swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( Dec. 21st, 2015 20:03)
I moved house in 2004. This is probably my main memory of the year. Up a hill in the middle of nowhere. Windswept, desolate, silent - if it weren't for the fact that the whole of Gloucestershire seemed to use the local roads as a race track, it would have been damned near perfect. Well - that and if the local landowners hadn't had some kind of psychotic hatred of wildlife. I used to go for long walks with my sister's dog, and spend them disassembling snares and counting illegally shot badgers. It was a nice place to live though. Illegal fox hunts notwithstanding. Got stranded up there every winter, and the power used to go off at the slightest excuse, but the middle of nowhere is definitely the best place to live. Internet speed sucked, mind.

Other than that, 2004 was a quiet sort of year. Sad one too though. It was the year that Christopher Reeve died. Richard Biggs from Babylon 5 too - and he was young and healthy, and had just said good morning to his wife, when he dropped dead. Just goes to show! It was also the year when I rediscovered pop music, by unexpectedly becoming a McFly fan. They brought out their debut album this year, and I've followed them ever since.

Angel came to an end this year, a year after Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It should have lasted longer. Frasier ended too, although that one at least had had a chance to run its course. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet aired its final episode in this year as well. It had come and gone since... 1984? Always worth watching. The Magnificent Seven were two men down by that final episode, and they found a lovely way to end that really did the show and cast proud. And it was the year that Lost began. Hmm. Now there's one that went on much longer than it should have! I think it's the year that The OC and Nip/Tuck both started in the UK too, though they'd probably started earlier than that in the US. The OC was a teen drama that hooked me completely, despite me being a good fifteen years above the target age group! It lost me after a bit, but that first season was bloody good. And I fell hard for Nip/Tuck. That tailed off too when the showrunner bailed, and went off to do Glee instead, but for several years I thought it was the best thing on television. Properly clever stuff.

Cinema! This was the year of Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow. I love that film so much. It was a flop, which was a hell of a shame, as they'd intended it to be a new franchise. I could have had lots and lots of Sky Captains, but clearly nobody else wanted them. No fair. It's a glorious film, full of giant robots, and vintage touches that hark back to the weekly cinema serials from the pre-war days. And I wanted a sequel. I shall go away now and sulk.

... )
TV meme, shamelessly nicked from several people on my f-list. Behind a cut, because it's me, and I can't not waffle.

... )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2014 20:55)
Friends Will Be Friends meme (for anonymous)

Fandom: Angel
Characters: Wes, Gunn
Gen, c. 1000 words

... )
Day thirty, the saddest character death. Well there's a cheerful one to end on. I had a long think about this, but there's no real contest in the end. Wes's death in Angel still makes me more angry than sad, and although Captain Sheridan's death (or going beyond the rim, if you prefer, which could mean almost anything) is beautifully done, I don't know that I would class it as sad. It's the natural conclusion for his character. So what can it be but that of Leo from The West Wing? If you were a fan of that show, you'll know what I mean. It wasn't just that Leo died, it was that John Spencer died too, which made it all the more real. Leo was a wonderful character. He was beautifully played and beautifully written, and he was a guy that it was impossible to dislike. And then John Spencer died, and Leo had to go too. I knew that it was coming, but I had no idea when, and then suddenly at the end of one episode, when everything had been so happy, he's discovered in his hotel room, and it's just so unbearably sad. I suppose it's worse because it was a long running series, and the characters were like old friends by the end of it. And I was so very fond of Leo. It's a sign of a good show when you care so much, but that doesn't lessen the sting. Poor Leo. I really did feel that loss.
Day twenty-six, the most omg wtf season finale. Hmm. And switching to rant mode in 3... 2... 1...

I've mentioned the end of Angel season five before, but much as I hated that last episode, and also certain aspects of the whole season (mostly the bloody awful mind-wipe, which destroyed two years of plot and character development), it wasn't all bad. The crowning glory for finale disasters therefore has to fall upon Nip/Tuck season six, also the end of the series itself. I loved Nip/Tuck. It was a dark, funny, at times wonderfully insane story about two plastic surgeons, and the many people who came to them for help. In keeping with the theme of cosmetic surgery, it was a show all about façades, and about beauty only being skin deep. It had more subtext in one episode than a lot of shows manage in their entire lifetimes. Key to that were the two main characters, Christian and Sean. The show's publicity always emphasised that Christian was the bad boy, and Sean the good guy, but anybody who actually watched, knew that the reverse was really true. Sean was a moral vacuum, whose family life was a sham. Christian, on the other hand, was a deeply wounded abuse survivor, struggling to keep his life together. Sean was frequently highly judgemental about their clients; Christian never was. Christian also adored Sean, and would have done anything for him, a loyalty that Sean was never capable of matching.

And then came the final season. The creator had left, to focus on his new project Glee. Whoever had taken over apparently didn't give a damn about the show's history, or about the characters themselves. Suddenly Sean actually was the good guy. Also, after six seasons as an only child, he suddenly had a brother. The biggest change was Christian, though. Arguably he had finally collapsed under the weight of his own spiralling depression, but if so, it would have been nice to have seen it happen, rather than have his character change into a total bastard overnight. His on-again/off-again girlfriend committed suicide by throwing herself off a boat, which was both out of character and completely against the spirit of the show. Nip/Tuck always toyed with the dark, but a smile was never very far away. Suddenly all traces of light were gone. Christian became more and more objectionable, and Sean was treated like some poor little wounded soldier being beat up on by his partner. Then it ended, with neither a whimper nor a bang, in a fashion that the actors themselves objected to. It was a mess. And goodness only knows what happened to Christian's son, who vanished utterly. He was only about six, so he can't actually have left home, although by the end I wouldn't have blamed him for trying. So, for taking a gloriously twisted, fun show, and turning it into something truly unpleasant, with no internal logic or respect for its past, the award has to go to Nip/Tuck. But I heartily recommend the earlier seasons. At its height it was a colourful, wonderful, absolutely mental show, and I miss it. It deserved a much better end than it got.
Day twenty-three, the most annoying character. Hmm... Quite a few options here. Obviously there's Dawn in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Rarely have I wished horrible death upon a character so regularly. Dawn was whiny and irritating and, despite being the same age that Buffy and co were when the series started, horribly immature by comparison. If she was intended to appeal to younger viewers, then that's a bit of an insult to younger viewers. And then there's Wind, the character that The High Chaparral picked up in season four, when they accidently lost Blue Cannon down the back of the sofa. Wind was a Pawnee halfbreed, which could have been great, but he wound up being Wesley Crusher without the redeeming features. And then we come to Angel... It's one of my favourite TV shows ever, but it also has Fred, a character I hated from the beginning (although she did turn into Illyria, so she obviously had some saving graces). And Gunn. He began by irritating me slightly, and got worse with every season. Neither of them comes even close to being as annoying as Eve, though, a Wolfram & Hart employee who may rank as one of the worst characters in anything ever. It's entirely possible that I'm grouchy and misanthropic, and inclined to be irritated by almost everybody, but even so, there really is no forgiving Eve.

But I'm not choosing any of them. I don't need to, because there's somebody worse. I've mentioned before how much I loved Bonanza growing up. In its later years the show was retooled a little, as long-running series sometimes are. In an effort to appeal to younger viewers (because that always goes so well) they introduced a new character. Jamie Hunter was an orphan boy of about fourteen, taken in by the Cartwrights. Why, I have no idea. He was to spend the next three years sobbing and whining and causing trouble for everybody, and even in my youngest days I couldn't stand the wretched child. And they didn't kill him! They had so many opportunities. He fell into a river during the opening credits every week, but did they drown him even once? No. There is no justice in television. So the most irritating character ever is Jamie Hunter-Cartwright. Trust me, nobody else even comes close.
Day eighteen, your favourite title sequence. Oh, brother. So many possibilities. Blake's 7, with that glorious theme music, and the Liberator in all its slightly wobbly glory. Quantum Leap (seasons one to four), with Sam sliding across cars and punching people, all beautifully edited to fit the wonderful theme. Buffy and Angel, both of which have title sequences that I love, and Doctor Who (old, not new), which has several. Wibbly black and white from the earliest days; revamped slightly with the move to colour when Pertwee took over; the slightly jazzed-up Davison era. Anything written by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter (or just Post, after Carpenter died). The second Bonanza theme, which always makes me ridiculously happy, even though Bonanza purists hate it because it changed. But, partly because I can't watch it without a stupid smile, and partly because I'm wearing my A-Team T-shirt today, so can't really go with anything else, I'm choosing this one:

Great music, great pictures, great fun, from the days when TV could still afford to waste a full minute just on a theme. Also, stuff blows up. You can't really go wrong with that.
Day fifteen, your favourite female character. Hmm. That's not an easy question. I don't know if it's a common problem with television in general, or just the shows that I watch, but it does seem that television isn't very good at women. Either they don't bother with them to begin with, or they have them, but ignore them. Or kill them. Or sack them for not being men. Or combinations of the above. So whereas with the guys I was spoilt for choice, with the women... not so much. Not that there aren't good ones, obviously. Victoria from The High Chaparral was awesome, although admittedly she did have to stay at home a lot and let the men have most of the fun. Blake's 7 had some great female characters, although admittedly, of the four of them, only Dayna was ever actually allowed to do anything. Buffy and Angel had a lot of really good female characters between them, although admittedly they seemed to share an alarmingly limited lifespan. Babylon 5 had Ivanova, but I can't choose her on principle, because she ran away and cost us Marcus. So it was going to be a two horse race between Delenn from B5, and CJ from The West Wing. And then I remembered somebody very special.

Back in the eighties, it largely sucked to be female and on the telly. You were mostly there to be rescued by men, or to get dressed up nicely and go out to dinner. Or die on Tenko. But then, suddenly, there was Harriet Makepeace. Dempsey & Makepeace was Britain's answer to American cop shows. It was unutterably ridiculous, and featured fleets of cars smashing into things, frequently whilst airborne; more guns than all other British TV shows combined; and more explosions than was even nearly sensible. (I loved it). And whilst Dempsey did probably win the Blowing Things Up award, Makepeace did a brilliant job of keeping pace. And she fought with swords. Not often, I'll grant you, but a lot more often than the average British police officer manages (or the average female TV character, for that matter). In a world where female characters mostly stood back and let the men have the fun, she wasn't so much a breath of fresh air as a wildly energetic hurricane. So I choose Makepeace. With the obvious exception of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it's insanely hard to think of another action show with a woman who gets as stuck into the fights and stuff as much as she did. That's really rather sad.
Day nine, the best scene ever. Oh good grief... Meme, you are trying to drive me insane. I couldn't even choose one programme, let alone one scene. I did think maybe something from Babylon 5 or The West Wing, but you try narrowing it down to one bit of either of them. And then there's Buffy and Angel, both of which I love dearly. They both manage to combine comedy and drama in a way that I can't help but admire. But greatest? And then I thought about that fantastic scene between the two Jacks in the Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness". The whole episode builds to it, and it's beautifully judged. But there again, the best scene ever? This is an insane question. So I'll fudge it, and go with one that made me ridiculously happy.

Back in 2005, I hadn't really been enjoying the new Doctor Who. I hadn't bonded with the new Doctor, and I'd found most of the writing to be too childish. But for months (probably nearly a year), Doctor Who Magazine had been muttering about a new guy. Nobody knew how many episodes he was going to be in; not at first. All we really had to begin with was one line: "A time-travelling Han Solo". And then, later, "a bisexual conman". Later on still, "bisexual" became "omnisexual", and several large chunks of the internet exploded, as angry conservatives flew into an endless rage about gay things being allowed in their programme. It was pretty crazy - and for a lot of reasons, I became very attached to Captain Jack long before he ever appeared. And then, scant weeks later, a bloody Dalek went and shot him. Time, pretty much literally, stopped. It actually can - that's a real thing. And yes, okay, he got an awesome, heroic death, and he went down fighting, but still. The bloody Daleks shot Jack! And then Rose did a weird thing, and there was shiny lighting and annoying music, and if I'd known how often we were going to be given that as a plot device in the years to come, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly so much. But it brought Jack back. And, yes, the Doctor was a bastard and ran off and left him, and poor old Jack, for all his immortality making him even more awesome, has never been written anything like so well since. But still. He came back! I have rarely been happier watching TV.

So there you go. It's not the best scene ever, but it's one that I very much appreciated. And it was either that or Richard Hammond playing conkers with cars on Top Gear. Yes, I know. But that's the good thing about having a very small brain. It's easily happied.
Day seven, your least favourite episode of your favourite TV show. That's a difficult one, as I tend to block out the bad stuff, and pretend it never happened. And if it didn't happen, I can't mention it here.

There is one, though. Angel isn't my favourite TV show (except when it is), but I love it dearly. It had some superb writing over the years, and it also had some fine actors working on it. The character arc of Wesley Wyndham-Pryce is one of the finest that I've ever seen, and although Buffy The Vampire Slayer was probably the better series over all, at its height Angel gave it one hell of a run for its money. Which is why, when it failed, it did so very noticeably. I have a particular disliking for two episodes. One's a contraversial choice, but the other most definitely isn't. To begin with there's the final episode of all, "Not Fade Away". The plot hinges on a grand plan of Angel's that's quite the worst piece of tactical thinking ever. This means that everything falls apart, and in the worst kinds of ways. The Angel we knew would not have made that plan. And when your grand finale has the main character do something unremittingly stupid, and do it unceasingly for an entire episode, the result is a dissatisfying conclusion. That would be bad enough for an ordinary finale, let alone for the end of everything. It takes the fabulous build-up of tension from the preceding episode, "Power Play", and ruins it all.

The second time Angel got it wrong was just a few episodes before. "The Girl In Question" might have worked, had Sarah Michelle Gellar agreed to appear in it (so we could have had the real Buffy, rather than a few long shots of the back of a stand-in's head). It might have worked had the show not been axed, and we were not careering towards its final episode. It might have worked mid-season, when a lot of shows let the main narrative slip for a bit. Those are three very big ifs. In the event, with only two episodes left to go, hundreds of loose strings to tie up, and a popular regular cast that had already been badly underused all season for several reasons, "The Girl In Question" might just rank as the most badly misjudged episode of anything.

It's a tough choice, as "Not Fade Away" was a massive disappointment, and I hate it. For me it got everything wrong, although I appreciate that other opinions are available. "The Girl In Question" was just one huge mistake throughout, though. I think I shall probably have to go with that.
Day four, your favourite show ever. Okay, that's just absurd. One show? Do you have any idea how many there are to choose from? There are about twenty candidates without even thinking, and if I chose one, I'd only regret it ten minutes later. I could take the easy route, and say The A-Team, but the next time I look at Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel on their shelf, or watch The West Wing, or think of my beloved Torchwood, I'd wonder if I'd made the wrong decision. My favourite TV show is whatever show I happen to put on, when I feel like I want to watch something good. Which is a hopelessly unhelpful answer, I know, but the only one you're getting.

I'm beginning to think that I might not be terribly good at this meme.
Shamelessly stealing this meme from [personal profile] liadtbunny, mostly because I think I've forgotten how to post.

So, day one. A show that should never have been cancelled. Just one show?! Television loves to cancel all of the shows that I like. It does it so often that I've just about given up bothering to watch new programmes. But if I have to choose one, it's Wolf Lake. I rediscovered this just recently, when I was converting my VHS collection to DVD, and although I'd remembered it as being good, I was totally blown away watching it again. It's the story of a policeman who sets out to find his vanished fiancée, and winds up in a tiny, rural town in the middle of nowhere. His story is the means by which the viewer discovers the little town of Wolf Lake, with all its secrets, its history and its curious traditions. Truly I have never seen such good world-building, and although it has its flaws - the cop at the heart of things is hardly the most interesting of people - the good far outweighs the bad. Unfortunately the show debuted in September 2001, when America had quite a lot else on its mind; nobody saw the first couple of episodes, and it sank without trace. A great shame. The people of Wolf Lake, and all their subtexts and intrigues, deserved at least a full season. Instead they got nine episodes, and things barely got started.

For all its occasional triumphs, television certainly knows how to irritate.

PS: Honourable mentions: VR.5, Dark Skies, Angel, Starhunter 2300, Now & Again, Paradox, The Cape...

*continues mumbling titles whilst walking away*
In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favourite interview, a book) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

This was incredibly difficult. My first thought was to choose a really good episode of something; but then the full extent of the prompt got me thinking, because there's movies and books to choose from as well. Also, the mention of "a favourite piece of canon" suggests that the choice shouldn't be a favourite episode, but a favourite thing that happens in a particular episode. Which complicated things even further. Eventually I narrowed it down to a shortlist of about twenty episodes, films and books; but since I had no over all favourite, I decided in the end to go for the one that's arguably the least well known. There's too much good stuff out there to try deciding whether one thing is better than all the rest; and small fandoms need support. Shortlist included at the end, just because.

... )
swordznsorcery: (true blood)
( Apr. 23rd, 2012 23:36)
True Blood has announced its return date, although I think they actually did that several weeks ago, and I've only just noticed. Also there's a trailer! Well, more of a glimpse, but they call it a trailer. It'll be nice to have True Blood back. I've given up on The Mentalist now, Hawaii 5-0 decided that we weren't going to be friends anymore, and Ringer has gone away. Probably forever, as I was the only person who watched it. So True Blood could be the only television that I watch until Steven Moffat decides to give me Doctor Who back. There are Worries, however. Seasons one, two and three of True Blood were awesome in every way, except for how there was altogether too much Sookie. Season four was rubbish, though. And this will be season five, and I am suspicious of season fives by their very nature. Should that be seasons five? No, I don't think so. Consider the evidence, anyway:

The rather-too-involved Universal Theory Of Season Five. Also True Blood trailerage in screencappery. )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Sep. 15th, 2011 22:19)
Sometimes you hate the things you love. I hate an entire season of The A-Team, most of an entire season of Angel, and almost two entire seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I'm not sure, therefore, why it bothers me so much that there are bits of Torchwood: Miracle Day that I don't like. Maybe it's because I loved season one an insane amount, and season two only a little bit less. Maybe it's because season one, despite being hated by almost every other science fiction fan on the planet, somehow seems to be one of my most favourite things in all the world. I don't know. Either way, it rankles. I want to grab the entire series, give it a big shake, and get rid of all the blatantly stupid bits. Actually, that's unfair. Torchwood has been blatantly stupid since the beginning. Demons, and pterodactyls, and talking fish, and Richard Briers in the middle of a giant, psychedelic octopus... These are the loud, colourful and stupendously silly things that made Torchwood great. Then it went to America, and became about talking very fast. Maybe "blatantly stupid" wasn't the phrase I was looking for. I think I probably just meant "dull".

Except when it wasn't. )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Feb. 10th, 2011 02:20)
Some random observations.

1. Every episode of Hawaii Five-O should feature Daniel Dae Kim in the jungle. It conjures up happy memories of Lost back when it was still good. Also, wherever possible, he should make his escape on a motorbike, having suddenly become inexplicably bullet-proof.

2. White Collar is awesome. I think I may have mentioned that previously. However it's approximately 2000% more awesome whenever an episode features lots of Diahann Carroll. It's like she breathes gold dust or something. And she sang! Briefly, but she sang.

3. Hawaii Five-O should feature more random visits from vampires. We've had Spike twice, and this week Lorena. For some reason, vampires in daylight in Hawaii just seems to work. Maybe they should try the same trick in reverse, and have somebody from H5O in True Blood? I vote Daniel Dae Kim. He could play zombie!Gavin again! Okay, so zombie!Gavin got beheaded, but this is True Blood. That really shouldn't be an issue.

4. Jazz music and a lead who wears a hat automatically makes a show better. Yes, that was just another way of saying that White Collar is awesome. But it really, really was this week. And it had lots of Diahann Carroll in it.

She worked with Dean Martin, you know. See, everything good comes back to Dean Martin in the end. Probably.

5. Hawaii Five-O is completely mental, and I hope that it stays that way for as long as possible. Although I do wish that somebody would give Scott Caan acting lessons. Maybe his father could help.

6. Did I mention the bit about White Collar being really quite good?

7. I've just heard that there's going to be pirates in the next series of Doctor Who. What are the chances of having some pirate Daleks?

Come to that, I wonder what the chances are of getting pirates in White Collar.

8. White Collar also had Billy Dee Williams in it this week. Lando! Just like it's always good to be reminded of when Lost was good, it's even better to be reminded that Star Wars was as well. And still is, if you concentrate just on the original bits.

I guess Lando pretty much qualifies as a pirate, doesn't he. And Caffrey did that awesome antique-dagger-and-a-curtain Errol Flynn thing a few episodes back. So we have had pirates in White Collar after all! Cool.

9. I wonder what the chances are of getting pirates in Hawaii Five-O?

10. Or Daleks.
Oh season five, season five... What do you do, when a series you love ceases to be a series that you love? No, that's not quite what I mean. When you love a show, but it changes, and you really wish it hadn't? Or when everybody wishes it hadn't...

Cut for neatness )



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