Last topic I was asked for, and one that made me think about relationships between women in Star Trek shows, its prominence or lack fo same in general. Someone once said Kira and Dax were the first female ST character given a friendship, which isn't true; TNG went there first with Beverly and Deanna chats, and also with Guinan and Ro. (And occasionally Guinan and Deanna.) What these have in common with the Dax and Kira relationship on DS9 is that it's presented as there, friendly, but not the dealmaker for any of the characters some of their other relationships are. I can recall a few Jadzia and Kira friendship scenes; the runabout scenes in the opening season 2 three parter, of course, also Jadzia, pondering whether or not to fuflfill Curzon's vow, asking Kira about the memory of having killed (as in, assassinated, not killed in battle) in Blood Oath, and the show repeatedly depicted them coming from the holosuite or chatting to give us the impression they spend some of their spare time together, and that Jadzia is doing her best to get Kira to relax a little, with varying degrees of success (Arthurian romance? Not Kira's thing), while there are parts of Jadzia Dax which Kira just doesn't get (her fondness for Ferengi in general and Quark in particular - "I don't understand your attitude about the Ferengi" -, her less conventional dating taste (the captain with the transparant skull and big visible brain comes to mind) but which don't stop her from liking Dax. In the last season, there was a slightly different dynamic because Ezri was new and unexperiencend, and Kira played more of an encouraging supporter role, but again, this wasn't particularly prominent.

Kira's best friend on the station in a pre-existing relationship was Odo; of the on show relationships that formed among the other regulars, the most important one was with Sisko, which is somewhat unique among Captain/First Officer ST relationships because he's also the Emissary and therefore a religious figure, and Kira's religion is very important to her. Which isn't to say Kira doesn't also have important relationships with other women in the seven seasons of the show, but I'd rank two non-regulars before the one with Dax (either Dax) - with Ziyal in a positive way and with Kai Winn in a negative way. Ziyal is the direct product of the occupation Kira fought to so hard against and which formed her life, and mentoring Ziyal, who is both Cardassian and Bajoran but belongs to neither world, trying to give Ziyal a life that isn't the one the young Kira Nerys had, is a part of the show long exploration of Kira and her terrorist/freedom fighter past, Kira and Cardassians, which is one of the show's richest narratives. Meanwhile, Winn is the most prominent female villain the show ever creates, and it's easy to forget that Kira actually starts out as a supporter - she intends to vote for Vedek Winn in Winn's introduction episode before getting disillusioned. While Winn has a rivalry with Sisko in the religious icon domain, her antagonistic relationship with Kira gets far more narrative prominence, and it's more complicated than the Sisko-Winn one, because it has all the viciousness of a family feud. While the show in most cases puts Kira in the right and Winn in the wrong (often in a "true believer versus corrupt Renaissance pope" kind of way), this isn't always the case; there's the memorable scene where the fact that Winn spent part of the occupation in a Cardassian Labour camp comes up. Again, Winn, as a leading cleric and then as the head of the Bajoran religion falls into an ongoing plot thread that contributes to the greatness of the show - Bajoran politics -, so it's not surprising the scenes with her and Kira have an importance that any scenes with Kira and Dax just don't.

For Jadzia Dax, her best friend in a relationship already existing pre show is Benjamin Sisko, and while there is some adjustment on Sisko's part to the fact Jadzia isn't an older man as opposed to Curzon, this stays the case and carries over to Ezri. Of the new friendships she forms in the course of the show, the one with Kira certainly is there, but I never had the impression that the show treated it, from Dax' perspective, as more important than the ones with Quark and Bashir. (Worf is a special case because while we saw him becoming friends with Jadzia long before they became lovers, he WAS set up as her future love interest from the get go, and that's s a different type of story. Otoh he and Ezri went the reverse way, ending up as friends after the hostility and tension resolving sex. The relationship with Worf is certainly the most prominent non-Sisko one in Dax' storyline from season 4 onwards, including the last season - one of many reasons why the Ezri/Bashir romance in the last eps feels so artificially tacked on - but it's never either "just friendship" or "just romance".) I am of course somewhat biased in the Quark & Dax direction, but I would still argue they get the type of relationship-as-crucial-factor-for-character-making-decision scenes (as in the episode where Quark crosses the line for Dax when hosting weapons of mass destruction arms merchant sales, and her reaction is a great part of what makes Quark reconsider at the risk of his life) which Kira and Dax just don't.

Now, I'm not seeing the fact that DS9 as a whole, at least as far as the regulars are concerned - and Kira and Dax were the sole female regulars, since characters like Ziyal, Winn, or Keiko O'Brien where recurring guest stars - , did better in the male & male and male & female relationships department than it did in the female & female relationships, as a major flaw. Sometimes it just works out that way. But it's definitely the case, especially if you compare DS9 to the next Trek show, Voyager. As a series, I'm not in love with Voyager the way I am with DS9 and TNG, and in fact Voy was where I stopped watching a Star Trek show regularly, eventually. But it had hands down the most interesting relationships between female characters on any Star Trek show. (Helped by the fact there were now three female regulars at all points of the show, with Kes in the first three seasons being replaced by Seven of Nine from the fourth onwards.) Janeway and Torres early on, Janeway and Seven of Nine from the moment Seven showed up, Seven and Torres, Seven and Naomi Wildman, all of these got development, prominent scenes, and in the Janeway and Seven case a key importance in each other's emotional lives that until this point just hadn't existed between two female regular characters on a Star Trek show, but plenty between two male characters, and later between a male and female character. Voyager was the pioneer there. DS9, despite its many other virtues, was not.

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
No new Clone adventure to contemplate today, so a few thoughts on why season 2 as a whole - while offering many good things - didn't work as well as s1 for me.

it's all about the focus or lack of same )

Other fandoms:

Penny Dreadful:

Short but very interesting interview with Timothy Dalton about a certain scene in 1.05 and the Vanessa-Malcolm relationship in general.

Star Trek:

We learned the sea : beautiful love declaration to the various shows (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voy), their captains, and their relationships.
At last, I managed to watch the Christmas Specials of two shows I'm following. One of them was lovely, encapsulating all the particular show's strengths and managing to create sympathy for the guest stars in peril despite the inevitable short screen time they could have. The other, while not as bad as some ominous above cut rumblings let me to believe, unfortunately, much like that show's last season, neither particularly good or particularly bad, just mediocre, though entertaining, with a few outstanding moments, which is all the more frustrating because very recently we've seen the show do better.

Three guesses which was which, and the first two don't count.

Doctor Who Christmas Special )

Call The Midwife Christmas Special )
selenak: (City - KathyH)
( Dec. 23rd, 2013 12:07 pm)
No topics for the busiest of holidays and the day before that, thank God, which allows me to read what everyone else has written, and thus you get links today. :)

Poetic meta on Jackie Tyler, the Ninth Doctor and Rose as Demeter, Hades and Persephone.

The Inner Light as a TNG highlight. TNG and Picard love are always lovely to read.

It's been literally decades since I've read the Silmarillion, but I still found this hysterical and want [personal profile] penknife to write the Southern Gothic versions of Lord of the Rings as well:

Leaving Bliss, aka Galadriel's backstory from the Silmarillion, the Southern way. :)

But if you want to know the beginning of it, you have to go back to my grandparents. Grandpa Finny (and if you're confusing him already with Uncle Fenny and his brothers Fin and Little Finny, you aren't from Bliss yourself) was always keen on having sons.
Day 26 - OMG WTF? Season finale

Star Trek: Enterprise, season 4: These are the voyages... comes immediately to mind.

Some background first: I had watched the first few Enterprise episodes when they were broadcast and then decided the show wasn't really for me. Not that it was staggeringly incompetent or something like that, but it came at the tail end of the production team having more or less written Star Trek in various variations for sixteen years, and it showed. Especially since Enterprise had the bad luck to come at a time where there were several other good sci fi shows around. Give it a rest for a while, thought I, meaning both myself and anyone producing Star Trek. The fact that fannish rumour told me subsequent seasons reflect 9/11 happening and Star Trek suddenly going all gung ho (and not in a self critical way, unlike, say, the relevant DS9 episodes where Sisko & team are confronted what the Dominion threat has made of them and Starfleet at large) didn't encourage me to tune in again.

However, the show did have its champions. And I often have a soft spot for the fannish underdog. (By which I don't mean the in-story underdog, I mean those characters unpopular by fandom at large.) So when I began to hear, from [personal profile] bimo and others, that Enterprise offered some genuinenly good stuff, like fleshing out the Andorians the way TOS had done the Vulcans, TNG had done the Klingons and DS9 had done the Cardassians, Bajorans and Ferengi, that the fourth season in particular was eminently watchable, other than the finale, which everyone hated (including, as I heard at FedCon from Jolene Blaylock, the actors), I thought, come on, why not? So I watched the fourth season, which I was assured I could do without having watched the previous ones, and didn't regret it. But boy, could I ever see what the complaints about the finale (which wasn't just the season but the series finale) had been about. I didn't hate it, I just thought it was the most misguided idea ever for a series finale. If it had been a mid season inter-Trek crossover episode (which TNG, DS9 and Voy had all done), it would have been not stellar, but okay.

Here are the spoilery reasons why as a FINALE, it is my choice for the WTF? category above all other candidates )
Day 22 - Favorite series finale

Even these many years and many other beloved shows and some excellent finales later: All Good Things..., the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It managed to accomplish so many things: clever use of the "three different time lines" macguffin, allowing the audience which had followed the show both a look back to the start (oh, and for departed crew members to come back, not just Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar, but also Colm Meany as O'Brien, who at this point already had clocked two seasons of DS9 as a regular but made the time for an appearance on his old ship, the Enterprise), at the present and at a possible future. It used Q and the Q/Picard relationship well. (Much later I discovered it also managed to upset a certain branch of Republicans, because of the short scene where Q takes Picard back to prehistoric earth, shows him various amino acids in the primordial soup and casually remarks this is the origin of life on earth. Apparantly creationists took expection to that. Here's to an additional bonus!) It allowed the entire ensemble to shine, playing two, sometimes three different versions of themselves. It wrapped up the show yet also reassured us there were many more adventures for our heroes to come. In short, it was TNG and Star Trek optimism at its best, without coming across as preaching or blind.

And here is the very last scene, which still reduces me to fangirl mush no matter how often I watch. The sky is the limit!

The rest of the days )
Day 19 - Best TV show cast

I take this to mean "best cast of actors", not "best cast of characters", which would be a very different thing. Even so, it's not easy to answer, not least because an actor just marking time or having cameos in one show might reveal he or she has actually amazing range in another. For example, I would never have guessed how good an actor Walter Koenig is before seeing him as Alfred Bester in Babylon 5, because Chekov in Star Trek wasn't a role in which he could do more than be cheerfully optimistic and talk in a fake Russian accent. And the two or so episodes of the original Battlestar Galactica I watched certainly didn't prepare me for Richard Hatch, who was the original Galactica's straight man Apollo, being great and utterly convincing as devious politician and ex terrorist Tom Zarek in the new BSG. Then there are cases where an actor might be good in one particular role but once you see him or her in another show/film/play, you realise it was the writing, not the acting, which made this character so memorable. Or at best a union between the two. *eyes James Marsters*

Conversely, there are cases where a show actually isn't that good but the cast is amazing. I would say Dollhouse is an interesting failure at best, but the ensemble of actors, both regular and recurring, with the notable exception of the leading lady (and oh, the irony that a show designed to show off Eliza Dushku's versatility instead pointed out she's something of a one trick pony as an actress), might actually be stronger than in any other Whedon show (and all the others were far better written). With Dinchen Lachman and Enver Gjokaj the standouts as Victor and Sierra, but Olivia Williams, Fran Kranz and Harry Lennix also did superb jobs, as did Amy Acker (and Alexis Denisof in his s2 appearance reminded me all over again of the mystery that post Angel, this best of all male Jossverse actors pre- Gjokaj didn't seem to get any roles).

Then there are shows where there are stronger and weaker actors but the parts for the weaker ones are either so small or play to these particular actors' strengths, and the overall writing is strong enough that the general impression is of a strong cast. (Case in point: Star Trek: The Next Generation. I don't think anyone else in the cast is as good as Patrick Stewart, but no one is bad, Brent Spiner really is excellent, and after the shaky first season the writing gets to a point where actor strengths and character happily meld for the entire ensemble, and most importantly, no one, be it a good episode or a bad episode, ever gives you the impression of just marking time and waiting for their pay check. And the general chemistry is really good.)

...and then there are the cases where the writing is not just good but great, and the actors are amazing in these and other roles. Which means I have to choose between:

1.) I, Claudius: as I said elsewhere, the cream of 70s British acting shows up there - Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Sian Phillips, Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davies; and, again as mentioned on another day, Brian Blessed delivers one of the most amazing death scenes ever as Augustus in complete silence, acting only with his eyes and the most subtle of expressions and proves once and for all that if given the opportunity he can do more than shout.

2.) Six Feet Under: the wonderful Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher, Michael C. Hall as my favourite gay character of all time, David Fisher, Peter Krause as Nate, Lauren Ambrose being awesome as Claire (and in many ways Claire is the pov character throughout the show), Rachel Griffiths as Brenda, and those are just the regulars through all seasons. Terrific cast, great writing, and that goes for the recurring characters and one shot guest stars as well.

3.) The Wire: I marathoned it so recently that I'm hesitant to include it because usually I need some temporal distance to be sure about my jugment, but it really is everything that was claimed about it in fandom and in professional criticism, both writing and acting wise. And even though the earlier two examples make it hard, I think I'll still name The Wire as my end choice, because the format - five seasons, with each seasons introducing new characters in addition to the established ones and putting the emphasis elsewhere, which means, for example, a minor character in s1 can be a main character in s4, and the reverse, a main character from s1 can get only cameos in s4 - means that of all the shows I named, this one has the largest ensemble of actors, and the best opportunity to give each othem the chance to shine. This includes some teenagers played by actual teenagers, not adults playing teenagers as is the custom on tv, which, considering said teenagers have to do some heavy dramatic lifting, was a risky move that pays of amazingly. conclusion: the cast from The Wire, who were, in the order that Wikipedia gives them and not limited to, Dominic West, John Doman, Idris Elba, Frankie Faison, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Wood Harris, Deirdre Lovejoy, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Andre Royo, Sonja Sohn, Chris Bauer, Paul Ben-Victor, Clarke Peters, Amy Ryan, Aidan Gillen, Jim True-Frost, Robert Wisdom, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, J. D. Williams, Michael K. Williams, Corey Parker Robinson, Reg E. Cathey, Chad L. Coleman, Jamie Hector, Glynn Turman, Clark Johnson, Tom McCarthy, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Neal Huff, Jermaine Crawford, Tristan Wilds, Michael Kostroff, Michelle Paress, Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The rest of the days )
selenak: (Skyisthelimit by Craterdweller)
( Dec. 31st, 2012 11:00 am)
via [personal profile] honorh, the perfect way to send out 2012 with a smile: the gag reel of s2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Very funny even if, unlike yours truly, you aren't a TNG fan. Watch Patrick Stewart cuddle, Michael Dorn being unable to keep a straight face, and the whole lot of them coming across with that joyful-around-each-other aura I remember from conventions. Has bonus Gene Roddenberry at the end!

A happy new year, everyone!
You might have heard a bit of news that gave me a thrill: the tv series Marvel comissioned from Joss which I was resolved not to believe in until it's actually there starts to look more real by the day, since we now know it's going to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. series. In other words, [profile] samdonne, it's going to be the Nick Fury's People show you longed for after watching The Avengers.

There are no news yet as to which comicverse characters are going to be in it, which is why everyone is speculating. Personally, I'm hoping for my beloved Abigail Brand because Joss created her the last time he was in charge of a Marvel property, and since S.W.O.R.D. doesn't exist yet in the movieverse she has to get her early training somewhwere, doesn't she? I'm also hoping for Maria Hill, of course, though since I hear the actress has other obligations he might have to recast. Natasha sadly is out of the question given she's a hot movie property, and my guess is Marvel will want to keep Sharon Cartner for the Captain America films. But what about Mockingbird?

Here is a Joss interview about all things Marvel, in which he also gives a rare non-joking reply as to his thoughts about now having directed the third most successful blockbuster of all time:

I don't think it's a perfect movie. I don't even think it's a great movie. I think it's a great time, and I'm proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don't go to see a movie that many times unless it's pulling on something from within, unless there's a need there. That's very gratifying.

Now whether like me you loved that movie to bits and watched it multiple times and still can't wait for the dvd or whether you feel the other extreme, that is an excellent definition.

Still Whedon-related, on the question as to whether Buffy should have ended with The Gift or with Chosen, I'm firmly on the Chosen side, and this wonderful meta details why.


Another meta link: Why Doctor Who and ST: TNG can be friends. I wasn't aware there is a section of thought who thinks they couldn't. But then, I'm coming to the fandoms from the exact opposite corner than the poster, in that I was a Star Trek fan first (and specifically a TNG and DS9 fan) and only discoverd DW years and years later. (Also I like the Seven era better than she does.) Anyway, these are good and charming observations on both shows.


By contrast, here's something vile. Not the actual post but what it collects to make a (gruesome) point. If you think the Skyler hate on tumblr is bad, apparantly it's even worse on twitter and facebook. Major, major trigger warning for rape and violence, not in the show but in the fannish reaction, but reading this collection of twitter and facebook posts - from this season, not from the start of the show, to make that clear - makes me seriously wonder whether Breaking Bad sets some sort of record of being the best show with the worst (vocal) fans. The introduction gives some spoilers for the first four seasons to create context. Just to get the horrible taste out of my mouth, I'm rewatching the epic Skyler-Walt confrontation scene from 51 now. (Aka why Anna Gunn should join Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as an Emmy winner.) SPOILER for BB, season 5, obviously. (I'd link but then you'd end up with the YouTube comments, which are, again, vile.)

Remember that race of people who communicate entirely in metaphors derived from stories?

In that spirit: Walt, in his lab. Jesse, in said lab. Jesse and Walt, in the lab. The fly, still surviving.

I mean, seriously. How long can flies survive, why won't this one leave me and my laptop alone when I'm working, and is this fair when I'm not in the drug trade and haven't caused anyone's death that I know of?

Walt, the pizza delivered.
My main story this year owes its existence to a coincidence, to wit, that when we got the remix assignments, I had just gone through a period of reading up (and watching, in the case of the John Adams miniseries) on the history of the American Revolution and its founding fathers. (And mothers.) Culminating in a book on the Hemingses, a family of mixed race slaves whom we know more about than usual because three generations of them were owned by Thomas Jefferson, main author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States. Now, my assigned remixee, lferion, shared several fandoms with me, including one of my oldest, Highlander, and one of my newest, Sanctuary, and at first I thought I would remix one of those stories, but try as I might, I found myself going back to two of her poems, one of which, Monticello, was about Jefferson and visiting his home and won out over the other (which was Richard III connected and would also have resulted in historical fiction). The poem and all the thoughts and emotions that had accumulated in me while reading said books providedn an irresistable spark of inspiration. Which resulted in a story about James Hemings, his life, and his relationship with Jefferson. Why James? I hope the story will tell you. Writing it meant a lot to me, and that's putting it mildly. If you only read a single story of mine this entire year, let it be this one.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (The Hemings Remix)

I also participated in Remix Madness, which was fun, and resulted in a far more conventional remix of a story that [personal profile] penknife had written, Last Words. Last Words, set during the Star Trek: The Next Generation two parter Unification, deals with Spock's father Sarek, his relationship with Spock and his attempt to say goodbye to his son via Jean-Luc Picard. If you know [personal profile] penknife, you know she writes Vulcans, especially Sarek, like no one's business. Now Unification is a mixed effort of a two-parter, but the Sarek scene (depicted in my icon) and later the Picard and Spock scenes are excellent and moving, and the earlier TNG episode Sarek where Picard mind-melds with Sarek is among my favourite TNG eps, full stop. It occured to me that there were certain parallels in Picard's own relationship with his father to the Spock and Sarek situation, and also that Unification took place after Picard's Borg experience, which left its indelible mark on Jean-Luc. All of which and my affection for the character, whom I had never written safe in cameos and memes, resulted in a Jean-Luc Picard pov on the events of Last Words, which hopefully works in its own right:

Messenger (The Earl Grey Remix)
Now I know hundreds of movieverse Avengers stories have already been written before even the trailer of the film started, but my problem here is that they were based on guesswork, so the characterisation of people and their relationships doesn't really match, and in order to read something based on this new canon (specifically: something movieverse Natasha centric, like, you know, the epic spy tale of Clint and Natasha and Coulson as their handler), I'll have to wait. *is spoiled by internet, pouts* So, in the meantime, the weekly meme, which asks:

Five characters who could give a great speech

Alas a historical figure is not a character, otherwise I would name Elizabeth I here immediately (one of the all time best big political propaganda speech makers). On to fictional folk.

1.) Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Or, as Q puts it: "Jean-Luc, Jean-Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to those wonderful speeches of yours." Well, if you've got Patrick Stewart as an actor...

2.) Jed Bartlet (The West Wing). He's the President, so it's his profession, and also, he has Toby Ziegler as a scriptwriter. (Or metronom, as I'll always think of him due to [personal profile] chaila's vid.) But he's good at improvising speeches, too. In Latin.

3.) Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica). Another President. Actually, her political style is more soft spoken delivery of cutting put-downs or, depending on the situation, wise encouragements, and Adama does most of the speechifying on this show, but if Laura has to? She can deliver the scary monologue like no one's business. (See her "I will end you!" threat in s4 to Tom Zarek.)

4.) G'Kar (Babylon 5). Is good at speeches whether he's stirring up trouble as a morally ambiguous s1 character or s2 noble resistance fighter or s5 religious icon against his will. (At which point Sheridan, having twigged G'Kar is the most moving speech writer in his 'verse, has drafted him for declarations and speeches as well.) Also Andreas Katsulas can carry off the JMSian rethoric as nobody else but Peter Jurasik can (and Londo's more a master if the witty comeback and the aphorism), making it sound meaningful and wise instead of pompous. (For what happens when an actor can't do this, see: Byron.)

5.) Rom (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). Got to bring a union man in. Okay, so he does it only once, but I'll never not love that a Ferengi gets to write the Communist Manifesto in the STverse (and that the writers got away with this - "Workers of the world, unite! All you have to lose are your chains!" isn't exactly an unknown line in this part of the world, I don't know about the US), and a splendid speech it is, too. Also, given the job Rom ends up with when the show wraps up, his ability to make speeches when in a dire situation should come in handy, to put it as unspoilery as possible.

...and now I'm trying to figure out when I have the time to watch The Avengers again. Also I'm wondering whether you could say that movieverse Clint & Natasha = AU Spyrents from Alias where Jack persuaded Irina to genuinenly change sides?

I'll be on a train in a few hours, as a happy reader in many a fandom. This year, the story of mine that got remixed was one of my newer ones, Here Be Dragons, which is a Merlin tale in which I went a bit meta with the story telling and myth building and messed up legacies. Also, it's my Kilgarrah the Great Dragon character exploration. It was written before s4 was broadcast, and so naturally one of the things I fretted about before Aithusa was broadcast was getting jossed. (And very relieved was I when it didn't happen. I'm fond of my messed up fanon for dragon-human relations.)

The remix story, which is called Waking Up Stories (A Dancemix with Dragons), not only manages to use Aithusa (and other things that happened in s4) but also tackles the storytelling theme with gusto, managing nifty parallels between Morgana (who is the pov character of the remix story) and Uther on the one hand, and Kilgarrah and Aithusa on the other. There are great guest appearances by Hunith and Morgause, and the Morgana and Aithusa interaction is delightful. I have my suspicions about the author (the Morgana centricity and witty dialogue make me think of [personal profile] netgirl_y2k; if it's someone else, then, Anonymous, I mean it as a compliment!). Anyway, reading this was a great way to start the remix 2012 archive expedition.

Now, here are some recs in other fandoms:

X-Men Movieverse:

Terminal Ballistics (The .45 Remix): Erik Lehnsherr wins forever at heartbreakingly dysfunctionally messed up. Oh, Erik.

Star Trek: The Next Generation:

Poker Face (She Can Read You Remix) : there are few Deanna Troi character explorations out there, and even less that focus on what it must be like being an empath (and among fellow Betazoids, telepath) in a society where everyone would automatically assume you to use that ability to your advantage. Very well done.

Pirates of the Carribean:

A broken silence, mended (The Tide Recalls Remix): in which a ghostly James Norrington pays visits to Elizabeth Swann and ends up as the one being haunted. I love the Norrington and Elizabeth interaction in this, and the graceful melancholia, pierced with sharp insights, of the whole piece.

Doctor Who:

Gearbox (The Won't Miss A Piece Remix): so just how does the TARDIS work? Multi-era, featuring various regenerations of the Doctor, and multiple companions, and drawing delightful character portraits of all.

Harry Potter:

A Quiet Interlude (The Standing on a Precipice Remix) : in which Lily Potter and Sirius Black have a chat during the last year of her life. I love it when authors tackle Lily and make her come to life as a complicated, three dimensional being. I also appreciate takes on Sirius that aren't a) about his immortal love for Remus or b) about his immortal loathing/secretly hidden lust (take your choice depending on shipperdom) of Severus Snape, and this story delivers on that count, too. Highly Reccomended.
selenak: (Henry and Eleanor by Poisoninjest)
( Feb. 28th, 2012 11:31 am)
From various people on my flist, most lately ruuger:

First TV show fandom I had self-insertion fantasies about: Probably Karl May's novels, which were the first ones I read as a child. I was totally up for adventuring with Winnetou, chief of the Apaches. Now, by the time I saw Lawrence of Arabia on tv, I was twelve and hormones were kicking in, so my self insertion fantasy there definitely included romance. Undeterred by the lack of female characters and the lack of knowledge about slash, my twelve years old self simply gifted Ali (Omar Sharif's character) with a sister who promptly married Lawrence. (Thankfully I never wrote any of this down.) (I didn't have to have self insertion fantasies about Star Trek which was my biggest fandom from my childhood and teenage years because movie canon gave me Saavik, whom teenage me decided to identify with completely. Spock's protegé! Half Romulan, half Vulcan! Doesn't fall for Kirk! Why, we were practically twins.)

First fandom in which I interacted (online and in person) with other fans: In person, Star Trek. I went to conventions, bought the zines, had the debates, volunteered for quizzes, etc. Online, Highlander.

Pairing in the first slash fanfiction I read: Either Garak/Bashir or Picard/Q, I honestly don't remember which one I read first (in one of those zines I had bought at FedCon), but one of these two.

First fanfiction I read that made me think, 'YES, this is exactly the kind of fanfiction I'd like to write...': Hmmmm. None of those early ST (any ST) tales struck me that way, but I remember by the time I got online and was majorly into HL, McGeorge's post season 5 finale epic impressed the hell out of me. It had plot (a more impressive one than the s6 canon resolution, so that was my first experience with the fanfic-did-it-better phenomenon, too), great characterisation for everyone (and used Joe and Amanda in addition to Duncan and Methos, as opposed to being solely D/M), and a well integrated OC. It was the first time fanfic really impressed me instead of just being a fun addition to fannish life, but I'm not sure it was in the "I wish I could write like that" way. Kat Allison's stories a bit later definitely had that effect, though. Last Set Before Closing was just so mercilessly good and unafraid to go up against beloved fanon assumptions while being entirely plausible characterisation that it had the "YES" effect in addition to the "damn, that's good!" effect.

Pairing in the first fanfiction I wrote: Oddly enough, the first fanfiction I wrote was entirely gen and dealt with a messed up family relationship. (That was sarcasm; I'm mainly a gen writer, though I do the occasional slash or het centric tale now and then, and messed up families are my thing.) Genuinenly oddly, it wasn't in any of my main fandoms at the time. It was a Star Wars story, and I was only ever mildly entertained by SW in my teens and didn't really get into it until much later when the prequels came around. But still, the first fanfiction I ever wrote was about Luke transitioning from "Noooooo...." in Empire Strikes Back re: that revelation by Vader to accepting the truth of it in Return of the Jedi. Years later, when [personal profile] bimo created her website for German fanfiction, it came in handy and I sent it to her, and that's how we "met".

First OTP: Garak/Bashir. How do I know it was an OTP? Because I felt very disgruntled when canon stopped giving us Garak/Bashir scenes while continuing to give us Bashir/O'Brien ones, to the degree that sometimes I gave poor Miles the stinky eye when he was on screen with the good doctor. I had yet to develop the maturity of being a multishipper.*g*

First RPS/F OTP: Henry II/Eleanor of Aquitaine. Basically I watched The Lion in Winter as a sixteen years old, was spell bound and started to do research. I guess you could blame my fondness for frenemies who start as friends/allies/lovers/insert appropriate name of close relationship/ and become enemies while still having a deeper understanding of each other than they have of anyone else in their lives on James Goldman and the Plantagenents. Also Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. What else happened in my late teenage years and my early twenties? Why, I started to read Beatles biographies, after having grown up with the music but knowing nothing about the people behind it. So you can probably guess the effect discovering the two main songwriters went from best friends-plus-rivals to having a very public divorce (thus termed by both of them) to having a delicate truce that could include support as well as arguments had on me.

First fannish friend I met in person: Discounting everyone whom I met in person first, it was [personal profile] kathyh. We "met" in Highlander and shared many a fandom ever since. Also she lives in Croydon near London which means I can see her when visiting the British capital.

First character I formally roleplayed: Londo Mollari. Ah, those were the theatrical_muse days....
1.) Gaius Baltar (Battlestar Galactica). He's so many things, but annoying is certainly one of them. (Especially to several of the other characters.) Not all the time, but some of the time. And yet even before it became apparant he had arguably the best individual storyarc of the show, I moved from "like" to love.

2.) Annie (Being Human). She, too, can be annoying at times. Also brave and compassionate, or conversely overlooking the bleeding obvious because of what's going on with her; it contributes to making her very real. Annie is the type of person who'd drive me crazy on a regular basis if she was my friend, but whom I also would go to if I needed a shoulder to cry on, or if I had a moral dilemma to wrestle with.

3.) Rygel (Farscape). Definitely annoying. Also wily, greedy, a great survivor with an iron core of resilience (let's see how you'd do if Durka had a go at you for a few days, never mind years, as in Rygel's case), and surprisingly good with not self interested advice once in a while (ask Aeryn in The Choice, where he was the only character who talked to her for her sake, not because of an own agenda, or John in the season 4 opener, not that John listened, but still). Also the smartest person on the show other than Scorpius according to the producers, and I'm cool with that.

4.) Lwaxana Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation). I love her to bits, and think she's magnificent, larger than life, full of joie de vivre yet also very much aquainted with grief and loss. Yet I can't deny she can also be annoying. Does this matter to me? No one bit.

5.) Andrew Welles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I completely get what fans mean when they call him annoying, starting with the voice and ending with the fact that some of his screentime is spent being a whiny murderer determined to see himself as the maligned hero. On the other hand, he: can coin phrases with the best Sunnydalians ("I'm a guestage"), endearingly never fanboys the obvious favourites (I mean, if you go for Timothy Dalton in your Bonds and Jonathan Archer in your Starfleet Captains, nobody can accuse you of catering to majority opinions!), and is such an unabashed shipper and storyteller. (Also? Spike letting Andrew hug him in front of the amused AtS gang without mocking him or pushing him off, and later answering his questions like what blood actually tastes like is what sold souled Spike to me.) I'm not sure I'd trust more-or-less-redeemed Andrew, but I'd definitely hang out with him. He could bake cookies.
5 Scariest Villians (as opposed to Favorite Villians)

1.) Arthur (John Lithgow) aka Trinity from Dexter, season 4. Visceral performance, and arguably the scariest of Dexter's seasonal opponents. Spoilery reasons why ensue. )

2.) The Borg in their first three Star Trek: TNG appearances. Unfortunately, this is something later watchers won't be able to appreciate, not only because of the later overexposure of the Borg on both Voyager and TNG but also because the overall tv viewing context today is too different. But in Q Who and Best of Both Worlds I + II, the Borg scared the hell out of me because a villain like this hadn't been done on Star Trek before. The idea of assimilation, losing free will and personality and (as demonstrated via Picard) the idea that somewhere in the back of your mind your old self is still there and powerless to prevent it was incredibly shudderworthy to me, as were the original Borg's uninterestedness in the usual villain trappings like posturing or declarations, or gloating. They just came, assimilated and went. (And as mentioned multiple times before, the fact this happened to the main character who afterwards had to deal with it instead of being cured by the reset button was completely new for Star Trek, if par the course now, heightening the effectiveness of the Borg as scary villains even more.)

3.) Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Never mind Lord Voldemort, standard evil overlord that he was. Umbridge the teacher in pink scared the hell out of me during Harry's first detention with her, when he realised what writing "I must not tell lies" over and over again really means. There are other reasons why Umbridge is such an effective villain - until this point in the saga, Hogwarts is still mostly fairytale refuge land for Harry (never mind the annual scares), and she strips it bit for bit of any joyful elements and turns it into a bureaucratic fascist nightmare - but this scene, which despite the magical element in it is as real a depiction of child abuse as you're likely to find, both in Umbridge's demeanour and Harry's reaction, is what makes me shudder to this day when I think of it.

4.) The Gentlemen from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush. I know I nominate them every time such a question is asked, but it's still true: they really are the most effective fairy tale monsters on tv. (And wisely Joss never tried to reprise them.) It's not the skeletal look, it's the spoilery thing they do ) that makes all the difference.

5.) The Alien in Alien. Again, a classic which probably won't work on today's viewers, especially if they've watched one of the later Alien movies first. I think it was Stephen King who once observed that if the original Star Wars was, despite the sci fi exterior, a fairy tale, the original Alien was, again, despite the sci fi exterior, a horror movie. Taking its time, artfully directed by Ridley Scott, and to me far more emotionally real than Cameron's more popular follow up because the grumpy crew of the Nostromo doesn't speak in stylized movie banter as the Marines in Aliens do, they're not soldiers, you know people like them and they're in no way prepared to handle what happens to them. And the Alien, in its first appearance and subsequently celebrated H.R. Giger design, in three stages, is a Freudian nightmare that combines just the right amount of actual exposure with letting the audience imagination do the work. (As opposed to the sequels where you see the beasties all the time.) It's a force of nature that can't be reasoned with and treats humans as breeding ground if it doesn't treat them as dinner, and it really looks, well, utterly alien, which was news in the 70s when aliens still very much looked like puppets and/or men in suits. It gave me nightmares for months.
Five favorite ships - sailing ships, spaceships, etc., not relationships.

1.) The Liberator (Blake's 7). While the B7 budget was tiny to nonexistant, the Liberator was a splendid ship anyway (and for a glimpse of how it would have looked like with GCI, see the Excalibur from Crusade, with the ship not being the only thing in the B5 spin off - or B5 itself - used in homage to B7). It was the first but not the last "living ship" I fell in fannish love with (see below) and Terminal is as sad an episode as Orbit or Blake for me for that reason.

2.) Moya (Farscape). Moya the leviathan, a living ship in which the majority of the show's action takes place never says a single word on the show, but the series manages to convey her personality distinctly nonetheless, and she's as much a cast member as the ones played by human actors. Spoilers for Farscape and Doctor Who's sixth season ensue. ) Visually, the brown and golden organic colouring and all the curves instead of sharp angles really sell you on Moya as grown instead of built, and it's part of the unique Farscape world.

3.) The TARDIS (Doctor Who). One of many reasons why shipping wars in this fandom are so very superfluos is that the true OTP was always and without question Doctor (any regeneration)/TARDIS over forty years, and thank you, Neil Gaiman, for devoting an entire episode to this fact. :) (Well, there was that fling he had with Bessie the car , but other than that...) Seriously now, the idea of a blue police box being really the closet to Narnia a ship to traval through time and space with encapsulates the "wonderful nonsense" (lovely quote from The Next Doctor in one of the best verbal reactions to the TARDIS ever, uttered by David Morrissey) that is Doctor Who, and they who do not care for the TARDIS probably can't care for the show, either. Also?

4.) The Enterprise D (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Yes, I'm thoroughly fond of the original Enterprise, and get misty eyed when it explodes in ST III. But I still love the D best, with its bar Ten-Forward, its holodeck, its beige colours, Data's cat Spot and the ready room with Picard's goldfish Livingstone. It had a cosiness and home-iness the other versions lacked, which is of course why it later was disdained by certain fannish quarters. Maybe it's a sign of me getting old, but I like cosy. Space is cold enough anyway.

5.) Serenity (Firefly). Also a ship that feels like a home, despite coming from the other franchise tradition (aka it was obviously and acknowledgedly inspired by the Millennium Falcon). The show in its short life not only gave us one episode which showcased how Mal came to find her (Out of Gas) and why he's as in love as any other captain, but also a River-centric one where Serenity is both an invaded home and one that fights successfully back against the invasion (Objects on Space), and where she's paralleled to River, while the Big Damn Movie in its opening sequence manages to reintroduce the entire cast via a long uncut trip through the ship, thus reintroducing it as well, and ends with a direct Serenity/Zoe equation, and this last one is the one that struck me as most apt. If Moya, the Liberator and the Enterprise are more the motherly types of spaceships and the TARDIS is the Doctor's fellow traveller (or rather he is hers), Serenity is the war veteran of ships, battered, but still flying, and splendidly so.
Via [personal profile] x_los: a very civilised version of the Kirk versus Picard debate (with link to a Sisko-for-best manifesto, pace Sisko fans). (No one has written a Janeway manifesto yet - any takers?) It was fun to read, though occasionally I shook my head and muttered "which show did you watch?" at both participants. (I mean, Picard not having regrets about his life other than in Generations? WHAT? And "barely reacting" to his stint as Locutus? WHAT?!? Also methinks the guy utterly misses the point when he imagines how passionately Kirk would have responded. This kind of thing did not happen to Kirk (during TOS; the films are somewhat different, because of course there he gets confronted with aging, his best friend temporarily dying, and losing his barely known son, but they still would not have subjected him to the type of violation and permanent guilt trip that being Locutus presents for Picard) because his narrative would never have permitted it. This is why Family was such a revolutionary episode for Star Trek - because for the first time, we could see the effects of a major event on a regular (and the Captain, no less) in the next episode instead of the reset button being employed and everyone being fine and dandy again.

Otoh the debaters sound fannishly sound (meaning they express my own opinion *g*) when speculating how Kirk and Picard would have fared in other situations facd by the respective other guy (i.e. Picard with his diplomatic skills would have been great with the Klingons in situations such as Balance of Terror or ST VI, whereas Kirk and Q would have been an utter disaster. Though he would never had a problem with Vash visiting him on the Enterprise and would have faced situations such as Beverly dropping by for breakfast with aplomb. :)

Like one of the commenters to this article, I'm not sure I'd choose The Inner Light as the ultimate Picard episode. Maybe the ultimate Patrick Stewart's acting skills episode, but that's a different thing. I mean, I love it, but I probably would go for Darmok like said commenter for choice of an episode that showcases both what makes Jean-Luc Jean-Luc, and what makes TNG TNG. (As for the ultimate Kirk episode, hm, maybe The Corbomite Maneuvre over City at the Edge of Forever, but that I'm not really sure about.)

Anyway, it all comes down to personal taste, of course. As I've said on other occasions, to me Picard's stoicism is more appealing than Kirk's open emotionality because that stoicism and self discipline makes the rare occasions when they're shattered and Picard is radiating emotion all the more powerful. Back when the reboot Star Trek hit the big screen two years ago, some reviews wondered/wished it would have been an even more radical reboot where in the alternate universe created, either Pike stays Captain or Spock does and Kirk serves as first officer; and in a way, that was the basic idea when TNG was invented, have the Kirk type (i.e. Riker) as first officer and the restrained intellectual/older man as Captain. It's a much rarer combination in any genre, and I remain desperately fond of it.
Still busy with catching up here, and still time-harrassed, so, in bullet points:

The Good Wife 2.21.: loved it. Terrific showcase for both Alicia and Julianna M. Also, got a kick as always out of Pattie (spelling? or is it Patti, or Patty?) aka Martha Plimpton.

Doctor Who 6.03: Stephen Moffat, please stop giving the less qualified of your buddies writing assignments, or if you do, then EDIT AND REWRITE SOME MORE. I mean, I didn't actively dislike this one the way I did last year's third episode with their double offense of iDaleks and jolly old Winston, but Curse of the Black Spot was really a waste of a good concept. For what can be done with the idea of a pirates! Doctor Who episode, consult the Big Finish audio Doctor Who and the Pirates. Which manages to both play with pirate clichés in a hilarious manner and tell an ultimately very moving story for which the Companion's development is crucial. And plays with unreliable narrator/changing perspectives fun. And is a musical in which the Doctor sings "I am the very model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer".

Fringe: I'll try to find the time for an overall season 3 post.

In other new, I've been podficced again! [personal profile] juniperphoenix did a great version of Tea and Sympathy, my ST: TNG/Doctor Who crossover in which Guinan and the Doctor (several of him) keep running into each other.


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