beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
Go, then. There are other worlds than these.
- Jake Chambers, Stephen King's The Gunslinger

So I wanted to post something for Buffy's 20th birthday, and why I still care so much about this little series, but I wasn't sure just what until I started a rewatch and got to this line in "The Harvest":

JOYCE: Everything's the end of the world when you're a 16-year-old girl.

Which got me to this:

She saved the world. A lot.

Which got me thinking about just what the hell (heh) the "world" and saving it means in terms of the Buffy- and Jossverses, and why that would matter. You're in my world now. )

TV stuff

Mar. 12th, 2016 10:47 am
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
Thoughts on some series I've been watching recently.

Agent Carter, season 2
Was it just me, or did it feel like the writers were just as surprised as everyone else that they actually got a season 2? Spoilers whole season )

Agents of SHIELD, 3.11
That was... actually pretty good? Spoilers )

The 100
I'm done, I'm out, I'm gone. Spoilers 3.07 )

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, season 11
No show should ever run for 11 seasons. That said, the Gang still manage to wring humour from utterly despicable characters for another round. They've got their character dynamics down so well they can plop them into any plot - this season, including an 80s college comedy and a courtroom drama - and just let them wreak havoc on each other. The shtick is old and we know what's coming, but in a world where Full House gets rebooted, I'm glad IASIP exists to remind us that sitcoms were always just 22-minute slices of sociopathy.

Plus, y'know, if you're going to satirize Trump, do it right.

Oh well. Bring on Game of Thrones and Daredevil. (Has anyone written a Weredevil AU? I'd be disappointed with fandom otherwise.)
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
I had a weird nightmare last night. I'm not saying it was a premonition or anything like that, just that when I tried to write it down this morning I promptly forgot it when I saw the headline "WES CRAVEN DEAD".

I grew up on Craven's movies - the ones I could find in reasonably non-mutilated state in my local video store, at least - and it's hard to imagine a Buffy TV series getting greenlit without the success of Scream.



I mentioned nightmares. His three big franchises - The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm St and Scream - all worked (arguably up to a point) because they understood what dreams do, the fundamental weirdness that we spend a third of our lives unconscious giving our brains free rein: They take things we pretend we don't know and make us face the monster under the bed. The people left behind as part of our progress, the murders swept under the rug, the things you can't talk about in daylight. The calls that come from inside the house. You can choose not to go to summer camp, you can choose not to go to that weird cabin in the woods, you can choose not to build on top of graveyard... you can't choose not to dream. That Scream took the idea to another meta level made perfect sense, because where do those nightmares turn up? In horror movies.

Don't go there, Sid. You're starting to sound like some Wes Carpenter flick or something. Don't freak yourself out, okay? We've got a long night ahead of us.

He always brought a level of humour and self-awareness to his movies, not to replace horror (OK, some of the Elm St sequels got pretty ridiculous), but to heighten it, to make it more human, but also to help us handle it. You can't choose not to dream, but you can always fight back if you know the rules - just don't expect to ever, y'know, win permanently. He weaponised the sequel: The battle always goes on.



I rewatched Nightmare on Elm St for the Nth time a few weeks ago - the original, with a tiny Johnny Depp getting killed in one of the most memorable movie deaths I know - and it's still ridiculously good. 30 years of deconstructions, reconstructions, CGI advances and so-called culture wars (and if we're honest, some pretty crappy sequels) haven't taken one jot of power from Nancy desperately trying to make her parents understand that nightmares are real - and unlike all those other Final Girls of the 80s, calmly and deliberately taking matters into her own hands when they refuse to admit what they've created.

Thank you, Mr Craven. Sweet dreams.
beer_good_foamy: (Sugarshock)
The other day, [livejournal.com profile] curiouswombat (ETA: sorry, can't brain) posted something about real-life Swedish chefs. Here's a typical one in action this morning:

Swedish TV Host Starts Fire Live on Air While Frying Cheese Doodles for Some Reason


In other news, under the cut, my thoughts on s3 of House of Cards (the weather was really unbearable this weekend). The short version: not all that impressed. While the first two seasons never really reached the heights of the original BBC series, it was still often really entertaining, and brilliant binge TV. Now, though...

Spoilers all of s3 )
beer_good_foamy: (Yes! Yes! Rawwwwwk!)
I promised [livejournal.com profile] red_satin_doll I'd post some Nick Cave songs for beginners. Which is tricky, because much like that other lot of artists he often gets lumped in with (Leonard, Bob, Patti, Tom, etc) he can be a bit of an acquired taste; at once a horrible and fantastic singer, a whiny dealer of manpain and violence, and a viciously funny or heartbreaking deconstructor of it... There's his band, the Bad Seeds, who can play just about anything in the space between folk and punk as if they just got out of bed after spending three days getting drunk and listening to old blues records. He is one of the best lyricists in rock music - one of the few whose lyrics can even hold up without the music. His lyrics read like short stories, or even complete novels condensed to 5 minutes, with character voices, context and backstory snuck in through subtle little references to everything from the Bible (much like with Cohen and Dylan, there's a LOT of biblical imagery in his songs without it being necessarily religious) to Miley Cyrus.

So here goes, ten songs from young punk to elder statesman of rock'n'roll.

The beast it cometh, cometh down )

Also, a few thoughts on his 1996 album Murder Ballads as it relates to narratives about, to quote Johnny Cash, love, god and murder:
So it's Rorschach and Prozac and everything is groovy! )
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
Here's a nice piece of meta I really liked:

Foz Meadows on Orphan Black, gender, "likeable characters" and the difference between male and female characters' redemption arcs

...with various examples from the Buffyverse, MCU etc. If you haven't watched Orphan Black yet, there are no real spoilers in this piece (but then again, you should have watched s1 of Orphan Black already).

Good women can redeem broken men, but good men can’t redeem broken women, because once we’re broken, we lose our virtue; and without our virtue, we’re no longer women, but monsters, witches and viragos. Which is why, to come full circle, I fucking love the fact that Orphan Black’s Sarah Manning isn’t always sympathetic; isn’t always traditionally likeable.



In other news, I got to see the Globe To Globe production of Hamlet yesterday. This is the small, stripped-down version of Hamlet that the Globe Theatre has taken on the road and plan to keep going for 2 years, visiting every single country on the planet, and I really hope they pull it off because this was AWESOME. No huge bells and whistles or deconstructions, just an energetic, timeless version of the play that, IMO, blows (for instance) Tennant's out of the water. Ladi Emeruwa and Amanda Wilkin are a brilliant Hamlet and Ophelia - Wilkin in particular steals the show when she gradually goes from infatuated young woman to pawn in a political game to crushing grief - but it's Keith Bartlett who really shines as Polonius, who arguably is the... if not villain, then prime mover in this production; he's a clown, a confused old coot who thinks he's wise, but everyone listens to him and it's his insistence that it's all about Hamlet/Ophelia that derails the situation beyond repair and gets everyone killed. (OK, arguably the point of Hamlet is that everyone dies and need to face that, but that's another matter.)

Oh, and great solution for how to do the "To be or not to be" bit too. As they pointed out in Slings and Arrows (another TV show you should also see if you haven't already), "To be or not to be" is hopeless: EVERYONE comes to Hamlet expecting to hear it, and whatever you do with it, whatever tricks you pull, you'll never live up to expectations. So the Globe To Globe production has Hamlet suddenly burst onto the stage just as Polonius and Claudius withdraw, with no build-up whatsoever, already in the middle of a train of thought, reasoning with himself, assured that he's faking insanity while oblivious to the fact that he's clearly letting the illusion take over. "We are who we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be," to quote Vonnegut.
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
Fan edits to the rescue: HIMYM alternate ending, get it before the lawyers do.


ETA: Aaaand, whaddyaknow, it's gone. Almost as if the Powers That Be don't approve of alternatives.

Yes, it's childish, in a way. I don't care. If nothing else, it makes me less annoyed that they used "Downtown Train" (even if it's a cover) for that scene; HIMYM always had good music choices, and I really don't want to have to connect my favourite songs to ... less favourite endings.

As for the finale itself, Alan Sepinwall says it best.

Just a few disjointed thoughts, under the cut.

spoilers for HIMYM and Breaking Bad )
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
This gets kind of pretentious and ranty, much like me.

You know the joke? Two men are out walking in the desert. Suddenly, a lion appears and starts to circle them, clearly seeing them as dinner. One of the men quickly gets out a pair of running shoes and puts them on. The other guy says, "Do you really think you can outrun a lion in those?" The first guy replies "I don't have to outrun the lion, I just have to outrun you."

So, this article: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I went into a bit of a rant over on [livejournal.com profile] sueworld2003's journal, and I thought I'd better expand on it. Because this article really annoys me on several points that go way beyond the TV series in question - not just as a Whedon fan, but as a fan of well-written meta and criticism in general, and about popular entertainment in particular. And also, about the tired old argument that good shows always have shaky first seasons.

Grr. Arrg. )
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (which I guess will forevermore make it impossible to talk about The Shield in Whedon fandom without causing confusion): Vauge spoilers for the first two eps )

Breaking Bad. Other people have said it better than I could, so I'll just note that damn, that was a brilliant, brilliant series finale.

...OK, I do have a few words.

Now, everyone loves a good anti-hero. Or anti-villain. Let's face it, apart from The Middleman, uncomplicated knights in shining armour are boring (which, again, most action series...) We love those shades of grey, we love to see good people do bad things... and bad people too. A lot of great TV series of the last 10 years have spent season upon season digging deeper into the souls of people doing horrible things for, what they maintain, are good reasons. At the centre is usually a man, who more-or-less genuinely Loves His Family, who has his own Code Of Honour, who does things for what he things are The Greater Good, who is trapped in a Culture Of Violence, etc etc etc. Basically, he is Just Like Us. Except he's also a (check any that may apply) racist, misogynist, sociopathic, mass-murdering, drug-dealing, hit-ordering, raping, self-righteous, hypocritical, wilfully-blind-to-the-effects-of-his-actions villain. Fine; those make for good stories. But sooner or later you get to the point where you need to end this story. And then what? You can't end it with our anti-hero retroactively turned into a knight in shining armour; that would be dishonest. Yet you can't end it with him simply getting his just desserts either.

Spoilers for Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos, The Shield (the Shawn Ryan series), Angel, Dexter... )

Did that get long? Sorry. I did it because I liked it.

Speaking of making excuses, though, the current season of The West Wing running on all channels really sucks. I know the Sorkin years were criticized for making caricatures of republicans, but it's nothing compared to this. When your supposedly adult characters start acting like 3-year-olds holding their breath until mom buys them ice cream, you need new writers.

And speaking of endings, How I Met Your Mother is just phoning it in for the last season, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, HIMYM phoning it in is still better than 90% of the sitcoms on TV, but we know this plot and we know these characters and we know how it's going to end and they should just have made a 2-hour movie and been done with it.


But at least I'm still watching it, unlike Under The Dome which never managed to breathe even a spark of life into a pretty good idea and seems content to be a poor man's Lost. Give me an ambitious failure over a competent bore any day.

Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing was pretty neat, though. And on one final musing on endings, The World's End does a neat job with a loosely connected film trilogy - building not on the characters but on the themes, and aging (or refusing to age) along with the actors.
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
A while ago, [livejournal.com profile] red_satin_doll asked if I'd do a commentary for a fic of my choice. I figured, why not this one? It's not one of my most commented-on fics, possibly because it's an OC fic, but I'm pretty happy with it despite some flaws, so why not. Plus it gives me a chance to philosophise and write meta on some of the points about my reading of Buffy.

Title: One, But A Lion
Author: Beer Good ([personal profile] beer_good_foamy)
Fandom: Buffyverse, very much pre-series
Word Count: ~1200
Rating: PG13
Summary: Egypt, 48 BC. A Slayer and her watcher take a trip and learn that even in ancient times, some things were more ancient still.

Comments in red. Original version here.

We started out together/Our expectations linked/But every student has a theory/The best he's ever thinked )
beer_good_foamy: (GoT-slap)
(Please note - I'm unspoiled on the books and want to remain so)

Spoilers S3E06 and a bit of meta )
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
I want to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how there's a (to quote a phrase) question hidden in plain sight in both the title and the story that the show must address. Basically yet another attempt by me to try to explain what "Chosen", for all its faults, does right as a series finale. This is in no way meant to sum up everything that happens in the last couple of seasons, and if there's anything you feel I leave out altogether, that's because I leave it out altogether to talk specifically about this:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer isn't just the title of a television show, it's the central conflict of it. The very thing that gives Buffy (and Buffy) strength is the same thing that traps her. The story itself is the biggest bad, and the central problem of season 7 is, how do you end the story without killing the story?
Read more... )
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
Here's a rewatch-inspired poll, presented with no preamble.

[Poll #1854770]
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
I have a few half-written fics and meta posts waiting for a rainy day that doesn't come, so just a short one since Mark was discussing this today:

I expected that Buffy would hold on to the truth about where she was while she was dead for the remainder of the series. She had resolved to never tell the Scoobies, and I know it’s because she knew it would destroy them.

Musings on right and wrong )
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
OK, so following up on my post about redemption arcs, here's one about cracks. Not crackfic, but... cracks. That bit where a story made up of several different stories doesn't quite fit together seamlessly, and how that's not necessarily a bad thing.

This post contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Doctor Who, Buffy, Angel and Game of Thrones (the TV series).

So a while back, I was reading Russell T Davies' The Writer's Tale, which if you haven't read it is recommended both for fans of Doctor Who and for those interested in serial television and storytelling in general. And I say this despite the fact that it threw some of the things I dislike about RTD's writing style into even sharper contrast (and that I couldn't care less about his constant fanboying of Skins).

But the point I wanted to bring up, where something clicked into place, was this quote. The Writer's Tale is essentially the (mostly) complete and uncensored e-mail and text correspondence between RTD and Benjamin Cook as RTD writes s4 of Doctor Who, up until Stephen Moffat took over the show. This quote is from page 190-191, where RTD is trying to piece together the Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned", essentially The Poseidon Adventure IN SPACE, and has trouble getting the narratives to play nice:
Davies:
The funny thing is - and I learn this every time, yet forget it - if a fault is fundamental, any problem-solving is only papering over the cracks. The cracks always show. Faults persist. They always do. The disaster movie fights the essential nature of the Doctor, because he becomes just Any Old Survivor - a clever one, yes, the leader, yes, but a hapless victim of events. He's lacking. Now, when the plot turns and he changes ('No more!' he says), then he's in charge again and good old Doctor Who kicks in...

Cook:
Well, isn't that true of the storytelling process full stop? If you're inventing something artificial, something false, and yet you're wanting to convince people that's [sic] it's real so that they can suspend their disbelief sufficiently, surely you're 'papering over the cracks' from the moment that you start writing?

Davies:
I like your version of papering over the cracks. I'm going to cling to that. (...) You're right, most stories require the writer to wallpaper like crazy, especially those stories that demand so many suspensions of disbelief. (...) I am a wallpaperer. Yes, that's what I am.

Now, here's the thing. Step on this crack )
beer_good_foamy: (Wild as the wind)
There's been talk of redemption again in fandom, partly inspired by Mark Watches getting up to "Sanctuary". [personal profile] deird1 had a good post about it here, for instance.

And I just wanted to jot down some loose thoughts.

Redemption arcs, how they work and how they break )

Meta meme

Mar. 29th, 2012 09:42 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
From [livejournal.com profile] slaymesoftly:

1. Leave a comment to this post - specifically saying that you would like a letter.
2. I will give you a letter. (If you don't want a letter but feel like commenting anyway, feel free.)
3. Post the names of five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter, and your thoughts on each. The characters can be from books, movies, or TV shows.


I got B! So, five off the top of my head:

Vague spoilers for BtVS, Twin Peaks, The Wire, Foucault's Pendulum, Dr Horrible )
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
First of all, YAY!


Big thanks, and congratulations to all the other winners!

Second, here's the 2011 roundup:

Fic and meta I wrote )

And a meme )
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
If season 4 of Buffy has taught us one thing, it's to run the other way when someone starts a monologue with "I've been thinking."

I've been thinking about how some fanfic writers somehow manage to create entire 'verses of their own. They start off from some point in canon, and then build one huge story from there that may or may not be told linearly, but where everything has continuity and is (more or less) internally consistent. I have a ton of respect for people who manage that; I never could. My stories are usually short, a jumble of brief standalone wouldn'titbecoolifs that aren't supposed to go together at all.

And yet when I look at them with a bit of distance, it's odd how many of them seem to form little 'verses after all - where, even if they're supposed to work as standalones, you can still read them in sequence and have them provide context for each other. And so, I give you, My Hypothetical and Mostly Accidental 'Verses, with links to relevant fics and drabbles arranged in more or less the order in which they happen.

Long list of fics and self-congratulatory meta )

There are a few others I could piece together, of course; there's the little Faith/Willow story I've touched upon once or twice, there's the everything-went-to-hell-after-NFA-verse, there's the metaverse where every fourth wall is broken regularly, and there's still a ton of truly standalone stories... But the point, if there is one: I think context matters, especially in fanfic, and especially when it comes to drabbles and ficlets. A lot of what I write runs on my interpretation of what happened in canon and what it meant, or my interpretation of what happened after the cameras stopped rolling. Take Stylish, Yet Affordable, for instance; on its own, it's just a nice little drabble about Buffy getting some recognition; setting it in the middle of s6, with Buffy struggling with both bills and depression, it hopefully takes on a slightly different taste. After Work becomes a different drabble if I claim it's explicitly part of a larger story in which they end up getting married. Special Delivery is silly slapstick until you remember what he did right after. Mission Accomplished, with its talk about how this is the way things have always been and always will be, can be a very different fic depending on your opinion of seasons 6 and 7; whether it's about Giles trying to live with never changing the status quo, or if it's the question to which "Chosen" is the answer. Etc. Stories take place within vectors, depending on which aspects of them you emphasize, and in any source story with enough depth, there's no limit to the amount of stories you can tell even without changing what actually happened on screen. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

There's more thoughts to be had here, I think, but that's for another day.
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