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: (The Americans by Tinny)
The Americans:

While pondering whether or not to volunteer for The Americans this Yuletide, I checked whether there were new stories since last year, and indeed there were. I especially liked:


It's never over: a look at Oleg in season 5.

My last night: Philip and Elizabeth post Martha.

The Defenders:

Saints in Effigy a Claire pov on her relationships.

MCU:

Spider-Sitting: what Happy Hogan thinks about basically being made Peter's handler.
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Emmmy nominations: as a fan of The Americans, I'm pleased that Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright were all three recognized at last. Will root for them accordingly, which is all the easier since frustratingly, Bates Motel' final year went without an Emmy nomination again. Freddy Highmore has been fantastic throughout, and especially in this last installment where the show had to at last enter the same narrative territory as Psycho, and succeeded with flying colours, very much because young Highmore has managed to make an iconic role his own. (Very Farmiglia would have deserved nominations in all preceeding years, but I can understand she didn't get one this year, since she played "only" Mother, not Norma anymore.) My loyalties might be slightly split for best actor because of Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, and I'd be happy if he wins, too, but if I had to decide and push came to shove, I'd go with Rhys over Odenkirk. Speaking of Better Call Saul, I call fail on the nomination of Jonathan Banks for best supporting actor over Michael McKean (Chuck). Or for that matter Michael Mando (who plays Nacho). Look, I get the Mike cult, and Banks is always solid, but Mike really did not have all that much to do this season. Whereas Nacho got core emotional dilemma stuff, and the actor rose to the task. And McKean may have played the most disliked character on the show, but I don't think the most fervent Chuck hater on the planet would dispute he did so amazingly, and this season, it was a lynchpin performance, with Chicanery and the s3 finale as the two particularly outstanding episodes in this regard. As for the utter lack of nomination for Rhea Seahorn as Kim, don't get me started. Though, again: makes it easier to root wholeheartedly for Keri Russell and for Alison Wright in their respective categories.

_____

Yesterday there was a lengthy interview with Christopher Nolan in one of my regular papers, apropos his upcoming movie Dunkirk. Two issues caught my particular attention: a) he mentions having written the script for a movie about Howard Hughes, only to be foiled by the Scorsese/Di Caprio movie "Aviator", which made it unlikely for a few years studios would finance another movie about Hughes, and now when the time would have been right again, Warren Beatty struck first and made Hughes a non-subject for a few years more. But, quoth Nolan, he hasn't given up and swears this script is the best he ever wrote. To channel some writerly frustration, he added, he put some of his Howard Hughes characterisation into Bruce Wayne in his three Batman movies. And suddenly Bruce's utterly self indulgent hermit phase between movies II and III as well as his bizarre rewriting on why things didn't work out with Rachel in I as voiced by him in II appears in a new light. :) Or maybe Howard Hughes' decades in Las Vegas hotel rooms do - clearly the cover for a secret vigilante identity. Come to think of it, old Hughes sueing unauthorized biographers does resemble the Frank Miller version of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns somewhwat, no?

Anyway: b) the other particularly interesting-to-me Nolan statement was that in preparation for Dunkirk, he watched All Quiet on the Western Front (classic 1930 film version of Erich Maria Remarque's WWI novel, directed by Lewis Milestone) and was amazed such a movie was possible in 1930. But, says Nolan, it probably only was because it was an American movie based on a German novel, because an American director would never have presented American soldiers in this way, and the Germans wouldn't have made the movie to begin with, "so hooray for one culture speaking for another in this case", ends Nolan. Thinking about it, I concluded he was right that the German film industry would not have made All Quiet on the Western Front in the early 1930s - the book had been a big bestseller in Germany, but the movies were utterly dominated by the UFA by then, and the UFA was owned by Alfred Hugenberg, hardcore conservative who'd go on to support Hitler in his 1932 and 1933 election campaigns. As it was Goebbels orchestrated an anti All Quiet on the Western Front campaign when the movie was released in Germany - SA guys loudly protesting in the cinemas, white mice released, I kid you not -with the result that the movie was quickly withdrawn and most Germans saw it only once the Third Reich had come and gone. (My paternal grandparents back in the day did see it in the cinema, but they had to travel to Belgium to do so, which they did because not only did Granddad own the book, but he regarded it as a matter of local pride - he was born and raised just a few streets away from where Remarque, the author, had been born and raised in Osnabrück. And my grandfather, who'd lost his father in WWI when he, Granddad, was still a toddler, always regarded the book as a way to figure out what his father might have been like.)

Last year, when I heard a lecture by Elizabeth Bronfen on war movies in Zurich, she compared the aesthetic and thematic treatment of All Quiet on the Western Front with what WWII movies and news reels quickly established as standard in US movies, and it really is strikingly different. Not being an expert on war movies, my lay woman opinion would be Nolan is right in the American part of his statement as well, that an American movie about US soldiers like All Quiet on the Western Front at the time and for some time to come would never have been made. Probably not until the genre of Vietnam movies started, and that came and went again; more recent US movies, no matter about which war, which present US soldiers being lured into a war by propaganda and then fighting pointless battles and dying with no heroic justification or reward whatsoever (i.e. not even saving a comrade's life or turning a battle, or getting an epilogue declaring that their cause lives on or their sacrifice is remembered or what not), don't come to mind, either. Or am I missing something?
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
In which we seem to be at half point, in many ways.

Read more... )
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Which had two ZOMG moments for me. One of which expected but one not.

Read more... )
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Watching a show about Russian spies set in the 80s is increasingly weird when contrasted with the current day reality. If only the KGB had known back then how incredibly easy it is to get the entire Republican party to do their bidding…

Read more... )
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
This was a bit of an odd episode for me, full of fragments from stories that did almost, but not quite fit together.

More beneath the cut )
selenak: (Claudia and Elizabeth by Tinny)
I'm currently at a conference, thus can only be online very rarely. Sorry for delayed replies etc. Anyway, onto the 80s and their spies.

Read more... )
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
In which there are family meetings and goodbyes.

Read more... )
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
In which our antiheroes are back, but not in the USSR.

Read more... )
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
1. Your main fandom of the year?

As in previous years, I remain a multifandom woman. An old fandom I got somewhat back into was Star Wars, but not due to The Force Awakens, due to finally marathoning The Clone Wars. Of shows with an open, not yet concluded canon, I continue to love The Americans, Better Call Saul and Bates Motel, but Black Sails is probably the one I feel most intensely for. However, due to tumblr aversion, I’m not exactly in the fandom, as not many Black Sails fans seem to be on dw or lj.


2. Your favourite film watched this year?

Slash. I watched it at the Munich Film Festival in summer, attended the Q & A with the director, and have not changed my impression, which was: I loved and adored this movie. It filled me with joy the same way Galaxy Quest did for a lot of similar reasons. Currently, there are some people badmouthing it on the internet, usually people who haven’t watched it, and that irks me the way it always does when people shit on something you love, especially at a time when fandom is my escape from the horrors of the real world. But such is life, and thankfully the movie will still be there when the haters have moved on to the next subject.


3. Your favourite book read this year?

I read a lot of non fiction this year, the most impressive of which was probably The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carré. But the one I loved best was probably fiction, to wit, Oath Bound by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott. Oh, and I did a reread of the Angelique series I’d loved as a child and teen, and enjoyed those novels as much as ever.


4. Your favourite TV show of the year?

See above: Black Sails, which had a fantastic third season and keeps getting better and better. I’m ready to get my heart broken by the fourth and final season, and am confident it will be done in a narratively satisfying way. Incidentally, all my shows except for Elementary had great seasons in 2016, and I didn’t give up any the way I did in 2015.


5. Your favourite online fandom community of the year?

Still [profile] the_americans.

6. Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Very unexpectedly, this was Class, the Doctor Who spin-off which premiered this fall. As far as DW spin-offs are concerned, Torchwood had had a very rocky first season, and while I adored The Sarah Jane Adventures, I went into it because of Sarah Jane, and all the Class characters were new, so I had no idea what to expect. Certainly not the strong first season and ensemble-tastic tale I got. Go show! May you get many seasons more.


7. Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

None so great that it drove me to abandon the show, but Elementary’s fourth season, with the exception of the Paul Cornell episode, had been a let down, and season 5 alas hasn’t pulled off the season 3 trick yet of coming back strong. It’s still enjoyable, though.


8. Your TV boyfriend of the year?

In terms of “who would I actually date”, still pre-Saul Jimmy McGill. In terms of “whose ongoing adventures was I most emotionally invested in” , John Silver. In terms of “who would I definitely not date, not even for a one night stand, but good lord, am I emotionally invested, as evidenced by the fact I’ve been writing him again: Anakin Skywalker, human disaster extraordinaire. I had never lost my fondness for Anakin, of course, but The Clone Wars brought back the urge to write him in a big fashion.

9. Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Kim Wexler from Better Call Saul was the core of the second season and a Queen among women, and I adore her, I completely fell for Ahsoka from The Clone Wars, but this year, there can only be one choice (not least due to what happened): Norma Bates, the most doomed mother ever, antiheroine of my heart, so flawed, so passionate, so human, so capable of utter joy and utter rage.

10. Your biggest squee moment of the year?

It’s a tie between John Silver deciding the way to win James Flint’s respect is to tell him Silver has managed to screw him over re: the Urca gold while they’re en route to some shark fighting, and that this tactic works, in Black Sails 3.03., and Norma Bates in Bates Motel 4.06. responding to perceived blackmail with one of her extraordinary raw emotional outbursts, laying her past wide open, and the thought to be blackmailer instead actually repairing her window while the guy she was sure she’d lose by this honesty instead responds with “Where are we going?” Which is the most romantic line you’ll ever hear on this show, in context.


11. The most missed of your old fandoms?

Class made me nostalgic for Buffy. But not for the ship wars. Good lord, not for the ship wars. Also, Highlander.

12. The fandom you haven’t tried yet, but want to?

Mr. Robot, with the eternal “if I find the time” disclaimer.

13. Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?

Black Sails season 4, American Gods the tv series, and Arrival, of which I have heard very good things but which I haven’t managed to watch yet. I hope it’ll stick around in the cinemas until I can.
selenak: (Sternennacht - Lefaym)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

thank you so much for writing a story for me! I’m greatly looking forward to it, and hope you’ll enjoy writing it. We share at least one fandom, and hopefully some of my ideas will be of interest to you.
General likes/dislikes: Generally, I’m fond of canon settings. By which I mean: I don’t want to read about the characters in a coffee shop AU, or a high school AU, or in a story where no one evolved beyond their pilot characterization and the plot went totally differently from there.

This isn’t an absolute demand. I’ve come across A U s which I have truly loved, and some had pretty cracky premises. So if you are truly inspired to write about, say, Lily Frankenstein’s adventures in space, fine, go for it. “If possible, canon era setting” is a guideline, no more.

On the other hand: no A/B/O, please. Can’t stand it. Also, no character bashing. By which I don’t mean characters can’t have negative opinions about other characters. But there is a difference between that and story intent. To choose a Black Sails example: Jack Rackham having no good things to say about Eleanor Guthrie post s3 would be in character and more than likely. Flint, otoh, passing judgment on Eleanor on one particular act given what he did to Mr. Gates would be hypocritical, and if the entire story is devoted to all the characters hating on Eleanor and Eleanor getting humiliated by the narrative, we’re definitely in bashing territory, and I want nothing to do with it.

Slash, het, bi, poly: I’m fine with it all, and you can write non-generic sex scenes, more power to you, I’m envious (I tend to go for the discreet cut between scenes not because I’m against explicit writing but because I’m not good at it), but I’d prefer it if the story consists of more than just an extended sex scene.

On to fandom specifics.

Penny Dreadful )

The Americans )

Black Sails )

The Last Kingdom )
selenak: (Allison by Spankulert)
Briefly, as I am travelling:

Emmys: I'm thrilled Tatiana Maslany has finally won. She deserves this. I mean, I was rooting for one of the actresses on this particular occasion, but Tatiana Maslany does so amazing things on this show and in all these roles that she can win any time and I'm satisfied.

Otoh "Battle of the Bastards" winning best written episode over ANY episode of The Americans, season 4, is just baffling. (Yes, Sansa's scene at the end is great, and the overall direction is good, but the script otherwise? Ah well. Spectacle over character drama, I suppose.)

Politics: dire dire dire dire everywhere, including my own country. For some reason, the Washington Post coming up with a journalistic first of the most cynical type is my current personal least favourite, though. They published Snowden's original revelations together with the New York Times and won another Pulitzer for it, and now they're asking for him not to be pardoned but to go to prison. Somewhere, Nixon is cackling. And Ben Bradlee is turning in his grave.

Trying to cheer myself up: since it's "talk like a pirate" day, I give you Black Sails' version of Anne Bonny, in the s2 finale:

I can't be your wife, Jack. But you and I are gonna be partners till they put us in the fucking ground. "

(The Anne and Jack relationship: forever great.)

Also, going back a bit in (my) fannish time, here's the pirate king herself, Elizabeth Swann (sidenote: why I've never been tempted to watch any Pirates of the Caribbean movies post the third one - for me, that saga was Elizabeth's story, and the trilogy told it, completely), rallying a fleet: Hoist the Colours!
selenak: (Flint by Violateraindrop)
ETA: it has been pointed out to me that the other condition, "more than a 1000 words per story", filters out a great deal, which means Black Sails is still below the 1000 works limit and thus still eligible. Yay!


The rules for this year's Yuletide: alas, with 1020 stories at the AO3 Black Sails is now over the magical 1000 fanworks limit to be eligible. Season 3 really inspired a lot more writing, which on the one hand, yay, but on the other, it robs me of a Yuletide fandom I meant to be request and offer. Ah well. It means I can nominate characters for The Americans after all, and hope someone will write either the Martha or the Gabriel story of my dreams for me.

In the meantime, here's a new Black Sails story I spotted this morning: a Miranda pov set during season 1, with spoilers for s2, though, so season 1 watchers who don't want to be spoiled beware:

Vain Empires
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
Penny Dreadful, of course. There's at least one idea I really want to write, and more than one I'll request. We should coordinate our efforts, oh flist/circle, to get in more characters. I don't think any of us need to nominate Vanessa, or Ethan, they are a given. Sir Malcolm is not, so he'll be one of my four. I also want Lily, Caliban/John Clare/The Creature, Catriona Hartdegen and Dr. Seward, so if anyone would take one of them among their PDs? Pretty please? I also hope urgently someone will nominate Lyle, but more due to sympathy than to a concrete story idea.

The Americans: I love the show as much as ever, but I won't volunteer to write it this year, because I've ended up as the sole person writing The Americans stories for two years in a row, and I want to try something else. Depending on the prompts and whether I have time enough, I might write a The Americans treat, but for my main assignment, I want another fandom.

Black Sails: Pirates! Someone else will undoubtedly nominate Flint and Silver, and Billy is also popular enough to end up nominated on his own. Ditto Charles Vane, Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny. I'll nominate Madi, Max, Eleanor and Miranda, who aren't shoe-ins. Would be grateful for Mr. Scott, the Queen and Woode Rogers.

Books: I'll nominate the Shardlake mysteries again, not leaving it to accident. Last year someone wrote a beautiful aftermath of Lamentation story; maybe they can be seduced into writing more? Characters: am still hankering after a Guy past or present tale, but other than that, I have only vague ideas. I'd ask for Matthew being Elizabeth's lawyer in the upcoming Thomas Seymor fiasco were it not for the fact that I'm pretty sure Sansom will write that novel if he writes another book, given how Lamentation ends.
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Determinedly non-political entry, since the times, they keep getting dreadfull-er: when I lived through the 80s as a teenager, I never expected to feel so nostalgic about them. But I've started to watch Stranger Things on Netflix, and wow, does it ever hit those unexpected buttons. Also, based on the first two episodes, it's a wondrous crossover of Stephen King tropes and Steven Spielberg visuals.

(Key difference between the Steves of the 80s: while in E.T., the sequence where Elliot's home is invaded by white decontamination suit wearing government officials is viscerally scary, in the end said officials aren't depicted as evil but benevolent. They really want to help E.T. (and Elliot). Meanwhile, in a Stephen King novels, you can rely on such types being really truly evil, and probably co-responsible for the horror of the day in the first place. So far, Stranger Things, despite paying visual homage to E.T. like no one's business, seems to be on the King end on the spectrum, content wise.)

And speaking of the 80s - the most joyful thing when this year's Emmy nominations were released for me was that The Americans finally got five of those, including best actor and best actress, best drama and best writing. My loyalties are slightly split because Better Call Saul also got nominated for best drama, writing and best leading actor, but much as I love Jimmy & friends, I think overall I'm rooting for Team Undercover Spies here, comrades.

Also, the BCS nominations frustrate me a bit because not only they're leaving out Rhea Seaborn, whose season the second one was, for supporting actress, but pick Jonathan Banks as Mike over Michael McKean as Chuck for supporting actor. Call me crazy, but I think acting nominations shouldn't be about which character is more beloved or likeable. Chuck does some awful things in s2. Micheal McKean also gets a hell of a lot acting to do and layers to sell (what he pulls off in the last two episodes of s2 especially!), while there's no s2 equivalent to s1's grand Mike vehicle, Five-O, and while Jonathan Banks continues to do his solid stoic supporting act superbly, he didn't do anything we hadn't seen before in several seasons of Breaking Bad and now Better Call Saul.

Mind you, the perennial favorite Game of Thrones illustrates that likeability trumping acting thing in this years' nominations as well. Yes, Peter Dinklage is awesome in general, but in this season Tyrion didn't have much to do. And Emilia Clarke over Sophie Turner, seriously? Must be the dragons. Lena Headey, otoh: deserved. And because they didn't nominate Alison Wright for best supporting actress in a drama series in The Americans or Rhea Seaborn for Better Call Saul, see above though perhaps it was because she went from supporting to virtual co-lead in s2, I can even root for her.

Next goal: get the Emmy crowd to watch Black Sails. Considering they've kept nominating Downton Abbey long beyond its expiration age, they're bound to be Maggie Smith fans, so pointing out her kid is doing amazing things as the lead could help...
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
In the immortal words of Kitty Pryde as written by Joss Whedon, Yeahbutwhat?

Read more... )

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