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# Feeling rather better, I hope it'll last. Had a pretty intense 4 hrs. Tai Chi fan workshop today, so for once I at least know why I'm so tired. I really need to sign up for classes again next semester, I hadn't realised how much I missed it.

(# Still can't seem to get rid of the mental sluggishness, inarticulateness, and massive writer's block, though.)

# Did very, very little last week (other than going to work, obviously/unavoidably). I was a bit tempted to start rewatching B5 or Angel as fanish comfort food, but the thought of 5 seasons à 23 episodes is a bit intimidating. That's 86 hours per show, and while somehow that never was an issue before, at the moment I feel irrationally guilty investing that much time in a TV show when I'm not even watching it for meta-writing purposes.

Rewatched the Hair movie, which has been my fandom-of-one for ages, and I although I keep expecting that perception to change every time, I still think it makes a lot more sense on the assumption that Berger is in love with Claude. Or as I put it years ago, Berger uses Sheila to get closer to Claude, Sheila uses Claude to get close to Berger, and Claude, poor boy, is confused until it's too late. It doesn't help that post-Brokeback Mountain movie Claude reminds of of Ennis quite a bit. (Old picspam.)

Also rewatched Velvet Goldmine, another long-time favourite. I saw it quite a few times in the theatre back when (upon checking imdb... holy shit, that was thirteen years ago? Thirteen?!), but I still can't quite put my finger on what exactly the fascination/attraction is. I don't think it's about having been a huge Bowie fan myself as a teenager, because it certainly isn't a flattering portrait, even without the downright cruel caricature of Bowie's 80ies incarnation, and I'm not the least bit surprised he refused to give them the rights for his songs, if that was the script he saw. Also, JRM's portrayal is a bit lacking in charisma IMO, unless that often slightly vacant expression is a deliberate acting choice, which does seem a possibility. I guess it might be because in the end that movie is very much about the experience of being a fan, on several levels. All the enthusiasm, fantasies, embarrassment, projection, nostalgia, but also frustration and disillusionment... they're certainly present on a Watsonian level, with Arthur as the narrator of the story (and Christian Bale's performance is fantastic), but to me they also seem to very much influence the creation of the film on a Doylist level. It starts out as a... is there such a thing as a film à clef? but then with the Brian Slade/Curt Wilde love-story veers off into (essentially) fantasy RPF territory, while at the same time at least implicitly critiquing Bowie for using/exploiting homo/bisexuality/gay culture as a career move and then renouncing it when it was no longer convenient... It's a more complex movie than it might seem at first glance.

Finally watched Mine All Mine (that's the one where GDL is also Ianto Yanto Jones), which has been on my hd for ages, all six episodes in one evening, because once I started I couldn't stop. I think what most impressed me was the end. The overall tone is fairly light/comedic despite some darker undercurrents, so I expected a resolution on that note. And the further the least episode progressed, the more I wondered how they were going to get around the poisoned eggs, the de- and re-frosted hamburger meat, and bottle of poison on the spice rack in... ten... nine... clock's ticking!... five... minutes. And then they make mayonnaise, hamburgers, Val decides to poison Max after all, and as everyone sits down to eat, fade to black, the end. Schoedinger's family. Brilliant.

 

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So, SJA. I really wish I'd written this post yesterday when I was full of unreserved squee, while now I have to say I found the second half of S3 rather generic and something of a letdown after the first. I can't quite put my finger on it, but a certain something that made the other episodes so charming, details, the way the relationships between the characters are written, seem to be lacking. (Also, where have Rani's parents disappeared to? I was hoping they'd find out more about the whole alien business after their run-in with the Judoon in ep.1...) On the other hand The Mad Woman in the Attic and The Marriage of Sarah Jane Smith were brilliant, and the first episode wasn't bad either.

This said, though, I've been enjoying the show a lot, and I'm only sorry it took me so long to finally watch it. It's so warm, funny, quirky, occasionally heartbreaking... Charmed me completely. I thought I'd miss Maria because I really liked her a lot, but there was Rani, different, but just as brilliant. So far, I think S2 was the best overall. The first and last episode are maybe not all that special, but the clowns are... stolen from Stephen King, obviously, but genuinely scary, Luke saving the world because he's different and doesn't have a birthday or a star-sign... just lovely, the episode with Clyde and his father is both tragic and incredibly touching, and The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith is simply very, very good. On average, to me S3 is a bit of a step down from that high level.

It's kind of ironic too, I really only started to watch the show for meta writing purposes, because I thought I should watch it for completeness's sake, but to be honest, I thought I wouldn't get a lot of material out of it. It's a children's show, how much death was there going to be in it. I suppose I should have known better.

What's starting to irritate me a a bit at this point, though, is... I guess I'd have to say the nature of TV shows and how they are being written. How does this all even work? RTD is credited as a writer only for 1.1 and 4.4, but at the same time the Trickster as a recurring villain for the central episodes (messing with death means opening the door to chaos), or the end of 3.1 has RTD written all over it, at least if you look at the later DW stories, or MD, or the sudden shift in themes when SM took over. At the same time... who exactly writes what? Whose are the ideas? What about (e.g.) TW S2? Authorial intent isn't something fandom usually concerns itself with, but personally speaking I find it increasingly hard to write meta on such a detailed level when I can't even say with any certainty who wrote a certain line, whether it's deliberate or just happens to be there. I do try to pay attention to overreaching themes rather than single lines or scenes, but still... When you analyse a novel you can at least say that it all comes from one person's brain, whether it's being fed by their conscious mind or subconsciousness, or both. I know this is a stupid thing to worry about, but there are simply too many variables here for my taste.


(And while I'm already busy whining, I wish I knew where this meta (not that I've actually started to write it) is going. There are so many (too many?) different threads, and maybe it'd be better to disentangle them and treat them separately, but I'm not sure I wouldn't end up constantly repeating myself. I've been wanting to write something about the religious themes in RTD's writing for a while now, but in the end they're almost always so closely linked to the mortality theme that I'm not sure it makes sense to separate the two, or, worse, if something wouldn't get lost in the process of doing that. Would it be better to analyse the structure and themes of MD separately? It might be worth it, but then again I feel MD ties up more than its own story, and the stories that precede it throw a different, or maybe rather additional, light on some of its aspects.

I do think the results would be more interesting looking at everything RTD has written since The Second Coming as (essentially) one story, and to look at the both the mortality and religious themes together; but to be perfectly honest, I'm just not sure if I'm up to that. It's all such a mess in my head. Damn it.)

 

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I was planning on updating more regularly once I was done with the ECDL exams, but now I'm sitting here over an entry I've kept adding the occasional half-line to for the last week, and it feels like I've lost the knack of writing completely. Damn.

# Rewatched Casanova, which I actually enjoyed more than the first time, when it took me a while to disentangle David Tennant's Casanova from his Doctor, because the combination of same writer and same lead actor broke the fourth wall a little too much for my taste. There are of course still a lot of elements that turn up again in DW and TW, a lot of Casanova both in the Doctor and Jack, but with more distance from DW it was easier to watch and appreciated the story for itself. It's lovely and tragic and heartbreaking, and while I can't put my finger on it, because neither the story nor the cinematography are ground-breaking or unconventional as such, there's something a bit wild about it that I really liked. What's... I'm not sure if 'odd' is the right word here, but I can't think of a better one, is that even though the second half of the story is depressing and tragic throughout, like with Edith ('That stupid daft man and all his adventures, don‘t burn him!') what lingers in one's mind in spite of everything that followed is the sheer joy of the beginning. (It's the same with Ten, really. For all the angst and pain, what I'll always associate with him even more than that is his joy at travelling and all the possibilities of the universe...)

It also reminded me of what RTD wrote, although in a different context, in The Writer's Tale about how he loved writing liars. From the scene where Casanova first meets Henriette to Edith's lie in the end, when she's taking over the telling of the story, making him believe that Henriette is coming, so that he can die in peace, it's all about stories and pretending and a never-ending back and forth between lies and truth, what the truth really is, and that often it's both this and that, rather than this or that. (In hindsight I wonder if this is where the truth/lie/pretending theme in Jack and Ianto's relationship in CoE came from. Admittedly Fragments would probably have been enough to base this on, but watching Henriette and Casanova, who both lie about their social backgrounds, lying to everyone else, but sometimes not to each other... it's not the same situation, obviously, but something about that did recall Jack and Ianto.)

cut for quotes )


# Also rewatched Bob and Rose, and much as I love TW and would absolutely watch another season, however unlikely it seems at this point that this is going to happen, I really would like to see something from RTD next where he doesn't feel obliged to write 'big' (or, worse, 'bigger'), but goes back to do doing character studies like that... (Also, Harriet Jones Penelope Wilton! How could I have missed that the first time?)


(# MD next!)


# This is probably my favourite program by Stephane Lambiel since Ne Me Quitte Pas. I really love what he does with the music here, translating it into a visual medium. The Rigoletto is perhaps more of an eye-catcher, but I've always preferred his serious programs.




 

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I don't really want to write about MD before I've rewatched the whole of it, but this isn't going to happen for a few weeks since I'm busy learning for the ECDL exam and really don't have the time to spend 10 hrs+ (very much + probably, taking notes and everything) watching.

On the other hand, sadly I don't have the patience to sit on ideas for a month either. So... a warning for slapdashness, I guess?

I don't think any amount of rewatching will make parts of the story less clunky, but what I realised during my walk on Sunday is that once everything fell into place with the last episode and the structure became apparent, things... changed, and it definitely made me look differently at the story and see its merits.

# Jack's arc is really well done in hindsight. )


# Once one puts MD in the wider context of RTD's writing, a lot of things fall into place, too. I think in some ways he started to tell a story in 2003 with The Second Coming and has been working on it ever since, and that's the story of how we deal with death.

Vague ramblings about mortality and the religious themes. )

 

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More procrastinating, since my Russian teacher is also sick and cancelled tomorrow's lesson. So I finally—and after being spoiled for more or less every single plot twist—watched the last two DW S5 episodes, but (unsurprisingly, I guess) they didn't change my opinion about S5 much. I guess I'm finding myself in the position of all the people who complained about RTD over the last years now, but for reasons that I don't really care about enough to pick apart, SM's writing just doesn't click with my brain, and it's probably best to leave it at that and maybe come back when the production team changes again.

OTOH, there's still more than half a season of Dollhouse that I never got around to watch on my HD since last year. And a couple of unwatched Caprica episodes, I think. *sigh* And a DVD with some kind of Russian soap opera I should maybe return sometimes soonish.

OT3rdH, I at least finally managed to watch the Casanova miniseries yesterday evening. I kept putting it off, because, well, it's Casanova, I'm mostly asexual, is there really a point to watching it? But I'm glad I did, because I ended up enjoying it a lot, especially once I managed to mentally disentangle DT and the Doctor. A longish while ago I wrote about my frustration with rewatching Victor/Victoria and actually noticing that he does know she's a woman before he kisses her, so I really loved the reworking of that story.

It's also rather fascinating how themes both from Casanova as well as The Second Coming turn up again in DW and TW and are developed further. There's the 'running' motif from Casanova in the Doctor's arc ('Still running?' 'And the journey took over in the end. [...] I had this friend, and he died. I never even stopped. Kept going.'), the theme of safety vs. adventure, and the cost of either choice, and the ambiguity that spans a wide gulf between a character's dark and bright side. There's the death/surviving motif in the Doctor and Jack's stories ('All those women... It's a list of the dead now. As I live on. As a punishment from God. I refuse to believe in an afterlife, so he refuses to let me die.' 'Dead. All of them, dead. Executed. Every single person I knew in that city is dead.' 'He just caught a cold. I survived bullets and fevers and curses, he caught a cold and was dead in six days.'), as well as the image/lying/pretending/making it up as he goes along motif. The religious theme as well as the power theme in the Ten's arc and the whole debate about free will and responsibility go back to The Second Coming, and death plays as crucial a part there as it does at the end of Ten's story. Judith convinces the son of God to kill himself to give humanity freedom, and Adelaide kills herself in an attempt to reclaim the freedom the Doctor is in the process of taking away from mankind.

I really do love this kind of stuff. Which is actually why I don't entirely subscribe to the death of the author theory. On some level of course I do, because all art happens at least partly on a subconscious level and it simply makes more sense to prioritise the text, but I'm not ready to completely dismiss the author either.

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Six more hours of work tomorrow, and then two free weeks, hallelujah. Reading, skiing, relaxing. I've missed skiing.

I just might manage another day without actually murdering someone. Just. If I suddenly disappear from the internets you know what happened.


.:.:.:.


The Writer's Tale continues to be fascinating. Part of my brain hasn't quite given up worrying about fourth walls &c., but I actually love reading about the process of the stories evolving, which ideas made it, which got discarded, and how it all compares to my own impression of the finished product. I know fandom is all about the death of the author, but if someone's work really interests and engages me, I tend to also become interested in their thoughts &c., beyond the work itself. Fond memories of reading 10 volumes of TM's diaries and wishing he hadn't burned the earlier ones.


One other idea: what if David has aged between his penultimate and final episode? It could pay off beautifully if the Ood summon the Doctor at the end of the Christmas episode, and then he steps out of the TARDIS in the 2010 episode... looking older! A little bit of grey. A little bit tired. Like he did anything to avoid this summons. He went everywhere, did everything, to avoid discovering his destiny from the Ood. He ran away. Travelled to the furthest stars. Got married. Broke his heart. Did unspeakable things. All to avoid this. He will do anything to avoid dying. [...] But the Ood have waited, with infinite patience. He couldn't out it off any longer.

Written before they even knew how many specials there'd be, much less what the plot(s) would be. (Enterprise cross-over? Empty hotel, empty Earth with spidery aliens, Helen Mirren and the Doctor?) I don't think they physically aged DT in EoT after all (Or did they? I thought it was just in the acting...), but this is so there, the hat, the pink garland, how DT played it, the defensive edge... IMO at least sometimes you can tell what was at the heart of an episode from the beginning, before there even was an episode, and what was written around that.


You can go around philosophising with 'Everything has its time' and 'Everything must die', and all that shtick... )


TBC, probably.

solitary_summer: (...singen die sirenen)
Wherein [livejournal.com profile] solitary_summer will go out out for a walk first and look at comments later.


Fresh air & sunshine are good. Not making a habit of staying up in front of the computer until 3 am and crawling out of bed only at noon unless work forces me to would also be good.


But there's this thing about good intentions and roads to hell... *sigh *A couple of notes about that last TW post.

# What the post was not about, or only very tangentially since it's a much too complex subject, was the discussion about women writing slash. I'm not even sure about my own opinion there right now. On the one hand I understand how this could and can be seen as problematic and offensive. Cue the guilt. On the other hand I was one of the people who slashed book characters and TV characters long before I knew there was a word for it. Teenaged me feeling awkward and embarrassed to watch Maurice twice in the theatre in still very provincial 1980ies Vienna. Darkover novels. Long list of favourite authors who are gay. I'm still thinking about it. However, what is relevant in the discussion here is that the 'straight women writing gay porn' image is very much what is out there in mainstream media, even if it's simplifying a more complex reality, and that clearly a lot of gay men do find that problematic.

# I'm not saying that no one is allowed to discuss CoE and homophobia. What I do wish people would stop doing is assuming that in all the years he wrote for TV as a gay man RTD had managed to somehow remain completely oblivious of the dead gay character trope and all it entails, and wasn't perfectly aware of what he was doing killing Ianto. I think any discussion and critique should at least give him the credit of having made a deliberate decision to tell the story like that, ignoring the stereotypes or writing around them, instead of making armchair psychology assumptions about him being tripped up by his subconsciousness.

' Maybe Mickey could die? 'Nooo!' said Phil. But Mickey is the only one who seems killable, because he's not quite central, he's unlucky, he's the odd one out. It's inbuilt in Mickey's character. But then I get shivers, because it's always the black guy who cops it. Maybe that's politically correct of me, but political correctness can be political and correct.'

Which, again, obviously doesn't mean there are no issues about race in DW, or that they cannot be discussed. Just pointing out that the man knows his tropes.

# Finally and on a more personal note, writing that post and replying to the comments made me realise how completely isolated and alone I felt in TW fandom after CoE, at least until I wrote that long Jack/Ianto meta post, and what a huge relief it was/is finally being able to talk about that without feeling guilty and defensive all the time.


*off to the shower*

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I'm not all that comfortable posting this, because while I generally follow the big fandom ---!fail debates, most of the time I'm too scared to offend someone or make a fool of myself to speak up, but between [livejournal.com profile] aviv_b's (now locked) RTD-finds-out-about-homophobia story, and the recent debate about (straight) women writing m/m fiction I have this sort of theory why TW fandom blew up so spectacularly after CoE, and it has a lot to do with this slightly uneasy alliance between gay people and the straight part of slash fandom, since both want the same thing, more gay storylines, and there's strength in numbers, and numbers count when it comes to TV. On the other hand that common interest doesn't mean that gay people (fans as well as those involved in the creation, especially in the age of the internet and fandom becoming increasingly mainstream and public) aren't aware of the more problematic aspects of slash fandom (fetishisation/appropriation), or that straight fandom doesn't tend to forget that for gay people it's also very much a matter of identification and representation, and not just, and that's putting it as politely and generally as possible, of fanish squee. (Cf. the 'But It's not about gay men, it's about female sexuality' argument.)

And for the straight side it all worked rather well ('Yay! Canon slash!'), and I'd hazard a guess that even after Ianto's death the greater part of TW fandom would probably have got over it after a while, if RTD hadn't spoken up about what he thought was problematic about—straight, beecause 'people picking up gay rights as an issue' clearly doesn't refer to gay fans—fandom, and suddenly it wasn't one happy family any longer.

So, yes, the 'hysterical women' comment was sexist and misogynist, everyone can agree on that, but after six months fandom can maybe start to look beyond that, and realise this was also coming from somewhere, namely a gay writer thinking he wasn't just dealing with straight women fetishising homosexuality and making judgements about what gay relationships were supposed to be like, but straight women now explaining homophobia to him. Now clearly the situation was more complex than that, clearly there were gay people as well as straight people who disliked CoE for a wide variety of reasons, but I think this was the main impression that came across, and I doubt anyone involved in TW fandom can honestly say that it was wholly unfounded in reality.

And considering that he stated this very explicitly more than once (here and here and probably elsewhere, too, but I wasn't following media that religiously and only picked up what was generally linked in fandom) I find it a bit worrying how this got swept aside almost unanimously by the straight part of fandom. Admittedly emotions were running high all round, and no one was thinking very clearly at the time, but after half a year maybe it's time to acknowledge that among other things there was also a lot of hurt privilege and entitlement in the post-CoE fallout. Because when straight people are gleefully writing RPF subjecting RTD to homophobia they honestly believe he doesn't know about, and are convinced they're doing it in the name of gay rights and karma I think this is a problem that isn't just limited to one writer, but symptomatic of the wider state of TW fandom.


*breathes* Okay. Now everyone tell me how hard I've failed.



[Obligatory disclaimer: I don't consider myself straight, but I'm also too not-much-of-anything-sexual to feel justified claiming any kind of queer label.

Obligatory disclaimer the second, for those who aren't on my friendslist and don't know me. Yes, I cried. Yes, I cared. Click the tag.]


ETA: I'll be at my sister's for the afternoon, so if I'm not replying to comments it's not that I'm ignoring anyone.

ETA2: Addendum, sort of.

More ETA, since my brain is slow and some things only untangled themselves in my head replying to the comments. If I wrote that post now, I'd phrase it a bit differently, because even while I thought I was being clear, different issues did in fact get jumbled together. The 'hysterical women' comment— and while we're at it, I was getting curious and looked for the exact source, and now I'm left wondering, was this ever said more publicly than (possibly off the record?) to the AfterElton writer who put it into his editor's note without giving the context or even a full quote? In any case, that comment is one thing, and I'm not going to tell anyone they can't be offended by its sexism, even if personally I can't bring myself to be very outraged, given the context, situation and the fact that we're all human and fuck up occasionally.

OTOH, the two interviews I've linked where he is clearly pissed off about straight people lecturing a gay man about gay rights and homophobia—that's a separate issue and a legitimate concern about what was happening in TW fandom, and something I don't think straight fans should immediately react to with outrage and discard as nothing but hurt vanity. It's an issue that deserves consideration, whether or not someone is willing to forgive killing Ianto or the 'nine hysterical women'.

The one is about male privilege and prejudice, the other very much about straight privilege, as is using the sexism as an excuse to ignore the anger, lumping it all together; and they don't cancel each other out. This is essentially what I should have made clearer from the start. And I'll really shut up now; but on some level I keep naively hoping that attempting to untangle this whole mess might also eventually help a little bit towards making TW fandom a less toxic place again. I know, I know. *sigh*

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Another quote from RTD's book —

To be honest, I have trouble with 'escapism' full stop. It's usually a derogatory term. Or condescending. At best, cute. [...] It makes the pastime, whether it's a hobby or a job, seem tiny and silly, when it's a vital part of your life. [...] Writing is actually my way of engaging with the world, not escaping from it.


Now admittedly unlike him I'm not making a living out of my (not-)escapism, so maybe I have something less of an argument there, but I do agree with this on several levels.

Reality (or not), art, writing; TV, storytelling and metaphysics; Andromeda, Smallville, Firefly and Bush-ite America. Broadly generalising and meandering without really going anywhere. )


Also... The Surinam toad and its reproductive habits. The things you learn on the internetz...
.
.
.
.
.
Half an hour later. Um. Note to self. Don't start watching animal videos on YouTube.

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So tired. I'm making myself some Earl Grey tea to stay awake but the more sensible choice would be to go to bed instead... Orthodontist appointment before work tomorrow! Russian class afterwards! Belly dancing class! Car is still two light bulbs short, because those idiots forgot, needs to fixed until Wednesday. God! I need a break.


Saturday afternoon went to the Wien Museum after work to see the (turns out, rather small) Elfriede Mejchar exhibition, which I loved because this kind of thing fascinates me too, the remnants of the past, those places where city and country blend into each other, and while much of what she photographed is gone today, you can still find these contrasts sometimes. In Simmering, a couple of hundred meters from the Gasometers, Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelb(l)au, etc., it's still a village, although probably not for very long now, which always makes me a bit wehmütig. I really need to go out with my camera again, but where's the time?

Would have loved to go home afterwards & crash, but no, book presentation, because when you're being given an invitation at the end of a job interview common sense dictates that you better make an appearance, even if you've never heard of the author and however little you might be interested in the subject - which turned out to be genuinely interesting, but still, so, so tired.

~

I've been reading further into RTD's book, and it's fascinating. I thought it might be disillusioning, break the forth wall too much, but I really love it, all the What-Ifs and Maybes, the stories that didn't happen, Penny becoming Donna, the Vorax; the after-deadline panics and budget compromises, rants about internet criticism ruining writers and adorable drawings of a still blue-faced Bannakaffalatta; it's kind of a whole, it makes the process of story telling so vibrant and alive.

Oh, and p. 74. Last night I suddenly realised, wrong character. It should be Owen. Seven scripts are now being rewritten, including scenes that are actually being filmed today! Lines handed to the cast on the spot!. Er. Would have saved me about 4000 words, and embarrassingly enough I already had the book lying around at home - unread - when I hit 'post' on that entry. Feeling slightly validated here, but mostly rather stupid. And maybe it did make the show better, maybe he had the right instinct, it's impossible to tell without knowing the alternative/original version, but the collateral damage from all those last minute changes is noticeable.

Still though, between this, and Merlin, and Stephen Fry's recent blog entry about how people should stop being so pedantic and nit-picky about changes and misuses of language but rather enjoy using it, - and interestingly enough some things said at yesterday's book presentation about quotations and citations and remixes and nothing ever being really 'finished' these days tied into this, too - it made me think about stories developing. Now I have to admit I tend to be one of those people who bitch when in yet another feudalism-based fantasy universe everyone (or at least every good guy) is inevitably a paragon of equality and democracy, and I did snark when in Troy - was it Briseis? I forget - killed Menelaos and at the quite unexpected end of the tv version of the Nibelungen saga that I saw a while ago, but on the other hand, maybe what Stephen Fry writes is true here also: Dive into the open flowing waters and leave the stagnant canals be. Of course some of the retellings/reworkings are better than others, J.K.Rowling, Joss Whedon, B5 and MJS using motives from LotR, Clive Barker's Imajica, but even the not so good ones are valid and mean those stories are still alive; they developed before and it's only logical that they will - and indeed have to - go on developing, reflecting a new audience's tastes and expectations and new social realities like the change in women's roles, or they'll become obsolete.

~

Also, a Merlin question - did Merlin's better nature/bad conscience catch up with him in the end, or did the boy Mordred somehow telepathically command him? I thought it was the latter, but I've read the former interpretation, so I'm kind of wondering...

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Tired, cranky, headache. Don't want another family birthday. Even if it's my niece's. ::whine::


Since I never seem to have the time to actually sit/lie down and really read anything recently, I haven't much more than browsed through Russell T. Davis's book (although I have started at the beginning now, and it's rather fascinating. Also his frustration with TW 2.1, which I was going to say maybe was the reason why KKBB never completely worked for me, but apparently it got dumped on Chris Chibnall eventually...), reading a couple of pages here and there (so he wasn't completely happy with the Rose/Doctor.2 ending, either), but leafing through the pages I stumbled across this.

Put a man and a woman of roughly the same age on screen and you're telling a story. That's a love story. (Storytelling is very heterosexual in that sense. But that's why gay storytelling is exciting, because the images are still new.) The choice to put those two characters together on screen, in a story, is the crucial thing. Everything else is just detail. And luck. That's what makes you care. The archetypes. They run deep. [...] Man, woman, on screen = love story. Very little work necessary. (p 123)

Which I kind of agree with and kind of disagree, because while it's undoubtedly true, this (and I've said that before) is what for me makes so many of the heterosexual relationship on screen essentially uninteresting. Maybe/probably my brain is simply wired wrong, but if too much of the subsequent story relies just on this, and only this, I'll yawn and and switch off — or start slashing, depending on how interesting the rest of the show and the other characters are. It may be a love story, but it's also often (to me, at any rate) a boring love story. Now I'm not saying that I've never followed or enjoyed one of the will-they-or-won't-they-get-together storylines, but on the whole they don't make for the best storytelling, because once that question is resolved most of the time a) the show is over, b) they're heading towards break-up, or, special bullet point for Joss Whedon, c) someone gets killed.

So generally speaking putting a bit more work and character development into it is not actually a bad thing. The IMO still perfect example of Doing It Right are Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5, my OTPest OTP for something like a decade. It's hard to attempt looking at a show one has watched & rewatched with a fresh eye, but was there ever even the suspense of whether they'd get together? I don't think so, or at any rate one was rather more worried about them winning the war and saving the universe. Having a plot that encompasses and mingles action and romance rather than dividing it in two separate storylines, and upsetting a lot of tv gender clichés in the process is what made it so epic and unique. Thank you, MJS. :)

Now Joss Whedon frankly sucks at writing relationships, especially happy relationships, because as a rule he only sets them up to end them in the most painful way possible, but Buffy and Spike, in their own messed up way were a bit like that; even when it always was pretty clear they wouldn't have a happily ever after, they both learned something about themselves and each other in the process, which changed them for the better, it was plotty and not boring to watch. OTOH most of the male/female relationships on Angel were completely uninteresting; Cordelia/Angel as well as the Wesley/Fred/Gunn triangle, because they're indeed little more than man, woman, on screen = love story, and barely that, maybe partly because they never needed to work as relationships for the plot to go forward. I don't think saying that canonically Angel and Wesley had the most complex, if completely fucked up, relationship on that show has anything to do with slash googles, and one day I'm really going to write that essay. Or, Smallville, when I was still watching; Clark/Lex vs. Clark/Lana.

On a similar note, to be perfectly honest, Jack/Ianto would never have caught my interest, and certainly not got me writing all those endless rambling meta posts, if it hadn't come after Cyberwoman with the Fragments backstory and all the... if not exactly canonical, then at least canonically implied complexity and ambiguities resulting from that. So granted, once again a bit messed up, and maybe unhealthily codependent and whatnot, and apparently I've got a faible for that kind of thing, but take that away, and the banter-innuendo-coffee thing would be really kind of boring.

Well, in my opinion. It's pretty obvious that 90+% of fandom differs. Cf. above, brain wired wrong, and all that...

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March 2013

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