The other week I had pure freedom to loaf around, so I firmly planted myself on the couch and hit the Netflix hard. Luckily for me, Into the Badlands, a show that had caught my eye before, was finally available. I’d only seen trailers online before for this post-apocalyptic show (brought to us by AMC, continuing their move from movies to original programming like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead). About two minutes in, I was hooked. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was quite this excited and engrossed by a new show, which is saying a lot. How is it awesome? In every way possible. Let’s take a look!
About a month ago, I wrote a post that was mostly about Michelle Rodriguez kind of putting her foot in her mouth while talking about race and superhero films. It was of the most forgivable sort; she was walking to her car when someone stuck a microphone in her face and she said something off the cuff that had the veneer of being reasonable. She even went back and explained, in a mature fashion, what she meant after being met with backlash. I still think she was wrong. Change the gender, race, ability, and sexuality of white, male, straight, cis, and abled characters. Do it often, and be bold about it, because there’s nothing to lose, and there is only inclusion to gain.
The subject of “loss” brings me closer to my actual point: a significant proportion of white male rage over changing the gender and race of superheroes can be connected to a sense of loss. I’ve previously emphasized that it represents a fear of “loss of cultural property”, but I’d like to broaden my point for a second before returning to it. This fear is a microcosm of the larger fear of loss of those who occupy a dominant position in our society.
We’re roughly at the midpoint of this saga, now. While George R.R. Martin is still talking like he’ll write seven books, this is the man who once promised his editors a trilogy of Ice and Fire. With last-book splits in Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, I think we can safely expect Game of Thrones to last eight years.
When we last left for the real world, the social order of Westeros had frayed like never before. Tywin Lannister, Hand to three of the past four kings, lies dead, murdered by his son Tyrion, the latter fled into exile. Cersei, Queen Regent and now the sole backer of her son, King Tommen, descends into paranoia as she recoils from the loss of her father and son. Two powerful pretenders remain, Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen, and both gather foreign forces to claim a land which does not crave their rule; Stannis mortgages the realm to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and Dany leads monsters and mercenaries across the sea.
Violence, chaos, and power dynamics herald the start of the fifth season.
To all of you who grew up getting a forty-five minute weekly dose of Lucy Lawless crushing men’s skulls with her perfectly sculpted thighs, you have no idea how lucky you are. You, in your starry-eyed youth, were exposed to Xena long before anyone really grasped how bad the sets or the production value were, allowing you to absorb the show’s badassery and high potential for lesbian relationships without distraction. I grew up with non-geek parents who hated television, so my first experience with Xena was just a few weeks ago, as a tangential but awesome adventure on my personal quest for Karl Urban’s fine Kiwi ass.
For those of you who have forgotten (or have, by some great misfortune, never seen the show at all), Xena: Warrior Princess follows the loosely connected episodic adventures of the title character (played by Lucy Lawless) and her totally-not-girlfriend Gabrielle (played by Renee O’Connor) as they adventure around doing good and fighting evil against canvas scenery backdrops painted by interns. Apparently Xena killed a lot of people and destroyed a bunch of stuff at some point and is on a quest for atonement. Many episodes are based loosely on Greek mythology, but some other artistically interpreted cultural influences show up as well. Continue reading
I smoke tobacco pipes. I’ve enjoyed them since I turned 18 and even make them. So, I am pleased when I see television or movies including characters smoking their pipes. You’ll never know where pipe smokers are going to turn up in these things, from Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds to Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. Even the First and Fourth Doctors in Doctor Who were seen smoking pipes. However, I’m almost always infuriated when I see how they smoke them. This is because many times the characters smoke their pipes wrong. Typically, these characters seem to be most interested in making as much smoke as possible. This isn’t wrong because of arbitrary etiquette, but rather is wrong because it ruins the taste of the tobacco, burns the mouth, and can ruin a pipe over time.
We’re finally closing in on the premiere of Series 7, with around a month left to go! (Although the BBC still hasn’t released an actual premiere date, so I suppose we’re just shooting in the dark?) What I assume is the final trailer before that happens has hit the web, and it contains some exciting stuff that can’t wait for next Tuesday.
This exciting stuff includes: one zillion Daleks, baby Weeping Angels, Ponds, the Doctor angsting about his past, the Doctor angsting about being a badass, River in a cool hat, and DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP. And from what I can tell between the trailer and the episode titles that have been released so far, that’s only in the first four or five episodes!
The BBC’s website didn’t have an embed link, so check it out here!
Edited to add embedded trailer!
I am starting to get tired of waiting for Series 7 and the 50th Anniversary special! Who’s with me?
Some plot spoilers and set photos and whatnot have been creeping out over the past few months, and we know that there are a few certainties: the Ponds are leaving, new Companion played by Jenna-Louise Coleman (and possibly named Clara?) is joining Team TARDIS, and the Daleks and Weeping Angels will be making appearances (as might Madame Vastra, the awesome lesbian Silurian Victorian ninja).
That still leaves a lot of wiggle room, though, for my wish list. I mean, we don’t even have any idea what will happen in the 50th Anniversary special, which won’t be occuring until 2013. Let’s throw out some ideas and hope Steven Moffat reads this blog.
- Possibly!Clara has been billed as a fast-talker and a match for the Doctor’s exuberance. Pleasepleaseplease keep her in check, or make the Doctor a little bit more subdued. He already has puppy-like boundless energy and he really needs a more Donna-like check on his craziness than someone who will out-crazy him.
- The Ponds’ leaving has already been drawn out unecessarily what with bringing them back after the Doctor already said goodbye once. Give their farewell some dignity, don’t make it unnecessarily tearjerking just for the sake of tearjerkingness, etc.
- Make the scary villains scary again. The Weeping Angels have been a little over-exposed in my opinion, and their appearance in Eleven clashed with the canon given in Ten that they could be any statue. The Daleks are sort of a joke at this point. Make them scary again. (Although with a first episode titled ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, I think I may get my wish.)
- Exciting new locales, please! Let’s try dinosaurs (which I seem to recall might have been hinted at, or I just saw fanart of the Doctor riding a dinosaur and got confused…) or, y’know, anywhere in Asia or Africa since they’re basically never been seen (an Egypt episode! or mix up the constant WWI and WWII stories with an Asian world war setting! Literally anywhere on those forgotten-by-the-writers continents would be nice!)
- I’ve heard speculation that the ‘Doctor’s true identity’ plotline ties back into a plot arc that had to be scrapped when Seven was taken off the air twenty years ago. It would be really awesome if we could have a more solid tie to Old Who than just the recurring villains.
- Lady Bacula expressly desires a Cervantes episode where Eleven is the inspiration for Don Quixote. I want an Oscar Wilde episode if they can make it a proper episode and not a PSA gay-issues story.
- Can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Fewer timey-wimey shenanigans? The whole kerfuffle with River about broke my brain, and I have a high tolerance for timey-wimey stuff—hell, I’ve seen the Star Trek reboot at least ten times.
- I’m still not exactly sure how the hole in the universe thing/the big bang affected the actions of previous Doctors, or the spinoff-series universes (I’m three seasons behind in Torchwood) but I’d like to see some reunions for past companions. I’ve heard ideas tossed around regarding a multi-Doctor mashup a la Time Crash or Old Who’s The Five Doctors, but that could be tricky considering Eccleston’s definitely not gonna come back and as much as I love Rose, she needs to stay in Pete’s World—she got several last hurrahs and a Doctor of her own, and bringing her back randomly would be a great way to make the fans think DW‘s writers are truly out of ideas. Mostly I want Jack Harkness back. I know he’s working full time at Torchwood now but he could benefit from a more light-hearted adventure. And fan theories about him being the Time Agent who arrested River Song abound.
- I see no real reason to switch Doctors at this point, but the world could be a better place if the 50th Anniversary special gave us a regeneration into a POC or female Doctor.
- If nothing else happens in the whole of the seventh season and the 50th Anniversary special, FIX DONNA NOBLE. SHE WAS YOUR BEST FRIEND, DOCTOR, AND YOU RAPED HER MIND ‘IN HER BEST INTERESTS’ AND LEFT HER A SAD, SELF-ESTEEMLESS SHELL OF HER FORMER SELF. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A DICK FOR THAT UNLESS YOU FIX HER. DON’T WHINE ABOUT GUILT—DO SOMETHING.
What else would you like to see in the upcoming season? Only two more grueling months of Wholessness till we can be happy (or at least angry at Moffat) again.
Firefly is one of those shows that everyone assumes that you, dear reader, as a sci-fi fan, have watched. After all, it’s only one short season and a movie. And it was written by Joss Whedon, god of screenwriting. (See: the awesomeness of The Avengers and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, for just a few examples.)
But full disclosure: I didn’t watch Firefly until about a month ago. So let me tell you what it’s all about, and what’s good and bad about it.
First of all, the story: Firefly is the tale of a ragtag crew on the Firefly Class spaceship Serenity. They do odd jobs—shipping, passenger transport, etc.—to make money, and they’re unconcerned about the legality of said work. They take on a brother and sister as passengers who are, unbeknownst to them, on the run from the law, and the adventures proceed from there. As a friend and I painstakingly explained to another friend who didn’t understand the concept of a space opera, Firefly is basically a western but with spaceships instead of horse-drawn carriages.
So what’s so great about this show? The short answer is the characters and the dialogue. The characters are each unique and nuanced in their own wonderful ways: soldier-turned-smuggler with a heart of gold Captain Malcolm Reynolds, brilliant mechanic Kaylee, violence-loving soldier of fortune Jayne, wisecracking pilot Wash,
whore companion with a heart of gold Inara, etc. etc. As is expected from Joss Whedon, the female characters shine in this show, each avoiding trite stereotypes. The dialogue is snappy and clever, including such gems (that you’ve probably heard but didn’t know were from Firefly) as:
“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”
“I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.”
(upon seeing something sexy) “I’ll be in my bunk.”
A warning about the plot of Firefly, though: it doesn’t have much of one. The government’s pursuit of River and Simon, the brother and sister duo, follows the crew of Serenity throughout the fourteen episodes of the first season, but all in all it’s very episodic. Certainly not the most compelling or best show I’ve ever watched, but still very good, and a short time commitment compared to other epic sci-fi shows spanning several seasons.
That, of course, is part of the hype of Firefly: nerds everywhere lament that Fox canceled the show before it could get more than one season on air, and fans banding together got enough of a complaint out there that they got the cast reunited for the movie, Serenity.
I can see both sides of this: what the nerds saw that made them want to have more, and why the studios didn’t care to renew it. But I’d definitely recommend that you add this to your sci-fi repertoire if you haven’t seen it yet—it’s pretty shiny. (That’s cool in Firefly-slang. ;D)
You guys, this is just not fair. We are given this awesome, creepy, funny, -dare I say- cool trailer, and there are still like six months before we get to actually watch this season.
Down to the nitty gritty: A close watching of the trailer reveals cyborgs, stetsons, Egyptians, explosions, swords, guns, a guy who looks vaguely like Mickey Smith but couldn’t possibly be, and, of course, Eleven being clever and snarky all over the damn place.
As an aside, though: how will Amy and Rory rejoin Team TARDIS? Why do they have to? I know Moffat has tweeted that they will be gone for finally in a Weeping Angel storyline in episode 5, but I was honestly happy with the way they went out last season. Oh well.
Anyway, get excited, Whovians! Our first glimpse of the 50th Anniversary series has arrived!