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Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
10:18 pm - Collected Fanfiction Post
Links to all fanfiction I've written in various fandoms. That I'm admitting to.

Alias )

Angel the Series )

Babylon 5 )

Battlestar Galactica )

Breaking Bad )

Buffy the Vampire Slayer )

Citizen Kane )

Doctor Who )

Farscape )

Earth: Final Conflict )

Heroes )

Highlander: The Series )

Historical Fiction )

Lost )

Merlin )

Mythology )

Once upon a time )

Rome )

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine )

Star Trek: The Next Generation )

Star Wars )

Sunset Boulevard )

The Beatles )

The Borgias )
The Godfather )

Torchwood )

X-Men )

The West Wing )

Crossovers )

current mood: exhausted

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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
7:53 am
Alas, I won't be able to watch The Good Wife or Manhattan for another week (don't spoil me!), but I can get a hold of the Sleepy Hollow season opener; watch this space. Meanwhile, the weather is splendid, meaning the Aged Parents & self spend most of this week outdoors, and thus there isn't much internet for me. But there is some.

Since the Yuletide nominations are open now, Penny Dreadful fans, shouldn't we coordinate our efforts to get as many characters as possible nominated? (However, I'll have to drop my Vikings intentions since this year you can nominate three fandoms, no more. I definitely want Penny Dreadful and The Americans, which leaves me with just one slot for one of my cracky historical RPF ideas.

Also: it's always a pleasure when a poster you appreciate discovers an old show of yours for the first time.
[personal profile] local_max is watching Twin Peaks, and has been writing Peaks meta already. The owls are not what they seem!

Lastly: for some reason, I can't copy a link to The Guardian anymore on this iPad since the latest update, so, without links: you may or may not have heard about the current kerfuffle that unfolded when Hilary Mantel's short story The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and an interview accompagnying it in which she mentioned having carried it with her for thirty years got published. Now on the one hand, as Lisa Appignanesi points out in one of the commenting articles I can't link, either, given that assassination plots against public figures who did in fact not get assassinated have a long tradition in fiction, both of the written, tv and movie kind (she mentions The Day of the Jackal for Charles de Gaulle, and Nicholas Baker's 2004 take on the assassination of George W. Bush, which didn't get him called "sick and deranged" or in need of a therapist or a visit by the coppers). But on the other, the interview with Mantel that went with the publication of the story contained something I objected to as well, and it wasn't the idea of killing off Margaret T. in fiction. (Or for that matter, anyone in fiction. I mean, were it a public figure I actually care about, like, say, Patrick Stewart, I certainly wouldn't read it, but I wouldn't call the pitchforks, either.) No, it's Mantel something I also recall Antonia Fraser saying once, and several others when commenting on Thatcher: calling her a "psychological transvestite" (or, to give the context: The idea th women must imitate men to succeed is anti-feminist. She was not of woman born. She was a psychological transvestite. (Mantel) or "honorary male" (Fraser, who also called Elizabeth Tudor this when comparing her to Mary Stuart), in other words, a woman who isn't really a woman, not entitled to be treated as a woman. Which, just: no. "Woman" isn't a title you can deserve or can be discarded of.

Speculating, I would guess where this comes from: if you're a woman seeing yourself as a feminist, and loathe a female politician, you're unconformtably aware that there is an eons old misogynistic tradition there of vilifiying any woman in power. On the other hand, this politician truly does do and say things you can't stomach, and which you'd have no problem attacking were they voiced and done by a male politician. So your psychological and emotional out is to declare that this woman doesn't deserve any typee of female solidarity because she's not truly a woman. I get the mechanism of that, but that doesn't make it less objectionable for me, because, to repeat: nobody gets to decide who is or isn't a woman. Margaret Thatcher did a great many things which left lasting damage to British society. She also was beyond any doubt a woman. (And let's not even get into the use of "transvestite" as a negative.) And it should be possible to hold forth on why her policies were objectionable without feeling the urge to strip her of her gender.

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: busy

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Monday, September 22nd, 2014
9:38 am - Doctor Who 8.05 Time Heist
Which was fun. You could tell Moffat and Thompson always wanted to write a heist movie. And the purpose-of-heist-twist made it very Whovian indeed.

Read more... )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: content

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014
9:56 am - breathlessly, links
Briefly: am in the gorgeous Southern Tyrolia alps with the APs, must use the finally arrived sunshine, off to hike now, hence will be able to watch the latest Doctor Who not earlier than this late afternoon. However, have two links to posts I loved reading:

Doctor Who:

LISTEN meta on last week's DW episode which puts it excellently in a larger Whovian context.

Scriptwriter and Director of Breaking Bad's OZYMANDIAS look back a year later.

(Which reminds me I was here in the Southern Tyrolian alps, too, when BB ended. Tempus fugit indeed. Also, the article mentions Rian Johnson is set to direct the Star Wars sequel after the next one, if I understand it correctly, which, um, does that mean I have to watch it? I am that oddity, more invested in the prequels than in the classic trilogy anyway and really not interested in what happened next. Then again: Rian Johnson did some fantastic work on Breaking Bad and I'm glad he'll get a cinematic break. Presumably he won't use lense flares, either. Hm.)

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: busy

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Friday, September 19th, 2014
12:10 pm - Several
So the United Kingdom remains united, Gordon Brown is the hero of the day and the rest of us can a bit envious about the fact so many people actually went to vote. (Because 85% is fantastic! Last time I voted in something, early this year, only 50% or so showed up which was truly depressing.) Hats off to you, Scots, for being truly invested in exercising your democratic rights.

One of my favourite dead Scots, James Boswell, would have probably have voted pro-Union, unless of course the vote took place on a day where he had a bad experience in the theatre of the crowd booing fellow Scotsmen. I was delighted to hear that there will be a a film about his defense of Mary Bryant, because a fictionalised version of that episode in his life has been an old Yuletide request of mine. I never had the chance to watch the play the film will be based upon, Boswell for the Defense, and the tv two parter about Mary Bryant, while great, only mentions Boswell in dialogue and doesn't let him show up in person. However, I'm not sure about the actor they cast as Boswell. I mean: does my icon look like Steve Coogan to you? (It's Boswell as sketched by Sir Joshua Reynolds.) (Then again: lots of actors played people they didn't resemble physically and were so good no one cared, the primary example being Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote.) So not only do I have the film to look foward to in 2015, but a better chance for fanfiction in the following Yuletide because let's face it, watching the movie will be easier for people than reading biographies.

Tomorrow, I'll be off to Southern Tyrolia for a week with the APs. I'll have an internet connection, but only the chance to watch those tv episodes they put up at iTunes the day after (the trusty Ipad can't be tricked even by TunnelBear), which is bad timing because next week a whole lot tv shows start their new season, not to mention the ongoing Doctor Who and Manhattan. Well, we'll see what I can get. Mostly I hope for good weather, because after this rainy summer we need it, and Southern Tyrolia is gorgeous to hike through.

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: good

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Thursday, September 18th, 2014
1:56 pm - Apropos the Day: A Fairy Tale
„Mr. Gold“, Henry asked, because „Gramps“ was David, and „Rumpelstilskin“ somehow seemed too familiar, “what’s your take on Scottish independence?”

“Why on earth should I care?” his grandfather replied. He’d been in a bad mood ever since Belle had discovered his latest lie, which somehow resulted in Rumpelstilskin moving in with Henry’s other grandparents. The dubious reasoning for this that he wanted David constantly available for relationship advice.

“Well, aren’t you…I mean, your accent is Scottish! I can tell! I heard it on tv when they showed Doctor Who. “

Rumpelstilskin did not look impressed. However, his glare had yet to affect Henry.

“I mean, I know you’re not from this Scotland, but surely you’re from fairy tale Scotland! The one with Mel Gibson?”

“Do not mention this name to me”, Rumpelstilskin replied. His 28 years as Mr. Gold had included having to track down people unwilling to fulfill their debts even when they were hiding in Storybrooke’s lone cinema when it showed the man in question attempting what sounded like a parody of Gold’s own voice.

But Henry was unstoppable. “I bet all the Scottish fairy tales are real, too. So does Nessie get a vote? There’s a Nessie, right?”

Rumpelstilskin decided to be generous. After all, this was his grandson, and he used to have a soft spot for the child before the boy turned out to be the bane of his existence as well.

“There used to be, but she emigrated to the east after too many visits by knights eager to make their name. I was able to arrange a deal.”

Henry’s eyes were big as balloons. “What kind of a deal?”

“Let’s just say when Regina cast the curse, it enabled the lady from Loch Ness to start a new life and a film career in this world’s Japan.”

Being his grandson, the boy was quick. “Nessie is Godzilla! No way!” He frowned. “But Godzilla movies are way older than the 80s. Mr. Gold, are you having me on?”

Joking as the accusation was, it reminded Rumpelstilskin of the dire situation with Belle right now, and his brief attempt at grandfatherly teasing collapsed.

“Yes,” he said shortly and wished the boy would leave him to his brooding.

“Well, it’s a cool idea anyway,” Henry conceded. “So – since I’m your grandson, am I fairy tale Scottish, too? Can you teach me the accent?”

“Even my power has limits,” Rumpelstilskin said, and vanished into purple smoke.

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: cheerful

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9:26 am - 20 lessons about life in the 1980s The Americans teaches you
1.) The KGB is everywhere.

2.) Squeezing your anus is a way to defeat a polygraph test.

3.) Americans are better at cigarettes, Russians are better at vodka.

4.) Unless Ronald Reagan is personally scaling the walls of the Rezidentura in his cowboy hat, it is unwise to disturb the Resident in his radio room.

5.) Ronald Reagan doesn't care.

6.) Marriage is hard.

7.) Computer games are a way to lose weight.

8.) Any gorgeous woman picking you up in a bar/hotel lobby/record shop is definitely a spy.

9.) Any friendly guy ready to listen to your woes and/or revealing his inner sex animal is also a spy.

10.) Do not watch The French Lieutenant's Woman with your mistress.

11.) Do read Anna Karenina, especially if you're dealing with Russians on a regular basis.

12.) Love advice from the KGB sucks; it involves either awkward dog metaphors or the idea not to say "I love you" at all.

13.) American generals announcing they're in control on tv do not, in fact, intend to declare a coup.

14.) "Easier" doesn't equal "better".

15.) Communism works better in Israel than it does in Russia.

16.) Captured Mossad agents will not shut up (and while not getting free, they will get personal information this way).

17.) America isn't Israel's friend, it's Israel's dad who won't let them take out the car for a ride whenever they want.

18.) It's good to have a shared enemy. (Unless you have historical foresight and know how that one will turn out.)

19.) Both KGB and Christian churches are into recruiting idealistic teenagers.

20.) TVs make for great bottle openers.

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: silly

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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
11:22 am - "Marriage is Hard"
More The Americans observations and meta, I'm afraid. The above sentiment is a statement voiced in both seasons, both times by a Jennings in conversation with a Beeman, but the context is quite different. (And the differences say something about the characters in question at their respective points in time.) Still, it occured to me that if Buffy the Vampire Slayer in its first three seasons did the "High School is Hell" concept literally, i.e. teenagedom with literal demons, you could say The Americans by marrying, sorry about the pun, the spy show/cold war concept to an ongoing exploration of marriage, partnerships and family (if marriage is hard, family is harder - "nothing prepares you for them growing up", one mother tells another in the s2 opener) uses the spy tropes like BTVS does the demons. In this world, lies and secrets between partners can have lethal consequences, and teenagers growing up who see their parents as hypocrites because they insist on truthfulness while being liars themselves are having an avarage teenage experience written flamboyantly large because of the context of the lies in question.

What makes and breaks a partnership, what makes and breaks a marriage (not always the same thing): love actually isn't the deciding factor (though it's certainly important). Spoilers are following - or tailing? )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: contemplative

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Monday, September 15th, 2014
3:46 pm - Manhattan 1.08
In which the British are coming, and argggh, now I realise this makes for an awful pun considering some of the content.

Which isn't what the episode is about at all )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: calm

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Sunday, September 14th, 2014
5:31 pm - Doctor Who 7.04 Listen
That was classic Moffat.

Fear is... )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: impressed

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Saturday, September 13th, 2014
10:50 am - So, if Scotland leaves...
...who gets custody of James Bond? No, I don't mean an actor who played him once. Book!Bond is half Scot, half Swiss, and as of Skyfall, movie Bond is as well.

Now I suppose it could be settled by the place of residence. After all, that's why J.K. Rowling, who actually lives in Scotland, gets to vote, while Sean Connery, who hasn't lived there in decades, doesn't. But Movie!Bond in his Craig incarnation owns both a flat in London (at least I assume he got himself a new one after MI6, eyes keen on the budget, sold the old one after his supposed death in the Skyfall teaser) and his parents' place in Scotland. Also, if the money from all the North Sea oil doesn't come into England anymore I could see MI6 deciding certain agents who always destroy expensive equipment in their missions are the first who'll have to go. And even if the Scots get their own secret service, I can't them finance Bond's expensive habits, either. They have a certain reputation re: money to maintain.

These deeply serious deliberations are brought to you my my procastination when it comes to Darth Real Life dealings.

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: silly

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Friday, September 12th, 2014
5:13 pm - Gratitious icon post, the first
The fabulous [community profile] sns_red_curtain has posted Penny Dreadful screencaps for the entire first season. Well, by now there have been some lovely icon posts (and I have Vanessa icons made by talented people), but none so far featuring that Victorian Magnificent Bastard, Sir Malcolm Murray, played by Timothy Dalton. Which is why I, despite not being an icon maker at all, was driven to the desperate step of creating some. Plus a bonus Evelyn/Madame Kali, because Helen McCrory. Since I know at least three people who are fond of Malcolm as well, I shall post my meager efforts. The uneven sizes are the results of trying to get it down to 100 X 100 pixels, which turned out to be a true chicanery, and I never quite managed that exact number but came close. I beg pardon for the ameteurish results:

 photo Malcolm5_zps48d90c88.jpg

 photo Malcolm10-Kopie_zps2f2456c6.jpg

 photo Malcolm9-Kopie_zps694f7b3f.jpg

 photo Malcolm11-Kopie_zps27e3b8a8.jpg

 photo Malcolm8-Kopie_zps39127306.jpg

 photo Malcolm7-Kopie_zps1fa1c9ce.jpg

 photo Malcolm3-Kopie_zps27bff9c4.jpg

 photo Malcolm1-Kopie_zps91734671.jpg

 photo Evelyn-Kopie_zps3b8003fe.jpg

 photo Malcolm6-Kopie_zps29ac3826.jpg

 photo Malcolm2-Kopie_zps31d2781d.jpg

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: cheerful

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8:39 am - A Most Wanted Man (Film Review)
We'll never know how this film would come across without the audience knowledge that its leading actor is dead. At a guess, it would be seen as well done if not innovative Le Carré, with Seymour delivering a great central performance, and there would be more attenton in the reviews to the fact this movie - which I saw yesterday, and at some point the irony of the date occured to me - , in its criticism of the secret services in a post 9/11 world already feels old fashioned, and yet also timeless. (The novel I understand was very specific about being set in the Bush era and in the early years of same to boot; the movie carefully removes all dates except it being post 9/11 and thus could be present day. In fact, there is one tiny hint in the dialogue to hint it may be, more about this in a moment.) Because there is no waterboarding scene, no NSA listening in to everyone's private conversations, no Jack Bauer type of antics; the spy methods used for the most part could be straight from the 1970s, those tropes Le Carré practically invented and which were endlessly copied thereafter: cultivating assets, getting people to commit deep betrayals with a mixture of carefully applied emotional understanding and awful pressure, passing secret messages in cigarette cases - the fact that our main character smokes constantly, even, when in film and tv world no one not clearly marked as a villain does that anymore in a non-period piece -, tailing someone in person (instead of letting technology do it for you), escaping a pursuer via a quick in and out of a subway train.

I say for the most part, because one of the movie's themes is of course the clash between Seymour Hoffman's character Günther Bachmann's idea of spying, which involves all of the above, and the post 9/11 need to produce quick and flashy results to impress the populace without thinking through long term consequences. Le Carré, in interviews and novels, never made a secret out of his deep disdain for the current day modus operandi. And yet it's hard to think of his 1960s and 1970s novels (and the tv show and movies made out of same) as presenting the secret service work then being in some sort of bloom, rather than a constant exercise in moral compromises (at best) and betrayals (more likely), where sooner or later, trying to do if not the right than the more right feeling thing is going to get you screwed over, most probably by the institution you serve rather than your open enemies. (And of course the visual shabbiness was a deliberate counterpoint to the James Bond style glamour which pre-Le Carré had been the most popular idea of spying in pop culture.) Plus ca change: decades later, in A Most Wanted Man, this is still the case.

What is strikingly different, though (in terms of Le Carré based films, not novels), is the location (Hamburg, with two brief detours to Berlin, and the film was actually shot on location, using German actors except for PSH, William Dafoe, Rachel McAdams and Robin Wright) and the fact there's not a Brit in sight, either as an actor nor as a character. (One of the reviews I read mentioned there were British characters in the book but so minor they could be cut. Not having read this particular Le Carré novel, I wouldn't know.) Now Le Carré as a young man had been stationed in Germany for a while (which led among other thing sto the hilarious characterisation of Bonn as "half the size of the central cemetery in Chicago and twice as dead" - now that's just mean, Mr. Cornwall), and German locations pop up frequently in his books, though usually not as the sole place of the action. The director, Anton Corbijin, knows his Hamburg as well, and thus you don't get any establishing tourist shots, though the cinematography dwells on the stark differences between the immigrant and asylum seekers inhabited houses and the villas of the rich. Moreover, the sole American in sight is Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright's character - the other three American actors play Germans), who, since she's the CIA's representative in a Le Carré based story it's no spoiler to say is not a heroine, and at any rate only has a supporting role with not that much screentime), so the fim is that rarity, an international movie shot and located in Germany with German characters - and not a single Nazi among them. Nor is anyone dealing with their Nazi granddad. No one is clicking their heels, either, nor has an aristocratic name. And while everyone talks English with a German accent (which is a movie and tv convention I've been complaining about before), I don't mind because the rest feels so authentic that I had no trouble suspending my disbelief. Not least because Hoffman clicks with his German support team, the most prominent members of which are played by Nina Hoss and Daniel Brühl (mind you, Brühl's role is a silent one, which is a shame but otoh that means Nina Hoss gets all the bantery dialogue as Bachmann's sidekick Erna Frey, and she delivers it so well, and it's still so rare that the bantery sidekick/second-in-command is female that I don't mind), in a way that makes me entirely believe they're all from the same background wile I'm watching.

The Muslim characters, Bachmann's asset Jamal (with whom he has classic Le Carré handler/agent meetings involving male affection mingled with betrayal), who is played by Mehdi Dehbi), the iman suspected of financing terrorism, Dr. Feisal Abdullah (played by Hamouyan Ershadi), the Chechnyan-Russian wanted man of the title, Issa Karpov (played by Grigoriy Dobrygin) and the Turkish mother and son who offer him sanctuary for a while are what the Russian/insert other Eastern block nation characters would have been in a 1960s/1970s novel, which means they're presented as more sympathetic than the soulless bureaucrats from the upper level of the German secret service. (Bachmann and his ground team are sympathetic. Higher level scret service guys never are.) As mentioned, there is no waterboarding scene, but at one point we see the back of Issa Karpov who has been tortured in Chechnya and Turkey, and it's as gruesomely scar scarred that it says it all. There is an obvious present day irony in the fact that the intel declaring Karpov a terrorist comes from the Russians who "interrogated" him; the film doesn't include expositionary dialogue about how post 9/11 Putin's behavior in Chevnya was overlooked/approved by the US because hey, Muslim terrorists, as opposed to now, but the Ukraine probably wasn't an issue the general public was aware yet when the film was shot, so it might not have been intended. This also made me originally conclude the film was set in 2002/3 or thereabouts until Bachmann and Martha Sullivan had an exchange in which she said "we don't do that anymore" ("that" being what the Bushites so euphemistically termed "enhanced interrogation" as well as one way tickets to Guantanamo without bothering with legal niceties) and Bachmann retorts, "no, you want us to do it", which sounds more like an Obama era dialogue. But the movie doesn't say for good one way or the other.

Female characters: several - Karpov's idealistic lawyer, Annabel Richter, Bachman's second in command Erna Frey, Martha Sullivan and Leyla, the middleaged Turkish lady who gives Karpov shelter for a while. There is no literal Bechdel test passing (Annabel and Erna talk in a scene, but the subject is Karpov, which isn't suprising considering why they're in the same place to begin with), but I'd say the story treats them as it does the male characters. (If Annabel is a bit one dimensionally good and naive in a shady world, so is Issa Karpov.)

Still, the movie would remain in the well made but not spectacular spy film category were it not for Philip Seymour Hoffman's central performance. Günther Bachmann (whose name has two things usually hard for Anglosaxons, an Umlaut, ü, and a ch, and to the American actors' credit they do a good job on them) as the chainsmoking, drinking, clever morally ambiguous spymaster is his type of role. He can switch on the understanding, sympathetic fatherly attitude as well as the hardcore bullying one, the sly humor as well as the existential doubts (for which he doesn't need monologues, just facial expression). It's also impossible not to read the awareness of it being his last leading role into it, because there is a rage, rage against the dying of the light element there on both the Watsonian and Doylist level (Bachman and his traditional spy methods versus the glitzy "results now, or do you want another 9/11?" current day world). You watch him talk with Annabel Richter about trying to get rid of habits and fish out yet another cigarette with slightly trembling fingers, and of course you are aware how he died. And he exits the movie in a way that reminds me of River Phoenix at the end of Stand By Me; something that already works with the actor alive on an Watsonian, in-story level, but doubly so with the actor dead. Spoilery explanation ensues. ) And that feels as gut wrenching as in the Stand Bye Me/River Phoenix case.

Lastly, trivia for non-Germans: the film's music was composed by Herbert Gröhnemeyer, who also has a cameo role as one of Bachmann's superiors; an international audience might recall his young self playing Leutnant Werner in Das Boot. He's one of our most famous pop musicians. Martin Bock, who plays Bachmann's boo-hiss competition within the secret service became better known abroad playing the doctor in Michael Haneke's Das weiße Band. I don't think Nina Hoss has been in anything internationally seen yet, but am sure this will change now, because she's really good in this film (which takes some doing if most of your scenes are next to Philip Seymour Hoffman).

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: sad

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Thursday, September 11th, 2014
10:01 am - Yes, I've got it bad
Having marathoned the show only a few weeks ago, and despite real life business, I'm rewatching it already. In reverse order, first s2 and now s1. I can't help it! The Americans has two ingredients that ensure its hooks in me: more than one or two interesting characters, and the central relationship as something I can't help but get invested in, not least because whatever the romantic state of affairs between Elizabeth and Philip, they always have each other's backs as partners, and that's something you so rarely see in tv m/f relationships. Also, rewatching with the new knowledge of later events always makes you notice things you missed or didn't pay that much attention to the last time around; makes you judge what remained internally consistent and what didn't. Shows in the pilot and early episodes are still finding their feet, and I find it fascinating, from a writing pov, to try and figure out what comes across as planned (true or not) and what as improvised.

Spoilery thoughts from here on )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: pensive

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
9:25 am - Two links
...because I'm in a bit of a hurry:

Generally I think authors should avoid arguing with readers on the internet, but in the case of JKR versus a homophobe, I approve.

And Marvelverse fanfiction:

An untitled vignette about Peggy and Howard and moral ambiguity in the early SHIELD days. Excellent!

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: busy

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
11:54 am - One Sentence Meme: The Americans
Because I do that occasionally when finding a new fandom. Also I'm trying to get my muse back, and one sentence fics are one way to dabble in fanfiction again.

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

Spoiler: for the first two seasons.

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

Rating: PG 13.

Cut for spoilers )

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current mood: creative

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Monday, September 8th, 2014
6:28 pm - Manhattan 1.07
In which we get the most ensemble-tastic episode so far, and some of my wishes come through, while others don't, but in a great storytelling way.

Read more... )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: impressed

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Sunday, September 7th, 2014
12:15 pm - Doctor Who 8.03
As Mark Gatiss episodes go, this was lightweight fun. I enjoyed myself.

Have you BEEN to Nottingham? )

This entry was originally posted at Comment there or here, as you wish.

current mood: amused

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Saturday, September 6th, 2014
12:20 pm - Pondering possible Yuletide fandoms
...along with everyone else, though mind you, I still owe three stories to three people and WILL write them, but my muse has deserted me this summer; Darth Real Life has frightened her off for a while.

Anyway: Yuletide, since one can nominate fandoms and characters on September 22nd. There are a few new canons I've been aquainted with since last year which could qualify: The Americans (has the advantage that there's no character I wouldn't want to read it or write about), Penny Dreadful (ditto, though of course I'll request Vanessa and Malcolm), Vikings (will ask for Siggy and Laguertha, must ponder whom to offer). (Though with the last I have the problem of not having watched the second season yet, which makes for spoiler-wariness. Maybe I can rectify this before Yuletide, though.) I will definitely nominate and offer Bates Motel again.

I also have two somewhat cracky historical RPF ideas which nonetheless I'd love someone to write if I shan't write them myself: Margaret Beaufort meets Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI is the older of the two. Could be the historical characters in the writer's interpretation, could be The Borgias version of Rodrigo meeting The White Queen's Margaret, that would be utterly up to the writer. (The White Queen was an - considering the source, expected - let down by and large, but Amanda Hale as Margaret Beaufort was fabulous.

The other cracky RPF idea is Saving Mrs. Fleming (concept and title obviously inspired by Saving Mr. Banks, this year's Disney take on P.L Travers and their very own Walt), wherein Mary Renault, mostly known these days for her Greek history novels plus the early WWII set The Charioteer, goes to Hollywood where MGM has optioned her early (just pre WWII set) novel Return of Night (MGM actually did give her some sort of prize for it, but the rest is fiction) and clashes with fellow Brit Alfred Hitchcock who, following his success with Rebecca, is asked to transform another novel into a hit movie. Alas, Hitch and his wife Alma are busy rewriting the Renaultian tale into a sly murder mystery/satire. Renault/Hitchcock clashes about everything ensue, until they discover their mutual mother issues give them at least one thing in common and bond. Haven't decided yet whether in this AU the film would actually get made, though.

...I don't think anyone would read up on Renault and Hitchcock for my sake, so it's probably a case of "offer to write" rather than "request", but it's one of those pesky silly ideas you can't get out of your head.

Back to Yuletide ideas: I would like to nominate Sansom's Shardlake novels as a fandom. Now they have a lot of readers, but would they volunteer to write? Book fandoms can be intimidating. There is, of course, huge crossover potential to 16th century RPF in general and Hilary Mantel's Cromwell novels in particular, especially if I were to ask for Matthew Shardlake's pre-Dissolution career and relationship with Cromwell, or the same for Barack pre-Dark Fire. Though I would also love to read a story about Tamasin between novels "Revelation" and "Heartstone", working in a queen's household again and having to decide whether or not to take Jack back...

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current mood: pensive

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Friday, September 5th, 2014
9:41 am - Movies, briefly
Guardians of the Galaxy: funny, entertaining, and nothing else, which is what it aims for. I can see what [personal profile] londonkds meant about it being "dumbed down Farscape", and agree with [personal profile] trobadora's longer review. At the same time: given how many movies are out there who aim for funny and succeed only in "cringeworthy", maybe we're too harsh on it, with its success on the pure comedy/parody level. Anyway: wasn't bored, left with a smile, have no urge whatsoever to watch it again or read fanfiction.

Much Ado about Nothing, Whedonian version: FINALLY I had the chance to watch this one, which Joss shot with a couple of his favourite actors as a way to relax from wrapping up Avengers two years ago. (And some of his former scriptwriters from BTVS, as it turns out; I spotted David Fury, Drew Goddard and Drew Greenberg in the credits for the wedding scene(s) crowd.) A great way to unwind, I must say. Sean Maher makes a surprisingly good villain - and his character usually feels like a vague pre study for Iago without the genius yet, so that was new. Not surprisingly, Amy Ackerand Alexis Denisof were great as everyone's favourite sparring lovers. Any Benedick and Beatrice pairing stands or falls whether they can make the transition from the admission of love to "kill Claudio" , and they can. This is also a production that goes with the "Beatrice and Benedick had a short fling before the play" interpretation caused by such lines like "you always end with a jade's trick, I know you of old" - "You have lost the heart of Signior Benedick" - "Indeed, for he lend it me a while, and I gave him use for mine, a double heart for his single one" etc., so much so that it starts with a silent "morning after" scene, which means the actual first scene between Beatrice and Benedick feels like the two are compensating for not wanting to admit it had actually meant something to them because it didn't seem to mean anything to the respective other. (And then it hit me: Joss made it into anothe post coital morning after disaster scene, his specialty!) It also means them getting convinced that the other does care later on feels less like a revelation and more like a release.

My favourite Much Ado remains the Branagh one but all the Dogberry and Watch portions in it make me cringe. (Michael Keaton, argggh.) Not helped by the fact I don't find the Watch scenes funny when reading the play, either. (Don't care for embarrasment humor generally.) But Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk - and Whedonian editing, I suppose - made them somehow not cringeworthy for me. Understanding the Miami Vice parody sunglasses probably dates me. :)

The general endless cocktail party conceit with everyone getting more and more sloshed worked for me. There was no getting around the one big clash between modern day dress and content - Hero's virginity being a big deal to everyone -, but at that point I had suspended my disbelief long ago, plus Clark Gregg managed to make Leonato, whom I always disliked for his turning against his daughter in the first wedding scene, come across as torn between love and rage with love winning out physically if not verbally even before the Friar manages to calm him down.

And lastly: seems Fritz Lang's masterpiece M is re-released in Britain right now, and the Guardian thinks you should watch it. I think so, too - it's my favourite Lang movie by far -, but I found myself grumbling at the Guardian critic and the commenters that a) the police isn't presented as "incompetent" and an allegory for Weimar polticians just because they can't catch a serial killer until the grand finale (the leading inspector became such a favourite that Lang brought the character back in his second Dr. Mabuse movie), and b) no, it's not "foreshadowing the crumbling of the Weimar Republic and the Nazis". The Nazis were already very present on the streets in 1931 when Lang shot the film, having almost daily clashes with the Communists, and neither party is present in this movie. (If you think the criminals organizing into a hunt for the pedophile killer are meant to be Nazis because some are a) wearing trench coats, and b) speaking German, pray remember neither would have been unusual for a German audience in 1931, who hadn't gone through Hollywood aesthetizing the Third Reich into certain images.) I strongly suspect somewhere some editor dictated you can't sell a German movie to an audience if it's not about Nazis somehow.

What I agree about with the Guardian is that Lang's direction (and use of sound - this was his first sound movie, and as opposed to many a silent movie director he really embraced and used the new medium in very creative ways) is outstanding, and that Peter Lorre gives a fantastic performance. Incidentally, while the daring turnaround in audience sympathy during Lorre's monologue at the trial is justly mentioned as the movie's standout scene by not just this but every critic writing about "M" ever - and btw something I can't imagine in any current day movie about a serial killer of children -, no one seems to remember the actual final scene of the movie (a silent sequence showing us the grieving mothers of the dead children), which is a shame, because through it Lang achieves balance and ensures Lorre's big scene is earned by not forgetting the victims and their families.

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current mood: busy

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