selenak: (Skyisthelimit by Craterdweller)
( Sep. 9th, 2016 10:36 am)
Yesterday my Urfandom of them all, Star Trek, turned 50. I've written a great many posts on its various incarnations, and as a more recent example, I point to the 29 Days of Star Trek, which covers all the favorites and unfavorites of yours truly. Bring on Star Trek: Discovery, I say!

[personal profile] misbegotten has started to create Black Sails icons: the first bunch are here (credits and flags) and here (Anne Bonny).
Icon in honor of the other Dr. McCoy, for reasons soon apparant. Overall: benefited from the change of script writing team and director (disclaimer: I actually like J.J. Abrams, mostly due to Alias, and for the same reason, I like Kurtz & Orci, too, but Into Darkness demonstrated they had already reached a dead end). A fun popcorn summer movie on neither end of the bad to great scale as far as Trek movies are concerned.

Virtues: this is finally when Reboot!Bones get stuff to do. The two previous movies arguably had him at No.4 to new the Kirk-Spock-Uhura triad, which since I love Reboot!Uhura (original Uhura, too, of course) wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but also in no way corresponded to the importance of the character in TOS. Here, in addition to his friendship with Kirk getting some good scenes, we finally get the treasured McCoy/Spock relationship as a key feature in the rebootverse as well. Karl Urban takes all the screentime and runs with it.

(Corresponding flaw: otoh, Uhura has less to do than in the two previous reboot movies and what little she has is exposition. Say about Into Darkness what you want - and it does deserve a lot of criticism - but Uhura had some great scenes in it. It seems the Rebootverse can't have both McCoy and Uhura be prominent. Sigh.)

Also, Kirk has finally grown up. In fact, the movie in general doesn't pretend no time has passed since the last one but is set three years into the five years mission, and not only is there not a single Horndog!Kirk scene, but he doesn't indulge in rebel-without-a-cause antics, either. Instead, he's going through almost an early midlife crisis, or rather: questioning where to move with his life next, but in an adult, not in a overgrown teenager manner.

All of the ensemble gets stuff to do, though some more prominently than others, see above; our two prominent new characters are Jaylah (female, alien, has the majority of her scenes with Scotty, but not romantic in nature, falls into the tough and scarred by past female warrior category), and the villain, Krall (Idris Elba, for the majority of the movie about as recognizable as Christpher Ecclestone was in Thor: The Dark World, which is to say, buried under make-up and Evil McEvil - we do find out he's got a backstory and motive in the last reel, but, as I've often said, the ST movies do not live from their villains). The general theme of "better together" and the crew saving the deay through their belief in each other and cooperation with each other is a pleasingly optimistic theme for an anniversary movie, though I have to point out the innate hypocrisy in juxtaposing this to the villain's "conflict is where it's at! Yay fighting!" ethos, because one big problem of the ST movies in genera (i.e. of all Trek casts)l is that they try to fit something that's made for the TV format where you can explore character interaction and do a different type of story - sometimes comedy, sometimes big drama - every week - into the action movie format demanding big fight scenes and a clear cut villain to have a big showdown with, and this is true of this one as well. It feels a bit like Russell Crowe screaming at the Roman audience "is this what you like?" about the bloody spectacle of gladiators when directly Ridley Scott is indulging the movie audiences' fondness for same with this very movie.

Most touching scenes for long time Trekkers: inevitably, not just the tribute to Spock Prime but the entire TOS ensemble. Also, in the credits post movie there are the double dedications to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, which come without any music whatsoever, just as a moment of silence, and it's impossible not to feel the rl sadness there.

Random example of "doing what the last one did, but doing it better": is spoilery. )

All in all: not a must, but enjoyable enough. Now I'm ready for the new tv show!
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
( Jul. 5th, 2016 09:04 pm)
Black Sails:

The Prince in the High Tower: charming fairy tale AU. I can so see everyone mentioned in these roles.


Who only stand and wait: Edwin Jarvis, as summarized by Vision. There are a very few stories who make use of the Jarvis - JARVIS - Vision connection, and this one does so in a unique way.

Deep Space 9:

War Songs: lovely DS9 ensemble story; aw, DS9.
A few months ago I did some Voyager rewatching on Amazon Prime (selected episodes more than seasons), and was reminded of something I'd almost forgotten, i.e. of how many of those had been written by one Bryan Fuller. He also wrote for DS9, but just two episodes, Empok Nor and The Darkness and the Light. It may amuse fans of his later work that both can be said to feature a serial killer (into mind games) on the lose plot, though it's more complicated than that in both cases.

Anyway, this makes me thrilled about the news he'll be in charge of the new ST tv series. Someone who actually loves Star Trek and wants to do Star Trek, not Star Wars, with working experience in the post TOS tv verse (i.e. not a "only Kirk/Spock/Bones were ever good about ST" fanboy): excellllllent. And of course, in the decades since, he's honed his quirky, morbid craft to an art.

Of course, I also thought "but aren't you supposed to run American Gods as well? But maybe the later will have more of a miniseries format? Anyway, he has to know whether he can do both.
Return of the January Meme, as best I can in a very rl exhausted state. A canon knowledge preamble: I stopped watching Once upon a Time in the later third of season 4, and am inclined to count solely seasons 1 - 3 as "my" canon, though I'm not iron set on this. Anyway, I don't have knowledge about Emma in season 5, and thus my comparisons can't be based on later canon.

Spoilers about two stoics in two canons )

The other days
Prompt courtesy of [personal profile] zahrawithaz with whom I share these fandoms, in case someone is curious about the combination.

Spoilers for DS9 and Merlin unite! All you have to lose are your chains. )

The other days
First, a definition of terms. „Heroine“ doesn‘ t mean „favourite character“, i.e. I won’t list my favourite female villains here, or those highly ambiguous ladies like Skyler White. However, I don’t just use “heroine” as equivalent of “main protagonist”, either, but as “female character prone to heroic actions” (which allows me to draft the occasional supporting character *g*). And all the characters I list are fictional. So. This being said. In no particular order:

- Jo Grant (Doctor Who): let’s be honest, I could give a Companions only reply post, and then it would be still incredibly hard to choose just five. But I have an incredibly soft spot for Jo, possibly because she was badmouthed to me so much before I got to “meet” her – she was presented as the epitome of the “bad” Companion, “useless screamer”, “brainless bimbo” and what not. Whereas I found her to be brave, with a talent to escape (Jo’s joke about being an escapologist is fact-founded), funny, kind, very loyal and loving but able to make up her own mind if she disagrees with the Doctor on something, and committed to making the world a better place beyond her time with the Doctor; when Russell T. Davies brought her back after decades for the Sarah Jane Adventures two parter “Death of the Doctor”, I was thrilled to learn Jo has spent those last decades travelling the world as a hippie activist and matriarch of a large family of hippie activists. In a word she likes to use, Jo is groovy. And I love her to bits.

- Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): Buffy wasn’t originally my favourite on BTVS, that was Cordelia, but she became my favourite heroine and BTVS character in the later seasons and has remained so in the years since. Quips, penchant for shoes, inferiority and superiority complex all wrapped up into each other, strong capacity for friendship and uneven love life, the entire package.

- C.J. Cregg (The West Wing): because C.J. is who I along with a lot of other people want to be when I grow up, even though I’m nearer to fifty than to forty now. First she made being the press secretary of the White House heroic (nobody managed this one before or since), and then she moved on to saving the world on a daily basis as chief of staff. Also she’s tall and never made an attempt to hide it. And nobody sings The Jackal the way she does.

- Jadzia Dax (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine): because Jadzia is a scientist, a good fighter and knows how to party; because she really enjoys hanging out with other species, and not just the “cool” ones (Dax & Quark friendshipper forever!), and not with that somewhat patronizing air some Federation types have; and because she is arguably ST’s first on screen canonically bisexual regular character. Also? She has a way with words. “Pity. You’d be surprised what I can do in a pair of size 8 boots.”

- Sister Julienne (Call the Midwife): the show made the entire Midwife profession look heroic (long overdue, that), and I love all the characters in various degrees, but Sister Julienne, the head of Nonnatus House, played by Jenny Agutter, is the graceful, quietly strong anchor for everyone else. Not that she’s always serene and invulnerable to loss of confidence; we’ve seen her upset and grieving, and having a crisis, too. But then she rallies, be it alone or with the help of her colleagues whom she has supported through their crisis (this show is great on female solidarity). If I had to pick a fictional medical professional to be at my side when I’m in bad shape, I’d pick Sister Julienne no matter whether this involved a gynological problem or not. I’d have complete faith in her ability to help me through. Now that’s a heroine for you.

The other days
selenak: (Live long and prosper by elf of doriath)
( Nov. 4th, 2015 09:31 am)
Due to Darth Real Life, in all brevity, some fannish news:

1.) New Star Trek tv series: a cautious yay! ST always works better on tv, that's the format it was invented for, and a tv series won't have to come up with a save the world/universe - defea the supervillain plot every time. Plus it can develop an ensemble of characters. Also, Alex Kurtzmann has plenty of tv experience between Alias, Lost and Fringe. On the downside: if the cinema rebootverse is any indication, Kurtzmann (and not writing the tv series ex pal Orci) aren't good with alien races, which is an absolut must for any ST. (One word: Romulans. Oh, the indignity!) Then again, that could be because of the cinema format.

2.) BBC series based on His Dark Materias: also looking forward to it. I'm not in love with the Pullmann novels, but they, too, are far more suited for a tv adaption than for a cinematic one, hence failure of Golden Compass movie some years back.

3.) Yuletide: haven't started canon review for my assignment yet, but I've been possessed by the urge to write one particular prompt ever since spotting it, and this morning I got up early and finished a rough draft for a Yuletide treat.

And now: back to work.
selenak: (Sternennacht - Lefaym)
( Sep. 26th, 2015 03:26 pm)
Yuletide nominations are open! I also browsed the nomination confirmations and found several fandoms I can volunteer for this year in addition to those I was planning for. Excellent.

Vonda M. McIntyre about writing Star Trek novels. For verily, hers were among the best. Also, her beef with the third TOS season reminds me there's nothing new in fandom - it's exactly the reaction anyone has today when a current day series stops matching one's own ideas of characters. Cautious phrasing is deliberate: I've become disenchanted of shows myself, but I'm also aware that I've loved seasons which for other fans were hateful, and vice versa. And there's nothing more tiresome than someone insisting that you MUST despise season x/movie y/book z, and if you don't, you're doing fandom wrong. (Which is a mind set depressingly many people seem to share, says the woman fond of the Star Wars prequels, season 4 of Angel and Wesley Crusher, among others.)
Day 29 - If you could tell Gene Roddenberry one thing, Star Trek related or not, what would it be?

I have an aversion against this type of question, because it seems to be aiming at two possible extremes: adulation and deconstruction. Now I don't have an urge to lecture a dead man I didn't know, and whose creations I enjoyed a lot, about various of his 'isms - that feels presumptuous to me. And the urge to praise someone dead for their efforts is something I get in the case of, say, Van Gogh - the episode Vincent and the Doctor is one archetypical wish fulfillment in that regard - i.e. an artist who died without knowing his creations ever amounted to something. Whereas Gene Roddenberry got all the praise he could have wanted while still alive to enjoy it, and then some, so there's no need.

As this is the last day of the meme, though, and I had to tell the man something, I shall resort the a classic: Live long, and prosper. And he did.

The other days )
Day 28 - Your favourite friendship in Star Trek?

I have to separate this into incarnations again.

TOS: the trio, inevitably. And I do mean all three, not Kirk/Spock plus McCoy, but Kirk-McCoy-Spock, with Kirk's friendship with McCoy and McCoy's bickering friendship with Spock as important as the one between Kirk and Spock. Together with the good ship Kirk/Enterprise, this three way friendship is the emotional heart of the show, and the reason it survived that long.

TNG: I was certainly most intrigued by Picard & Guinan. We never got an episode that was all about them, but there were enough scenes to show the depth of the relationship - Picard's complete trust in Guinan's judgment in Yesterday's Enterprise, the way he confides in her in Measure of a Man, while there were also lighthearted scenes (Guinan's wry reaction to Picard's archaelogical geeking out at the start of Rascals). And of course there was the mysterious origin of that relationship. (Shame Time's Arrow, which showed how it started from Guinan's pov, wasn't a good two parter, but they never showed Picard's first encounter with Guinan from his timeline, so that's left free for the imagination.)

DS9: Quark & Dax, and I've written the fanfiction to prove it. Jadzia was the first among the regulars to hang out with Quark socially, not because she was a customer at his bar, and to unabashedly enjoy his company. (This, btw, was when her character clicked for me. The first season had played Dax serene and wise, while the second introduced the Dax who had a flippant sense of humor, loved playing Tongo with Ferengi and flirted with aliens that had open skulls. Not surprisingly, the later version was the one who stuck around.) But it wasn't all having good times together, there was a line to be crossed, which came when he did the weapons of mass destruction dealings with Cousin Gaila, and her reaction was key to giving Quark the courage to go up against Gaila and his psycho client.

Voyager: Janeway & Seven of Nine. This made me from a lukewarm Voyager watcher into, for a while, an avidly interested one. It was a prickly relationship with a great paradox at its start - Janeway forcing individualism on Seven who didn't want it (but whether or not Seven was in a state to make such a decision immediately after being cut off from the Collective was an unanswerable question) -, and their frequent clashes kept me as hooked as their moments of understanding.

Reboot: Kirk & Pike. Reboot!Pike pushed just about every fatherly mentor button I have, and whether he was supportive or chewing Kirk out, he just knew how to handle Jim K., and became apparantly the first person whose opinion really mattered to young Kirk; his inspiration, too. (I'll never fail to regret the reboot wasn't radical and had Christopher Pike remain Captain, with Kirk and Spock serving as his officers.

The other days )
Day 27 - What would you cross over with Star Trek?

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

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

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

The other days )
Day 26 - Lots of Star Trek Parodies out there. Which do you dig?

The sinister Federation in Blake's 7 just happens to have the same insignia as the one in Star Trek, turned sideways, and in the s3 episode Deathwatch there's even a direct parody of the "space...the final frontier..." speech. More than one B7 fan has speculated that Star Trek is simply government propaganda produced by the Blake's 7 Federation. As amusing as this is, it makes it only just that my (and probably most people's) favourite Star Trek parody makes fun of B7 as well. By Graphtar's Hammer, what a parody!

Yes, of course I dig Galaxy Quest most. Both because it's hilarious and because it's made with such obvious love for the subject. It laughs with, not about the fans. Which is why it rules.

The other days )
Day 25 - How has Star Trek changed you?

It taught me the ways of fandom, pure and simple. The only reason why I don't phrase this as "it made me into a fan" is that I fell in love with fictional worlds before Star Trek came along. But it was the first fandom where I actively participated in - as in, discussed the characters and stories, discovered fanfiction, sought out fanfiction (writing fanfic happened in another fandom first, though). Checking out other projects by actors and writers involved with something I'd loved, that was an ST thing first. That sensation that C.S. Lewis describes both in his memoirs and his essay on friendship - the first time you discover more than a common interest, a common joy, one's eyes lighting up at the thought of "you like this, too?" - that was definitely something Star Trek did for me, too.

It also changed me from a "there must only be this one version of a story, and there shall never be another" person to someone who learned that a fictional universe got richer, not poorer, through various additions, even if not all were to my taste. (On both an in-universe level - i.e. several shows - and thinking of fanfiction.)

It was the first fictional 'verse that made me feel protective; I had never felt called to defend anything else I liked before, but come the mid 90s, just about every nonTrek Sci Fi show as labelled "the anti Star Trek" when the reviewers wanted to praise it, and thus it went on for the next decade, and then some. Falling in love with a couple of those other shows as well, I had the constant urge to snarl "no, it's not all reset button and technobabble, and if you'd actually watched, you'd know!", and kept trying to phrase that more politely.

And it definitely shaped me as a fan who, while appreciating dark scenarios and shades of grey, definitely prefers to have a silver lining on that horizon somewhere . In conclusion, it shaped the [personal profile] selenak you know.

The other days )
Day 24 - Is there anything about Star Trek that has disappointed you?

Pfff. I don't think the phrasing of the question can get an accurate answer. Or rather: of course there are individual episodes in every single show which I found dissapointing. Or entire storylines. Or lack of storylines and representation (see yesterday). Or movies. But even the movies I didn't like usually have some scenes I enjoyed (the wedding at the start of Nemesis was fine...). Even the storylines I wish they hadn't done (Dukat becomes one dimensional mustache twirling crazy) at times have aspects that spoke to me. (Dukat/Winn; especially the scene where he's temporarily blind and she kicks him out with the pointed reminder of how merciful the Bajorans are).

So has Star Trek, that vast, vast amalgan of so many different creative efforts disappointed me? Not really. Individual aspects, yes, but there was so much more which gave me something, captivated me, spoke to me, that the occasional disappointment was very much outbalanced.

The other days )
Day 23 - Is there anything you'd want to change about Star Trek? Why?

Very apropos current news: LGBT representation. TNG tried to do it once metaphorically, and it misfired badly (The Outcast), and there was the probably unintended misfire that was the end of the Beverly/Odan affair in another episode. Neither of which would have been a problem at all if, say, we'd have had a recurring character like O'Brien or Ro with same sex preferences, or the occasional crew member showing handholding or embracing someone of the same sex, etc. (First Contact had the redshirt bridge officer who was meant to be gay - the novelization still has Picard notifying his husband - but guess which dialogue didn't make it on screen?) DS9 did somewhat better with Reunion because while we still got the metaphorical approach via the reassociation taboo, we also got nobody blinking at the fact that both Jadzia and Lenare were female. Indeed Dax has probably the claim of being the first ST on screen, not subtext but textual bi character. (Well, positive character. The Intendant over the Mirrorverse was on screen bi as well, but evil alter egos being other than straight isn't exactly an improvement in the representation department.) But otherwise: zilch. I don't recall anyone from Voyager, either, but then I didn't watch all the episodes. The reboot movie Into Darkness has a bridge officer sitting next to Sulu (when Chekov is doing Scotty's job) who looks like he or she could be meant to be a trans or intergender person (very "masculine" body build but pronounced breasts), and the character doesn't die, so I'm cautiously optimistic in assuming they were going for something other than cis with this crew member.

But still. All the way back when, in the 60s, the fact that the Enterprise had bridge crew members like Sulu (Asian), Chekov (Russian, i.e. from the 1960s American tv audience pov the Cold War enemy) and Uhura (black) was supposed to signal humanity being less prejudiced and more equal in the future. It's a few decades later, and ST spaceships and space stations are still lacking in openly acknowledged LGBT characters in the future, while in the present in the country where ST was/is produced has just become advanced enough that the Supreme Court has decided same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. In other words, the present got there first. And it could easily have been the other way around, if only the production people had shown more initiative and courage in that direction.

The other days )
Day 22 - Which Star Trek world would you want to visit at least once?

Well, let's find out by filtering out the non-candidates. Not a planet, but the Q Continuum is canonically a plane of existence which is such a bore that it it drove at least one Q to suicide. ("We've all done the scarecrow!") Ferenginar, which is a planet. has the a lot of rain (the Ferengi evidently don't believe in wasting gold pressed latinum on climate control technology) and isn't good for female visitors anyway (at least until Rom's become Grand Nagus). Vulcan has a lot of deserts (duh), which may be gorgeous to look at but would definitely demand my tourist self trains some more before going on a hike. In my current shape, I'm up for mountains but not weeks in the desert.

Planets in the "maybe yes, maybe no" category: Cardiassia Prime, according to Gul Madred and Jean-Luc Picard, has some archaeologically impressive beautiful ruins along with its current neostalinist architecture. However, if I go there before DS9 ends, I might say the wrong thing to the wrong person and end up interrogated by an Obsidian Order expert, which is no fun. If I go after the end of the show, that wouldn't be a problem, but otoh given all the devastation as a result of the Dominion War would make me feel a disaster tourist. Romulus has a similar problem. A kinder environment than Vulcan but the whole "say the wrong thing, and..." problem during the TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voy era. And then the planet explodes. I'd have to time a visit carefully, but the Romuilans are space Romans and I have a thing for Romans, so I might risk it.

Definitely holiday worthy: Risa is canonically THE holiday planet, but it doesn't seem to offer anything a Club Med on Earth hasn't already in the late 20th century/early 21st one, and, well, been there, done that. Can't do it for a longer time, anyway: I need to do some sight seeing along with my gorgeous nature and spa treatments. Betazed seems to have some nice scenery, definitely has history and has no hang-ups about the human body, but living in the early 21st century has made me paranoid re: privacy due to the NSA already, and I'm not sure whether I'd relax all that much in a planet full of telepaths and empaths. Bajor has great architecture, lots of history, and beautiful scenery, and while at times it comes uncomfortably close to a theocracy, it usually has a civilian government and freedom of speech if we're talking show era. I'd have to avoid the eras where it's either brutally occupied or just recovering from being brutally occupied (that disaster tourism thing again), but ca. season 4 or 5 of DS9 era Bajor would be on my visiting list.

...yes, all in all, Bajor it is!

The other days )
Day 21 - Which Star Trek food would you want to try at least once?

Not Klingon Gagh, that's for sure. Bajoran Hasperat, otoh, sounds delicous. Bring it on!

The other days )
Day 20 - Of the minor characters (one shots, not the recurring ones) who’s your favorite?

There are shows where I could answer this immediately (Babylon 5: Timov, and in conclusion, Timov!), but for Star Trek in its various incarnations, it's surprisingly difficult. First because ST the guest stars I feel passionately about tend to be in more than one episode. (Or movie, which is why I can't list Saavik here, or K'eyhler, let alone Sarek and Amanda or Reboot!Pike.) Then there are genuine one shots which I think were interesting, and it would be intriguing to explore them more or learn what became of them post episode, like Rugal, the Cardassian boy raised as Bajoran in Cardassians (and Una McCormack did that in a novel), or Elizabeth Dehner (Margaret Bonnano brought her back in Strangers in the Sky), but I can't say I love them, which the word "favorite" implies.

Mulling this over some more, I'm circling around a few one shots which I do feel a bit stronger for: in the movies, Dr. Gillian Taylor (who had her own agenda and reasons to work with Our Heroes which weren't about being attracted to any of them! And she succeeded in achieving what she wanted! All hail the Whale Expert!) competing with Lily from First Contact (when I saw it in the cinema, I did have a problem with one of the strongest scenes that can be summed up with "but he should have that conversation with Beverly!), but such Doylist concerns aside - which grew weaker during the rewatch - Lily was great, a brave woman in a very scary situation indeed who did that most difficult thing, not just standing up to enemies but to friends. Plus Alfe Woodard had great chemistry with Patrick Stewart of the "two strong actors together" type without the movie trying to make her into a love interest.

In the various shows: Pel, the Ferengi Yentl. Who hopefully stays clear of the Founders after going off to make profit in the Gamma Quadrant. Yes, you knew how her story would go from the beginning (at least if you've watched Yentl), but that didn't make it any less enjoyable, and I really appreciated they remained true to the original and didn't let her settle for girlfriend/wife status instead of pursueing her dreams. We got only two female Ferengi characters on DS9 (or anywhere else), Ishka and Pel, and Pel never got stuck with the weaker writing of the "senile Nagus" storyline; she had her story, from which she exited with audience and characters knowing she made the right choice. So: Pel! (Icon chosen because it's actually a line from a conversation Dax has with Pel in the episode.)

The other days )


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