swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Jan. 2nd, 2017 16:25)
[community profile] fandom_stocking fic for [personal profile] liadtbunny.

Fandom: Sapphire & Steel
Gen, 3000 words

... )
I know, I am a very bad poster. I've been trying to keep up to date with you all, but I apologise for the lack of comments. I don't seem to have had the brain for it recently. November was a heck of a month! But now it's December; and hey, Donald Trump hasn't blown us all up yet. Not necessarily for lack of trying.

So, what's been going on. Well, it got cold. I'm still sulking about that. I was mostly working outside this summer, and the back of my neck went the sort of colour likely to get it kicked out of the country by UKIP. It's well on its way back to its old, boring shade now though. Woe. I complained to my mother about how dull and pasty we are, but she did point out that it would have caused all kinds of problems with my father if I had come out a different colour. Which is true. But still.

In fandomosity, Laramie continues to be entertaining. Lucifer has become gloriously unmissable. I'm still occasionally watching episodes of Simon & Simon, because it is indeed the series that never stops. I've also started watching Heroes. I missed it when it first aired (can't remember why); and then everybody seemed to agree that seasons two and three were terrible, so there seemed little reason to start. I found season one for a quid in a charity shop recently though, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. And hurrah, it's fab. Or at least it currently is. I think I've seen four episodes. I see that episode four aired in October of 2006, so I'm only ten years and two months behind, which is quite good for me. Current thinking: Peter Petrelli needs to die, and quickly. And somebody get him a haircut, for Rassilon's sake. Suresh rocks though. Sadly it seems that Aramis will be mostly wielding a paintbrush rather than a sword, for verily there is no justice in the world. *heavy sigh* And Hiro is pretty awesome.

I say it's fab, and it mostly is, but it has made me think. As it started, I was quite impressed with the diversity of the cast. To begin with. But whilst the guys are all colours and shapes, and are professors and techies and go-getting politicians, etc, the women are both petite blondes. And one's a stripper and the other's a cheerleader. Hmm. (Incidentally, thank you all, for I probably wouldn't have noticed that once upon a time, and I do think it's better that it should register).

In the news today, I see that Peter Vaughan has died. This makes me sad. Partly because he was a larger than life character actor (ninety-three years old!), whose career spanned all kinds of things. But also partly because that pretty much leaves Colin Jeavons as the lone surviving Adam Adamant Lives! enemy; of the existing episodes, anyway. Chapters are always ending. C'est la vie, I know, but it doesn't hurt to be a little wistful.

As a parting shot, courtesy of the excellent @Trundles_bot on Twitter, have a link to a .pdf of the Blake's 7 1981 annual. Hilarious costumes abound! If you're on Twitter, I very much recommend following @scorpioattackb7, incidentally. They're doing a weekly episode review, with some fabulous publicity shots, and snippets of background information unearthed from all sorts of places. It's a fascinating read. Up next is "Orbit", so prepare for Christmas to be ruined all over again when they hit "Blake" in a matter of weeks!

Um. Yeah, that's about all. Bye.
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Oct. 6th, 2016 21:42)
Earlier in the year, [personal profile] lost_spook posted a ficmeme using lines from poems as prompts of a sort. It looked interesting, but I had a lot on at the time. Then this morning I read that today is National Poetry Day. What better day to take out that old meme and dust it off? The rules are fairly straight forward. Write down five fandoms in alphabetical order. Go here. Note down the fifth line of whatever random poem you land on. Partner it with the first fandom in your list. Click refresh, and rinse and repeat for all five.

And good luck if, like me, you have a mild allergy to Emily Dickinson.

Five poems, five ficlets, five fandoms )
It's snowing here. Thick and fast, with gigantic flakes. How is it snowing, sky?! It's April the something. It looks very nice, but my mother asked me to sort out the guttering today, and there's no way I'm going up a ladder right now. (It's getting thicker all the time. It's practically a blizzard now. Is this what you have to expect when you get warm sunshine through December?) Still, I'm feeling reasonably accomplished despite the lack of guttering, as I finally got the Adam Adamant Lives! thing posted that I was supposed to do for [community profile] fandom_stocking back in January. Actually, that's not "accomplished" really, is it. More "What the bloody hell were you playing at all year?!". Still, it's done. (There is now a diagonal wall of white outside the window. I may have vanished completely by lunchtime).

Still, none of this is what I actually set out to post. Internet, I am most displeased with you. You told me, in the only unified voice I have ever known the internet to have, that the new Star Wars film was good. Good, you said. And now, on the eve of its DVD release, I find myself getting massively spoiled for it, and that happens?! Seriously, internet? That happens, and you told me it was good? If anybody wants me, I shall be over in the corner for the rest of the month, rocking gently and making faint squeaking sounds. Whilst glaring at you, internet.

I think my snow is turning to rain. That might be more April, but the snow is infinitely prettier. Make your mind up, sky.


ETA: (Half past eight) Bloody hell, that is proper heavy snow now. I may not be seen again until I can dig myself out sometime in June.
Majorly belated for boring life reasons, this was originally intended for [community profile] fandom_stocking, for [personal profile] lost_spook and [personal profile] liadtbunny. By way of apology for its appalling tardiness, it comes with an accompanying 1966 playlist, in an attempt to add some local colour.

Fandom: Adam Adamant Lives!
Characters: Adam and Georgie
Gen, c. 10000 words

... )
Water lily! Water lilies are much easier to take pictures of than ducklings.



Elsewhere, I found out that Juliet Harmer did another episode of Department S, so I watched it. It was a bit of a rubbish one actually, and she only had a cameo at the beginning, as Jason King's girlfriend. Picture under the cut. Also, you'll never guess who else was a guest in it!

Cutty thing )
I am re-reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, because the TV series has gone away and left me, and I miss it. It's nice to revisit the book, as it's been quite some time since I last read it, and I had forgotten bits. Also it's fun seeing which bits made the TV series and which didn't, and which bits the TV series made up. Slightly disappointed that one of my favourite bits of the series wasn't actually in the book - Strange's introduction to Wellington, which I loved. It's that "I'm Strange." ; "Indeed..." which was so perfect; although admittedly that was 99% down to Ronan Vibert's line delivery, and Ronan Vibert definitely isn't in the book. Or at least, he isn't in my copy, which is a terrible shame - though probably not if you're Ronan Vibert. (I readily concede that it's unlikely you are).

Elsewhere, I am still Department S-ing. It's nice to know that, though years pass and casts move on, and new series come to take the place of the old, some things always remain. Such as the fact that, in any Monty Berman production one cares to name, getting into a white Jaguar Mk II means a one way trip over a cliff. Seriously, for your own protection folks, never accept a ride in a white Jaguar Mk II. It will fly over a cliff. Even if there isn't a cliff. Trust me on this. Even more impressively, it will always be the same cliff, wherever in the world you happen to be. I suspect a conspiracy.

Department S is proving very entertaining, anyway. I'm not watching it in order, which is generally for the best with these things. The problem with Network is that they diligently arrange shows on DVD into their original production order, which is very sweet and helpful, but fails to take into account that there was a good reason for the production order - such as prop and location availability - which means that you tend to get a rash of episodes with very similar plots, all in a row. It also means, quite infamously amongst fans of The Champions, that the episode "The Interrogation" is on Disc 2, which doesn't make an ounce of sense, as it clearly takes place far later on, and I'm waffling about the correct order of episodes in a little-remembered telefantasy show, aren't I. Shut up, that's a perfectly normal pursuit.

Anyways, I'm quite taken with Department S. It's not as good as its Championy stablemate, but it's very nicely done, and the characters are engaging. I'm also impressed by how Sullivan's boss manages to be black, at a time when almost every other show on British TV had failed to notice that there are black people in the world, let alone that they might like to act occasionally. Otherwise it follows a very similar template to The Champions. A threesome of crimefighters (except this time they're not an actual threesome), with one being an action man, one the more cerebral type, and one a genius, heavily science-orientated woman. There are differences of course. Stuart Sullivan is far more down-to-earth than Craig Stirling, and doesn't hurl himself into danger with quite so much wild glee; Jason King and Richard Barrett certainly don't dress alike (thank heaven); and Annabelle Hurst is clearly in (requited, if hesitant) love with Sullivan, whereas Sharron Macready was very much one of the guys. Necessarily, one might quietly point out, given that Craig and Richard always seemed more interested in each other. All the same, it's clear that Monty Berman and co liked the basic template. They must have liked the actors, too - Sharron just turned up in an episode of Department S, as a fabulously two-faced blackmailer. In celebration, I decided to give Peter Wyngarde's episode of The Champions a spin. Damn, but that's a good show. Sorry, Department S, but you'll never be half as good a crimebusting squad as Nemesis.

But to get to the point (yes, there was one!), who should turn up in an episode called "The Man In The Elegant Room", but Juliet Harmer, formerly of Adam Adamant Lives!. So, beneath the cut, is Georgie Jones undercover as an art critic. In living colour!

... )
I doubled up these answers so that it wouldn't go on for thirty days. Well, that worked well, didn't it. I make this about day forty-five. Limping to its protracted conclusion, then, here's the last two questions!

29. Favourite non-romantic OTP

Adam/sword-stick. Although if I have to stick to humans, I suppose Adam/Georgina. She would like them to be a romantic ship, I think, but the very idea of that would horrify poor Adam. Georgina is only supposed to be about nineteen, so I can't think of them as a proper couple anyway, and they're not really supposed to be. Poor Adam is forever trying to get rid of her, although he's clearly a lot more fond of her than he lets on. If she were older, then maybe I'd think otherwise, but as it is, to me (and Adam!) it's strictly non-romantic.

30. Least favourite character

Adam's deadly nemesis, The Face. As a fan of The A-Team, I have a mild issue with the name anyway, but it would be a lot easier to get past that if he was a better character. He talks only in a heavy whisper, which I find very annoying, and he just seems altogether a bit naff. He's supposed to be Adam's match, but aside from managing to freeze him in a block of ice in the first episode, he comes across as pretty incompetent. He only features in the first episode of series one, but by the looks of things he was reintroduced as a recurring character in series two (of which only two episodes survive, so it's a little hard to judge much from them). In order to be Adam's great foe, he needed to be a lot more than he was, though. Possibly he was more - for all I know he was terrific in all of the episodes that were destroyed - but I can only go by the evidence that I have. Also, the fact that he's alive doesn't make any sense. He froze Adam as punishment, and in order to continue with his evil-doing with Adam out of the way; so why did he then just go freeze himself as well?! Really not sure that that bit was terribly well thought out.
28. Most surprising moment

It's not really a show that does surprising, but there is one bit that I think was probably supposed to be. It's certainly a huge surprise for Adam, but not to anybody who has watched as much television as I have! So I have to wonder if it was ever intended to be truly surprising to the audience. It's difficult to judge from nearly fifty years on.

In the pilot episode, we learn that Adam was frozen in his block of carbonite iceberg or whatever, by his deadly nemesis, after being betrayed by the love of his life. Her name is Louise, and she's revealed to have been in league with the enemy all along (that in itself might have been a nice surprise, had we met her for more than ten seconds prior to the revelation!) In one of the series two episodes, "Black Echo", Adam meets an ancient woman lurking in an old stately home; and, yes, it's Louise. Adam is of course shaken to the core by her appearance. He assumed her long dead, along with everybody else he used to know. However I think a modern viewer is pretty much inured to this kind of thing. We've become too familiar with every cliché. In the sixties some of these things weren't clichés yet of course; but still it's hard to see it as a surprise. A good scene, but really not a surprise.
Sorry Adam. I've been busy.

26. Favourite location

Oh, I'm not fussy. Any outside scene that shows a good bit of sixties location footage. There's some nice stuff in the first episode, "A Vintage Year For Scoundrels", when Adam is staggering about town, having not long woken up from Ripvanwinkledom.

27. Favourite costume/clothing/accessory

Favourite accessory is obviously the sword-stick, and favourite item of clothing would be the cape, but costume wise everybody is dressed perfectly. Georgina's clothes are very well chosen. She's obviously supposed to be a walking sixties stereotype, to contrast with Adam's Victorian splendour, but there aren't any ridiculous extremes. I think she could wear anything and look good, quite honestly, but what she does wear is terrific, and ought to come back into fashion. And Adam just looks amazing. With the shoes, and the suit, and his fabulous habit of posing with his stick whenever anybody's looking. I suppose everybody else looks a little bit ordinary next to them, but the costume department did do a very good job all round.



Adam, demonstrating how much better he is at dressing than other people.
24. Crime against fashion

There are very few of these. "Miss Jones" gets some terrific outfits, all of which tend to suit her really well. Fortunately it's 1966, not 1976, so good taste still prevails. And Adam, of course, is always dressed well. So I'll go with the obvious, and choose any time that anybody wears fur. Sadly in the forefront of one particular episode, which makes this modern viewer cringe; but it is 1966.

25. Favourite quote(s)

I think I would have to choose "I find concussion quite invigorating", which I used to use as my signature on an internet forum. Adam is forever getting bashed over the head, and eventually he comes up with that line in response. It's so very Adam, and it goes so nicely with TV's habit of handing out serious head injuries to all and sundry, without any kind of ill effect.
22. Favourite voice

Adam's. Gerald Harper enunciates so beautifully, and his line delivery is spot on every time, especially when he's towing a fine line between serious and silly. Adam Adamant is the sort of character who could very easily tumble into parody or worse, but Harper manages to keep him from becoming too absurd. The whole cast, often guest cast included, really do have wonderful speaking voices, but Harper wins it for me. I can't imagine anybody else delivering some of those lines even half so well.

23. Best scene involving music/dancing

Probably any scene involving anybody being very stereotypically sixties, especially if Adam is looking on in thinly disguised horror. I'd love to know how anybody could be an agent in the service of his country, as Adam was and is, forever dealing with the darker side of life, and yet remain so resolutely innocent. If it were a more realistic show, I would object, but it's so comic booky in its style that it's easy to overlook such glaring issues. Adam's innocence is such fun. I'd feel like a terrible killjoy if I complained.
20. Missing episode you would like to see found

If I could choose only one missing episode to come back, it would be "Ticket To Terror", since that's the only missing episode from series one, and it would be nice to have that complete. Also it sounds good. But most of series two is missing as well, and it would be very nice to have all of them back too. The scripts of the missing episodes are on the DVD set, and some of them do sound very good.

21. Best scene involving eating/drinking

Adam's dinners and luncheons, presided over by Simms, the valet/butler/court jester are always splendid affairs, but the best one is probably the picnic lunch in "The Village Of Evil". Of course they have a table and proper dinner service, despite being out in the wilds of the countryside. Adam likes to do these things properly. He even has a bottle of wine, chilled in the river. He looks so happy, sprawled at his table in the middle of nowhere, in his tweeds, with his wine and his cut-crystal glasses. The pair of them could give lessons in lunching.
19. Best scene

I think I would probably choose an exchange towards the end of "Beauty Is An Ugly Word". The antagonist, Sinoda, is babbling on about the ideal world that he wants to create, and talks about all the failings of modern society. He tells Adam that he should understand, because he comes from a better time; whereupon Adam tells him that the world is only as bad as the eyes you see it through, and that, whilst the past might have its good points, it also has a whole lot of bad ones. I must admit to having a very low tolerance for the sort of nostalgia that yearns for that mythical 'golden age' when everything was supposedly better (and conveniently overlooks how much it wasn't). Adam is the sort of character who might very easily buy into that philosophy, especially given how often he despairs of certain modern traits and practices. To see him take such an optimistic, forward-looking stance is wonderful, particularly since it's the latest in a string of confrontations with Sinoda that are all very nicely done. In a series of neat ripostes, he extols the virtues of modernity, particularly in terms of freedom and quality of life, in contrast to his own, often darker days. It's a nice, well constructed scene.

Although admittedly it would have been quite a lot better for his health if he had just kept quiet!
15. Something that made you happy

I suspect that it would be something involving a swordfight. Yes, I know. Astonishment.

16. Something that made you sad

The fact that some git assassinated a whole lot of it.

17. Something that made you think

The whole premise is worth a thought. What would it be like to wake up in a different era? Adam was only asleep for some sixty-five years, but the early part of the twentieth century was a time of great change, so the world had moved on a great deal. 1966, the year in which he woke up, is nearly as far away now as the turn of the century was when the show first aired. Somebody from 1966 waking up now probably wouldn't suffer as much dislocation as Adam did, although the advancement of technology would take some adjusting to. Were Adam to wake up now instead, I don't think his modern day Georgina Jones would be quite so inclined to put up with his sexism, but in many ways his situation would be no different to how it was in 1966. All those big social changes happened in the first seventy or so years of the twentieth century; equality, permissiveness, health, housing, education, the decline of religion as a major factor in people's lives. So I don't think that Adam in 2014 would be majorly more jet-lagged than Adam in 1966. Might be fun seeing his reaction to Miley Cyrus, though...

18. Something that made you laugh

Every time Adam encounters a female crook. "But madam! You are a lady!" His disappointment with women who misbehave is brilliantly ridiculous.
13. Favourite item of merchandise

I can has a sword-stick?!?!

There isn't really much in the way of merchandise for this show. It wasn't a big hit at the time, and it's not terribly well remembered. The theme song got a single release, and I very much enjoy that. Otherwise, I suppose I would have to go with the DVD set. It has a lovely booklet accompanying it, written by the great Andrew Pixley, which is a geek's dream of behind the scenes info; but best of all of course are the episodes. I first saw Adam Adamant Lives! when BBC2 aired the first two episodes back in the nineties as part of an anniversary event, and I fell in love with the idea immediately. I never really hoped to be able to see any more of it, though. Crackly old TV like that seemed condemned to forever remain in the vaults. And then along came DVD, and all that changed. I am very happy to be able to own a copy of the surviving episodes - and there's a documentary and a couple of audio commentaries to boot.

14. Best use of a hoary old trope

I suppose the pairing of Adam and Georgina is as old and hoary as you can get. The hero and his female accomplice are one of the screen's original tropes. They're a good team, and the cast were very well chosen. I would prefer Georgina to be more Adam's equal, but it is 1966. Mind you, Leslie Charteris had managed to get it right thirty years earlier...
10. How would you convert someone to your show?

Quite frankly, if they're not won over by the basic premise, or by the fact that it's about a bloke with a sword-stick, then there's no helping them. It's a show about a Victorian adventurer in 1966! He wears a cape! He fights with a sword-stick! Failing that, I'd show them episode #4, "The Sweet Smell Of Disaster". Everybody seems to love that one.

11. What show-related fan works would you like to see?

Putting on my pessimistic fan hat, I'm not sure that I would. Fandom is all about shipping these days, which is dull as ditchwater. There are a few fan-made videos on YouTube which are good, but I can't imagine that fanfic would be much fun. Nobody writes adventurey fanfic. It's all blasted shippery.

12. Best weapon

There's a sword-stick in a starring role, and you're asking me which is the best weapon?!
09. Favourite photo/screenshot

I think I better take this behind a cut.

... )
06. Best fight

The whole show is a fight! One long, glorious fight with a sword-stick. I love the sword fight in "The Terribly Happy Embalmers", where Adam is pitted against the grandson of the man who taught him to fence. "The Village Of Evil" has a lovely scene when he does pretty much have to tackle an entire village, as well as the old mill that they're holed up in. He has a heck of a fight on his hands in "Beauty Is An Ugly Word" as well, when he has to take on Sinoda's champion.

This is an insanely difficult question!

07. Favourite character moment

Any scene where Adam hurls himself, with gay abandon, into the latest bout of fisticuffs or sword swinging. He (and Gerald Harper) display such joy in those moments, and I would challenge any viewer not to smile as well.

08. Least favourite episode

Episode #3, "More Deadly Than The Sword", which is filled with crass Japanese stereotypes, and doesn't even try to have a decent storyline to make up for it.
05. Your song/fan mix for the show

I love this question. I had lots of fun answering this one, but I took a different tack to the traditional approach, of searching for songs with appropriate themes. Adam was frozen in a block of ice in 1901, and thawed in 1966. That means that he missed a whole chunk of the history of music - the entirety of the history of popular music. So I decided to clue him in, entirely against his wishes no doubt, with a quick tour of the first two thirds of the twentieth century. Beginning with something much older, that he would have been familiar with, and then gradually bringing him bang up to date (or up to date for 1966, anyway).

Sing-along-a-sword-stick )
.

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