How is it Friday again? I've spent the last two weeks alternating between being very busy (work, friends and wine) and being very lazy (um, more wine). Yesterday, I had a sofa day and, exhausted from the sheer effort of it, I fell asleep in the afternoon, without even bothering to move away the book I was reading (Snuff). I have never fallen asleep on a book before.

I have also been indulging my current Jamie Bamber obsession and watching Battlestar Galactica.

First, the important question: What is Dumbledore doing in the Quorum of Twelve?



Seriously, what? And is there fic?

Apart from that, I am bored. Halfway in into the second season, and not one of the characters has managed to grip me. Not one. I kinda like Boomer. I am watching it solely for Jamie Bamber (not Lee Adama) whom I have come to like a lot as long as he doesn't take his clothes off. I don't like the pumped-up muscles look at all, but he does have a good face; it's so expressive. I could watch a show with Jamie Bamber reacting to stuff other people say and not get bored.

A friend of mine gave me the DVDs and the advice to stop watching it after the second season. He loved seasons 1+2 (I don't), considering them some of the best science fiction television ever, but the ending made him furious, what with it being All About God (so he says, I haven't seen the ending yet). He instantly tried to flog his entire BG collection on eBay but couldn't find a buyer due to the adult rating (apparently).

I was annoyed about it being All About God as early as the second episode. Had I not spoiled myself, I could have fooled myself into thinking that the whole prophecy and salvation thing is a red herring and that the show is more nihilistic than that. But as it is, it's All About God and the military - two of my least favourite concepts. Plus, I still don't understand why they censored "fuck". The word they use in its stead is used exactly like "fuck", it sounds similar to "fuck" and everyone knows what it's supposed to mean. What's the point? It annoys me more than it rightfully should.

And Commander Adama and the President have two of the most annoying voices/speech patterns I've ever heard.

My love for Jamie Bamber must be very strong indeed, considering I'm still watching. Most of the time, though, I'm not actively annoyed. Just mildly bored. But I usually do something useful whilst watching, like ironing or working out, so it's not a complete waste of time.

I have also watched the first four or five episodes of the second season of Downton Abbey. I watched it with my friend N., who, like myself, likes that sort of stuff. And guess what? We were so bored. And annoyed. "Oh dear god, not the being-oh-so-understanding thing again!" N. would exclaim in anguish over and over again. "This is even worse than the first season," as she summed up the watching experience.

So, yeah, successful television experience all round. Luckily, my friend Colin is coming over tonight to catch a break from his parental leave that drives him round the bend. He's bringing wine, so we will get drunk and talk about the good old days of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

Is this the most optimistic and upbeat post on your flist today? Y/Y
Last week, I drove out to a friend who lives in the German Wuthering Heights (well, "heights"...) to go hiking. My two hiking companions - let's call them Butch and Hank - were two manly men: the kind that know about engineering and wouldn't touch a costume drama with a 10-foot pole.

But because the German Wuthering Heights are neither heights nor particularly extensive, the following conversation occured:

Butch: ... blah blah... and so I realised that we can't fill three days with hiking.
Butch: But look what I've got!
Butch: The Hornblower DVD box!
Hank: Let's watch it now, let's watch it now!
Butch: We've waited for you 'specially.

And so, instead of dragging myself and my cold across the moors for three miserable days, I spent three happy days sitting on Butch's sofa with a cup of tea with lemon and ginger, watching Hornblower.



Which, of course, is the slashiest slashfest ever.

Butch and Hank, what with being very manly and very, very straight, waited until the second episode until they started to openly slash the characters. It was naturally agreed that Horatio (Hornblower) and his friend Archie are totally in love and that Matthews and Styles are totally married ("These two are so sweet!"). The guest stars were obviously flirting with Horatio, and when that one character who dies died, everyone was very happy when the replacement arrived ("Aww, thank god he's found a new boyfriend!"). And you can imagine our joy and delight when Horatio snaps at the French fop (the real Willoughby - Greg Wise - in his best dandy mode): "I've shared a berth with lieutenant Bush, and I considered it an honour!" Of course you did, darling.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before we could watch the final episode. I will have to watch it tonight. However, after being very good about not shoehorning the Plucky Girl or the Love Interest of the Week into every episode, the show did introduce a love interest in the end, who, as I'm informed, eventually uttered the immortal sentence: "Oh, Horry, can't you forget about your ship for one day?"

No, love, he can't. The ship is full of seamen whom he so much likes.

Misfits

Nov. 29th, 2010 01:14 pm
So, Misfits 2.03.

I bet Iwan Rheon loved it.

Simon is a brilliant role, and I'm sure he enjoys playing the character very much, but he was probably dying to prove that he's got an, ah, broader range and can do, um, one or two things other than weirdness and creepiness.

(I was slightly worried I might be inappropriate. But then I looked up Iwan's age, and he's 25, and the last bloke who hit on me in RL was 25 - so all is well. Iwan's well within my target age bracket.)
Two weeks ago, I compared the BBC drama Sherlock with the itv drama Identity, and my verdict was that Sherlock is the better production. Now that I have watched all three Sherlock episodes, I have reviewed my judgement; Identity wins, hands down.

It wins not only because the recurring characters are allowed to be female as well as of other ethnicities than caucasian, and yet they are no stereotypes and no idiots (!). But it also wins because Sherlock works on the premise that every character apart from Sherlock and, occasionally, Watson, is so stupid and incompetent that it makes you wonder how they ever managed to get and hold a job.

I'm not a Sherlock Holmes expert by any stretch, but wasn't the point of the original stories to make Sherlock Holmes smart by having him think outside the box? The box as established in the Victorian age, that is. It is my understanding that Sherlock Holmes was very much a man of his age - hence his dodgy white-Englishman attitute towards women, foreigners, PoC etc. - but, unlike the average man of his age, smart enough to understand and utilise the new and then not commonly used science of forensics.

100 years later, it doesn't work like that. In order to adapt Sherlock Holmes, he should have been a man of his age again, with all that it entails (an updated attitute towards women, foreigners, PoC etc. being part of it), yet smart enough to use additional, new science/technology that is not part of standard police procedure.

As it is, the makers made Sherlock Holmes smart by dumbing down everyone else to unbearable levels. The police are so useless at their job that one could think shows like CSI et al, Quincy or McCallum (a British television show about a pathologist who solves crimes by looking at the evidence *gasp*) had never graced our television screens. Even in the deepest province of rural England, Inspector Barnaby consults a forensic specialist who tells him all about how the victim was killed. He doesn't need a freelance consulting detective who, in turn, drags some random doctor friend to the scene of the crime to tell him what kind of weapon was used and how long the victim had been dead. Every single police or detective show includes a forensic team, because that's pretty much standard procedure, and most of them tend to be competent at their job.

It would not have been standard procedure at the time when Sherlock Holmes was written, which is why his approach was unique and, hence, successful.

To adapt that concept for a modern audience*, the writers should have come up with a new, groundbreaking skill that Sherlock Holmes deploys to solve crime. Instead, they decided to make everyone else an idiot, unable to perform well in a specialist field they had trained in.

At least Identity offers an explanation for the lead male's unique skill that he deploys to solve crime. And while it, too, has a scene with a dead body sitting in the fridge, it is much more interesting, poignant and, yes, chilling.

*I say that, but the modern audience loves the show. So what do I know?
So I watched Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock - an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes set in modern-day London. I think I'm going to like it. It's indefinitely better than the rather horrible film with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and I like how they've restrained themselves from making cheap post-modern references regarding Sherlock Holmes as a cultural item (yet).

I've been very curious about Benedict Cumberbatch, because I haven't had a strong impression of him yet, apart from the fact that I like the voice. Despite the fact that he plays an annoying character, I did not find him annoying. He'll do nicely.

However, I am getting sick of that "brilliant, yet damaged & disturbed genius solves crime, because the (rest of the) police are too thick to do it" genre. (House MD falls in the same category, despite not being a police drama. And, in a way, so does Doctor Who. I pray for some character to show up who's not either impressed or riled by them. "Oh, there goes the twitchy guy who likes to hear himself talk a lot," I hope someone would shrug. "Just ignore him so that he goes away." That would not make for good drama, but it would make me happy.)

itv's Identity is yet another such police drama featuring a damaged & disturbed expert (special interests: identity fraud) who does not work well with a team, but whom they need because he's a genius in his own field. Unlike Sherlock, the production is really quite bad, but I am watching it, because the resident mad genius is played by Aidan Gillen, who is utterly delicious. Dear god, is that man ageing well! I've always had a crush on his Stuart Alan Jones from Queer as Folk (UK), but haven't seen much of him since, and now I am utterly smitten. Smitten!

He does that lounging pose rather well )
< / profound television critique >
You guys who watched it: Did you really think Germany was all that good?!? Because we're* in shock - we didn't think it was anything special, really. A nice girl singing a nice song.

*Me and the people I'm watching it with. I can't speak for the rest of the country on account of not having watched anything Eurovision-related until tonight.
The Belgian guy sounded like Tracy Chapman.

WHY DO THE GEORGIAN GUYS HAVE GIANT TESTICLES EMBROIDED ON THEIR TROUSERS??

Eurovision

May. 29th, 2010 09:16 pm
Loving the super-creepy Spanish carnivale-esque and Willy-Wonka-esque ballet.
God, they really were milking it, weren't they? I'm obviously a Very Bad Fan, because in the scene with the Slytheen and Alphonso et al, I fully expected Graham Chapman to prance down the stairs and sing "It's Christmas in Heaven".

Rather more spoilerish bulletpoint thoughts: under the cut )

And because I can't get it out of my head and it's kinda fitting:

"There's great films on TV
There's Sound of Music
Twice an hour
And Jaws I, II and II"
Just popping up to share my thoughts on some television shows I've been watching lately. Exciting, eh?

Stuff I've been watching:

Monty Python's Flying Circus. I came unexpectedly into the possession of the complete show and am currently approaching the end of season 3. My latent crush on young Eric Idle is in full swing. Why Eric? It's not as though young Michael Palin was entirely unfanciable. I can't stand John Cleese, though. He's always been my least-favourite Python, and the more I watch him, the more I want to bash him round the head with something blunt and heavy. Plus, he's a really poor actor, isn't he? *is going to be stoned to death due to blasphemy*

And where is all the Monty Python slash?

Carnivàle". Finally got round to it. Brilliantly dark and atmospheric and creepy. This is the sort of fantasy I like to watch - no silly plastic or CGI monsters, but heaps and heaps of spookiness instead. And I can't think of another ensemble show where I genuinely liked so many individual characters. Anyone here watched it? Because I'd like to talk about major Spoilers )

Misfits. Anyone apart from [livejournal.com profile] shocolate watching it? I haven't seen the finale yet, but I loved, loved, loved the penultimate episode. My favourite one of the lot so far. I wasn't too crazy about episode 4, because the Groundhog Day stuff rarely works for me - not when it has to carry an entire episode, at least. It's absolutely fine when they use it like they did within the Curtis and Sam plotline in episode 5. That was rather genius.

But anyway. Simon. Oh, Simon! How I adore him! I was a bit worried that they would pull that thing when they show us that the weird kid is not actually weird, that the others are wrong and that what he is is Shy and Noble and Misunderstood and Tortured and Too Intelligent For His Own Good, the poor w00bie. *cough* fandom!Snape *cough*. But they... didn't. Simon is rather disturbingly creepy. He stalks! He burns people's houses down! Nathan was spot-on with his assessment - which doesn't stop Nathan from being an obnoxious dick and Simon disturbingly lovable. More to episode 5 and a fabulous female character )

Spooks. I kinda follow it on the off-chance that Mr. Armitage takes his kit off (again). But it's really quite bad. I only mention it, because I feel the need to point out that, in episode 4, the "Russians" talk German with each other - albeit with a Russian accent. That's just sad. Plus, they've killed Mr. Bell!

There. I got more wordy than expected.
The two items in the subject line are unrelated. But: I've finally watched HBP and have remained quite unimpressed. So unimpressed, in fact, that all I've got to say doesn't even merit a spoiler cut: Tom Felton looked as though he came from a different - and much better - film, which would have been much more interesting to watch. The rest? A random sequence of scenes that didn't make much sense to anyone who hasn't read the books* and that the film makers apparently wanted to see on screen.

I have also watched "Torchwood - Children of Earth" and was rather more impressed. So this is what Torchwood could have been like from the very start, had they focused on thrill and drama rather than on fooling around with silly CGI monsters and innuendo in every other episode. Also, I crushed mightily on John Frobisher from start to finish, and since I already crushed on the actor in "In the Loop", I've got to seriously wonder where my weird Scots fetish comes from: David Tennant, James McAvoy, Ewan McGregor are all a given, and now there's also Peter Capaldi; and of course the ladies: Michelle Gomez, the ever-fabulous Kelly Macdonald, and, as I've recently watched "This Life", the just as fabulous Daniela Nardini. It's not primarily the accent, because I was indifferent to the Scottish accent until I started to realise that, whenever a Scot is part of the cast, he or she soon becomes my favourite character. Hmm...


*I saw the film with a friend who read the book when it was released, but she's so not a fan that she didn't even remember who the Half-Blood Prince was, so she served as my point of reference.
A few weeks ago, I have started watching QI (because I got my hands on the pilot episode with Eddie Izzard, and I like Eddie Izzard), and it kinda snowballed. Now I'm through with the complete series 1-5 and watching series 6, and have branched out towards Have I Got News For You. I wonder: What do you think of any of the QI and HIGNFY participants? Alan Davies? Bill Bailey? Jo Brand? Dara O'Briain? Rob Brydon? Ian Hislop? Paul Merton's wit? The Angus Deayton scandal? David Mitchell? Andy Hamilton? Sean Lock? Jeremy Clarkson?

I went looking for, ah, in-depth information on both shows and the more regular participants, but so far, all that I could ascertain has been that Stephen Fry and Alan Davies are Totally Doing It, as are Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. And whilst I'm not entirely opposed to this idea, I'm more interested in casual chat, personal opinions (Alan Davies' hair - yes or no?), warnings ("Whatever you do, stay away from all Jimmy Carr material; he's fine on QI, but he's horrible in anything else."), recommendations and squeeing.

(Personally, I have become rather taken with Andy Hamilton - not in a crush way, I hasten to add. And went from finding Alan Davies an annoying twerp to "Hey, he's actually quite witty and squishable!")
So, the 11th Doctor has been announced. I don't have an opinion on Mr. Smith himself, but I was secretly hoping for someone old, grumpy and grandfatherly or for Nick Frost.

In other words: Someone who's not likely to become the object of lust for crazed teenage girls.

(Seriously, though: Nick Frost!)
And Mickey. Mickey was great, too.

So, I've just finished watching the finale of "Doctor Who".

It looks like Spoiler ) orgies are canon now, eh? As well as Spoiler ) You just know he writes porny fics in his spare time, only he calls them "memoirs". - Well, that's hardly a spoiler, is it?

But WTF was that all about the mad old woman in the Spoiler )
Having now watched the first seven and a half episodes of the second Torchwood season, I have come to the conclusion that there really should be a Torchwood/House crossover.

TeamTorchwood: "So, here's a very ill person whose eyes have turned all gooey and whose toes have exploded. What could that be?"

TeamHouse: "No worries*. It's probably lupus. Put them on steroids and full-range antibiotics."

And then they spend the rest of the episode searching a) for the alien threat that caused it and b) for a cure to actually save the one or other life occasionally. House would fit in into the Torchwood team seamlessly, as he can sulk and throw teenager-y hissy fits with the best of them. And he is very interested in the eternal question of who shags who, too.

And in spin-off terms, while Ashes to Ashes is the very embarrassing and cringe-worthy Mary-Sue fic with a heroine who deems herself oh so pretty and clever and shagworthy in the eyes of the hero, Torchwood is the crackfic that knows no shame.

________________________________________________________________________________________________
*That's Chase speaking, obviously.
Seeing as a big part of my data (shows! films!) might be lost, I need something to cheer self up. Fortunately, I made some caps before my disk died, which I can now use to discuss a deeply disturbing fetish:

Anyone who's followed this LJ for a little while might have noticed that I use it primary to talk about my crushes on fictional characters. And apparently, in many instances what gets me crushing is period clothing. - Give the man a cravat and boots, and I'm his.

Case in point )
So, I've finally managed to get hold of episode one and watch it, and...

IT'S A FANFIC, IT'S A BLOODY FANFIC!

We all read fics like that: smart-sassy-spunky modern grrrrl has an "accident" and wakes up in a fantasy world she's read a lot about/seen a movie about, meets the Hero, who's very rude but also very compelling, he insults, she sasses back, she knows what's going on, because she's watched the Lord of the Rings movies watched the Harry Potter movies watched the Pirates of the Caribbean movies read Sam Tyler's report a hundred times, they fight, they not-quite kiss, he's "taller than she expected" and she's "got curves in all the right places", and jokes, characters and scenarios from the original show are merrily recycled.

There even was bloody exposition about how the missus has left Gene. Do the authors know no shame?

I bet there will be hurt/comfort soon - the proper kind, with the one party wiping the other party's sweaty brow. Around episode four.

The cheesy 80s look doesn't exactly help.
My last post was in September! How did that happen?

Happy New Year, dear f-list! I've been lurking around here lately once again and if I commented on some long-forgotten post of any of you, that's because I was skipping=thousands and losing track of how far back I went.

So, what have I been up to?

Mainly, I've fallen in love with Philip Glenister at last (but he's had it coming) and been catching up on his work. I fell in love with him over "Cranford" and, dare I say it, Mr. Carter is by no means a less worthy candidate for my eternal* devotion than Mr. Darcy was. Even more worthy. - Jane Austen's never sold me on the Mr. Darcy character, even though Colin Firth did.

As a result, I have watched "Cranford" over and over again**, have rewatched "State of Play"*** and have started watching "Vanity Fair" (the BBC mini series with Philip Glenister). So: Becky Sharp - how great is she? I love that woman. I read somewhere that the script didn't smooth out the character's edges in the BBC production as they did for the Reese Witherspoon film, and I am baffled: what is there to smooth? Seriously, I vaguely realise that I'm supposed to find Becky's conduct somewhat reprehensible and her character questionable, but so far, apart from the fact that she wants to benefit from her acquaintance with rich people and seeks them out purposefully - just like just about everyone else in the story does - there's nothing about her that I find in the least questionable. And, though this might be due to Natasha Little's performance, I don't find her overly flirty, either. More sort of naturally sparkly and witty. - Quite unlike the horribly, painfully dull Amelia. Were they going for shy and quiet? Because what happened is that she's stupid and dull. And even the marvellous Philip Glenister, despite being my love of the hour, can't save Capt. Dobbin from being a painful bore, too.
The heading of this post, BTW, is inspired by the "Vanity Fair" Captains, whose interjections of "Damn it!" make me quite tingly inside.

*as in: two-three months
**the good bits
***the good bits


Anyway. Philip Glenister. What I actually wanted to say was that I was checking out [livejournal.com profile] lifein1973, came across a challenge I couldn't resist, and so I actually wrote something.

It's The Life On Mars Cracked out Crossover Challenge, and the prompt that tickled my fancy was:

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Sam is actually stuck in a comma.

This in itself is fucking brilliant. And I came up with the following:

Don't worry, despite appearances, this is NOT an emo poem )

That was both more and less difficult than one should think. After I decided to give it a try and started writing, I realised that it went quite well. The tricky bit, obviously, was the middle where I had to make both parts fit - I fiddled with it for ages. At some point I gave up in despair and tried a different approach, this time with plot, which wasn't easier at all. But there is a plot. Two plots even:

Read more... )

I wish I could get back into the swing of creative writing. But every time I write something, I feel it's so inadequate that I give up. In despair. Woe!
In the course of my huge ongoing watching-TV-series-I-should-have-watched-long-ago programme, I have finally arrived at House, MD. I started with the 3rd season and have then moved on to the 1st season (the 2nd season is a bit tricky as it's apparently not out on DVD yet where I live, and so I have to decide whether to order it for a lot of money or to wait for the release or to, um, find other ways to get my hands on it, but I digress), and then I went online to read up what fandom thinks about it. And you know what? I was surprised that Chase (whom I like a lot) is generelly considered a whimp and House's bitch. My perception of him, taken strictly from what I saw in canon, was quite different. This got me thinking, and it got me thinking about a very similar thing happening after I went online to read up on the fandom's view on Harry Potter, where I discovered that Remus (whom I like a lot) was generally considered a whimp and Sirius' bitch. I was quite surprised then.

Anyway. My mind works in mysterious ways and is has come to the conclusion that Dr. Chase = my HouseMD!Remus. Or vice versa. Whatever.

And this is how it works. )
... or: Is Donna a miserable old crank?

A friend of mine has written a novel and asked me to proof-read it. One of my major quibbles has been the way she handles the romances. For my taste, her romances rely far too much on "love at first sight" and the difficulties are caused by "external obstacles" as opposed to, y'know, your basic doubts and troubles and trust issues and general disfunctionality. But it's difficult to bring that across. If I say: "But these characters don't really know each other! Surely, the authorial voice should acknowledge that?", the author answers: "Oh, but they do! They used to play together as children, and when they met again, many years later, they fell in love instantly." Which I just don't buy.

Generelly speaking, I only buy romance in fiction when it's among equals who have a general idea of what they are doing. It's a very pragmatic approach, but there you go. And the aspect of "equality" is highly important for me.

Take Jane Austen's novels, for example, which I like a lot. Her romances often do not convince me.

"Sense and Sensibility": Col. Brandon falling in love at the age of 36 with a 16-year-old girl, because she reminds him of an old lover? Totally creepy.
"Emma": Mr Knightley falling in love at the age of 28 with a 13-year-old girl and spending the following 10 years forming and shaping her into what he wants his perfect woman to be? Creepy.
"Persuasion": Even though it's my favourite Austen novel, I think that spending eight years pining over someone you knew only for a couple of months in your late teens/early twenties is a bit pathetic.
So, I read the books because I like Austen's charaters and her wit and her criticism on society, but I couldn't care less about whether the girl gets her man or not in the end. I'd be perfectly happy if her heroines remained single.

And there's also the general disfunctionality, which makes me doubt the lasting success of a relationship.

A perfect example for that is the romance between Natalie Holden and Peter Carlisle in Blackpool - even though I do love the show to pieces for many reasons (David Tennant's fabulous wrist-on-headboard action being only one of them). "The love of my life" after only one date? Please. And even if I did believe in love at first sight etc., I still don't believe that Natalie and Peter will be happy together. Peter is not that different from Ripley. He is charming and tender to Natalie, sure, but I am convinced that Ripley was the same when he first fell in love with her. (We get glimpses of tender and gentle Ripley every now and then.) And both men rely far too much on Natalie's following them like a good little girl. Peter freaks out when she dares refuse going away with him and immediately starts abusing her in the worst possible manner. (And I don't care that he loved her and that he was hurt. Saying "I only slept with you to get to your son and Ripley" is just. Not. On.) Natalie herself realises that Peter's "got an eye for weakness". - And he has. And so, even though they are in love, I think that this will work only as long as Natalie doesn't stand up for herself. Just the same as it was with Ripley.

Moreover, I like romance only when it is rooted in a realistic setting, not an idealised one. Take that kiss in "Torchwood", for example:
Captain Jack is dancing with Captain Jack, in the 1940s, in front of a bunch of soldiers, and as sweet the kiss in itself might be, it just doesn't do anything for me. It's so obviously artificial, so created (as opposed to naturally evolved) that I can't identify with the characters' longing and desires.

The same scene works for me perfectly in "Queer as Folk, UK", where Stuart and Vince are dancing together at the wedding. Because there, it is realistic. The authorial voice acknowledges the difficulties, the reactions of the people around them, and I think it's sweet and lovely and very, very sexy. Even though they don't kiss.

In a nutshell: I'm fine with romances as long as they are not idealised. No "love conquers all", no "love at first sight" no "it's us against the rest of the world". Just give them some real difficulties and struggles.

Oh, and: It's not that life has made me callous and sucked any romantic feeling out of me. I've always been like that. I was ten when I read Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" for the first time, and I commented on Ivanhoe's and Rowena's marriage with: "And after they had been married a while, Rowena would nag at him to empty the rubbish bin, and Ivanhoe didn't, and they had many rows and split up in the end." I wrote this down in my copy of the book, in pencil, and it still makes me laugh.

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