selenak: (uptonogood - c.elisa)
1. Norma Bates (Bates Motel version)

2. Philip Jennings (The Americans)

3. Missy (aka Gomez!Master) (Doctor Who)

4. Jimmy McGill (Better Call Saul)

5. Rachel Duncan (Orphan Black)

6. James McGraw/Captain Flint (Black Sails)

7. Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

8. Bernie Gunther (Philip Kerr: The Bernie Gunther Mysteries)

9. Sarah Connor (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

10. Alfred of Wessex (The Last Kingdom)

11. Andra'ath/Miss Quill (Class)

12. Londo Mollari (Babylon 5)

13. Phyllis Crane (Call the Midwife)

14. Doc Holliday (Wynona Earp incarnation)

15. Jessica Jones (MCU version)

And you came up with some awesome prompts!

Now the questions: )
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
From [personal profile] intrigueing and [personal profile] muccamukk:

In a new post, list ten fic that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” works, or even all the same pairing or fandom, just the fics that have touched you or that stuck with you somehow.

I'm sure I could come up with ten more, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind (and which I could find again online!):

1.) From Me To Q by Julia Houston (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Star Trek in its first three incarnations is one of my oldest fandoms, and the time when TNG and then DS9 were broadcast was when I started to get aquainted with fanfiction, first via fanzines and then via the earliest online archives. Finding this particular story was like striking gold. It's TNG; it's plotty, like a well written episode complete with ethical dilemmas; it's Picard/Q (which was what I was looking for when finding the story) but uses the entire TNG ensemble well; it takes the most reviled of fanfic clichés, the Mary Sue, and gives it a highly original twist. (Well, back then it was original, for all I know, it's been often imitated since.) Also, the dialogue sparkles. In short, I fell in love, so much so that I gave Voyager, which I had almost given up upon, another shot, simply because Julia Houston back then was also writing Voyager reviews and I adored her writing that much.

2.) Last Set Before Closing, by Kat Allison. (Highlander: The Series). HL was another early online fandom of mine, and this story left me shaken and breathless the first time I read it. On the surface, not much happens in this tale, which is set several years after the series ended; Joe Dawson is very old, not far from death, and his mind has started to wander; Duncan visits. Behind that simple description hides one of the best and most gutwrenching stories I've read in any fandom, which at once gives us the relationship between Joe and Duncan, and how both of them relate to Methos, about friendship, about mortals and immortals, and at the same time manages to say something very personal to anyone who has an older relative. (Until then, I don't think I had ever read fanfiction tackling a rl subject such as aging, its physical and mental decline, so unflinchingly, and with a beloved character, no less.) Another reason why I love it is this: at the time when it was first posted, its take on Methos was pretty much unique and went directly against how most fans then wrote him. (Probably still does.) And yet I find it entirely plausible.

3.) Changed Utterly by Parda (Highlander: The Series). Another HL story. Parda was a writer I interacted with a lot during my HL days, both as a reader and as a writer. This story is still my favourite of hers, and at the time it was first posted struck me as one of the best meditations onf grief and surviving I had read i nthe fandom. It's set about a year after the show ends, wherein Duncan is still dealing with Richie’s fate, when he sees Cassandra again. Not present in body but very much in thought are Methos, Connor and Richie. What to do when you’ve both done and experienced the unforgivable is a question with a dozen answers and none, and all the characters here are dealing with it. Poetic and profound.

4.) Father's Heart by Fernwithy ( Star Wars). Still my favourite Star Wars story, many years later (this was written shortly after The Phantom Menace was released). Set between trilogies, it pulls off something a lot of people tried since, and does so in a credible way: Vader and the child and later teenager Leia forming a tentative friendship, which falls apart with a vengeance as she grows older and experiences the Empire at its worst. In addition to a terrific take on Leia and Vader, Bail Organa and his wife (who in this version is one of the former handmaidens, Sabé) as well as some original characters are compellingly written. ( Not to mention it caters to two of my narrative soft spots: non-romantic intense relationship, relationship that breaks up because of politics and ethics (and rightly so). ) I was only ever at the periphery of SW fandom, not least because I happen to like the prequels, but this story made me search for and read a lot of SW fanfiction for a while. It was years before I found its match.

5.) Freefall by Penknife (X-Men movieverse). This is an X2 AU, ensemble story, Scott pov, and one of the earliest [personal profile] penknife stories I read. X2 had just been released. As after X1, I hunted for stories that weren't Wolverine/Rogue. Hard to imagine for current day fans, but back then it was actually difficult to find Magneto/Xavier stories, or stories that featured Mystique in a prominent role, or stories that featured Scott at all. Bingo, thought I, when I found this one, and little did I know I had also found a favourite writer in many fandoms more. Oh, and I think this was the first AU I really liked (the twist is that Scott realises a bit sooner what's going on during the prison visit at the start of the movie, with the result that he and Xavier end up as fugitives together with Magneto and Mystique; it's Jean who gets captured instead). Until then, I had avoided AUs. After reading it, I gave them a shot.

6.) Ten Thousand Candles by Andraste. This is another early story by a future favourite writer; Charles Xavier post X2, trying to cope with all that happened (read: spoiler for big X2 twist )). Back then, Charles Xavier centric stories were incredibly rare; stories in which he wasn't either the wise mentor type or trying to win Erik back were even rarer. What he experiences in X2 is pretty horrifying, and I loved finding a story which addressed that. Of course, Andraste turned out to be the biggest Xavier expert in the planet, but I didn't know that then. :)

7.) Bed of Bones by Roz Kaveney (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): I had spotted Roz on a couple of Buffy discussion mailing lists (remember those?), but this was the first BTVS or fanfiction in any fandom tale of hers that I had read, and it was sharp, poetic, and made the First Slayer(about whom at this point we only knew what Restless had mentioned) into a fascinating character. I was wowed. It also raised my standard of expectation re: fanfiction creating mythology in present day or futuristic fandoms to no end.

8.) Queen of Spades by Astolat (James Bond: Casino Royale): Ah, ye golden days when the Craig Casino Royale had been released and for the first time in my life I actually went and looked for Bond fanfiction, because Dench!M and Craig!Bond dynamic in that movie had gripped me in and fascinated me. (I had also loved Eva Green as Vesper and her relationship with Bond, but not in a way that made me look for fanfic.) And again, I hit gold. I think this probably was the first Bond/M story online. It set a most pleasing trend - for the next few years, you could rely on Yuletide including some great and sharp Bond and M fanfiction. (And then came Skyfall which brought the avalanche of Bond/Q and the Bond movies were no longer qualified for Yuletide, but that's another story.) Now, most combinations that have one character in a position of power over the other character are hard to sell to me as pairings, but there are exceptions, and Queen of Spades made me realize Dench!M and Craig!Bond were such an exception for me, because wow. (It also made me realise that I had a new story or rather old story archetype, not necessarily always as pairings, I love the gen variations, too, but: Morally ambiguous queens and their morally ambiguous battered knights, bring them on! Though only if the Queen is the older of the two. Read: Dany/Jorah does nothing fo rme.)

9: Working Order by Eatscissors (Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles). John/Cameron is a pairing that intrigues me but which I find more interesting on the actual show than in most of fanfiction, because, imo as often, fanfic tends to simplify and dispense with much that makes this particular relationship so layered, starting with the fact that Cameron is a machine, no matter what she looks like.Some spoilery ramblings about John and Cameron on the show ensue. ) Working Order, by contrast, addresses this and the other issues between them head-on while also being one of those stories where the explicit sex is part of the character exploration instead of reading as just being there for its own sake. For a reader like me who often finds sex scenes (both slash and het) reading like involuntarily funny gymnastic mannuals, with the participants interchangable to other fandoms and thus not very interesting, this was an eye opener. Really well written.

10.) Petrarchan Sonnets from the Vatican by Petra (The Borgias): I was and am grateful for all the stories I got in exchanges, and often loved them to bits, but this one will always remain special. Its just that awesome. It's a story in the guise of a fake article about the discovery of sonnets between L.B. (now who could that possibly be in Borgias fandom?) and person unknown, female and apparantly her tutor. Complete with the sonnets. And the commentary. Absolutely delightful, needless to say, poetic (my Yulewriter's ability to compose Petrarchan Sonnets with clever allusions to events from the show's first season still stuns me), and full of subtlety, and the wit and love for language that the characters in question display on the show as well (and did in history). (And now I'm grieved again that the Lucrezia and Guilia relationship post s1 fell by the wayside on the show, but never mind me.) If I could ensure that just one bit of Borgias fanfiction survives, this would be it.
selenak: (James Boswell)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: I read the novel only once, when it first came out, and only roughly remember the plot, so I am not very emotionally invested, but so far, so good for a first episode. I'm charmed (again) by the Georgian plus magic England.

Mad Max: Fury Road: is all that. Like, I imagine, a lot of viewers by now, I'm not not familiar with the previous Mad Max movies beyond knowing they existed and that Tina Turner's We don't need another hero was originally written for No.3 (which also has Tina Turner herself in it). Oh, and the Buffy fan in me knows that season 7's Showtime was a Mad Max homage, thanks to Andrew pointing that out in the episode itself. And that's it. Which is fine because this nominally fourth movie in the series is standing on its own, telling its own tale, and you don't need to know more. I had no intention of watching it before a) the MRA complained about it being feminist indoctrination, and b) the internet buzz about it being actually really good started, and yes. Great action movie, and Charlize Theron's Furiosa hopefully will join Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor as a female cinematic icon. Which reminds me: before the movie started, there was a trailer for the weirdly spelled latest Terminator installment, featuring teenage Sarah and grizzled Schwarzenator, and just, no. I'm sticking with my "no Terminator movies beyond the first two and The Sarah Connor Chronicles" canon in this 'verse, thanks, and thankfully The Sarah Connor Chronicles establishing this is a multiverse with mulitple timelines makes this exceptionally easy.
selenak: (Call the Midwife by Meganbmoore) reverse order.

Call the Midwife: don't have much to say other than it was lovely as usual. I'm a bit torn on Avril doing something spoilery ) This was the first episode where we see old Jenny, whose voiceover was the narrative voice throughout and apparantly is here to stay, but I'm not sure whether the framing scenes with Vanessa Redgrave had any other point than to ressure us of this, given that young Jenny has left the show and it is now later seasons Blake's 7. :) Not that it wasn't nice to see her, of course. As to the rest of the gang, everyone was as endearing as always. Cynthia doing something spoilery ) This is still my comfort show, and the way it treats not just one but a myriad of choices women make as valid is a great part of why.

Now, as to Yuletide. I'm trying not to let the usual Yuletide angst get to me (i.e. repeating the "self, the recipient and a few others liked your stories on the first day, you can't expect more with small-even-for-Yuletide fandoms and no one having recced them elsewhere so far" mantra). Here are a few more stories I loved reading:

Euripides: Bacchae

Agave in Illyria: Half poetry, half prose, gorgeously creepy and cruel in its take on two sisters who went through some of the most gruesome fates Greek myths have in store.

Benjamin January Mysteries:

Escargots: casefic! With Rose as the leading detective, co-starring Olympe and Augustus Mayerling. Set while Ben is off in Washington, and immensely enjoyable to read.

Where there's a will: lovely missing scene about Chloe and Dominique making the transition to the friends we see them be in the last few novels.

The Musketeers:

Knife to a musket fight: in which Porthos gives Constance more self defense lessons. Fantastic friendship story, and the last line packs a punch.

Hilary Mantel: A place of greater safety:

Our wars will be our own: because if Camille, Lucille and Danton didn't have a threesome, they ought to have had.


Step into Christmas (the admission is free): Steph spends Christmas with Gethin and Jonathan mid movie; the story has the great characterisation and warmth the film did, and is lovely to read.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:

Start with the first ten: in which John Henry becomes. John Henry, Savannah, Catherine Weaver and James Ellison were the other family in SCC, and I'm always thrilled to discover fic dealing with that. This one manages to come up with a John Henry perspective which feels plausibly A.I., and specifically an A.I. which developes as radically as John Henry does. I loved it.

Watership Down:

The Mercy of Frith: The story of Blackavar, one of the most intriguing minor characters in the novel. Intense and marvellously written.

The Wire:

Whereever you go, there you are: Randy and Carver, years post show. Heartbreaking, yet also hopeful.
selenak: (Ray and Shaz by Kathyh)
The characters on my list were:

1. Alex Millar (Being Human UK)
2. Hank Schrader (Breaking Bad)
3. Jamie Moriarty (Elementary)
4. Cora Mills (Once upon a Time)
5. Felix Dawkins (Orphan Black)
6. Lix Storm (The Hour)
9. Guinevere "Gwen" (Merlin)
7. Bruce Banner (MCU)
8. Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow)
10. Lucas Buck (American Gothic)
11. Jo Grant (Doctor Who)
12. Ray Carling (Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars)
13. Andrew Wells (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
14. Cameron (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
15. Jack Harkness (Torchwood, Doctor Who)

Now for whacky adventures caused by questions under the cut! With spoilers for the shows/films these characters are from )
selenak: (SCC by Monanotlisa)
Title: Damage

Disclaimer: Characters and situations owned by Fox the last time I checked.

Rating: PG 13

Characters: Charley Dixon, Sarah Connor, John Connor, James Ellison, Derek Reese.

Summary: Charley had always known Sarah had secrets. Charley Dixon contemplates Sarah Connor.

Author's note: For [personal profile] chaila, who gave me the prompt "Sarah Connor, Damage". This was meant to be a drabble but ended up as a vignette instead. It also ended up as a Charley character portrait, but such was what the muse dictated!

Read more... )
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
for research purposes, but damn. How so good, show? How so very very good?

Also, the news last month that they want to reboot the Terminator franchise with Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor makes me tear my hair out at the cancellation of T: SCC all over again. No offense to Ms. Clarke who seems to be a lovely young woman, but I don't want rebooted Terminator movies. I want more sublime Sarah Connor Chronicles.
selenak: (Money by Distempera)
Why Twitter is useful: someoene asked Vince Gilligan whose idea the fantastic Ozymandias promo for Breaking Bad had been, and he replied:

Shelley's "Ozymandias" came up a lot this season, as my writers and I are nerds who never see the sun... However, the idea of cutting the poem into a promo was the idea of the brilliant director Rian Johnson.

Thank you, Rian Johnson. In other Breaking Bad news, this article defending Skyler White is well-intentioned, but leaving entirely aside the obnoxious comments (seriously, don't read those, they make you despair of the human race, as comments about unpopular female characters sadly tend to do), this made me somewhat facepalm:

Article quote containing spoilers for the entire show )

Meanwhile, another article also made me rise my eyebrows: the sixteen worse things Walter White has done on Breaking Bad. Some of these are self evident, but how come the season 1 spoiler )makes the list and Walt's doing a season 5 spoilery thing ) do not? Also, if I read one more description of Gale as "the most innocent person of the show", I'll scream. The man was a spoilery thing for season 3 ) Being a clueless geek does not make one innocent. You know who is a good equivalent for Gale? Andrew Wells in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Andrew has that same geekness, crushing on a villain and believing himself to be in a comic book story. This does not, as the show makes very clear, negate his responsibility for theft, murder and attempted rape.

Lastly, and not related to Breaking Bad (since Walt didn't, as Jesse once wished he would, create robots): a very cool multifandom vid about A.I./Human interactions - If a machine. Lots of Sarah Connor Chronicles and Terminator footage, but also the Alien films and Prometheus as well as Battlestar Galactica.
selenak: (SCC by Monanotlisa)
It being Mother's Day, I spent it in Bamberg with my APs, hence did not have the chance to watch any Doctor Who yet. However, I just saw that a Sarah Connor Chronicles Vid Exchange went live, which to me as a viewer who could never make a vid but loves watching them, and misses Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles dearly, is fantastic news. Also very fitting for Mother's Day.

(And now I have a vision of Charlie, in that pre-show time Sarah and John spent in one place getting almost settled down, asking John in the first year whether he has a present for his mother for Mother's Day yet, and John of course has no idea, Mother's Day not being something the Connors do. Which just not wash with Charlie. Sarah better get her present. Awkwardness ensues, but eventually, due to Sarah's canonical fondness for The Wizard of Oz and the fact she did read the book to him, John finds out about Wicked! and presents his mother with both the novel and a CD with the songs from the musical. Sarah is not sure how she feels about either.)

There are of course lots of aspects to Sarah that aren't about her motherhood, but it is one of the defining elements in her life, and so some of the vids deal with it as well. I haven't had the chance to watch all yet, but, in honour of the day:

Safe as Houses: Sarah and John and their damaged, intense bond. Oh, Connors.

Strange Angels Heaven for Sarah is a world that doesn't need her. Also focuses on Sarah and her son, but in a different way, and incorporating footage from the movies, which considering the different cast is tricky to do, but the vidder pulls it off, making show and (first two) movies feel like the same world.

And the reverse pov:

Connection: "Catherine Weaver", Savannah, John Henry and Ellison as the "other" family in s2 mirroring Sarah, John, Cameron and Derek were infinitely compelling, too. This vid focuses on all the children in The Sarah Connor Chronicles who see too much, but most of all Savannah and John.
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
Found via network. It's been a whle since I did a thirty days meme, so here we go:

Day 01 - A show that should never have been canceled

Oh, several, but the one whose cancellation is still making me wail at the injustice of it all is The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Because it was smart and did inventive things with pop and older myths, was full of interesting characters both female and male, was gorgeously filmed and one of the few shows with a "the few trying to save the world" narrative at its center that never, ever lost sight of the "civilians" and kept them in sight, real and three dimensional instead of making them a bystanding crowd to either be saved or to hinder. This was a show where we spent an entire episode on the aftermath of the deaths of redshirts whereas when one of the regulars got killed, because of the lives they lead, not even the other regulars had time to do anything but run. IT WAS AWESOME.

Days 2 - 30 )
selenak: (SCC by Monanotlisa)
Name five favorite episodes of your five favorite series

Now that's ambigously phrased and could mean five episodes per show, couldn't it? :) Ah well. Five only, one per show, not the best or the only favourite in each case, but certainly a favourite. And of course, being the multifandom person which I am, I have far more than five favourite shows, so again: not the top five, but among my favourites.

1.) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Restless The dream episode to end all dream episodes. Weird, silly, deep, shallow, all and everything in turn. The imagery stays with you for good, and it's a great emotional summing up of where the four Scoobies are at this point. Also? I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

2.) The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Samson and Delilah. Because Sarah and John are at their human most vulnerable (both physically and emotionally) and still survive, because Charley patches everyone up, because James Ellison is stunned by his survival and tries to find meaning in it, because it has one of the best uses (and with this show, it's saying something) of a song (sung by s2 star Shirley Manson who plays Catherine Weaver) in the opening sequence. And most of all because Cameron wants to survive (one of the primary signs of sentience, isn't it?) and because she tells John not only that she loves him (which Sarah can refute as a trick) but that he loves her (which she can't).

3.) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: House of Quark. Why not one of the show's acknowledged masterpieces ("In the Pale Moonlight", "Duet") or, say The Wire, aka the one that launched a million Garak/Bashir tales? I love those as well. But this particular Ferengi-Klingon culture clash is such a great showcase for my guy Quark, letting him win the day in his own unique way, starts the Rom characterisation of later seasons, and proves that while Mary Kay Adams wasn't as good a Na'Toth as Julie Caitlin Brown, she makes a fantastic Grilka.

4.) Babylon 5: Dust to Dust: see, The Coming of Shadows or Fall of Centauri Prime etc are awesome, but I can't watch them too often, because they hurt so good, so to speak. However, this one manages to have both a great Centauri-Narn storyline and a great Bester storyline, thus managing to unite two of my favourite aspects of the show, and they're woven seamlessly into each other. The Bester-Garibaldi double act is great and contains some of his best one liners. (It's also the first but thankfully not the last time the show broke from the previous "Bester comes to the station, causes trouble, is foiled, leaves" pattern.) Londo is at first at his most infuriating with the visiting Vir, and yet note Vir's expressed faith in Londo towards Lennier and Delenn in the same ep; then, because he's Londo, just when you want to shake him G'Kar does not only that but much more, and you flinch on Londo's behalf. And G'Kar, oh, G'Kar both hits rock bottom and has his big epiphany here. In conclusion: I love this episode.

5.) Merlin: The Moment of Truth: it's an ode to friendship, it has the four leading characters at their best, it contains both great Merlin and Arthur scenes and the very first great Arthur and Gwen scenes, and it has HUNITH as a guest star. Mirrorverse Bashir, err, Siddig as the villain of the week is just an added bonus. I love it!
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
First of all, thank you so much for the Valentine's hearts! That was lovely, and very welcome. Happy Valentine's and/or Galentine's day to you as well.

Secondly, apropos the day: A great list for the Top Ten Beatles Love Songs, with alternate choices discussed in the comments. (I myself would replace "When I'm 64" and "It's Only Love" with "And I love her" and "Don't Let Me Down" respectively, but otherwise we're good.) The songs in question are also linked, so you can enjoy listening again.

And thirdly, because it's always terrific to reminded of one of my favourite shows in such superb vid form: Dance Macabre, a new Sarah Connor Chronicles vid by [personal profile] chaila!
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
To my great relief, I finished my Yuletide story today. Now for the beta, and then it's done.  

Meanwhile, [personal profile] kernezelda reccommended a sublime Sarah Connor Chronicles story to me. It's about Catherine Weaver and like the show itself about storytelling, the power and creation of myths, and what we do with them. Absolutely fantastic:

Nets, Threads, Loops, Knots

Incidentally, and speaking of reccomendations, thanks everyone who told me about Eight Days of Luke. I've read it now, and it was delightful. Now that's a use of Loki (and the other gods) I can get behind! Also I appreciated the arc with Astrid.

Another fanfic rec, X-Men this time: A better story

In which Charles has an ethical dilemma which involves Erik, and makes a decision. It's very difficult to say more without spoiling the story; let me just state it's the kind of premise that is so easy to get wrong, to either use for bashing, over the top dark fic or pat solutions, and it is none of those things but a great character story, and one with the unsettling effect of leaving it open whether Charles is right or wrong despite or because of the tremendous consequences.

A very interesting interview with Gillian Anderson, despite or because of the reporter sometimes coming across as asinine with his questions. Just take the opening:

'You've changed," I tell Gillian Anderson. In 1996, she was chosen as the world's sexiest woman by FHM magazine's readers; this Christmas she will be bald and on fire as Miss Havisham in the BBC's adaptation of Great Expectations. So what made her take this role? Anderson bristles: "That's not really a serious question, is it? The real question is, 'How the fuck did I end up as the world's sexiest woman in 1996?' – not why would I do Great Expectations. Any actor would want to do Great Expectations. I never set out to be the world's sexiest woman."
selenak: (SCC by Monanotlisa)
As with the fathers, I'm going with mothers who actually raised their children. Mothers who died giving birth or very early on, sacrificing their lives, might be very praiseworthy indeed but unfair as it is, they never got to prove themselves much in the ways of day to day interaction and, to quote Alicia Florrick, in parent-teacher conferences.

1.) Alicia Florrick from The Good Wife. In addition to all the other stress in her life, she has two teenagers on her hands. Which she handles admirably, coping with manipulative girlfriends and religious streaks alilke. Also, she doesn't ridicule her children's enthusiasms, which makes her very cool indeed.

2.) Sandra Bennett from Heroes. I stopped watching around ep 10 or so of season 3, but when I left her, Sandra was fabulous. Overcoming obstacles such as regular mindwipes and being partronized by husband and daughter alike, she's loving, fiercely protective, and, once she's finally let in to the secrets, brave. (Also, she's a great proof for adoptive mothers being terrific.)

3.) Sarah Connor (Terminator/ T: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). In other circumstances, training her son as a soldier from toddlerdom onwards would count against her, but in her circumstances it's life saving. Also, talk about someone who gives their life for their child; Sarah does this not by dying heroically but by transforming herself into a warrior and trying to change history so there won't be a need for any messiah. She also fights the good fight because that's what she believes in, I don't want to put down her insight and heroism. But being a mother set her on this journey, and it is a quintessential part of her.

4.) Joyce Summers (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer). Joyce isn't perfect and for the first two seasons suffering from Denialitis Sunnydalonia. But even in this state, she's ready to defend her daughter with an axe (ask Spike). She copes with being divorced, living in a town with a high deathrate, one daughter who is the Slayer and during the last year of her life another who has a crazy hellgod after her and is an entity for whose sake Joyce's and everyone else's mind got altered. (She also copes with having dated a robot and her daughter's vampire boyfriends who may or may not go psycho at any moment.) (And with finding herself replaced as the supreme parental authority figure by a sexy British librarian.) In conclusion: Joyce rocks!

5.) Moya from Farscape. Moya is a Leviathan who spent years being imprisoned, traumatized and basically raped before gaining her freedom, and still manages to mother all her passengers (who are the most difficult lot this side of the Liberator crew) and her doomed offspring Talyn. All the other mothers mentioned here go through a lot, but I think Moya wins for sheer trauma anyway - and she still comes out kind, caring, and despite not being able to do anything to defend herself but run away a Leviathan to be reckoned with. And those she mothers love her forever. In conclusion: Moya wins!
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
Yuuuuuuuuletide! And what an abundance of treasure it brings.

The story I got was my Wuthering Heights prompt (an examination of the relationship between Heathcliff and Hareton): Fathers and Sons. It's a Heathcliff pov, and the author pulls it off well, which I've always imagined to be extremely tricky.

On to a measly selection of the abundance of great stories in other fandoms:


Kohl: which is the Antony/Vorenus story I always hoped someone would write, set in Egypt, fantastic take on both characters, with terrific dialogue. Extra bonus for letting Antony use the Caesar-in-Bithynia anecdote.

Gens Julia in aeternum: Wonderful portrait of Atia in her complexity and strength, and also of her relationship with Antony.


This Yuletide is definitely the time of the Borgias. Five stories featuring the most famous - or infamous Spanish expats to make it big time in the Italian Renaissance. Two that especially impressed me:

Mine Eyes Dazzle: Lucrezia-centric, secondary emphasis on Cesare, doing justice to the convoluted relationships within and without the family. A gem of a historical novella.

De casibus vivorum illustrium: this one focuses on Machiavelli and Cesare. And the fickleness of fortune. Good stuff.

Doctor Who Audio /History

Whatever You Want To Call It: Not for nothing does The Kingmaker regularly end up on the "best Doctor Who audios of all time" list. Among its many virtues: it's absolutely hysterical if you're even vaguely familiar with all the Richard III related historians' debates. This story, a sequel to the audio (I'm trying to keep the summary as unspoilery as possible), does a similar great job with the Shakespeare authorship debates. Clearly the answer to "who wrote Shakespeare's works" questions. :) :) :)

Arthurian Mythology

Camelot to Camlann: shared povs between Gawain and Guinevere in a compelling, vivid take on the story of Guinevere, Arthur and Mordred.

Euripides - Bacchae

Bakcheios: this one so far is hands down the masterpiece of all the stories I've read so far. I really hope the author will publish it. Using not only Euripides' drama (which tells the story of Pentheus and his clash with Dionysos/Bacchos) but also the myths of Semele and Acteon, this is a poetic, incredibly disturbing (in just the right way) tale doing justice the cruelty and power of the myths. If you read no other Yuletide story this year, read this one.

Sarah Connor Chronicles:

My Father's House Has Many Rooms: James Ellison, Sarah, Savannah and John Henry. Ellison pov's are still rare; rarer still are stories that deal with what I thought were among the most fascinating scenes of season 2, his relationship with John Henry, complete with the struggle about the theological implications of John Henry's existence. Nor does this story forget the s2 finale leaves Ellison with the responsibility for Savannah, and lets Ellison respond to this. Loved it.

Benjamin January Mysteries - Barbara Hambly:

Rescue: in which January's younger sister Dominique (aka Minou) is kidnapped, and it's January and Abisag Shaw to the rescue. Barbara Hambly's novels, which are set in a pre-Civil War New Orleans among the gens du coleur libre, as the non-enslaved black population was referred to, manage to create memorable characters and compelling relationships that feel true to the period, and come with a keen awareness of how everyone's status would inform every second of their lives. Same for this fanfic - January is the freed son of two slaves who was able to practice as a physician in Paris but not at home in New Orleans, while Minou is the daughter of their mother by one of her white lovers and basically trained to be a (rich) white man's mistress from birth, while Shaw is poor, but white and free in a very different sense than that of having to carry your papers all the time to prove you're no one's property. While the adventure plot unfolds, all those differences - and the affection that is there between the characters nonetheless - are done full justice.


A woman's whole heart: set after the film. How do you adjust after having been a hawk, after having been a wolf? Treading a delicate balance between fantasy and history, this take on Isabeau (and Navarre) manages to be both romantic and challenging, and, incidentally, a proof that "established relationship" (and a woman in same) does not equal lack of tension or the end of personal goals. Beautiful to read, just the kind of sweeping, satisfying tale to end your day with.

Unconnected thoughts about fandoms I haven't read yet: yay, five DS9 stories, mmmm, lots of of Fringe stories, err, isn't "Social Network RPF" kind of a doubling of terms?
selenak: (Kitten by Cheesygirl)
Assignments like Merlin/Dragon or Sylar/Cockroach would be too easy and are canon anyway. Speaking of:

1.) Benjamin Linus (Lost)/ Bunny. Practically canon as well. If you think bunnies are too harmless and not suitable for machiavellian types, read Watership Down.) (Which reminds me that Lost advertises that book as well.) Or ask Anya from BTVS.

2.) Sarah Connor (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)/Turtle. She'll outlast them all. Also? Canon. (Yes, yes, so is the wolf thing, but that's way too obvious.)

3.) Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)/English Sheep Dog. Cute but fierce, protective and occasionally inspiring songs. Can sometimes run into things and mess up, but are tenacious and win the day.

4.) River Song (Doctor Who)/ Cat. Of several lives and not always certain loyalties, definitely knowing more than most people in a given room or good at bluffing that she does. Come on, it's perfect. Also, you know, several regenerations of a certain someone have a thing for cats.

5.) Walter Bishop (Fringe)/Walrus. Because if I am the Walrus is not Walter's theme song, it should be. Also there is a certain resemblance, pace John Noble.
selenak: (River Song by Famira)
Which 5 persons from any fandom would you place on a lonely island to get the most interesting reaction?

I'll automatically exclude characters who are canonically on a lonely island (i.e. anyone from Lost) or spend at least a memorable scene or three there (no Elizabeth Swann and Jack Sparrow, sorry). Also, Lord of the Flies has been done, well and memorably, so I'll try to avoid character combinations that end up with a batshit dictatorship and metaphysical conversations with a pig skull. Otoh, "interesting" does not equal "best at survival", so these won't be my criteria, either. That leaves:

1) Londo Mollari (Babylon 5). Londo, being an immensely sociable creature (when not under certain circumstances), very fond of his creature comforts and definitely not fond of trips to the wilderness, would find being stranded on a lonely island with only a few people very frustrating. However he'd respond to this, it would bound to be witty and/or enraging and/or heartbreaking in turns.

2) River Song (Doctor Who). Because sooner or later, she'd find a way off the island if she really needs to, in some awesome and slightly crazy way that potentially involves a rescue by TARDIS, but in the meantime, she and Londo could snark, flirt, and exchange views on creative gambling.

3) Owen Harper (Torchwood). Because a doctor of the medical type is useful in lonely island situations, Owen has experience with alien physiology as well as human and is actually good at his job, and that just might persuade River not to kill him once she's been exposed to what a messed up collection of issues he is. It's probably touch and go, but an interesting touch and go.

4) Ellen Tigh (Battlestar Galactica). Because an Edward Albee-esque dame with a her loyalty limited to a very small circle (or to one person, depending on when in her life you'd catch Ellen) and otherwise willingness to cut shady deals for her advantage is just what is needed. Also, she could get into a drinking contest with Londo and the odds might be even. This will probably be the end of the booze on the island, causing Owen to curse them both and refuse to treat their hangovers, but it would be immensely entertaining. And she and River could exchange views on long term marriage, she says cryptically. Lastly, Ellen/any of the others is a genuine option.

5) Cameron Phillips (The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Because a terminator with developing free will is a loose gun in an interesting way, because Cameron deserves a break but will be unwilling to take one and will want to do anything to get off that island, because River Song, being a denizen of the Whoverse, is bound to deeply distrust sentient machines originally programmed to wipe out the human race but is too smart not to see the potential there as well, because depending on from when in her canon Ellen comes things could be very interesting and/or messed up when she and Cameron compare backstories, and because Londo could take the most breaktaking inconvenient choice of fulfilling his In the Beginning fantasy of strolling on a beach with a lovely young lady and because, you know, Londo actually has experience on having intimate relationships with your bodyguard/arch nemesis/killer-and/or-saviour and I'd love to hear his take on the Cameron and John situation. :)
selenak: (Buffy by Kathyh)
Name the five best "cold open"/teasers (the scene of a TV show before the opening credits)

Tricky to narrow it down to five, as nearly always. However, here are five teasers that definitely made an impression so strong that I can recall them at once when hearing the question:

1) A Tale of Two Cities, season 3 of Lost. Lost of course did good teasers galore, and far more shocking ones, but here's why this one sticks with me even more than the others: spoilery reasons ensue. )

2) Samson and Delilah, season 2 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Season 1 ends on a cliffhanger; the teaser starting season 2 resolves that cliffhanger as far as immediate circumstances are concerned but at the same time sets up, in only a few minutes and basically without dialogue, some of the big issues of season 2 (as well as the suspense situation for the season opener) - spoilers are still in awe and admiration about that. ) And all of this to the tune of Shirley Manson singing a gospel. It's magnificent.

3) Kobol's Last Gleaming I, season 1 of Battlestar Galactica. Speaking of great music, here Bear McCreary, as he will in the tag scene of part II, brings on his symphonic skills in a big way. The teaser of part I combines several season 1 themes - Boomer's struggle against her Cylon identity and increasing depression, Roslin's Chamalla-induced visions, the relationships between Kara and Lee as well as Kara and Gaius Baltar - in one wonderfully scored sequence. (Sidenote: as a Kara/Lee anti-shipper throughout the show who had really hoped they wouldn't go there I probably had an atypical reaction to a certain scene, but independent from that, I can't deny it was skilfully done.)

4) The Body, season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of Joss Whedon's four most experimental episodes in this show, Hush, Restless, The Body and Once More, With Feeling, which I think are four of the best hours of tv ever, Restless is probably my overall favourite but The Body is the one which affects me most deeply. As a depiction of the immediate aftermath of death, I find it devastatingly accurate, and spoilery descriptions ensue. )

5) The Sam Tyler Jacket, Ashes to Ashes season 3, episode 5. I didn't want a "real" appearance by Sam on AtA - he had his own show, you know? - and thus was not disappointed we never got one, but this use of John Simm footage by way of Alex' brain was great and cracks me up to this day; competing with that for my favourite AtA teaser is the "Uptown Girl" sequence, also from season 3, which YouTube won't let me link. I ♥ Alex Drake and her dreams, I tell you.
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
I have the feeling I did this once before, but no time to check, plus what the hell, it's always fun to rave about the women. Qualification: I'm choosing to interpret as referring to females who can do the kicking of the aforementioned backside both literally and figuratively. So ladies who could rule the universe by force of personality, cleverness and manipulative skills like Laura Roslin or Livia Drusilla won't show up; they're in a class of their own.

1) Abigail Brand (originally Astonishing X-Men, now Marvelverse at large). See icon. Green-haired, tough, abrasive, willing to put her life on the line along with everyone else's, with a gift for sarcasm and (so far) great taste in men. Has even mastered the art of admitting of having been wrong and drawing consequences, which is rare in ruthless types. I love her quite a lot.

2) River Song (Doctor Who). Was interesting in her first outing which due to timey-wimeyness was also her end, and became downright fascinating in the last season when we got to know her better; can wear space suits, uniform and evening wardrobe with the same aplomb and is played by the vibrant Alex Kingston. "Hello, Sweetie" will never sound the same again. :)

3.) Sarah Connor (The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the first two Terminator films). Transforming herself from hunted teenage waitress to warrior woman, Sarah picked up a lot of intimacy issues on the way, not to mention poetic if disturbing dreams. I love that she loves stories, which is rare in an action heroine, that she bonds with strangers but has difficulties with her nearest and dearest, and that she tries not just to win a fight but to do so without losing sight of what she fights for. Oh, Sarah.

4.) Ellen Ripley (Alien and subsequent sequels). Like Sarah, Ripley didn't start out as a warrior. She was the space equivalent of a trucker, and one of several reasons why I'm in the minority who prefers Alien over Aliens is that the crew of the Nostromo strikes me as much more real - they aren't marines who banter in movie speak, they are people doing their jobs who have been together far too long. (Also, more British actors.) And it's far from obvious or signaled that Ripley will be the one to survive. But survive she does, and while her life becomes one out of time nightmare in which she keeps being reborn, she never loses her humanity. I ♥ Ripley.

5.) Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess). Actually, most of the women of that show, but Xena is in a class of her own. Cheerfully anachronistic as her show was, she did the dark-haired brooding former villain seeking redemption stick before Angel and various imitations of same, and she did it (more often than not) better. Lucy Lawless gave her a fierce joy in fighting that ex-villains not often get to display, a deadpan sense of humour and a confident sexuality.
selenak: (Camelot Factor by Kathyh)
This week's fannish5 wants to know about five characters who are too good for their canon, who are the only thing to make an otherwise dreadful canon (book, film, tv) palpable. And that is one of my anti-concepts, anti-kinks, whatever you want to call it. It's not that I don't have canons where I love one character more than any other. Or shows, or book series, where I fell out of love and stopped watching/reading - but one of the steps towards realising "I don't like/love this anymore" was the realisation that I only liked one character, or one aspect, and disliked everything else. To me, watching or reading for one character alone while actively resenting everything else - the other characters, the fictional universe itself - is a guaranteed recipe for misery, and not the inspiring kind (being disturbed or grieved by fiction can be a powerful experience if the fiction is good). It's the kind of thing that causes people to go on and on and on how much they loathe canon x, everything in canon x, except character y, how unworthy canon x of character y. Considering there are usually people around who are fond of canon y, and not just because it contains x, this means they're making other people miserable in addition to themselves, and come off as condescending to boot.

If I like only one character in a fictional universe, I stop watching/reading. For me to really experience fiction, I need to be able to love more than one character. So, instead I decided to list five canons where I don't have a clear favourite but love too many characters/stories/whatevers about it it to single out just one. I find this far more fun.

1.) Farscape. I sometimes joke Rygel is my favourite and not entirely joke about being the only John/Rygel 'shipper and prefering this to John/Aeryn, but all jokes aside: I like the entire ensemble. And the recurring characters (hello, Braca!). And the ships (Moya! Talyn! Poor half eaten Leviathan in season 3!!!!!). There might be some characters who work less for me than others (and there are definitely disliked episodes and storylines), but that doesn't change the overall fondness. Farscape was wild. And I really couldn't tell you whom I love best.

2.) Merlin. Aw, newest fannish love, let me hug you. I adore three of the six main characters and like the other three (well, some of them in a "wouldn't want to meet" fashion but that's true for many a fictional character I'm fond of), there are some great guest stars, and with all the flaws and cheesiness and whatnot, I'm just ridiculously fond of the show and its charming mixture of fun and melodrama. I even hum the theme tune when the credits roll.

3.) Firefly. I was never a Browncoat in the sense that I campaigned or burst into tears when it was cancelled, though I certainly quoted Wash on the subject ("curse your sudden and inevitable betrayal, Fox"), but again, flaws and all, I really liked the show, and its characters. As opposed to other Whedonian ouevres where I definitely have characters I love far more than others, I never had a Firefly favourite. (Though I can hum the theme tune there as well.)

4.) Doctor Who, overall canon (i.e. Old and New Who together). Sure, I have some companions and regenerations I like better than others. But in the vast, vast DW canon, there are so many of them that I really can't say about a single companion "THIS ONE CHARACTER IS MY FAVOURITE". Ditto about one single regeneration. Or even one single guest character. Thankfully, in 31 seasons and counting, there were too many of those. The universe is. just. that. rich.

5.) The Sarah Connor Chronicles. See above, re: Wash quote, re: Fox. But for the two splendid seasons it lasted, I never had a favourite character. Even the one I felt least warmly towards (Derek), I wouldn't have wanted to miss for anything. I liked the ensemble, I liked the way the show never downtalked to its audience but went for complicated narration and character exploration, I loved the stunning use of imagery and music. I loved that universe.


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