Category: English Entry

I’m a fangirl, hear me rant (Doctor Who – Dark Water)

Disclaimer: I’m currently studying to improve my skills as a writer. Obviously that does not improve my patience.

Disclaimer 2: I’ll put this text as-is up into my blog. I’ll check spelling and grammar later. I even hope to find some native speaker to proofread the final version eventually.

Doctor Who. Cliffhanger episode. You know what I’m talking about. (If not, step slowly back towards the door you came in through and leave while you still can. There’ll be spoilers.)

I’m not happy. Well, if you’re a writer trying to trigger an emotional response, you will probably say „mission accomplished“, but we’re talking about The Doctor and Steven Moffat and that means we’re not in the mainstream field of mediocre writing but in the master class of the genre. (Yes, that’s a pun. Nice to know you’ve noticed it. We’ll come back to more puns in a momemt.)

I had been too busy to catch up with the latest Doctor, so I had missed the latest two or three episodes. I wasn’t exacly beating myself up for that so yes, this season, like the ones before had failed to excite me the way the episodes of the 9th and 10th Doctor and Torchwood had. My guess is, that I’m just missing Russel T. Davis.

Anyway, cliffhanger episode, the final episode of the season (short season, it seems): I expected something extraordinary – after all, final episode means cliffhanger means the stakes are right up as high as they can get. What I had not expected was that I’d be pissed off even before the title music was playing. Oh hell. Literally.

The whole „let’s kill Pink“ plot had me going „Oh, didn’t expect that, too bad. Well, if you have to write him out, go ahead.“ Right until Clara’s reaction. Which wasn’t Clara, but Sherlock speaking.

I’ve been hanging out in the gutter of fandom for long enough to recognize out-of-character dialoge when it rears its ugly head. „Boring, conventional, “ is what Sherlock has been saying for three seasons. And it’s definitely not a line, lively, bubbly, emotional, chatty Clara would utter. So either this is a reference (as many more „Easter Eggs“ showed up in the episode it might very well be intentional) or it is Moffat trying to express a lack of emotion, detachment taking hold of Clara in the wake of Pink’s demise in the simplest way he could come up with.

Anyway, I had already seen on Twitter that the episode would be about „Missy“ (who due to my omission of watching the most recent eps until then hat been „that Irene Adler throwaway“ to me). So I decided to ignore the Clara nonsene along with the hell-not-another-Christianity-theme for now and concentrate on how Moffat was solving the Missy-riddle.

Next cue: Clara and the Tardis keys. Or „yes, here the writer was definitly moffating around“. This is the Tardis, the blue box that can travel through time and space and all it’s spare keys are conveniently hidden within the same frigging room? And to really embrace the stupidity of the whole „these are the only keys and this is a volcano, the only thing being able to destroy a tardis key for there are no exploding suns or something more impressive around within this oh-so-surprising dream sequence, you have to remember that THIS IS THE DOCTOR WHO CAN OPEN UP HIS TARDIS WIH A SNAP OF HIS FINGERS.

Well, at least he still could in the last season, when it was a huge thing that he does not need the frigging keys anymore. So I’m drawn between „oh, it’s a cue that this is a dream within a dream and will be explained in the 2nd part of the cliffhanger“ and „how much more of the stupid will be thrown at the viewers in this single episode“?

Of course, what one person calls „stupid and annoying“, the other calls „clever“. One of the keys being hidden in a copy Audrey Nifferegger’s „The Time-Traveler’s Wife“ had me squirming (for the main character of the novel is an extremly flimsily camouflaged version of the Doctor) and hoping for River Song showing up really soon.

Let’s make it short and bypass the Cyberman-Ianto Jones and go straight (ha!) for Missy.

Missy. Really? Missy? Apparently Moffat must have introduced that name in one of the episodes I missed and thought it … subtle? I’m so glad that internet users have become less enclined to push spoilers at unsuspecting media users. (After the episode aired it became clear hat basically all of fandom had caught on to that one.)

Anyway MISSY. Yes, of course you can kiss the Doctor on the mouth without much ado. If you’re a) River Song b) Captain Jack Harkness c) The Master in basically every clichée-ridden slash fanfiction ever written.

Now let me explain why I’m so pissed off by Moffat’s decision to gender-bend the Master:

We’re not talking about some run-off-the-mill writer and showrunner. We’re talking about Steven Moffat who is probably one of the most progressive and accomplished genre writers of this generation. We’re talking about the writer who brought Sherlock to the 21st century and who came up with an innovative use of text-overlays to communicate non-verbal action. Unfortunately, this is also the writer who gave you sharks-in-space for Christmas.

Now it seems the show is jumping the shark.

Of course you can sex-up the Doctor-Master relationship. It’s what fans have been doing for fun and it’s not very hard to do. (Yes, again you noticed the puns? Thanks for playing.) The question is whether or not it’s a good means to move character development forward. In my book it does not only fail to move it forward, it is rather moving character development back and in clumsy and most conservative way.

Some viewers might argue that of course this is changing the Doctor-Master-relationship foundamentally, but those viewers are advised to take a dictionary and look up the word „subtext“. If it were a picture-book, the Doctor and Master from „Sound of Drums“ and „Last of the Timelords“ would be plastered all over the pages. There you have yet two other Doctor-Master-cliffhangers – Moffat is seemingly catching on where he left off – with an undercurrent of BDSM-themed scenes and items along with heaps of what could be read as „unresolved sexual tension“. Actually, in these cliffhangers you have subtext hitting you on the head with two-by-four.

But let’s for now be fine with turning subtext into text that’s considered more acceptable for mainstream evening-TV by genderbending one of the characters.

(Takes a deep breath.) It’s the wrong one. Seriously. IF you want to gender-bend one of the remaining timelords, the Doctor would have been the more progressive, more innovative and more exiciting decision. What we got is the coward’s choice.

I already mentioned that Missy (or can we rather call her Mistress or Master-F? Missy sounds so derogatory, I don’t even want to type it) from the start reminded me so much of Sherlock’s Irene Adler, that I actually looked up the actress to check if they only did some make-up job.

Now Irene is Sherlock’s dominatrix (who will have him beg, TWICE, and to whom he eventuelly concedes „let’s have dinner“). At least Irene is Sherlock-the-show’s established-by-screenplay dominatrix, if you still struggle with the whole subject of subtext. What I want to say is: Nobody needs two basically identical characters in two shows written by the same people. That’s not entertaining, that’s boring.

And there’s more:

There are clichées in television – TV-tropes – and cinema that are used over and over again. Overused by the numbers of hurried, uninspired and desperate writers of the entertainment industry.

One of the clichees is that an alpha-woman has to be dangerous, the sexy femme fatale who is a threat to our beloved (male) hero and must be overcome by him or the world will end.

After having a series of strong, self-confident positive female characters on Doctor Who (Amy Pond, River Song, Rose), this female Master is a step back straight to the clichees of 1960s film noir.

Of course it’s also the easy way out of viewers asking for a more diverse reincarnation of the Doctor. While some asked for a change in ethnicity, the probably biggest and most vocal group has been calling for a female doctor for several years. What they got is not a female hero but yet another female baddie – who has to put down in her place by the male protagonist. With a female Master, a female Doctor is even more unlikely to happen, especially if there will be a sexually tinged Doctor/M relationship as seen in the early 1980s with Servalan/Blake or Servalan/Avon Servalan/Tarrant Servalan/any-other-male-character.

So, yeah. I’m still somewhat hoping for an epic shower scene. Unfortuately not the one from Psycho but the one from Dallas. Basically, I’m hoping for a trainwreck to happen.

30 Days of TV Meme – Day 4

You haven’t really thought that I’d just post that day 3 non-entry and make a run?

So, let’s move on to day 4: Day 04 – Your favorite show ever

I take this means watching reruns. And being hip-deep in fandom. Which unfortunately counters my first instinct to say ST:TOS even though Kirk and Spock seem to have been something to watch since childhood.

So let’s talk addiction. Of the insane and unhealthy kind.

My first involvement with fandom was due to a particular pairing, so that one’s out as well, as we’re looking for a show here, not for a OTP. The same probably goes for yet another show, which most likely leaves us with

The X-Files

If you’re surprised by that choice: So am I. If you had asked me for a favorite show, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it. But it is the show that for the longest amount of time had been able to hold my attention and develop their recurring charcacters.

(I’ll happily ignore the last few seasons: As we all know – Denial is a river in egypt.)

It not only works because of Mulder and Scully (or Mulder and Skinner and Kryczeck … Kryzek … Kryzeck … darn: Ratboy), but also the villains, The Lone Gunman, that worm-guy, the cirgarette-smoking-man, etc – simply all the recurring characters that gain in depth each time they return.

The overall writing is great and I think it was the first time that it was admitted and sometimes even acknowledged by in-jokes, that the writers and the audience formed a community on the internet.

Of course I loved it not only for it’s pull but also for its very lively and creative fandom. (I actually managed to sell some fandom-related articles to magazines at the time. Including some impressive fan-art that led to one magazine receiving – for the first time they claimed – requests for having the cover available as a poster).

No doubt – the show should have been cancelled while it was still fun to watch (the experience of the show’s slow demise has made me so much more lenient when it comes to cancellations of shows I love).

I also hated Scully’s cancer as much as her pregnancy as both were not taken seriously and basically, since the invention of daily soaps, both must be the lamest available plot devices for female characters on TV. Of course I was bored by all the aliens (grey, green, liquid and otherwise) that eventually crept out of plot hole Chris Carter would encounter. But I still love the show for its sheer range of entertainment.

30 Days of TV (Day 2)

You haven’t really thought I would post entries for this meme on consecutive days, did you?

So this is day two – a show I wish that more people would watch.

Now there actually is a show I really want to pimp to other people, but it’s not a show that actually fits the category “fandom meme”.

So just to get it out of the way: Go and watch “Blood, Sweat and Luxuries“. It’s a BBC documentary series that follows a group of urban youngsters from the first world to the factories and other places where the goods we all love to consume or spend money on are being produced.

The group spends some time working and connecting and living with the locals. I like the way the show brings people of the same age together who usually experience the utter opposite sides of the global markets.

The show is bold, entertaining and shocking. From what I read on the internet, it seems that it triggered quite some discussions in the UK and I really hope that it will make it to other countries. I’d rather see it dubbed than re-made with local twens, as I fear that it can easily be turned into an almost colonial version of post-Victorian Big-Brother nonsense.

So that’s what I really want you to watch, but let’s return to the gist of the meme:

I think I’ll pick “New Tricks“, not because it’s the only show I think you should watch, but because there are more categories coming up that otherwise would feature the same names and shows over and over again.

What do I like about “New Tricks”? Well, first of all it’s still on air and the overall quality of the writing hasn’t plunged after a season or two.

The show is about a group of UK police investigators in their late 50s who have come out of retirement to form a special team that reopens cases from that were closed without results 20 or more years ago.

The characters are all pleasantly flawed (they were originally sent into early retirement for a reason) and the writing thus has a somewhat interesting case and the quirky three-dimensional persons to play with.

“New Tricks” is not a show that will hold you captivated or really excited, this is almost mindless entertainment that simply doesn’t insult your tired brain. It’s entertaining, it has clever dialoge and it’s somewhat surprising.

It’s a show that has the ability to bring audiences together: It will please the whodunit-crowd, it’s playing with enough clichees to please the fandom-crowd, it’s innovative as it’s taking its main cast of “elderly” actors seriously and it will also please people who are interested in politics and modern history as many of the cases are rooted in the overall zeitgeist of the 1980s.

A Show That Never Should Have Been Cancelled

At first I thought “oh, that’s an easy one”, as there’s a host of shows that I loved and that eventually were cancelled.

Now, the problem is: I clearly remember shows that I once loved and sometimes kept watching even when the script quality and freshness had cooled down – but I remember them for hoping that there wouldn’t be another half-arsed series attached to the misery.

Seriously: I was hoping for Spike to run into a stake and eventually I wasn’t even willing to hope for some aliens (of whatever color or form) to bring an end to the X-Files.

Then there was Babylon 5, with its powerful arc and multi-layered plot, but it definitely would have profited if JMS hadn’t got that last minute (or actually “past last minute”) call that there would actually be another season. He *was* already bringing the plot to a rushed close, and rushing the showdown first and then padding it later didn’t do the show much good.

Killa (I haven’t made my mind up on linking to strictly fannish blogs from here, so there’s no link for now. I’ll probably ask first – not for paranoia but for the fact that trolls happen and Killa had her share of troll trouble already), anyway, Killa said: Odyssesy 5.

Yes! … and no. It’s one of those shows with a great first season (and as great minds think alike I only recently moved it to the DVD-player in the livingroom), but I’m fairly sure that season 2 or 3 would have sucked like a tornado.

Shows that worked and that were cancelled nevertheless: Fame, oh – and of course Highlander: It had a weak start, but with Methos the show prospered and gained in depth and quality. They could have added another season or two, but then they might have ended up like the X-Files, probably with character assassination to boot. Better a living immortal with questionable morals than a botched addition to his backstory.

OK, before this blog entry morphes into a full-blown rant:

SPACE PATROL

I say that Space Patrol (better known under it’s original title: Raumpatrouille Orion) shouldn’t have been cancelled.

A – probably fan-made – English version of the “movie” Trailer:

It’s not German patriotism that’s speaking here, it’s just that while German productions often were painfully “artistic” and intellectual or are equally painfully “mainstream, modern and full of action”, Space Patrol always stood out in its quality, self-assuredness and guts.

It’s one of the shows that is ageing beautifully and still has a huge cult following that’s even increasing as buying obscure shows on DVD internationally becomes more mainstream.

Space Patrol is older than Star Trek, has female characters who out-captain the Captain and enough wonky special effects to keep the geeks busy.

Last not least there’s the phantastic soundtrack by Peter Thomas Sound Orchester and the equally amazing dancing styles (seen at the bar where the crew hangs out after duty).

With only seven shows – in the early 2000s all of them got butchered into a 90 min film-release that’s better ignored – the show died far too young.

My father used to watch the re-runs of Raumpatrouille Orion with me, just like he introduced me to “Raumschiff Enterprise” (StarTrek:TOS). So I guess that this is my original poison.

Let’s add some YouTube vids, even when linking to YouTube often enough is an exercise in futility:

The famous and much-remixed opening tune:

Some Orion dancing:

Fandom: I love it. (30 Days of TV Meme)

I don’t know about other people’s feeling towards the worldcup, but I guess to them it’s like fandom: It’s that other “home”.

The wonderful thing about fandom is that there are strangers who come together to share the joy and excitement they feel about some idea, clever twist or punchline. Sometimes they keep in touch for years, sometime they reconnect after years as fandom-drift eventually brings them back together – and some people are just gone: Some have died or are too ill to participate any longer, some have RL commitments that keep them mostly busy, some simply lost interest and other might still be around, but with a new name and no links to the old incarnations.

I love to learn about more and more active members of fandom who use their often fandom-aquired skills to find new and better jobs or just use them to be creative in not necessarily fannish ways.

I’m a media-geek, a lit-geek. I love fanfic and fanvids and photoshopped pics. I geek out over screenplays and transcripts and jokes and references the mainstream audience will miss. I love the nitpickers and I have my pet-peeves (like throwing tomatoes at Camelot – even it’s not really supposed to be that Camelot. There still shouldn’t be any tomato-pelting taking place).

Anyway … yes, my new fandom is a party and while I still love it and it keeps me off other fandoms, it’s also as annoying as any other fandom. Really, fandom_wank should add a “politics” category. (On the other hand, it turned out that what even hard-core forum dwellers consider a “shitstorm” is nothing compared to even a somewhat heated OTP-debate.)

As party-stuff is filling my notebook and RL work is keeping me busy, I feel the urge to huddle into a cosy fannish corner and splurge on ideas that aren’t set to change the world, but there to amuse and entertain (and on the way they still mangage to change the world in unexpected ways).

Also, fandom activities were always good for my writing and overall creativity. Probably it’s all about cross-breeding plot-bunnies.

So the “30 days of TV” meme goes here. If you need an overview, it’s under the cut.

I might even link to the entries from here – but then if I tag them, that shouldn’t be necessary.

Continue reading “Fandom: I love it. (30 Days of TV Meme)”

Writing:Reboot

Well, it took longer than expected, but all those other things are now fairly under control, so I’m finally “rebooting my writing life”.

First of all, Script Frenzy is on again – or rather will be on again in April. The website is already getting busy as people are signing up and chatting on the forums. (I’m CaeVye there as well.)

The other big news is that on Friday we got the final “go” for a real life reading / art exibition event. It will take place on May 28th in Soest, Germany. As it’s a part of a bigger series of art events that started out in (hold your breath) Second Life, it will be streamed into SL as well.

On location we will also show some machinima – video clips -, posters and possibly sculptures made by the artists of the Caerleon Art Initiative. There are real life exhibitions in other countries as well, so check out the web page for more information: http://www.virtual-art-initiative.org/TTVLG/Home.html (I don’t think that the reading has already been added.)

So … see you out there.