damkianna: A cap of Padme Amidala from Star Wars, with accompanying text: "Queen". (Queen.)
[personal profile] damkianna
All my regular TV shows are basically pleasing me and so I've got basically nothing to say about them. [personal profile] idriya and I are working our way through Fringe, via Netflix, and also through Blindspot, but so far I don't have much to say about those either except OLIVIA and ASTRID and SIF, yay. So instead I guess I'll talk about a) movies and b) shows that are dead or else I have problems with them. Whee! These are in order from "least to say" to "most to say", and are cut for spoilers.

We watched Man from UNCLE over New Year's, and honestly that seems apropos because it was kind of like everybody always tells me champagne is: light and sweet and bubbly, easy and pleasant going down, nothing that leaves a strong impression but not in a bad way. (My actual experience of champagne? "This burns and tastes disgusting and I hate it." But I digress.) It was slick and shiny in a way I'm starting to associate with Guy Ritchie and do not dislike; it was pretty and witty, and all the gleaming sharp spy games led up to that quiet final scene of real emotion, throwing a watch and burning a tape, in a way that was just enough to satisfy me as to all the characters actually caring about each other, which is all I really wanted.

I have to admit I didn't care for Gaby slapping Illya—it didn't seem funny or cute to me, it just kind of came out of nowhere and was weird? I don't know, that didn't work for me. But I loved Gaby and Illya and Napoleon individually, I loved the reveal about Gaby and them all saving each other, and everything was just barely MUNCLE-level silly enough for me to not be put off by things that might bother me more in other movies (bystander deaths, so much whiteness, Napoleon's stupid mom barb near the beginning, etc.). Like, if I had LOVED this, I would have wanted it to be PERFECT and have nothing that bothered me in it; but I didn't, I just liked it fine and it was reasonably fun to watch. *hands*

I didn't watch Quantico while it was airing, but I'm catching up on it now kind of for the hell of it, just because of Priyanka Chopra. Its strength is definitely the women, which is really nice—I LOVE Miranda and Alex's mentor/mentee relationship, Alex and Shelby's friendship, Alex and Natalie's rivalry, Nimah and Raina's sisterly conflicts, etc. The diversity of the women and their relationships with each other really highlights the boringness of the men, though; I'm glad Simon is there, and glad Elias is actually gay instead of faking it like Simon was, but aside from them, Liam and Ryan and Caleb are kind of all cut from the same "troubled straight white guy" mold. :/ (It also feels like someone noticed this partway through and that's why Charlie got parole and Brandon started getting actual lines of dialogue. But they're still not really part of the main group.)

But, like so many sort of 24-style action/thriller shows, I'm not at all buying the plotting. It's just so ludicrously obvious that they were basically starting off each episode trying to make me suspicious of somebody new, and then over the course of that episode we learned about that person and it wasn't them/they're actually a good person or in love or just sad and lonely/they're convinced to switch to Alex's side. Which, I can't object to the RESULTS, okay, because I really wanted all the NATs to be innocent and also band together to help each other out of ~loyalty~, yum. But the way it's set up is simultaneously manipulative and predictable in a way that doesn't make me think super highly of the writing. (Also, it's hilarious to me that every single one of these people is actually hiding a ~dark secret. Like, seriously? Didn't the FBI do background checks/screens before admitting these weirdos to Quantico?)

STILL. Priyanka Chopra and her glorious hair are excellent as Alex, and there's just enough moving character moments sprinkled in at just the right intervals that I really do care about most of the characters. (Except Liam, I don't like him and he bores me. Caleb and Ryan are okay, though.) I haven't quite finished all the episodes, but I'm spoiled for the end of the season and aware that Elias is a bad guy, which does piss me off—I was so glad there was an actual gay dude, since they revealed that Simon was lying about his sexuality on purpose, and so glad that gay dude got to call Simon out, and now that gay dude is a coward and also a villain? Bleh. But it's reasonable brain popcorn, and I'm willing to read up on new episodes on Wikipedia and maybe keep downing it in gulps during its hiatuses. We'll see.

Also didn't watch Strange Empire while it was airing, partly because I'm not sure it was showing anywhere but Canada? But the episodes are all up on CBC's website, and with my VPN set to make me look as though I were in Toronto, I was able to watch them. \o/

I ... man, I'm not even sure where to start. This show was grim (SO GRIM, death and beatings and violent rape and corrective rape and spousal rape and child abuse, some offscreen but not all) and odd, and I'm not sure whether it was trying to tell the story I wanted it to be telling and just didn't quite manage it, or it was trying to tell some other story completely and accidentally told pieces of a story I wanted along the way. I loved the first, mm, six or seven episodes? And then it just sort of started coming apart for me, IDEK. I've heard elsewhere that some people apparently disliked it because the pacing was too slow, but for my part the pacing was too fast—especially with regard to people's relationships, unless this is another thing where I just don't really grasp how genuinely motivated sexual people are to bang each other? IT'S SO HARD TO TELL. /o\

Anyway. I loved Kat and Becca and Isabelle, loved having the show focus so clearly on them (though in some ways most of what they did was reactive, and the true mover of the main plot was John, which did bug me a little). It was kind of anvilly, but I also really liked that they explicitly dealt with Kat's Métis identity, that her children struggled with it and the town struggled with it, and that she struggled with it, or had, but also so clearly loved her aunties. ♥ And Briggs! STELLA KOWALSKI. WHAT ARE YOU DOING RUNNING A SALOON. Honestly the whole cast was just great, Briggs and Fiona and Miss Logan, Kelly and Robin, Ruby and Mary, even Ling's mother.

And I absolutely adored the women and the miners beginning to build a community together, forming a town out of nothing, trying to work out how to take care of each other in the middle of nowhere with John Slotter breathing down all their necks. And Kat as the sheriff, trying to figure out what it means to be the law in a lawless place and how to represent authority when authority is so often corrupt—AWESOME. ALL OF THAT PLEASE. I loved Becca reacting when Kat was about to be hanged ("it needs to be higher, you don't understand—"), I loved that Kat wasn't where they stopped and the town doctor was also a woman. And Isabelle! ISABELLE. Oh, my god, Isabelle. So haughty and manipulative and lovely and lonely and smart and cruel, so practical, so ruthless, so much in pain and no one else ever allowed to see it. ISABEEEEEEELLE.

Ahem. And then the second half of the season happened, and I'm still kind of trying to wrap my head around it. I felt like the characterization started to get weirdly inconsistent—first John was delighted with claiming Mary's son, and then he was angry and hated the kid and was about to kill it with his bare hands? What? First Ruby was like the only voice of sense in the entire Slotter household, and everything she said was kind and sensible and pretty strongly moral (I mean, as much as it could be, in this show), and then ... she dressed up for Cornelius Slotter, that heinous asshole, and suddenly seemed to completely lose all her previous perspective on right and wrong? And Becca and Morgan—I would have bought the "you hold me back" argument if it had happened right after Morgan had freaked out about Becca cutting out Thomas's heart after he died. But after you vivisect somebody, Becca, I'm sorry, it is ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE for someone to hold you back, Jesus Christ. D:

That whole sequence seemed especially odd after Becca was so concerned about Kelly and Robin to start with and so angry at herself for not caring enough about the trapped miners—like, as a subplot for Becca, those things didn't really segue into each other in a way that made sense to me. Her autism and love of science didn't stop her from wanting to help rather than hurt people the entire rest of the season. And I see why the writers liked the idea of her drawing parallels between Kat and John and herself, but in my opinion that completely fucking falls apart the second you think about it. Cutting somebody's throat in self-defense and shooting men who are hurting others have absolutely nothing to do with systematically murdering people, setting the remainder up to basically be raped repeatedly for the rest of their lives, turning people out of their homes, raping and beating people yourself ... The vivisection certainly got Becca closer, but as noted, I felt like that part was a completely weird place to take her character and made no sense, so.

And it didn't have to be like that, because I actually really can buy Isabelle deciding to kill John, and then finding out he's not dead and going to give him guns and get him away from the gallows—knowing Kat would kill him within ten minutes? Not knowing? It makes sense to me for her either way, frankly. And, oh, the whiplash over the last minute of the last episode: how much did I LOVE Kat and Isabelle marrying of convenience? GOD DAMN, SO MUCH. How much did I snicker in uncontrollable contempt and disbelief over Jeremiah just ... wandering right into Janestown, somehow, and then immediately being grabbed and dragged right out of frame while Kat screams his name, AGAIN? GOD DAMN, SO MUCH. That was just downright ridiculous. Good lord.

So in the end my feelings are solidly mixed. I hear it's been canceled, which on the one hand is too bad because I would have loved to see that show minus John Slotter fucking everything up for absolutely everyone, including himself; but on the other hand, I didn't really get the feeling that it knew where it was going with everything, which would probably only have frustrated me in the end. Also, wherever it would have gone probably wouldn't have been the glorious Kat/Isabelle slow-burn marriage-of-convenience story that I now desperately want. So, yeah. Very interesting show, no idea whether I actually recommend it.

We watched Episode IV on Christmas Eve, and then Episodes V and VI on Christmas Day, and then we went out Christmas Day evening for Episode VII, and were NOT AT ALL DISAPPOINTED. :D

Is it totally valid to feel like VII was just sort of a remix of IV, except with a bigger Death Star? Yes! But that was exactly what I wanted from VII: more of why I like Star Wars in the first place, more massive explosions and destroying planetkillers and untrained wide-eyed sweethearts who are ~strong in the Force~ blowing the Dark Side out of the water. So I wasn't disappointed by that aspect in the least. (Especially since the movie kind of lampshaded it with the planning scene at the end, like, yes, this is basically a much larger Death Star, yes, we're going to blow it up just like we blew up the last one, and yes, you're going to enjoy it, so sit back and embrace the explosions we are about to show you. ♥)

Many, many people have already said all the things about Rey and Poe and Finn, so I don't really think there's much I can add to that; I loved them all, loved their kindness and compassion and strength, loved how much and how quickly they learned to care about each other—I loved every damn thing. The only thing that was missing was Rey and Poe getting to meet each other and immediately fall in love the way Rey and Finn got to do and Finn and Poe got to do, so I'm looking forward to that a lot. :D And of course I loved General Organa, loved seeing Han and Chewie and Luke again—hell, even C-3PO. The Star Wars universe is so glorious and colorful and noisy and full of stuff, I loved getting to go to it again (live-action, on a big screen; don't get me wrong, I've read Wookieepedia for DAYS, but it isn't quite the same). UGH YAY I LOVE STAR WARS SO MUCH.

Ahem. SO. Instead of talking about all the stuff I loved that everybody else also loved, I'll move on to things I've seen disagreement about/things I had quibbles with. Which, they were quibbles I can deal with, because STAR WARS YAY UGH MY HEART, but still.

First off, the fact that our heroes typically slaughter opposing mooks right and left is kind of a standard trope in the Star Wars universe, and not at all unexpected. BUT it gets way, way more difficult to ignore in a movie that so emphasizes letting one Stormtrooper take off his mask and become a person. I mean, I think about that kind of thing all the time, but as long as the movies didn't, I could buy that there just—wasn't space to, kind of; that the writers hadn't thought about it or didn't care, or both. But the second you make part of the point of the movie that this one particular Stormtrooper is a person and a good guy and afraid sometimes but also brave, kind, funny ... After that, it just gets EGREGIOUSLY fucked up, in my opinion, that everybody spends the rest of the movie shooting Stormtroopers in the face without even blinking. Even Finn. D: D: D: D: D: Like, for me, once you've opened that can of worms you can't really close it again; just because the rest of the movie is shiny and bright and fast-moving, you can't expect me to FORGET that every other Stormtrooper getting mowed down in front of me is a kid who was stolen from their family and brainwashed and has probably been physically and emotionally abused in a wide variety of ways ever since. I mean, that's not really a level of fucked-up that I would have expected TFA to get into! But I expected it to avoid that by ignoring it like the other movies, not by shoving it in my face and then asking me to forget to care about it. (For all I know, VIII and IX will be all about this. But right now, I'm looking at just VII and I have to say, wtf. D:) And, I don't know, it also seems pretty messed up that they switched over to kid-stealing, i.e. the Stormtroopers are no longer clones, in the same movie where one is a main character. Did someone think it would be harder for audiences to care about a clone trooper than someone who was more obviously an individual? (Were they right?) Eeesh.

That's the really big quibble. Aside from that, all I want to know is why Abrams makes science fiction movies when he seems to hate science so much, because seriously what the hell was that scene with the Republic government planets visibly exploding in the sky??? Is Takodana in the same solar system? Because then and only then will I buy that it was close enough for that to be seen within minutes or hours of it actually occurring. Just have people watching it on a viewscreen somewhere, for fuck's sake—a satellite or space station orbiting the Republic Alliance planets could last long enough to broadcast that! COME ON, MAN. ("Phantom energy" is a shitty explanation.)

AND THEN. While I completely understand why people suspect that Rey's a Skywalker, I'm on the fence; a) I can't figure out any way in which it makes sense for any other Skywalkers to have dumped her on Jakku like that and left her there, and b) then why is her accent British??? NO SKYWALKERS ARE BRITISH. So if she is a Skywalker, that won't actively frustrate me, but I won't fully understand why they chose to do it that way. Let's face it: Skywalkers obviously can't be trusted with the Force! GIVE YOUR LIGHTSABERS TO OTHER PEOPLE AND LET THEM HAVE A TRY, SKYWALKERS. Leia's the only one of you who's made it through middle age without dragging herself or others down into the Dark Side, and she's also the only one who doesn't use her Force powers for stuff (except maybe inspiring people and/or mental bonds with family members). QED. (As a side note: everybody fucking falling to the Dark Side all the goddamn time was one of the reasons I've never fully emotionally invested in the Expanded Universe. I understand the reasons why, in a Doylist sense, because it's by far the most obvious and most compelling crisis you can put a Jedi character through. But in a Watsonian sense, it makes everybody who's ever trained anyone to use the Force look COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT. You guys have had like ten thousand years to try to figure out a good way to keep people from falling to the Dark. why are you still so bad at it)

I'm 200% on board for Force-sensitive Finn, though, especially because I feel like I remember some dim side-canon or fanon that only Force-sensitives were even capable of using lightsabers without cutting their own limbs off. And he did a pretty good job with it, for somebody who'd only ever used a blaster before. Also if the rumors I hear about Gugu Mbatha-Raw turn out to be reality, I will be delighted; if she is in fact a blaster-wielding smooth-talking Calrissian relation, I will DIE OF JOY.

And then there's Kylo Ren! Whom I do not especially like or care about, except I see people saying things about him that seem bizarre and don't make sense to me. The entire narrative thread of I through VI builds up to the redemption of a man who precipitated, abetted, and/or participated directly in more murders/mass deaths/war crimes than can probably be counted. Kylo Ren killing his dad is definitely not enough to eliminate the possibility of a redemption arc, especially when that's such a huge theme of Star Wars canon. No matter how many choices you've already made and where they've led you, Star Wars says you can always come back; you are never wholly lost, never fully irredeemable. And, tbh, as a longtime fan of Xena, I can't justly disagree. Redemption also makes sense for him, in my opinion, in that it gives Han's death much more meaning—that he died trying to reach out to someone who really did need to be reached out for, who'll learn to deeply regret that death, seems a lot more poignant to me than that he died totally uselessly doing something completely stupid that never would have worked anyway.

Man, I should chop that up and post it to tumblr as meta. It would be more content than I've managed to generate over there in years. :D

Also, there was this AO3 meme that was going around ... oh, before Christmas sometime, I'm sure—anyway, I copied it into the document where I draft posts, and now that Yuletide reveals are well behind us, I've finally filled it out!

These stats include anonymous works and do not include vids, since some of those are zero words and I only wanted to calculate averages once. :D

Account Created: 2010-09-06
Link to AO3: Damkianna
Total Works: 36
Total Wordcount: 694,021 (not counting lyrics of vids!)
Average Wordcount: 19,278 words
Longest Story: Listen to the Earth (204,316 words)
Shortest Story: there will be killing ('til the score is paid) (1,390 words)
Total Kudos: 2288
Average Kudos: 63.5
Story With the Most Kudos: Imagine the Ocean (309 kudos)
Total Comment Threads: 411
Average Comment Threads: 11.4
Story With the Most Comment Threads: Listen to the Earth (67 comment threads)
Total Author Subscriptions: 74
Total Story Subscriptions: 84 (none of the vids have any, so they're not affecting this count)
Story With the Most Subscriptions: Listen to the Earth (45 subscriptions)
Total Bookmarks: 649
Story With the Most Bookmarks: The Spiral of Lives (93), just edging out Imagine the Ocean's 89
Stories With No Comments or Kudos: Delightfully, none—everything I posted before kudos were implemented has received kudos since. I don't have any sort of non-AO3 backlist that lies backdated and kudoless, either, since I only started generating fannish output after the AO3 came into existence. Good timing!

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damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

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