selenak: (Arthur by Voi)
Watched this on Netflix, because Zombies seemed like a good alterntive to news featuring the horror clown. (TM our tabloids. For once, I like a phrase they coined.) Also because I heard good things from this effort by Rob Thomas, he who produced Veronica Mars.

So, my impressions: there are some VM parallels - our heroine transformed, in backstory revealed in pilot, from popular member of (her) society with bright future ahead into misfit due to traumatic event. Her new existence at the periphery/the underbelly gives her a new perspective and a snarky attitude. She's broken up with her earlier love but he's not gone from her life completely, and in the course of the pilot, she bonds with new allies. And of course, there's the case of the week format with an ongoing narrative arc underneath. Only where Veronica Mars went for noir tropes and structures, IZombie uses that of a procedural.

This being said, iZombie stands on its own legs, so to speak. It quickly establishes its core ensemble of characters, and uses the zombie Macguffin in an inventive way to justify the "solves murder of the week" format - turns out consuming someone's brain gives you some of the deceased person's memories and personality traits, until you move on to the next brain. Liv taking a job at the morgue to have access to the brains of the deceased solves her personal nourishment problem, but the show makes the obvious next question - what about zombies who don't have that possibility to get at brains from already dead people? - trigger for the long term arc and etablishing of our seasonal antagonist, Blaine, played by David Anders enjoying himself as an amoral villain with great capitalist gifts - creating a market takes on a new meaning with him. Getting a bit more spoilery about that. )

(Speaking of actors I know from other shows, there's also Bradley James, aka Arthur from Merlin, as Lowell Tracey, British guitarist/singer and temporary alternate love interest of our heroine. I'm usually touchy re: the treatment alternate love interests get when it's obvious from the start they're not meant to be end game but a temporary distraction for our central character, but "who will Liv choose?" Is actually not a question the show asks (at least in season 1 it doesn't), and I thought it played fair by Lowell, making him into a character, not just a plot device. Also Bradley James is pretty charming as Not!Arthur.)

Liv, our heroine, who gets jolted out of her post-zombiefication malaise in the pilot when she realises she can use this dreadful thing that happened to her in constructive ways that give her hope, makes for an endearing central character, though I have to say I didn't really buy the plot's justification for her withholding crucial information from her former fiance after a certain point. That the show itself lampshaded this by letting Ravi, Liv's boss at the morgue and bff throughout, raise all the good arguments why she should share, didn't help. Like I said, I didn't really buy her counter argument, though to its credit, her emotional state in that particular scene WAS believable.

Ravi (her boss at the morgue) and Clive (the cop whom she becomes a crime-solving duo with) are both poc, and develop a delightful raport with Liv, which hits my soft spot for male & female friendship. Yes, they're male, if you're keeping score, and if there's a nitpick, then it's that Liv's sole female friend, her roommate Peyton, in the first season at least doesn't get nearly as much presence and personality as either. But of course that could change in later seasons; as a district attorney, the show can use her more in the crimes of the week than it did here.

Major, Liv's ex whom she broke up solely due to zombiefication pre pilot, is almost too good to be true (sense of humor, social worker who cares passionately, hunk) but gets put through the wringer in the course of the season as he tries to find out what happened to some of the kids he attempted to help. What eventually happens is another case of "well, I saw that coming, but the denouement afterwards elevates it to "well played, show, well played".

In conclusion: witty dialogue, morbid humor (obviously), yet also treats its dead as people not canon fodder. Excellent distraction, if you're in need. The first season had 13 episodes.
selenak: (Partners in Crime by Monanotlisa)
Useful tips of what you you can do in the Age of Orange, hilariously expressed to boot: Holy Fuck The Election.

And pointed out to me which is why I share it with you, a post- season 5 Alias story, featuring Arvin Sloane and Jack Bristow: very little changes.

The first generation spies in their terse, messed up glory. Incidentally, I can't for the life of me imagine Jack Bristow working for a CIA ultimately ruled by Drumpf. He'd have joined forces (for real) with Sloane to have an assassination plan ready two seconds after Hillary conceded. Sloane, being an evil overlord, wouldn't object to T. on moral grounds but on professional and aesthetic ones. The sheer sloppiness and vulgarity would be too much. Besides, Rambaldi did not predict him, which means he needs to be eliminated.
selenak: (LondoGkar)
Obviously more of them in days past when I was less genre wise, starting with the granddaddy of pop culture plot twists, so to speak: when I was a wee [personal profile] selenak sitting in the cinema and hearing Darth Vader say "Obi-Wan never told you the truth about your father, did he?", I had no idea. I also thought that was a fantastic twist and never doubted it for a second. Only a few years ago did I learn some viewers thought Vader was lying until Return of the Jedi was released, because Obi-Wan = hero and Vader = villain. That never occurred to me. Once I heard it, it suddenly made so much sense, put a whole new light on everything and galvanized my interest into the whole Star Wars saga to no end. The equation for young me was simple. Hero avenges dead father whom the audience has never met and hence doesn't care for on villain in their eventual showdown which of course the hero will win = predictable and boring. Dead father is not dead but villain himself? Previously ultra good dead mentor a liar about a key fact? INTERESTING.

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

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

The other days
selenak: (Alex Drake by Renestarko)
No, the other one. A few years back, it was briefly announced there's be a tv series about Jessica Jones, based on the Alias comics but in order not to be confused with the tv show Alias called "Aka Jessica Jones" instead. Then nothing happened, and word was the idea was given up.

But now not only is the tv show back on, but Krysten Ritter will play Jessica Jones. As I know her from Breaking Bad, where she played Jane in season 2 (and was awesome as the character), this makes me very happy indeed. Mind you, it will inevitably joss my Jessica Jones in the X-Men movieverse story, but hey - such is fannish life.

Oh, and the internet also told me that the actor who currently plays Lemond Bishop in The Good Wife is considered for Luke Cage. Which would make the tv prospects even better!
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Because I do that occasionally when finding a new fandom. Also I'm trying to get my muse back, and one sentence fics are one way to dabble in fanfiction again.

Try to write different categories of fic (angst, fluff, UST, etc) in one sentence.

Spoiler: for the first two seasons.

Disclaimer: The Americans created by Joe Weisberg and owned by Fox.

Rating: PG 13.

Cut for spoilers )
selenak: (Claudius by Pixelbee)
The Guardian lists memorable awful dinner parties in fiction and somehow misses out The Charioteer's example. Now as opposed to several friends of mine, I'm not that enamored with The Charioteer, but the party at Alec's and Sandy's is hands down one of Mary Renault's most memorable, best written set pieces and any such list that leaves it out is just not complete.

(BTW, switching mediums, Alias the tv show has not one but two great examples of dinner parties with lots of of squirming which are awful to attend but ever so entertaining to watch, and Arvin Sloane is the host in both cases, once in s1 and once in s4. The s4 party wins for me by a small margin because Emily in s1 has no idea what everyone else is up to but Nadia in s4 catches Sydney in the act and thus her final toast is designed to be extra-squirmy.)

(Of course, while we're talking tv, practically any family dinner among the Julian-Claudians in I, Claudius is both awful to attend to for the guests and entertaining to watch/read about, with Caligula's parties winning in sheer ghastliness and host sadism because Caligula.)

Meanwhile, I've finished Donna Tartt's The Gold Finch. Now I actually didn't like The Secret History and never even started The Little Friend, but novel No.3 managed to capture me. I've seen critics call it "Dickensian" and it's easy to see why, very self consciously so on the part of the author - at one point, a character even gets compared to the Artful Dodger in dialogue -, but actually the author it brought to mind to me, especially in the later sections, was Graham Greene even more than The Inimitable. Or maybe "Dickens meets Greene" puts it best. The novel's narrator (who might as well say, like David Copperfield, that whether he's also the hero of his life or whether another gets that title is up to the reader), Theo, loses his mother at age 13 in a ghastly bomb attack on a museum; Tartt captures the numbness, disorientation and depression of grief - which never does go away for Theo - perfectly and still manages to make the tale lively by semi-orphan Theo ending up with a series of caretakers (or not so care-takers) who are each entertaining set pieces: the rich and distant Barbours (who come complete with medication and overeager psychiatrists), Theo's no-good, bad tempered and eternally in debt father Larry and Larry's coke-dealing Las Vegas girl Xandra, nice and kind antique dealer Hobie (other than Theo's dead mother the only parent figure in this novel who does a good job of the parenting).

When whisked from New York to Las Vegas by his father, Theo also meets the character who struck me as a Graham G. import in this modern day Dickensian world, despite the fact he's the one who later gets compared to The Artful Dodger: Boris ("why is it always Boris with you people?", I can hear a certain character in The Wire ask), a mixture of Ukrainian, Polish and Russian boy whose father is in theory a mining expert (in practice something gangsterish, and Boris' professional future is decidedly of the illegal type as well). Boris is the type of charismatic, fast talking, moodswinging operator involved in myriads of shady dealings, whom several narrating Greene characters tend to get swept away with despite being aware they really shouldn't; the friendship between Theo and Boris, starting out as two intelligent, dysfunctional and neglected boys bonding, is arguably after the loss of his mother the most intense relationship of the book. Donna Tartt doesn't shy away from the homoerotic dimension, either; there is some adolescent fumbling, also some panic because of that on Theo's part who thinks he should maybe make it clear to Boris that that he's not interested THAT way, which he never gets around to because Boris aquires a girl friend and Theo is wildly, incredibly jealous (and aware of the irony). There's also a kiss which makes it clear to Theo he loves Boris, but it doesn't get further than that in terms of physical contact. Incidentally, Boris nicknames Theo "Potter" because of Theo's glasses and general resemblance to Harry P., which he keeps up throughout the novel, which caused the irreverent thought in me that if this novel hadn't been written by Critically Acclaimed (tm) Donna Tartt, surely someone would already have voiced the suspicion it started life as a No Magic AU piece of slash fiction. Larry and Xandra aren't Vernon and Petunia Dursley exactly, but the roles they play are similar, and Theo certainly with all his tragic losses has Harry's luck of getting out of dire situations alive despite the odds. At any rate, Tartt has read the Harry Potter novels, not just seen the movies or absorbed something via general pop culture osmosis; at one point Theo compares the sound of what he hears to Parseltongue.

Theo's also fixated on Pippa, a red-haired girl he spotted in the museum shortly before his mother died and who rarely shows up in person in the novel; she's a symbol more than anything, and for a while I was uncertain whether or not Donna Tartt wanted me to see a relationship there instead of Theo having an obsesssion with someone he hardly knows, but as it turns out, no. Mind you, grown-up Theo's other attempted relationships with women aren't coming across as romantic, either, but again, they're not supposed to. I'm not sure what they contribute to the narrative, though, other than Theo trying to be normal on a Watsonian level and the author telling the reader he sees himself as straight on a Doylist one. It's noticable that the three female characters who come across as memorable are the ones Theo isn't involved with romantically but who are in a maternal position to him (or refusing to be) - his mother, Xandra, and Mrs. Barbour. Whereas the girls lack the vividness with which Tartt writes her male characters (of any age).

The Gold Finch of the title is a Dutch painting by a student of Rembrandts - a painting which does exist, btw, -, and which Theo ends up with in the confusion of the museum bombing, after which it becomes both a symbol of beauty and guilt in his life (the more time passes and the older he gets, the less likely it is he can pass taking it off as anything but theft). It's a red thread throughout the novel, and another Greene type of plot device, especially in the way it ends up being used. Though Donna Tartt, as it turns out, is more of an optimist than Greene (and doesn't, as Orwell memorably quipped of Graham Greene, think of hell as a Catholics Only night club). I ended the novel satisfied with everyone's fates. It's not the type of book that calls to me for an immediate rereading, or that I would call a "must", but it certainly held my attention through more than a thousand pages, and never let it flagg.
selenak: (SydSloane - Perfectday)
My favourite Evil Overlord and two of his four favourite people in the world. 
I haven’t watched the tv show Alias for years, and if the days had more hours, I certainly would be driven to a rewatch by this request, because it’s been too long, and I do have the Alias dvds (of four seasons. The fifth, well, three guesses how I feel about it). So, based on rusty memory and old entries, here are a few thoughts on the relationship Arvin Sloane has with Jack and Sydney Bristow, which I would argue is second only to the Sydney and Jack relationship in its importance to the show as a whole. (Well, there is that Vaughn fellow, but you can keep him.)

Spoilers for all of Alias to follow )
selenak: (goodtimes by monanotlisa)
How to discover one has still the old and firm Alias (tv show, not comics series) opinions: browsing through tv tropes, seeing that in the "Magnificent Bastard" section the Alias example is... Julian Sark. Not Arvin Sloane. Not Irina Derevko. Not Jack Bristow (who, granted, is firimly on the heroic side of things, but still). What now? I mean - Sark? I finally was won around in seasons 4 and 5 (the line "the beautiful man is dying" will never not be funny in context), but - Sark is a minion. Also a freelancer. Who is good at being both a minion of flexible loyalties and a freelancer, but the one time he tries to be a top dog supervillain, it's season 3 and you know, really not his finest hour. But seriously, Sark is not nearly a chessmaster enough for Magnificent Bastardy in the sense of the trope. Only ageism can make him the choice example before the First Generation Spies, all three of whom could out manipulate him any time of the day.

Also, a defining Sark scene: when his employers du jour are both Irina and Sloane (though primarily Irina), and Irina is about to deliver "you may think of yourself as a good man..." speech to Arvin S., she sends Sulk, err, Sark out of the room first, and he does pout like a little boy but obeys. But Irina Derevko and Arvin Sloane are far too professional evil overlords to argue in front of minions. So there.
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
Day 27 - Best pilot episode

Ah, pilot episodes. They have to introduce a new ensemble of characters, deliver enough of a good story to get you hooked with the promise of more to come, and are usually written without the writer knowing which actors will pay the parts, and whether or not the proposed series is actually going to get even one season, let alone several. I have some favourite shows with pilots that make me cringe when I revisit them, shows with pilots that I would never use to catch a newbie, where I in fact recommend the newbie in question should not watch the pilot until she or he has clocked a season or several and is already a fan. (Pilots that fall into this category include: the original B5 pilot The Gathering, which isn't even on the s1 dvds for a reason, the ST: TNG pilot *CRINGE TO THE MAX*.)

And then there are the good pilots: not as good as the shows are going to get later (and since shows improving are better than shows declining, that's a virtue), but already full of promise, doing an excellent job of intriguing you and introducing the cast. Some of the characterisation might not completely fit with the later shows because they're a work in progress, after all, and usually you can tell that the writing and the actors adjust to each other over the course of the first season and the characters might change somewhat accordingly. (For example: the Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot does a good job of setting up the show, but there are continuity gaps if you go back to it after having actually watched the entire series and its spin-off: notably regarding Jesse, who gets introduced as Xander's and Willow's best friend who shared their childhood and adolescence and never gets mentioned again, but also with the Darla characterisation - not just the personality, but that she doesn't appear to know about Slayers - which is hard to reconcile with Darla as presented later. Or: Alias has a great pilot, certainly for my money the best of any J.J. Abrams show, Sydney's personality and her central dilemma are there from the get go, ditto for Jack Bristow, but you can tell Abrams hadn't yet worked out the length of the backstory between Arvin Sloane and the Bristows yet.)

...and every now and then, a pilot is so good that it does not only do its exposition delivering, audience wooing job but holds up when revisited years later even compared to the glories to come, not because the show never improved but because the characterisation was certain from the get go and some threads were developed so well that new details, suddenly looking like foreshawing, may emerge. Three of the best pilots that come immediately to mind for me are:

a) The one for Dexter: which had the considerable task of selling you on the "main character is a serial killer of serial killers" premise while also selling you on the fact his sister, girlfriend and workplace colleagues all are unaware of this without making them morons, deliver a solved case and set up the season long case to boot. It managed all of this, used the Miami location well, has lots of good acting and has no moment where in retrospect you think, okay, that doesn't fit with what we find out later. I may be critical of the show post s4, but that doesn't mean I don't still appreciate what it used to be, and that pilot is fantastic.

b) The one for Six Feet Under: meet the Fishers (and Brenda Chenowith). About the only thing that the show later ditched completely were the fake commercials for undertaker products. Otherwise, we get a great introduction to the cast here, the death of Nathaniel Sr. which kicks off the plot has repercussions throughout the show, and the tone in its mixture between drama and satire, tragedy and comedy, is right there from the start, too. And just when you think the show is doing the expected, there is a turnaround: I'm thinking of the funeral scene where Nate has his outburst about the fakeness of American funerals versus the reality of emotion (he brings up the Greek woman he once watched), which I had expected... and then David has his counter outburst about having been the one to deal with the corpse of their father (intimately) so Nate's lecture on how funerals are all about not admitting the reality of death and wanting to keep our hands clean suddenly looks incredibly naive. This, I had not expected. (Nate seemed so clearly set up as the hero of the show until this point, the one in tune with his emotions etc.) The thing is, the show makes you understand where both Fishers are coming from, and that keeps being true for its entire ensemble throughout the series.

c) The one for Breaking Bad. I rewatched it after having marathoned through the first four seasons and was amazed that it was in fact better than I remembered. So very well done, again, with the selling of the difficult central premise, introduction of the characters, and use of cinematography. My absolutely favourite thing, though, is how a lecture high school teacher Walter White gives to his bored students turns out to be basically the key speech for the entire show. "Chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to think of it as the study of change. It is growth, then decay, then transformation."

...and the winner is: could be any of these three, in my estimation, but today I'm going with the pilot for Breaking Bad. Show, when is your mid season hiatus over again?

The rest of the days )
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
Thank you for all the gloriously crazy prompts! Okay, here's the list:

1.) Natasha Romanoff (MCU)

2.) Gaius Baltar (BSG)

3.) Skyler White (Breaking Bad)

4.) Quark (DS9)

5.) Alfred Bester (Babylon 5)

6.) Joan Watson (Elementary)

7.) Emma Swan (Once Upon A Time)

8.) Caleb Temple (American Gothic)

9.) Amanda Darieux (Highlander)

10.) Arvin Sloane (Alias)

11.) Kima Greggs (The Wire)

12.) Birgitte Nyborg (Borgen)

13.) Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)

14.) Arthur Pendragon (Merlin)

15.) David Fisher (Six Feet Under)

And now behold the results! )
selenak: (SydSloane - Perfectday)
I've been waiting to find a story which takes advantage of the casting of David Anders in both Once upon a time and Alias. This one does so, but manages to do far more which is spoilery for the second season of OUAT ) In conclusion: go and read!

the lion and the unicorn (12267 words) by aurilly
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Alias, Once Upon a Time (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Sark & Snow White|Mary Margaret Blanchard, Sydney Bristow/Julian Sark
Characters: Julian Sark, Snow White | Mary Margaret Blanchard, Sydney Bristow, Cora (Once Upon a Time), Captain Hook | Killian Jones, Mulan (Once Upon a Time), Aurora (Once Upon A Time), Emma Swan
Additional Tags: Crossover, Male-Female Friendship

Sark isn’t sure which is more intolerable: being swallowed by a hat, or being forced to listen to Snow White blather on about ‘true love’. (Blech.) A story about spies, princesses, and the magic of unlikely friendships.

Also, I watched 2.03 of Call The Midwife. A few thoughts. )
selenak: (Merlin by JokerMary)
Call The Midwife 2.01. which tackled not one but two extremely skeevy (but alas all too likely) scenarios with which our heroines were confronted and somehow pulled it off without coming across as either sensationalizing or taking the easy way out. Kudos, show.

Colin Morgan won the National Television Award, I hear, for Merlin in Merlin, of course, for which he beat both Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Matt Smith was the Doctor. My issues with the overall fifth season aside, he acted his socks off in it as he did through the entire show. (They showed a clip from THE scene in the show finale during the ceremony, which was well chosen but heartrendering all over again. Not to mention spoilery if you haven't watched the fifth season in its entirety yet.) So this makes me very happy indeed. (And okay, also satisfied Merlin beat Sherlock Holmes (BBC edition). Pity he couldn't also have beaten Loki while he was at it, but that wasn't tv.)

Lastly: so J.J.Abrams is directing the next Star Wars film? I spotted "oh noes!" reactions on the internet, but you know, this actually might make me watch it (despite lack of interest in the SW universe post Jedi), if only to find out whether or not he manages to smuggle a giant red ball in the galaxy far, far away. BECAUSE RAMBALDI IS EVERYWHERE. My beloved Arvin Sloane knew it all the time.
selenak: (Partners in Crime by Monanotlisa)
You know, it occurs to me that one effect of the Petraeus scandal is to rehabilitate any number of scriptwriters. The next time we feel like complaining that spy x and General Y behave in ways unrealistic for their jobs, or that a twist in a political story was far too soapish, there is always the rejoinder: But what about Petraeus? Here is a handy guide to that real life soap opera, which thankfully also avoids the sexist slant focused on in this article. As a veteran of The X-Files, Alias and other shows, I have been thoroughly indocrinated to the view that when a story has FBI agents as heroes, the CIA agents are the incompetent and/or interfering and or/corrupt villains, whereas when a show has the CIA agents as heroes, the reverse applies, so given this story has the FBI investigating something that leads them to bringing down the director of the CIA, I await the movie and tv versions with baited breath. Well, not really. But were it not for the fact that half the cast of this particular soap gives orders on which lives and deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world depend, it would be impossible to take seriously. (A shared email account with drafts as a way of communication? I'm imaging Jack Bristow looking profoundly unimpressed, Marshall facepalming and Arvin Sloane commenting that it should be obvious now why he defected and went into the evil overlord business to begin with.)

From real spymasters to fictional ones, infinitely cooler: this review of Skyfall has the following to say about M and her relationship with Bond (which includes a spoiler that's in the trailer and the first five minutes of the film, so I won't spoiler cut):

"Mummy was very bad," says Silva.

"She never lied to me," asserts Bond.

(...) Of course, she tells lies to him all the time. But that's not the point.

From the very beginning, the relationship between M and Bond, that is between this M and this Bond, has been characterised by deception. He has repeatedly shown the ability to penetrate her defences, to her flat, to her computer, to her real meaning behind the words she uses. His talent is either impossible or something in which she has connived. Similarly, she has repeatedly given him orders to do one thing while anticipating that he will do what she really wants instead. She gives him purpose. He gives her deniability. What Bond is saying is that there is a deeper truth to his relationship with M, one they have not, possibly cannot have, acknowledged. M has never misused Bond. Not even when she gives the order – "take the bloody shot!" – that sees him knocked off a train and believed drowned. He's aggrieved that she didn't trust him to do the job on his own, but he also implicitly understands that "licence to kill" means "licence to be in the line of fire".

While this wonderfully M centric review asserts:

Whatever the filmmakers try to make her stand in for – Queen, Country, Mother, Lover, Rosebud – the best part of M and Bond’s relationship is what exists just beyond their mutual snarking. (...) They had shared something notably missing from their interactions with the other characters: a deep abiding respect and trust.

...I don't think we get an exact date for the events of Skyfall, so I declare they happen a bit later than just now, and feel free to imagine Ms face when when hearing the news about the cousins. And poor Felix Leiter telling Bond, the next time they meet, saying wearily: "Don't even start. Or I'll drag up Kim Philby."
selenak: (Toby and Andy by Amorfati)
5 canon pairings that could really benefit from couples therapy.

Unfortunately, the first example which came to mind actually got couple therapy, and benefited from it - Keith and David from Six Foot Under. I take it the question refers to couples who canonically would or could not follow suit. Let's see:

1.) Jack Bristow and Irina Derevko, Alias. Of course there's the problem that neither of them is likely to tell each other or the therapist the truth, but hey. They would benefit. Somehow. Um. At least it's better than plotting murder?

2.) Buffy Summers and Angel/Riley Finn/Spike, BTVS. Any of Buffy's three main love interests in the course of the show would do in this category. A shame that the sole fully qualified therapist (went to high school with Buffy, is a vampire) doesn't show up until season 7.

3.) The Doctor and River Song, Doctor Who. Each would keep a therapist busy for millennia. Together... Well, at least a therapist might arrange for a more even couple time? And work out how much of River's emotions are conditioned or rebellion against condition, and how much hails from actual aquaintance?

4.) Toby Ziegler and Andrea Wyatt, The West Wing. I mean, I loved their scenes together, all of them. But presumably couple therapy would have convinced Toby sooner that when Andi said "I won't marry you again", she meant "I won't marry you again"?

5.) Dream of the Endless (Morpheus) and anyone he was ever romantically involved with, The Sandman. Seriously. The poor therapist would probably conclude that making Dream celibate would benefit all creation for the rest of time. Considering.
selenak: (Alex Drake by Renestarko)
Five fic cliches you're embarrassed to admit you love.

I'm not embarrassed at all, though of course with every cliché it depends on the skillful execution. Badfic, even with a favourite cliché in it, makes my teeth ache.

1.) Enemies/Antagonists teaming up against a third party. This is something I love in pro fic (i.e. films, tv shows, etc.) as well, and if a saga goes on for longer than one film, few authors will not include it at some point. The trick, of course, is not to suddenly ignore the issues which made our characters enemies in the first place and not to let them end up in blissful harmony as soon as the mutual threat is removed. You don't have to go for the ultimate angst factor of Magneto (and Mystique, which as of XMFC carries its own angst factor) using Xavier for global genocide in X2 the moment Stryker is defeated, but do remember the newly discovered ability to work together doesn't automatically remove all other obstacles. My shiny space station shows were particularly good with it, whether it's Kira and Dukat working together in s4 or Kira, Garak and Damar in s7 (Kira & Cardassians being always a golden formula) on DS9, and of course the best of the best, Londo and G'Kar in s4 of B5. (Note that the first time they saw each other again after Cartagia was gone and Londo had fulfilled his promise to G'Kar, G'Kar said "you don't exist in my universe", not "thanks, buddy, all is forgiven".) One of my favourite fanfic examples are [personal profile] likeadeuce's s3 of AtS AU in which Angel has a completely dysfunctional relationship/alliance of necessity with Lilah, and [personal profile] penknife's X2 AU in which Scott and Charles elude capture and go on the run with Magneto and Mystique (later with Logan and the kids as well) while Jean and Ororo are captured. (And Jean is the one later used by Stryker in Cerebro.)

2.) The characters play Truth or Dare. Being German, fanfic is actually how I found out about this game to begin with. In a Highlander story, to be precise (players: Duncan, Methos, Amanda, Joe). Since then, I've loved most stories using this trope in most fandoms, and used it a couple of times myself both in fanfic (Londo and G'Kar) and rp (waves at Theatrical-Muse buddies from Yesteryear).

3.) The drunk phonecall in the early morning hours. This particular trope needs good dialogue writers (obviously) and the characters estranged but having had an earlier close relationship. Also, it's one for the short form, and when the author knows their business, can get across a lot of history and characterisation simply by the way these people talk to each other and what they do and don't tell. The results I remember fondly can range from hurt/comfort (Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr again being cases in point) to fun with a dash of angst (I remember one DW story where the (Tenth) Doctor, having ended up with Martha's cell phone at the end of s3, gets at first a lot of calls directed to her, and it ends with him calling Martha) to creepy yet somewhat endearing (if it's my guy Arvin Sloane doing the dialing, and a member of the Bristow/Derevko clan is on the other end of the line). (A lovely RPF example shall remain unmentioned but it's great.)

4.) Geeks Will Be Geeks Aka characters go fannish about something. This can go horribly wrong, especially if the unsuspecting reader has no idea what character X, Y and Z are supposed to be talking about it and the author doesn't bother to give enough information so newbies can follow the conversation anyway, and if the fic writer uses a canon established fondness but doesn't bother to do their research about whatever X is fond of). Or if the characters are simply used as mouthpieces so the writer can voice frustrations of their own without wondering wether these particular characters are likely to share them. (YMMV, obviously.) But if it's done right, I love it to bits. Most recent fic example that I've read: A story called "May the Fourth", in which Tony Stark manages to create the world's first functioning light saber. Because he totally would. And the other Avengers' reactions are dead on and a joy to read, too. I'm also fondly remembering one of [profile] artaxastra's early X-Men stories in which a young Mystique (this was written years pre XMFC, so she's decades younger than Magneto and not Charles' sister) confesses to a soft spot for Bond films. (This story, in fact, is why I was particularly gleeful when in XMFC Raven was the one to give both Charles and Erik their superhero names; fanon confirmed, so to speak.)

5.) The Missus and the Ex. Used gender neutral here, though I haven't seen many stories, either pro or fanfic, to pull it off with male exes and current boyfriends. Again, can go horribly wrong. But more often than not, I love it if an author instead of dismissing a previous love interest (or dismissing the current love interest, depending on where their allegiance lie) writes both characters interacting in a three dimensional way. This can include arguments as well as bonding sessions about their ex/current significant other's absurdities (again, I'm aware School Reunion the DW episode was hated in some quarters on both counts, but I loved it; ditto for the Ashes to Ashes episode in which the ex of Gene's who is not Sam Tyler shows up), but preferably should have wary respect on both sides. (Whovian sidenote: For a while post SU, having a previous companion encounter the current one and laugh at the Doctor became a DW fanfic cliché and it could go awfully over the top or veer into Doctor bashing (there is a reason why either companion travel(led) with the guy in the first place), but a lot of those were fun to read.) Often such stories can offer counter narratives to a favourite pet peeve of mine, the vilified former love interest showing up solely to make trouble, to which I say: bah. Give me my Missus and Ex team-ups already.
selenak: (SydSloane - Perfectday)
Over at [community profile] fanficrants there was a recent post where the poster complained that her story, which describes a clear and thus labeled non-con scenario, got feedback describing it as a happy marriage situation. I would sympathize, except the description of said story in the post and in the comments makes it very clear it's yet another woobie!Loke/Thor the evil rapist tale. Now, rather than bore the lot of you with groans about victim!Loki tales complete with bizarre ooc Thor (and Odin, while we're at it, who in this story apparantly decides the ideal punishment for Loki is being given to Thor as a sex slave), I decided to be more multifandom and creative about this. Of course nearly every fandom has its share of tales in which the morally ambiguous or villainous characters end up as victimized sex slaves of the now clearly evil "good" characters (or third parties, so the good characters can rescue them from their predicament and all impediments between them, such as the formerly ambiguous' character's behaviour, is immediately forgiven); well do I remember a fanzine advertised as a "great Methos hurt/comfort story" which I acquired in my first flush of Highlander fandom and Methos adoration and which introduced me to the dubious joys of endlessly raped Methos, Cassandra bashing and, of course, Duncan grovelling. However, it's by no means just any ambigious and/or villainous character who gets the sex slave treatment. Popularity isn't really a criteria, either. I mean, Scorpius on Farscape, Bester on Babylon 5 and my darling Arvin Sloane from Alias were all much appreciated villains in their canons, but did they get to be abused sex slaves of the heroes in fanfic? They did not.

Scorpius: I briefly did get to be an abused slave forced to watch Crichton have sex in canon, though. Maybe this acted as a detriment to writers.

Bester: Words cannot express how profoundly grateful I am. Undoubtedly Mr. Garibaldi's idea of having a sex slave would include torture by Warner Brothers cartoons.

Arvin Sloane (steeples fingers): This sounds like a plausible scenario for Sydney and I to use on the next field mission I shall assign to her. I thank you for the idea.

Now, not being new to the ways of fandom, I am aware that the most likely explanation is that none of these fascinating gentlemen showed up as as (relatively) young and pretty in their canons. However, this isn't a problem when we're talking Shakespeare (much on my mind these days), since his plays can cast in an endless variety of ages. So, I present several Shakespearean villains and ambigious, who should not miss out on getting what every Methos or Loki is given, complete with summaries from yet to be written stories.

Macbeth: after Macduff defeated Macbeth, Malcom steps in before the beheading. The only fitting punishment for Macbeth, he declares, is to be Macduff's sex slave. Macduff having always secretly fancied Macbeth, he readily agrees. 21 chapters of torture and rape ensue. Someone dares to bring up that pesky murder of Lady Macduff & kids on MacBeth's orders. and is properly smitten down for being so judgmental. In chapter 22, Macbeth is rescued by his lady who just faked her death, with the help of the witches; Malcolm and Macduff are demasked as the sadistic hypocrites they are and killed in gruesome ways. Happy ending!

Othello: Investigating the events on Cyprus, the Venetians find out Iago's true motivation: all this time, he was abused by Othello on a nightly basis as his sex slave, which Desdemona, Cassio et al were aware of and encouraged for a laugh. Everyone is horrified and disgusted at hese sadistic hypocrites and gratified one is dead and the other demasked; Iago is exonorated and has sweet hurt/comfort healing sex with male or female oc who was the only one to truly understand him.

Richard III (Shakespeare version, not real one, remember): Richard starts out his life sexually abused by older brother Edward and occasionally pimped out to Marguerite d'Anjou while Henry VI, not so crazy as not to being a secret sadist, enjoys the show. After all this comes to light via Buckingham who at some point also abused Richard and boasted of it, everyone realises this explains everything, and it's hugging and forgiveness time all around by by anyone still alive in the last act of Richard III (i.e. mostly Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York). Complete with apology and grovelling from Elizabeth Woodville for not having stopped the abuse after marrying Edward, who thus is also to blame for the dead kids, because in Richard's place, wouldn't you?

King Lear: Oh, this is shooting fish in a barrel. Of course Edmund (being a bastard) is abused on a nightly basis by his father and his half brother. (Goneril and Regan only get abused by their father in pro fic by Jane Smiley because they're not male characters.) Instead of dying in the last act, he' s condemmed to be Edgar's victory trophy and sex slave. Cordelia (whose death was a ruse because Edmund would NEVER have given that order, the poor woobie) eventually rescues him and kills the abusive Edgar, making Edmund king.

Much Ado About Nothing: speaking of bastards. That word Don Pedro announces he'll have with Don John at the end of the play? That sinister announcement by Benedick that he'll device a punishment for Don John? Of course, what Benedick means is that Don John will be made a sex slave. This is what Don Pedro has secretely always wanted, and he glories in finally getting it. Still a WIP as the author hasn't decided whether the gang bang should end with Don John's death or liberation.

Titus Andronicus: Aaron... dammit, Will. Did you have to go and make it canon?
selenak: (River Song by Famira)
Five canon events that you found unbelievable and wished had not happened.

Actually, dear meme, these are two different categories, which do not always go hand in hand with each other. For example, given that Londo Mollari is my favourite tv character of all time, I did, of course, spend a lot of canon wishing he wouldn't keep making certain decisions, and much later on I went "oh no!" when the ultimate consequences happened, of course I did. But at no point did I find the decisions Londo made unbelievable, and as horrible as certain late canon events were if you're fond of Londo, they were the right events from a storytelling pov. So I had to think about canon events meeting both criteria, and a third one - i.e. that they don't just make me sad because I'm fond of the character(s) concerned but that I wish they had not happened because that would have improved the story story canon was telling instead of lessening it.

My results are spoilery for Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Angel, Alias (tv), and Fringe )
selenak: (Obsession by Eirena)
As threatened, some ponderings on villains and which ones do and don't make me like or even love them. And, not always related: which kind of redemption stories, both in canon and fanfic, work for me and which one's don't. First, a disclaimer: I know some people declare they prefer the villains on general principle and declare the heroes to be bland and dull by comparison. That's not the case for me. If I find I only like the villain in a story and he/she is the only interesting person in it, I say goodbye to the show/film/book in question, the faster the older I get, because a good ensemble is getting more and more important to me.

So: villains. Those I like come in many different flavours. There are the lunatic EvilMcEvils, who need not be boring in their complete evilness and often lunacy if served with a defined time frame; when this happens in a visual medium and they're played by good and charismatic actors, they can be both scary and immensly entertaining. Examples who come to mind are the Emperor Caligula in I, Claudius and his sci fi twin, the Emperor Cartagia in Babylon 5, or Kronos in Highlander. (Take your bows, John Hurt, Wortham Krimmer and Valentine Pelka.) They're far from the only reasons why I love the episodes they're in, but they definitely contribute. But note: they're actually in only a few episodes, the fact that I find them scary and compelling doesn't change the fact it's their victims and Our Heroes I root for, and when they meet their demise, I'm glad. Any longer stay in the story, and either their scariness or the main characters' competence and/or believability would suffer.

Then there are the Evil Overlords and Overladies who are quite sane (except for the whole ruling-the-'verse ambition part, though some of them are happy with just efficient assasindom) and comfortable in their villaindom. They can, but don't have to be Magnificent Bastards (tm), and again, if we're talking visual medium, a good actor helps. So do competence, intelligence and wit. As opposed to the lunatics, their livespan in the story need not be limited in order for both the story and the villain to work. Temporary alliances with the heroes in order to defeat a third party are possible but won't ever last and are not to be confused with a redemption story; this type of villain, as mentioned, is comfortable in their skin and sees no need to change anything about themselves. Examples I've enjoyed watching or reading about include the Empress Livia (I, Claudius again), the Mayor of Sunnydale (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Milady de Winter (The Three Musketeers), Servalan (Blake's 7) or Lilah Morgan and Holland Manners (both from Angel).

Next, we get the tragic, layered and/or emotionally torn villains, frequently mixing company with antiheroes and sometimes crossing lines from and back to plain old heroes, and here it gets tricky, and I get more choosy as the years pass. A tragic, sympathetic villain often (but not always) has a traumatic background story: next to unbeatable in this regard is Magneto's Holocaust childhood in any incarnation of the X-Men. (Of course, it also comes with its own date problem, i.e. the reason why Magneto already had to be de-aged by Plot Device a couple of times in comicverse continuity in order to maintain physical strength - the fixed date of a real life historic event, from which we are further and further away.) Not that a traumatic past, even a Holocaust trauma, automatically creates a sympathetic character. Just look at Ultimate!Magneto, or rather, don't. (Mark Millar does his usual thing, if you must know.) This type of villain usually comes with the conviction that they're really working for the greater good, not just their own (key difference to the Magnificent Bastards), their methods for them are justified by said greater good (this is where they're mixing company wiht the antiheroes and sometimes the heroes), but they can have doubts about this, waver or even change their mind; also, they often have lasting attachments to other people, and more than one. However, all this being said, they, and this makes them villains, however tragic, are responsible for the deaths and/or ruin of a great many people, and in the most interesting stories, we're not simply told about this by a few measly lines but get to know their victims as people, who didn't volunteer to be character X's sacrifice for the greater good/punchbag for personal trauma/whatever and had their own lives before having the bad luck to encounter said villain. Other than movieverse and most times 616 comicverse Magneto, villains of this type who made me love them include Ben Linus from Lost or Arvin Sloane from Alias, and Kai Winn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

And then there are the villains whom I don't love at all and don't like as people, either, but whom I can find interesting as a character and thus end up writing about. When I look at examples, I realise something they share, as different as they otherwise are from each other: a Me ME ME teenage frame of mind that extends far beyond actual teenage years, which comes with a tendency to blame everyone but themselves for their miseries, utter refusal to acknowledge any responsibility and an ever narrower capacity for attachment, that starts out being genuinenly there but as the character devolves includes fewer and fewer people, until only themselves are left. These type of villains might, in other circumstances, have not become villains - that helps making them interesting to me - but aren't tragic (for me, mileage as always varies) because they pass up chance after chance to change said circumstances because that would involve accepting some responsibility instead of blaming everyone else. Primarly examples: Warren Mears in Buffy, Morgana on Merlin and now Loki in Thor and Avengers. There is of course a big difference in how fandom at large responded to Warren on the one hand and Morgana & Loki on the other: Warren wasn't woobified. His own idea of himself was never shared by a majority of fandom. Morgana's and Loki's ideas of themselves, on the other hand, if fanfic and posts are anything to go by, are shared by a great many fans. And all generalisations are broad, I know, and can be unfair, but I rather suspect the reason for this isn't that Warren behaved worse than Morgana or Loki (Loki wins for attempted global genocide in Thor; his attempted conquest bodycount in Avengers and Morgana's by the end of season 4 should be about equal, and all three - Warren, Morgana and Loki, that is - are guilty of mindrape), but that the later two are played by very attractive actors and Warren (pace, Adam Busch! I enjoyed your performance and your guest appearance on The Sarah Connor Chronicles as well!) is not; also, Warren, about whose parents we know next to nothing (other than his mother moved to Sunnydale during Buffy's last two high school years or so), who doesn't have a sibling and who dominates his small group of peers (i.e. Andrew and Jonathan) offers no identification potential for the inner 13 years old temper tantrum throwing tale of "nobody understands me and Daddy doesn't love me enough!".

Now, if you get attached to a character, you usually want that character to stick around and achieve some modicum of happiness for himself/herself. Which is at the root of a great many redemption stories; not so much the need to bring the character to a state where he or she realises their actions (or at least some of them) were wrong and consequently tries to atone for them. Why do I think that? Because I've read a lot of fanfic in many a fandom, and the most popular pattern for redemption stories is this:

1) Not-much-longer-a-villain X saves the life of hero Y (usually the person the author wants to pair X with.)

2) Y and assorted other heroes are impressed in varying degrees; then they find out, if they don't know already, about the incredibly tragic backstory of X

3) Shame at the magnitude of X's sufferings in the past ensues (often, but not always, one of the hero types is held responsible for at least some of X's trauma and now gets punished accordingly)

4) X is redeemed (or rather justified, because clearly, he/she was more sinned against than sinning anyway!); happy sex with Y ensues.

Note that what's utterly missing is X being confronted by his/her victims other than Y and/or whomever of Y's friends they wronged, and these people usually, upon realising the tragic past, forgive X post haste. Characters who refuse to be impressed by X's turnabout and still hold X' deeds against him/her for some reasons are, if they are allowed in the narrative at all, the new villains of the story.

Which brings me back from fanfic to canon sources. Which don't always equal redemption with universal hugs and joyful sex, for some reason. Or even see redemption as the only way for a sympathetic and/or interesting villain to continue in the story. [personal profile] itsnotmymind once observed that one of the reasons why Faith's story on BTVS and ATS is probably the best redemption story the shows did is that Faith never was a regular, and thus didn't have to appear in every episode. Which meant it was possible for her to turn herself in and go to prison for several seasons, which wouldn't have been possible for, say, Willow. (Or Spike, leaving the later's vampire nature aside.) That's true, but Ben Linus on Lost and Arvin Sloane on Alias were regulars on their respective shows. If Alias had ended after the fourth season, you could say both got sort-of-redemption stories in the sense that they both started as villains and ended as sort-of-allies and also in a state of atonment (of sorts); since season 5 of Alias turned Sloane's story around again, he went back to villaindom. Even so, the difference between Ben and Arvin on the one hand and Loki/Morgana/Warren on the other is that pesky self awareness and responsibility thing, along with more-than-one-attachment ability. Not that Mr. Linus and Mr. Sloane don't have their massive self delusions at times as well, but they are aware that the main responsibility for what their life became lies with them. (See also: Sloane, in one of the ever popular taking-place-in-the-mind-of-characters episodes, telling his daughter Nadia in his own head that whatever he was in the past, now "I am a monster, and monsters have no place in this world".) They're also capable of voicing regrets over their actions, and, to a degree, change their behaviour (again: to a degree). Most importantly, though: their narrative doesn't let them off the hook. If the majority of Lost characters distrusts, loathes and resents Ben through several seasons, it's because of his own actions; ditto for Sloane, and at no point does the show imply the other characters are just mean and unfair to hold something like murder, manipulation and lots and lots of mind games against a fellow.

Cynical side note: the fact that Ron Rifkin and Michael Emerson were among the very best actors of the cast, with only one other actor of the same age group competing for the title, but neither of them young and particularly attractive probably helped with the comparative lack of fandom woobiefication, but the fact it didn't happen probably helped me maintain my Sloane and Benjamin Linus love.

But if accepting responsibility is such an important criterium for my personal affections, what, long time readers of my ramblings may ask, what about Battlestar Galactica's Gaius Baltar? What indeed, because accepting blame really isn't his strong suit, and as late as season 3, we have it as on screen canon (as voiced by William Adama near the end of the episode where he and Roslin torture Baltar for a confession) that Gaius sees himself as the wronged party here instead of the wrongdoer. So why do I have such issues with Loki and Morgana pulling that stunt but not with Baltar? Well, the fact that fandom didn't woobify and excuse Gaius B. probably helped, but so did his other characteristics, and the way his story played out on the show. Gaius could be petty on occasion, but by and large not malicious, and while he had a big accepting responsibility problem for the longest time, his chosen method of avoidance wasn't blaming either humans or Cylons for his miseries. In fact, he was one of the very few characters on that show who at no point succumbed to group hate and who as early as early s2 declared the entire cycle of vengeance and counter vengeance between humans and Cylons senseless and stupid (in a conversation with Head!Six on Kobol). Also, the show gave him neither the big dramatic heroic death atoning for his wrongs, nor did it make him into a moustache twirling villain (a la original Baltar in the old BSG) dying in punishment; what happened to him was simultanously the worst and the best thing for him, something he'd run from and tried to escape all his life. I wouldn't call it redemption, but it was by far the most successful personal arc completed in the very shaky way the show wrapped up. And showed you can tell a story of someone responsible for a lot of misery in an interesting way without falling into standard narrative patterns or easy cop-outs, and without ever handwaving the magnitude of what this person did away.

Back to fanfiction once more: one of my earliest Jossverse stories was Five Things Which Never Happened To Warren (using the "Five Things" format worked great with Warren, who in some makes better and in some as bad or even worse choices than in canon), and by now, Morgana has been prominent in or the central focus of five of my so far fourteen Merlin stories. As I said: I find these people interesting to write about. But none of these stories falls under the "everyone realises how wrong they were about X" type of story. (The first Morgana-centric story, Discordance, which was written in the hiatus between s2 and s3, i.e. before Morgana became a villain on the show, was actually inspired by frustration about fanon!Morgana whom I couldn't see bearing much resemblance to the character on the show even then.) Neither are they demonizations; I hope Morgana and Warren come across as capable of more than one emotion and as complicated individuals in said stories. It's just that the fictional examinations of the characters I wanted to read, and consequently wrote, weren't "X was so wronged by everyone and right all along! Team X all the way!" type of stories, but instead stories that took into account what canon has told us these characters were capable of. And I probably will end up writing about Loki sooner or later, despite yet having to feel any love of the character, because the type of Loki stories I'd be interested in reading just don't seem to get written, either.


Having ended up on an Avengers note yet again, two meta recs: Lovely, thoughtful meta on the film here and here.
selenak: (Skyisthelimit by Craterdweller)
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?


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