swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Dec. 7th, 2015 21:10)
The nineties came in with a flurry of absurd fashions, if I'm remembering things right. Long hair with centre partings and lots of floppy fringes. Ridiculously baggy clothing. MC Hammer with the world's stupidest trousers in the video for U Can't Touch This. One of those decades when I could be very grateful for not being fashionable! Better stuff going on in other avenues though. Nelson Mandela was freed this year, which was a great thing to see. Brian Keenan was released as well, after four and a half years in Lebanon. The British public actually managed to accomplish something constructive this year as well, standing up to the Poll Tax, and eventually forcing Margaret Thatcher out of office. Why can't we do that kind of thing anymore? Her resignation was one of those great moments in history (I fully accept that other political viewpoints do exist, but the important thing to remember is that they're wrong).

And as for the rest of the year - we lost Sammy Davis Jr, which was a terrible shame. I don't know quite when I first latched on to the whole Rat Pack thing - certainly it all started with Dino, but the other two weren't that far behind; and Sammy was a heck of a talent. Elsewhere, Sue the T. rex was found in the hills of Dakota, a truly beautiful discovery. This was the pop video that everybody was talking about. Woman dances seamlessly with cartoon! It looked really impressive. Guess I hadn't seen this yet. Not that it cheapens Opposites Attract exactly, but when you've seen Gene Kelly dance with a cartoon, Paula Abdul seriously ain't gonna cut it anymore. You know, that's either one gigantic mouse, or Gene Kelly was a lot shorter than I've been led to believe...

Good year for the telly. The Mary Whitehouse Experience transferred from Radio 1. I loved it because it was funny, but I must admit that I also loved it because my mother wholly disapproved of the theme music. When you're fifteen, you know a TV show is good if even just the theme tune makes your mother bristle! Fry & Laurie were still doing their sketch show for the BBC, but also started the excellent Jeeves & Wooster for the other side. And they filmed bits of it near here. I didn't see them, but there was much local excitement! Quantum Leap aired for the first time, and Drop The Dead Donkey as well. Probably not all at the same time. I was still watching a lot of TV in those days, but even I couldn't have handled that. I think Have I Got News For You started in 1990 too. It was still watchable then, before they sacked Angus.

But for me, one thing above all else sums up 1990. On August 8th, my mother decided that we had been without a cat for long enough, and we went to visit the local branch of the Cats Protection League. There was a little tabby there, with half a tail, and a whole lot of personality. I can't claim that it was love at first sight, as she'd been badly treated by somebody, and was a little bundle of nerves to begin with, but we got over that in time. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. The 8th August 1990 was a Good Day.

Music time )
Last Christmas when America stole all the television, I dug out my Sapphire & Steel DVDs to watch instead. It's taken me a year, but I've finally got around to watching a bit more of it. Somehow, given that it's the slowest programme in the history of television, the ridiculously slow pace of my viewing seems apt. Here we have "Assignment Three", then, in which the hilariously slow pace gets even slower, and the spectacularly low budget becomes ever more apparent. Gasp as our heroes spend three episodes standing on a roof! Thrill to the excitement as they spend another three episodes walking slowly through an empty flat! And prepare to be horrified by this adventure's dastardly foes: a small patch of light, a psychotic pillow, and a coat that won't stay on its peg.

... )
Day nineteen, the best TV show cast. Oh, yikes. Have you any idea how much TV I have watched in my life, meme? How much television I remain ridiculously attached to? Or television to which I remain ridiculously attached, if you want it in proper grammar. And yet you keep asking me to not only remember it all, but also to choose between it, and I'm not sure that that was a proper sentence. Choices, choices. The first cast of M*A*S*H? Or how about Robin Of Sherwood? Or original Torchwood, or season three Blake's 7? (I like Glynis Barber a lot, but the poor woman is so easily overlooked in season four, that I can't really rate Soolin above Cally). And then there's Between The Lines (and indeed Drop The Dead Donkey, just to stay on a Neil Pearson theme). Cardiac Arrest? Quantum Leap? How about every TV show in my tags list, with the obvious exception of Invasion: Earth?

If I behave and narrow it down - or if I just stop thinking, which is probably easier - I can get it down to two. Babylon 5, (from season two onward, as Sheridan trumps Sinclair), and The West Wing. And it's a difficult choice, so I'm not going to make it. Instead I'm going to avoid the issue entirely and, in a vain attempt to prove that I do watch modern stuff occasionally, I'm going instead with True Blood. The show is a pale shadow of its former self, but the cast has never put a foot wrong. It's a big, varied, interesting cast, and it currently includes Rutger Hauer, which says it all. Or it included him until this week. I'm hoping they're bringing him back, because Rutger Hauer. And four episodes is emphatically Not Enough. Because Rutger Hauer!

Anyway, that was day nineteen.

And this is Rutger Hauer being king of the fairies. Why doesn't more television have Rutger Hauer in it? I might watch more of it then.

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 two, a show that you wish more people were watching. That sounds very present tense. I'm not actually watching any TV at the moment, so I'll just have to go for an old show that more people ought to see. And there are hundreds. I've practically made a lifelong hobby of being in a fandom of one, and there are times when it would be nice to have somebody to talk to about a bunch of stuff! But if I'm going to have to choose one, then I'm going to go for Voyagers!.

I've chosen this one because it's one that I think a lot of people would like, if they actually knew that it existed. Although it's American, it bears more than a passing resemblance to classic era Doctor Who, and it also seems very much like a forerunner to Quantum Leap. Phineas Bogg, one of the most unfortunately-named men in television history, is a time-travelling pirate. Take a moment to ponder the wonders of that sentence. He's one of a number of agents chosen from throughout history to travel back and forth in time and see that history goes the right way. Just like in Sapphire & Steel and Quantum Leap, there's some undefined force that likes to meddle, and twist history to its own ends. Problem is, Bogg hasn't got a clue what history is supposed to look like, and neither does he have a clue how to pilot his time machine. The consequence is that he hurtles madly though time and space, landing in ever-increasing amounts of peril each week, and having a glorious time every step of the way. He accidentally acquires an orphan boy as a travelling companion, and their relationship is very nicely done.

Basically Voyagers! is brilliant fun. That exclamation mark in the title is there for good reason, because it shows you how happy the show is, and how happy our two Voyagers are to be doing their job. Repeatedly free-falling through history, and crash-landing somewhere unexpected, up to their necks in trouble, and escaping by the skin of their teeth. If you ever get frustrated by all of the angst in modern day Doctor Who, then this is the show to counteract it. Bogg hurls his little twelve-year old pal into deadly situations daily, and neither of them cares a fig. Danger's so much fun! And the cast is extremely engaging, and okay, the pilot episode is a bit slow. They usually are.

So there you are, world. Watch Voyagers!. It only got one season, so there's not much to watch (and it got axed for being too expensive, not because it wasn't popular, so for once I'm not even recommending something daft). I can't guarantee that you'll enjoy it, but I'd be very surprised if you don't. The internet needs more Voyagers!. Isn't that right, Bogg?

Oh well. Everyone's a critic.
In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create. Drop a link to your post in the comments. See if you can rec fanworks that are less likely to be praised: tiny fandoms, rare pairings, fanworks other than stories, lesser known kinks or tropes. Find fanworks that have few to no comments, or creators new to a particular fandom and maybe aren't well known or appreciated. Appreciate them.

Beneath the cut because of fan viddage taking up space )
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. )
Yes, I have been watching television again, and I apologise wholeheartedly. Before we get to all of that, though, a little public service announcement. If you feel lacking in books or amusement in your life, fear not, for I am a helpful soul, and come bearing recommendations. Well, a recommendation. Well, perhaps not so much a recommendation as a warning, but nonetheless. The book is called The Time Tunnel, written by Murray Leinster, and it claims to be the novelisation of the exciting new television series by Irwin Allen. It features two scientists who travel back in time, but there the resemblance to the TV series ends, for the book is a catastrophe of epic proportions. The TV series is not exactly Shakespeare, admittedly, but it is (mostly) entertaining. Mind you, the heroes do make it home at the end of the book, whereas Irwin Allen had them hurtling around in ever decreasing circles in time for ever. Which is an even less satisfying end for a time travel series than Quantum Leap's.

So, why is the book so bad? Well, to begin with, it tells us that the Time Tunnel project is a wonderful thing in the hands of the Americans, because they can be trusted to guard history. To rewrite it if necessary, in keeping with the great vision of sixties America. This is even more terrifying a notion than Captain Kirk trying to convince the entire galaxy that it should remodel itself in the image of, again, sixties America - albeit sixties America pretending to be the 23rd century. "You can trust us to only rewrite the bits of history that need rewriting!" This gobsmacking bit of self-importance is only one stage of this book's endless hilarities, however. There's a female character in the story. In the TV series she's a physicist, although admittedly they do veer rather between respecting her training and patronising her horribly. In the book I don't know quite what she is. A secretary or something. She knows that she can't be trusted to think sensibly, anyway, given that she's only a woman, so she slips away to make coffee and sandwiches for the menfolk when things get tense. And yes, the text does actually say that. I shudder to think what would have happened if there had been any black characters.

I don't really know why I'm regaling you with all of this, unless it's to underline the fact that, no matter how bad the TV series gets (and it does have one or two dubious moments), it could have been a whole lot worse. Instead of manic Americans trying to rule the world - because hey, sixties America was perfect, right? - we get Doug and Tony, free-falling through space, time, and the 20th Century Fox film library, and trying not to get killed by everything they meet. They're not without fault, admittedly, but they're a good deal better than they are in book form. Which is something of an understatement.

... )



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