would watch the second season, but in the end, the curiosity as to how they'd play Irene Adler, who is one of my favourite characters in SH canon (but so rarely done well on screen), was too great and I gave in. And I'm glad I did, because lo and behold, this was the first BBC Sherlock episode where I liked Sherlock, which enhanced the enjoyment of the show to no end for me, and while I can and shall quibble about a few things, overall I think that's the best thing the Moff wrote in a good long while. (Sorry, but I was not too impressed by his own episodes in season 6 of Doctor Who. (Except for LKH, oddly enough.) Or, in fact, by much of season 6, but that is my problem.) This was clever without being self-admiringly so, nor was there "zomg let's throw in some nifty scenarios more!" syndrome, and everyone's relationships with everyone else, with one exception, were of interest and emotional investment to me. Thank you, Mr. Moffat. Pray continue in the same vein.

Cell phones are the new photographs )
selenak: (Best Enemies by Calapine)
( Sep. 24th, 2010 03:26 pm)
Two fanfic recs:

Sherlock/Harry Potter:

The case of the unwelcome owl. In which Sherlock gets invited to a wedding and gets outed as the squib of a magical family which explains so much. Best of all, there's a wonderful take on Luna Lovegood.

Doctor Who:

This was just recced at [personal profile] crack_van, but I am so enthralled I must repeat the rec in case potential readers missed it there:

The Amazon: in which Delgado!Master, post-Frontiers in Space runs into Jo Grant post-The Green Death, the two end up travelling together willing-nilling for a while, and The Deadly Assassin as well as Crispy!Master are prevented by Jo being an irresistable angst-deterrent. Also, the Master meets Four in his pirate outfit, which has predictable results. I still have a wide grin on my face. (If any companion is believable in an almost-friendship type of relationship with the Master, it's Jo because she did end up treating him like an annoying cousin on the show already, and also was the companion who got the Doctor to admit positive feelings for the Master in Classic Who, which is something of a unique position.)

And a poem. I'm in something of an odd mood today, and thinking about the BTVS episode The Body last week has reminded me of a poem that captures the aftermath of death, the shock, numbness, grief and attempt to get on with making it through the next day, and the day after that so very well. It's one of Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters poems, Life after Death. Like most of the BL poems, it's addressed to Sylvia Plath.

The life that had survived you... )
Which five canons would you not want to live in, and why?


Great Maker, as Londo Mollari would say, only five? I wouldn't want to live in most canons of the films and shows I love. And even more not in shows I have only mild or no positive feelings for. But okay then, some of the worst cases of DO NOT WANT TO BE THERE. (Except as a reader/viewer.)


1.) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Look, it's percentages. Maaaaaaybe I'd be one of the people to survive the robocalypse, but even then, it's a terrible post apocalyptic life, and that's assuming I'd end up free and with the resistance.

2.) Battlestar Galactica. New BSG, actually, though I wouldn't want to live in the canon of the old one, either. My survival chances wouldn't be much better, and even if I did survive for all of the show, I'd have to listen to Adama's inspiring speeches and clap my hands before ending up in that spoilery place under those spoilery conditions. Thanks, but no thanks.

3.) Watchmen (either book or film version). Have you read/seen Watchmen? Next question. Although: visiting the Watchmenverse where Rorschach is on the run form all the violet-eyed soulmates who really understand him, call him Walter, save him and/or explain why he needs to get back together with Daniel would be kind of entertaining. In a gruesome way.

4.) Blake's 7. I'm neither a supercomputer built by Ensor or an evil overlady. (Shush, you.) Thus, the chances I'd be able to exist without either being a drugged citizen or a short-lived resistence fighter are partically zero. Thanks, but no, thanks.

5.) Lord of the Rings. (Again, both book and film version.) Look, I love the Shire. I'd still be out of there way faster than Bilbo if I had to live there for the rest of my life. Ditto for Rohan and Gondor. Visits, yes, living, no. And as for the Elves and the last homely home, which is at least writer-friendly... methinks I'd be tempted to start a revolution and argue for a more equal distribution of wealth between elves and the younger races and end up being cast out anyway.

...and speaking of canons I'd rather not live in, a meta rec:


Sherlock: an excellent meta post which articulates, among many other things, why I just can't join the love train for the show and the character far better than I did.
selenak: (Ray and Shaz by Kathyh)
( Aug. 9th, 2010 09:34 am)
In short: better than the second one, definitely better than Gatiss' iDalek episode; still not as good as the opening case. Contains elements that made me smile and elements that made me groan. I'm ambiguous about whether or not I want more of the show, especially since the show I really want, about Lestrade's team with Sherlock only an occasional guest star, is not on the offering and never was, plus there's always a problem if you don't really like the lead of a show. (At least I'm filled with affection for Watson again which the second episode deprived me of, so I'm fond of half of the leads?)

In more detail... )
selenak: (Alex Drake by Renestarko)
( Aug. 3rd, 2010 06:01 am)
Alex' look is very appropriate to my reaction to this episode.


Seriously? )
Aka, Stephen "The Moff" Moffat and Mark "I'm not sure I'm over your awful Jolly Churchill and the iDaleks episode yet, Mister!" Gattis created a modern day Sherlock Holmes series which has just debuted. So far, so good, and I like the pilot far more than the pilot for Moffat's last Victorian-tale-put-in-the-present show, Jekyll. So, a few observations (and nitpicks, naturally).

The Game's Afoot! )
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