1. I have been feeling both excited and guilty about the sheer plethora of awesomeness on offer at [livejournal.com profile] buffyversetop5 . I haven't read enough Buffy fic this past while, and this offers an excellent chance to get caught up. I'm feeling full of love for [livejournal.com profile] drsquidlove  fic, Doritos on the Slippery Slope, which is funny and sweet Xander/Giles. For real.
  2. The season opener for Glee, which I have finally got around to watching, left me a little bit cold. They've ramped the autotune way, way up this season. I was also unimpressed that they'd given Santana a boob job (in the text, I have no clue as to whether the actor has also had surgery), and did a whole bit where Brittany was persuaded to falsely accuse the new football coach of molesting her.
  3. [livejournal.com profile] sound_of_bells  has some interesting thoughts on Inception being the ideal fandom. Her thesis is that Inception's awesome world-building, but insipid characterisation, provides the perfect sandbox for fangirls to play in.
  4. There's been a few f-listies talking about relationship problems in the last couple of weeks, and the advice they've received has universally included 'relationships take work'. It's given me some thoughts about the ways that obvious, clear relationship problems and solutions are ubiquitous in both scripted and non-scripted television, and what impact that might have on our collective expectations of how we relate to our partners. And, some follow-up thoughts about what a tremendous douchebag 'Dr' John Gray is, and yet how his Mars/Venus claptrap has permeated pop-psychological understandings of relationship dynamics.
  5. [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight  provides a whole bunch of recs for the [livejournal.com profile] no_tags  anonymous bandom fic exchange. Night writes beautiful, beautiful fic across a whole bunch of fandoms, and this persuaded me to give bandom a shot in the first place. Not that I'm blaming anyone, of course.
I've been away for the holidays, and have barely scratched the surface of Yuletide, but have a few recs in the fandoms I have read that I wanted to post before the reveal:

Sports Night

Firstly, I got two gorgeous Sports Night fics that feature Dan Rydell's pain front and centre, in Holiday Spirit (1,500 words, no warnings) and Pinch Hitter (1,300 words, no warnings). I could read about sad, broken Danny all day and all night, and these are excellent examples of their type, with supportive!Casey and a fantastic Isaac. As these were both pinch-hits, it's even more astounding that they are so very pretty.

Studio 60

After the prodigious outputs for Sports Night and The West Wing (and even The Social Network), the amount of fic suggests that this is the Aaron Sorkin show that has been least taken to fandom's heart. Best Man (~6000 words, discussion of consent issues/drug addiction) is a real gem though. The relationship between Matt Albie and Danny Tripp is one of the few things that the show does well, and this explores it beautifully, without glossing over the strain that addiction can place on a friendship. This left me nodding my head, and features a lovely Harriet Hayes.

Friday Night Lights

Considering the awesomeness of this show, and all of its characters, there is surprisingly little fic out there, so it's glorious to get so much of quality this Yuletide. My favourite is All About Me (1,500 words, no warnings), in which Jess Merriweather thinks about the fact that she wanted to be QB1 for the Dallas Cowboys, and how women fit in, or don't, to the world of Dillon football.

There is a little bit of fic out there exploring the ways that being gay might intersect with life in a socially conservative small town, and with the world of football. When the World Comes In (4,100 words, no warnings) explores a relationship between Luke Cafferty and Vince Howard, and what coming out means, and might mean, for them and the people they know. It's lovely, and hopeful, without handwaving away the attitudes of the people around them.

If Friday Night Lights has a tragic hero, then it's Tim Riggins. Visitation (2,200 words, no warnings) is a gem of a story about Coach Taylor visiting Tim in prison. I haven't seen any of season five yet, and if the show's writers found a way to make this happen, then I would be very happy.

Southland, Ugly Betty, Mysterious Skin )
I didn't expect to like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as much as I did. It's had dreadful reviews, and there's been quite a lot of Twitter snark about how boring it is. Contrarily, I think it might have been my favourite film so far.
  1. The pacing struggled a bit in some of the other films, because they were squeezing so much into each one. I thought the pacing very good in Part One, and I was completely gripped. I think it was very sensible to split DH into two, although it now feels like quite a long wait until July, and I think I'm going to have to re-read the book. 
  2. I love Harry, Hermione, and Ron together. I thought that the bits of romance there were, were the weakest part of the books, and it's lovely to see their friendship foregrounded.
  3. I love Hermione most of all. She's pleasingly bookish, competent, and brave.
  4. The design of the wizarding world is brilliant. I love all of the crooked old houses, full of gorgeous, interesting things. There were a few touches of European mid-century fascism in the design of the publications coming out of the Ministry of Magic, which worked well.
  5. Britain looked wild and beautiful, and pleasingly wintery.
A rec for those who came out of the film wanting fic. )
  1. Barb ([livejournal.com profile] rahirah ) has hit upon the cunning wheeze of the Nertz to you, Joss Whedon! Ficathon. An act of fannish protest against the forces of the comics, and the way that they are separating people from the goodness of the Buffy-verse, participants are invited to rewrite things in S8 that really, really bug them. For those of us who have banished the little of S8 we read from our minds, Barb offers a handy list of prompts. Apparently the wacky Dawn-times did not end with her being turned into a giant. Who knew? (Except for most of my f-list.)
  2. I did not like The Kids are All Right. Everyone in it who was not the titular 'kids' was a total horror, and turning the husband in the world's most stereotypical heterosexual relationship into a woman, does not render a film's sexual politics unproblematic.
  3. A year ago, I thought that everyone flailing over Yuletide was acting in an entirely incomprehensible fashion. Today, I read one of those posts of Yuletide technobureaucracy, about fandoms and characters and some giant list of names of things, and felt so excited that I had a head-rush. Fandom has turned me into a flail-er. I don't think that this is an entirely bad thing.
  4. I had to stop reading [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants  because it made me too grumpy. I may need to stop reading [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets for the same reason.
  5. I only have three more episodes of Supernatural S5 to watch. I almost can't bear to do it, because then it will be over until the S6 boxset comes out. (On the plus side, I've just ordered Dollhouse S2, although S1 was pretty creep-tastic on the consent issues front. I'm not sure that I'm ready to be more disappointed in Joss Whedon.)
I have a bit of a weakness for films and documentaries about corporate mendacity, but, like a true Sorkin fangirl, would pretty much go and see anything he writes. The Social Network, then, hit at least two of my buttons.

Given that so much of the exposition happens around a sequence of boardroom tables, during a succession of depositions, and that most of the characters are desperately unlikeable, it was one of the most engaging films I've seen this year.

I did find it strangely un-Sorkin-like in tone, and the righteousness of The West Wing, and (to a greater extent) Studio 60, is largely missing. What Sorkin does write beautifully, though, is relationships between men, and the central love/friendship triangle is exquisitely rendered. You can almost taste the bile rising in his throat when Eduardo Saverin realises that he has been comprehensively fucked over by Mark Zuckerberg, in favour of Justin Timberlake's truly hideous Sean Parker.

There has been much commentary around the fact that facts and individuals have been blurred and elided in the script, and there are certainly other views of the central characters than Sorkin's. Parker, particularly, is portrayed as a pretentious, malicious playboy, whose chief value to Zuckerberg is his rolodex and ability to spout business truisms. A recent Vanity Fair piece has him as a renaissance man, whose genius and insight transcend disciplines. The truth, probably, is somewhere in the middle.

The film's opening sequences feature Zuckerberg insulting his girlfriend's school (Boston University); blogging about her stupidity, her ethnicity, and her breast size; blogging about creating a website to compare female undergraduates with farm animals; and then creating a website to allow male Harvard students to compare the relative attractiveness of female undergraduates. This latter sequence is intercut with scenes of the 'Fuck Bus' (bringing attractive female undergrads from other schools) arriving for a final club party, and then women kissing each other, and dancing in their underwear for the benefit of the privileged male club members.

Read more... )
A spot has opened up in my TV roster, and I've been marathoning (slowly, due to the bizarre-o LoveFilm DVD allocating algorithm) the first season of Fringe.

Full disclosure: I have a special place in my heart for The X Files, which was not only the first show I was fannish about (it made me read history, because I am incapable of Doing Fandom Right), but also the first show for which I stumbled across fic.

I was mildly intrigued by the idea of Fringe, and like the following things about it: 
  • The pilot is, frankly, an awesomesauce actioner, and has a capable, brave, and gutsy female protagonist kicking ass and taking names. 
  • It offers the possibility of one of my favourite types of manpain: the tormented father/son relationship.
  • It is exceedingly shiny.
A few episodes in, and the following things have become apparent: 
  • The production values on the rest of the season are much lower. 
  • You can tip your hand too soon when establishing a multi-season conspiracy.
  • While the ghost of white Courier-esque font must loom large over the post-production process, the floating establishing sub-titles are distancing, and look derivative and cheap. [They are discussed at length here, font geeks.]
  • Science is practiced best by (mostly male) people who work, for whatever reason, by themselves, and are capricious, indifferent to the feelings of others, and can be forgiven anything (including assaulting their co-workers with syringes full of drugs) because of their utter brilliance.
I miss you, Scully.
Feminists for Choice has a fantastic series running at the moment, which is exploring the representation (and lack thereof) of abortion in television and film.

Yesterday's edition looked at Julia's unwanted pregnancy in season two of Party of Five, so I watched the episode on YouTube. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I dimly recalled watching this episode as a teenager and rolling my eyes at the moralising of Sarah's character (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt).

There's something depressing about watching mid-90s television that is so more sympathetic to feminist politics than shows currently being produced. It's not without sexism, obviously, and the B-plot in this episode is an overwrought storyline about Bailey and Sarah's 'first time'. Bailey is portrayed as the sexual aggressor, and female virginity is fetishised to the nth degree, but the assumptions underpinning all of this sexual stereotyping are somewhat undermined by Julia revealing to Bailey that she is not unhappy because she doesn't want to have sex (as he thinks), but because she is pregnant. 

Read more... )

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