Sunday, October 20, 2013


I don't like True Blood. I don't like Twilight. Actually, in general, I don't like TV shows or movies about vampires, unless they're Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. A few years ago, I made an exception for The Vampire Diaries and started watching the show when it premiered.

The first season was okay. The second was good. The third was great. And then everything went downhill last year, during its fourth season. The show became repetitive. I think we spent three or four episodes on an island, maybe more, and if I wanted to spend extensive time on an island, I'd watch Lost, thank you very much. The entire season was a mishmash of the same idea, over and over again- "I want the cure." "Give me the cure!" "I will kill you for the cure." Of course, it was coupled with the love triangle of Stefan, Elena, and Damon.

Now, let me tell you something about love triangles. THEY. ARE. BORING. No one cares. Let me explain. Teenyboppers? Yes, they care. But when a group of writers has an entire show riding on whether the heroine (and I use that term very loosely when I apply it to Elena Gilbert) chooses Hero A or Hero B, that is just shitty writing right there. Not only is it shitty, it's heteronormative. And here we return to what I explained just three weeks ago about the CW's lack of LGBTQ characters. Yeah, that's right. Name one LGBTQ character on The Vampire Diaries OR The Originals (besides for Caroline's dad who was in the show for all of five episodes).

My next bone-picking with The Vampire Diaries is how much Julie Plec and her team of writers just copy and paste from Joss Whedon. Stefan in a box underwater for an entire summer? Hmmm, I wonder where I've seen that before (Angel, season 3 and 4). A witchy sidekick whose power grows so fast she loses control? Willow Rosenberg (a superb character in all the ways Bonnie is not) does come to mind. An ordinary guy like Matt? Hmmm, anyone met Xander Harris before? And now we've got Gypsies! Oh my God, that does not sound familiar at all. The heroine (again, term used very loosely) ends up in a relationship with the bad vampire instead of the good one? Wow, this is all very original storytelling. Honestly, if Elena walks away from both Damon and Stefan and starts giving us a speech about cookie dough, I might scream.

I comfort myself with the knowledge that Joss Whedon was and always be the master at what he does, and with the knowledge that the characters and the actors who played them on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were better than the actors in the copycat.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's 2005 Again

No, we haven't traveled back in time with Castiel. He lost his wings, remember?

What we have done is entered another golden year of television. The first that I can remember was in 2005. Do you remember what premiered that year? No? Well, here's a list:
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • The Office
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Prison Break
  • Supernatural
  • Bones
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Criminal Minds
  • The Colbert Report
  • Doctor Who
And let's not forget The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, right? Wink, wink.

So far in 2013, we've got The Following. Butt-on-the-edge-of-your-set suspense, and great character chemistry. House of Cards and Hemlock Grove earned Netflix their first Emmy nominations. Orphan Black has won over the critics, especially with Tatiana Maslany's incredible performances. Hannibal was an instant hit, its darkness contributing to the creepy jokes of the show's official Tumblr and its fans. Orange is the New Black, another Netflix hit, is real, funny, and relatable. Sleepy Hollow is Fox's new big genre hit, filled with nice, gooey mythology on the inside and wrapped up in characters we can't help but love. Hostages is what I like to call the autumn season's The Following (just as intense, with Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott- can you get any better than that??). Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Crazy Ones, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Trophy Wife actually make me laugh out loud, unlike some shows that have given up on nerdy, science humor and have elected to make sex jokes for 23 minutes every Thursday evening. And of course, Joss Whedon has returned to the small screen with Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, which definitely has room for improvement but has already won me over.

Is it just me, or is anyone else excited about this year of TV?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Let's Talk About Revolution

No, I am not Ichabod Crane. No, I do not think I live in 18th century colonial America. Yes, I do think that a 41-cent tax on a donut is a bit much. But I'm talking about the show Revolution

The show that, last year, was uneven. At its best, there was blood spattering everywhere (a personal favorite of mine), some great fight scenes, and a drop of character development (mostly Charlie's, who I personally couldn't care less about). Then, of course, there were David Lyons, Billy Burke, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Zak Orth, who kept the show going when all I wanted to do was give up on the whole damn thing.

But, you see, this is Eric Kripke and JJ Abrams. You don't just give up on the creators of Supernatural and LOST. It is simply not done. So I slowly slogged through the first season (don't get me wrong, there were very many parts I enjoyed) and now, I know that I was right- because seriously, who gives up on Kripke and Abrams? Crazy people, that's who.

This season, although it's only two episodes in and the next episode could very well prove me wrong, is much better. The pacing is even. I don't necessarily have violent urges to strangle Charlie Matheson. Stephen Collins is playing Juliet's- whoops, Rachel's- dad to perfection (he is the ultimate TV dad, isn't he? Even in a post-apocalyptic sans-light world). The story actually seems to have a direction- a direction that I care about, too. And, as always, the actors who drove the show last year are doing phenomenally well this season too.

It probably also helps that Ben Edlund joined the crew as a consulting producer for Revolution's sophomore season. Edlund, who worked on Joss Whedon's Firefly and Angel, is most notably known among the fandoms as the man who "fixed" Supernatural in its eighth season, after the sixth and seventh seasons dragged. Seems to me like he's already doing a superb job on Revolution as well. 

Revolution airs on Wednesday's at 8PM on NBC. If you haven't already, catch up on the season. It's worth it. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is the CW Bigoted?

As I've explained before, when someone ships two people together, it means they support the idea of a romantic relationship between them. As I also explained in the same post, I am an avid shipper of Dean Winchester and Castiel on Supernatural- they are my OTP. (For reference, this ship is called Destiel by the fans of the show.)  

On Supernatural, this ship is not yet canon, which means that a romantic relationship between the two hasn't been acknowledged or discussed. Dean and Castiel are not yet in a relationship together. However, for most of the fans, including myself, this ship is as real as Monica and Chandler, as Derek and Meredith, as Buffy and Angel. Please see this study for reference. We know that, if they choose to, the writers of the show could make this ship happen. 

But they haven't yet. And it seems, from the season 9 spoilers we've received so far, that they aren't planning to. I've wondered for a long time now why they haven't gone in this direction yet. Why haven't they made this relationship actual fact? Regardless of romance, Dean loves Castiel, and Castiel loves Dean. They've sacrificed for each other countless times. They've saved each other, emotionally and actually. Dean prays, and Castiel listens. So why? Why haven't the writers taken the plunge?

It only just occurred to me over the weekend that this may have nothing to do with the writers. I searched google for a list of LGBTQ characters on the CW, and here's what I found- Wikipedia. If you go through the list, you'll find that in the past five years, the CW has had maybe three main characters who are LGBTQ on their shows. 

Three in five years. 

I won't start in on the implications of what that means, but I will say that maybe, just maybe, it's not the Supernatural writers who are at fault here. It's just possible that their hands are tied by a network who cares nothing for representation. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another Post About Whedon, This is Such a Shock

Here's what it comes down to: I'm nervous for Joss Whedon. Sounds ridiculous, right? The man's got it made. Even if you ignore every single one of his achievements other than The Avengers (which is something many ignorant latecomers to the Joss Whedon party do), the success of his Marvel enterprise is unrivaled.


There comes a time in every famous man's life when the media gets overbearing. I get tweet after tweet about how many days are left until Agents of SHIELD airs, all the exclusive scenes that have been released, all the interviews with every major actor in the show, etc., etc. 

None of this hullabaloo existed when Buffy the Vampire Slayer started airing, or Angel: the Series, or Firefly. Maybe a bit more when Dollhouse first aired, and more when The Avengers was released, but even then, it was only a fraction of the media exposure now. Media exposure, that could, with a quick snap of a thumb, go from positive to negative overnight.

I'm incredibly happy that Joss Whedon is getting all the attention he deserves. Who knows? Maybe I'm just a Whedonite who doesn't like bandwagon-jumpers. But I miss the days when the world wasn't already given what seems to be half the footage of the pilot episode before it even airs. 

Agents of SHIELD premieres on Tuesday, September 24th, at 8PM on ABC. (Here's to hoping the suits at ABC are smarter than the suits at FOX!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Give Me a Real Character, Please

I'm going to preface this post with a few facts about myself and my relationship with The West Wing. Firstly, I just finished the second season finale. Secondly, I have no knowledge of what will happen in the next five seasons. I am spoiler-free (other than knowing that John Spencer passed away while Season 7 was still filming). And thirdly, I am so in love with this show that I'd like to marry it (that last one is to soften the coming criticism).

Recurring characters. Very important, recurring characters. They keep the show running, in a sense- they bring plot arcs back, and they keep important character arcs going. If, of course, these recurring characters are well-written. When I watch a show, I know that recurring characters are well-written if I don't feel that the writers "brought them back." If I feel that they are there to tell their story, I know that these are characters. People. Unfortunately, Aaron Sorkin seems to have trouble with this.

Let's take Danny Concannon as the first example. He has no storyline at all, other than that he likes CJ and he's a White House reporter. We know nothing else about him. And then, somewhere along the beginning of Season 2, his character simply disappears. Ainsley Hayes is the second example. The entirety of her character is that she's a Republican working in a Democrat White House. Again, we know nothing else about her, and she was brought back to the show simply when Mr. Sorkin needed someone to argue with the character of Sam Seaborn. 

In comparison, let's take Charlie Bradbury, a recurring character on Supernatural. She's been on the show three times- three- and I know more about her than I know about Danny, who was in 28 episodes of The West Wing, and Ainsley, who has so far been in 8 episodes. You see, that's the difference. When I think of Charlie coming back to Supernatural in Season 9, I don't think of it as her character being brought back for x, y, or z reasons. She's being brought back because she's a character and she has a story that needs to be told. Unfortunately, on The West Wing, it feels like the writers bring a recurring character back for a simple, technical purpose and nothing else.

Don't forget the people standing on the side. Good writing is in the details, my friends.